How to Talk About Sex

Talking about sex isn’t always easy, whether you are in a committed relationship, entertaining different lovers or getting to know someone new. So how do we start the conversation? More broadly, how do we approach talking about our desires, kinks and boundaries to live a fulfilled and satisfying sex life?

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In no other area of our lives do we expect people to intuitively discern our likes and dislikes?

Talking about sex is harder than dirty talk. It is not simply a few words to heat things up; it is showing ourselves, risking our partners being hurt, thinking we have odd sexual preferences, or not wanting to sleep with us anymore. We might say something wrong. These are our fears talking. When opening up to someone, especially around this “shameful” topic, we feel like risking everything, because we have never learned otherwise.

May I ask: Do you yearn for amazing sex? Do you crave satisfaction to the point of everlasting ecstasy?

Then talk about your desires, your likes and dislikes, your thoughts and fantasies, your kinks and your boundaries. Everybody and every body is different. It is not about the one magical technique everyone needs to learn to always be good in bed. It is about telling the person you are fucking, sleeping with or making love to exactly how YOU like it. Knowing what you want is sexy, discussing it is courageous and everything but shameful.

Talking about sex creates connection and therefore makes the sex itself better. So, let’s cut to the chase:

7 Tips on How to Talk About Sex With Your (Sexual) Partner

1. Find Out What You Want

For a long time, I did not know what I wanted, or, at least, I thought I didn’t. How can you communicate something you don’t know? Make time for self-pleasure, and see what kind of touch you like on yourself. A soft stroke, scratching, strong grips? How fast or slow? Where do you want to be touched? Try different movements and see how it feels. It may help to write it down. You might also self-pleasure frequently to remember and explore further.

Whilst you are having sex, notice how your partner’s actions make you feel. Whether it’s arousal, excitement, a sense of dirtiness, ecstasy, or emotion, communicate your feelings—“I like what you are doing right now.” They will be pleased you told them, they will do it again, and you will remember what you like or dislike.

2. Be Honest and Upfront

In heterosexual relationships, societal stigmas can create challenges. For example, the idea that cis men are always horny, that they always make the first move and that their relationship with sex is simply “the more, the better.” It’s so straightforward that discussion isn’t necessary.

We have a lot of unlearning to do. From sexual anxiety to kinky fantasies, all things sex are OK to talk about with your (sexual) partner. Not only cis men struggle talking about sex, though; many women and non-binary folk are just as reserved. The best thing you can do to help your partner talk about sex is to be open and express yourself.

3. Lead the Way

If words are not your strong suit, you can gently guide your partner to your pleasure. There is no harm in physically showing them what you want. For instance, if you enjoy a firmer grip on your neck, gently guide their hand to the desired location. Non-verbal guidance, coupled with intense eye contact, can be incredibly arousing.

4. Embrace Trial and Error

Sexual preferences can be fluid; what arouses you today might change tomorrow. Even if you talk about sex and you know about your likes and dislikes, it is always good to practice trial and error. It allows for exploration and may reveal new desires or boundaries you did not know about. Discussing what you’d like to try next keeps your sex life playful, and open to new practices, ideas and moods—all while acknowledging that errors are part of the journey.

5. Start Small

Let your partner know that you would like to talk about sex and ask them when would be a good time. Don’t just lay it all out without a warning; that may be overwhelming. Ideally, you two would sit together in a private place where you both feel comfortable—not because the conversation is difficult, but because you want to feel free to explore, without other people listening. Let’s say you are into BDSM and you are afraid your (sexual) partner will be intimidated by that; you could begin by introducing it in an easy, non-threatening way, such as suggesting to tie their hands with a soft fabric. This will allow your partner to warm up to the idea. It also gives them a chance to say yes to the little things, before introducing the bigger requests. Even if you start small, be clear and upfront, do not just leave vague hints everywhere. They will lead to more confusion than any conversation.

6. Fantasy vs. Reality

Make sure to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Fantasies, when shared, can sometimes be misconstrued as genuine desires. For example, discussing a threesome might involve imagining you and your (sexual) partner inviting someone else into your bed. The thought of it turns you on. While this may be a stimulating thought, talking about it doesn’t necessarily translate to a desire to make it a reality. Often the best thing about a fantasy is that it’s simply that! Clarify the boundary between fantasy and reality to prevent any potential misunderstandings.

7. Be Open to the Response

We all have different triggers. For many, talking about sex can bring up insecurities, fear and shame. Our upbringing and social conditioning differ, contributing to varying perspectives on sexuality. It’s common to harbour concerns that discussing sex implies something is wrong. Human sexuality is complicated, irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation. That makes it even more important to encourage a direct and loving conversation. Regardless of your desires and boundaries, they deserve to be heard. Be receptive and remain open to your partner’s response when engaging in discussions about sex.

Finally, remember that any conversation is better than none. You can start by talking about sex in general before delving into specifics about your own sex life. If you need something to discuss, watch some of our movies here on CHEEX.

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