Owning Your Sexual Preferences & Desires

KK gets expert advice from dating coach and consultant, Asa Baav. Asa Baav is the founder of Tailor Matched, offline dating for the wild at heart. She’s on a mission to take our dating and sex lives off the screen and back out into the world where they belong.

It’s about time sexual desires are spoken about with as much importance as overall compatibility in dating. Get ready to dive into your deepest desires.

The world of dating has changed dramatically in even the last five years. The advent of ever more dating apps, more liberal attitudes to sexuality and a more fluid society generally means our choices have expanded exponentially. The sexual menu is VAST – and all that choice can be both incredibly exciting and a little overwhelming.

So, to your sexual preferences. Maybe you’re curious about getting it on with someone of the same sex as you. Perhaps you’d like to explore polyamory and open relationships. Or maybe it’s the idea of introducing a little kink into your sex life that’s got you all hot under the collar. Or perhaps you have no idea what really turns you on and want to begin to explore the nuances of your pleasure.

So how do you begin to navigate your sexual preferences and desires when you’re out in the dating world? As a dating coach and consultant, this is exactly the work I do with my clients to be confident going out and getting what and who they want.

First things first. When it comes to owning what you want, you need to figure out what that actually is.

Explore What Turns You On

If we believed the version of sexuality we have grown accustomed to seeing in TV and movies, it would mean we all liked the same, basic hetero sex that’s peddled as ‘the norm’.

Clearly, that isn’t the case, and I love that my job allows me to have conversations every day with people exploring their desires. The truth is, what’s arousing will be different for each of us. Our eroticism comprises specific things that really turn us on, which can be revealed in our sexual preferences, our fantasies, and our reactions to the images we take in (whether from sexualised advertising on the Tube, right through to porn). We are all unique, and that’s what keeps sex interesting!

Getting To Know Yourself: What Are Your Sexual Preferences?

First of all, I suggest spending some time learning about the physical side of your pleasure and arousal.

Where and how do you like to be stimulated? What parts of your body respond to touch? How do you want to be touched? What kind of pace do you need to react and get aroused? Explore your whole body and see if you find new or surprising opportunities for pleasure. For example, you might spend time stimulating your nipples, ears, neck, feet, or the insides of your thighs and discover something unexpectedly turns you on. Get creative with where you’re focusing your sexual attention.

And don’t forget about the mental aspects of desire – what thoughts and fantasies do you find coming up? You may like to use porn or erotic literature to help open you up to unexpected desires, too. The key is not to judge what turns you on. Simply get curious. Let go of all the ideas you have about what you’re supposed to like and figure out what you actually like. Let pleasure be like a map guiding you along your path.

Don’t Fulfil What You Think Are Their Desires – The Importance Of Communication

We still have a lot of gendered (and highly limiting) ideas when it comes to sex.

Heterosexual, cisgedner women are often taught to attend to their partner’s pleasure and told that if they make a partner happy, they will be happy too.

While heterosexual, cisgender men often feel that it’s their job to initiate sex, always be horny and hard, and be the ‘doer’.

Obviously, this is rubbish and not a path to sexual satisfaction for most of us. To let go of these outdated assumptions, open communication with the people you’re dating is vital. If you’re nervous, start slow and ease into it. Simply share with each other some things that really get you off. Talk about which parts are the hottest to you and ask for their thoughts as well.

Another helpful way to start a conversation about your turn-ons, fantasies, and boundaries is to try making a yes/no/maybe list.

Write down any sexual acts that come to mind, and then you and your partner/s take turns marking each as a yes, no, or maybe. This can be a sexy and fun way to get to know each other better and explore things you may not have considered before. And if you’re not sure where to start, take a look at these five ready-made lists for some inspiration.

Exploring what turns you on with a partner can open new levels of intimacy and sexual intensity, bit it can also feel risky and vulnerable to share this side of your sexual self. Coming to terms with your sexual desires and making room for those in your sex life takes courage, but the payoff can be a deeper connection and more satisfying sex – so it’s worth it!

How To Own What You Want (Aka Dealing With The Fear Of Rejection)

We’ve all had to deal with the inner chatter that tells you things that are SO not helpful when you are out there exploring. The what if’s, the internalised judgement – it’s easy for these things to flare up, especially when you’re trying new things. Be incredibly kind and gentle with yourself when you notice these things popping up, and recognise them for what they are – the manifestations of fear that, quite often, isn’t even your own in the first place but which comes from societal norms and stigma. 

One thing many people worry about with dating is rejection. A way to navigate the fear of rejection is to go into conversations about your sensual desires with the agreement not to criticise each other. It often takes time to grow trust with someone enough to share what you want to do, so don’t judge yourself if you want to take it slow. If the person you want to get it on with doesn’t respect that, it’s better to know now and walk away.

Try to keep openness and curiosity about what you each find to be a turn on, actively striving to understand the desires each of you enjoys without judgement.

Sexuality has been shamed for so long, so go into these conversations positively with the intention not to judge the person you’re dating. Ask that they do the same for you to lessen your fear of opening up.

Even if you know that there are things you’d never want to try, asking your partner to explain what about it turns them on or makes them curious can help you get a better sense of what makes them tick. On the other hand, if you share something with your partner and they express that they aren’t interested in going there personally, never pressure them to try it.

When it comes to owning your sexual desires while dating, open communication and mutual respect are vital.

You don’t have to share every kink and turn-on with the people you’re dating, but if you want to quickly heat things up with someone new, make it a priority to talk about your desires and boundaries right away. Then you can feel comfortable and confident as you start exploring all the sexy things you do want to try together. You never know, their ‘yes no maybe’ sex list could match yours word for word!

It takes bravery to own every bit of you, but it’s SO liberating when you do. Trust me!

Keep an eye on our upcoming workshops and masterclasses, for more in-depth explorations of dating, desire and communication from educators like Asa Baav.

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