How to Talk About Sex with Your Partner

by | Feb 2, 2020

I know people who would rather get a poke in the eye with a sharp stick than talk about sex with their partner. It’s an uncomfortable conversation. It has the potential of being confrontational. And we often don’t have the vocabulary we need to express ourselves well. So we avoid talking about sex all together.

But how will your partner ever know what you need or want, and how will you ever know what he needs or wants unless you communicate? Here are some suggestions to help you have a productive talk.

Marriage Counseling, Relationships, Couples Therapy

  • Pick your time and place. As with any sensitive conversation, you will want to choose a good time to talk about sex. You don’t need to make it too serious or formal, but give your partner a head’s up that you want to talk and what you want to talk about. Try not to make it sound menacing, like “I want to talk to you about sex.” Rather, try something like “I’d love to talk to you about how we can make our sex life even better. Let’s sit down with coffee on Saturday, okay?” You want to choose a neutral spot—like NOT in your bedroom—and a time when you’re not busy or stressed or preoccupied.
  • Plan what you’re going to say. You don’t need a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s good to have a sense of the main point you’d like to get across. There might be several topics you’d like to cover, but limit the conversation to the most important thing. You don’t want to overload your partner when the subject is as complex as sex and your relationship. Think about what your partner could do to increase the pleasure you get—and vice verse—before you broach the subject. It’s much more effective than voicing a vague dissatisfaction without a suggested remedy.
  • Use the utmost tact. Part of the reason sex conversations are difficult is because you’re afraid of hurting your partner’s feelings, so instead of risking it, you say nothing at all. But if you speak honestly from the heart with the hopes of improving your sex life together, the risk is worth it. Start out by taking about something positive that you love about what your partner does—reinforce the good things. Try to refrain from complaining, like “I’m tired of having to initiate sex all the time.” Instead, make tactful suggestions, like “I’d love it if you would take the initiative sometime. I think it would really turn me on.”
  • Explore some topics. To get a better understanding of your partner’s wants and needs—and therefore a better idea of how you can have a better sex life—you need to know the basics. When is your partner at his sexual peak? Maybe it’s not at night but during the day. How does he respond to when you initiate sex? Would he rather be the one? What, specifically, does he find seductive? Does it matter if you dress in revealing lingerie? Is he more likely to feel like making love when you use your words or use your touch? How often is it good for you to have sex? Once a week? Every day? Once a month? There’s no right answer except what’s comfortable for both of you. What movements or acts or rhythms give you the most pleasure?

Once you open up to your partner, you’re likely to find you’re both more receptive to better sex. And that can only enhance your relationship.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:



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