Written by ISABELLA FRAPPIER on SexWithEmily.com.
STEP ONE: KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE
You have to know what you like and dislike before you can even attempt to communicate your sexual preferences to a partner. Expecting your partner to figure out what you like for you is a sure-fire recipe for sexual dissatisfaction.
This may seem like an obvious step, but I can confirm from my years of working as a sexuality doula, it is not! Not to mention the mountain of questions we get here at Sex With Emily on how to get in touch with your sexuality.
It’s important to prioritize your sexual relationship with yourself, exploring and experimenting, to figure out the pathways to your own arousal. Sexual independence is actually key to good partnered sex.
STEP TWO: BEFORE THE BEDROOM
One of the most important aspects of sexual communication is correctly laying the groundwork, and doing so in the right setting. Before you get all hot and bothered, have a chat outside of the bedroom about what you’d like to explore when you do jump into bed.
The basic principles of BDSM provide a fantastic protocol to get this started, regardless of if you’d like to incorporate the kinky elements. Be sure to cover your boundaries, expectations, and limits before you get frisky.
This sets the tone for good communication during sex. Plus, it’s a great time to get some of the potentially awkward (but they don’t have to be) chats out of the way, like STI status and preferred safe sex methods.
STEP THREE: KEEP IT JUDGEMENT FREE
It’s really important when you’re discussing sex with a partner, to keep the conversation a judgment-free zone. You don’t need to be turned on by all their preferences and kinks, but you do need to listen with an open mind. There is so much benefit to be gained by simply listening.
Feeling safe to voice your feelings with a partner is important. It’s also important that they feel comfortable to say things like “I love that you shared that with me, but I’m not currently interested in trying it. It’s so sexy that it turns you on though, tell me more about what you like about it”.
This will help your partner to feel secure to share more with you. It also gives you valuable insight into why something turns them on, instead of just what turns them on.
STEP FOUR: IT’S ALL IN THE DELIVERY
Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of talking sex during sex. Hopefully, all your before-sex effort has established a really fun and emotionally safe environment, which will help you feel comfortable talking about your sexual preferences during the act. After all, some people are more ‘physical learners’ rather than ‘verbal learners’.
The most important thing here isn’t actually what you say, but how you say it. Keep your sexual feedback positive and constructive. Negative or critical sexual feedback can cause people to shut down sexually. So, instead of saying “touch/lick/suck/stroke me like XYZ”, try saying instead “wow I love when you do XYZ”.
Another great tip is positive reinforcing instead of critiquing. When your partner does something that feels great, say “it’s turning me on so much how you’re doing XYZ, please don’t stop’. If they do switch it up, and the new move isn’t working for you, say “the last thing you were doing was making me feel so good, could I please have more of that?”. Now that’s some sexy communication.
A fun way to get a new sexual act started is by saying “you know what would make me so hot right now? If we could try XYZ, what do you think?”. It’s a wonderfully inquisitive and consensual way to try out something new. Bonus points for healthy sexual communication if you’d talked about the act prior.
SEXUAL COMMUNICATION GAMES
If communicating in the heat of the moment feels daunting, I understand. It can be really challenging to speak up for yourself sexually. Your pleasure is really important though, so playing “communication games” can be a great way to get started.
Ask your partner if they would like to play a sexy game in bed with you, hopefully, they say yes!
Then you can try one (or try both) of my two favorite games for making your sexual preference communication easy, sexy, and fun.
-The A/B Game
This one is fun, easy, and gives you valuable insight into each other’s pleasure. You can even add in a blindfold to make this game even more fun. Try out two different toys, techniques, angles, thrust styles and tempos on each other, and ask your partner which they like more, “A” or “B”. For example:
For example, during oral sex on a vulva, ask your partner “which do you like more, this is A” then lightly trace circles over their clit, “and this is B” and then try side to side licks, otherwise known as the Kivin Method. They tell you which they like most and *boom* you just learned how to please them better, no awkwardness involved.
-Let Your Body Talk Game
For this one, your partner isn’t allowed to use words to communicate their pleasure. Take it in turns pleasuring each other, and they can use their body language plus some grunts and groans to show what they are enjoying the most. After each person’s turn receiving, tell the receiver which things you thought they liked best, based on their body language.
It actually doesn’t matter if you guess correctly or not, and here’s why. When they explain what you guessed right or wrong, what you’re actually learning is how they express pleasure in their body. This is a fantastic tool for learning about their non-verbal sexual communication.
STEP FIVE: AFTER SEX REVIEW
This last step is perhaps the most important. After you get down with your lover, and the post-coital afterglow wears off, snuggle up and have a post-game review. Discuss what the highlights were for you, and tweaks for making the sex even hotter next time.
Even the best sex ever can always get better and better, that’s the fun thing about sex. Remembering the advice from earlier, keep this dialogue non-judgemental, and focused on constructive feedback.
This doesn’t mean you can’t tell them the things you didn’t like so much, in fact, you should definitely communicate those. However, it’s important to phrase it in a kind and helpful way. For example:
Not ideal communication: “When you licked my nipples it was kind of lame”.
Sexy communication: “You know what really turned me on that time? When you were sucking my nipples. The licking didn’t do too much for me, but that sucking got me so hot”.