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Sex Talk: How to Tell Your Partner What You Want

A young couple cuddling on the sofa admiring their pet cat.

We all know that communication is important in relationships, but many of us find it difficult to tell our partners what we want in bed. Even if we trust and love our partners completely, sex talk can be a bit… daunting. However, for the sake of your sexual health and pleasure, you need to get the conversation flowing!

Sexual communication deepens the bond between you and your partner and allows you to get the most out of intimacy. There’s said to be a link between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction in women. Plus, developing communication around sex allows us to have open and honest discussions in the rest of the relationship.

How to bring up sex in relationships

Two aproned women engaged in a sex talk, sharing stories and laughter.

Our partners aren’t psychic, and we need to tell them what we want in bed! So, how can we do this? Let’s look at how to bring up sex in relationships in a supportive and open way.

Know what you want

Our first tip on sexual communication is to know what you want. Sex is an ongoing journey, and we are constantly discovering more about our likes and dislikes every time we have sex with someone.

Before you open up sex talk with your partner, spend time reflecting on what you want from sex. Have a think about your past sexual experiences and identify what made you feel good and what you weren’t so keen on. Remember, foreplay and afterplay are just as important to sex than the actual act. Do you like cuddles after sex? Do you enjoy dirty talk beforehand?

Exploring sex on your own through masturbation is also a great way of getting to know your body and what makes it tick. Take time to touch different parts of your body and allow your senses to guide you.

When to talk about sex

A young couple gazing into each other's eyes while sitting on the floor. Love and connection in their eyes.

Okay, now you know what you want from sex; it is time to talk to your partner about it! But when do you bring it up? It may feel natural to talk about sex straight after the act, kind of like a post-match football analysis, but guess what – sex isn’t football. After sex, we always feel pretty vulnerable, and sex talks may be a little bit fraught.

We recommend having conversations about sex outside of the bedroom at first. Pick a neutral and relaxed place where you and your partner can have a good chat. Oh, and don’t bring it up out of the blue. Ask your partner if you can schedule a time for your sex talk beforehand.

Don’t complain

When opening up the conversation, make sure you are not complaining about their sexual abilities and NEVER compare them negatively to past partners. That is a surefire way to get dumped fast…

Use ‘I’ sentences and avoid words like ‘always’ and ‘never,’ as these words can make your partner feel attacked.

However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t bring up things that your partner does that you do not like. You may worry that your partner will get offended when you tell them that, actually, you don’t like your ears nibbled in sex. However, they will probably be grateful to know! They want to pleasure you, right?!

If you do ask your partner to stop doing something, make sure you follow it up with something you do like them doing. This will make them feel less vulnerable. Simply say something like, ‘I am not that keen on ear nibbling, but I love those sensual kisses along my neck you do; it really drives me wild!

Start slow

Two women with vibrant blue hair sitting comfortably on a cozy bed, sharing a moment of laughter and love.

Just like actual sex, it is helpful to start sex talk slowly. Begin with asking basic questions about sex to get the conversation flowing, such as:

  • What is your favorite position?
  • When do you like having sex the most?
  • What is your favorite thing about foreplay?
  • What excites you the most in sex?

Be honest

Once you are talking about your sexual relationship, make sure you are being honest and direct about your wants and desires. Include a lot of positivity in this – tell them what they do that you love, and emphasize the things that they are doing right.

Then, you can explore your wants together. Ask them questions about what they want to try out in the bedroom and what they need more of. Be open to their fantasies, as it may be difficult for them to tell you! Share your thoughts and feelings with them. Oh, and be specific. Show them where you like to be touched and when!

Talk about safe sex

A couple sitting on a couch, touching each other's faces.

Talking about sexual health is just as important as talking about sexual desires. Whether you are in a new relationship or a long-term partnership, it is essential to have open and regular discussions about sexual health.

Being on the same page about contraception allows you to enjoy sex together. Are you and your partner both happy about the contraception you are using? Do you want to explore different forms of contraception together?

If you are someone who can take the pill, there should be no pressure on you to do so. Sometimes, our bodies simply don’t gel with certain hormonal contraceptives! Keep the conversation flowing and find the contraception that works for both of you.

If you and your partner haven’t discussed STI tests, gently bring it up in conversation. Ask them when their last STI test was and if it might be useful to get tested. If you and your partner are non-monogamous, getting regular STI tests is important to protect both of you.

Remember, asking your partner about STIs does not mean you are accusing them of anything. Instead, it shows them that you care about their health.

What about sexual fantasies?

A couple lounging on a sofa, engrossed in their phones.

Sexual fantasies are totally normal, with many of us having sexual ideas that are not that vanilla. Psychologist Justin Lehmiller interviewed more than 4,000 Americans about their fantasies and found that 93% of women and 81% were interested in BDSM, and this is just one of the many sexual fantasies people have!

However, there is still something pretty taboo about it all. We rarely want to discuss our sexual kinks, or worse, we feel laughed at about it all. Sexual fantasies often appear as a punchline to a joke – something that only weird people have.

But sexual fantasies are normal, and you can discuss them with your partner to enhance your sexual connection!

Open up the conversation slowly

A cozy scene with a couple sitting on a couch by a fireplace, enjoying each other's company.

If you say ‘I’d like you to tie me up and whip me,’ or ‘I would love to role play as a doctor in the bedroom for you’ out of the blue, it could be a little bit daunting for your partner.

Instead, bring up the idea of sexual fantasies and tell them you have always had some. If they are receptive, go into your sexual ideas and what you want to try out. Tell them about your fantasies that turn you on, and give examples!

Remember to never pressure your partner into sexual fantasies. If they seem hesitant to discuss the ideas, give them time to think about it and don’t push the subject.

Try an online sex questionnaire for couples

If you and your partner want to talk about sexual fantasies but find it difficult to, there are some fantastic online tools to get the conversation flowing. We Should Try It is an online sex questionnaire for couples. You and your partner go through the questions and answer them. Then, the website shows you sexual fantasies that you are both open to and want to try out.

Doing this with your partner will allow you to find out what sexual fantasies you have in common. It may also bring up new sexual ideas for you and your partner to try out!

Write an erotic letter

A woman engrossed in writing, sitting comfortably on a couch with a notebook in hand.

Writing an erotic letter to your partner is a great way to explore sexual fantasies without actually doing them. If you fantasize about roleplaying, you can create characters for you and your partner in the letter. Or, if there are some kinkier fantasies you have, writing them down allows you and your partner to see how you feel about them before incorporating them into your sex life.

Simply writing about your fantasies might be satisfying enough for you! It doesn’t mean you have to act on them – writing a letter is a fun way of getting to know and expressing your sexual desires.

Discuss your limits and safewords

If you want to bring fantasies and kink into your sex life, discussing limits and safewords is essential. Never go into kink without discussing it in detail beforehand. Both you and your partner need to feel safe to explore this side of yourself, and you must set out rules before acting on your fantasies.

Make sex talk a part of your routine

A cozy moment: two people lying in bed, their hands gently intertwined, expressing love and intimacy.

Sex talk does not just happen once in a healthy and satisfying relationship. It is important to keep checking in on your partner and having these open and honest discussions. Sexual desires and libidos change over time, and making sure you carry on having these sex talks allows you to carry on exploring and having fun with your partner.

Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.


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