onversations about sex are seldom easy, but open 

                 communication is fundamental to a more satisfying sex                         life. While in almost every other realm, talking the talk is

                 easier than walking the walk, sex seems to be the exception.  Research actually suggests tht people are more comfortable having sex than talking about it.  This communication gap not only wreaks havoc on our sex lives, but also takes a toll on our intimacy levels, expressions of affection and overall relationships.

     If you're uncomfortable talking about sex with your lover, know that you are not alone.  No matter how confident you are or how high your comfort level with sex may be, every single one of us gets nervous when it comes to sexual communication, we take comfort in knowing that the toughest conversations about serious and sexy topics results in heightened levels of intimacy, but couples who engage in thoughtful conversations about important topics like sex have more successful relationships.

     Your conversations likely won't follow a standardized trajectory, but I suggest that you consider these approaches when engaging in discussions related to sex:

  • Highlight the positive 

  • Ask questions

  • Make offers

  • Make requests

     As you open conversations about sex, highlight the positive and begin with lighter topics.  Start by talking about what you already enjoy about your sex life and offer compliments whenever possible.  This initial conversation doesn't need to lead immediately to requests and critiques; you can spread the early discussions over​

the course of several days or weeks to normalize sex-related communication.  Ideally, your comfort levels will increase and sex talk will become a regular part of your interactions as opposed to awkward discussions you have when you encounter problems in your sex life.  By spending some time talking about the positive elements of your sex life you normalize sexual conversation as constructive and ongoing as opposed to reactionary.

     Here are a few lines to get you started with positive sex talk:

     "I love when you..."

     "One thing that I really like is..."

     "You're the best at..."

     "Do you remember that time at the theater when you ...? That felt so good!"

     Asking questions to learn more about your lover's needs is another effective approach to improving your sexual communication.  We all have a lot to learn about sex and acknowledging your own limitations while expressing a willingness to learn and adapt will set the tone for your partner to do the same - at his/her own pace.

     With most skilled-based interactions and activities, we receive formal instruction from our parents, teachers, community leaders and peers.  Oftentimes this instruction includes courses, demonstrations, diagrams, formal practice, evaluation and ongoing feedback.  Sex is, of course, the 

exception.  It is the one activity that we engage in without any structured education or observation, so we need direction.  Start the conversation with a few inquiries:

     "Do you like when I...?"

     "Show me how you like it..."

     "In an ideal world, how many times per week/month would you want to have sex?"

     "After you climax, how do you want to be touched/held?"

     "If I were to seduce you tomorrow, what would you want me to do?"

     "What did you think about the scene in a film or TV show you watched together?"

     "Is there anything you'd like me to do to make it hotter for you?"

     Making offers and acknowledging that you're willing to adapt, consider feedback and evolve to meet your partners needs will likely increase the likelihood that they'll want to do the same.

     Sex talk will be easier and smoother if it's a two-way exchange as opposed to a one-directional lecture.  If you're more naturally inclined toward verbal expression than your partner, take a step back and encourage them to open up so the conversations isn't one-sided.  Listen intently and ask for clarification as needed.  

     As you become accustomed to highlighting the positive and asking questions, your comfort level talking about sex will likely increase and you'll likely find yourself making requests and setting boundaries with greater ease.  Expressing your desires and interests with care and tact can be a challenge and you can expect your lover

to be sensitive to your speech, tone and body language.  If your lover becomes defensive, offer immediate reassurance that your requests do not reflect a deficit, but are an indication of your love, commitment and attraction.  You may want to encourage your lover to share her/his requests first so that you can model receptiveness to her/his needs.

     Consider trying these conversations starters when making sexual requests:

     "I would love more ________.  You're so good at it."

     "I had a dream about trying ________ with you and it got me thinking..."

     "I read an article about ______.  What do you think of that?"

     "I have the best orgasms when you ________."

     "In an ideal world, I'd like to have sex (however you define it) X times per week.  What can we do to make more time/find a balance."

     "One thing I'd like to work on is..."

     Talking about sex isn't a one-shot deal.  It's and ongoing conversation that can include laughter, tension and awkward moments.  It is that tension and awkwardness that will only intensify passion and attraction later on  So relax, take a deep breath and start talking!

You'll be glad you did.

     Adapted from "The New Sex Bible."

Dr. Jessica O'Reilly holds a Ph. D in human sexuality with a focus on education.  She travels the world to facilitate sold-out relationship retreats from Istanbul to Los Angeles, working with high-power couples to transform their relationships from good to great.

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