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How to talk to your partner about sex

Even couples who have been married for years often have trouble talking about sex. If you are feeling a little less than satisfied or just want to try something new, it’s important to open up with your partner and talk about your desires.

Couple talking in bed

We consulted Dr Terri Orbuch, author of the book 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great (Random House), about how to approach sexual conversation with your partner. Dr Orbuch offered this advice on how to talk about sex.

1Timing is everything

Pick a good situation and ditch the distractions. Pay attention to your body language. We send signals both ways that may differ from what we say to our partner.

2Don’t mind read

You can’t be a mindreader, no matter how long you’ve known or been with your partner. Don’t assume you know what feels good to them, or what gives them pleasure; always ask. For example, “Which activities do you find the most pleasurable?”


A good way to start a sex conversation is to remember back to the first several times you and your partner had sex. What did you enjoy? What make it exciting? Bring up the good times with your partner and talk about how exciting things were. This will lead to conversation about what’s going on in your sex life currently.

4Watch a movie

Another good way to start a sex conversation is to use a movie or TV show that you’ve watched where a couple discussed sexuality. Ask your partner what they thought of the discussion? What was challenging about the discussion? Can the two of you discuss (or do the two of you view) sexuality differently?

5Don’t blame

Let your partner know how you feel by using “I” statements not “you” statements. Say,”I feel insecure when we don’t have sex frequently” or “I miss having sex with you” rather than “You never want to have sex.” Ask your partner what you can do to make things better or to improve your sex life.

6Give him time

Remember to give your partner time to respond and think. Many of us don’t have the vocabulary to talk about sexuality in general, so your partner may need time to process and think about what you say. Men will have a different vocabulary than women.

More about Sexual communication

If you find it uncomfortable to talk about sex with your partner, start the conversation by e-mail or phone. Though face-to-face communication is your best bet, you can start the initial conversation in this manner.

Assess your partner’s mood before jumping into a sexual conversation. If they have had a bad day at work, it’s probably not the best time. They might end up feeling defensive or getting upset. Wait until the time is right and then ease into the conversation slowly.

Don’t ever be accusatory. If you want to improve your sex life, you can’t make your partner feel inadequate. Instead, keep things light-hearted and introduce ways to make sex with your partner more fun. Share fantasies, discuss new positions or introduce the possibility of using sex toys.

The only way you are going to get what you want in the bedroom is to let your partner know. Put away your inhibitions and open up the lines of communication.

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