Talking Sex with Your Partner

Couple talking to each other while sitting in bed

If having sex is so easy, why does talking about it seem to be so hard? Lots of couples struggle with approaching this subject so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. When did such a natural act become so complicated? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. With open communication, you’d be surprised how many bedroom issues can be cleared up. The problem is getting there. How do you express or explain what can sometimes be a touchy subject? This is especially hard if you or your partner are shy about this kind of thing.

Just Talk

There are a lot of ways you can attempt to broach the subject of sex, but none of them are going to work if you don’t actually talk. Sometimes the best way to talk about something is to just talk about it. Get your courage up and just start speaking. Explain to your partner that you might not be saying the right things, but there are some bedroom issues you just absolutely need to discuss. Some partners may clam up at your forwardness, but some may respond well to the honesty. Chances are, if you act like it’s no big deal, your partner will feel less awkward. If they don’t respond so well, then at least you know where you stand and you can venture a guess about which topics make your partner uncomfortable. With this method, although it can seem a bit daunting, you will always gain something.

Couple looking at each other while laying in bed

Easy Does It

The best way to approach any touchy topic is to start with the easy stuff. Begin at the fringes of the topic and work your way to the center. This is a bit of a safer approach to a big conversation. Ease your partner into the discussion and there’s less of a risk of them shutting down.

You’ll want to casually bring up sex in a way that’s non-threatening. A simple way to do this is to talk about sex in a context that doesn’t exactly involve your sex life. Maybe bring up an article you read about sex and how funny it was. Find a nonchalant way to bring it up and work your way from there. Easing someone into a topic is never a bad strategy, especially if you have a partner who is really uncomfortable discussing sex or even if you are that partner.

Compliment Sandwich

This method has a silly name, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. A lot of people struggle discussing sex with their partner because they’re afraid it will hurt their feelings. How is your sex life supposed to improve if you can’t communicate your needs or boundaries? If your partner is doing something you don’t enjoy, shouldn’t you be able to tell them? For some, it’s not that easy. If you’re worried your critiques will sound too harsh, you can try the compliment sandwich. The compliment sandwich is when you layer the thing they’re doing wrong within two things they’re doing right. You can start with how great they are at X, but when it comes to Y, you really prefer it done this way not that way. Then end with another compliment. This way you don’t risk them feeling attacked. When it comes to sex, no one wants to feel like they’re bad at it. Use this method to kindly direct your partner to your needs and boundaries.

Woman writing a letter while laying in bed

Write It Down

Some people are just not talkers. There are those of us who simply prefer to communicate through writing. Writing gives you more time to parse out exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. If you know you’re the type who cannot have this type of conversation outright with your partner, you could try writing them a letter. Make sure you explain to them what it is though, don’t just hand them a piece of paper out of nowhere. Explain to them that you’re not good at explaining yourself through words so you just wrote it out. Then once they read the letter, you can have a small discussion. You could also read aloud the letter to your partner and discuss it as you go along to make things easier and keep the conversation on track.

The letter is a great method if you’re having a hard time getting the conversation started or you’re worried you won’t say something in the right way. With a letter, your partner gains most of the information right away leaving less room for error in communication.


For some couples, sex talk is just their weak spot. It’s one thing if one partner tends to clam up, but what if you both find yourselves unwilling to talk? Don’t let the unspoken words eat at your relationship. Do something about it, even if that means consulting a therapist. There are plenty of therapists out there who specialize in this exact kind of thing. They will provide a safe and encouraging space for both of you to air whatever it is that’s bothering you. Therapists can also provide that little push to get you both out of your comfort zones and talking about the issues. Talking with your partner doesn’t always require outside help, but if you’ve tried and tried to talk about your sex life with no luck, a therapist might be the next step.

We all know how important sex can be in a relationship. It’s hard when you can’t be open with your partner about such a crucial part of your lives. It’s even tougher when something is weighing on you and you don’t feel comfortable enough to discuss it. Follow the methods we discussed and see if any work for you. It’s worth trying different ways of communicating if one of those ways gets you back on track to happiness in the bedroom.

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