How to Talk To Your Partner About Sex

Communicate to your partner

True intimacy is a delicate dance that relies on the two partners being willing to be vulnerable with each other.

From the rhythm of this intimacy, a great sex life can emerge. But when we shy away from expressing our desires or yearning for the pinnacle of pleasure, we rob ourselves and our partners of the ultimate dance of ecstasy—our erotic connection.

Honest communication about sex can feel like dancing with two left feet, making it one of the trickiest and awkward tunes to groove to. Many of us have yet to engage in a sincere heart-to-heart with our partners about our intimate choreography. Yet, if you're here, contemplating the start of your intimate dialogue, you’re displaying remarkable courage and trust. You’re ready to take a step closer to building your dream life.


Navigating the Emotional Labyrinth of Sex Talks

Imagine you're in a maze with walls made of psychological hurdles and with each turn leading you deeper into the subject of sex. Likely, this maze is no stroll in the park.

Your first guiding steps into this labyrinth probably came when your parents talked to you about sex, and chances are, it was an embarrassing and awkward conversation. Society doesn’t offer much help either, with the media’s glaring absence of honest, intimate conversations about desire, ever-evolving needs, and pleasure. Hollywood, instead, promotes the myth of telepathic lovers, effortlessly understanding each other's needs without uttering a single word.

Exploring deeper into the maze, we turn a corner to reach a place where discussing sex involves baring our most raw selves, and potentially coming up against our buried traumas. This is an area fraught with emotional flux and heightened sensitivity, with emotional shields raised high. As Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist and research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, puts it:

You are much more vulnerable talking about sex than doing it.

Then we enter the stress zone, where talking about sex shifts our mental gears into a state of anxiety. We feel as if we’re walking on a tightrope, apprehensive about how our revelations might be received, or what secrets might tumble from our partner’s lips.

The statistics echo this struggle in the maze of sex talk. A Natsal survey conducted in the UK reveals a telling truth:

64% of men and 74% of women find it challenging to navigate conversations about sex.

The Benefits of Sex Talk

Sex talk

So why should we even put ourselves through this scary-sounding maze of sexual communication?

Firstly, it significantly enhances your sexual satisfaction. By openly expressing your desires and needs, you guide your partner to understand what brings you pleasure, leading to a more fulfilling sex life. Science proves it: people who talk about their sex lives tend to have great sex lives.

Secondly, such conversations cultivate deeper trust and understanding within your relationship. They reduce misunderstandings, replace assumptions with facts, and open doors to profound intimacy. This honest exchange can lead to a connection that is not only passionate but also deeply considerate.

Additionally, sex talks help address your sexual concerns and provide a sense of relief and assurance. By sharing your fears and doubts, you give your partner a chance to provide comfort and support. This fosters mutual trust, affirming your bond and strengthening your relationship.

We all want to make the most of these benefits of sex talk to enrich our relationships and get the sex lives we deserve. So here, we have pulled together the best tips and tricks for sparking these conversations, elevating them, and making sure they work out the best they can for your relationship. 


Practice Sex Talks

The journey to articulating your sexual desires to your partner starts with a single step: becoming at ease with the topic yourself. It’s a two-part harmony. The practical verse involves enriching your sex vocabulary and finding the right words and phrases to voice your feelings. The emotional chorus, on the other hand, involves noticing your reactions, especially the blushes of embarrassment and guilt.

You can start with small rehearsals. Put yourself on the stage: rehearse your sex lines out loud before the mirror or capture your performance on video before talking to your sexual partners. If you have close friends, engaging in candid talks about your sexual experience can be an enriching practice, helping you grow more fluent in expressing your intimate thoughts.


Initiate Conversations Early in Your Relationship

Initiate a conversation

The most effective strategy for growing great sex communication is to begin these important discussions well before intimacy enters the scene. By doing so, you can identify if your partner possesses a “growth mindset” towards sex. This means they view it as an area of shared exploration and continual learning, rather than a predetermined script.

But don’t worry if you’re already too far down the line for this—the next tips will help you get on top of your sex talk no matter where you are in your relationship. 


Appreciation and Compliments

The key to unlocking your sex talk? Begin with a chorus of compliments, praise, and appreciation. Let these encouraging words serve as a gentle introduction, helping both you and your partner find your rhythm in the sex conversation and boosting your partner’s confidence as a lover.

Perhaps after a steamy encounter, you could say:

 You’re such an amazing lover. I really cherish our connection.

Feel free to compliment specifics—maybe it was their passionate kisses or the way they caressed you that kindled your desire. A phrase like:

I absolutely loved our foreplay: your fiery kisses and the way you touched me—it drove me wild

goes a long way.

You could also take a stroll down memory lane, bringing up your favourite intimate moments and further emphasising the positive intimate experiences you’ve shared.

Related: 10 Things Intimate Couples Do


Show and Tell 

Sex conversation.png

Unlike other sex conversations, this one does happen in the bedroom in real time, turning a hot foreplay session into a learning experience. Picture this: you’re unsatisfied because your partner rushes straight to penetration right after the first kiss, leaving little room for foreplay and little time for your desire to awaken. So, how about turning the tables?

During your next romantic exchange, seize the moment to guide your partner. Plant slow, sensual kisses on their neck. Tease them over their underwear or engage in unhurried oral with plenty of eye contact. Then gently say:

Exploring me like this before we get to the main course would really fire me up. 

Show and tell becomes an experiential way to communicate, allowing your partner to get a sense of the kind of intimacy you crave first-hand.


