A while back, I saw this frustrated social media post:

For fucks sake guys, be able to fully talk about your fetishes, desires, and needs. Not being able to express this is a massive turn off.

I responded at the time but felt that it was a topic that deserved more so I sat with it for a while to understand what thoughts and feelings it brought up for me. What follows is a more in-depth response to the original post.

As frustrating as it is for you, imagine how frustrating it must be for someone who has never effectively learned to communicate their needs and desires, especially when those needs and desires relate to things that are largely considered subversive and wrong by the general public. If you want someone to be able share deeply personal things about their desires and needs, you have to ensure that they feel safe to share. If you’re starting from a POV of being “turned off” by it, you’re probably not making them feel very safe.

I’ve found that the most important thing in situations like this is to be an example of healthy, open communication.
“We’ve never talked about watersports. Is that something that interests you?”

“I kinda like being tied up. What do you think about bondage?”

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Communication is important, but one-way communication is a monologue. If you’re doing more talking than listening, it might be a good time to take a step back and reassess things. The same rule applies if you find that you’re consistently the one who initiates conversation. Look back at the last ten interactions with someone. How many of them did you start?

We all speak and understand in different languages. Expecting someone to communicate your way is almost always a recipe for disaster. If you want open communication, you must lay the groundwork for trust and rapport and make sure others see you as a safe place to reveal parts of themselves they may not yet be comfortable with.