Although sex is one of the most important aspects of a relationship, it’s easy to let sexual communication lapse. This might be due to the fact that you weren’t taught how to discuss sex or that you were actively taught that sex was shameful, which can lead guilty feelings and an inability to fully express yourself – or even orgasm! – during sex. Being able to communicate about sex in a healthy and positive manner can strengthen your relationship, build self esteem and help you to explore your sexual boundaries like never before, and we’ve got the step-by-step guide for you.
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Why Is Talking About Sex So Hard?
The Internet is full of message board threads and chat room topics where people talk about sex, but it seems like it’s another story when it comes to talking about sex in person, even to the person you’re having sex with! There are plenty of reasons why having conversations about sex might be difficult for you, and we’ll discuss some of those in brief.
- Prior abuse can absolutely make it hard to talk about sex. You may have trust issues or even experienced PTSD, even if the abuse occurred when you were a child.
- Being taught guilt or shame about sex is common, especially from parents and other authority figures, but it doesn’t open up channels of communication with your sexual partners if you can’t get beyond it.
- Religion may have influenced the way you see sex, making it taboo to talk about or even to enjoy if it’s not in the “right” way.
- Negative experiences in the past, such as a partner who wouldn’t listen to you or who made fun of your preferences, can cause you to shy away from expressing yourself now.
- Worrying about your sexual desires and fetishes is a common reason many women – and men – are reticent about describing what they want in the bedroom.
- Gender roles teach us that women should be subservient and bow down to your man, which may result in your reticence to let your partner know if he’s doing something wrong or if there’s something else you’d like.
- The media depicts sex as happening spontaneously and perfectly, without showing any of the awkward parts or preparation and communication that are necessary to make your sex life awesome.
- Lack of sex education and poor guidance about relationships in many parts of the world makes it more difficult to talk to partners about tricky issues like sex.
- Society has an unhealthy obsession with sexuality while making it a taboo subject.
- Sensitivity on your part, or of that of your lover can make you reluctant to talk about sex.
- Embarrassment about lack of experience or understanding your own body’s sexual response can be counterproductive when it comes to sexual communication.
- Difficult communicating in general won’t make it any easier to talk about sex, which is such a personal and intimate subject.
Of course, there are other reasons that sexual communication is harder for some people than others. You might fear that something is wrong with you if you want something different in the bedroom or even think that talking about sex makes you a slut because you’ve internalized slut shaming. More on that here.
Perhaps you simply think that you should know how to be amazing at sex or that something is wrong with your sex life if you have to talk about it. Fortunately, neither is true, and talking about sex will only bring positive changes to your life.
Know When to Talk About Sex
Knowing when to talk about sex is important. For instance, you can easily direct your partner’s attention to a certain part of your body and instruct him to stimulate you harder, softer or to the right during the moment. When moaned breathlessly, it can become a form of dirty talk. Read more in this post. This video will help you talk dirty with confidence, too!
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But not every sexual conversation needs to happen inside the bedroom. This is especially true when suggesting new things that your man might need time to warm up to. If you’re not sure how he’ll react, you don’t want to spring a bunch of bondage gear on him before you get down to the act.
Nor do you want to suggest adding something new to your repertoire right after sex if you’re worried that it might bruise his ego. That time is better spent basking in the afterglow. Some people don’t like a lot of talking during sex, either, because it can take them out of the moment. If you only talk about sex inside the bedroom, it might be weird to discuss it at other times, but it will absolutely strengthen your relationship!
Thanks to the Internet, discussing sex has become easier than ever. All you have to do is point to an idea – maybe even an article about bondage or sex toys on this site – to gauge your man’s interest. If you read erotica, you can even use that as a springboard for sexual exploration. That’s why so many people have dipped a toe into the BDSM scene after the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey.
There’s a careful line to walk when it comes to timing. You don’t want to spring a conversation about sex on your partner at the wrong time. You should have privacy and be in safe and positive moods. After all, few people are receptive to change when they’re having a bad day!
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your partner, and it’s one of our dating rules, too. If you pretend to enjoy something about sex, how will he learn what really makes you tick? How does that help you get closer together? And does it foster a happy and healthy sex life?
Being honest isn’t just about being honest with your partner. You must first be honest with yourself about your desires, experiences and even your anxieties. Discussing these in a safe and open environment can help to dispel some of the negativity and make sexual communication that much easier. In some cases, you may find professional support is necessary, but you might be surprised to learn how many anxieties are common across the human experience.
If you’re not honest about what you want or even need from sex and your relationship, resentment could build. Not only won’t you be getting what you need sexually, but you’ll be emotionally and mentally frustrated, too.
Make It Fun
It’s understandable if “fun” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It can cause quite a lot of anxiety when you’re mentally preparing for a conversation that has the potential to be awkward or uncomfortable. But there are a few ways you can relieve stress and even have a little fun when it comes to communicating about sex.
