Many have written to me with some variation on the theme of: what should I do if I want something different in the bedroom than my partner?
Sometimes this is about one person wanting to have sex more or less often and sometimes it’s about what you’re actually doing in your sex life. No matter what the exact issue is, if you want different things in the bedroom than your partner, I’ve got your back!
Today I’m going to share my 3-Step Process and The 15 Questions to Ask for a Better Sex Life
Why’s it So Hard to Talk About, Abby?
I don’t think it’s a newsflash to hear that many people find it really hard to talk about sex. Since you were young and your parents awkwardly tried to talk to you about it (gasp!), it’s likely been a sensitive topic that creates embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy or even shame.
There are so many reasons from intergenerational trauma to cultural or religious views or issues about sex to possible trauma in your own life to just plain old ignorance that have lead to your current feelings and thoughts about sex.
No matter what your reasons sex can feel quite uncomfortable to talk about today in your relationship. Talking about sex is your way to better sex. Educating yourself is your second-best way to having better sex. So, focus on those.
Today, we’re going in on talking about sex. On your own, I want you to educate yourself as much as possible. This means books about sexual positions, techniques and male/female anatomy. My only caveat: don’t use porn to educate (yes, I have to say this). Porn can have a place in the bedroom, but it offers a very unrealistic view of what a sexual life can and should be.
Since you’re going to ask, here are a few of my favorite “sex” books to get you started:
- Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD (there’s also an excellent companion workbook you can get)
- Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship by Stephen Snyder, MD
- The Man’s Guide to Women by John Gottman, PhD
Now let’s talk about my 3-step process for what to do when you want different things in the bedroom.
Step 1: Get Comfortable With Yourself First
The biggest issue tends to be that you’re not comfortable talking about sex to begin with. If you’re comfortable talking about sex, then you can skip to Step 2. If not, I’d like you to work on this first.
Write a list of all the “sex” words you can think of: from vagina to pussy, from penis to cock, from making love to fucking, from 69 to cowgirl to truffle butter. Any and all terms you’ve ever heard, they go on the list.
Now practice saying the words out loud. When you’re a little more comfortable with that, stand in front of a mirror and say them to yourself. Mirror work of any kind is often powerful because there’s a vulnerability that immediately becomes apparent and this is the closest to speaking to a partner. You can also try to practice the words with a best friend or someone else you trust.
Lastly, try out some sentences. “I love when you suck on my breasts.” If you’re really feeling brave (and if it fits for you) you can use slang: “I love when you suck on my cock.” “Fuck me harder” is another good one.
Practice, practice, practice until you feel as comfortable as possible.
If you’re more open, your partner will be more open. So start this process.
Step 2: Timing
Do not wait until you’re in bed before speaking with a partner about sex. It’s best to pick a time when you feel connected to your partner out of the bedroom, fully clothed.
Start with permission and FULL attention.
- Do you have a few minutes to talk?
- Is now a good time? I have something I want to speak to you about.
- Make sure there are no distractions (cell phones, TV shows, etc.)
Step 3: Talk About What You Do Want
When you’re sure you have both (permission and attention) start with saying how you feel.
- I’m a little uncomfortable talking about this, but our sex life is important to me and I want to open up a conversation
- I’m nervous to speak to you about this…
- I’m feeling a little embarrassed and self-conscious so I really need you to be extra-sensitive right now
If you don’t like something your partner is doing in bed, you don’t have to point it out as much as you need to point them towards what you do want. This is why you need to get more comfortable first so you can ask for what you want.
If you’re still uncomfortable asking for what you want you can say that. Again, be as explicit with your feelings as you can be. An option then would be to find a porn video showing what you do want and asking your partner to do that with you.
It’s important to speak up but not criticize. Use the same tools I give you for everything else. Ask questions!!
Point them in the right direction: “I love when you X. Can we do more of that?”