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    Talking About Sex With Your Partner Isn't Something We're Necessarily Taught, So We Asked People How They Do It

    In every relationship, there are different kinks, boundaries, and willingness to go outside the box. So we asked a few people — how do you talk to your partner(s) about sex?

    Something I’ve learned after being in the dating scene for a while, and later being in a serious relationship with my boyfriend now, is that sex talk is very personalized. Some prefer communication at every step, while others prefer spontaneity. There are different kinks, boundaries, and willingness to go outside the box with every person. People are different! All of this is OK, but what’s not OK is feeling as if you have to avoid talking about sex. Much like defining the relationship, at one point or another, you have some sort of sex talk with your partner(s).

    An image of a female barbie doll laying next to a male barbie doll over a pink background
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    Isabelle Morley, PsyD, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, told BuzzFeed that everyone is different, especially when it comes to talking about sex. “People have different levels of comfort when talking about sex, so keep in mind that your method of communication may be too vague, too direct, or just right for your partner. It helps to give your partner a heads-up that you’re bringing up something important and to make sure it’s a good time to talk about it (as in, not as you two are walking out the door to go to a party).” She added, "Be as clear as you can, and be ready to answer questions because your partner might not already know a lot about whatever your orientation is or preferences are.”

    After consulting with past friends and sex experts alike, it’s apparent that the biggest thing about the sex talk is being comfortable. You have to be somewhat comfortable with yourself, your partner(s), or at least one of the two. However, there were a few unique things about talking about sex for each person I talked to. Let's dig in.

    1. Consent Is Sexy

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    One of my best friends, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me about how he loves when his partner is explicit about what they want. “I’d say we discuss what we would like to do outside of the bedroom, so neither of us feels obligated to do anything we’re uncomfortable with. Mostly because we feel when you’re in the bedroom, sometimes you just get swept up in the moment or don’t want to disappoint and ruin a mood. But also using consent as a part of foreplay... I just find it sexy to have a partner tell me they want to have sex. That being said, we do an experiment in the bedroom, and if one of us tries something new and the other enjoys it, either verbally or with nonverbal cues, we can continue with that.”

    2. Don’t Be Afraid of Constructive Criticism


    A college colleague of mine, Yolany P, told me how she and her boyfriend talk about sex afterward. “We are very open and honest with each other. We both agree that we want to make each other feel good. We usually discuss sex after we’ve had it and ask what each of us could’ve done better (if anything) and what we really loved. You can’t expect sex to be better without a little constructive feedback.”

    A childhood friend of mine, Dani, also agrees with the concept of constructive criticism. “I’m a pansexual woman dating a bisexual man. There’s a lot we still haven’t tried that we’re open to. We just moved in together, so the sexual communication has skyrocketed. I’ve always been very vocal when having sex. I’ll tell you how good it feels, and if something isn’t right, I’m problem-solving — my sex-driven monkey brain is thinking of any and every way to make things more pleasurable for both of us. I’ll suggest a different position or recommend we try using toys too. Talking about sex afterward is awesome because you learn what works and what doesn’t. Just be open to constructive criticism, and don’t be afraid to say, 'Fuck, that feels good,' when it does.”

    3. Remember, You Can’t Change People


    So one of my closest friends, fellow writer Casey Clark, has been open about her asexuality in the past. And this time was no different. 

    “One of the most challenging parts of being an asexual person is having a conversation about sex. For those who don’t know, asexuality describes people on a spectrum who have little to no interest in sex. This varies individually, but for me, I don’t want sex at all. 

    I’ve only been in one serious relationship, and I expressed up front how I was asexual and had no desire for sex. Personally, I think it would be wrong for me to lead on my partner because odds are they probably aren’t thinking I will not want sex. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have because many people think they can 'change you,' and that’s not the case. I’ve learned that if they don’t want to be with you because you don’t want sex, then they really don’t want to be with you at all. It’s the harsh reality of navigating the dating world as an asexual person, as much as I hate to admit it.”

    She ended it on a beautiful note, saying, “You’ll discover people really only want sex, but don’t let that make you feel unlovable.”

    4. It’s More Than OK to Discuss Kinks

    A stock image of pink, furry handcuffs
    Francesco Carta Fotografo / Getty Images

    A colleague named Bridgit held nothing back when she told me about how she navigates the sex talk. “I’m single, queer, with mostly casual partners and flings. I’m very open about stuff, so before even engaging physically, I usually test the waters, see where other people are at by bringing up things, from foot stuff to anal stuff. I’ll bring up stuff like polyamory because that’s something I’m interested in.”

    “If I start a fling with someone, and we haven’t previously discussed stuff, maybe the 2nd or 3rd time we are being intimate, I’ll ask them, like, “Have you ever sucked toes?” or, “Have you ever done this or done that?” and ask if they would ever want to, etc. It’s not a deal breaker if they aren’t into stuff. In the act, I try to ask: 'Is this OK?' 'Do you like this?' Or I’ll ask them what they like beforehand. I try to be very up front about what I like.”

    5. Trust Yourself When You Know Something’s Off

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    I was super curious what the sex talks are like after being married for a few years. Luckily, a high school friend of mine, Amy, told me about her unique experiences after six years of marriage and two kids later. “Communication at the beginning of our relationship was not needed as much since we ran off each other’s energy and sexual attraction. We always seemed in tune with one another when we each needed intercourse of any kind. As our relationship has progressed and two children later, having sex of any kind, even talking dirty became a bit more difficult.” 

    Then she told me something I didn’t expect: “I am now what is considered being a one-sided open relationship.” She continued, “My husband sees other men and even dates other men, while I decided I did not want to see anyone. We have had a completely open relationship where I saw women while he saw men, but juggle two kids. I did not want to see anyone else.”

    However, this made their bond stronger. “My husband and I talk more openly now about what is desired. I have learned that there are certain positions he is into, and I am open to trying. I recently found how exciting it was to be the dominant one in the bedroom, which is something I have never experienced with a male. I am normally only dominant with females in the bedroom. We no longer schedule sex. We have changed the way we communicate. We send messages while at work or share glances across the table at dinner. We have learned how to communicate that need for trying new positions and when we needed intimate time with each other.”

    6. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions, and Then Ask Some More

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    Carol Yepes / Getty Images

    I’ve always been open with every partner I have. Sometimes, they didn’t listen and pushed my boundaries, but that’s a discussion for another time. Overall, I’ve always viewed the sex talks as a vital part of the beginning of the relationship. 

    With my boyfriend of two years, we’re very open with one another about sex. When we first got together, he told me that he wanted me to tell him everything I can about how he could please me. While that was unbelievably sexy, I realized I didn’t really know. So we talked and experimented every chance we could.

    We talk about different kinks we’ve learned about and whether or not we’d try it. We tell each other what we want both during and after sex, to make it the best experience for both of us. We’ve even talked about how much we wanted to have sex, like if we wanted to have sex more than what we’ve been doing. Honestly, these frequent talks have made me and my boyfriend so much closer. 

    What would you add? Let us know in the comments!

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