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Talk About Sex

Any relationship takes time and communication to develop and to last over time.

Talking with your lover about how your body and needs are changing is an important skill. Discussing sex with a new partner is the best possible prelude to beginning any sexual relationship.

But having this talk isn't easy for every couple. So much depends on the pattern of your relationship, on your attitudes about sex and sexual histories.

Try our discussion template, designed to help new couples learn and old couples stay up-to-date on sexual needs and desires, likes and dislikes, about your expectations for sex as you age.

Talking is a couple's best investment in sexual satisfaction, particularly at midlife.

How To 

Don't spring the subject on your partner unexpectedly, but ask to have the conversation and set a time and place when you have agreed to talk together about your sex life. Good settings for this are in a private corner at a favorite restaurant, on a walk someplace pretty, in a cozy spot other than your bedroom in your home. You want it to be a place where you can have have time and privacy and can be relaxed together.

Sometimes it helps to write things down to prepare for this discussion. You could share the discussion template below, so your partner has time to think things through before you talk, and it's clear what you'll be talking about, exactly. That can reduce anxiety about the discussion. It's a good idea for couples in long-lasting relationships to have this conversation every few years. Our feelings and bodies change over time, and we should make room for change in our sexuality too. 

If talking is something you've never done and you find it too difficult or embarrassing to go it alone, or if this conversation is likely to bring up bitter or angry feelings, it may help to have this talk with a supportive third party there, maybe a counselor, religious leader, doctor, or physical or sex therapist. 

Human sexuality is as individual as our fingerprints. All sexual relationships involve give and take. So the goal of this conversation is not to try to arrive at absolute agreement on each of these topics, but to negotiate to reach happy sexual understanding and common ground rules.

  • How should we define sex? Does it always include intercourse? Does it always require orgasm?
  • How often would you like to have sex?
  • Shall we schedule time to have sex?
  • How will you let me know that you're interested in sex? That you're not interested?
  • What time of day and under what circumstances do you like to have sex? In what surroundings?
  • What sort of things put you in the mood for sex?
  • Where and how do you like to be touched before and during sex?
  • Do you like to talk during sex? What sort of talk?
  • Are there sexual acts you like or don't like? How do you feel about oral sex? About anal sex? About role-playing?
  • Do you have any sexual fantasies I could share in?
  • Do you like to use lubricants, warming oils, massage oils?
  • Do you like to use vibrators, sex toys?
  • Do you like to wear anything while making love?
  • Is there anything you would like to try that you haven't tried before?
  • Are there particular positions or needs you have to make sex comfortable and pleasant for you? Any positions that are uncomfortable or painful?
  • And, in a new relationship:
  • Have you had unprotected sex with anyone since you were last tested for STIs?
  • When were you last tested for STIs?
  • When can we get tested for STIs together?