Sex

You want different things in the bedroom? Here’s how to fix that

Expert advice ahead.

When it comes to compatibility in our relationships we tend to focus on whether our signifanct other has a similar life plan, matching morals and preferably the same taste in food — mainly so we can steal their chips and dessert when we're out for dinner. But what happens if the place where you priorities don't line up is the bedroom?

Having different sexual preferences is a fairly common thing — because let's face it, we're all different. Some of us like to dominate, some of like to be lazy AF and be treated to a good head sesh, and both of those options are A-OKAY. But if your partner is pretty vanilla and you want to kink it up, for example, what do you do?

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To get an opinion on this all, we spoke to Dr. Nikki Goldstein — a highly regarded sexologist, relationship expert and an author — to ask how best to tackle this situation.

Firstly, is it a common problem for couples to want very different things in the bedroom?

It's very normal to have different desires. We are not all the same. But the problem is if one person has particular desires that is a boundary for the other. In the 50 shades trilogy, Anna was open to the idea of going along with Christians BDSM lifestyle to a certain degree. What would have happened if she wasn't prepared to entertain this at all? Could he have surprised something as strong as that? There is also room for sexual compromises but there might be a difference that is too much and cannot be worked around.

When should you be having the conversation with your partner about your sexual differences?

When they arise no matter how soon. When you might hit a point where it feels like you slightly desire different things, why not address is straight away before it comes an even bigger problem. If you can talk about it in the beginning, it makes it a logistical issue instead of a larger one.

Can you talk us through the steps couples should take to overcome this obstacle?

First of all, you need to work out what the differences are. If someone is against a particular act, then it's a matter of exploring the why. Just saying I'm not into it won't allow any room for a compromise. But in a similar way, you also need to identify why the other person wants it or desire this thing. It's the why that will allow you to explore compromises. When you can look at the reasoning, maybe there is a similar act that can achieve the same results in terms of why that person wants it.

What happens when one or both members of the couple stay quiet about their preferences?

If you stay quite it can get to a point where a boundary is crossed or an issue occurs that goes unresolved, only getting bigger. It could turn from a bedroom problem to a relationship problem with bigger consequences.

Are there any differences that are almost impossible to overcome?

Only if one person is not willing or open to exploring what that is. We could say something like an open relationship, but it really depends on the mind of that other person. This is why an open discussion about sex is so important in the beginning. If you only believe in monogamy and would never entertain that idea, that early on this needs to be made known. It can be hard to have a difference like this later on when deep feelings and emotions are involved.

How much should we be willing to compromise in the bedroom?

We should be willing to compromise until we get to the point of our boundaries. But it's important to also work out where those boundaries are and why they are there in the first place.

What are the tools/toys/etc we should be using in our couple to make this better?

The best tool you can have is communication. In the movie 50 Shades Freed, Anna says to Christian "Talk, listen, work stuff out, isn't this how this works." If you are able to communicate and overcome issues and problems when they arise then you can tackle anything that comes your way, even bedroom problems.

Is couples therapy ever the answer for these types of sexual issues, or should couples always go to see a sex therapist instead?

People reach out to a couples therapist often too late. Some are able to work out their differences easier than others but there is nothing wrong or shameful with having to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes you can't see what's going on in your own relationship.

Any final words of wisdom for couples currently dealing with conflicting sexual desires in the bedroom?

Know that is very normal. We are not all designed the same way and our differences are what can make things interesting. If you feel safe and connected with your partner than you might be open to trying something they are into that you wouldn't have before. Differences make life interesting as long as you can learn how to compromise within those differences.

Now watch sex positions attempted by real people in morph suits: