March 08, 2016 3 min read

Conversations about sex abound, yet conversations about communication and sex are not always on the table, or laid out plainly on the bed.

Images depicting any part of human anatomy— male or female— can be found in a quick search online; music insinuates sexual encounters almost every time we turn on the radio; products are bought, sold and traded with the promise of the experience; sex is used as a tactic to both scare and entertain; it even instructs young boys and girls on how they should behave.

Sex is clearly part of our mainstream culture. Yet, when it comes to having real conversations with our partners about what it is we want, how we want it, when we want it, and simply the word “sex”— the conversation suddenly becomes taboo. If we can view and value sex as a commodity, why does our current culture find the word ugly and the speaker a miscreant when we try to use it where it actually matters— with the one we are having sex with?

There is a split dichotomy that exists surrounding intercourse- it is commonplace in our cultural awareness but not candidly drawn upon when it refers to the sex we are actually having. Because it is such a prevalent image in our society, there is a performance pressure that exists when it comes to the bed. When women believe they should perform, look and feel like porn stars and men feel like they should be so well endowed that inhuman proportions should be reached, it can become challenging to feel like you’re measuring up in the bedroom and want to shut the lights off.

Communication can help in realizing expectations and having an open and relaxed approach to the experience with your partner. When it comes to what we really want and desire, everyone has their own ideas of foreplay and intimacy. A stranger on television is there for the show and, thankfully, every person feels different sensations. Focus on yours.

Communication is not only an integral aspect in pleasing your partner and receiving the pleasure that you desire, but is also very important in having healthy and safe sex.  A major flaw in the so-called “sexual education” many of us received in school was the lack of communication where abstinence was preached, but the reality was shunned. If sex is going to happen, make sure you’re prepared, safe and you know what you’re getting into— or what’s getting into you.

So, why the struggle?

Is it just too hard to comprehend and talk about in a succinct conversation? Is it because the topic is socially subversive? Does it make us feel unclean? Have we been taught to sweep the conversation under the bed for so long that we’ve allowed culture to consume us with its ideas of sex but not allow ourselves to have our own ideas?

We don’t want to offend, scare, or intimidate our partners. Perhaps we reflect our own insecurities onto them to make them feel better because we don't want them pointing out our downfalls? We don’t want to seem too inexperienced, too experienced, or just too naive to the whole thing. Yep, it can be embarrassing and there can also be the fear of rejection.

But, the thing is— talking about sex is great for your sex life— both in safety and in satisfaction.

Take the first step and let your partner know what it is you want or what may be lurking underneath that will help you keep the lights on so you both can have more fun. 

So, how do we talk about it? Here are a few ideas:

Get Handsy: Nonverbal communication can be effective and less threatening. Let your hands do the talking by guiding your partner’s.  Don’t ask if your partner has reached climax yet— this adds unnecessary pressure.  Let your partner know— either by making noise to show your excitement or by flat out saying that you like what’s going on. Let them know what you want and what feels good— truly good and not just to boost their confidence.  Remember that it’s okay to say “no” and that you’re not too keen on whatever’s going on.  But, more than anything, be honest. If you like it, let your partner know. If you don’t, let your partner know.

And remember: Talking about sex is good for sex.

Christine Larsen


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