Whenever I sit down to write about the importance of communication in good sex, I can almost hear the groans coming from my future readers. I imagine their faces contorting, Dali-esque, in front of me. I can hear their argument: "You’re ruining the fun and spontaneity of sex with something boring and practical; you're analyzing it too much."
But I'll stand by the fact that communication works. It’s why I’m enjoying the best sex of my life. Here's why talking about sex always works out for the better.
It Helps Define Mutual Expectations
My lover "Parrot" and I first met 18 years ago. It was supposed to be a one-time hookup as we were both married. While I was contemplating divorce at the time, he wanted to make sure that I had no expectations of a happily-ever-after future. I felt the same way, knowing that my time and funds would be strapped as a divorced parent. A long-distance tryst on a sustainable level was truly impractical. We talked about it.
It Makes Safe Sex Safer
The second topic Parrot brought up was birth control and sexual health history. I hadn’t had this conversation since my ex and I got involved 12 years earlier, so when Parrot brough it up I felt a bit put off. I knew I was STI-free. I was rigorous about my annual OB-GYN visits. In the preceding few years, I rarely even had sex with my now-ex. Then I thought about the health risks Parrot was taking. He didn’t know me well enough to see that I was truly honest in all aspects of my life. I understood why we needed to have this conversation. (Are you getting tested regularly? Read our article on Why You Shouldn't Be Scared of STD Tests.)
It Keeps You on the Same Page As Your Partner
It got even unsexier as we started discuss what we would do if I got pregnant. More kids were definitely not in my plans, being a soon-to-be single parent. I was resolute about using condoms for all of their benefits. Yet there’s always that 1 percent chance of failure. Parrot wanted to know what I would do in that case. He made it clear that he didn't want to be responsible for another child. I didn’t see his refusal of responsibility as a douchebaggy move ... not at the cost of a couple hundred grand over the next 18 years. And he respected my Plan B (or should I say Plan A?) without judgment.
Over the long term, especially when we reunited 16 years later, having that difficult and almost litigious conversation has enabled us to experience a lot of fun and openness in our relationship and the way we communicate with each other, sexually and otherwise.
For the most part, the two of us are pretty much "anything goes"/"will try anything" kind of people. A lot of that comes from sharing similar interests and values. The fact that both of us are open-minded, frank and non-judgmental plays a big role in the way we relate and communicate with each other too. We've got complementary qualities that people rarely consider when they hook up with one another, either casually or romantically.
But that’s not to say there haven’t been a few times when one of us has said, "No."
It Allows You to Set Limits
One thing I don't feel comfortable with is threesomes. When Parrot broached the topic, I gave him several reasons why threesomes weren’t up for negotiation for me. I didn’t just say, "Ew, that’s wrong/nasty." I told him that I’d feel jealous and devalued if I saw him interacting with another woman in the same manner he did with me. I would dislike feeling as if I was an interchangeable commodity. He respected my reasons. It wasn’t like we weren’t already having rich, lush and decadent sex. (Thinking about adding a third? Read our article on The Right and Wrong Way to Have a Threesome.)
There are a few things we've done that we've had to think and talk about first. Things like taking and sending naughty selfies, Skyping naked, making a sex video ... and then sharing it on Make Love Not Porn. Even though I’m a bit of an exhibitionist, these were things I had never done before. Like the time we fucked in front of a window in a sixth-floor hotel room overlooking a freeway.
Before doing these things, we'd always talk about the risks, how we’d get around them, and how we’d mitigate the damages if there were any. They were practical conversations, but rather than diminish our risqué desires, these discussions did the opposite. Once we negotiated and agreed on the limits of our encounters, all kinds of spontaneity ensued.
It Builds Confidence
A healthy dose of trust and respect is the foundation of great sex and open communication. Up until about a year ago, it had been a challenge for me to open up to Parrot because he treats me better than any man I’ve ever had in my life, and at first I wasn't sure I deserved it. But once I did open up to him, and we started to communicate freely, I realized that I am deserving of his love and that being honest and open is the best route to improved confidence and, of course, better sex. (For more on the importance of discussion, read Why We Should All Be Talking About Sex a lot More Often.)
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