Let’s face it -- talking about sex can be awkward. Not only are you uncomfortable to talk to your friends about this subject, but it can be harder to talk about sex with your partner! You worry what they’ll think. Will they laugh? Be disgusted? How do you even bring it up?! How do you talk about sex with your partner??
Step one: take a deep breath. Yes -- they might laugh or be surprised. But they also might be totally into it. They also might have been waiting for you to bring it up because they were nervous and or uncomfortable too. Most of the time our worst-case scenarios don’t come to be and what happens instead is a sexy conversation about your desires.
Embrace the awkward.
This talk is especially hard if you’ve never done it before. And it only gets a little easier over time. Most sex educators I know (myself included) still struggle to talk to their partner(s) about sex.
Have the talk anyway.
Swallow your pride and fumble and stumble and ramble and flush bright red. In a few months or years, you'll laugh about this -- "Remember when you asked me about anal right when the restaurant's speakers broke?!" It’s worth the awkwardness in the long-run for one very important reason:
Talking about sex helps you have better sex & stronger relationships.
When you and your partner talk about sex, you build intimacy by learning about each other’s deepest desires. You also give them permission to talk about these things with you. Lastly, you get new ideas. Maybe your partner wants to try something you never thought about before.
For example, a few months back I read My Life on the Swingset. One essay about masturbation fantasies really stuck out to me and I wanted to know what my partner thought. Though the conversation started out very awkward (I blurted out the question while walking home from the subway...surrounded by lots of people), it ultimately affirmed our desires and has since made it easier to bring things up randomly.
In short, these conversations help you have a more intimate, adventurous, and satisfying sex life.
5 ways to talk to your partner about sex
So, now you see that talking about sex doesn't have to be so hard. When you are ready to talk to your partner about sex, here are 5 ways to talk to your partner about sex and make the conversation easier:
Use this article as a reason to bring it up. Books and blogs are the best sex conversation starters. They are so easy to work in -- “Hey I was reading this thing today….” -- like you would any other interesting news or cute animal video you saw.
Talk about one thing at a time. Once you get started talking about sex, it’s easy to share all the things. Don’t. Choose one that is the most important to you right now and only talk about that. There’s no right or wrong answer here -- it’s whatever you need to talk about the most.
Know what to talk about when. There are things you talk about during sex and things you talk about once you’re clothes are on and the blood has returned to your brain. If it’s not on this list, wait until you’re fully clothed to bring it up.
- Ask permission. “Do you want me to…?”
- Give guidance. “A little to the left….”
- Express appreciation. “OMG I love it when you.…”
- Check-in. “Does that feel good?”
- Give positive suggestions. “I love it when you….”
- Talk dirty. “Harder…!”
- Share if something hurts, feels uncomfortable, or you feel triggered.
Define what you mean. A lot of things we do during sex have multiple meanings or a connotation that differs from its actual definition. To avoid your very own Broad City moment, let your partner know exactly what you mean when you suggest something.
- Avoid yes or no questions. Nothing puts the kaput on a sex conversation faster than “Have you heard of X?” “Yes.” Instead, try asking what they think about X and only THEN ask next if they are interested in trying it. Let the conversation flow from there.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!
I can’t promise your partner will be into the same desires as you or that feelings will never get hurt. But I can promise you that your desires will never get fulfilled if you don’t take a chance and ask.
Written by Kait Scalisi, MPH, Director of Education and Training, My Secret Luxury