Talking about Sex

Being comfortable talking about sex is a rare skill. It is generally not learned in school or in the home. Sex is such a taboo subject that it may be hard to push through the thick cloak of shame or awkwardness surrounding it. Not communicating about sex, however, can put both your health and your enjoyment at risk. Here are some things you need to be able to talk about to have healthy, safe, and enjoyable sex.

Safe Sex Talk

Before you begin to be sexual with a new lover, make sure you talk about your recent sexual history and any precautions that may be needed to keep sex between you safe. This will enable you to make good decisions about how you proceed sexually. It is important that both partners understand how sexual diseases are transmitted and how transmission can be prevented. It is also important to assess the degree of risk that either of you may unknowingly have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Here are some of the topics covered in a good safe sex discussion:

• Do you have any STDs that you are aware of?

• Have you recently been tested for STDs?

• Which infections were you tested for and when?

• What sexual activity have you had since your last testing?

• Were bodily fluids exchanged in that activity?

• What protections do you want to employ in sex with this partner?

• What sexual activities do you want to rule out, for safety's sake?

Always keep in mind that ensuring your sexual health is your own responsibility. Even covering these topics will not ensure that your partner has been completely open or accurate in his or her responses. The risks are particularly high with new sexual partners, with whom you may not have had time to develop trust. If you want to stay healthy, make sure you are fully informed about the most current information on safe sex and that you always protect yourself.

Fact

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids—semen, blood, saliva—during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual activity. It is possible to have an STD and have no symptoms. You or your lover could be unaware that you have an infection.

Satisfying Preconditions

Everyone has preconditions for sex. Your preconditions are the conditions you need to have in place before you can be fully open to a sexual interaction. They include things like being with the right person, being in an appropriate relationship, being well-rested, being relaxed, feeling emotionally connected, and having sufficient privacy. Everyone has his own personal set of preconditions. Some people have a short list; they are ready for almost anything, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. Others may have a longer list and need many more conditions to be in place to feel comfortable engaging in a sexual encounter. No one's list is wrong. Your preconditions are simply an honest personal account of what conditions allow you to feel comfortable entering into sexual activity.

Knowing your preconditions for sex and having them satisfied makes sex and orgasms much more satisfying. Thus, letting your partner know about your preconditions can improve your sexual relationship. When you work together to make sure both partners’ preconditions are met, then sex can proceed easily. Communication about preconditions can help you avoid the power struggle that often develops when one person is ready for sex and the other is not.

Saying What You Want

In order for you to have your sexual wishes fulfilled, you will need to be able to say what you want. This requires knowing what you want and having the confidence to ask for it. Sometimes you might not be sure what you want. The self-pleasuring exercises in Chapter 5 are helpful for those who want to learn more about themselves prior to bringing on a partner. But it is also possible to explore the possibilities together. Consider asking your partner to help you explore what feels good. Agree that it is okay to just experiment and learn what each of you likes.

Alert

Perhaps you know exactly what you want, but you are scared to ask for it. You may be uncertain how your lover will respond to your desires. If this is the case, you may need to share your vulnerable feelings first and request that your partner be sensitive to your feelings around you desires.

Sharing wants and longings can make you feel vulnerable, but it is the way to having them satisfied. Once it is clear that you need your partner to be sensitive to the desires you are about to express, it may be easier to speak them.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback is an art, and can take a great deal of practice. It is essential to learn this art in order to get the most out of your sexual encounters. In general, it is best when feedback is delivered clearly and sensitively, but not overly so. Complaining, blaming, and shaming never go over well. It works much better to ask clearly for what you do want, rather than telling your partner what she is doing wrong.

One formula for giving feedback is to sandwich what you would like to be different in some way between two things you enjoy how your lover does already. For example, “I really like the pressure you're using on my clitoris right now. Could you slow it down a little bit? That's the perfect amount of lube too.” This would probably be better received than: “Whoa! Could you slow it down already! That's way too fast!” It is important to work with your lover to determine how each of you likes to receive feedback and tailor it to your individual needs.

Essential

When giving feedback, make sure it comes out as a request, not a demand. Your lover doesn't want to feel like he is being ordered around when he is only trying to please you. If you want your lover to keep trying to please you, then be gracious with your feedback.

Receiving feedback can be tricky too. But it is definitely something you want to encourage in your relationship. The more feedback your lover gives you, the better lover you can be for him. Consider thanking your lover for feedback, even when it is negative or poorly delivered. Then adjust or modify what you are doing. Finally, check in with your partner to see if your adjustment improved his experience.

Above all, try not to get defensive. Defensiveness is likely to inhibit your lover from giving you feedback in the future. Ultimately this will undermine your ability to be a good lover. It may even make your partner less interested in sex with you. Remember that it may be difficult for your partner to give feedback, particularly if he is not skilled in the art. He needs your patience and compassion, not your wounded pride.

  1. Home
  2. Orgasms
  3. Harmonizing with Your Lover
  4. Talking about Sex
Visit other About.com sites: