Cue: “Let’s Talk About Sex,” by Salt-N-Pepa.
And I’m being serious, let’s talk about it. My friends know me as the person who loves talking about sex. I didn’t get a whole lot of sex ed in high school – something I’m sure people can relate to – and subsequently found a passion because I had to teach myself. It went from being a taboo topic to one that I love discussing whenever I get the chance. But you don’t have to love talking about sex as much as I do to benefit from talking about sex in your relationship.
My partner and I have been in a relationship for a while, and talking about sex outside of the bedroom has made it so that we are both comfortable discussing our likes and dislikes. Having that talk about having sex before is what demystified the act for me.
Starting to have “The Talk” is so awkward, I’ll totally admit that.
My partner and I started dating when we were teens and had never been with another person before. Even just mentioning sex made us giggle uncomfortably and change the subject. The trick to getting over the awkwardness is to acknowledge it. You have to recognize the elephant in the room. Sex can feel like this huge life-changing experience and, for some people it is, but once you get to the bones of it, it’s one of the most natural things humans can do.
It helped that my partner and I were both more on the mature end of being teenagers. But just sitting down, in a situation that wouldn’t lead to being intimate right afterward, and saying “we’re going to talk about this,” sets a tone. It sets the expectation that you and your partner talk about sex frankly.
For most people, sex is huge part of their relationships. It’s a way to feel intimate. It’s a way to have children. It’s also just fun (my feelings toward it fall into this last category). This means that at some point, you have to talk about it.
And it’s better to start that discussion early to set expectations early. Talk about what you like and dislike. Talk about what you do yourself to feel good. Also talk about what you’re not willing to do and what you’d be willing to experiment with because that is important, too. That way when you do start becoming intimate, you already have a baseline of knowledge to help your partner feel good.
After having sex for a few times, my partner and I started to incorporate more discussion into our sex life. We discussed what had felt good after we had sex and bringing up what we would like to try with each other. That helped change sex from a very adult experience that I didn’t fully understand to just another facet of my life. It was essentially a debriefing of the experience. Having a talk before to set expectations is good, but talking about what happened after helps round out the conversation.
The conversation doesn’t have to end there, either. My partner and I use these discussions about our intimate life as a jumping-off point to talk about other matters in our life together. We are both more emotionally open and available to each other because in our intimate, close moments we’re both in tune with the other’s emotions already.
And these topics don’t just have to be about what you like and don’t. Don’t just talk about sex! Talk about anything! You can talk about birth control – who’s going to buy it, if you are getting a long term contraceptive, will you both pay for it, etc. You can also talk about feelings as well, and bring up the emotional side of your connection. Having that availability allows me to appreciate the time I spend with them, and especially appreciate how our sex life is better because we communicate.
If there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that your partner can’t read your mind. Be open, talk about your relationship, and talk about sex! Because talking about it makes it better, trust me.
It did for me.