During the formative years of my sex life asking for what I wanted felt so damn tough. Some of what made communicating my sexual needs and/or desires so frustrating, or at the very least, challenging is that at my core, I really did not want to be judged. Don't yuck my yum.
I often took issue with having to share and/or teach something that I believed or felt like my partner(s) should have already known and been comfortable with (I know, I know, quite silly and judgmental to have believed that - the irony) and to some degree I did not want to offend or alienate my partner(s). As a result, I was not as evolved as I would have liked to believe and since I frequently took things personally (I know better now, but still struggle), I automatically made the assumption that my partners would also take things personally. Instead of showing them the respect they deserved and not craft a narrative in my head, that they've never shared or demonstrated, I made them the scapegoat for not sharing my needs or desires. What's sad is that by not communicating my needs, I automatically diminished our ability to enjoy a deeper, more fulfilling connected sex life and in doing so, I most likely prevented them from feeling like they could freely express their needs, wants and desires to me.
I am happy that I can now look back on those early days and smile about them, because those days are what propelled me forward to be able to clarify and specify the what's and why's of my desires and needs without the concern that I'd be judged and without the worry that I'd be alienating my partner.
Communication began with listening and understanding and the first step for me was listening to my body's needs and finding partners willing to do the same. The second was understanding that expressing my needs was a component of physical and emotional intimacy, something I had been longing for, but often unsure of how to attain. The third step was affirming that I deserved to enjoy sex on my terms, even if that meant foregoing perfectly fine potential partners. The fourth step was telling myself that by not sharing openly what I desired sexually, I was making a conscious decision every time to disrespect myself and any potential partner(s) that I might come into contact with. Lastly, I was forced to confront where my fears were stemming from because for me self-love translates to unapologetic shameless acceptance for yourself as you are, I had to confront whether failing to communicate my sexual needs and desires was a result of me not fully and wholly loving myself. In my opinion, if your needs or desires are not harming anyone, then they at least merit careful consideration.
As a firm believer in not making great the enemy of good, sex is probably one of the few places I refuse to apply that concept.