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Let's Communicate!

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times-for success in any relationship, communication is crucial. But what does that actually mean?

Merriam-Webster defines “communication” as “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communication) Putting this definition into the specific context of sexuality, we see a lot of options! Communication could be an actual face-to-face conversation with your lover, a naughty text message, a light touch, even a sigh or moan during sex play.  The how is variable and depends on you. 

Communicate to Relate

Whatever your relationship with your sexual partner—short or long term, from marriage to “friends with benefits” or even a one night stand – respect and the sharing of needs and desires are important components to any type of relationship. On a fundamental level, it’s difficult to share intimacy and pleasure with someone you don’t respect or have open channels of communication with. Being able to freely and effectively communicate your needs and desires opens up a whole world of sexy possibilities!

Besides the effects on your interpersonal relationship, communication can make the actual sexual experience more satisfying. Think of a time when your sexual partner made a slight change in their touch or movements and this made a difference between you having an orgasm or not. Did you tell them what you wanted them to do, or just hope they would figure it out? If you didn’t tell your partner what you wanted, how did that sexual encounter end? Were you completely satisfied?  We as humans are not mind readers no matter how much we wish we were.

Imagine always being satisfied with the sex you’re having, always getting exactly what you need from your partners. The best way to make that happen is to communicate!

Yes Means Yes!

Another compelling reason to communicate, which may be less fun to think about but is still important, is the problem of negotiating sexual consent.  Fully established, freely given consent means telling your partner, “yes, I want this.” In the heat of the moment, when emotions are running high, unclear language can have tragic consequences. Why take the risk of inadvertently pressuring your partner into an act they’re not 100% comfortable with? Clearly state your intentions, desires and boundaries for safer and sexier sex.

An important part of communication for personal safety and comfort is the freedom to state our desires without fear of being shamed. Give yourself and your partners permission to feel and want, and don’t be judgmental toward yourself or others. If your partner’s specific desires make you uncomfortable, that’s another thing for you to consider and discuss. There may be underlying personal reasons for your discomfort, and it may be an issue you and your partner can work around with a little bit of effort. At the very least, communicating your desires will allow you to establish where you’re able to compromise and where your boundaries are firm.

Negotiating “No”

Sometimes your partner might want to do something that you’re not interested in or ready for, or vice versa. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you, your partner or your relationship, only that your desires in the present moment aren’t perfectly in sync. That’s ok! What’s important is communicating that and respecting your partner’s boundaries. No really does mean no, but it can be a scary thing to have to say during an enjoyable sexual encounter. It’s much easier to say no to the idea of any sexual contact with a person than to say no to one action while still wanting to do another.

While directness is always best in the long run, sometimes you won’t want to have a full discussion about your sexual boundaries and needs during a sex session. One of the easiest ways around this is to suggest alternatives to whatever your partner is suggesting that you don’t want to do. For example, if you’re not ready to have intercourse but your partner wants to, you can playfully say, “Not yet…I’d rather get you off with my hands/mouth/this toy right now.”

If they want to be touched in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you may need to do some thinking and experimenting to find a middle ground. For example, if they want to receive oral sex and you aren’t comfortable with or in the mood for that, maybe it’s specifically the wet sensation they’re looking for. Would extra lube and manual stimulation turn them on? Make it clear that your objection is to a specific act at this specific time, not that they don’t turn you on. While being firm about your personal boundaries, make sure to show that you’re enjoying whatever it is that you are doing, rather than putting the focus on what you don’t want. Later on, when you’re not actually having sex, you can take some time to discuss what it was about their request or desire that you didn’t like, and negotiate boundaries for next time.

Talk (Dirty) To Me

Communication doesn’t have to be dry, clinical or boring. Sure, sometimes it may be more appropriate to use the medical terms for a body part or read a serious article or book together, but communication can also be sexy and fun!

Ask your partner questions, in and out of the bedroom. “Do you like this?” “Can I touch/kiss you here?” “Do you want me?” These and many more can open the lines for sexy communication and expansion of the sexual experience.

Be responsive! Most people get more turned on when they can tell that their partner is really into what’s happening. “Touch me,” “I love it when you…” or a straight to the point, “f--- me” all get the message across that what your partner is doing is getting you hot, or let them know what they could do to make your experience better. A simple “yes” when something is right can be a good starting point for this kind of communication, if it’s difficult for you to articulate your desires when you’re not in the moment. Yes is a sexy word. Use it!

Communication Toolbox

If you don’t know yourself and your desires, you won’t be able to express those desires to your partner. Explore what makes you feel good, never stop learning, and share your growth and learning with your partners. One great way to learn new things about sexuality is to check out one of the positive sexuality workshops available here at Positive Passions, pick up one of the many books available in-store or check out some of our great games such as Embrace or Fetish that help open the lines of communication in a comfortable way.

Expand your comfort zone, increase your intimacy, and have fun!




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