There are a plethora of fun quizzes and tools on the Internet to figure out what you might like to try, which is good if your partner wants to experiment but you’ve never given it much thought. One such site is Mojo Upgrade, where both you and your partner can log in and select activities that you’d like to try. You can each do it from separate computers, which might make you feel more comfortable. Sexionnaire is a similar site.
A number of checklists also exist to help you expand your sexual horizons and talk about things you might want to do with your partner. “Will, Want Won’t” charts like those here enable you to mark what you will and won’t do, want to try in the bedroom. Scarleteen offers a Yes/No/Maybe-style checklist to get the ball rolling.
Take the time to honestly fill out the checklist and compare yours with your partner’s. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Start Slow and Explicitly
If you’ve been wanting to try new things in the bedroom for some time, you might have quite the list in your head. However, sexual communication needs to be done at a digestible pace, just like any communication that would happen outside the bedroom.
Moving slowly, perhaps more slowly than you think you want, allows your partner to ease into new ideas if he’s hesitant. It also offers the added benefit of enabling you to do the same. While you might think you’re ready to jump into hardcore BDSM after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, this might not actually be true. Light bondage might really be what you want. More on that in this guide.
Whenever you’re suggesting something new to a partner, it’s helpful to explain exactly what you want. In the example of BDSM, using the term “bondage” might scare off your partner. If all you want is to use some fuzzy handcuffs once in a while, or you’re interested in some light spanking, tell him explicitly what you want. Of course, you may want more than that, but start slowly and ease into it.
One piece of advice we like for easing into BDSM is to first add a blindfold to your regular sex. Add restraints such as cuffs or a spreader bar separately, without the blindfold, before you finally combine the blindfold and restraints for a heightened experience. Knowing what will happen before you try something new is crucial to allowing both you and your partner to enjoy new things comfortably, which brings us to our next point.
Having a game plan whenever you want to try something new in the bedroom ensures that you’re on the same page with your partner whenever you’re trying something new. That game plan reduces anxiety. and while some people might argue that spontaneity is more romantic, having a game plan can also decrease risks if you’re engaging in something such as BDSM that has the potential to be dangerous.
That’s why couples agree upon safe words beforehand. Check out more on BDSM and safe words in this post. Even when you’re not trying something with new risks, you can stay connected to your lover by checking in as you go along. In fact, this is a great way to get consent, which is essential to sexual communication. A simple “Do you like this?” or “Does this feel good?” opens up channels of communication, allowing you to adjust where necessary, so no one has to sit through another sexual scene that’s boring or, even worse, painful!
Sexual communication isn’t all about what you want; although, it can certainly turn your sex life up a notch or two. Effective communication means you’re listening to what your partner has to say. It’s normal to fear criticism, but talking about sex will give you insight into what your partner likes and doesn’t like, which may differ from what previous partners liked or even from what you naturally tend to do. Plus, it’s super hot to see our partners doing something for us just because they want to!
Communicating isn’t all verbal, either. Although you can improve your sex life by directly speaking to your partner, be aware of body language. A long moan is good, a sharp intake of breath might indicate that you’re causing pain. Or it might not. That’s why checking in is essential! Other body language to look for include whether your partner pulls you closer, pushes you away or gravitates his hips toward or away from you.
No matter how well you try to communicate, your partner may not be receptive to some of your ideas. Perhaps he has internalized some of the reasons why sex shouldn’t be talked about, and you can look over this post together. Or, you might simply be suggesting that he’s not into. Some people will never be into the idea of bondage or golden showers or any of the other hundreds of sexual desires, and you have to be prepared to receive a “No.”
Talking about your sex life enables you to determine your hard limits, those things you’ll never want to do, and soft limits, things you might do in controlled situations after warming up to the idea. When you know your partner’s limits, you can more easily draw a line between enjoyable and uncomfortable. You can also try to negotiate. Perhaps you want to be dominated sometimes, but your partner is more submissive. Thanks to sexual communication, you can swap roles from time to time, so you’ll both be happy.
The same goes for any other activity. If you expect your partner to try something, you might be able to offer fulfillment of his own desires to make him more happy to comply. After all, relationships are a game of give and take.
However, you might simply be forced to deal with a partner who doesn’t think sexual communication is important or who doesn’t know how to talk about sex. It’s difficult to get to the root of the problem if your man doesn’t offer anything for you to work with. You may be able to reason with him that talking about sex will only bring you two closer together, or you might suggest seeking the assistance of a licensed professional – either together or separately – to get over sexual hangups.
In some, hopefully rare, instances, issues with sexual communication could be a deal-breaker. When your partners refuses to try new things or even talk during sex, it can breed resentment and even lead to cheating from either partner. If you find yourself in that position, it might be time to consider whether breaking up is the right thing to do, or if you can live with your current sex life for the duration of the relationship.
Fortunately, many couples come out stronger after making more effective sexual communication an active goal. If you’ve struggled with sexual communication, no matter how long you’ve been with your partner or even if you’ve had plenty of partners, your sex life may have suffered as a result. But talking about sex doesn’t have to cause anxiety or being uncomfortable any way as you’ll see if you use the advice in this post. Sexual fulfillment is closer than you might think!
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