Learning how to communicate what you both need, like and dislike in bed is one of the best steps that you can possibly take to have more and better sex…
Words: Jeremy Parker 18/09/2013
Okay, first off, this is crazy isn’t it! You’ve probably spent years with your partner, she knows you better than anyone else, and you know her better than anyone else does, you’ve both seen each other in some hideous states (think horrendous hangovers from hell here), you may have seen your partner giving birth, you’ve both had to have conversations about some really serious subjects about everything from mortgages to when to have children, but when it comes to sex it’s one of those weirdly tricky things to talk about.
So why do our communications get difficult when we try talking about sex? Well, a lot of its because it’s a really uncomfortable topic to be talking about, even when you are really close to your partner. So it’s well worth knowing that very few partners report having discussed sex together at all. So you aren’t alone if it does make you both uncomfortable.
However, learning how to communicate what you both need, like and dislike in bed is one of the best steps that you can possibly take to have more and better sex.
In this article we’re going to cover the following topics…
- Were going to start with looking at why you’d want to communicate more, and better, with your partner about sex. We’ll look at what’s in it for you.
- We’ll look at ways that you can tell her that you want more sex.
- We’ll also look at ways that you can tell her that you aren’t being satisfied by her in bed (without hideously upsetting her!).
- We’ll discuss ways that you find out from her what she wants in bed, what her likes and dislikes are.
- If there’s something that you particularly want to try out in bed, but you aren’t sure how to ask then we’ll also cover that off here too.
- We’ll take a quick look at role plays, and about how to get feedback on what you’ve tried out together.
So well done for even reading this blog post! It’s going to be well worth the effort, just know that this isn’t going to be easy and that good communication will take hard work and practice to get right. With that said then – let’s get practicing…
Why would you want to talk about sex with your partner?
So let’s start by exploring what’s in it for you when you start getting good at talking about sex with your partner…
- It’s a great way to find out what your partners needs are in order for her to want to get into bed with you more often.
- Then, having got her into bed more often it’s a great way to find out what your partner needs when she is in bed with you.
- You’ll learn a huge amount from your conversations about sex with your partner, all of which you can bring to your next sex session to keep on improving, and by keeping on improving she’s got even more reasons to want to come back to bed with you.
- Not having sex in silence will more than likely make both of you feel a whole load better about your sexual experiences together.
- It’s very unlikely to destroy the mood – in fact if anything; its great foreplay, can be very exciting and it’s a great way of making sure that you’ll both get what you want in bed. It’s not, by any means, a way of ensuring perfection in the bedroom, however – by sharing what you both like and dislike, what you want to try out and where your respective boundaries are it will give you so much more to work with than your previous silence or just fumbling about in the dark not really knowing what you are doing.
- The theory goes that the more you communicate about your sex lives the happier, better and more fulfilled things should get. If you stop second guessing what your partner is thinking when she thinks about sex and have a conversation instead then you can both be way clearer on things.
- The more that you can get her to open up to you about what she wants the more she’s going to enjoy sex and therefore in theory the more often she will want to come back for more.
- By talking with your partner about what she wants in bed the more you are showing her that you care about her pleasure.
- If you put in the effort to work on the connection between you both outside of the bedroom then when you are inside the bedroom your partner should be way more receptive to you when you are trying to be intimate with her.
Time the conversation well
Don’t try and start the conversation when…
- You’re angry.
- You’re in the middle of an argument.
- When your partner has just declined your advances, again.
- You have just had sex, or worse during sex!
Instead, wait until…
- You’ve stopped all of the stuff that I’ve suggested in my blog post here – if you try and start a conversation about sex and your partner is resenting you for a whole load of stuff, or she doesn’t trust you, for example, then you aren’t going to get the best out of your conversation.
- Things are calm between the two of you.
- The emotion has gone out of any situation that you might find yourself in and you’re ready to say sensible stuff that won’t hurt your partner that you’ll then regret later. I know a chap who, during an argument following being rejected for sex, told his partner that he “needed someone with more energy” – not exactly the sort of thing that’s going to make your partner instantly jump into bed with you – so go careful.
- What you are going to say to her is going to help the situation rather than hinder it – just think before you speak.
- You are both in a non-sexual context, relaxed and your heads are in a good place about things, ie when you are sat down cuddled up on the sofa.
Some don’ts for your conversation
We’ll get to some general tips for your conversation in a moment, but let’s look first at some stuff to avoid totally when you are talking with your partner…
- Don’t, whatever you do, tell her how angry and resentful you are that you aren’t getting as much sex as you’d like. THIS WON’T HELP YOUR CASE! Being angry will only make your partner chuck a load of barriers up around herself that will take ages to come back down.
