By reading this article and hopefully taking in some advice, you are more likely to have a better relationship and an improved sex life.
That isn’t some clickbait claim I’ve made to hook you into reading more but a fact according to Joseph Grenny, social scientist and co-author of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. He says couples that discuss difficult topics — and apparently, sex and intimacy are the most difficult — are “10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who ignore difficult subjects.”
The ‘sex talk’ is often associated with a child sitting awkwardly with their parents as they learn about the birds and the bees. However, it's important that you have another type of sex talk — one with your partner. And it may be just as awkward as the one you had with your parents. Justin Lehmiller, author of, Tell Me What You Want, says, “You are much more vulnerable talking about sex than doing it.” Despite Salt and her sidekick Pepa imploring us to talk about sex, not enough of us are actually taking their advice.
Kate McCombs, a sex and relationships educator, makes the key point, “When you avoid those vital conversations, you might avoid some awkwardness, but you’re also settling for suboptimal sex.”
You don’t want suboptimal sex, do you? You only want optimal. Or mega optimal — which is a word I made up and sounds like a Transformer — but you get the idea.
So let's look at 6 sex topics you can discuss with your sex partner to improve your relationship 10 times and avoid suboptimal sex.
1.Fantasies and fetishes
The interview question: What have you always wanted to do?
Let’s jump right into this with a tough question. When I interviewed potential new staff people for my business, I always started with the hardest questions first. Maybe that's my fetish; I’m an interview dominatrix? Nah, more likely, I’m an asshole.
In Lehmiller’s book, he found that only 50% of people share their fantasies with their partners. It seems the other half are too ashamed to discuss the topic even with the person they are intimate enough to get naked and have sex with. His research indicated that most of us have very similar sexual fantasies. 97% of fantasies fall into these categories: multi-partner sex; rough sex; novelty and adventure; voyeurism and fetishes; non-monogamous sex; deeper emotional connection; and gender fluidity.
This means the chances are high that if you like something, your partner may have the same turn-on. Getting these out into the open could lead to a whole new world for both of you. For some, even discussing their fantasies and fetishes may be a big turn-on. In this case, words may even speak louder than actions.
Ask your partner what they have always wanted to do, and share your deepest sexual desires with them.
2. Itchy and scratchy
The interview question: Any STIs I should know about?
Sexual health issues can also be very awkward to bring up, but this is vital information to share. You have the right to ask your partner if they have any STIs and for them to get tested, just as they may request the same of you.
I was once asked by a new partner to undertake a range of sexual health tests before she would get serious with me. This request actually led me to have my first threesome. If you have read any of my sex articles, it won’t surprise you to read the experience was nothing like I would have hoped. In addition to that unexpected excitement, it also gave my partner the confidence she needed for us to have sex without condoms and allow her to be more open sexually with me.
If you do have an STI, you need to own it and be upfront about it. HPV is more prevalent than you think —nearly every sexually active person will get it at some point, according to the CDC. It isn't just a case of hiding information that should be discussed; some people may not be aware they have an infection. About 1 in 7 HIV-positive people are unaware they have the condition — hence the right to ask a partner to be tested.
Have the discussion and any tests if necessary, and build trust with your partner.
3. Are you the one (or two, or there or..?)
The interview question: Are we exclusive?
This may seem more of a relationship question but is very much linked to sex. It is important to know if you intend to be monogamous or non-monogamous? Will you have an open relationship, and if so, are there any boundaries? Will you invite other people into your sex lives?
There is a wide definition of what a non-exclusive relationship looks like. It could be having sex with a range of people outside of the relationship, multiple relationships, or even living with more than one partner.
Never assume the status of a sexual relationship. Abiola Abrams, sex and relationships guru and creator of Abiola’s Passionista Playbook, advises, “Having straight-forward conversations about whether or not you’re sexually exclusive reduces confusion.”
Open or closed — as long as all parties agree, you can move forward.
4. I’m free next Tuesday at 3 pm
The interview question: How frequently do you want sex?
Sending a calendar request for sex may sound the least sexy thing you can do but discussing the frequency of sex and when it can fit into busy lives is important.
On average, Americans have sex once a week. For some, that number is too high, and for many, that is way too low. (I can sense many of you nodding as you read this). Talking about the frequency of sex can align expectations and remove disappointment. Some people don’t want to be perceived as overly sexual because they want to have sex more often, while others may fear offending their partner if they want less frequent sex.
Your sex frequency can lead to dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger if one partner feels under or oversexed. Simply telling your partner how often you like to have sex and asking their preferred sex frequency can alleviate this.
This can also incorporate the time of day and even location. Are you a morning person? And by that, I mean are you a morning sex person, not one of those people with a ridiculous morning routine that involves exercise, meditation, yoga, saving the world, and doing a full day of work before I have my first coffee. You can share your ultimate sex calendar with your preferred days and times — and turn Excel into SEXcel.
It may be hard to find the perfect match. But you can at least align both of your needs through discussion. This can also include signs that you aren't interested in sex and signs that you are ready for action. Learning to read those signals is important also!
5. I want it that way
Interview question: What makes you feel good?
Before discussing this topic, I really hope you read this heading and sang the Backstreet Boys song. If not, please take a moment now to sing the chorus.
We want to please our partners and hopefully make them orgasm. One study found that women reached orgasm with a familiar partner at an average rate of 63 percent, while men reached orgasm more than 85 percent of the time. We want to increase that.
Even if the goal is not to orgasm, you still want your sex partner to feel good. And the best way to do that is to ask by asking them. One way to do this is to ask your partner how they like to be touched. They can masturbate or use a sex toy on themselves, so you can see exactly what gets them off and replicate. Like they say — monkey sees, monkey does!
Not only is this a great Orgasm Masterclass, but it can also be great foreplay.
Again openness and honesty and expressing your sexual likes and dislikes will improve your sex life.
6. The Feedback form
Interview summary: You’ve got the job, but here are things you can work on.
You’ve asked the right questions, had open and frank discussions, and passed the interview test. But there is always time for feedback — and at this point, it is important to remember that “good lovers are made, not born.” There is always room for improvement.
Eliza Boquin, a Licensed Psychotherapist and Sex Therapist advises that before giving feedback, ask your partner if they’re OK with receiving feedback. If given the go-ahead, then Boquin says to be honest and upfront. “Don’t place blame on your partner; simply share what you would like more of and what it would mean to you if you had more. ”
As with any feedback, you need to point out the positive aspects. I loved it when you did that. It felt good when you did X. Wow, that was better than normal. Then you can follow it up with ways to improve or something else you may like. And in the feedback stage, always ask where you can improve — because no matter how good you think you are — you aren't perfect.
Above are 6 questions — or rather 5 questions and a feedback segment — that can improve your relationship and sex life. It may be uncomfortable at first, but the initial nerves you may feel will make for better sex.
Yes, you will banish suboptimal sex forever. That's my guarantee!