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How to Talk About Sex With Your Partner: Importance of Communication

Sex is a major part of every satisfying, healthy relationship. However, many people struggle with talking sexual. They feel uncomfortable discussing intimate topics or fear hurting their partner’s feelings.

For a quality sex life, communication matters as much as, if not more than, performance. So, how to talk about sex with your partner? A positive attitude, empathy, and well-chosen timing will help you and your partner have an open and productive conversation about sex.

Last but not least, a healthy sex life requires protecting yourself and your sexual partners. A rapid STD test will help you rule out sexually transmitted infections.

Why Talking Sexual Stuff Out With Your Partner Is Important

Talking with your partner about sex is an integral component of a thriving relationship. In a healthy partnership, no topic — especially an important one like your sex life — should be off-limits or taboo.

It’s easy to understand why sex is a sensitive point for many couples. Sexuality is often intertwined with deep emotional vulnerability, long-time insecurities, and performance anxiety. Sometimes, people may fear that bringing up unusual sexual desires may lead to rejection by their partner.

Nevertheless, overcoming the hurdle of sexual communication will help your relationship flourish. Here are just a few reasons why talking about sex is so important:

  • Higher sexual satisfaction. Open sexual talk is a vital step toward a healthy sex life. Direct communication is the most straightforward way to let your partner know what you like, learn about their preferences, and find out what makes either of you feel uncomfortable.
  • Greater intimacy. Talking about sex in an understanding, sensitive way leads to a stronger connection and a higher feeling of security in the relationship.
  • Safer sex. STDs and unwanted pregnancy may not be the most seductive topics, but it is vital to lay these issues on the table. Sex gets better when you know your partner cares about your safety.

What You Need to Talk About

So, what exactly does healthy sexual communication entail? Discussing sex looks different for every couple. Young adults taking their first steps in a long-term relationship have the advantage of an empty slate, while more experienced couples may need to unlearn counter-productive practices like sweeping sexual issues under the rug.

Here are some points that may steer your sexual talk in a positive direction:

Desire and affection

It is impossible to separate sex from affection, romance, and the broad context of a relationship. An attentive partner will want to know when you are in the mood for sex and what turns you on. However, what seems obvious to you may be a total mystery to your partner.

When in any doubt, keep communication plain. Statements like “I enjoy doing this more than that” or “I prefer to do this after sex” will help prevent misunderstandings.

Trying out new things

Some people are daring and adventurous, while others are cautious and conservative. If you’re eager to try out something new while your partner is perfectly happy to stick to conventions, proceed with caution. People tend to feel more comfortable and open up more easily when there is no pressure or criticism.

Frequency of sex with partner

Each one of us has a different libido — and it is often subject to change. In women, sex drive may fluctuate with the monthly hormonal tides, while men may experience low libido due to a drop in testosterone production. Factors like health issues, stress, weight loss or gain, and certain prescription medications may also influence sexual appetites.

If you and your partner have drastically different ideas regarding how often you should have sex, try your best to avoid open frustration and statements like “all you think about is sex” or “you’re never in the mood.” Instead, try to reach a happy medium that satisfies both sides.

Dealing with differences in what you and your partner enjoy sexually

It’s important to remember that, as long as sexual preferences hurt no one, there is no right and wrong in sex. You and your partner are different, and what makes you tick may seem unappealing to them, or vice versa.

In some cases, one partner may agree to engage in a certain type of sexual activity just to please their significant other. However, if there is outright discomfort on either side, it may be best to suspend certain practices from a couple’s sexual repertoire. 


Consent is the basis of healthy sexual relationships. Pressure, coercion, or guilt-tripping have no place between sex partners. Learn what your partner feels comfortable with and don’t be afraid to set boundaries when necessary.

How to talk about sex issues with your partner

Sometimes, you need to talk about talking before you can engage in a fruitful discussion. If you and your partner have never had a conversation about sex before, getting to the point of open communication may require some work. Setting aside some time to discuss sex in a friendly, no-pressure atmosphere is a good start.

Why Safe Sex Is an Important Part of the Conversation

If “how to talk about sex with your partner” is a sensitive topic, STDs and unplanned pregnancy are even more so. Nevertheless, protection is an inseparable part of healthy sex.

According to the CDC, 20% of the American population has some type of STI. Many people aren’t aware of being STD carriers and may inadvertently pass an infection on to their intimate partners.

This is why open discussion of sexual health and STDs is so important:

  • Safety. Undiagnosed and untreated STDs may lead to serious health consequences, including chronic inflammation, immune failure, and cancer. A rapid 10 panel STD test will allow you and your partner to rule out STDs or pursue appropriate treatment.
  • Trust. An unexpected STD diagnosis may lead to uncomfortable questions, including “Did my partner cheat?” Honest communication about one’s sexual history will help you and your partner maintain mutual trust.
  • Reproductive health. STDs may cause devastating long-term damage to the reproductive system, including male and female infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage. A timely STD diagnosis and treatment can protect your and your partner’s reproductive health.

Telling your partner you have an STD can be difficult, but it is a fair and responsible thing to do. Remember, anyone can contract an STD. STDs may remain dormant for many years and afflict even people in long-term monogamous relationships.

Unless you are in an exclusive relationship and you and your partner have tested negative for all common STDs, keep up with safe sex practices to follow.

STDs can be asymptomatic or have nonspecific, vague symptoms. Getting tested is the only reliable way to find out whether you carry STDs. All sexually active individuals should get tested for STDs at least once a year, and people who engage in sexual encounters with multiple partners should undergo testing every six months or so.

Tips on How to Talk About Sex Problems with Your Partner

To ensure productive communication, talking about sex requires some planning. The following principles will help you and your partner resolve sexual issues and enhance your sex life.


Discussing sensitive topics rarely goes well when your partner is stressed, tired, or overworked. Similarly, sexual communication won’t be very effective in the middle or right after an intimate act. Choose a time when you and your partner are relaxed and in a good mood — for example, during a laid-back weekend when you have plenty of one-on-one time.

One topic at a time

Maybe your sex life includes several elements you hope to change. However, it is best to work through one issue at a time to avoid overwhelming your partner. For example, you could select one evening to talk to your partner about your sexual fantasies and put off the conversation about sex frequency for another time.

Be clear with your intentions

If you’re wondering how to talk about sex with your partner, clarity is imperative for smooth communication. Avoid vague, sweeping statements like “I’m dissatisfied with our sex life,” and try to be constructive, positive, and empathetic. Your partner is more likely to go along with specific suggestions, such as “I’d like to try this during foreplay” or “Let’s try to make time for sex earlier in the evening.”

Above all, refrain from placing blame or heaping criticism. Instead, start with a reaffirming statement like “I have thought of a few things that could help us improve our intimate relationship.”

Talk frequently

Sexual talk is not a one-time fix. Couples tend to be happier when they discuss sexual issues, desires, wishes, and concerns openly and regularly.

If sex is a tension-loaded topic for you and your partner or if you find it difficult to agree on sex frequency, certain practices, or other issues, talking to a counselor or sex therapist could help.

The answer to “how to talk about sex with your partner” involves a delicate balance of open communication, understanding, empathy, and flexibility. Honest conversations about sex will help improve your sexual relationship and reinforce the connection with your partner.

Awesome Sex Is Safe Sex: Protect Yourself and Your Partner With Rapid STD Testing

A clear picture of your sexual health will help you enjoy safe sex with your partner. Rapid STD Testing operates over 2,500 testing centers nationwide.

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