No matter how connected you and your partner are, you may shy away from blunt discussions about your sex life. Many couples, in fact, rely on cues and body language to navigate each other in the bedroom — what's there to really talk about anyway?
Plus, even when there is something to talk about, you risk hurting your partner's feelings — and ego — with negative feedback or unmet expectations. Let's be honest, that can be completely deflating (literally).
Even though I'm a so-called relationship expert, I know firsthand how downright awkward (and so not sexy) it can be to talk with your partner about your desires, fantasies and general between-the-sheets suggestions. So, rather than thinking of bedroom communication as one conversation, reframe it as an ongoing dialogue you and your partner can have — in the moment — to make your sex life even more exciting and satisfying than it already is.
Here's how to get started:
First, assess what you want more of, less of, or just different. Solid communication starts with really knowing your own desires. Set some time aside to imagine what components of your sex life you truly enjoy and look forward to. For example, is your partner really great at foreplay? Or, is he particularly skilled at another aspect of sex? Then, think about what parts of your sex life might need work. Maybe you feel like sex is too rushed or too slow. Maybe you crave a different position. Being clear about your own needs is key to bringing them up to your partner. (If it helps, write these things down!)
If you're not sure what you want more of, what you want to change, or if you want to try something different, think about some of your favorite sexy scenes from movies or TV shows — scenarios that have turned you on or presented appealing situations. You may even suggest watching one of these films or shows with your partner and then voicing your desires during the scenes themselves. (Men, as we know, are especially visual. So, having something concrete to look at can be particularly helpful for them as far as understanding what you want.)
Another way to improve communication and make sure your sexual needs are met is to model your desires. Say you think it would be sexy to take a bath together as a means of foreplay. Rather than drop hints to your partner, take the initiative by using your next date night to set your fantasy in motion. Light some candles, draw a bath, then invite your partner to join you and enjoy what happens next.
Finally, revive positive feedback. In the beginning, you and your partner were likely quite vocal about your needs and wants as you discovered each other in bed. But after being together for a while, you may find that you're both much quieter.
Use the list you made of your wants, needs, and could-be-betters as a guide to restart the conversation. When something feels good, be sure to let your partner know. (For added excitement, try K-Y Yours and Mine, which provides two lubricants in one package, one designed specifically for men and one for women). When you want to switch up the pace or try something new, say how excited it makes you think about doing whatever is it you want to try. Your partner will be aroused by your enthusiasm — and more than willing to acquiesce.
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and WomansDay.com, among others. The author of "101 Quizzes for Couples" and "The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags," she is regularly called on as a relationship expert by various media outlets around the world.