Communication in Sexual Relationships

In any relationship, communication is important. In romantic relationships, it’s usually communication that makes or breaks it. In a more sexual relationship, communication is even more important, because a lot can go wrong without proper communication.  I’ve had a lot of problems with communication in sexual situations, so this list is going to be some useful tips I’ve learned.

I’m the kind of person that is always uncomfortable in sexual situations, no matter how much I want to participate or how comfortable I am with the other people otherwise. This can make communication especially hard, since I’m often to embarrassed to speak up. Some things that your partner can do to help you relax, or that you can do if you have a skittish and embarrassed partner are:

  • Remind them that they have options: Reminding your shyer partner that they can say no at any time, or suggest something else, can be incredibly comforting to them. It lets them know you’re okay with them speaking up, as well.
  • Try and lighten the mood: This can vary depending on your partners, but I believe that sex should be fun, before anything else. Making jokes (and bad puns) during sex can make your partner more at ease, and can let them know you’re having fun as well.
  • Bring what they’re struggling with up yourself: If you notice that they’re having trouble with something, like a sex act or a certain body part (i.e. they flinch when you go for their knees) you should bring it up yourself. Not having to be the one to bring something they’re uncomfortable with into the light can make talking about it a lot easier.
  • Clearly define what you’re planning to do, then ask them if that’s okay: If my partner asks me if I want to slow down or stop, my gut reaction is to go “No!”, no matter how much i actually might want to. If my partner tells me what they’re planning on doing before asking me if I’m okay with that plan (Hey, I’m going to lick you here, okay?) I’m much more likely to answer honestly.

Now, for talking myself, I’m a horrible mess during sex. I once froze, and instead of doing anything useful, thought going “M.exe has crashed” and sitting on the floor was a good idea. You can only imagine how much I wish I was joking. While I’ve improved from there, It’s still awkward for me to speak up during sex. Here’s some tips I’ve learned since then that makes speaking a lot easier.

  • Your partner wants a good experience, and that means you being happy: Yes, even if they’re someone you’re just having a one-night stand with. Even more so if they’re a partner you’re planning on having multiple sexual experiences with. When I get into a sexual experience, I try to make my partner as happy as possible, and that’s more than likely their goal towards you as well.
  • They’d rather you speak up than be quiet and uncomfortable: When a partner finds out afterwards that you were suffering in silence, they will almost always tell you that they’d wished you had just told them.This can lead up to enough confidence to actually tell them next time.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want- it can lead to different, even more satisfying experiences: If you still want to continue with the sexual experience, but not the same way it’s going now, either by switching positions or sex acts, or anything else, you should speak up. If you’re uncomfortable with the sexual act that’s happening then, you should especially say something. Your partner won’t mind switching to something else that you both fully enjoy.
  • You can always say no, and that’s a valid choice: There is no shame in asking to stop. I struggle with this one too, as I want to come off as strong and able to handle everything. But if you can’t there is no reason you shouldn’t tell your partners immediately, and remove yourself from the situation, if that’s what you need to do.

Finally, a sexual experience needs to have some guidelines in place before it begins, to truly make it a comfortable experience for all participants. In BDSM situations, this even more important, but regardless of the level of kink you’re getting into, every sexual encounter should start with communication. Some things to consider talking about with your partners are:

  • Your partner’s likes and dislikes: If your partner really doesn’t like receiving oral, but loves giving it, a 69 position could either be uncomfortable or tolerable. Talking about thing they’d rather not do, versus what they DON’T want to do, and what they love, can clear a lot of things up for when the sex actually starts.
  • If they’ve had any bad experiences-or good ones: If your partner had a very bad experience with fingering, they will probably want you to avoid it, or take it very slow. Knowing what they’re comfortable with, and at what level of roughness, is important. On the flipside, if they had a really good experience, you can take tips from it and try and make this experience just as good.
  • Safewords and word consideration: Safewords are important, even in non-BDSM or kinky sexual experiences. You want to make sure that you, as well as your partner, knows what triggers the immediate stop of any situation. Word consideration is a little different, and is more BDSM-focused; I have a habit of saying “No” when I truly don’t mean it when receiving oral. Letting your partner before that, as well as making sure you have a separate word that truly means STOP, is useful.
  • Things you should avoid: This can be body parts, sex acts, anything really, that you or your partner absolutely does not like or want. It’s uncomfortable to both parties if someone hates their neck being touched, and they’re getting a hickey. Talking about it first makes sure that they truly enjoy the experience, and you don’t cross any boundaries.

I hope this post can help someone who clams up during sex like me, i feel these tips would have helped me so much if I had known them earlier!


Throughout this post, I refer to all sexual encounters as if they’re fully consensual, and that your partner is fully accepting of the answers you give, especially “Stop” and “No”. If you’ve ever been in a situation where that was not the case, I suggest you go HERE, to the RAINN network. They can be incredibly helpful in getting help you need. I’m not affiliated with RAINN in any way, I just think they can help if anyone needs it.


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