- When you talk with your partner don’t criticize her – instead tell her how you’re feeling – so rather than “You’re punishing me by not giving me sex”, or “You’re purposefully hurting me when you don’t have sex with me” say, “I know that you aren’t trying to hurt me, but when we make love as infrequently as we do, I feel as if you’re not attracted to me any longer”. Saying it this way means you are sharing your feelings, and telling your partner what is in your heart rather than blatantly firing off cannons of accusation at her. If you do it this way you’re more likely to be met with sympathy and a compassionate response rather than her defenses going up.
- I really hope that you’d never be so stupid to do something such as using put downs like; “you’ve always been rubbish in bed”, or “you’ve never given me a good blow job” – if you have then I’m sorry, but the resulting rubbish conversation and lack of sex that you will get can only be blamed on you!
- Avoid blame altogether – instead of saying something along the lines of “You make me angry, and that’s why I get so mad with you”, try something like “I feel angry when you shut down and won’t have sex with me and then won’t talk with me about it. Could we please talk about what’s going on so that we can resolve this situation together?” Remembering to use an “I” statement, rather than a “You” statement can make a huge amount of difference.
- Whatever you do don’t compare your partner’s performance or effort in the bedroom with any previous partners you’ve had. Though I really, really hope that I didn’t even need to say that!
- Avoid (like the plague) phrases which could potentially cause offence to your partner, for example – “Why don’t you…” or “You never…” – this will only put her immediately on the defensive.
General tips for when talking to your partner about sex
Having looked at some don’ts for your conversation with your partner, let’s start getting positive and look at some “do’s” – here are some general tips to keep in mind when talking with your partner about sex…
- Encourage and be positive throughout your conversation.
Help your partner to relax and to feel safe when you are talking with her about sex…
- Be gentle – your partner could feel quite vulnerable when talking about such a delicate matter.
- Be sensitive.
- Don’t judge her.
- And never, ever criticize.
- If you are normally a fairly accusatory type of person then commit to yourself to have a different attitude and approach towards this conversation – remember that finding solutions to problems is the right way to go and that finger pointing and blame are the wrong way to go.
- As we’ve looked at already – using “I” statements rather than “You” statements puts the conversation on a way better footing from the off. We’ll look at some specific examples when we get to the different possible scenarios shortly.
- Listen to what she’s saying!
- Employ some active listening skills when having your conversation. Don’t be sitting there thinking of what you are going to say next whilst she’s talking to you. If you do then you risk totally missing what your partner has said. It’s fine to have a pause after she has stopped speaking in order to think about what you are going to say.
- If you actually listen then you’ll pickup so many great things which can help you understand, move on and improve – so let her speak!
- If you haven’t understood what your partner has said to you then reflect back to her what you think she has said and then she can either confirm that that is what she said or she can clarify it or say it another way.
- Remember that this is likely to be a gradual process – so you will need to build each other’s confidence slowly but surely, your partner may find the whole thing difficult and she could potentially be afraid and / or embarrassed to talk with you about it.
- If you have to say stuff that may come across as negative then try and go for just one negative for every ten positives – this is fairly widely known as the 10:1 rule, and its a good one! Keep that focus on those all-important positives.
- Remember to talk with your heart – show her your softer and caring side and she should come out of herself. Now – you do have a softer and caring side don’t you?
- Do try to come across as being completely genuine when you talk with her.
- Before you talk with her have a think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. It’s going to be way better to…
- Approach your partner in a way that will make sense to her.
- Appeal to her way of thinking, not to yours – ie instead of using the words “get more sex” you might want to use the words “improving our sexual relationship”, for example.
- Think about what might motivate your partner to have more sex with you – think about it from her point of view – you might be saying to her “I need more sex, more closeness with you”, and she might be thinking “so what”! Try and package up the request differently for her, make it appealing to her. Think about what is in it for her (no blackmailing though please!). Light her fire instead, get her wanting what you want for herself as well – don’t just witter on about what you need.
- Be a man and name your genitals! Talking about sex can be quite tricky if you haven’t given them names or if you are both being too vague.
- For example – if you are just referring to your partners vagina and clit as “down there” how will either of you ever know what the other is talking about?
- Be specific instead – use words such as “clit”, “vagina” or “cock” – get straight to the point.
- If you are both really clear then it will help you to get to what you are both saying more quickly and with a whole lot less frustration.
