Feeling intimidated by your partner’s sexual history? Here’s how to get rid of it

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Asking a partner about their sexual history can be risky business. You have to ask yourself why you are curious and if you really want to know.

We can all aspire to be sexually positive in theory, but theory doesn’t always translate into feelings. Sometimes finding out that a partner has more sexual experience than you can feel a little confusing or even intimidating.

Will a partner think less of you if you haven’t done the same sexual things as him? What if they liked something in a previous relationship that you’re not sharing right now? These are just two of the questions you can ask yourself.

This week’s reader, Roy, tells us how his partner’s sexual past is affecting their current relationship.

“Am I wrong for telling my partner I couldn’t marry her knowing she had a threesome with her ex but not me?” says Ruy.

“She and I were married before when we were 19 and it almost happened, but the third person dropped out and then we got divorced and she had a threesome with someone else. Now that we’re together again, she won’t do it again.”

Advisory Board member James Eve asks the reader if it’s more than just a trio. “You’re back with someone you have a complicated history with, which started when you were young,” he says.

“It sounds like you’re disappointed and angry at the prospect of not having a threesome as an option in your relationship, when your partner has explored it with other people… and yet you’ve come so close to fulfilling that fantasy.

“I’d be curious to explore what having a threesome meant for the two of you; What does it mean to invite another person into your relationship? What does your partner refusing to do this to you say about how she feels about the relationship right now?”

How can we stop ourselves from feeling threatened by our partners’ sexual past?

The first step is to ask yourself why you are dwelling on a partner’s sexual past.

“It’s inevitable, a person comes with a past; although a sexual past comes with some level of taboo for new partners and is generally not a topic blissfully discussed at cocktail parties and dinner parties,” says Eve. “Of course, if you’re feeling insecure in yourself or in the relationship, those matters tend to play out in the present.”

In the case of the reader, Eve says that the discontent may be due to the fact that the partner has done something he wanted to do together, with someone else.

“This can be painful or upsetting for you. Of course if we like/love something or someone, then it is only natural that we want to protect/defend that precious asset and we can be highly attuned to any threats, perceived or not,” she states.

“Jealousy can arise from knowing details of your partner’s previous adventures. Instead of stopping feeling threatened, he should stop and reflect on why a sexual past poses such a threat.”

Why does our sex drive differ from partner to partner?

Just because a partner has done something sexually in the past doesn’t mean he will necessarily want to repeat it with you in the future.

“Sexuality evolves and changes over time and is not a fixed entity,” says Eve. “Tastes change, partners change, our bodies change; so naturally some of our sexual preferences will inevitably change as well.”

He continues: “Sexual acts provide access to parts of our bodies and minds that we usually keep hidden from the rest of society. Feelings like shame, embarrassment, and even anger can affect our own desire and willingness to explore and be exploited.

“What we are willing to do or not do in a relationship requires a sense of trust, openness and vulnerability; these can vary from relationship to relationship, as can the personal boundaries we choose to set. So it’s no wonder it’s different depending on the partner we’re with; we also have them participating in this process too!”

Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost UK

Love Stuck is for those who have hit a romantic wall, whether you’ve been single or married for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here.

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