The “Let's Make Our Sex Life Even Better” Conversation

Once you’ve set the stage with positive vibes, it’s time for the main event—start up a conversation proposing to improve your sex life and try new techniques, positions, and fantasies. Just make sure you frame this suggestion as an exciting enhancement to your fulfilling lovemaking, rather than a fix for something off-key.

You could approach it like this:

You’re such a fantastic lover. Our intimate moments always lead to real peaks of pleasure. Do you think there’s space to enhance our sex even more? Try new things? 

Then, lend an ear to your partner’s thoughts before sharing your own.


Educate to Elevate for a Healthy Relationship

Continue your sex dialogue and expand your sex horizons from a standpoint of knowledge by sharing enlightening podcasts, interesting Instagram posts, or stories from friends. Books, podcasts, or social media accounts from trustworthy sex educators can equip you with fresh ideas to explore in your intimate dialogues.

You could also consider creating a new “educational” ritual: delve into your favourite sex resources at least weekly, sparking insightful exchanges with your partner. Better yet, co-explore—watch, listen, and let the shared journey ignite captivating discussions.

Related: 15 Foreplay Tips For Better Sex


Your Wildest Dreams

Conversation about sex

Many of us harbour secret desires or unexplored fantasies we’ve not yet dared to share with a partner or bring to life. Speaking about your “Sex Bucket List” can open up a thrilling opportunity to reveal your fantasies and get creative with your intimate partner.

Spark off the conversation with something like:

"Ever thought about a new idea you’d love to try?” or “You know, there's something that's always been an exciting thought for me...”.

Or turn it into a playful game. Write down your top three most enticing fantasies and swap notes. Some of the common list-toppers are trying out sex toys, role-playing, and adding an element of novelty or adventure.


Sexual Check-ins

conversing about your sex life

Picture this: conversing about your sex life with the same casual ease as deciding on a dinner venue or planning your next holiday. With open-hearted dialogue and the right mindset, you can paint a masterpiece of your intimate life. Key to this is understanding what aspects of your sexual relationship are working, and what might need a touch-up. “Sexual check-ins” are perfect to keep the conversation flowing.

Fancy opening up your first check-in session? The following questions are a good starting point:

  • What are you enjoying about our sex life right now?
  • What turns you on before and during sex?
  • What’ve been your favourite moments from our sex life?
  • What would an epic love life look like for you? What would you like to see more of in our sex life?
  • What's something new you’d like to try?

    Redefining Feedback: A Fresh Approach

    Once you embark on this journey of candid sexual dialogue, you will find yourself needing to share lots of thoughts on intimacy with your partner, like how certain things they do affect your arousal, or your ideal sexual frequency. Instead of reflecting on the past and critiquing actions already done, why not try “feedforward”, a technique used by executive coaches. This method encourages focusing on the pleasures of the future. To test it out, start a conversation using the following openings:

    • “Imagine how much steamier our sex could be if we…”
    • “One hot idea for the future is…”
    • “It'd be even sexier if we…”
    • “I think it would be so hot if you…”

    These phrases shift the focus towards a promising, pleasure-filled future. To add a dash of spice, sprinkle in some compliments and gratitude, like:

    Our physical connection is intoxicating; I can barely keep my hands off you the moment we’re home. Wouldn't it be even sexier if we began with a slow build-up, teasing each other with a gentle round of oral pleasure? 


    Words: Rules for Talking

    Sexual conversation

    Once you’ve got those intimate conversations flowing, bear in mind the following “rules for talking” to keep things fun and supportive:

    • Share your appreciation that you have such a mature relationship where you can talk openly about sex.
    • Only talk about one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm each other with too many different topics.
    • Focus on your feelings rather than the actions of your partner: use “I feel” as much as you can.
    • Use “we” and “us” to show that this is your journey and you’re in this together.
    • Avoid words like “you”, “never”, “always” as they might sound more accusatory than supportive.

      Timing: When to Talk About Sex

      When we have conversations can be as important as what we say—everyone has good and bad moments. 

      • Never when one of you is “HALT”: hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
      • Don’t talk about sex right before or after sex. Make sure there’s a time buffer.
      • Make your intimate conversations regular and you’ll create a culture of open communication about sex.
      • Never in the bedroom: the bedroom is your sacred space for sleeping and sex.

        Tone: How to Talk About Sex 

        sexual conversation

        Striking the right tone in sexual conversations is crucial to carry over the right tone to the bedroom.

        • Always keep it positive: use appreciative words, tone, and body language.
        • Frame your suggestions as “things to explore” or that would be “nice to try” rather than a complaint.
        • Listen to your partner, rephrase what you heard, and ask follow up questions. Be curious.
        • Keep the conversation judgement-free.
        • Speak from a place of love and mutual respect.
        • Pay only sincere compliments.

          Sex Therapy to Enable Healing 

          In some partnerships, unspoken past issues can make it challenging to talk frankly about sex, or indeed any part of the relationship. If someone is weighed down by emotional trauma or unaddressed resentment, and the conversation quickly spirals into blame, criticism, or defensive reactions, it might be time to consider therapy. A sex therapist can guide you through these issues, enabling healthier communication patterns about sex and relationship concerns.


          A Word from For Play

          Emily Morse, a renowned American sex therapist, once quipped:

          Communication is lubrication.

          This statement resonates with us profoundly here at For Play. To reinforce your intimacy and enhance your sexual relationship: start conversations about sex, your sex drive, desire, needs, and sexual issues.

          By initiating conversations about sex with an appreciative tone, you make the subject feel more ordinary, like talking about food or fitness. It’s not just a way to normalise these talks—it’s a playful form of flirtation, a creative way to communicate what you find most enjoyable, and what you’d love to experience again.

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