We all want to be sure that our partners are satisfied in all areas of their relationship, but talking about sex can be an issue even for long-time lovers. Sex and sharing emotions are two of the most vulnerable things a couple can do, and unfortunately, many people fear embarrassment, rejection, or shame if their partners aren’t satisfied sexually.
Bad communication about sex can harm many aspects of a relationship. For example, in one study, sixty-seven percent of heterosexual women admitted to occasionally faking orgasms while men expressed that they’d be distressed to find out their partners weren’t climaxing.
In heterosexual relationships, there is often a disconnect between what men think will bring women to climax and what actually does. Only around twenty-five percent of women are consistently satisfied by intercourse alone. Most women need direct clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm, which is often overlooked by men because it doesn’t return as much pleasure for them. (This should be great news for men who are insecure about size!)
No matter how long-term or how close you are with your partner, they aren’t mind readers. It is possible that you could be magnetically in love in other areas of your relationship but experiencing disconnect in the bedroom. While it’s best to start communicating about sex and desire early on in a relationship, it is never too late!
Things you should think about discussing may include preferences in positions, time of day, frequency, location, kinks, how much foreplay you like, or even lighting or music. And you should definitely talk about any sex-related issues like low libido, erectile dysfunction, or vaginal dryness that could hinder your sex life. Your honesty and openness about sex may not only give your sex life and confidence a huge boost, but enhance overall intimacy outside the bedroom too.
Here are some tips to help you communicate desires with your partner…
Don’t blindside your partner
If you’ve never discussed sexual desires openly with your partner, don’t shock them by diving in so suddenly or intimidate them by saying, “We need to talk about sex.” Carefully consider the time and setting. For example, an appropriate time for many is when you’re cuddling, but not just after you’ve had sex. If you open a conversation about improving your sex life right after you’ve had sex, it could leave your partner questioning their ability during your session and hurt their confidence. Be sure you talk to each other face-to-face when you’re both relaxed, sober, not in a rush, and in a private environment. Use this peaceful moment to discuss areas where you might need improvement or how you could make sex more enjoyable for your partner.
Watch porn together
Watching porn together is a great way to introduce new ideas to the bedroom and even increase your libido before sex, but also a wonderful opportunity to talk about what you like. Use the occasion to comment on what turns you on or spark new ideas you’d like to try. It takes the pressure off your partner and doesn’t allow the chance for a partner to feel accused. Just be sure to watch your language when you express your desires.
Never complain about their performance
Your partner is likely trying their best. Complaining about your partner’s performance can cause lasting damage to their confidence and your relationship. Instead, be encouraging about what they do right and use words like, “I prefer,” “I love it when,” and avoid at all costs phrases like,
Don’t bring up former lovers, even indirectly
It is natural to wonder about our partner’s exes and resort to comparing ourselves so bringing up former lovers, even lightly, is hurtful. By bringing up your past lovers, you could create insecurities within your new partner that make it harder for them to perform well. Avoid ever comparing your partner by saying things like, “One time someone did X and I loved it” and instead make suggestions like, “I’d love to try…”
Not everything needs to be verbal
There are plenty of ways to communicate desires without using a single word or moan. Try guiding your partner’s hands during sex. Giving them a little guidance can be extremely attractive and also super effective at conveying what you like with confidence. Also, giving your partner eye contact while going down on them indicates that you find them attractive and that you’re enjoying yourself. Even things like gripping the sheets or their body are a great non- verbal queue that conveys you want more of what they’re giving.
Try new things
Part of communicating desires can be figuring out what you like together. Introducing new positions or toys to the bedroom can be a great way to explore desires. Try suggesting role-playing as a way to live out your inner fantasies, and focus on foreplay. Foreplay is a vital aspect of sex that many tend to brush past; however, foreplay is as stimulating as sex for many women. If you and your partner are long distance or live separately, you can try phone sex with new app-controlled vibrators. You could even gamify your sex life and see how many orgasms you can have in one night, try and make each other climax first, practice edging, or turn your desires into a sex bucket list that you cross off.
Overcome your sex insecurities
Insecurity is a completely normal part of sex. For example, many women experience low libido or vaginal dryness and men, young and old, often struggle with erectile dysfunction (ED), from time to time. Things that can affect sexual dysfunctions are stress, drinking alcohol, anxiety, etc. Talk with your partner, and perhaps a doctor, about your issues and be accepting of their problems by encouraging necessary lifestyle changes or simple solutions like ed medications or personal lubricant.
Talk about the unsexy things
It’s important to be sure you and your partner are on the same page about safe sex, especially if the relationship is new. If you have an STI, you should disclose that to your partner, and it’s always a good idea to get tested together if you have any suspicions. It’s also a good idea to discuss how committed – or monogamous – you want your relationship to be. Also, be sure to discuss your form of contraception, it’s reliability, and how open you are to the possibility of pregnancy. It’s totally unsexy, but having those conversations will likely improve intimacy with your partner by giving you a clearer understanding of your relationship and desires.
Healthy communication is critical for almost all areas of a relationship. By normalizing communication about sexual desires in relationships, we open the doors to increased pleasure and connection with our lovers. Communication about desires should be an ongoing practice, not just a one-time event, as great sex requires some effort and ongoing maintenance. Our preferences, bodies, and desires change, but most want to be sure they’re giving their lovers their best (and receiving all they lust for), and mastering how to talk about sex is the way to get there.