How to Talk About and Develop Sexual Intimacy

Open conversations about sexual intimacy can build trust and help you have more fun together.

Now that we’ve gone over key topics and set realistic expectations, let’s explore how to effectively approach a conversation with our partner about sexual intimacy. Following the suggestions below can make discussing the topic feel less daunting.

Tips for having conversations about sexual intimacy 

Whether we have a specific issue to bring up or just want to check in with our partner, here are some tips to keep in mind when talking to your partner. 

Think about the setting

  • Setting a time to talk outside of the bedroom in a non-sexual context usually works best. It’s not a great idea to have a whole conversation about sex in the heat of the moment –  doing it right before can also feel intimidating, while right after might feel like a performance review.
  • Make sure that conversations about sex happen at a time when you and your partner are both comfortable and ready. For example, “I know it can be awkwa2rd to talk about, but it’s good for us to be able to be completely open with each other. I would like for us to have a chat about sex, do you have some time later today?”

Utilize ‘I’ statements

  • For example, saying “I like when we kiss on the lips to say goodbye each morning” rather than “You should kiss me on the lips more before you leave.”

Always include something positive

  • Explaining what we like isn’t criticism, but it might feel that way to our partner. As with any feedback, the sandwich method is a good tactic to use: provide positive feedback – indicate what we would like differently – provide positive feedback.
    • For example: “I really enjoy it when you take the lead in initiating sex because I’m not always sure when you’re in the mood. But, sometimes I’m not in the mood when you are and it feels like I’m letting you down. It would be great if we could plan ahead of time a bit more, so that we can have sex at a time that works for both of us. Like, I love it when you send me flirty texts in the day to let me know we’re going to have fun later that night. That really turns me on.”

Use reference materials

  • Sometimes a book, image, or film can show what we mean better, and also be fun to send to each other to build anticipation. Just try to avoid sharing images or videos that only show unrealistic body types as these may make your partner feel insecure.

Invite your partner to share their desires and needs too

  • Making sure the conversation is considerate of both partners’ desires and needs makes it less likely to feel like we’re asking for too much or being critical. 

Avoid too much prodding into your partner’s sexual past

  • It’s important to communicate about safety and STIs, but we don’t need details about our partner’s past to know their current sexual status. For example, asking someone about the number of partners that they have had in the past may make them uncomfortable. 

Avoid comparing

  • Though we often know what we like because of experiences with past partners, it’s best not to frame our language around an ex but rather the action itself. For example, say something like “I like when we slow things down” rather than “I liked it when my ex wouldn’t rush through sex.”

Don’t be afraid to bring up things that may feel awkward

  • For example, “I like when we’re cuddling and being close to each other but sometimes even that can make me hard. It’s not something I can control completely. But sometimes I think you assume it just means I only want to have sex or that’s all I like about you.”

Communicating in the moment 

While having conversations outside the bedroom is best for communicating about sex more generally, there are some topics that are useful or essential to discuss in the moment with your partner.

Make sure you always have consent

  • Consent is an enthusiastic, voluntary, and clear agreement between people engaging in any type of sexual activity. Consent is not automatic even if you are in a long term relationship. Talking about consent won’t ruin the vibe, it can even be made sexy.
  • For example “I want to do XYZ with you. But you have to say the magic word … Please.”
  • If you are not sure about whether something in the bedroom would be to your partner’s liking, just ask.

Offer brief requests and feedback in the moment

  • Quick comments like “I love when you do that” and “oh my god” help reinforce what you like and make things more exciting. Asking “what if we try this” or “can you shift over this way” are much clearer than just trying to shift or rearrange positions without our partner knowing exactly what we want. 

Showing while telling

  • It can be much easier to show what you like when you guide your partner’s  hands or demonstrate another way. 

Our page will guide you through tips on how to build healthy sexual intimacy. 


The next section of the course focuses on cultivating skills to bring more romance and affection into your relationship.

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