- If using such words feels awkward or you’re being shy about it then get some time on your own where nobody else can hear you and repeat the words out loud to yourself to get you more used to saying them.
- And if all that is still too awkward give made up names to your genitals – this could even be quite fun! “La La” instead of “vagina” for example – but do remember that you both need to be specific still.
Start a conversation about sex
Now then – I absolutely get that this subject can be difficult, awkward, embarrassing even, but you do just need to bite the bullet and get on with it – just give it a try, what’s the worst that can happen? Start by breaking the ice and then just going for it…
- You could start by saying something like “It’s hard to talk about sex, but it’s important to me, so can we give it a try please?”
- Or tell her that you “…love her, and that you want to be closer to her, so you really want to talk about it please”.
Now we’re going to start getting to some specifics – we’re going to tackle the different types of subject that you might want to talk with your partner about.
How to tell her that you want more sex
Okay, first off then, remember…
- Be sensitive – it can make all the difference to your conversation because she could feel…
- Shame or embarrassment about her lack of interest in sex and you really don’t want to be hurting her feelings any more than they might already be.
- She could have low self-esteem which is making her disinterested and you don’t want to make this worse.
- She could be trying to deal with a personal problem currently that isn’t at all related to sex and she needs the help with that instead.
- Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements – for example “My sexual needs are not getting met, and I’d like to discuss this with you.” – this way it’s you taking the responsibility for your feelings and actions, not her being blamed and finger pointed at.
Now let’s look at some words and phrases that you could use to structure your conversation…
- Reminding your partner how much you love her is always good.
- Tell her you “miss her”.
- Tell her what “her touch means to you” – it’s time to discuss your vulnerabilities please – start talking in terms of your feelings – talking this way means that you are speaking a woman’s language – and you need to talk this way to get through to her in a way that makes sense to her. Try telling her…
- That you “need that emotional connection that sex brings to you both”.
- That when you “touch, hold, kiss, and caress her” that you “feel a sense of closeness and connection to her”.
- That “being physical and intimate with her draws you nearer to her”.
- That it “reminds you of your love for her”.
- That “when your sexual relationship breaks down, it makes your spirits lower”.
- And that “a lack of sex wears your soul down” (you don’t have to use the word “Soul” if you don’t want to, just have a think of a suitable alternative that you are more comfortable with).
- That you can see “how upsetting it is to her when you both fight about sex all the time”.
- That you “feel rejected” and tell her how that feels to you.
- At this point you can get specific and tell her that you need more sex, but do it in one of these ways, and in this order…
- Explain to her that you can see that your sexual differences are wearing on her as well.
- Let your partner know how much it means to your relationship to make love with her regularly.
- Tell her that you realize that you wanting more physical closeness (don’t just call it sex!) than she does, must be difficult for her at times.
- Tell her “how important it is to you to have sex”.
- That “we really need to make sex a priority because whilst it’s not the most important thing in our relationship it is still important, and it’s healthy that we have regular sex” and that we “both need to make the time for sex”.
- Tell her (and do try to make her believe that its true!) that for you “it’s not just about having an orgasm to get some physical relief”.
- Tell her that a good sexual relationship “doesn’t have to have intercourse and orgasms and that you’re happy to find other ways to pleasure each other, and that you just want to stay connected physically” – and again saying it like you mean it helps a lot here.
- Ask if there is something that you could do differently that would make her feel more turned on or interested in being closer to you physically – then listen carefully to the response.
- Demonstrate to her in the words that you use that you are “really interested in her feelings and that you are willing to change what you can to make having a more regular loving sexual relationship a possibility” with her.
How to ask her what she likes in bed
Asking your partner what she needs, likes or wants in bed can be difficult, and even if you ask her she might not even know herself. You could also find that she is ashamed to talk about it or she may just find it difficult to ask for what she wants and likes. But you can help her through these issues, and it’s well worth the effort for you both because sharing your likes and dislikes with each other will give you both an awful lot more to work with when you do get into bed than fumbling about in the dark, in silence, ever will.
- Start off with an equal understanding that it’s pretty unrealistic to expect each other to automatically know each other’s likes and dislikes in bed.
- Use your “I” statements again, rather than the “You” statements – for example “I feel frustrated when you shut down and won’t tell me what you like” – this way it’s you taking responsibility for your feelings and actions again.
- If she asks you what you want in bed then do remember that you’ve got to be honest with her as well to tell her what you want too – it’s got to be a two way street.
- If you aren’t getting straight answers then you will more than likely need to encourage her to open up a bit – to give her permission to be sexual.
