Sex
A couple discusses how to deal with selfishness in bed.

7 Signs Your Partner Is Being Kinda Selfish In Bed (Sorry)

#6 is a total game-changer.

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In an ideal world, sex between two consenting adults is pleasurable for both parties, and you leave sex feeling satisfied and happy. But sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world — and after one too many nights of going to sleep unfulfilled, you might start to wonder if your boyfriend only cares about himself in bed or if your girlfriend has a one-track mind… about herself. Sure, one second, you’re grinding low to “Candy Shop” at ~the club~, and the next, you’re getting it on. But then, it’s over faster than it began, and you’re lying there unsatisfied and disappointed — just like every other night — until finally you realize you’ve been missing the signs that you’ve got a selfish lover in your bed.

Let’s briefly give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this isn’t a case of selfish sex, and they’re just haven’t gotten the hang of pleasing you yet. Maybe they need to practice! Maybe you need to better communicate what makes you feel good so that they can work their technique. This is all fair, but let’s assume you’ve already done all of this. You’ve told your regular partner that whatever you two are doing in bed just isn’t cutting it for you. You’ve told them that hitting one spot doesn't work, but hitting another spot might! You’ve communicated, but nothing changes, and they honestly don’t seem very eager to please you at all.

You can almost always tell if your partner is making an effort. They’re asking questions, they’re interacting with you, and they’re genuinely interested in your pleasure. Even if the sex isn’t that great, they’re still trying, and that’s something to be appreciated. But if the sex isn’t great for you, and you can tell your partner isn’t making an effort to get you going, even after you’ve spoken up about it, then it might be time to reevaluate your sexual relationship.

It’s important to remember that, as noted by Dr. Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D, in Psychology Today, men don’t require as much as women do in order to orgasm. Most people with vaginas need some kind of foreplay before sex in order for it to feel good. According to a 2017 survey published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, only 18.4 percent of the women they surveyed said they could orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone. The same survey revealed that 36.6 percent of women reported that they needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm. It’s understandable for your partner not to know this information. But if they know it, and they just don’t care? Not cool.

If you’re tired of meh sex and you’re contemplating if your partner just legitimately DGAF about your pleasure, here are some signs to look out for.

01
They Rush Through Foreplay
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Fact: Most vaginas need a few minutes of foreplay to get physically ready for sex. Sex without foreplay can be really unpleasant — and sometimes painful — if your body isn’t prepared. But according to sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr, no body works exactly the same as another, so a lot of people just don’t really understand the process of foreplay.

“It could be lack of education,” Fehr tells Elite Daily. “Most men — and I would say most women — don’t understand that a woman’s body needs that foreplay, not just because it’s nice to have, but because women need that time to get turned on. We’re like an oven, rather than a microwave.”

If you’ve repeatedly told your partner that you need more foreplay, and they respond positively, but you do not see a change, Fehr suggests tackling the conversation at a different angle, and asking them why they ignore your requests rather than asking them to perform better or differently.

“If the guy is open to adjustments and open to hearing a different way, it’s probably about education and awareness,” she says. “If you share with him, ‘This is what would work for me,’ and he still doesn’t do it, it’s because he’s either scared or ashamed, or he’s selfish. If you talk to him like, ‘Hey, does this scare you?’ and he’s like, ‘No that’s fine!’ then it’s about selfishness.” This advice goes for all genders — including partners who share your anatomy.

02
They Don’t Prioritize Your Pleasure

If your partner has shown an obvious disinterest in making sure you’re enjoying sex, it’s probably because they are genuinely not interested in your pleasure. If they don’t perform oral sex on you even though you regularly go down on them, or if they’re full of excuses for not helping you climax, then there’s a chance they might just be selfish!

According to Fehr, another big red flag is when your partner uses “your orgasm as a trophy for their performance, and not for your pleasure,” she says. “They urge you to have an orgasm faster because you reaching orgasm makes them feel better about themselves and their performance, regardless of whether it felt good or timely for you. This may also look like them getting upset and pouting when you finish with a vibrator or by yourself, because they didn't have a part in your orgasm.”

