Sex is a huge part of most romantic relationships, but if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, you might not be doing the deed as often as you used to. If you find yourself wanting more sex but don’t quite know how to have that conversation, you’re not alone.
Over half of American women wish they could communicate more with their partners about sex. Telling your partner what you want can seem intimidating, but with a few simple communication skills, it doesn’t have to be.
One of the most important things in communicating clearly with your partner is first understanding yourself and your needs. Have you ever jumped into an emotionally charged conversation without thinking through what you want to say first? If your experience is anything like mine, it tends to get very messy quickly.
Start by asking yourself some questions like, ‘What would my ideal sex life look like with my partner?’ and ‘Do I want more sex overall or more of a certain kind of sex?’
Figure out what kind of sex you enjoy most and what you’d like more of. Some of the most common sexual moods are spiritual, lusty, funny, tender, and fantasy, but feel free to explore your own labels for the kind of sex you’d like to have.
Being blindsided by a potentially heavy conversation is not fun. Make sure to choose a time when you and your partner are relaxed and able to give your all to the conversation - that means not in the five minutes before the school run with the kids vying for your attention.
A great way to ease into the conversation is to check in first. This can be as simple as asking, ‘Would you be open to having a conversation about our sex life?’ or scheduling a time to have the conversation when you both know you can give it your full attention.
It can be scary to be completely honest about what you’re feeling, but if ever there was a time to be honest, it’s now. As long as you’re speaking your truth with kindness and empathy, there’s no reason this conversation can’t be a loving and productive one.
Every relationship is different, and you’ll know best what the most important factors in yours are, but some things you might want to bring up are what each of you considers to be ‘sex’ (you’d be surprised how much this can vary!), the frequency with which you have it, and what each of you likes or doesn’t like.
This should be an ongoing conversation where you both feel comfortable expressing your changing needs and desires.
There are so many ways to share intimacy in a relationship that doesn’t rely on penetrative sex, and exploring those can take a huge amount of pressure off your sex life.
Talk about your needs and desires when it comes to non-sexual affection and attention. You may find many of your sexual needs can be met with other kinds of intimacy.
There is no faster way to derail a high-stakes conversation than to start throwing blame and accusations. If you take only one thing from this article, let it be this: you and your partner are a team, and your aim is to find a solution together.
You’ll be amazed how far this goes in getting you on the right track in a way that leaves everybody feeling safe, nurtured, and supported. The best way to do this is to use ‘I-statements’ - focus on your experiences, feelings, and needs, not on your partner’s actions.
This seems obvious, but when you have a lot of intense feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in expressing your own needs. A relationship is about two (or more) people, which means inviting everybody to have their say.
Listen openly to your partner, and repeat what you heard them say to make sure you’re on the same page. You may be surprised by what you learn! These are the building blocks to finding a way forward together.
This isn’t just a grade-school exercise in ‘constructive criticism.’ Starting with what you do like, and inviting your partner to do the same, paves the way to building more of the good stuff! Knowing what’s already going well gives you a stronger foundation to work with.
Yes, timing is so important that I’m listing it twice. Bringing this up immediately after sex can feel like direct criticism and is much more likely to make your partner shut down or get defensive. In your post-coital haze, you’re not going to be very objective, and you might end up saying something you wouldn’t if you were more removed from the situation.
Scheduled sex gets kind of a bad wrap, which is a shame because it can be an absolute game-changer. Not only can it help you and your partner find a good rhythm, but it also takes a lot of the stress out of how often you’re having sex.
It means you don’t need to worry about whether you’re going to have sex or not, and your partner doesn’t have to stress about being expected to have sex when they’re not ready.
Like everything else here, remain flexible, empathetic, and communicative!
Remember, there’s no ‘right amount of sex’ to have. Every relationship is made up of the people in it, and it’s up to you to explore your needs and desires together to make sure everyone is content.
If you can keep empathy and understanding central to your conversations around sex, you’ll be well on your way to more intimacy, whatever that looks like to you!