Tight-lipped about your sexual desires? You’re not the only one. Despite the majority of us being sexually active, it seems we can be a little reluctant to talk through what happens (or what doesn’t happen) in the bedroom.
Results from this survey, suggest that using sex toys, bondage and BDSM, multiple partner sex and watching porn are all amongst the top ten fantasies we struggle to talk about with our partners. Two out of five of us are hesitant to spill the beans when something turns us off, and on average, men are twice as likely to worry about their partner’s reaction when discussing their own sexual fantasies.
But here’s the thing, our global Sex Maps indicate that we’re more sexually awakened than we’ve ever been, and there’s no reason to keep those erotic thoughts under wraps - so, let’s get talking!
According to almost every qualified sex therapist out there (believe us, we’ve spoken to a few!), communicating our sexual desires and deep-rooted fantasies is the very key to leading a more fulfilled and happier sex life. Although, for some, initiating that conversation just doesn’t come so naturally.
If you’re struggling to find the right time, place or words to get the ball rolling, we’ve put together our top tips for talking all things sex.
Understand your own sexual desires
Understanding our own erotic thoughts and feelings can help shape our intimate connections and sexual happiness. Many of us find it difficult to talk openly about our fantasies particularly if our more erotic kinks are considered taboo.
We sometimes attach shame to our sexual desires, and allow fear to hold us back from thoroughly enjoying some of our biggest turn-ons. This is exactly why it’s so important to understand our own feelings.
Before initiating the conversation, take time to think about what your fantasies are and what they might mean. Are these erotic thoughts new to you? Are they ones you’d like to act out in real life? Are your desires inspired by past experiences or simply a calling to experiment more?
Whichever it is, be at ease with your own sexual fantasies before inviting your partner in to discuss them.
Choose the right time
In some instances, timing really is everything. As with most difficult-to-navigate conversations, there will be a right time, place and way to communicate your sexual desires with your partner.
The more relaxed you both are, the easier the conversation will flow and ultimately, be more advantageous to both of you.
You might think that the ‘perfect moment’ would be during, before or after sex, but many sex therapists advise taking the conversation outside of the bedroom.
Talking in the heat of the moment is more likely to raise concerns of inadequacy, leave you or your partner feeling vulnerable or raise questions about sexual performance.
Instead, we’d suggest casually bringing up the conversation in a more relaxed but less sexual environment. If your partner is a sensitive person by nature, it may be good to give some notice prior by suggesting a time and place to talk things through.
Initiate the conversation
So, you’ve got the time element sorted, but how do you initiate the conversation? Communicating openly about our sexual desires and fantasies can seem daunting, but there are plenty of ways to get the ball rolling without subjecting yourself (or your partner) to feeling any pressure.
If you’re both partial to a glass of wine over a movie, perhaps you could choose something erotic to watch together?
Even something as simple as this is often enough to trigger a light conversation about your own sexual fantasies. (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?!)
Playing a game together can also be a good conversation starter. From board games, to sexy snap cards and foreplay dice, there’s plenty to play with available online. Of course, if you’re both pretty open in general, you can just strum up the conversation if you’re feeling confident enough.
Be clear and confident
Talking about your sexual needs and desires is unlikely to gain you any pay-off if you aren’t prepared to be clear and specific.
Casually suggesting that you’d like to try something new or different in the bedroom could leave you and your lover both feeling frustrated.
Instead, take time to describe your fantasies, explain to your partner whether they’re ones you’d like to reenact in the bedroom, or simply ones you like to play with in your mind during the throes of passion.
The more you can give, the more you will get back. Do you want it rougher, softer, slower? Are you fantasising of bondage, power play or introducing a third into your sexual relationship? Maybe it’s simply a case of wanting more or less intimacy. Either way, you’ll need to be specific so your lover understands exactly what it is you’re trying to communicate.
Sometimes the conversation requires more than just a talk between the two of you. For those instances, an expert opinion may help.
Be affirming, not critical
There are two ways to approach a conversation about sex and intimacy - the first is to focus too much on the negative and the second, is to laden your lover with affirmations of what feels good.
Remember, that sex is a deeply personal act of intimacy and even if your conversation doesn’t elude to performance, it can still be all too easy to feel threatened, or inadequate when the topic is raised.
Take time to be affirming and ensure your language isn’t coming across as critical. Phrases such as “I love when you do that” and “I’d really like for us to try [something] together” are likely to initiate a more positive reaction. Words of affirmation can empower your lover, instilling more confidence to try out the fantasies you’ve described.
Let your lover in
Remember, that most often sexual intimacy is an act between two. Asking your partner about their own sexual expectations, desires and fantasies is just as critically important as divulging in your own ones.
It may be that you both share the same or similar fantasies or that your partner has others they too, would like to explore.
Always show a curiosity for what may or may not turn them on, discuss their boundaries and desires and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on what you’ve already tried that may or may not feel good for them. One of the key ingredients to a healthy sexual relationship is having an eagerness to continually learn about one another together.
Let your partner talk as openly as you wish to, and the conversation and end results will be much more fulfilling for both of you.
Don't fear rejection
The reality is, we’re all different and with that, comes a varying range of fantasies, kinks and sexual desires.
No matter how closely connected you and your partner may seem, it’s perfectly normal to stumble across some discrepancies in sexual taste.
It may be that one of you is kinkier than the other, or that one of you is more conservative about your approach to sex and intimacy.
Some fantasies and sexual desires may overstep boundaries for your lover, even when they seem particularly appeaing to yourself. Keep this in mind and don’t fear rejection when initiating a conversation about your sexual relationship. It may be that your partner isn’t willing to try or discuss something you want - understanding why this is will determine if you should leave the conversation there.
If your partner hasn’t shut down your suggestion, but seems apprehensive, it may be worth gearing the conversation around how you can both begin to experiment in a way that first seems less intense.
Of course, not all conversations around sex and intimacy can be easily resolved between just two people. Sometimes, more complex matters may initiate your need to talk.
Certain issues like mental health and anxiety, physical health and well-being, natural life changes such as the menopause, or other sex-related problems including conflicitng libidos, erectile dysfunction and much more, may require an expert opinion.
So remember, while conversing with your partner is a great way to improve your sex life, it can also be a good idea to talk to others too.