There is, of course, a chance that your partner may not know how to pleasure you, and even if you give them suggestions, they could be timid. Sex therapist Lisa Hochberger suggests doing a “body map” exercise with your partner, to identify what feels good to both of you.

“If your partner is up to it, [couples do] an activity where they start from the feet to the head, and they feel each other, and pet, [and you see] where on the body each person feels the most pleasure,” Hochberger tells Elite Daily. “Essentially, you figure out where your partner is the most sensitive, and how to deliver pleasure in a more effective way.”

03
They’re Full Of Excuses

It’s totally normal if you’re not up for sex every time. Hopefully, you feel comfortable telling your partner the truth (because you know they’d respect your decision). But little white lies can happen, too. If this becomes a pattern every single time you want to have sex, or they regularly skip out on reciprocating oral sex or helping you orgasm, then this may be a sign that they’re more than just tired — they’re selfish.

“They receive and do not reciprocate,” Fehr says, about the clear signs your partner is really only thinking about themselves. “When you ask [for] something you need or want, they give an excuse, such as they're too tired or they have to be at work the next day. At the same time, they expect their requests to be met with enthusiasm, seriousness, and follow-through.”

Not fair! Good sex is a two-way street, and if it’s always been one-sided, you might want to reconsider your relationship.

“If a partner is not open to what you like in the bedroom, and they’re not interested in hearing how to pleasure you in a more effective way, then I think you should think twice about being with that person if they don’t care about your sexual experience,” Hochberger says.

04
They’re Never Down To Try Your Fantasies (Even If They Say They’re Comfortable)
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Fantasies can get tricky. Depending on how unique your particular fantasy, kink, or fetish is, it may be outside your partner’s comfort zone. But if they tell you they’re comfortable with it and then don’t actually show a willingness to try it, keep in mind that actions speak louder than words. There is a good chance they’re just too shy to disappoint you. Fehr says it’s a contextual situation, and that if there are other ways in which your partner shows selfishness in bed, the fact that they're egging you on by saying they’re down to try something when they know they’re not can be part of their selfishness.

“If there are no other signs, and nothing else is happening, it could be about shyness about saying, ‘Hey this is actually not really what I want,’ or ‘I’m uncomfortable doing it,’ or ‘I’m saying it to please you, but I don’t really want to do it myself,’” Fehr says.

05
They Always Want To Stick To The Same Position (Knowing It Does Nothing For You)

There’s nothing wrong with “vanilla” sex. If you and your partner are both happy and satisfied by having sex the same way every time, by all means, go forth and prosper. But if it’s not cutting it for you, and you’ve suggested switching it up, but your partner does not want to do things differently, then it might be time for a conversation.

“A lot of people are so uncomfortable talking about sex and changing the way they view sex, because there’s so much shame in not knowing how to do sex,” Fehr says. “They’re unwilling to stay in that uncomfortable place and face some of these difficult issues, therefore they’d rather choose being oblivious to your needs than face the difficult stuff.”

Don’t automatically assume that they’re selfish and only want to do things their way. They might just not know how to switch positions. Maybe they only feel confident doing it one way. Maybe they’ve only ever done it in one position, and they’re scared to try something new! Whatever the reason, it’s still important that you enjoy the sex you’re having, so bring it up in a casual way, and read their reaction. If they truly care about your pleasure, they’ll try to switch it up. Be patient, and work with them slowly. Sometimes, starting slow is the best way to go.

06
They’re Not Communicative
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If your partner is generally a pretty shy person, it’s a clear sign that their unwillingness to talk to you about sex has less to do with selfishness and more to do with being embarrassed. One clear sign that they’re selfish, however, is when they regularly force your hand when things start getting hot and heavy, without really reading your body language and making sure you’re down, too.

“They don't ask for what they want, but will take your hand and put it on their genitals to create the movement they want, or push your head down to their genitals to initiate action,” Fehr says. “It becomes about their pleasure rather than your comfort, initiative, or desire. It feels as if you're being used as a prop for your partner's get-off.”

Equally so, if you’re communicating what you want to them, and you still don’t see any changes, then try approaching the conversation at a different angle again. Make it more about why they’re ignoring your requests, rather than why they’re not doing what you want.

