Despite how much advertisements tend to sexualize everything and everyone, in general, there is still a huge taboo around sex. No wonder we find it so hard to talk openly and directly about it!
Unfortunately, we’re not Gelfling who can just dreamfast to show each other our best sexual experiences, and there’s no gold standard strategy that works for everyone.
We have to communicate what we want one way or another, and sometimes the best way to do that is to, in the words of the great Dan Savage, USE YOUR WORDS.
It can be really intimidating to actually use your voice and put words to feelings that you may never have had to describe before. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves or discourage our lovers. In the moment, it can feel like there’s a huge amount of pressure to just “know”. Speaking up and breaking that silence can be really empowering and can open up a whole new level of closeness (and satisfaction!) between you and whoever you’re fucking.
If you’d rather focus on non-verbal communication, or just want to round out your skills, you can check out the article I wrote a couple months ago about Body Language.
Why is it so scary?
Think of all the sex scenes you’ve seen on tv, in movies, or in books even. How many of them involved talking? Most of them will have a couple of sexy or romantic phrases and then the music takes over and you just see a montage of skin and movement. As sad as this realization is : real life does not have montages.
In order to talk to your partner(s), you have to break the scripts society has built up, wordless though they may be. Opening your mouth to speak opens you up to all sorts of possibilities, but we tend to focus on the ones we fear. We fear rejection and disappointment or in some way hurting those we care about. We fear ruining what we do have.
Why is it so exciting?
Speech allows us to communicate incredibly detailed and nuanced ideas. You can tell your partner not only what you want to do to them, or have them do to you, but also why you find it sexy! If they know why you like certain things, they might be able to come up with sexy ideas you haven’t even thought of yet that will turn you on!
Humans are incredibly complex, and each of us have a lifetime of experiences and memories that have all mashed together to form our sexuality. The more you share these memories and thoughts with your partner(s), the easier it will be for them to really make you scream!
Only you know how you feel until you choose to communicate it. Sharing that knowledge with your partner(s) is a great gift you can give them. They want to make you feel good and if you are able to guide them in that endeavor, you are helping them out in a big way!
Try not to demand that you get everything perfect and “right” the first time. Remember, there is a lot to know about any one person’s body. Sex is a process of discovery that can be really fun to explore. Orgasms are great but they aren’t the goal, or the “destination”. The best thing you can do is to approach sex without expectations and with an open heart and observant mind.
Tips and Tricks:
Of course, it’s all well and good to talk during sex, but how do you do it without sounding awkward or weird? I came up with a few tips to get you started!
Start with sounds
Talking at all during sex can be a huge hurdle. The best way to reach your goal is to start small. Get used to using your vocal cords during sex. Moan every time you love something. Gasp when you need to. It’s amazing how much you can communicate just with the tone of your “mmm”s. If you’re in an environment where you can scream and you want to, do it!
Once you’re comfortable with sounds, start working in positive affirmations like “Yes!”, “Right there!” and “Just like that!” Right at the moment they’re doing something you love. Reinforce the idea that talking is helpful and great. Whisper “more” in your partner’s ear. They’ll love to know that they’re doing the right thing. Just make sure you’re only saying these things when it does feel good or you risk training them to do the things you don’t want. Stay honest!
If your lover is almost but not quite doing the thing you want, using quick -er verbs à la Daft Punk can be a very sexy and easy way to tell them what you want. Faster, slower, harder, softer, higher, lower. One word directives are easy, minimally distracting and super sexy! Especially if you’re saying them with breathless urgency, or deep relaxation.
Want to explore a specific kink, fantasy or tone of play? Use keywords or phrases that instantly set the tone! For example, say you want to set up a power dynamic, you can say things like “Have I been bad?”, “I want to worship you.” or “Yes, sir/madam/master/mistress!”. Words and phrases can immediately evoke situations for role play that, if your partner is listening, should be able to be picked up on. This isn’t foolproof though. Sometimes exploring fantasies can be really scary, or stressful. It’s ok if they don’t pick up on your cues. You can always expand on it in the moment, or talk about it after for next time.
Tell a story
Maybe your partner isn’t comfortable jumping into role play, but still wants to know the fantasy. Describe it to them so they can visualize it. Create all the details and cater to all of your senses. Who is involved? What do they look like? What are they doing? How does it feel? What do you smell? What do you taste? Get into it and show them what’s so sexy about your fantasy. Chances are, even if they aren’t into that fantasy themselves, seeing and hearing how into it you are will be enough and might even lead to that role play!
