Updated: Apr 8
“Everyone is sexually unique. If you’ve had more than one lover, have any two made love identically? No one can read anyone’s erotic mind. No one can possibly know what you like and dislike unless you reveal it. For sizzling sex, you must speak up. You’re responsible for your own sexual pleasure and orgasms. No one else. You.” Michael Castleman, “Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at any Age.” (Emphasis in original).
In part 1 of “When Lovers Talk: Creating Amazing Sex Together,” I shared research demonstrating that when lovers talk about sex, sexual satisfaction increases for both partners. I then discussed several barriers to open communication. In this blog, I’ll give you guidance on how to overcome communication barriers, how to get started in learning how to talk about sex, how to show up with openness and curiosity, and ultimately, how to create mutually satisfying, enduring and hot sexual connectivity—even if partnered for many years.
Develop comfort with sexual languaging: Talking about sex and using words related to sex is a skill—and like any skill, it can improve with intentional practice. To start, get an attitude. You have every right to be as comfortable using words such as “vulva,” “scrotum,” “clitoris,” “penis,” as you do words like “nose,” “elbow,” “kneecap,” “big toe.” Believing otherwise is to accept that your genitals are somehow shameful. It’s time to reject that harmful cultural messaging and claim your right to have comfort with your sexual anatomy. Next, use the words you feel comfortable with in speaking with your partner. Let him/her/they know of any words that turn you on and off. Ask your partner to join you in regular conversations about sex. Commit that at your next visit to your health care provider, to use correct anatomical terms: you will not say “down there” to refer to your vulva, labia, clitoris or vagina!
Get in touch with your sexual likes: Women have little opportunity to discover their sexual likes in a culture that tells girls that their job is to be the pretty recipient of male attention and all but ignores female pleasure. Coupled with more often being the pursued rather than the pursuer in most sexual encounters (or being seriously shamed if a pursuer), many women simply have no idea as to what they like or want sexually. A few ways to discover sexual likes: 1. Read erotica and notice what turns you on; 2. Self-pleasure and identify how you like to touch yourself; 3. Try a program like OMGYes! to expand your self-touch; 4. Think about foreplay: what kind of foreplay touch do you like? How long do you want foreplay to last for you? 5. Watch ethical porn: erikalust.com; bellesa.com; frolicme.com—porn is not education, but it can give you ideas as to things that turn you on!
Shelf the ego and ego protection: Remember, even if you believe you’re a fantastic lover, you may not be to a new partner! Be communicative and ask what your new partner enjoys—sex is not about how well you perform. Experiment and ask for feedback. Give gentle feedback and guidance as well. If you need to ask a partner to change what they’re doing, use positivity: “I like what you’re doing, and would like it even better if you moved your fingers over to the left a bit, like this.” OR “This feels so good—when you bring your hand over the head, I’d love it if you’d squeeze a bit harder, like this.” If you get offended when a partner gives you feedback, you’re the problem. Your partner has the right to ask for touch that feels great for them—not the touch you think they should enjoy.
Adopt “beginners mind”: When we’re new at something, we’re perfectly ok learning, bumbling, making mistakes and getting better as we go—except when we’re dealing with sex. With sex, even newcomers feel ashamed about not knowing “what to do” despite never having been taught a thing about how to share pleasure together! We can adopt beginners mind at any time: with new partners, partners of 20 years or more—as a way to embrace sexual connectivity anew and toss out things that no longer work. With couples, I often coach them in meeting for “practice sessions,” where worn-out scripts are set aside, and both come together to learn, explore and grow together. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect during sex can go a long way to reclaiming enjoyment of sharing pleasure and creating whole new ways of coming together.
Be a S.L.U.T.: That stands for: Sexy. Luscious. Untamed. Treasure. Women have the absolute right to revel in sexual pleasure for themselves. We’re endowed with the only organ known to exist for the sake of pleasure, the clitoris. It’s time to override centuries of cultural training that has hammered into our heads that female sexuality is inferior to male sexuality or is somehow unseemly or dirty. This goes beyond discovering sexual likes: it’s about full sexual agency. Here are a few ways to get there: 1. Try an online tool/app such as: OMGYes, Beducated, or Coral and immerse in lessons on female pleasure; 2. Try Dipsea to hear erotica stories; 3. Read books on female pleasure such as “Come as You Are,” “The Pleasure Gap,” “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal,” “The Ultimate Guide to Seduction and Foreplay.” 4. If sex with a partner doesn’t go well for you, make a list of likes and areas to improve. Ask your partner to sit with you once a week to talk about your list. Focus on how you want to experience something: “We’ve been doing this…can we try it like this?” OR, “How can I support you in learning to do longer foreplay for me?” OR, “Something that doesn’t work for me is…” OR, “I love kissing you, but like it most when we start slowly. I like tongues to come out after we’ve been kissing for awhile.”
Finally, if you’re a person who has asked a partner for guidance in what to do to please them, and that partner will not give you this assistance, it’s time to evaluate that relationship—and may be time—to move on. It's ok for someone to not want to coach you--that's their choice. But is it ok for you to be left hanging with a partner that will not join with you in the dance to co-create a wonderful sex life together?
Great sex comes from great communication, sexual equality, and shared responsibility for creating a mutually satisfying sexual encounters. Communication does not kill the mood: failing to communicate does. Embrace the awkward and get talking...and playing!