anonymous on September 12, 2011

Is it okay to ask my partner to do things my attendant would usually do?

If I'm totally frank about what works for me, sexually, it involves asking my partner to do things for me that are normally performed by an attendant. Isn’t that too imposing, too much to expect?

answered by Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH on September 12, 2011

Thanks for sharing this important question that’s common among people with attendants. That said, having an attendant can sometimes unnecessarily complicate the way we think about the role of our partners and our sexual experiences with them.

Allow me to explain…

Sharing sexual pleasure is, ideally, a mutual decision between partners. Hopefully, any partner who is interested in sexual experiences with you will also be open to hearing what makes you comfortable and what turns you on. At first, you might feel that it’s too imposing to ask a partner to perform a similar task or activity that you would ask an attendant to do (someone you pay)…but your partner may feel otherwise, especially in the context of a consensual sexual encounter.

For example, if manual stimulation is performed by an attendant to evacuate the bowel, that’s work. However, in the context of a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, if anal stimulation turns you on, your partner can decide if it’s a comfortable sexual activity to perform because he or she is interested in pleasuring you.

That said, talk to your partner. I encourage you to have an open conversation with your partner about what turns each other on, and ways that you canmutually pleasure each other…without drawing comparisons to the kinds of tasks you ask your attendant to perform. In other words, try to keep in mind that the contexts are different and distinct, even if the technical details of the activities are not.

I hope this perspective is helpful to you, and that you and your partner become more and more comfortable with pleasuring each other.

Related Info:

Mitchell Tepper, PhD, MPH

Dr. Tepper directs sexual health education at An AASECT-certified sexuality educator and counselor, his areas of expertise include sexual dysfunctions, sexuality following disability or illness, pleasure and orgasm, relationships, and military and veteran couples' counseling. Dr. Tepper was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

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