Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Sexual Communication Tips

Sex is one of the most difficult topics for couples to discuss. Yet, good sexual communication will not only enhance your love life, it will enhance your relationship! Having trouble talking about sex? You aren’t alone.

Common Obstacles:

  1. The belief that talking about sex is vulgar.

The fix: Vulgarity is in the eye of the beholder. Isn’t it time to let go of this outdated Victorian belief?

  1. Couples may lack agreeable, common language.

The fix: Agree on common terms for genitalia. Decide whether you are going to use pet names, such as “Peter,” slang such as “cock,” or clinical terms such as “penis.”

  1. Thinking your partner should know what you want.

The fix: People vary widely on sexual preferences, including positions and locations for sexual intimacy, so ask your partner what they prefer.

  1. The belief that love is enough for a great sex life.

The fix: Love and sexual skill aren’t necessarily related. Take the time and effort to communicate with your partner about what you both want.

  1. Some people are better communicators than others.

The fix: Although it is true that some people are born communicators, it’s never too late to learn. Reading this is your first step! Congratulations!

Getting Started (Three Ways):

  1. Start by talking about talking. Tell your partner it’s difficult for you to talk about sex; i.e. “I have always found it awkward to talk about sex but I value our intimate life together enough to want to try.”
  2. Gently probe your partner for their willingness to discuss sex. i.e. “Would it be OK with you if we discussed our sex life?”
  3. Request permission to raise an issue. For example, “There is something on my mind, do you have a few minutes?”

Bonus: Tell your partner it’s OK to point out ways you can be a more effective lover. For example, “I know you don’t want to hurt my feelings, but is there anything you’d like done differently?”

General tips: Pick a time when you are both rested and have both sufficient time and privacy. And you don’t need to restrict your conversations to the bedroom; some couples are more comfortable cuddled on the couch or sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. Lastly, restrict your conversation to what is going on currently, not the sexual act that your partner performed 2 months ago.


Part of good communication is good listening skills, and communicating about sex is no different! Here are some tips:

  1. Active listening: Don’t just hear what your partner is saying, react to it. This includes paraphrasing, or putting into your own words what you heard your partner say. This not only shows your partner you are listening, but gives your partner an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings.
  2. Listen to learn: Be open to what your partner has to say, be sure you understand it correctly, and ask questions if needed.
  3. Use positive reinforcement: Even if you disagree with what your partner is saying, tell him/her that you value them, i.e. “I really appreciate you taking the time to talk this over with me, even though we don’t see things the same way,”


  1. Use “I language” to discuss your feelings and preferences. For example, instead of saying “you are an inexperienced lover and I have to show you how to do it,” say: “I feel hurt when you do xxx when I have told you that I prefer yyy.”
  2. Use positive reinforcement. Be sure to tell your partner what they are doing right!
  3. Know when to use open or closed questions.
    1. If you are just seeking information that requires a yes-or-no answer, such as whether or not to leave the stereo on, used a closed question such as “Would you like the stereo left on while we make love?” I
    2. f you are seeking more general information, use an open question such as “What do you like about they way we make love?”
  4. Use self-disclosure, which helps to build intimacy. For example, you could say “I sometimes feel I disappoint you in bed, is that true?”

During The Act:

  1. Become aware of non-verbal feedback, both by providing it and paying attention to your partners’. If you like something your partner is doing, show it by moaning or moving your body in such a way to show excitement. Don’t forget to look at facial expressions; does the person look like they are in pain or enjoying things? Is their body tensing up or leaning in?
  2. Provide positive reinforcement such as “That feels great!” You can also ask your partner, “How does that feel?”
  3. Gently guiding your partner’s hand. Discuss this first and get permission, but a really effective way to communicate sexual preferences is by taking your partners hand and guiding it. For example, women may show their partner how they like their breasts or clitoris to be caressed, and men might show their partner how they like their penis caressed.
  4. Use signals. Discuss this ahead of time, and agree upon non-verbal signals that indicate preferences. You may have one to signal pleasure, and other that signals “please try something else.”

My Number One Tip:

Do not fake orgasms! Ever! Faking orgasms are the ultimate sexual lie and will erode your sexual relationship. If you know it isn’t going to happen for you, and you are OK with it, it is far better to be honest and explain that you don’t always have to have an orgasm to feel intimate and close with your partner.

Lastly, as always, if you are still having problems communicating, make an appointment with me today!


Your Passion is my Passion,

Dr. Barb LoFrisco

a.k.a. “CounselorBarb”

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