Have you ever heard claims that communicating during sex is easy? Be it from friends or renowned sexperts, some of whom even offer templates of unnatural, formal conversations meant to take place in some of your most intimate moments. So much of the mainstream conversation about communicating in bed ignores just how uncomfortable it can be. Personally, easy, effective conversations in between the sheets have not been my experience. I have social anxiety, and even if you don’t, communicating with a partner can be awkward and sometimes confusing.
Let’s dismantle the narrative that it’s always easy, it’s not, and that’s okay. Many aspects of sex are clumsy, but communicating IS extremely important. Research has shown that sexual communication is positively correlated with sexual satisfaction. And this makes sense, your partner isn’t a mind reader, and neither are you. The only way to really know how to please one another is to communicate. If you want the sex to feel better, good communication is the bridge you’ve got to cross, so here’s my step by step advice on exactly how you can get there.
If You Don’t Know What You Like How Can They?
Before you work through communicating your desires with a partner, you should know what exactly those desires are. The power of self pleasure is unlimited, meaning you can approach masturbation in a variety of ways. It can be an aspect of your self-care routine, something you simply do to fall asleep, or release stress. You could think of it as sex with yourself and treat it how you treat partnered intercourse, or, in this case, it can be your research. Create a space without self judgement. Remember that you are alone, and allow yourself to get as wild and as messy as you please. IF you designate self pleasure as your homework, set time aside for the practice of masturbating, and time afterwards to analyze.
Some good journaling questions are… What felt good, but didn’t bring me closer to orgasm? Alternatively, what did give me the feeling of a rising orgasm? What made me lose the feeling of arousal? Did I engage in foreplay with myself? If so, what body parts did I touch to get me horny? What was the sensation I was engaged in when I came? This time I didn’t come, what may have distracted me?
Grab The Dictionary.
And no, you do not literally need a dictionary for this step. What I mean is that, once you have figured out what you like, you need to have the language to communicate that with a partner. I have a friend who, after having sex for the first time, was asked by her partner what she did and didn’t like. She had no idea what to say, and in talking to me about this situation, told me she drew a blank because of her lack of experience. “Do you masturbate,” I asked, and she told me she did. “Then you have plenty of experience,” I responded. Don’t psych yourself out. Is it that you don’t know what feels good? Or were you just never given the language to describe it?
Try Using This Language to Communicate Better In Bed:
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more seen than while listening to Megan Thee Stallion rap the lyrics “stop licking my pussy hard, that shit aggravating”. YES. Not enough people talk about pressure. How hard is your partner pressing their fingers or their tongue along or inside your body? Is it too hard? Too soft? Let them know.
Words like “harder!” and “faster!” seem to have been co-opted by the male dominated porn industry and turned into something to arouse men. I’m here to remind you that these words belong to you, too. As does “slow down”. Since so many people are influenced by unrealistic, aggressive, and sometimes violent porn, “slow down” seems to have lost its sex appeal. This needs to be unlearned, by your partner, and by society as a whole. Sex is hottest when it feels good for all parties involved, and bringing you pleasure should make whoever you’re having sex with feel good as well.
The biggest question of them all: where on the body would you like to be stimulated? It can be hard for some people not to feel a flush of awkwardness when saying the word “vagina” or “clitoris”, even “nipple”. Like I said in the beginning, I won’t lie and tell you communication’s always going to be easy, but the truth is that it’s important. It might be good to give yourself a little refresher on those genitalia charts they may or may not have used in your grade school health class. On there you’ll see the clitoris, the vaginal opening, the outer and inner labia, the anus, and more. Feel free to shy away from technical language, if words like “pussy” or “cunt” empower you, by all means use them. It’d be wise to encourage your partner to at least learn the anatomically correct terms. While you’re looking at a chart, try googling erogenous zones. Erogenous zones are the areas along your body with more nerve endings. They are the super sensitive pleasure points, if you will. These include your lips, ears, neck, toes, stomach, and lower back.
Statistically speaking, there is a 3-7% chance of a woman orgasming from penetration alone, that number jumps to about 50% when clitoral stimulation is included. You may want to find positions that involve “pairing”, which is when clitoral stimulation happens with penetration simultaneously. These include missionary, cowgirl, and doggy style because the clitoris is accessible for you or your partner to stimulate with fingers.
The G-Spot is actually located on the upper vaginal wall, on the side closer to your belly than your back. Often, penetration from a 90 degree angle doesn’t actually stimulate it, which is why it can be beneficial to talk to your partner about maybe arranging some pillows under your back, or engaging in positions that feel better to you.
There are so many ways to touch a clitoris: erratically, up and down, side to side, in circular motions, rubbing, with a pulsating finger, toy or tongue, the list goes on.
Show And Tell.
If you’re like me and get uncomfortable with formal conversations in the bedroom, you have options! Of course, you should use your words whenever you can, but there are other forms of communication you can utilize as well. You can use your hands by guiding your partner’s hands, head or body to the right spot, or by touching yourself before your partner starts to show them how you like it. You can also use your sounds, moaning louder and breathing harder when they make you feel good is the hottest form of encouragement.
What To Do Next: Practice Makes Perfect.
As much as we may try to avoid them, those awkward and sometimes confusing conversations are the ones that really make the difference between sex being just ehh, or something completely life altering. Just how do you make those talks more comfortable? By continuing to push yourself to have them! There are many ways to get into this habit. You can start having the discussion before anything happens, and rip it off like a bandaid. This way, you can set your boundaries, talk about sexual health and history, and hopefully avoid having to tell them later on that “that doesn’t feel too great.” Talking details on what you want your partner to do could even be arousing for them. Or you can have a verbal check in after. How are you both feeling? What worked and what didn’t? This approach will make it easier for you to get feedback on what they like as well, for sex in the future.
You should never feel stuck. Whether you’re beginning your journey towards prioritizing your pleasure, or if you’re a pro at telling the people you sleep with how to make you happy, there are different aspects of your sexuality to communicate, and different ways to communicate them. Have faith that as long as you keep trying, you will get better and better at communicating in bed.
This guest blog post was written by Tara Jones for the Sexuality Stylist blog. Tara Jones (@tara.michaela on Instagram) uses her digital platform and writing skills to provide answers for some of people’s most taboo questions. She is a sex educator, and student at New York University, currently studying Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her work focuses on how injustice manifests in sexual interactions, how stigma keeps us from being our best selves, and how we can close the orgasm gap. She is currently doing social media and editorial content work for Momotaro Apotheca.