Why don't I feel pretty or sexy anymore when I'm with my partner?

Why don't I feel pretty or sexy anymore when I'm with my partner?

I have genuinely no idea; I am not psychic! 

Think about what usually makes you feel sexy, and ask your partner for more of that! Whether it's flirty touches, compliments, specific types of sexual behaviors, etc. Sometimes couples just fall into a 'routine' and it can take some intentional effort to re-ignite the sexy spark. But you gotta identify what creates that spark for you!

Consider getting a bit out of your comfort zone and trying something new together, like taking sexy photos, shopping for a new sex toy or lingerie, getting a couple's massage, going to a sexy event together, sexting each other, etc.

Consider what else might be affecting your sense of self and what you can do to improve your self-esteem independently of your partner. I often feel less sexy when I'm tired or stressed, so think about whether therapy, a lifestyle change, or just some patience through a tough time could help. Some people really enjoy how they feel about their bodies when doing dance, yoga, or martial arts.  

If, after you've tried talking to your partner, putting some effort into re-igniting that spark, and finding your inner sense of sexiness, you still feel like this around your partner, it might not be a healthy relationship to stay in. Partners should make you feel precious, cherished, and wanted - and if your partner can't or won't do that, that's not okay.

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Hi! I am poly-single/AB/‘virgin’ and working on expressing and meeting my social/romantic/sexual needs at the moment with my therapist as I am shy and afraid of making them real. I got an invitation from some members of the local poly group (among them my crush), they are organizing a 'pleasure party’, uncommercial, but with a strong focus on consent and safe sex. Do you have any tips for overcoming my insecurity or how to deal with the people there, so I can freely experience new things there?

First off, major kudos to you for working on this with your therapist and taking the big steps of connecting with a local polyamory group and making plans! You are doing the hard work of healing and growing, and that is something to be really proud of. Some tips from me:

Take the pressure off yourself. Some therapists working with clients to set new habits assign things like “every day, after work, drive to the gym. Just drive there and sit in your car for a bit.” That is easier to start with than “go to the gym and WORK OUT FOR A WHOLE HOUR,” especially if the person has anxiety around going to the gym or working out. So just plan to go and not have sex. Plan to go, meet people, get the lay of the land, see what these parties are all about. If all the stars align and you end up feeling comfortable and playing with someone you click with, great! But let that be a lucky bonus, not the purpose of your attendance.

Wear something you feel comfortable in. This is a tough one to get the right balance of, but it’s worth some pre-planning because in my experience, it does make a difference. If everyone is wearing strappy black leather and lingerie and you come in a bright yellow sundress or jeans and a t-shirt, you’ll stand out and feel self-conscious. At the same time, if you go buy something lacy and tiny that you’re not used to wearing, you’ll have a hard time enjoying yourself if you feel too exposed and are always worried about tugging or adjusting something uncomfortable. Ask the people who invited you what people usually wear, and take some time with your own wardrobe or shopping to find something that you are going to be comfortable in.

Be honest about your newbie-status. People at parties like this tend to be lovely, welcoming, friendly, and gentle. Don’t feel like you have to fool people into thinking you’re some expert who’s done this a million times. It’s okay to say that you’re new to this, that you’re a bit nervous, etc. It’s okay to ask questions. If anyone acts exclusive, rude, gatekeeper-y, or anything beyond sweet and helpful, they are not a safe person. It reflects on them, not you.

Be as independent as possible. It can be tempting to find a ‘buddy’ that you already know, maybe the person who invited you, and stick with them - and that’s definitely a good place to start, but don’t rely on them the entire time. If you only feel secure when right next to someone you already know, you won’t get to meet other people or enjoy other experiences. Plus, if they want to go off and play, or talk to someone else, etc. then you might feel abandoned or unsafe, and that’s no fun! So do your best to make friends, move through the room, hover near the food, step into those loose circles of people standing around and talking, make eye contact and smile and thus invite people to introduce themselves, etc.

I was wondering if you know of any advice blogs that are just as active and nice and friendly as your but oriented to the S&M sort of world at all? Most blogs I find are all straight-up porn and that’s not what I’m looking for…I Have Questions, people! Lol and nobody to answer them.

Well, I am a kinky fucker, so I am down to try and answer any BDSM questions. Or, you can check out some of these blogs (many of them also include porn):

http://sirs-classroom.tumblr.com/

http://subguide.tumblr.com/

http://dominantlife.tumblr.com/library

http://gentle-dominant.com/the-list (a list of blogs, many of which answer questions and give advice even if they aren’t explicitly advice column blogs)

http://www.thekinkrealm.com/

http://www.submissiveguide.com/tag/advice/

https://askdaddykenneth.com/

http://kinkandcode.com/category/advice-thoughts-2/sex-advice-from-a-fuck-up/

https://www.patreon.com/wickedgrounds (behind a Patreon pay wall)

http://cgl-advice.tumblr.com/ (specific to age play, which some may find triggering)

http://www.askpapabear.com/ (specific to furries, but covers BDSM as well)

I’ve always been sexually awkward, like I don’t know how to initiate anything and sometimes I think my partners are waiting for me to start something, what should i do? In the past, she has always been the one to initiate with me, and he joins in - he’s usually playing his computer games - i want to be more sexually active with them, but I’m not sure how to start anything..if that makes sense.

