We’ve all heard of those relationship red flags: the indication that someone might not a good fit for you and you probably should run for the hills.
“She keeps showing up unannounced when you’re out with your guy friends to check on you and calling it a “coincidence?” Huge red flag, bro.”
But no one talks about the red flags that might not show up until… you take off all your clothes.
Look – maybe they made a great first impression over a romantic tray of taco truck empanadas, but as soon as the panties drop, so does your assuredness that this was a good idea.
And hey, we’re used to talking ourselves out of common sense…
We tell ourselves, “sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship anyways,” or “it’ll all iron itself out”, or “she’lll change”…
But when these issues spill into the rest of the relationship… it can turn into a really painful experience.
Which is why, in this article, I’m going to list out 20 red flags to look out for in any sexual partner. So you can either address it… or escape with your sanity.
What if I’m married to someone who shows these red flags?
None of us are perfect, are we?
If you find that you’re married to someone who shows a few of these red flags… don’t worry. At least now you know they’re potentially unhealthy behaviors and you can address it.
Heck, maybe you recognize YOURSELF in some of these. That’s a great thing — it’s never too late to work on having a great sex life.
Finally, just because these are red flags to me as a sex coach and clinical sexuality researcher, doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be red flags for you in your relationship. We’re all different with different preferences and needs. And if you’re cool with some of the things on this list… than, cool!
I’m here to guide you, to empower you, and to make sure you don’t have to wave those red flags anymore.
Great intimacy requires work
Most people assume that great sex is just going to happen naturally.
This is probably the biggest faux pas ever. And I see this, as a professional sex coach, all the time.
Some things come naturally, but when sex between to burning flames doesn’t, well that means that you are going to have to put work into it. Both of you! So if you see someone that’s putting up these red flags, it’s probably a good indicator that there’s going to be some bleed-over between the bedroom and the rest of your relationship …. and the rest of your life.
The Top 20 Red Flags to look out for in a Sexual Relationship
Without further ado, here are the top 20 red flags to look for in a sexual partner. Because despite what society tells us, sex is actually an important part of any intimate relationship, and should be taken seriously. (Also because who doesn’t love a lifetime’s worth of unapologetic pleasure?)
Here we go!
#1. They can’t talk about sex
I don’t care if this is your first or your one of the married couples who’ve been together for a long time. If you are someone who does not feel confident to talk about sex like an adult, this is a red flag. PERIOD.
If you can’t talk about sex, you probably shouldn’t be having it. Sorry, not sorry.
On that note, if someone can’t talk about genitals without using baby language or code words – like Weewee, Princess Purple, Dang Doodle, Wanga, Tootie, Cookie – if they can’t say penis, vagina, testicles or breasts by their proper names, they probably are not mature enough to be using them with other people.
#2. They won’t practice safe sex
If they won’t use protection, won’t practice safer sex, or won’t try to prevent pregnancy or won’t get tested… not cool.
This is just such an obvious warning sign. It’s the 21st century, y’all. Get tested, play it safe, use protection, duh. We all know the risks. Don’t be stupid.
#3. They keep asking after you’ve said no
You’ve said no and they keep pushing.
You really don’t feel comfortable with the idea, but they keep pressuring you.
This is a surefire sign of a bad lover, just in general. Just don’t pressure people. This will cause a fear of intimacy and relationship problems and nobody wants to feel like that.
#4. They don’t respect your boundaries
This could be your physical boundaries. This could also be like your emotional boundaries. So they encroach in your emotional space or they rely on you or they put emotional stuff on you. Basically, they don’t respect your boundaries. That’s a huge red flag. Whether that’s taking place in the bedroom or out of the bedroom.
#5. They air your dirty laundry to all of their friends
No one wants to feel vulnerable when it comes to your romantic relationship. Let’s keep things more private in regards to your intimacy with your partner. If they talk about your sex life or how you are in bed with all of their friends, unless you’ve given them explicit permission to, that’s a big red flag that they probably don’t respect you as a lover. And maybe they just don’t respect the relationship that you share.
