How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
smollSexnerd
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How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Unread postby smollSexnerd » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:27 pm

Nice to meet you! This is my first post, and it's a long one. Sorry! ^-^;;

So I'm going to school to be a sexologist therefore I try to be super sex positive and open minded about everything, especially sex related things. My boyfriend has always been really supportive of my career choice. I've been dating him for a year and a half, and I've been living with him for a bit longer than a year. We haven't had many big issues between us, and any issue we have had we've been able to communicate through fairly well.
But lately I've had a growing concern about some of his views on sex and sex positivity. He's very erotocentric (thinks that his sexuality should be the standard and judges others for having different sexual interests/fetishes/kinks) and is always "yucking" other people's "yums".

He's not intolerant of any sexual orientation or gender identity, just intolerant of other people's sexual interests if it's not what he's into. It's never to their face and it doesn't seem intentionally malicious, but it still feels like a problem.

I've brought it up to him a few times. Example: I was talking about a friend having an orgy for their birthday, and he said "There's something wrong with him." I said "Other people are into other things and there's nothing wrong with that and your thinking is what's really wrong". Another time we were talking about kinks and I mentioned a really taboo fantasy and violent roleplay that I like to engage in (that he already knew of) and he told me he was "concerned for my health", as if I was actually mentally unhealthy because of some of my kinks. I made sure he wasn't just joking (he wasn't). You can probably imagine how I felt about that.
We've never had a full heart-to-heart about it because it really seems like he's not willing to even TRY to unlearn or change his thinking. Hearing him say things like that always leaves me with a huge knot in my stomach. It makes me feel icky or like I'm condoning his intolerance and it makes me think "maybe I shouldn't be with someone like that" even though I absolutely adore him in every other way.

I don't know what I should do about this issue. I know I need to have an honest conversation with him about how it makes me feel and how being with someone who is so judgmental of others' sexual behaviors is probably not the best thing for a sexologist. I just don't know what to do if he still isn't willing to try to change his problematic thinking and beliefs. I love him very much and I hope to be with him for a long time, but this particular issue is causing a lot of doubt and uneasiness in me.

How do I talk to him about this and what can I do to convince him his thinking is problematic and needs to change?

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:31 pm

Welcome to the boards, smollSexnerd!

So one thing I think would be good for you to think about before entering this conversation is this: if things continued as they are without changing, how long would you be willing to stay? Another six months? A year? Five? Ten? For the rest of your life?

Sit down and seriously, actually think about this because it will give you perspective on what you're looking for from this (series of) conversation(s) and help you answer the question about not knowing what to do if he still isn't willing to change his thinking and beliefs regarding sex and kink.

Next, work yourself up to having this conversation. There will never be a smooth, naturally-occurring, and perfect time for this to just come up. So schedule a time when you two will have time to have a private conversation and make that the time which you will bring this up. Accept that it will be kind of awkward and feel weird to bring this up - and that there's nothing wrong with that. Think about what it is you want to discuss but don't plan on him having specific responses because you cannot control what he's going to say or how he's going to react. Keep what you want to discuss to a reasonable limit of things (if you have too many subjects, they'll get lost and the conversation can get confused), such as: "can we discuss our attitudes towards sex and how we foresee this working between us".

You cannot talk anybody out of what they think if they do not have an open mind and a willingness to hear and change. What you can do, especially just out of one conversation, is set boundaries with each other on what's okay. For example, your boundary might be "you don't make negative comments or shame me about my sexual preferences even if you disagree with them - you simply say that you're not comfortable doing that with me and we either discuss what you would be comfortable with or change the subject". His boundary might be something like "you don't tell me about your friend's sexual fantasies or activities".

It's up to the both of you after that to work out if these boundaries really work for you and if this is still a compatible relationship for you both.