Fehr says to try saying, “Hey, I’ve asked to try different positions and you haven’t been responsive,” or, “I would like to orgasm and you haven’t been responsive, I’d like to know what’s going on with you.’”

“Really comment on it from a curious place, and have a conversation about that, about ‘I keep asking and you’re not actually doing that,’ rather than asking, ‘Oh, can you do this more?’” she says. “Is it that you’re not into it? Is it that it scares you? Is it something you’re not comfortable with?” These are all great ways to get to the root of the problem, rather than fighting over your partner's unwillingness to change.

If you or your partner have a hard time communicating about sex, Nebraska-based sex therapist Kristen Lilla suggests trying what she calls “The Pancake Talk.” “Have a serious conversation with someone in a neutral setting, such as the kitchen. It’s best not to discuss intimacy issues in the bedroom because it can taint the space you are supposed to be engaging in love, intimacy, and connection,” Lilla tells Elite Daily. “‘The Pancake Talk’ may also happen over pancakes, or any other food. Eating while talking allows people to break eye contact when they feel uncomfortable, take a bite of food when they need a moment to process, or sip coffee before responding.”

Lilla emphasizes that communication is important in every aspect of a relationship, but especially when it comes to sex. She says that talking about sex “is important because it communicates you care about your partner’s needs, sexually and emotionally. In addition to communication, there is an element of consent involved here. Sexual needs, wants, and desires may change over time so continued dialogue is essential to maintaining a happy sex life.”

If you find that your partner still refuses to engage in an open and honest discussion — even after you’ve put in the effort to create a comfortable environment in which you both can express yourselves — it may be time to rethink your relationship.

07
They Don’t Make Time For Sex

People get busy, and that’s fine. When you’ve had a long day and all you want to do is unwind with Schitt’s Creek and a glass of wine, sex could be the last thing on your mind. But if your partner never wants to have sex when you do, or vice versa, then you might want to consider (*gasp*) actually penciling it into your agenda.

“I think that a lot of people like to say they don’t think scheduling sex is a good idea, but at my practice, we recommend that to our clients,” Hochberger says. “We think scheduling sex is important because people tend to get really busy and you don’t make time, [but when you plan for sex], you have a proper schedule that’s devoted to your partner. We do recommend getting in bed, putting your phone on airplane mode, and enjoying sex. I think it’s something that partners should speak about.”

Scheduling sex doesn’t have to make the “magic” disappear, nor does it make sex less personal. You don’t even have to have sex! Just scheduling time to be intimate with your partner — whether that’s by fooling around, having sex, or just cuddling — can strengthen your relationship tenfold. On the other hand, Fehr says to watch out for the partner who works hard to convince you to have sex when they want to, but who doesn’t actually work hard during sex.

“They may butter you up to have sex with them, trying to get you to ‘give’ them sex, rather than have sex with you,” Fehr says. “They might be super nice to you, get you special gifts, or pay attention to you in an extra sweet way. This isn't about having sex with you, but getting sex in return for treating you well.” Not a good look! A partner who only wants to be intimate when they want to and who doesn’t really care that you’re not in the mood is probably not someone deserving of your emotional investment. Keep that in mind when moving forward.

Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but for a lot of people, it’s an important indicator of your connection Being on the same page about your sexual needs with your partner makes your relationship stronger. Remember to have a conversation about why they continue to ignore your requests, rather than why they aren’t doing what you want. It’ll be a much more efficient conversation in the end, and if you still don’t see a change, then consider re-evaluating your relationship. What’s important to you? If good sex isn’t something you’re willing to compromise on (pssst: it shouldn’t be), maybe you’re better off without them.

Studies:

Debby Herbenick, Tsung-Chieh (Jane) Fu, Jennifer Arter, Stephanie A. Sanders & Brian Dodge (2018) Women's Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44:2,201-212,DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530

Sources:

Irene Fehr, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)

Lisa Hochberger, LMSW, M.ED.

Kristen Lilla, AASECT certified sex therapist and AASECT certified sexuality educator