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Talking about sex can enhance your pleasure. Here is how to do it.

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

There is a direct correlation between communication about sexual desires with a sexual partner and a sense of sexual satisfaction and fulfilment. But most of us have grown up in environments where talking about sex is either taboo or we haven’t been taught how to communicate our erotic needs and how to ask about those of our partner/s.

Having these conversations can be confusing, scary, and difficult at times. There have been many dialogues lately about asking for ‘enthusiastic consent’ and there has been varying responses to the idea. If we have not learnt how to communicate our deepest desires and wishes, how can we ask for some else’s?

Many people approach sex like a game of luck. They hope their partner knows WHAT they want and HOW they want it and they feel frustrated, angry or disappointed when the (very human) partner does what they ‘think’ the other person wants.

Other people rely heavily on non-verbal communication. “He came up to my room after we had a drink.” Or “she took her top off.” And then they conclude: “so he/she/they must want what I want.” I think the flaw in this argument is obvious (although not so much to the people who experience it!) Non-verbal communication is not a substitute for verbal communication. In fact, neither of them is a substitute for the other. Good communication involves paying attention to non-verbal communication such as body language, eye-contact and tone of voice as well as the verbal content of the communication. If there are any discrepancies or if you are unsure, always check-in. “You said you wanted to have sex, but I feel you are uncomfortable with this. Do you want me to stop?”

two hands touching a woman's naked back

Another misconception is that asking for consent can kill the mood. When people say that, I always think: “how do they imagine asking for consent looks like? Facing the other person, holding their hands and saying: “Do you consent for me to lawfully perform a felatio? If so, answer I do.”

Jokes aside, as a sexologist I can assure you asking for consent can in fact increase your and your partner’s sexual pleasure and enhance the mood. Here is how to do it.

As an example, you can use the following sentence with the below suggestions:

“Can I (choose from the list below) your (insert you favourite body part)?”

Lick Slap Massage Grab

Hold Nibble Pinch Caress

Tug Rub Bite Explore

Squeeze Pleasure Seduce Tickle

Suck Stroke Tease Kiss

or try the below sentences:

“I have been thinking of doing --- with/to you all night. Are you happy to try?”

“How does this feel?”

"Does this feel good?"

"Are you ok with this?"

"If you are into it I could..."

"What turns you on?"

"Do you like it when I ...?"

"If you change your mind, we will stop."

two men kissing on the lips

How to ask for what you want?

So, you’ve asked for what the other person wants. How can you tell them what you want? Here are some examples. Always give feedback about what feels good and what doesn't.

“I have been thinking of doing --- with/to you all night. Are you happy to try?”

"I don't like that, but I can do..."

"Yes, I am totally into that!"

"I like my ears kissed but not my neck."

"I really liked that last time but right now I am not in the mood."

"If I change my mind, we will stop."

Or with a regular partner you can use a sentence like this:

“I love it when you…”

"I think it's hot when you..."

We are good at telling others what we don’t want but it is more helpful to tell them what we do want. This increases the likelihood of receiving what we want next time.

One of the things I have learnt from the Kink and BDSM community is the importance of negotiation before play. Some sexual activities require a quick check-in, some require a conversation, some are a number of conversations over a number of days. So, depending on how long you know your sexual partner/s, how much trust there is between you and the nature of the sexual act, communication and consent can vary greatly.

“But what if I don’t know what I want!” This is a common question that many people have. They have either run out of ideas or they have never had the opportunity to explore what they desire in a safe environment. If this is you, don’t worry. I have a course coming up next month which provides a safe space for self-discovery. It is delivered online so you can attend no matter where you are. All you need is a private space and a reliable internet. If you interested, click here to read more.

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