Nothing makes someone feel more rejected than when they want to have sex and their partner goes “I’m just so tired!” or “No, not right now!”
It truly doesn’t feel good, and we get it. However, hearing no is a necessary part of a healthy and happy sex life. The trick is learning to navigate how a no makes the receiver feel and reprogramming your brain to not feel a sting of rejection, but rather an opportunity to learn more about what your partner is feeling at that given moment.
That’s why this challenge is about saying and hearing yes just as much as it’s about verbalizing and taking in the word no.
This one is rather complex, so we’ll explain further.
Enthusiastic consent is incredibly important when it comes to sex! You want both you and your partner to both feel the “hell yes!” when it comes to sexual situations. One big way to trust that hell yes? Also trust the no…and practice saying it. Need clarification? We thought so.
Sometimes, we will say yes when we aren’t totally there…just because it can feel awkward or problematic. But when you and your partner have great communication and can fully trust each other when you say no, that means you can actually trust the yes even more. Now is it making more sense?
Bring up this concept with your partner. Do both of you feel comfortable saying no to each other, in both sexual and non-sexual situations? If the no makes you or them feel hurt, discouraged, embarrassed, or rejected, investigate why. Be open about your feelings and do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
Here’s a quick exercise to try this whole thing out:
Walk up to your partner, stand face to face, and say, “Can I hug you?” and have them say “No.” (Seriously).
Here, you begin to feel a small bit of rejection, even in this seemingly innocuous way. This is why it’s so important to feel and understand the emotions that flow through your body when you get rejected.
Remind yourself and even say out loud, ‘my partner is not in a physical or emotional space to receive my offer right now and that is okay’
Keep practicing saying and hearing no.
And remember to clarify between “no”’ and “not right now.” You might not want to do toy play when you have a stomach ache, but after a good night’s sleep some buzzy action might feel amazing. Having the conversation around saying no can lead to less stress in the bedroom and of course makes the yes much more fun and meaningful.
Consent is powerful and it goes both ways! Play with this exercise and these conversations and see where it leads!