#6. Shame Shame Shame
If they are shaming you, for any reason at all, but primarily your;
- Your fantasies
- Your body
- Your desire
- Or the way that you are, or want to have intimacy
If a partner shames you for any reason or tells you that there’s something wrong with you for any of these things, know that this behavior is NOT OK! You don’t want you to be intimate with anyone who shames you for anything.
#7. They’re obsessed with your sexual past
Jealousy is a horrible feeling, but if she lets it swallow your relationship whole, that’s not a good sign.
If your partner is obsessed with your intimate relationships from the past to the point where it actually gets in the way of your sex life, they’re not doing the work to figure out how to show up for you and be a great partner.
#8. They constantly compare you to their former lovers
Oh come on..No one wants to hear, “You know this was never a problem with me with my ex” or “My girlfriend and I made passionate love” or “My ex-boyfriend was so big. This never happened.” Don’t do that. It’s not fair. It’s not nice.
#9. They use sex as a weapon against you
If they are withholding sex or they are using it as a reward or in some other way, they are using sex as a weapon to do damage to you and to do damage to the relationship.
Sometimes, this red flag doesn’t come up right away in a relationship. Your partner, or your spouse might not show that they use sex as a weapon for months or even years into the relationship. So be on the lookout for signs of a type of negative emotional intimacy.
#10. They violate your trust or your consent
Good partner 101: be trustworthy and be easy to trust. In any intimate relationship, trust is one of the most important characteristics in a healthy intimate relationship. Don’t violate it.
#11. They expect to receive pleasure, but not to give pleasure
This basically speaks for itself. This form of dependency in an intimate relationship is a red flag. There needs to be a willingness to explore each other sexual desires. Similarly, this leads us to…
#12. They expect to give pleasure, but not to receive it
Now that might sound like a good deal to some of you. Wink, Wink*. But in all seriousness, I think that a partner that is willing to both give and receive in the bedroom and outside of the bedroom … and wants to give you the honest pleasure of providing pleasure for THEM… as well as seeing you in pleasure, is freaking important, you guys.
#13. They don’t care about your pleasure or your orgasm
What’s the phrase again? Hit it and quit it? Yeah, this is not a thing when you are in a relationship. They should at least care about your pleasure and they should care about your orgasm without making it the entire focus of everything that they’re doing.
#14. They’re not willing to receive feedback
How do you expect to improve your sex life if you arent willing to take any feedback? Counseling never hurt anybody!
#15. They are uncomfortable with bodies (we’ve all got em’!)
Now there’s no right or wrong level of comfortability, but someone who can’t handle body odor, pussy or penis fluids, menses, or needs to take a shower immediately because they feel dirty – so much so that they can’t cuddle you or hold you in the minutes after you’ve both finished…That can be a red flag.
If they can’t handle normal human bodies, well, maybe they’re not mature enough to be your partner.
#16. They are overly focused on one kind of sex
I’ve had a ton of people come to work with me because they said that their partner’s way was the only way. They’re just very focused on one thing. Maybe it’s just penetration or oral sex. They’re just focused on that and that is it. And if that’s the case, then they’re not being a very good lover because sexual intimacy is a lot more than just one act.
#17. They’re not present
Hello! Anybody there? Are you even here? Pay attention! You can tell when someone is not present, they’re mentally off in space so they’re checking their phone, social media, or they’re drifting off into the distance and you don’t feel that connection. Needless to say, not a great lover.
#18. They avoid eye contact
The eyes are the windows to the soul. And I find that there is a sort of sexual attraction when looking into someone’s eyes. And part of being present and aware and alert with another person is looking at them in the eye and being present with them and communicating in the way and creating the closeness that only eye contact can make.
Avoiding eye contact can mean someone is afraid of intimacy, which can be a huge barrier to closeness in any sexual or romantic relationship.
#19. They blame you / Don’t take responsibility for anything
No matter what you do, it’s always your fault and they always somehow skirt the blame. The blame game is not a game you want to be playing – because you never win.
#20. They demean you (in a non-consensual way)
Listen, I sometimes like to be called mean names during intimate times, but only after I have agreed to that. If I had a partner that was calling me inappropriate or demeaning names and I had asked them not to do that, that would be a huge, massive, tremendous red flag for me.
In the comments below, write what I missed. What are some other red flags?