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How to make talking about sex easier

couple using tin can telephones to communicate: how to make talking about sex with your partner easier

It’s easy to have a conversation with our partner about things going on in each other’s lives, but when it comes to sex, we often struggle to know what to say or how to express our true feelings; especially if things aren’t going that well in this department or if you’re shy!

Most couples have a wonderful, well-practiced way of avoiding this conversation. And very few of us have ever actually been taught the language of sex and how to converse with one another. Research has found that couples who talk about sex are actually having more satisfying sex, so follow these useful tips to increase the conversation:

Choose your time and place

Don’t bring up a sexual concern when you’re on your way to a family lunch or before fetching the kids. Agree in advance that you need to chat about sex. Remember to let your partner know how important this is to you and to respect your partner if they say this too. Make ground rules if you have to.

If you want to ask your partner to do something differently during sex, ask gently, seductively and encouragingly. Tell them in the same way you’d like to be told. And if you’re partner guides you, remember it’s not personal; they simply know what is working for them and want you to know too.

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Try reminiscing 

Want to relax a bit and ease into the conversation about sex? Start by reminiscing about a sexual experience you found particularly fun, adventurous or fulfilling. If you are struggling to think of such an experience, rather discuss small gestures that your partner does that you like, such as a hug at the end of the day or a morning kiss.

Never compare

Avoid comparisons to any previous experiences. Nothing can ever be gained from this approach. Don’t compare yourself to what you were both like when you first met if you have been together a long time. After many years together, you have grown and changed as people and so it will not be helpful to compare yourselves to what you once were – remember, it’s about defining “a new normal”.

sign reading let's talk about sex: how to make talking about sex with your partner easier

Start kissing

We often forget how important the basics are, so before you start talking, spend 5 minutes just kissing each other. Many couples forget how important this is in their relationship. This will help you relax and ‘break the ice’. When we kiss, our feel-good hormones elevate, stress hormones decrease, and our bond is strengthened.

Focus on positives, not negatives

It’s much better to focus on the positive and help them understand how those work for you and turn you on. If you like it when your partner uses their hands to bring you pleasure, then tell them! Explaining what they are not good at is not productive and helpful. Rather guide them – tell them exactly what you need more of (more tongue, more softness, a little to the left etc.) rather than dismissing them.

Start slow

Telling each other one thing that you like in the bedroom is a great way to start up conversation. You don’t have to spell out all your fantasies and desires immediately. You could each take a turn saying the following and mirroring back (without questioning) something like, “I really love it when you… but I don’t like it as much when you…”

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Let go of embarrassment

You need to let go of embarrassment but it’s okay if you feel it! Sex is not an easy topic for people, so you may feel awkward talking to your partner about it. It’s ok to feel embarrassed, it’s ok to laugh about it and at yourselves. Be patient and know that it takes time to get comfortable. The more you talk about it, the more you’ll feel open and at ease, and from what research tells us, the more sex you’ll have.

Write it down

If you’re struggling to get the words out, why not write them down? A sexy text with one thing you really like that your partner does, or a sexy letter explaining what you’d like to try and how they are included can really spark desire in the relationship.

Catriona is an accredited clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, sexuality researcher & speaker. She is an expert in the field of sexual behaviour, intimacy, relationships and mental well-being, with a particular interest in helping people create or reestablish sexual intimacy and empowering women to embrace their sexuality. She has delivered her expertise across media, business and private platforms and is a globally recognised voice in the field of sex, pleasure and relationships. She runs a global practice online, consulting with clients from around the world, but has a practice in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, United Kingdom.