How To Get Your Partner To Sext When They're Afraid To

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Now, onto today's topic: how to get your partner to sext.

Q: “I have been seeing a guy for a while and I really like him. We make-out and touch each other, but when I want to sext him, he goes "I don't know what to do" or gets anxious and nervous. He has had a lot of physical partners in the past but sexting and phone sex freaks him out so I am left waiting and unsatisfied so I just forget about it. He gets stressed and has to break out of his comfort zone when I want him to dirty talk to me as well. What can I do? And is this common for guys to want to be sexual physically, but over phone and text they don't? It is hard because I have to be emotionally stimulated to enjoy sexual activity.”

A: Thanks for the question! Sexting and dirty talk are both pretty divisive; some people get really turned on doing it, while other people couldn’t even imagine taking a suggestive picture of themselves, much less sending it. If you and your partner are on different pages about dirty talk and sexting, here are seven ways to help your partner get more comfortable.

Ask Some Questions

You mentioned that your guy gets “freaked out,” “stressed,” “anxious,” and “nervous” by sexting and dirty talk, but from your question, it wasn’t clear why. Is it that he has a boundary around dirty talk of any kind? Some people just don’t feel comfortable sexting, just like some people just don’t feel comfortable with anal play. We’re all allowed to have our boundaries, so he can say that wants to take those activities off the table. Or is it that he gets stressed because he thinks he’s not good at dirty talk, or doesn’t know how to sext properly? There’s a difference between not wanting to do something and not knowing how to.

Plus, you’re also talking about a lot of different things — phone sex, sexting, and dirty talk. Sexting can be broken down even further into sending sexually-explicit texts, sending nude or suggestive pictures, or doing both. All of these activities overlap to some extent, but they are still unique. Make sure your guy is clear on the specifics of what turns you on and what you’d like to do. Then say something like, “I know you’ve mentioned that sexting and dirty talk freak you out, but I realized I don’t really know why.” Make it clear that you’re curious about and open to hearing his responses, so he’ll feel more comfortable being honest.

Address Any Fears

You may be surprised by your guy’s responses. In my sex therapy practice, a lot of my clients have told me they refuse to sext because they’re worried the other person will share their texts or naughty photos with their friends. If you and your guy haven’t been dating very long, it would make even more sense for him to feel wary. He might just need more time to feel comfortable and trusting. You can assure him you’d keep his messages completely confidential, and you can use apps like Snapchat for a bit more privacy. Or maybe you’ll discover he’d feel more comfortable talking dirty over the phone, since that leaves no trace.

Check Their Expectations

If your guy says he feels nervous about not doing a “good job,” you can help ease some of his performance anxiety by resetting his expectations. Let him know you’re not expecting him to write the next 50 Shades Of Grey. Sexting and dirty talk, like any other sexual activity, take time to learn. They also change from partner to partner (in other words, how you talk dirty with one partner is different from how you talk dirty with another partner). Let him know that what really matters to you is that the two of you make an effort with each other, not that you sext “perfectly” right out the gate (what would “perfect sexting” even look like anyway?)

Give Examples

A lot of people get nervous about sexting because they just don’t know what to say. Ever had writer’s block when you were trying to work on an essay? Some people get sexting writer’s block! If your guy says he just can’t think of what to say, show him my list of 50 sexting examples. He can probably find at least a few examples that he would feel comfortable repeating. You can also try reading him my article about 14 sexting games to play. He might feel more engaged if he’s playing a specific game that already has some guidelines in place.

Help Them Practice

Here’s another fun way to help your partner get more comfortable with sexting and dirty talk — practice reading erotica out loud to each other (here’s a handy guide for finding some good stuff). You’re simply reading words that have already been written, so it’s not like you’re having to come up with anything in the moment. Plus, the simple act of saying naughty words out loud will help you both relax and feel more comfortable saying your own words to each other.

Consider A Compromise

If your boyfriend still says he feels uncomfortable sexting with you, see if you can find a compromise. Maybe you still want to be able to send him your sexts, and you’d be happy if he responded with simple phrases like, “that’s hot” or “I like that.” Maybe he doesn’t feel comfortable saying naughty words out-loud, but he would be willing to be more vocal with his moans. Maybe he’d be happy to send you dirty pictures if he doesn’t have to write anything to go along with it. There are definitely ways to come to a compromise, even around sexting!

Find Other Ways To Get Stimulated

You mentioned in your question that you need to be emotionally stimulated in order to enjoy sex. That’s perfectly normal. But if your guy doesn’t feel comfortable giving you emotional stimulation through sexting and dirty talk, you’re going to have to think of other ways to get what you need. What else helps you feel emotionally connected to your partner? Maybe you like being able to have quality time together, without any distractions. Maybe you like having your partner listen to you talk about your day, or help you clear your mind before you get intimate. Maybe your partner is really good at giving you compliments and making you feel special. See if you can brainstorm some ideas together.

Good luck!

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