A great, satisfying sexual relationship is the dream when you’re about to get married—but sometimes we can stand in our own way thanks to bad sex habits we might not even know we have.
Thankfully, there is a way to get in touch with your worst habits (and your partner’s) and work on those before tying the knot so that you can get what you want in bed. Because, in both short- and long-term relationships, it’s important to get “what you really, really want,” says Lanae St. John, a board-certified sexologist. The most important thing you should do is speak up about your desires, St. John says, adding that many female-identified people have been raised to keep their desires silent.
Here are seven bad sex habits worth addressing before you tie the knot.
1. Not talking about sex
If you don’t have good communication with your partner, that can really mess up your sex life. Intimacy requires good communication, and it is something that needs to be worked on constantly, St. John says. If not, “poor communication can be like a virus that makes an organism sick,” she says. So be sure you take care to communicate well with your partner—and seek couples therapy early if this is a problem area in your relationship.
2. Judging your partner’s fantasies
Sharing fantasies can be really vulnerable—for both partners. There is no “normal” in sexuality, says St. John, so don’t assume a fantasy you or your partner might have is weird.
It’s okay if something freaks you out at first or just plain isn’t for you, but judging your partner for something they’re into isn’t okay. “Judgment sucks—it creates more disconnection than connection,” St. John says. If you’re struggling with how to have these conversations without cringing, she recommends talking with a sex coach or a sex-positive therapist to help you become more open-minded and able to approach tricky situations in a more connected way.
3. Approaching sex and sexuality with fear
It’s also important to remember that fantasies aren’t always literal. “If, for example, you’re afraid that your partner’s fantasizing about a threesome means they don’t want you, that’s problematic,” says St. John. Try to approach new things with an open mind and have an open discussion. If trying something new is still not for you, that’s absolutely fine too.
4. Believing your partner is always “down”
It’s natural to take it personally if your partner isn’t in the mood. But rather than feeling rejected, St. John says, you should try to “get curious.” There are dozens of reasons why they might not be up for getting frisky—maybe they had a bad day, are stressed about work, or are honestly just tired. Rather than take it personally, try to help them feel heard and seen.
5. Thinking what works now will always work
Thinking that what works for you (and your partner) today will always do it for you is a big mistake. People change, and so do their sexual tastes, drives, and desires. A current go-to move might not be what either of you wants in five years, and that’s “totally okay,” assures St. John.
6. Thinking it doesn’t count if there’s not penetration
A lot of straight couples can have difficulty recognizing that sex doesn’t just mean “penis in vagina,” St. John says. “Sometimes this belief is accompanied by the idea that both partners have to orgasm at the same time.” The truth is that there are many different activities and behaviors on the sexual menu, and you and your partner should enjoy all of them.
7. Forgetting to have fun with each other
To keep things fresh, remember sex should be fun. “Keep experimenting, read erotica together, find porn that you both like, do some research and find a new sexy toy to try, go dancing,” St. John says. “Be playful, get into the habit of relaxing and trying not to take things so seriously.”
Irina Gonzalez is an editor and freelance writer based in Florida who covers Latinx culture, sober living, parenting, and all things lifestyle. Follow her on Instagram at @msirinagonzalez.
Originally Appeared on Glamour