How To Talk About Sex

Men's Health |

Love can be messy – especially the sex part. But to straighten things out, sometimes you have to start a difficult conversation. And that’s fine, if you do it with tact. “You have to develop the vocabulary to talk about sensitive issues,” says sex therapist Arlene Goldman. “It will help you please your partner.” In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy found that communication is the most critical factor in a couple’s success – it’s even more significant than the sex itself. That’s why you should pause before you open your 
big mouth and say something you’ll regret. We spoke to the experts to find out how you can ace 
the talks you’d rather avoid and still come out on top (or bottom – whichever you prefer).

“That orgasm seemed as legit 
as Melrose Cheestrings.”
Don’t accuse her, says 
Dr Eli Finkel, a professor 
of social psychology at Northwestern University. Instead, have that talk away from the bedroom. When the topic comes 
up naturally, say, “You don’t ever need to fake orgasms with me. I want our relationship to be totally honest.” You’ll 
foster mutual respect – 
in and out of the sack.

“Not now, thanks. I’d rather just read my book.”
You’re allowed to be tired, but make sure she knows you’re surprised too. Try, 
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m too ex-hausted,” says Finkel. Then ask for a rain check – say, for the morning – and tell her you’ll do anything she wants. “Reassuring her is important,” Goldman says. If she knows you’re still interested, 
she’ll give you a pass.

“There’s something really weird I want to try with you.”
Congrats – now she’s leery. “If you say, ‘I know this is weird, but…’ your partner is bound to feel conflicted,” Goldman says. A smarter way in: “I’m curious about bondage. What do you think?” By starting a conversation instead of forcing 
her to say yes or no, you give her time to think. She’ll see that you view the act as a way to 
connect, not control.

“I’ll enjoy the sex more after you take an STD test.”
The message she hears: “I suspect you have an STD.” That’s not exactly 
a turn-on. So flip the script: tell her you want to get tested for her 
sake, and ask if she’d 
be willing to do it with you. If you frame the 
suggestion as something the two of you 
can do together, says Goldman, then she 
won’t feel accused.

“Is that supposed to feel good? 
I don’t like it.”
Say this, and you’ll look like an ass. Instead, show that you’re eager to improve too, says Goldman. Ask, “What do you want more of, or less of, in bed?” You’ll learn something about your own game, and when it’s your turn to share, she’ll be all ears. One trick: sandwich the complaint between two compliments, and it will go down even easier.

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