How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex: Tips For Better Sexual Connection

Couple having a comfortable conversation about their sexual relationship
Published on
July 21, 2023

Introduction: The Importance of Talking About Sex

Sex can be an awkward conversation to have, especially if you grew up in an environment where the topic was considered taboo or “wrong” to discuss. Even if you were raised in a household where sex was openly discussed, our culture is filled with sex-negative messaging that can make people feel uncomfortable when talking about it. However, it's crucial to talk to your partner about sex for a wide variety of reasons. These conversations help your partner(s) understand what works and doesn’t work for you, explore ways to enhance your sexual experience, discuss safe sex methods like birth control and STI testing, and define sexual limitations and boundaries. Open, non-judgmental, and curious discussions about sex can exponentially improve a person's sexual experience and connection with their partner. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, having these conversations can significantly enhance your overall sexual experience and that of your partner.

1. Setting Clear Goals

Before you start the conversation, consider your goals. Do you want to learn more about your partner’s desires or what pleases them? Are you hoping to help your partner understand how to better please you? Do you need to discuss the frequency of your sexual activities? Having a clear idea of what you want to talk about can boost your confidence and make the discussion more productive.

2. Staying on Track with Bullet Points

Create some bullet points for what you want to convey. You don’t need to write an essay, but having a few notes can help you stay focused and grounded. If you start to feel overwhelmed, you can refer back to your notes to keep the conversation on track.

  • List key points you want to discuss.
  • Keep notes concise and to the point.
  • Use the notes as a reference if you feel overwhelmed.

3. Practice the Conversation Out Loud

Saying certain sexual words or phrases can be uncomfortable for many people. By practicing out loud, you can desensitize yourself to these terms before discussing them with your partner. This preparation helps you feel more at ease and ensures the conversation flows more naturally when it happens.

4. Find the Right Time to Talk

Choose a moment that feels appropriate to discuss your sexual needs. Some may prefer a scheduled talk, while others might opt for a spontaneous conversation. If you don’t specifically plan it, find a way to hold yourself accountable. You can message your partner beforehand to set the stage, tell a friend to help keep you accountable, or schedule a date where you both can relax and connect. Setting an intention and giving yourself a deadline can ensure that the conversation takes place.

5. Initiate the Conversation

Start by talking about your own experiences and feelings. For example, you might say, "I've been thinking about our sex life lately and I noticed..." or "How have you been feeling about our sex life? I'm happy to start..." Another approach could be, "Remember last week when we did _____? I loved that and was thinking of other ways we could spice things up." These opening lines can make it easier for your partner to engage in the conversation.

6. Manage the Conversation

While you can’t control your partner’s reaction, you can manage your own response to guide future conversations. Avoid criticizing your partner’s preferences; stay neutral and ask questions to show you care. Validate their feelings before diving into questions to avoid seeming like you’re problem-solving their interests. For example, you might say, “Thanks for sharing that. I’d love to think about how we might incorporate that into our sex life. Is now a good time to discuss?” or “Okay, I hear that’s interesting to you. What about it do you find hot?” Another approach could be, “That’s been a fantasy of mine too! What do you find most appealing about it?” or “I understand you’d like to have sex more often. That feels challenging for me right now, but I want to explore this further with you.”

7. Use Prompts if Stuck

Consider using prompts to ease into the conversation. The Card Deck by Gottman is a free app with decks of intimacy questions, and physical decks of intimacy cards are also available online to help guide the discussion. These tools can take the pressure off and make it easier to ask potentially awkward questions, helping the conversation flow more smoothly.

Conclusion: The Benefits of Regular Conversations About Sex

The more often you practice having these conversations, the easier they will become. If it helps, schedule them on a bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly basis to ensure accountability in checking in with each other about your sexual connection. Regularly discussing your sexual needs and desires helps you both to practice this skill and grow together. If a conversation goes poorly, take a break. Sometimes stepping away and returning can help you reset and gain a new perspective. If you continue to feel gridlocked, consider seeking the help of a sex therapist. A professional can aid in processing the stuck points and help you both move forward.

Communication should enable you to feel more confident in your sexual connection and maintain a strong bond with your sexual self. While it might feel intimidating, remember that your partner likely wishes to talk about sex too. By opening up the conversation, you can enhance your intimacy and ensure a healthier, more fulfilling sexual relationship.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Subscribe to newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.