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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Struggling with taking no for an answer.

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Author Topic: Struggling with taking no for an answer.
Member # 38767

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I’m sure you get a lot of questions about this... Maybe you can just point me in the direction of some answers?

I’ve realised I find it really hard to deal with when partners don’t want to have sex with me- it really hurts my feelings. I seem to always take it personally, even when I know it isn’t personal. I'm 24 and was single for four years until early this year- so perhaps I haven't had much practice- but now I have had opportunities to be in relationships it seems like I keep messing good things up, just because I feel so hurt when people say no. I really like feeling desired and feeling like people enjoy sex with me, but I need to be more cool when that doesn't happen.

In my previous relationship, my partner had a lower sex drive to me, but I was sometimes bad at respecting his boundaries when he said no to sex—I would feel upset and try to change his mind. It made him feel like he wasn’t safe and respected with me, and it made me feel desperate, and it ended up with us not being together any more. I would like to get close to this person again—gradually, as a friend— but I need to figure out how I can make sure I treat them more respectfully in future because I feel really bad about what happened.

I am currently seeing someone else- we feel more like good friends than romantic partners, and it isn’t long-term, but I care about him a lot. This person used to be really enthusiastic about having sex with me, so I thought there would be less of a problem, but now when I see him he is too stressed and tired, because he is working long hours and very worried about money at the moment. I know in my head that it isn’t personal, but whenever I realise he still isn’t interested I feel really hurt. I end up sulking, and needing to be reassured. Sometimes I even feel annoyed, although I don’t say anything, because I know it isn't something I should be annoyed by. I feel like I am being really immature. I can see that it is really unhelpful and unsupportive of me, especially when he is having a tough time- I don’t want to make him feel bad for not wanting sex, and I think I am doing that. I just wish I could control my feelings better- I try but it is hard to hide when I feel really upset- I wish I didn’t get that upset in the first place!

The only thing I know that helps is talking about it somewhere other than bed—“no” is easier to hear when I’m not in bed with someone, for some reason. Do I just need to grow up? I feel like I should be better at this stuff by now.

Posts: 12 | From: London, England | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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HI Beehive,

WE have gotten questions like this.

Check out the answer to this one:

You mentioned that "no" is easier to hear when you're not in bed with your partner. A lot of really healthy communication about sex can happen when people aren't already in bed, starting sexual activity, finishing sexual activity, etc. Emotions are apt to be stronger when the scenario is more sexual. You're not alone in that.

What do you feel like you need in order to be on the same page with your partner about sex? What do you think about taking some time to talk with him about your feelings, wants and needs, and, of course, giving him a chance to share his, in a totally non-sexual context?


Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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