If you’re sexually active, chances are you have had good sex and you have had bad sex.
But what separates the two? How do you know if it’s good or bad? Usually, good sex happens when both partners get what they want, and bad sex happens when they don’t.
In some cases, the difference between good sex and bad sex is communication. If you want your partner to fulfill your desires, you usually have to tell them what those desires are. But, asking for what you want can be scary, especially if you’re sleeping with someone for the first time or if you really like the person. Putting all of your likes and dislikes out there for someone to judge can leave you feeling extremely vulnerable, so it’s no surprise that a lot of people would rather go through the motions of bad or mediocre sex just to avoid what they fear could be an awkward conversation.
However, this tendency to lie about or omit information about how you’re feeling to your partner isn’t just bad for your sex life, it can be bad for your whole relationship. Oftentimes, issues in the bedroom can bleed into other aspects of your relationship.
Talking about sex can help you and your partner communicate elsewhere since you already know that you can trust and confide in that person in the most intimate way.
1. Write a list
One way to approach a conversation about sexual desires is to make “want/will/won’t” lists. This list will break down what you want to do, what you are willing to try and what you definitely do not want to do. The lists could act as a conversation starter as well as a safe place to aggregate all your desires without any outside influence or interruption.
It also lets you work through the things you have thought about doing so you can decide what you really want and what you need to explore a little bit more before you make a decision. Once the two of you sift through your lists, you may find items that overlap or items that will be deleted because they’re in your partner’s “won’t” column. Although want/will/won’t lists often get associated with BDSM relationships, they’re actually useful for any situation in which partners struggle to verbally communicate, whether it’s about sex or not.
2. Start small and simple
Another technique that may work is to start with smaller desires and then work your way up. For example, if you’re interested in masochism, you might try out spanking before you move onto whipping or bondage. This tactic could also benefit you if you’re experimenting for the first time, as it will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and jumping into something you may not be ready for yet.
3. Keep communicating
It’s important to remember that the conversation doesn’t stop once you’ve tried something out, whether the act was successful or not. Even if the experience was a good one for both of you, talking about it could still be beneficial — especially if it’s left any residual feelings that you feel need to be discussed out loud before moving forward.
Sex is a chance to explore, to have fun and to connect with your partner, but in order to make sure all of those things happen, you have to communicate. It might be awkward, but chances are if you have things you want to try out, your partner probably does too. The secret to good sex is not to have secrets, and if you face your fears and just ask, you might be surprised at how simple that is to do.
Originally published on HelloFlo.