How to Sensitively Ask Your Long-Term Partner for More Sex


When one partner is asking for sex, says Marin, it’s true that they want to feel good. But what they’re really asking for at that moment is closeness. “It’s important to make clear to your partner that you miss them, you love them, and you want to connect with them,” says Marin. “That feels so different from ‘Can you give me a blowjob?’”

And you want to make the request feel as specific to them and to your relationship as possible. “It’s not just I need this thing, I want this act,” Marin says. “It’s that I want you to do this thing. I want to have this experience with you, and for these reasons.”

3. Remember that their needs and desires are just as important as yours

This, again, is where curiosity comes in, so that you’re not just centering your desire, which can come off as entitlement. Darnell encourages talking not only about what you’re into and why, but asking your partner what they’re into and why. This can help to build a bridge between your desires and, again, co-create a more satisfying sex life. “If you invite someone to your house and they’re a vegan, but you feed them roast beef, what kind of an asshole would you be?” says Darnell. “You have to research what your partner’s turn-ons are, and not just come at them with roast beef.”

4. Acknowledge past efforts

If your request is something that has come up before, and your partner has agreed to try to accommodate it but this still hasn’t happened, Wright says it’s important to begin by acknowledging their efforts. From there, she says, it’s helpful to once again take a team-based approach, e.g., ‘What can we do to make this happen?’ “Acknowledge that you conceptually understand that they want you to have everything you want, and ask if you can figure it out together,” she says.

5. Create a safe space for experimentation

If, on the other hand, you are asking for something novel that your partner has never done before, Wright says it’s important to find out what it would take for them to feel safe with it.

6. Understand if what you’re asking for is non-negotiable

It’s also important, says Wright, that you understand whether or not the request is non-negotiable for you before you bring it up because that should inform how you approach the conversation. “Some of us are making a request because it sounds like something fun that we kind of want to try, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Other times we bring in a request that is very clear that if we don’t get it, this is not going to last. Those two things are very different,” she says.

If the request is one you are certain needs to be met, you should be radically honest and frame it that way, emphasizing that you want to meet that need with your partner. If that’s not a possibility, explain that you hope that you can figure out a different way to get it met together as a team.

What to do if they say no to your request

At this point, you should have the tools to handle a situation in which your partner is not open to whatever it is you’re proposing. You can get curious and try to find out the why behind their no. You can open up to them about the why behind your ask, and if the specific ask is still their “roast beef,” you can work together to come up with a different ask that fulfills the same why.



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