Updated: Aug 22
Shyness is something I have had a problem with personally. However, I have had several partners who are deeply reticent to talk about their needs and desires.
It can be hard to open up about desires. Most of us are raised in cultures where talking about sex and kink desires is seen as shameful or bad. Couple that with a natural tendency to be quiet or an introvert and letting people know what you want and don’t want can be very difficult.
I have had a few shy partners or partners who held deep shame about their desires. I had to find ways to help people open up and ask for what they want and say no to things they don’t want.
Not all tips will work for all people. That is okay! If you are the shy person, try the ones that feel okay for you. If you are helping a shy partner open up, ask them what feels okay and check in to see if some activities feel too overwhelming.
Write it Out!
Sometimes the barrier is finding the words when you are talking about your desires. Shyness and shame can overwhelm you and make it difficult or impossible to say what you want.
Various forms of writing can limit the stress and pressure of saying your desires out loud and in real time to a partner.
Sexting works for lots of people! I’m not talking about sending a slew of dick pics with your little dude tied up in shibari-style ropes (although, that is hella cute!). I have had success with shy partners asking them over text about specific desires.
Most of the time I start with a short text talking about something we might like to do together. “Hello Sunshine! I was thinking it might be fun to go hiking next weekend, take a blanket, some good rose’, and frolic in the woods. You can wear a shear dress…”
If you are the less-shy person in the couple, help your partner explore various fantasies via text. You can include pictures of kinks (this works well for rope, bondage, and other highly visible kinks) and toys you want to introduce. You can suggest giving or receiving commands. Go slow. Check in a lot with your partner. Allow for time to lapse between when you send the text and when they respond.
You can also play confessional via text. Something like, “Please describe a fantasy we have not done yet…” and wait to see what your shy partner sends back. Often it will be short or cryptic, but it gives you both a starting point to discuss desires in a less-stress inducing way.
Make them confess! Okay… but not really. Setting up an interrogation type role play can be really useful for getting a shy person out of their shell. If your shy partner (or you) are willing to be tied up to a chair and blindfolded or have a bright light shined in your face it can be a great start to a confessional role play scene.
The partner playing the interrogator ties up the more shy partner. This can be with ropes, handcuffs, scarves, ties, or whatever you have lying around the house. The knots can be very secure or loose, depending on what you are both comfortable with. Blindfold the person in the chair or get a light to shine in their face so they have limited visibility (I find a pan light or a directional light on a post works well).
Begin by setting the scene. Tell the tied up person they are in your control and will only be released once they have confessed their desires! Ask specific questions (e.g. Do you want me to tell you what to do? Do you like being tied up? Do you want me to kiss you?). Having a firm, commanding voice can actually help the shy person relax and release a little control.
If you want to get all fancy, accessories like leather or latex gloves, leather boots, and a flashlight can all add realism to the scene. I’m a costume nerd, so I often wear a severe-cut wool suit, stilettos, leather gloves, and smoke a clove cigarette. Acts like standing behind the person in the chair and putting a hand gently on their shoulder can help the relax and connect with you. Tighten your grip just slightly when they refuse to answer and you can often “squeeze” a confession out of them.
If you and your partner are open to it, as the scene progresses you can introduce different types of touching. Running your hands over your partner’s shoulders, upper chest, and thighs can increase tension and arousal. It can also prompt the shy person to divulge more of what they want.
Sexy Stories: If your shy partner (or you) is inclined to write a bit, sharing sexy stories about each other is another way to explore fantasies. Sending each other emails, DMs or other communications with erotic stories featuring each other can be a great way to explore fantasies without pushing the shy person to talk face to face.
Share Porn: This has been very successful for me in many relationships. I share erotic books, links to online stories, video clips from my favorite porn actors, and photos posted online with people I want to do sexy things with! Seriously, sending a porn clip or two that you find hot to your partner can be a great way to tell them what you are fantasizing about without having to use all your words.
If you are not the shy party, you need to keep in mind that it might be painfully difficult for your shy partner to share their desires. The shy partner will watch closely for your reaction to their confessions. If you yuck their yum, you can unintentionally shut down communication around sex.
Be open to what they want to try. If it is not your thing, look for a compromise. Thank them for sharing, regardless if you are into the kink or not.
If you are the shy one, all this can get to be a bit overwhelming. It is perfectly okay to confess something and then need to take a step back. BUT… you have to communicate this need. Those of us who are not shy often get really excited to find out what our shy partners want and need. We can want to jump right in to try and make you happy!
If you are up to opening up about your desires but then feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, let your non-shy partner know you might need to hit the pause button for a minute.
The great think about kink and sex is that it is an ever evolving journey! The older you get, the more time you have, the more cool stuff you can try and discover. However, it also means you have to communicate your needs and desires.
Its okay if you confess your desire to do something and your partner isn’t into it at the moment. Most of us grow and change. Just because your partner isn’t into something today does not mean you will never get to try it. The only time that is a risk is if you never confess your desire!
Open up. Take the risk.