From entertainment to advertising, we live in a culture where sex infiltrates many aspects of our lives. Although many of us might feel comfortable discussing the details of our sex lives over a few drinks with friends, sometimes it can be harder to talk about what we want in the bedroom with the person who really needs to know what we’re thinking.
Being able to communicate about physical intimacy is an important part of any relationship, and the only way to ensure that your sex life is satisfying for you both. If you haven’t already, these are the conversations that you need to have with your partner to get the most out of the sexual side of your relationship:
Your sexual history
Speaking of sexual health, this is a tricky but important topic that should always be discussed before having unprotected sex with someone new. Disclosing your STI status, checking that your partner has been tested recently, and clarifying whether either of you are having unprotected sex with anyone else are important steps in protecting your sexual health and making an informed decision about whether you should be using condoms.
What your boundaries are
We all have different limits when it comes to sexual play, and making sure that you and your partner are both comfortable is key to having enjoyable and fulfilling sex. You don’t need to be having 50 Shades-style sex to have conversations about what your boundaries are and what you feel happy doing — this can be a beneficial conversation for any couple, and give you an opportunity to express your likes and dislikes in the bedroom. If you are getting a little more experimental, then set out your expectations beforehand and remember to agree on a safe word.
What your kinks are (and how to explore them)
The things that turn us all on are complicated and immensely varied. It’s impossible to be able to expect your partner to know that you’ve always had a fantasy about firemen or all about your secret foot fetish, so if you want to enact your kinks, then this is a conversation that has to be had. Bringing up our innermost sexual fantasies can be nerve-wracking, so experts suggest introducing this via dirty talk, as part of a game, or by asking your partner about their kinks to ease you into sharing your own, according to Refinery29. Once you’ve shared your interests, then discuss how you can introduce these in a way that you will both enjoy, whether this is via roleplay, watching porn together that involves your kink, or engaging in safe and consensual BDSM.
What makes you orgasm
As much as television and movies would have us believing that the Big O is easy to achieve, most women find that their experience is slightly different. In fact, only 39 percent of women report “usually” orgasming during sex. Do something about this by talking to your partner about what positions are most likely to make you orgasm. You could also try masturbating in front of your partner, showing them the techniques that you use to make it happen. As well as demonstrating how to best get you off, you will likely also find that this is a great style of foreplay and that your partner loves seeing you turn yourself on.
How often you like to have sex
Most couples will find that there is at least some mismatch in their sex drives, and being unable to communicate this to each other can lead to massive misunderstandings. If your partner is a physical touch person who experiences love and affection through touch, then they may feel rejected if you’re just not in the mood. Similarly, a partner who connects more via emotional intimacy may feel devalued if they feel that you’re only interested in having sex when they just want to talk about their day. Talk to your partner about how often you like to have sex, how you generally signal that you’re not feeling sexual, and how you signal that you’re interested in initiating physical intimacy.
What contraception you are using (or would like to use)
Because women shoulder most of the burden of pregnancy, contraception in a heterosexual relationship is often seen to be the responsibility of the female partner. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you are thinking about changing your choice of contraception, you can easily explore potential options as a couple. How do you both feel about long-term contraception methods, such as an IUD or a vasectomy? If you’re planning on having children in the next couple of years, would something more short-term be a better option? Do you have other sexual partners and would therefore feel more comfortable using condoms? Having these conversations with your significant other means that you can reach a decision about your sexual health that benefits you both.