Communicate! Say “hey, I am working on becoming more sexually assertive and confident - can you work with me on that?” Ask them if there are things you’ve done in the past that they found sexy, and do those more! Ask them what kinds of times and situations they would really enjoy for you to initiate! Ask your partners what they find sexy, then do or wear that!

(Also, ask if this is something they want! Maybe they are okay with the fact that you don’t often initiate, either because they don’t like being come onto when they’re not in the mood; or because it fits a power dynamic in your sex life.)

Some concrete ideas:

With permission and in a secure channel, send them some erotica that you like, or if you’re feeling brave, a sexy story you wrote yourself

With permission and in a secure channel, send them some erotic pictures you like, or if you’re feeling brave, some photos of yourself

Schedule a nice evening in and do some tidying, light some candles, and basically set a ‘sexy’ stage for them to enter - you don’t always have to just find them in the house and start nibbling on their neck. You can plan ahead and say “let’s have a night in, just us, on Tuesday…I’ll get everything ready!” 

Wear something sexy (or nothing!) My partners know that certain things guys wear are huge turn-ons for me, so when they show up wearing that, it’s usually because they’re trying to get my attention ~*~in that way~*~

Suggest that you two buy a sex toy together and try it later - you can go in person or shop for it online

Hop in the shower with one of them and help them soap up

Just…go for it! Go up and kiss them, add some tongue, slide your hand somewhere fun - you are in control of your body and what you do with it, so you can take it from snuggly to sexy by putting your mouth, hands, etc. wherever you want them!

Note that it is always okay for people to turn down sex - if you initiate and they go “not right now, I’m sorry!” that is okay! It doesn’t mean you are unattractive or did something wrong - it’s a risk that comes with being the initiator. Be smart and sensible (do not go grabbing someone’s fun bits while they’re trying to chop veggies with a sharp knife or climb on top of someone when they’re late to work), and just let things unfold!

Help! My husband has been turning down sex. I come on to him and he continually turns me down. He says he’s just not in the mood. Should I be worried?

Is he going through a period of extra stress - something at work, something with his family, something with his health? That can impact libido a lot. If there’s something that’s making him stressed out and exhausted, try and partner with him to support him through that.

Has this been going on for a while? If it’s a short blip, it might be worth waiting out. Everyone’s sex drive ebbs and flows, and most couples go through periods of having less sex. If it’s going on for long enough that you’re concerned, that’s different.

Try gently chatting with him - not in an accusatory or angry way, just a “hey, you haven’t seemed too into sex lately, everything okay?” If he shrugs it off, you can say something like “I would like to be having more sex, so is there anything I can work with you to solve or improve?”

Sometimes things just fade after a while, but that’s not a death knell for your sex life. Maybe it’ll take a bit more effort to reignite the spark - a weekend away together to a cozy b&b, a shopping trip to a sex store, a private text app where you send each other written fantasies, whatever. Also, try mojo upgrade!

I have two boyfriends whom I love very dearly, but neither of them is actually very good in bed.  I do have another friend who is really good, though, and my boyfriends have been okay with me sleeping with him in the past, especially when we all first started to become sexually active. However, it’s been a while since the three of us have seen any action, and I kind of find myself craving the company of this other friend again, but I’m afraid my boyfriends’ feelings will be hurt if I call him over instead of doing them.  I really don’t want to tell them that they don’t sexually satisfy me, because they already have self esteem issues and might think that they’re “not good enough” for me, which isn’t true at all.  What’s the best way I can bring this up without hurting anyone’s feelings or making them feel unwanted?

You “really don’t want to tell them,” but the thing is, healthy relationships require clear and open communication. Fortunately, there are ways to talk about this that don’t come off as cruel or shaming.

First, think about what you like in bed that is missing from your sex life with your partners. Is there something your friend does that really gets you going? Is there something your partners do that you don’t particularly like? It is okay to get idea from porn, erotica, your personal fantasies, or other partners! Then, see if you can frame them in a way that is a positive suggestion, rather than a criticism:

  • I read an erotica/saw a porn where they tried [sex thing], and it was really hot. Would you be interested in trying that?
  • It was really sexy that one time you did a little bit of [sex thing] - do you want to do more of that?
  • When you do [sex thing], it really doesn’t do it for me. Is that something that you get a lot out of, or could we take it off the table?

If it’s less an issue of wanting to do/not do something, and just general technique, you can also communicate about that:

  • I like my [sex part] to be touched like [this] - when you do it so [fast/hard/slow/soft/dry], it doesn’t work as well for me.
  • Last time, you did [sex thing] for long enough that my [sex part] was a little raw - could we try to switch it up more frequently so it’s more comfortable?

