The one simple ingredient for fantastic bedroom connections? Talking. So how do you get your partner to start telling you their desires when all they want to do is clam up? Lady Friday has all the advice you need…
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Time and time again, research has shown that if you want to have a healthy, fulfilling, brilliant time in the bedroom, you’re going to need to pull one little move: talk.
And I don’t just mean about the news.
Being open about contraception, your favourite moves, your no-go zones, fantasies and other aspects of your intimate life with your partner is a crucial part of a good sex life.
We all have our secrets, but talking sets boundaries, establishes consent, encourages experimentation – the list goes on. And it’s not just restricted to pillow talk – women who feel confident enough to give advice or orders during intimacy have been shown to be more satisfied more often.
However, many people, particularly those dating men, report that it can be difficult to foster a frank and open conversation with their partners about something so intimate.
Here are the top reasons people sometimes just won’t open up – and how you can get around them.
Even if you’re dating the most seemingly confident person on the block, awkwardness when discussing issues about sexual health and happiness is surprisingly common.
You can often tell if this is the barrier if they fumble or seem deeply uncomfortable when you bring it up in conversation.
We still don’t have a lot of sex ed about how to discuss these things maturely, but it has to be clear that it’s OK to talk about intimacy, and that it’s important to you. If they aren’t comfortable talking about themselves at first, ask if they’ll listen to what you have to say, and move from there.
Sometimes the shyness can stem from lack of experience, having an STD or some other stigmatised part of their history. Make sure you’re open and non-judgemental, and don’t force it.
They lack the vocab.
Discussing intimacy can get really stilted really quickly if all one party can say is ‘That sounds nice’ or ‘I don’t know’.
It’s linked to the shyness problem, and is a matter of developing a personal way to talk about pleasure. Sometimes it can be easier for people to write things down or be ‘fed’ lines.
The best way here is to lead by example. The way you talk about your body and what you want rubs off on your partner, so keep it simple and don’t berate them for not being as open or ‘educated’ as you are.
You’re bringing it up in the wrong situation.
No talk is ever going to go well if you’re in a crowded place, tired, both in emotional places or generally ill-timing it.
Just because talking about things is important doesn’t mean that they can be discussed at any time. Even post-sex can be difficult – post-game analysis really annoys some partners, even if they’re too polite to say so.
There’s no ‘ideal’ time – but keeping it just between the two of you, in a place where you’re both completely comfortable, is a good start.
They think they should just ‘intuitively’ know your body.
These types refuse to discuss anything technique or preference-related, because they insist they should just be able to figure it out as they go along.
Blame X-rated films for this one – everybody in those seems to reach screaming climax without actually discussing a damn thing – but it’s a myth, and you need to make that clear.
There’s no shame or loss of face in discussing things – and it makes that screaming climax a great deal more likely. Be careful when introducing the topic, as this sort of partner can feel insulted or convinced that they’re ‘letting you down’ (by not having magic immediate-orgasm powers).
Phrase things positively – ‘I like it when you do this, I love x, I want that’ – rather than in negative statements, avoiding hurt feelings and opening the door to a discussion that refines technique.
They think it’s not romantic.
This is a myth from a different sort of movie – the kind where there are rose petals on the beds. The notion that discussing great sex somehow ‘ruins’ its romantic, spontaneous quality is surprisingly widespread.
It’s not too damaging as an attitude, but taking it as a matter of romantic pride that you somehow communicate your desires telepathically is not going to work.
Making talking about intimacy into an erotic event in and of itself – not an out-of-bed, more prosaic experience – can be a good way of negotiating this particular idea. When talking can be seen to contribute to the hotness of an event, it becomes a much more desirable activity.
Taking the lead on discussions of intimacy can be a bit daunting, particularly if you’re getting the no-go signal from your partner. If they really aren’t willing to talk, even about practical things like contraception, consider looking into therapy to help you out.
Lady Friday xx
Taking the pillow talk out of the bedroom, every Friday…
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