How to tell your partner what you want in bed

Be it a new turn-on, a new position, more of something, less of something, or something a-little-to-the-left, speaking up about your desires in bed can increase intimacy between you and your partner.

BY THE ROAM TEAM 8 MIN READ

WORDS TO KNOW
Aftercare

Aftercare is a broad term for how you and your partner can look after each other after sex.

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If you’ve been together for a while, opening up the sexual dialogue can rekindle sparks. Or if things between you are fresh, starting off on the basis of honesty and freeness when it comes to sex will set a healthy foundation for the rest of your relationship.

And, of course, the sex gets better.

Here are some tips and tricks for letting your partner know exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to all things sex:

You first

Before you go to your partner, do a little self-reflection first. If this is new territory for you, try asking yourself what’s been holding you back from being open about your desires. There are many reasons why asking for what you want can be scary. You might be reluctant to express what you want in case it comes across as demanding and selfish, or afraid that you’ll hurt your partner's feelings, or that they’ll respond with judgement and rejection. 

All of these concerns are natural, but they are things that may well come up in a conversation about making adjustments to sex. Name your communication barrier, and you’ll provide both yourself and your partner with the clarity you both deserve.

Manage expectations

Just because you asked for it doesn’t mean you’ll want it to be a permanent fixture in your sex life. You can let your partner know from the get-go that this is something you want to try and not something you’re committing to. You might want to try anal sex, for example, or role-play. You could say something along the lines of:

“I’d like to try this with you, but I’m not sure if I’ll like it, so let’s just give it a go.”

It’s also worth remembering that it’s okay to stop midway. If it’s not working for you, you don’t have to wait until it’s over to communicate that to your partner. In fact, being vocal during the first shot at something is great for practising healthy communication. If you want to stop, you could try something simple like:

“This isn’t really working for me”

And if you’re enjoying it, communicate your enthusiasm! Trying new things will be scary for both of you, and there’s nothing more reassuring than knowing your partner is having a good time. Let them know by saying:

“This is feels really good”

Or

“You’re amazing at this”

Read the room

Depending on what it is you want to try, think about whether you should ask mid-sex session, or if it requires a separate conversation. If it’s a small change to something that’s already happening, or something you know they’re comfortable with, it’s okay to say in the moment. Commands like “faster”, “slower”, “harder”, or “make it wet” will communicate what you need without interrupting the sexual flow. You don’t always have to use words, either. You could gently move your partner’s hand or leg, or adjust the position of something, as long as it’s not done forcefully. 

Alternatively, there are changes that need to be discussed in a non-sexual situation. If you want to try something new and totally different like anal sex or implementing sex toys, you should bring up the idea before you start having sex, maybe during a date or a moment of quality time. Anything that requires a subtle discussion about boundaries and consent deserves its own space and time. In these cases, be direct:

Keep it sweet

If you’re afraid to hurt their feelings, start from a place of genuine approval and praise. You could begin by telling them what you appreciate about how they do things.

“I love it when you do (x), and I really want to try (y)”

Gentle suggestions can be fun and sexy, hard critiques - less so. It may seem obvious, but slating what your partner does in bed is not the way to kick off a discussion. It can be easy to get defensive when you’re making yourself vulnerable enough to open up about sexual preferences, but bring your partner onside instead. Stay away from accusatory phrases like:

“You never do this” and “you always do that”

It’s normal to feel anxious, so don’t pretend that you’re not! But these conversations can be positive and friendly and, in the best case, bring you and your partner closer. Be kind and patient with each other, and take time for aftercare post-sex.

Take 'no' for an answer

If it’s a no, don’t take it too personally. It might be something that your partner brings back up when they’re ready, or it may be something they’re just not willing to do. If you are met with reluctance, assess how important it is to you - is it a need or a want?

Have fun, and be open to new growth and experiences.

Love,

Roam

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