Be sure to communicate during sex as well! Let him know what’s working, guide his hands or other body parts to the angles/speeds/techniques you like, and don’t be afraid to ask for him to go slower/harder/faster/gentler.

You could also suggest doing mojo upgrade together!

It might take some effort on your part to get back into the groove: sometimes people can get stuck in a loop of not seeing their partner as sexy, so it’s harder to get revved up for sex, so the sex isn’t as fun, and so on. Try experimenting with different types of condoms, lubes, and toys. Try writing erotic fantasies back and forth with each other. Watch porn or read erotica together beforehand to get in the mood. 

If, through all this conversation and experimentation together, you discover that the issue isn’t general good-at-sex-ness, but a particular thing you enjoy that you share with your friend and not your partners - if, for example, he’s very submissive and knows exactly how to tap into your inner dominant, while your other partners don’t really enjoy or do power-exchange, that’s another conversation to have! But first, start from a perspective of teaching, guiding, and learning together and see if you can’t boost your “awesome sexual partners” count from one to three.

Of course, if you’re fundamentally incompatible and just really don’t ever enjoy having sex with your partners, if sex feels like a chore or you feel pressured, you don’t have to stay in a sexual relationship with someone who you don’t want to have sex with.

Hi! i’m an afab poly human with multiple amab partners who enjoy penetrative play. Apart from basic sanitation things… Are there like… Etiquette rules for sharing equipment between partners? Like, “It is not polite to use the same dildo on more than one person.” Or is it mostly about making sure things are healthy and safe with being thoroughly cleaned?

This is an interesting question! The thing about polyamory is that there are lots of ways to practice it, and there’s no Emily Post’s Etiquette Book of Polyamory. If you and your partners are comfortable with something, then that’s great! If not, then don’t do it!

In my case, I find that establishing ownership helps. Say I have two boyfriends, and each one might have his own toy collection. I wouldn’t borrow any of his toys to use with another partner, but I can reasonably assume he’ll use them with his other partners. And then I have my own toys, that I use with my own partners. (This requires me to have trust in my partners that they’ll take good care of their toys. If I didn’t feel comfortable using some random toy that a fling pulled out from under his bed, I’d say so.)

Have a frank chat with all your partners - “hey, are you ok using my toys that I’ve already used with others?” If they feel squicky about it, keep a collection that’s just between you two. If not, no worries. Always be aware of whether certain partners have allergies, sensitivities, health considerations, etc. when introducing toys.

And as always, hygiene and sanitation are a crucial! Consider using condoms with penetrative toys, always know what materials are safe to use together, and thoroughly sanitize toys after use (even if they aren’t being shared).

My boyfriend’s libido tends to disappear with stress, which means during the week I rarely ever get sex, but I have a HUGE libido, and zero luck with finding other partners. My boyfriend is going away for the weekend to see his other lover who I am not as comfortable with compared to his other partner and I its kinda feeling like salt in the wound that I might not be able to get sex for almost two weeks. Is there any way to bring up the problem without pressuring him for sex?

First off, high fives to you for being so sensitive to not wanting to pressure your partner for sex. Pressuring people for sex is the worst! But I do think there’s a way to bring this up without making him feel pressured. Relationships are all about compromises - you go without sex when you want it, but he can meet you halfway.

Maybe suggest that the weekend after this one, you two spend some “quality time” together. Maybe suggest that one weeknight next week, he try relaxing with you - take a bubble bath or shower together, cuddle up and watch a movie - so you get some of the romantic time you need and he doesn’t have to commit to all-out sex.

And then, focus on the larger picture. If his work or school life is so stressful that he isn’t present to you during the week, that’s a bigger problem than two sexless weeks. Talk to him about working on a work-life balance. Maybe you two can come up with some new routines or lifestyle changes to make it so he can relax more when he’s home in the evening. Maybe he could see a therapist or doctor about his stress levels.

At the same time, you should keep looking for other ways to get your own needs met. Get on OKCupid and/or Tinder, go to some local poly meetups, invest in some awesome sex toys - whatever you have to do to keep this pressure from building up into frustration with your partner.

Good luck! (And remember that in the grand scheme of things, two weeks without sex is unpleasant, but survivable!)

Tips on how to turn on a guy on the phone??

I think this is my first ask here that is about sex rather than polyamorous relationship practices. It also has what I’m pretty sure is the highest preposition concentration of any ask so far. But it has the same answer: open communication!

Ask him what he likes and what turns him on during phone sex or sexting - it’s different for everyone! If you’re at a place where you’re getting intimate over the phone, you should also be at a place where you can ask him: what turns you on? how can I make this awesome for you? what do you like in phone sex/sexting? Some people like to assign “sexy homework” - ask to watch some of his favorite erotic videos or read some of his favorite erotica to get a sense for what he likes.

I can’t speak for the specific guy you’re trying to tele-seduce. Only he can tell you whether he prefers descriptive imagery about a fantasy vs. dirty talk in the moment, or more focus on what you’re doing and experiencing vs. him.