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  • Writer's pictureLisa Neville

Ask A Sex Coach: How do I talk about sex with my partner ?

Talking about sex can feel more vulnerable than actually having sex! It might be awkward opening up about your needs and desires. And, it can completely transform your relationship. So, I would like to say that Sex Talk is life-affirming. Sex is one of the most intimate things you can talk about with another person.

Regardless of how long you and your partner have been together, you will both be happier when you open up about sex. The Family Planning Association- Sexual Health Charity advises "By sharing your likes, dislikes and expectations you can learn more about how to please each other."

Bad communication about sex could be sign that you aren't communicating well in other areas of your relationship. If you aren't communicating, your relationship could be in trouble.

I see this often when a couple comes to see me with a sexual issue. They come in because their Sex Life isn't great. When I learn more about their relationship, a lack of communication is an area that often needs work. It is rarely just about the sex. Sexual problems may be what brought them to me and it is often not the only concern.

An example of this could be one partner having low desire and doesn't want to have sex. When asking questions and learning more, I find that partner is holding onto something that happened 5 years ago in their relationship. They never talked about what happened. Emotional wounds can't heal if you don't talk about them.

Is talking about sex a bad idea? No.

What is a bad is complaining about your partner's performance. No one likes to be criticized. Never bring sex problems up during or right after sex. Instead, schedule a time to talk about them outside the bedroom.

Where do you start?

Here are some tips that may help!

Start early in the relationship. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Establish trust and intimacy with easier conversations.

An example of this would be talking about consent and contraception. Then, you would be able to move onto what feels good and what doesn't. Starting with simple conversations paves the way for the deeper sexual conversations you will have.

When sharing fantasies start with more vanilla fantasies. Note how your partner responds. This helps to build intimacy and trust.

If you are in a long term relationship you have time to share your other fantasies as you move forward. You may not want to jump right into BDSM unless you know your partner is already interested! If you know they are, then go for it!

Talk to your partner about what role you would like them to play in your fantasies. Ask what role they would like to play. Help them feel safe and included instead of threatened and excluded.

Your partner always has the right to say "No" to things they are not comfortable with.

It's never too late to start talking about sex. Even if you have been in the relationship a long time, it is still essential for you to have these conversations.

talk about your sexual fantasies

Clients find it is hard to talk with their partners about their sexual fantasies. I know this because at the end of each session I ask, "What was most helpful for you today"?

The responses are usually, "I was able to finally talk with someone." "I don't have anyone to talk to about this." "I am worried about what my partner will think."

This saddens me. Most of my clients are in long term relationships. And, they don't feel like they can have these conversations with the one who needs to hear it the most, their partners.

I encourage my clients to bring their partners in for sessions so I can help facilitate these conversations.

Justin Lehmiller, an academic who specializes in Sex, Love and Relationships surveyed more than 4000 people in 2018 for his book Tell Me What You Want . In his research he found that 97% of fantasies fall into the same broad categories.

  • Multi-partner sex

  • Rough sex

  • Novelty and Adventure

  • Voyeurism

  • Fetishes

  • Non-monogamous sex

  • Deeper emotional connection

  • Gender fluidity

This shows that we are more normal in our fantasies than we might think!

Whether you choose to share your fantasies or to act on them or not, this can be an easy way to introduce novelty into your Sex Life. Sometimes, simply talking about sexual fantasies is arousing enough time outside of the bedroom to talk about it. Schedule it at a time when you aren't rushed and can give your sex life the attention it deserves.

It might seem completely natural to talk about sex right before or right after you have sex. However, talking about sex in the heat of the moment, with all of your clothes off can feel very vulnerable.

Instead make time outside of the bedroom to talk about it. Schedule a time when you aren't rushed and can give your sex life the attention it deserves.

When you share your sexual fantasies it is usually best to do this when you and your partner are turned on. Your partner may be more receptive.

Try breaking the ice with an erotic movie and a glass of wine to get the ball rolling.

Take responsibility for your sexual pleasure

When working with couples, one of the most effective assignments I give them is to go home and focus purely on their pleasure. Not the pleasure of their partner just on their pleasure!

I don't want them thinking about how to please their partner. I want them thinking about "How can I please myself?"

This takes away performance anxiety that can distract from pleasure.

Through the coaching process of Your Pleasure First, couples are transformed. They have an intimate knowledge of their own bodies and are able to share that knowledge with their partner.

When you own your sexual experience and pleasure, it's harder to criticize your partner for what they didn't do.

Some people believe their partner has all the power to give them an orgasm.

I disagree.


When you take ownership of your own pleasure and orgasm, you have the power.

When you're in control of your pleasure and orgasm, you really can't blame the other person because your pleasure and orgasm are within your power. You own it!

Be clear and explain

Your partner is not a mind reader!

If they were you wouldn't be reading this blog post.

If you don't feel like having sex because you are getting ready to start your period and having stomach cramps, then say that.

If you don't feel like having sex because you have been working outside in the heat all day and you feel sweaty and nasty, then say that.

Otherwise, your partner won't understand why you are saying no and may feel rejected. Eventually, they will stop trying to have sex with you.

I often ask couples "How do you cope with being told no when you ask for sex?" And, "How do you deliver a no when your partner asks for sex?"

These questions open up a lot of great communication between them.

Be positive, not critical

Use "I" statements rather than "you".

They feel less accusative and puts you in control.

Try saying, "I feel" rather than "you make me feel."

Own your emotions. You feel the way you feel. It's not right or wrong. It's how you feel and how you feel matters.

Be nice rather than critical. Say something like "I really like when you ..." rather than "Stop doing that."

Be vocal about what feels good. Sometimes the conversation may not need to go further than "That felt really, really good!" Let's do that again"!

Listen and ask questions

Not listening is a big problem in relationships. We all know how to talk and few of us know how to really listen. Most of us are so worried about how we are going to respond that we spend the whole time thinking about what we are going to say next, rather than really listening.

Whew! How do we do that?!

Park your emotional response and try to be curious, detached and present with your partner. Say to your partner "Tell me more about that."

Reflect back to them what you heard them say. Then ask, "Did I get that right"? If they say "No," then ask more questions.

We are hard-wired to think that our reality is the only one and other perspectives are wrong. That it is up to us to get our partner to agree with our point of view. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree.

When we are able to really listen and be present with our partner, it can help when we have more difficult conversations.


Talking about sex is imperative in any relationship. It allows you to share your feelings, opinions and expectations. Most people fail to talk about sex due to fear of rejection, upsetting their partner or possibly even losing them.

Talking about sex can't be ignored. Couples that are not able to openly communicate outside the bedroom with their partner will face issues when it comes to sexual intimacy inside the bedroom.

"Don't let the lack of sexual communication get in the way of your pleasure any longer. Dare to ask the questions that will make sex so much more enjoyable, boost passion, and facilitate deeper connection and intimacy in your relationship". - Miya Yamanouchi

couple in love sharing an intimate moment

My love and I enjoying some fine wine at a Stone Ashe Vineyard in Hendersonville, NC and always time with each other.

Lisa Neville

Sex and Intimacy Coach

Better Sex 4 U


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