How to talk about sex without being awkward
Why is talking about sex uncomfortable?
Sex is an intimate act that involves everything that makes us human. There are tons of emotions involved with sex that make us vulnerable, not to mention the involvement of the most private parts of ourselves (hello, body parts).
It makes sense that talking about sex may make someone uneasy. For starters, sex has been a long-time taboo topic that many have been taught is too dirty to bring up in conversation. Though speaking outwardly about sex today is becoming more commonplace, there are still many stereotypes and stigmas that exist that causes many to clam up.
Sex can also be a challenging subject because of guilt, shame, sadness over past sexual mistakes, sexual dysfunction, broken relationships, sexual abuse or trauma, etc. Getting more comfortable talking about sex is beneficial and fundamental to strong relationships and maintaining good sexual health.
Benefits of talking about sex with your partner
Talking about sex with your partner goes beyond admitting the kinky things you enjoy or the crazy things you did in college. Having healthy discussions about sex in your relationship establishes good communication skills by addressing topics critical to sexual health, individually and as a couple. It helps normalize sex talk, enhance sexual health, build healthy boundaries, establish trust, and enjoy having sex.
It normalizes sex-based conversations
The more you and that significant person in your life can engage in conversations on tricky subjects like sex, the more normal it will become for you. Talking about sex can help reduce shame, prevent misunderstandings, and break misconceptions about sex and sexuality. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it, and your openness about it may help your friend circles get more comfortable talking about it too.
Enhances sexual health
Sexual health topics like sexually transmitted infections, birth control methods, and oral sex are far from fluff talk but necessary for you and your partner to be upfront about. Talking about sex is vital because every sexual decision you might make with your partner is guaranteed to influence your sexual health. Having these discussions will help you both plan how to best prepare and protect yourselves so you can have safe, satisfying sex without the stress.
Builds healthy boundaries
Whether you’re waiting until marriage for sex, or you and your significant other are already getting it in, it’s essential to communicate your sexpectations, so you’re on the same page. Building healthy sexual boundaries is when you lay out what you’re comfortable with doing and what you’re not comfortable with doing so your partner knows where the line is drawn. Whatever your personal limit is, a partner worthy of your trust will honor and respect what you consent to.
Trust is a fundamental part of a relationship and is best established through communicating well. Good sex depends on the level of trust in your relationship, and talking about sex openly and honestly can deepen trust and draw the two of you closer together, getting you to that toe-curling sex you crave.
Leads to better sex
When you can be upfront with your partner about sex and intimacy, you’ll be able to experience better sex.
A 2016 study of 38,747 adults reported greater passion and sexual satisfaction when there was more frequent sex and incorporation of sexual variety and sexual communication [source]. Talking about sex through open communication also creates greater intimacy and more robust relationships [source].
How to talk about sex without being awkward
Identify your sexual needs, wants, and values
Sex conversations can be a little awkward, but you can lessen the weirdness by spending some time with yourself to reevaluate your sexual needs, wants, and values. Checking in with yourself this way will help you fine-tune what you expect from your relationship. Is it necessary to get lab results from your partner before getting busy? When are you comfortable with having sex, and how often? Will you disclose that oral sex makes you cringe or have a high preference for sex toys? Identifying what you want and being sure of it will help grow your confidence.
Choose the right time to talk
It may not be the best idea to bring up a sexual conversation during times of conflict, after a hard day, or when you are exhausted or hungry. Also, try to avoid bringing up sexual issues before or after sex. Serious sex talks may not make either of you horny for one another, and it could do the opposite. So try not to have these crucial conversations when you and your partner are rounding second base or when things are starting to heat up. Instead of surprising your partner with the conversation, try asking them when it would be best for you to sit down and talk it out peacefully.
Offer a positive judgment-free zone
It’s not uncommon for people to be close-lipped about sex because they’re afraid of being judged. You can create a judgment-free zone by setting the tone for the conversation that’s kind, inviting, non-critical, and that shows your partner you’re with them and not against them. Things can get awkward quickly if your partner shares that they have faked an orgasm before, and you say, “you can’t be serious?!” Thank and affirm your partner for sharing their thoughts and feelings about sex, even if it’s difficult to receive.
Everyone knows the pitfalls of making assumptions. You can’t assume a new person of interest is living STD-free or that your girlfriend is on the pill, right? So, you aren’t able to pinpoint your partner’s desires, needs, and boundaries cannot be until you’ve had a conversation. Never assume, and also never be afraid to ask these crucial questions. If you have a partner who is unwilling to talk about sex with you, you may need to let the relationship go or seek the help of a sex therapist.
Break the ice with bido
Initiating conversations about sex can be weird, but one way to break the ice is to share a healthy drink as a couple in the name of health and wellness. Together, you two can casually enjoy our very own formulated bido herbal elixir, made with natural ingredients to ignite your desire for deeper intimacy and better sexual health. Visit our shop to choose the right beverage for you so you can your partner can low-key get more comfortable with sexual conversations.
Gaby McPherson MS, RDN, LDN
Gaby is a full-time freelance writer, specializing in evidence-based health, nutrition, and wellness articles, as well as creating engaging content for health brands. Her clients have been Healthline, Ovia Health, Happiest Baby, Once Upon a Farm, EatingWell, and more. She's very passionate about reproductive and family health. When she’s not writing, Gaby spends her free time dancing to the Encanto soundtrack with her beautiful preschooler.