We all know that communication is key, but it can be an awkward topic when we’re trying to talk to our partners about sex. Something so personal can often be a scary subject to approach. Here are some tips to help you through it.

1. Be Honest

Let’s start off with the biggie: being honest. This rings true whether it's your first night together or your 1000th night together. You don’t want to start off a relationship lying about what you find pleasurable – or do the same when you’re trying out something new with a long-term partner. It can be tempting to “go along with it” in the hope of pleasing your partner, but this will ultimately backfire - for both of you. If you don’t enjoy something, it is important to be honest about it from the get-go. If you aren’t, you’re going to be stuck with the same unpleasant habit until you say otherwise. Your partner is going to keep thinking they’re doing something right and you’re going to keep being frustrated that they’re still doing the same displeasing act. The longer you wait to be honest, the harder it will be. If you’ve been accepting hair pulling for six months, it's going to be pretty upsetting to your partner to find out that you actually hate it. Remember: If you are honest from the start, you’ll both benefit.

2. Be Verbal

In order to be honest, you obviously need to verbalize your likes and dislikes. This can be done in a few different ways. A candid conversation with your partner would be ideal. It is easier to approach this topic outside of the bedroom, not right after a sex session. If you bring it up too soon after a romp, your partner might take it as criticism instead and be less open to listening.

Alternatively, you can verbalize your likes during sex. Notice it says likes and not dislikes. Instead of saying, “I don’t like when you touch my clitoris directly,” you should aim to phrase it in a positive way “I like it more when you touch the area around my clit”. Instead of criticizing, you’re pointing out something that you like. Non-verbal communication also helps – moaning, sighs of pleasure, or body movements can be a huge indicator for your partner. Typically, the loader the moan, the better the pleasure. If you stop moaning, they should probably get the hint. If they don’t, you might need to verbalize in words. Remember: Silent sex doesn’t benefit anyone (except maybe the neighbors).

3. Be Open Minded

Communication works both ways, so you need to be OK with receiving information and suggestions from your partner. Your partner may communicate ideas or fantasies that you have never previously considered. Your first reaction should never be a negative one. Even if you find the suggestion initially off-putting, you should never express this as disgust. You can ask questions, do your own research, and have an informed conversation about it. Consider that your partner took a brave, honest step. You need to respect that. You can always say ‘no,’ but your partner will appreciate that you were willing to listen, learn and consider. Alternatively, their fantasies might amp up your sex life and lead you to exploring more together. Together, you might just discover the next best thing in your sex life. Remember: be open-minded about ideas and honest about your limits.

4. Forget Your Preconceptions

Whether you get all of your information from online forums and sites, or you’ve had several partners, you need to remember that everyone is different. Your golden move with someone else might not work with your new partner. You can absolutely try it. It might work, but if it doesn’t work, you should not take offense to this. You have to learn about each partner's unique body and desires. The first time you have sex with someone new, you’re going to have to use all of your previous knowledge because you haven’t explored each other yet. From then on, it needs to be all about learning. Your previous partner may have loved spanking; your current one might not. You might learn things about yourself too. Maybe you were hesitant to use toys with a previous partner, but you’re open to trying it with someone new. Remember: different people need different things, and that is the fun part.

5. Use a Sex Toy

Speaking of sex toys … a wonderful way to start a conversation about likes and fantasies is discussing the introduction of sex toys into your relationship. It can be a scary topic to bring up, but it can also open you both up and advance your communication. You can learn a lot about each other from researching toys together and going shopping for something you both think you’ll enjoy. A great way to begin is by looking at toys intended for two people to use. This will allow you to feel equally included in the discovery and promote conversation. Remember: sex toys add a different dimension to sex with the added benefit of breaking down communication barriers.

Is there a particular communication tip that works for you? Share it with us in the comments!