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How to discuss sexual fantasies with your partner

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[howdini, get yourself a guru] Hi, I'm Lisa Birnbach for howdini.com. Talk about awkward moments. What are you supposed to do when you're confronted with a sexual demand that you just don't want to do? Is, "Eww!" ever the appropriate response? How about, "Hell, no, honey." With us for guidance on this especially tricky situation is couples therapist Rachel Sussman. Hi, Rachel. >>Hi, Lisa. Do your clients ever bring this kind of thing in? It's actually pretty common, and I think that if you are in a long-term relationship, at a certain point, you're going to hit a dry spell in the sexual part of your relationship. And it really is both parties' responsibility at that point to spice up their sex life. What if your partner really does suggest something that is unthinkable to you or makes you think that, "Maybe I don't really know him as well as I thought I did"? It happens, and I'm all for couples communicating their fantasies to each other, but I think for the person communicating the fantasy, they've got to prepare themselves to approach their partner in a really gentle, loving way when they say, "Hey, I have an idea about doing something a little different. Now, it might seem a little bit outlandish to you when I bring it up, so can you really try to keep an open mind?" So prepare your partner to have an open mind. Well, that's very good. What about saying something like, "I want to do this with you," emphasize that it doesn't mean, "I'm turned on by other people"? That's an excellent idea, and I think a really important thing. And for the person who's on the receiving end and they're listening to their partner share their fantasy, oftentimes we will get a little nervous, and our first response will be, "No way. I am not going to do that." So for that person, I really encourage to keep an open mind and try to not say no right away. Or be judgmental. "You're sick. That's gross." Those are probably not helpful. No, you really don't want to hurt the feelings of your partner who's really put themselves out there and allowing themselves to be really vulnerable and tell you about a secret that they have. Okay, so your partner has said, "I want to do this." You've thought about it. You maybe investigated it on the internet. You've maybe even tried it. You hate it. Now what? Well, first of all, you've said all the right things to do. Think it through, talk about it, investigate it, maybe even experiment with it. And if you've done all those things and you still just can't deal with it, you need to sit down with your husband or your wife and say, "I appreciate that you shared this with me. It must have been hard for you. And I've really tried to keep an open mind. I've tried, but it's just something that, to me, is not a turn-on, and it's not sexual at all. Because of my own feelings, I just can no longer do this." Now when you do that, could that be the end of an honest, open relationship? Hopefully it will only be the end of that fantasy, and not the end of anything other than that. Can you sort of change your partner's fantasy life? You certainly can, and you could say, "You brought up this fantasy. What if we tried this instead? Here's a similar fantasy with some of the elements that you brought into your fantasy, but something that's more palatable to me, and something that I find sexy." So maybe this whole dialog can add a whole new dimension, but being careful to make the other person feel it's him or her who's wanted there, not a porn star. I think with the advent of the internet over the past decade, a lot of men who didn't view pornography are now watching pornography. Women generally find out at some point, or they've known all along. And I've had situations where the women are quite disturbed that their boyfriends or husbands are watching pornography. And if we can actually bring that into the bedroom in a healthy way-- maybe there's a certain tape or something that the husband or man enjoys watching that he would feel comfortable sharing with his wife or girlfriend. They can do it together instead of making it a separate project, something that can bring them together. Rachel, a lot of women feel that their husbands or boyfriends relying on pornography is almost a form of cheating. How do you feel about that? I don't feel it's a form of cheating. I feel that people can get into trouble if they're watching too much pornography, and it can be somewhat addicting and they could have trouble performing because they're over stimulated by watching too much of it, and then they become understimulated in the live environment of making love to their partner. But I think if pornography can be used together in a way that the wife or the girlfriend is comfortable with it, it can actually be something a couple can do together. If somebody's watching this segment and says, "Well, this doesn't relate to my life at all. My husband and I just like to make love the old fashioned way, and we're fine," does that mean that they're normal, or should they consider something new? I hate to use the word 'normal.' If a couple is making love the old fashion way and they're both comfortable with where their sex life is, that's great for them. But that doesn't mean another couple is comfortable in that same realm. Maybe there's another couple who wants to bring visual aids or some toys or something really exciting to the bedroom, and that doesn't make them abnormal; it makes them normal for them and for their sex life. So if it's not broken, don't worry about fixing it? If both people feel that things are fine, leave it be. Thanks, Rachel. >>Thanks, Lisa. For howdini, I'm Lisa Birnbach. [howdini-www.howdini.com]

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Howdini
Views: 212
Posted by: howdini on Jan 11, 2011

What happens when he (or she) wants to try something new in the bedroom that you don't want to do? Licensed clinical therapist Rachel Sussman has advice for how to handle unwanted sexual requests.

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