Want Some, Get Some: How I Finally Learned to Ask for the Sex I Want

by Tiffanie Drayton

No woman should be ashamed of being honest about her sexual needs or desires. Though I now make that statement with confidence as a 25-year-old woman, I have just truly begun to embrace the idea that I have the right to assert myself in the bedroom by asking for what I want just how I want it—without feeling guilty or burdened by my partner's needs. I have every right to my own pleasure. That realization has allowed me to own my sexuality and learn how to properly love myself.

For quite some time, the vast majority of my sexual experiences were mediocre at best. I never really understood why, until I started having sex with a guy I met during a writing course in college a few years ago. He was confident, intelligent and completely uninhibited. Our sexual chemistry was undeniable and the way he grabbed me really got me going. He taught jiu jitsu and self-defense classes and knew how to use his hands. With a firm grasp around my wrists, he pulled me close to him, stared straight into my eyes and stated his intent without hesitation: "I want to fuck you, but what do you want?"

Plain and simple. No trickery involved. No ploy to get me into bed by offering to "go get a drink." No beating around the bush. Just the acknowledgement of fantastic sexual chemistry and the need to put it to good use.

Up until that point, I understood my sexuality only in terms of the male desire to gain access to it. I was the prey and men were predators. I was simply something to be "caught" and the means of that attainment were contrived—lousy dinners, lame conversations, and drinks at some loud and over-crowded bar. As those interactions led to sex, I would find myself uncomfortable and then eventually unsatisfied. I seldom came. When I did, it was usually self-aided. I eventually began to question why women even have intercourse at all.

That was because my needs were secondary and my partner's were primary. I knew that I enjoyed long bouts of foreplay with intense eye contact before even thinking about taking off my clothes. I knew I liked to watch as my partner stroked himself while caressing my clitoris. I knew I liked passionate intercourse that slowly builds to climax.

Yet I accepted porn-inspired—though thoroughly uninspiring—"banging" in silence. I didn't want to offend, of course. I was afraid that being upfront about my wants would be unattractive. Society taught me that I should always be available and willing to please my partner, regardless of my own inclinations. And often times, if I did attempt to state my truest desires, it felt like my words were falling on deaf ears. So I just didn't bother.

Until jiu jitsu guy asked, "What do you want?" as he stood in front of me with a huge bulge protruding in his jeans.

He wanted me to verbalize my desires. He wanted to acknowledge them. He wanted to please me.

"Well, honestly, I just want to watch you play with yourself while I play with myself," I said, expecting that he would be disappointed that I did not want to have intercourse.

"That's so hot," he responded. His response was perfect.

We both stroked and caressed ourselves until we climaxed. I was so turned on that I wanted to have intercourse right after. We did. That was the first time I ever really felt the urge to have sex. And, no, it wasn’t because I had been a spinster who didn’t like intercourse up until that point. It was that the circumstances were different. I was not simply fulfilling someone else's expectation. I was finally doing exactly what I wanted to do and it felt amazing.

That is precisely what I have been doing ever since. I have been taking care of me: I come first. (Sometimes literally.) And when that happens, I'm not afraid to ask my partner to stop if I have lost interest in the sex, need a moment to recuperate, or just want to take a nap after having a great orgasm. (That doesn't always go over well.)

For example, I had sex with a guy and came only a few minutes into the entire escapade, then simply wasn't into it anymore ,so I asked him to stop.

"Isn't that kind of selfish?" he questioned while I laid next to him recuperating from the romp.

“Um, I guess? I responded.

I’m cool with the idea that he thought I was being selfish. As a matter of fact, I pride myself that I have learned how to be perceived as selfish. I sincerely give zero fucks. I state plainly when I am not interested in intercourse and just want to be eaten out or enjoy a masturbation session. I don't feel obligated to help my partner out if I have orgasmed and he hasn't yet. I fall asleep right after a great climax without any feelings of guilt.

Sex is supposed to be pleasurable and enjoyable, not a task we endure simply because social expectations say we should. (This does not only apply to heterosexual relationships either.) Women often put the wants of others before their own, forgetting we have our own needs. This is true both inside and outside of the bedroom. We are programmed to understand this as an inherent part of our womanhood. It is not.

Womanhood should be about feeling self-empowered—including engaging in the type of sex you actually want and enjoy. If shared with a partner that earnestly cares about your pleasure, needs, and desires, that should never be viewed as selfish.

It is an unapologetic act of self-love.

Photo: Shutterstock

Tiffanie Drayton is a regular contributor to For Harriet.

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