How to talk about sex with your partner
Let’s take a second to set the scene: You wake up thinking about a very specific bagel. You have a craving for lox, cream cheese and a sprinkling of onions, tomatoes, and capers. There’s nothing standing between you and getting the breakfast you want, expect you.
You get dressed in your most comfortable Sunday athleisure, walk to your favorite deli, and walk up to the cashier. You’re excited — what you want is just sitting right there. What would happen if you just stood there, looked the cashier in the eyes and said nothing?
The cashier cannot read your mind. They don’t know what you could possibly want. If you fail to place an order, you’ll end up standing there, silent and hungry. It’s pretty obvious — you can’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
It’s the same with sexual satisfaction.
Talking to your partner about your sexual desire, needs, and boundaries is imperative for a happy and healthy sex life, and for many, a happy and healthy relationship.
Learn to Advocate for What You Want
For some of us, asserting our needs, both in and out of the bedroom, is difficult. Sometimes, it’s easier to avoid conflict and go with the flow of what your partner wants. While being flexible is a helpful trait, you also deserve to have your needs met.
If advocating for your needs is hard for you, start by practicing outside of the bedroom. For example, if you can’t decide what show to watch on a random Tuesday evening, have a firm opinion. Practice saying, “what if we watched this instead?” Asserting yourself and setting the agenda for you and your partner in small ways can help you build momentum for advocating for yourself for things that are more important.
Understand Your Own Desires
Let’s think about the deli counter again. If you didn’t know what you wanted, how would you know what to order? An important aspect of talking about sex and getting your sexual needs met is knowing what you like, what you’re comfortable with, and what you’re not comfortable with. Experiment solo and with your partner, finding what works best for you.
Talking to Your Partner
We recommend having conversations about sex in a neutral area outside the bedroom. Before diving in, make sure your partner is in a proper headspace to engage meaningfully and with openness. Don’t blame your partner, and be sure to keep the tone positive and solution-oriented as you’re telling your partner what you like. Read more here about how to prioritize your sexual desire and have an orgasm every time.
Setting Sexual Boundaries
As you’re telling your partner what you like, it’s a perfect time to ask about what they like as well. It’s important to consider what they're saying and to be clear about what you’re willing to try, and what you’re not willing to try. If there’s something your partner wants to do that you're interested in, talk about the conditions necessary or decide how to proceed if you aren’t enjoying it. Ultimately, be comfortable saying no, just make sure you say no in a way that doesn’t leave your partner feeling exposed or vulnerable.
Respecting Your Partner's Boundaries
Safe sex is consensual sex, and consent is necessary for every aspect of your sexual act or relationship. If your partner is not interested or not willing to try something you want, it’s important you respect that. Do not pressure them and do not set an ultimatum. Knowing where your partner honestly stands is important so you can best manage your expectations. Having open, clear, and honest dialogue is a tenant of a strong and healthy sexual relationship. Being able to engage with your partner with transparency and care will enhance your partnership, both in and out of the bed.
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