How To Communicate Your Desires
on Feb 13, 2022
Does the prospect of talking about your sexual desires bring a blush to your cheeks? You’re not the only one. Despite the majority of us being sexually active, we can sometimes be reluctant to talk through what does (or doesn't) happen in the bedroom.
In 2021, a survey by the app Paired discovered that using sex toys, exploring bondage or BDSM, trying multiple-partner sex and watching porn together are among the top ten fantasies we struggle to talk about with our partners. Two out of five of us are hesitant to speak up 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: we're more sexually awakened than we've ever been. The knowledge of how to have good sex and great relationships is spreading far and wide, and there's no reason to keep your 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 a major 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
As with everything in life, you need to start at the beginning.
Before initiating the conversation with your partner, 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?
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.
The first step to unlocking a shared sexual awakening adventure is being at ease with your own sexual fantasies before inviting your partner in to discuss them.
Choose the right time
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.
And despite what you may think, the 'perfect moment' usually is not during, before or after sex. Many sex therapists advise taking the conversation outside of the bedroom.
Talking about a new desire in the heat of the moment can make it more likely for your partner to feel inadequate, raise questions about sexual performance, or leave you or your partner feeling vulnerable and upset.
Instead, we’d suggest casually bringing up the conversation in a private, relaxed and non-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.
The more relaxed you both are, the easier the conversation will flow and ultimately, be more advantageous to both of you.
Initiate the conversation
So, you’ve got the time element sorted, but how do you initiate the conversation itself?
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 flirty game together)[/sex/better-sex-for-couples/sexy-fun-games/] can also be a good conversation starter. From board games and sex confessions to sexy snap cards and foreplay dice, there’s plenty to play. Of course, if you’re both pretty open in general, you can just strum up the conversation if you’re feeling confident enough.
If your needs require just a touch of subtle communication without a full-on conversation, slipping a suggestive book like this one under your lover’s pillow may be just the hint your partner needs.
(Pro tip: Fold over the corner of the pages you're most interested in trying with them and let them surprise you with their choice.)
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 is all well and good, but leaving out the details could result in you and your lover both feeling frustrated.
Instead, take time to describe your fantasies. Explain to your partner which fantasies are ones you might like to reenact in the bedroom and which ares the 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.
Remember that the door opens both ways, and be sure to listen to what your partner has to communicate as well.
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, and one of them tends to be a lot more productive than the other.
The first way is to focus too much on the negative. This can end up with both you and your partner feeling frustrated, unloved and unhappy.
The second way, which tends to result in good things, is to laden your lover with affirmations of what feels good.
Remember, 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 use positive language to describe things you'd like to do more of in the bedroom. Phrases such as “I love when you do [that]” and “I’d really like for us to try [something] together” are likely to elicit a more positive reaction.
Include your partner in about what you'd like to try and make sure it feels like an invitation to explore together. Words of affirmation can empower your lover, instilling more confidence to try out the fantasies you’ve described.
Let your lover in
Remember, sexual intimacy is usually an act between consenting parties. Asking your partner about their own sexual expectations, desires and fantasies is just as critically important as divulging in your own ones.
You might be delighted to discover you both share the same or similar fantasies or that your partner has desires 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's end results will be much more fulfilling for both of you.
Don't fear rejection
The reality is, we’re all individuals. 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.
One of you might be kinkier than the other, or one of you may be 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 appealing to you. Keep this in mind and don’t fear rejection when initiating a conversation about your sexual relationship. Your partner may be unwilling 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 fully 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 feels less intense.
Of course, not all conversations around sex and intimacy can be easily resolved between just by talking. Sometimes, more complex matters may initiate your need for a conversation, and the conversation may reveal other assistance is necessary.
Certain issues like mental health and anxiety, physical health and well-being, natural life changes such as menopause, or other sex-related problems including conflicitng libidos, erectile dysfunction and much more, may require an expert opinion.
Plus, having a neutral third party, like a qualified sex therapist, can sometimes open up new perspectives and ultimately improve your relationship.
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.