- Ask her when would be the best time to communicate her preferences with you – ie before, during or after sex?
- Try asking her how she wants to communicate her preferences with you – does she want verbal communication, some hand-guiding or simply body language?
- Back to that permission thing again – give her permission to use her hands to gently direct the action the way she wants it – tell her that it’s okay to do this.
- If you want to get feedback later on you could use questions like…
- “What signals did I read correctly?”
- “Did I miss any of your signals?”
- “What did you mean when you did this?” (then demonstrate the same action she used)
- “What different or better signals can we use next time?”
How to tell her that you aren’t satisfied in bed
I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that this is a tricky one that can seriously hurt your partner’s feelings if it’s done in the wrong way. With that in mind then let’s start this one off by looking at some not to do’s…
- There are some general rules to follow here (we talk about these a lot in the ‘Get More Get Better’ course) – don’t attack, exaggerate, compare her to previous lovers, insult her, or in any other way put your partner down.
- Avoid bombarding her with your list for improvements; tackle no more than one or two at a time.
- Yes, it is okay to tell her what you need in bed, but you also need to employ some serious patience at the same time.
So how are you going to tackle this? Let’s look next at a general overview of how you’ll go about it…
- Remember that you partner will very likely need some help in knowing how you like to be touched (just as you are reading this article to find out how she likes to be turned on and touched).
- Your aim needs to be to come across in the least threatening way possible.
- Take a moment to work out what it is that you want improving. Make a list in your head of the stuff that you’d like your partner to get better at, prioritise it and then resolve to concentrate with her on that priority list first.
- Your partner will enjoy doing what she feels that she is good at doing – so you are going to find ways to increase her confidence by pointing out what your partner does that you really enjoy.
- You need to be finding ways to emphasize what you enjoyed most about what she’s doing to / for you, and de-emphasizing what you didn’t. So – always find something positive to say, but don’t praise what’s bad. If you just pretend to enjoy what you don’t then all you do is to dig the hole deeper for yourself.
- Be an appreciative lover – give her praise when it’s due – and give her that praise in every way you can think of – tell her out loud that you love what she’s doing, make the right pleasurable moaning noises in all the right places – and remember to keep on being appreciative even when she’s started to regularly give you what you want.
- Remember that your partner’s ‘win’ is that she gets to know that she’s doing a great job in pleasuring you and that she’s helping to get your sex life to a better, closer place.
- And finally – remember to be patient.
- Once you’ve started your conversation as per the “Start a conversation about sex” topic above you can try saying something along these lines – “the sex that we have is wonderful, I love it, and especially the connection that it brings us, but I wonder if we could make it even better?”
- This could be followed up by suggesting “I’m just wondering whether we could try…” and then gently put forward the first one or two items on your priority list, letting her know how you would like to be touched, for example.
- This way you are letting her know, in a very gentle way, that she has permission to be more assertive in the bedroom with you.
- Try asking her how she wants you to communicate what you want to her? Would she prefer that you tell her what you want? That you just guide her hand to gently direct the action the way you want it?
- And ask her when she would prefer that you communicate what you want. Would she prefer that you do this before, during or after you’ve had sex?
- Then, when she does something that you like remember to be appreciative – spell it out for her – tell her “I love what you’re doing” or “that drives me wild” – give her that much required positive feedback.
- And for when things are going well keep on focusing on the positive stuff, but subtly modify her technique at the same time, for example you could tell her that you “love the way you do that, especially when you go slowly / quickly / more gently”. This may work even if she’s doing it totally wrong and she isn’t pleasing you – perhaps she’s sucking away at you and she’s going far too fast for example – but you still tell her how lovely it feels is when her mouth goes really slowly. It’s possible that she’ll pickup on this and start going slowly then anyway.
And if none of this works then pick your moment to just go ahead and show her or tell her what you want. Pick a time when you’re having a really steamy session where you’re both totally crazed with passion and she’s way more likely to do anything to please you – then ask her “Would you mind trying this? I’ve been thinking it would really drive me crazy”, then just guide her hand in the right direction. One word of warning though – this doesn’t work well for oral sex – ie pushing her head in a southerly direction is probably best avoided.
How to ask for something in bed that you aren’t sure that she’ll want to do
Once things are in a good place and you’ve started improving your conversations and communications then you can start to move on to asking for other stuff in the bedroom, stuff that you aren’t sure that she’ll possibly want to do. Bear the following in mind when talking with your partner and making your request…
- Firstly – it’s worth knowing that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for things in the bedroom, there’s nothing to be ashamed of – your partner shouldn’t have any fear in trying something different, just as long as she doesn’t feel that your entire happiness is dependent on it if she gets it wrong or doesn’t want to go through with it.
