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How to talk about sex: 11 tips to improve sexual communication with your partner

Everyone is not comfortable talking about sex with their partner. We tell you how to improve sexual communication for a better sex life.
View All Images A couple in bed
Sexual communication is important for a healthy relationship. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 14 Mar 2024, 23:35 pm IST
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Sex is not just about the physical act. It also involves a little bit of teasing, dollops of foreplay and also talking about pleasure and sex. Good sexual communication can not only make your sex life more enjoyable, but also foster intimacy, build trust and ensure mutual satisfaction. But not many people like to talk about sex. Either they are shy or just not comfortable. The key is to work towards improving sexual communication with your partner. Just follow some tips by a psychologist for a better sex life!

What is sexual communication?

Sexual communication refers to the exchange of verbal and non-verbal cues between partners regarding their sexual desires, preferences, boundaries, and experiences, says psychologist Dr Rituparna Ghosh. It involves the ability to articulate one’s desires and boundaries clearly, as well as the capacity to listen attentively and empathetically to a partner’s needs and concerns.

A couple in bed
Sexual communication plays a key role in fostering intimacy. Image courtesy: Freepik

Couples who express sexual dissatisfaction are likely to report a lack of communication and poor sexual expression, as per a 2019 research published in The Journal of Sex Research. So, sexual communication is extremely important in a relationship. It plays a key role in not just fostering intimacy, but also enhancing overall relationship satisfaction. By openly discussing desires, boundaries, and preferences, people create a safe space for vulnerability and honesty, which strengthens the emotional bond within the relationship. When couples engage in open and honest sexual communication, they are better equipped to navigate potential challenges, address issues of consent, negotiate sexual activities, and cultivate a fulfilling and satisfying sexual connection, says the expert.

Why is sexual communication difficult for some couples?

For some it may be easy to talk about sex, but others may find it difficult. Here are some reasons:

  • People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to discuss their sexual needs due to fear of judgment or rejection, leading to a reluctance to broach the topic with their partner.
  • Societal taboos and cultural norms surrounding sex can create a barrier to open communication about sexual desires and preferences, shares the expert.
  • Past experiences, including previous traumas or negative sexual encounters, can significantly impact an individual’s comfort level with sexual communication.
  • Differences in communication styles and levels of assertiveness between partners can contribute to difficulties in sexual communication.
  • Underlying issues such as trust issues, insecurities, or unresolved conflicts within the relationship can exacerbate difficulties in sexual communication.

What are the ways to improve sexual communication with partner?

Since sexual communication with your partner is crucial, check out these strategies to improve it:

1. Establish trust and emotional safety

Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, desires, and concerns without fear of criticism or rejection. Trust forms the foundation for open and honest sexual communication, says Dr Ghosh.

2. Initiate open dialogue

Initiate conversations about sexuality outside of the bedroom to reduce pressure and create opportunities for exploration. Discuss topics such as sexual preferences, fantasies, boundaries, and concerns in a calm and respectful manner.

3. Practice active listening

Listen attentively to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and desires without interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Validate their experiences and emotions to foster a sense of understanding and empathy within the relationship.

A couple in bed
Active listening in important in a relationship. Image courtesy: Freepik

4. Right choice of statements

Use “I” statements to express your own feelings, desires, and needs without placing blame or making assumptions about your partner. For example, say “I feel” or “I would like” instead of “You never” or “You always.”

5. Be specific and direct

Clearly articulate your sexual preferences, boundaries, and expectations to avoid misunderstandings or miscommunication. Provide specific examples or suggestions to help your partner understand your desires more effectively, suggests the expert.

6. Encourage feedback

Encourage your partner to provide feedback about their own desires and experiences. It will ensure that both of you feel satisfied and valued in the sexual relationship.

7. Explore non-verbal cues

Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and gestures to better understand your partner’s desires and responses during sexual encounters. Respond sensitively to their cues to enhance mutual pleasure and connection.

8. Respect boundaries and consent

Respect your partner’s boundaries and preferences regarding sexual activities, and always prioritise consent and mutual agreement before engaging in any intimate acts. Communicate openly about consent and establish clear boundaries to ensure a safe and enjoyable sexual experience for both partners.

9. Be patient and understanding

Be patient and understanding with your partner, especially if they struggle to communicate about sexuality or have experienced past traumas or insecurities. Approach conversations with empathy and compassion, and avoid pressuring them to disclose more than they are comfortable with.

10. Seek professional help if needed

If sexual communication challenges persist despite efforts to address them, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor who specialises in sexual health and relationship issues. A qualified professional can provide support, guidance, and tools to help improve communication and enhance sexual satisfaction within the relationship.

11. Practice regularly

Like any skill, sexual communication improves with practice. Make an effort to engage in regular conversations about sexuality with your partner, and be open to learning and growing together as you navigate your sexual relationship.

By implementing these strategies, you can cultivate a deeper understanding, connection, and fulfilment within the sexual relationship, leading to greater intimacy and satisfaction.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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