Updated: Sep 16
We’ve said it time and time again, but communication is the absolute key to a healthy sex life. Being able to talk to your partner about your likes, dislikes, desires, thoughts and feelings when it comes to sex is the only way to fully understand and satisfy both you and your partner in the bedroom. But it’s not always easy and sometimes it can just feel, well, awkward.
Don’t worry, we’ve all felt that way and we’ve got you covered with plenty of ways to help you open up, get talking and, most importantly, get down! From ice breakers to tactful ways to word a difficult conversation, read on to discover more about unlocking those sexual conversations.
Discussing Sex in a Relationship Why talk about sex, surely it’s better to just get down to it? Whilst you’ll rarely find us arguing that it isn’t better to get down to it, having healthy conversations about sex is an important part of any good sex life. But how do you even go about talking about sex with your partner? Whether you’re keen to try sex toys for the first time or you’re not satisfied in bed, there are a few things to remember before striking up that discussion.
Set Some Time to Chat - Many of us have busy lives that make sitting down for a chat at the drop of a hat a little difficult. For those with busy lives, sometimes you need to specifically set a time to chat and connect with your partner (although we’re not suggesting popping ‘chat about sex’ on the kitchen calendar!). Perhaps decide that Friday nights will be about turning the TV off and discussing your week. Making a time like this will make bringing up the subject of sex easier.
Use Film and TV to Stimulate Conversation - One of the things that often makes people feel awkward about discussing sex with their partner is the language. Either it can sound too clinical or it can sound a little… cringe. That can make striking a conversation difficult, so try putting on a film or TV show that naturally stimulates the conversation. Think 50 Shades or something like that. This will help it feel much more natural and less out of the blue to bring up your own sex lives and get to chatting about bondage gear.
Don’t Do It During an Argument - If you’re in the middle of a disagreement or argument with your partner, it’s certainly not the time to bring up your sex life. Sex should be discussed in a neutral and blame-free way, so dropping your frustrations in the middle of a heated moment is only likely to cause more damage than good.
Avoid Post-Sex - If you’ve just had sex, it’s really not the ideal time to start providing feedback on what you did and didn’t enjoy. The time after sex should be reserved for intimacy and closeness, so any discussion about sex should wait until that moment has passed. Pick a time that feels a little more neutral.
Never Make It a Surprise - A conversation about sex should never come as a surprise to your partner. It can be a sensitive subject to discuss, meaning you both need to be prepared and in the right frame of mind. Catching someone off-guard can often lead to confusion and defensiveness… or just complete shock.
How to Talk About Sex to Your Partner So you’ve chosen your time and place, conversation is flowing, but you don’t want to put your foot in it or say the wrong thing. Being careful when introducing new subjects and reacting to things is just as important in avoiding the conversation taking a negative turn.
Take it Slow - Try not to bombard your partner with 1,000 different things you’d like to try with them (think “I want to try these new positions, and bondage, and we need to buy a vibrator and have a threesome”) or jump from one negative to another (“you never make me orgasm, you’re rubbish at foreplay, your dirty talk is a turn-off”) – anyone would feel a little overwhelmed with that. Instead, take your time and start off with something a little softer, such as changes you can make so you both enjoy your time in the bedroom.
Don’t Blame Them - If you do have concerns with your sex life, it’s important that you don’t blame your partner for these. Any concerns you have with your sex life should be accountable to both of you. Talking about sex isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong but getting the best resolution for both of you and having a lot more fun as a result! Of course, this might not always apply, and there can be situations where your partner is overstepping the line or simply doing something you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable – then it’s on them not to keep doing it!
Choose Your Words Carefully - Continuing the previous point, try not to say things like “you don’t” or “you need to”. This type of language places the onus on your partner. If you think your partner doesn’t go down on your often enough, saying “I really enjoy it when you go down on me, I’d love you to do that even more” comes across much better than “you don’t go down on me often enough, you need to do that more”. Remember “I” before “you” is the best way to approach.
How to Discuss Sex Problems with Your Partner If you’re not feeling great about your sex life and feel like you need to bring up problems with your partner, this can feel like an even more difficult situation. One thing that’s important to remember is that you should never feel like you can’t speak up. Remember that feeling comfortable forms an important part of an enjoyable sex life, so being able to comfortably speak with your partner about any subject is vital to making that happen.
Difficult conversations are never easy to approach but remember not to go into it having already decided how your partner is going to react. Go into it with a clear and open-minded attitude, these are your fears, your desires and your concerns so you should try to own them and not be afraid of talking about them. After all, your partner might be thinking the same thing or just be pleased to know what you’re thinking.
It’s never too late to start talking about sex with your partner – even if you’ve never considered it before. Whether you’ve been married for 30 years or are just starting out in a new relationship, having conversations about sex will undoubtedly improve your sex life.