Dealing with a selfish partner in bed? Sexperts offer their best tips

Sometimes perceived selfish partners are actually just not in tune with your needs

fruit depicted as selfish partners in bed; angry banana and lemon
(Image credit: Getty Images/Carol Yepes)

No orgasm is more important than another, but a selfish partner might not see it that way. 

It is possible to come across someone who is more concerned about their needs in bed than yours, but it's also possible that sexual discrepancies put you and your loved one in different frames of mind. 

If you and your S.O. are not quite in sync under the sheets, there is no need to panic. There are ways to work through disparities.

"The main questions you really need to ask yourself are these: 'Do they want to be better?' and 'Do they care I'm not happy?' says Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney (opens in new tab). "If the answer is yes to both, as a general rule, the problem is solvable."

If you feel as though your pleasure is coming in second place, here are the ways in which to overcome the hurdle of a perceived selfish sexual partner. Prepare for orgasms all around!



Tips for dealing with a selfish partner in bed:

1. Communicate honestly

Talking about sex makes the act more pleasurable, and you cannot get what you truly want, nor can your partner, if neither party is upfront. 

"Be clear with how you feel and say it concisely but also kindly," James Thomas, relationship expert at Condoms.uk (opens in new tab) recommends. "Be careful with your tact as the last thing you want is your partner is to feel inadequate in bed and give you the cold shoulder."

Dr. Katherine Hertlein, sex-therapist at Blueheart (opens in new tab) echoes that sentiment and suggests not bringing the word "selfish" into the equation at all—simply communicate your needs and desires.

"Whether your partner refuses to try certain positions or doesn’t touch certain areas of your body, a lack of attention in the bedroom can stem from a range of different factors and previous experiences, from self-esteem issues to emotional trauma—so it’s best to approach this topic sensitively," Dr. Hertlein says. 

What can be deemed as selfishness might just be someone who is stressed about sex. The best pointer? Don't accuse—hash it out first. 

2. Pinpoint the problem

There could be a variety of factors that contribute to one's desires being spotlighted more so than another's, according to Annabelle Knight. 

A few contenders? Mismatched sex drives, mismatched sexual taste or inexperience. 

"What you need to establish here is whether your partner doesn't care a hoot whether you're fulfilled, or whether it's inexperience disguising itself as indifference," Knight says.

couple being affectionate in bed

(Image credit: Getty Images / Cavan Images)

3. Negotiate 

Sex is (more often than not) a two-way streak. You have to be willing to give in order to receive. 

"By saying what you need and want, how not receiving anything from them makes you feel, it will make the sex feel so much better for you both," Thomas says. "When your partner realizes that getting what they want for themselves is negatively affecting you, they’ll be able to match your needs."

What fuels sexual desire? A new study reveals that people are in search of emotional closeness, and if there are any hurdles before achieving that end goal, your partner will more than likely work through whatever you need. 

If for some reason emotional closeness, passion and connection are not even in your S.O.'s train of thought, perhaps you truly are dealing with a selfish person.

4. Nip it in the bud

Rather than ignore the problem at hand, get it out in the open right away—honestly, but kindly. 

"If you notice early on that your partner is being selfish in bed, then it is vital to clear the air before it continues and becomes a long-term problem and a habit with your partner," says Charlotte Johnson, sex and relationship expert at Mega Pleasure (opens in new tab).

Hand grabbing onto a white sheet

(Image credit: Getty)

5. Experiment

Sometimes you need to switch things up. Maybe your go-to tactics aren't working for a reason and you need to incorporate different types of vibrators into the mix. Maybe you need to explore that beloved pillow sex tip. Be open to something new, provided you're comfortable with your partner. 

"Even suggest trying new things and finding new ways of banishing selfishness where you both can enjoy sex again," Johnson says. 

Dr. Hertlein thinks the Sensate Focus is potentially the way to go. 

"This method incorporates the element of touch into a physical exploration of yourself and your partner," she says. "Start by touching areas of your partner’s body (avoiding genitals) with a focus on sensations such as texture, pressure, temperature. This technique can help both of you to clear your minds and push away any negative, intrusive thoughts that might occur during intimacy."

If, in fact, you are not just working with differences, and your partner is actually selfish and unconcerned with your happiness, there's only one thing left to do. 

"Put your clothes back on this instant, head for the exit and don't look back!" Knight says.

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)