Feeling safe and secure is the key to being more daring and dangerous in bed! Safewords, a word or phrase that you can say to signal immediately that you’ve had enough, are essential if you are dying to explore the kinkier sides of your sexuality, and can help in any situation really. Sometimes saying no or stop is hard, or confusing in the situation. Sometimes we want to be able to resist without our partner(s) actually stopping what they’re doing. A safeword grants you the freedom to resist to your heart’s content while your partner(s) play their sexy roles knowing that as soon as they hear “Banana”, it’s over.
It’s a good idea to choose a safe word that wouldn’t naturally come up. It’s also a good idea to choose a word that makes you feel safe, or silly, or good in some way; something that counteracts the reason for saying it in the first place. Or maybe your safe word is better to be something you still find sexy, but that signals a shift in mood or scene.
Whatever your safe word or words turn out to be, that is just one way we can keep ourselves safe.
Do you need to talk about contraception, STI prevention, or emotional triggers? Yes.
You don’t necessarily need to talk about that during sex, but it’s important to talk about these things before really getting down and dirty. It doesn’t have to be a huge conversation. It can be as simple as “let me get out my gloves!” Or “I have herpes but it’s not active right now. How do you want to go forward?”. Sexual transmission of all sorts of things is not only possible but common. Know where your comfort lies and maintain your boundaries!
If at any point you decide you’re not really into it anymore, tell them! You don’t have to wait until you’re suddenly in tears about it either. Even if you’re just a bit tired, or realized you’d rather start off with a nice cuddle, let them know.
You don’t need to apologize. It’s ok. You can say things like, “I think you’re really sexy and I definitely want to fuck your brains out, but not tonight. I’d really like to cuddle if you’re into it.” Or “I was hoping I’d have more energy when I invited you up, but I’m more tired than I thought I’d be. How are you feeling?”
What if I “kill the mood”?
One of the biggest concerns we have when it comes to talking during sex is that doing so will kill the mood.
However, the whole point of talking to your partner(s) is to make sure that you are giving yourselves the opportunity to have the best sex of your life.
You love what they’re doing but you know something they could do to make it BETTER? Why wouldn’t you tell them the thing that would make it better? They probably aren’t going to just guess it and they probably would rather know in the moment than after all is said and done.
Suppose you need to tell your partner something that will DEFINITELY kill the mood. What then? Say it anyway. Chances are, whatever is coming up for you is important to address. Remember that whatever you have to say is a gift for your partner to connect more intimately with you.
Did you suddenly have a memory of a negative sexual experience? It’s important that your partner knows that. You don’t have to give them any more details than you’re comfortable with, but I assure you that they would rather support you than continue to have sex only to discover later that you weren’t as into it as they thought you were.
Or maybe they picked up on the emotional shift, but shrugged it off in the moment because of the uncertainty (or their own fear of ruining the moment). They might even start to doubt their own ability to detect problems since you told them you were “fine” when you weren’t.
It’s always a good idea to check in with your partner(s). Just a quick, “feeling good?” or “are you ok?” can make all the difference in the world. Giving your partner(s) an opportunity to share what’s going on for them not only shows you’re sensitive to and prioritizing the well-being of your partner(s), but it could prevent some more troubling experiences. Besides, it can be a major turn-on to see that the person you’re into really cares.
If a difficult experience is shared, be supportive and allow your partner(s) the opportunity to support you. Rather than driving a wedge between you, it will more often than not bring you closer together. Sex tends to be a lot easier and more enjoyable for most people when the intimacy is stronger. So go ahead, be vulnerable, even if it DOES kill the mood. You can always pick up where you left off and by being honest and vulnerable, you have the opportunity to foster a stronger sense of trust within the relationship.
Show and Tell : How you communicate matters less than that you communicate
The science is clear. Couples who communicate, verbally or non-verbally, are more satisfied with their sex lives than ones who don’t. The way you communicate is up to you. What’s most comfortable and effective within your relationship? Some people are talkers and some are not and all communication is helpful!
In relationships between people with a high emotional recognition ability, talking is less important because you’re able to read each other better. But that’s not everyone. That kind of understanding often comes in time, but if it’s a new relationship, or if reading emotional cues aren’t easy for you or your partner(s), it’s a lot clearer to use specific language to get your point across. Words take away a lot of the guesswork and thereby minimize the anxiety of having sex.
It’s not only ok to speak your mind in bed, but it can dramatically improve your sex life. Take a chance and say what you want!