By Isadora Baum
You might love, love, love sex (and you should!), but there’s another person in bed beside you to consider. When it comes to having a great time together and really understanding each other’s likes and dislikes, how each other’s bodies work and how in sync you can be together, there is no room for selfishness in the bedroom.
That means if you’re always finishing first or you’re too set in making yourself feel good rather than pleasing your partner too, you could definitely be getting a bit greedy and turning your partner off. And if it becomes a pattern, you might just have to say goodbye to a partner who’s feeling unsatisfied in the relationship. Bummer.
To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, be careful to avoid these little signs you might be selfish in bed, and your sex life is sure to get hotter — when you’re both experiencing those killer orgasms.
You don’t ask what they like
How we express ourselves sexually falls within an enormous spectrum, so assuming your partner likes what you like is at best naive and at worst selfish. “Everyone likes to be touched differently — for example, light, medium, hard or rough — and sex for many people doesn’t have anything to do with penetration. Stay curious so you don’t stay selfish,” Dr. Holly Richmond, somatic psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, tells SheKnows.
You aren’t intimate
“You don’t know — or care — how important intimacy is to your partner. Like sex, intimacy will mean a million different things to a million different people,” Richmond says. It’s best to see how often they like to be touched and to focus on little ways to make the experience more personal.
According to Richmond, many people need intimacy to have great sex, which might mean talking to their partner and feeling understood, having their partner do things for them so they feel special or even spending a significant amount of time doing things together that feel intimate and not necessarily sexy.
You never compliment them
Sure, you don’t need to say how great your partner is every second during sex, but here and there, saying something feels good or they have a great talent for a specific technique shows you care about them and want them to feel good too.
“Everyone enjoys hearing what they are doing right, and this is especially true when it comes to sex. Many people have social anxiety, intimacy issues or a lack of confidence and experience in bed,” Richmond explains.
Telling your partner what they’re doing right will give them the sexual agency and competency they need to feel sexually empowered, and they’ll keep it up, so you’ll reap those rewards over and over. “A nice compliment might even work as a turn-on too,” she adds.
You always finish first
If you always have an orgasm before your partner, this can signal that you prioritize your pleasure over your partner’s, says Richmond. “In addition to being self-serving, having a routine where you always finish first can be boring,” she notes. “Mix it up and don’t worry 100 percent of the time about your orgasm; rather, look for and experience all of the different forms of pleasure the sexual experience offers.”
You don’t help them orgasm even if you did
Don’t just grab a snack or roll over for a nap once you’re done. “I see so many couples in my office because of this problem, and to me, this is one of the worst kinds of selfish,” Richmond explains. “Essentially, one partner finishes (and typically that partner is always the first to finish), but then doesn’t ask or care how they can help their partner have an orgasm or continue experiencing pleasure even if an orgasm isn’t on the table. It’s like, ‘I got mine; you’ll have to take care of yourself.’”
Try to talk before you start having sex to find out what your partner really likes that helps them experience an orgasm. Then you can focus on those in bed during sex or once you’ve finished to get them there too.
You’re not open to their suggestions
It’s good to be proactive about spicing up your sex life, but you have to accomplish it in a way that is inclusive to both partners — not just yourself. Make sure to listen to your partner and take their suggestions seriously, and definitely don’t shame them in any way for asking to try something new.
You refuse to communicate
If one partner has an idea and the other shoots it down without discussing why they are opposed, it comes off as selfish and unfair. Or the opposition is so severe that you end up telling your partner that their idea was really crazy.
Instead, if there’s something about a sex act or position — say, anal sex, for instance — that makes you uncomfortable, make your partner aware of it. That doesn’t mean you must try anal sex if you really don’t want to, but be a partner that is willing to open up a conversation about their desires and don’t punish them for having such urges. You may also want to try a yes/no/maybe list activity with your partner to have an open discussion about everything they’re willing — and unwilling — to try.
The good news is that if you recognize a lot of this selfish behavior as your own, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Your partner will thank you, and knowing they’re enjoying themselves may make it even better for you too.