I would encourage you to give up on the idea of convincing him to change his mind - I think that's likely to result in more frustration and upset for you. Even if he does change his mind, I don't think it's a good way to approach a conversation with the attitude of "this is about changing your mind" instead of "this is about having a conversation", especially with someone you're in a relationship with. You're going to have a lot easier time talking with him if you discuss with him rather than if you lecture him or try to be his educator when he hasn't asked for that. Say what you have to say, hear what he has to say, see what sort of effort he's willing to put forth regarding this subject, think about the boundaries/compromises you both want/need about this, and judge based on that if you can accept this part of him or whatever it is he can offer regarding this and if you'd be happy in a relationship with him including this aspect of himself, however it turns out.

I don't know what the outcome of this or these conversations will be. If it does work out, that's great! But it if doesn't, remember: we can love people who are not good for us to be with. Sometimes love isn't enough to overcome everything else that is a part of a relationship, such as communication and respect and acceptance of each other. It's okay if this thing - even if it's one thing - is too big an obstacle to overcome. You don't have to force yourself to live with someone who has beliefs that makes you physically uncomfortable just because he has many other good qualities.

And if you can't even bring yourself to have this conversation to him? I think that speaks to a larger issue in this relationship (you're afraid to have an honest conversation with them) that definitely needs addressed.

al
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Re: How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Unread postby al » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:16 pm

edit - horriblegoose beat me to it! But here's my response just in case:

Hi there smollSexnerd, and welcome to Scarleteen!

First of all, I'm so glad to hear that you're joining the good fight when it comes to sex positivity and sex ed. Especially in Virginia - we need more folks like you. <3

As for what to say to him, it seems like you're pretty clear on how it makes you feel. You strike me as the type who's into communication (because it makes up like 95% of our work, amirite??), so I'd like to turn your question back on ya. When you imagine that conversation, how do you imagine it going? How would you share how you're feeling?

One thing you mentioned was feeling like you wouldn't know what to do if he wasn't willing to change how he thinks or talks about this stuff. That's totally understandable - it seems like you've got a lot of positive stuff in this relationship except for this issue, and that's not something that you want to let go of anytime soon.
Another question this brings to my mind is, how important does this feel? Are there things that he could say or do (other than "You're totally right, and I'm sorry, and I sha'nt do it again ever") that you'd feel okay about moving forward with? What about answers that would make you feel like this relationship wasn't going to work out?
Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. -Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully

smollSexnerd
newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I'm in school for sexology!
My primary language: English
My pronouns: They/Them
My sexual identity and orientation: Pansexual, Agender
Location: Virginia

Re: How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Unread postby smollSexnerd » Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:42 pm

Thank you to both of you to the advice~!
I feel like it's going to be really hard to try not to have expectations. I mean, even if he just acknowledges that it makes me genuinely upset it would mean a lot to me, cause as it is now whenever it comes up it seems like he reacts the same way he does when I'm grumpy or not being serious. Like kinda dismissive or "chuckle-it-off"-ish.
I'm not a very commitment-based person so I honestly don't know how long our relationship will go on or how long I even want it to, but I want to make sure the time we are together is honest and enjoyable and loving. I guess I'm worried that he'll think I'm trying to change who he is.

Whenever I work myself up to talking to him about it I'll give y'all an update.

Sam W
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Re: How do I start this conversation with my partner?

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:15 am

Hi smollSexnerd,

Starting from a place of hoping he acknowledges that those kind of comments actually bother you seems like a really reasonable starting place. Regardless of the topic, it's really not cool of a partner to respond to "this bothers/upsets me" with dismissiveness (as an aside, him doing that when you're grumpy sounds like a not-great habit of his). Asking him not to do that is in some ways a really simple boundary, and whether or not he tries to abide by it will tell you a lot about how other conversations around this are likely to go.

I do want to highlight something horriblegoose said, which is that making the initial conversation around this about boundaries, both yours and his. That can help you both feel heard, and can also give you both concrete things to do (or not do) as a result of the conversations.


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