Even if you can talk to your guy about anything, when it comes to sex, you may find yourself a little embarrassed and tongue-tied (sound familiar?). After all, asking for what you want in the bedroom can seem downright frightening, especially if you don’t know how it will be received.
We often find ourselves stuck in sexual ruts not because we don’t know what we want, but because we don’t know how to ask for it. However, talking about sex doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable. And it’s about way more than getting comfortable with dirty language.
Break Down Barriers—with Words
It’s not uncommon for one partner in a relationship to hit the ‘sexual brake’ when it comes to openly talking about sex all together. This can be especially true for women, who may feel ashamed of their sexuality, or afraid of communicating imperfectly, she says.
In this situation, the first step is to talk it out. Start with a simple question: What are you afraid will happen if you talk about sex? Speaking your fears about what’s holding you back in the first place can help you make progress. (Once you say them out loud to your partner, they may not seem so scary or absurd after all.) Plus, the very things preventing the communication from working are inevitably barriers to sexual pleasure.
Time and Place Matter
Many couples assume that all topics are best addressed right as they pop up. And while this may apply when it comes to dirty dishes, it’s not so true in regards to sex. Pick your moments wisely. And remember, no matter the subject of the sex talk, any bedroom-related discussions should take place as far from the bedroom as possible, in a neutral setting like the kitchen or living room. They should never, ever happen directly before, directly after, or during sex!
A non-sexual, no-pressure context is especially key when it comes to talking about something new you may be interested in trying. Bring up that conversation with a disclaimer like, “There’s something I’d like to try and I’m concerned how you might react. I’d like to just talk about it, with no pressure.” And if you’re on the receiving end of this dialogue, don’t immediately shut down the conversation. It might be that in the context with a partner you really trust, you can think of a way that it can work for you. If it does, you’ve found something new and exciting. Your initial reaction isn’t necessarily it.
Communication Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Talking
When it comes to talking during the act itself, it’s totally okay to communicate without words, as long as there is clarity. While some people feel totally comfortable saying ‘harder’, ‘faster’, or using genital words, there are other effective communications systems too. Whether that’s coming up with a number system (i.e. “If I say ‘nine’ don’t stop”) or a red light, yellow light, green light system, the key is to have a discussion in advance.
Don’t feel like you need to have it all figured out right away, either—you’ll figure out your ideal mode of communication over time. Ideally, it shouldn’t take long for your partner to learn the difference between your ‘I’m really into this’ sigh and your ‘I’m bored’ sigh.
Keep It Positive
No matter how honest your relationship may be, sex is and always will be a touchy subject. So while you shouldn’t sugarcoat your feelings, remember to accentuate the positive. Place the emphasis on what your partner is doing right. Keep the conversation non-accusatory by sticking with ‘I’ statements instead of ‘You’ statements (i.e. ‘I think it would be really sexy if you tried going down on me’ versus, ‘You never go down on me’).”