We’ve all heard that first bit of sexual advice you find in most articles about sexual wellness or sexual education, and, despite being a multi-generational cliché, we’ve heard it for good reason. It’s true; communication is key in a sexual partnership. The next question to ask ourselves, however, is, “What exactly does communication look like?”
Well, most people who hear this will typically think about how communication is key while in the bedroom. Many people would hear this phrase and the ever-important topic of consent may come to mind. They would think about the gravity of making sure that consent received is explicit, continuous, and affirmative and that it is perfectly acceptable to choose not to give someone consent. Others may instead be reminded of sexual communication in its direct, physical form. This is typically found in the form of an exasperated, slightly hushed tone of guidance, often willing its partner to go up, down or faster. While this is an important step in discovering each other’s sexual habits and tendencies, there are still many conversations that aren’t restricted to the bedroom, yet may help things go more smoothly there in the future.
The first of these conversations is in a similar vein as our heat of the moment “direction talk.” Early on in a partnership it would be beneficial to describe what has worked the best. This talk would serve to give more general guidelines related to specific turn-ons. If the spot that’s just right is slightly behind the knee or that one area just above the hip line, then now is the time to let it be known. Expressing a general overview of which sorts of things work helps to provide a useful jumping off point for the individual’s partner to build from.
Speaking of having something to build from, this brings me to the next conversation which involves dissecting the sexual compatibility of a set of partners by way of connection dynamics. The sad truth is that there are instances in which partners have difficulty satisfying each other due to a conflict in preferences. These preferences may include the relationship between dominance and subordinance or the issues of intense versus passionate sex. This conversation could also include the simpler things such as dirty talking or having socks on. The important thing to remember is that these are big brush strokes which are designed to provide a subjective perspective of the compatibility of a partnership. The results of this conversation act more as a guideline for future partnerships, instead of some preemptive compatibility test. Several of the topics that could fall under this category are either focused on temporary interests or are part of a give-and-take dynamic. A good example of these can be found in a lot of kink exploration attempts and practices.
The last type of important conversation that enhances the goings on of the bedroom is one focused on clarity. One great way to start this conversation is to have one member of the partnership ask themselves the question “Why am I having sex” and then to also ask their partner(s) the same question. It may be a good thing to know in advance if one member of the partnership is having sex to connect with somebody and have emotional intercourse when the other is just hoping to have some help with maintenance sex. Even though these types of desires have the potential to change, this conversation on clarity can help to guide the members of a partnership into a more in-sync experience.
The main goal of these conversations is to help make sure that all members of a partnership have a voice in deciding which direction that partnership proceeds in. Each person has their own preferences, intentions, and desires that would help to enhance whatever their sexual quest may be. Defining what these are for the self can improve efforts to find a viable partner in the future and defining these for the partnership may supply that extra “oomph” that they’re searching for.
William W. is a Behind Closed Door columnist who wants you to know that communication is key.