- It’s probably very wise to discuss both of your boundaries outside of the bedroom first, ie your partner might not be willing to have anal sex with you, so knowing this first, would prevent you from asking her and potentially upsetting her. A great way to do this is to take a ‘quiz’ together – take a look at the last but one topic in this article for detail on this one, the ‘Take a quiz’ topic. Doing a quiz is a great way to explore what you both want and like and what the limits are slowly and gently in a non-pressured environment.
- You may find that talking with your partner about what you’d like to try when you are outside of the bedroom works better because of the lack of immediate pressure to then immediately try the thing out.
- Submit your request with grace, and do it gently and lightly, for example you could say “I’d like us to be more adventurous and to try new things and I’ve read about something I’d like to try in a book / magazine and I wondered if we could give it a go…” or “the sex that we have is wonderful, I love it, especially the connection that it brings between us, but I wonder if we could make it even better?”, then “I’m just wondering whether we could try…” and then say the position, or the thing that you’d like to try.
- If there’s hesitation then let your partner know that it is of course perfectly okay to have a think about it for a while and to let you know at a later time.
- And if all of that has gone really well and she seems receptive then suggest what you’d like to try when you are both at the height of passion “can we try…”, “I’ve been thinking about it and I know it would drive me really crazy”, then if she still seems okay with it take the lead – and do remember to praise when she’s giving you the pleasure that you’re after.
Talking with your partner about role plays that you’ve tried
If you’ve been trying out some role plays with your partner then you may want to get some feedback on how they’ve gone so that you can improve things for next time. Here’s a few questions you could ask…
- What did you like most about the scene / role play that we tried?
- Which bits of it were the most exciting to you?
- If we did a similar themed role play again, what is another path we can take / thing that we can do that would be exciting to you?
- What are some other role plays that you’d like to try out that would be exciting?
Take a quiz
Suggest taking a quiz with your partner to find out where you both are at… this is a great way to start communicating with you partner about sex and it’s a brilliant way to get to know each other’s likes, dislikes and what the boundaries are for you both. Start off by grabbing two pens and two bits of paper, write down the following questions on both bits of paper and then answer them separately…
Thinking about sex the things that…
- I like are…
- I would like to try are…
- I do not like are…
- I am interested in doing are…
- I’m not sure about, but I might like to explore with you are…
Once you’ve completed your answers sit down together, swap bits of paper, and then have a read and a discuss. If you both answer this one honestly then it should prompt a really good, open and honest discussion about…
- Any boundaries that you might both have.
- Things that your partner might like to try out.
- Getting clarity on both of your likes and dislike so that you can explore the likes together and leave the dislikes well alone.
What if talking doesn’t work to resolve the lack of sex in your relationship?
Our last topic is here as your backup plan for when, despite having followed the advice in this article to the letter, your communications still aren’t working to improve the frequency of your sexual encounters with your partner.
- If you are continually being rejected for sex and you can honestly say that you’ve tried all of the communication ideas suggested above then try again to tell your partner how her continual rejections make you feel, this time include a suggestion something along the lines of “fair enough, not now, but can we agree a date and time that works for us both when we’ll try again?” If this worked for you both then you could build on this and ask her to initiate sex with you once a month.
- And along those same lines – having a ‘sex date’, where you both agree to go to bed to make love at an agreed date and time with an agreed frequency can work wonders.
- If you are getting the feeling that your partner won’t go to bed with you until a long list of her prerequisites have all been met and bitterness is slowing creeping in because in the past despite meeting all of these demands it still hasn’t meant that you get sex at the end of it – then don’t give up. Try and approach it again with a new attitude, try not to automatically dismiss what your partner is telling you that she needs in order to be more sexual with you. Try giving her the benefit of the doubt again – even if you’re not sure that it will make a difference.
- If talking doesn’t work then you can also try writing your partner a letter or a note. The underlying principle here is that you doing something totally different rather than just keeping on with the talking. Your partner may respond better if she can actually see the words written down? Why? Because she may simply not be listening to the words that you say but writing it down triggers off the necessary difference in the way that the message is put across – she may just respond better to seeing the message rather than hearing it – that’s just the way some people are. I’d advise against just handing it over to her in person – and instead leaving the letter or note somewhere that she’ll find it.
- And if you’ve tried talking and you’ve written a letter and it’s still not working? Then try talking to her over the phone instead. This could potentially work better because you aren’t face to face and you both may just be more comfortable that way.