Sex is a healthy part of an intimate relationship—but it's also a highly vulnerable experience. Whether you're in a long-term monogamous relationship with your partner, you're just getting to know each other, or you know right off the bat it's going to be a one-night stand, you need to communicate sensitively when you're both laid so—ahem—bare. That doesn't mean not being honest for the sake of pleasing or impressing your partner, but it does mean steering clear of words that can really leave wounds, whether intentionally or unintentionally. For guidance, we asked relationship, communication, and mental health professionals for their takes on the top pitfalls to avoid. So, what's the worst thing you can say in bed, according to the experts? "You're doing it wrong." Find out what you should say instead, and for more factors that play a role in your bedroom activity, science says Men With These Personality Traits Have the Most Sex.
Sure, maybe you're not getting the satisfaction you had hoped from the experience. After all, you deserve pleasure, and it's empowering to speak up for it. But phrasing it this way can only make matters worse, for both of you. "This statement can make everything go wrong as soon as you spit it out of your mouth," says relationship expert Amy Olson. "I don't mean you can't communicate your needs or what you would like better. But don't tell him or her that they are doing it wrong. It will make them feel embarrassed. Instead, just say, 'Can you do it like this?'"
Want to know what else to avoid when you're getting to know someone intimately? Read on for more tips from the pros about what you should never say to someone in bed. And for another phrase that should never leave your lips, This Is the Worst Thing You Could Say to Someone Who Just Got Divorced.
Calling someone by the wrong name.
Certainly using the wrong name is a big no-no that would be deeply awkward for both of you, and also likely leave lasting scars. "Sex is an intimate experience and many people have insecurities related to it," explains psychologist Thomas DiBlasi, PhD. "Saying anything that refers to the person as being inadequate in bed would hurt."
Besides, if you're still pining for an ex, you might have some more work to do before you can move on healthily with a new partner anyway. Worried that could be you? Here are the Signs You're Not Ready to Date Again, According to Dating Experts.
"Have you been tested?"
To be clear, asking about a partner's sexual health history is important and fully justifiable. You should ask if your partner has been tested, and you are entitled to a straightforward answer. But this is a question you should ask far earlier. "This is a before discussion," author and life coach Aidan Park says plainly. "Not an after discussion." And for other questions to avoid in less vulnerable situations, here's The One Question You Always Ask That Can Kill a Conversation.
"I've had better."
Comparing your partner to any others from your past can trigger lasting insecurity. "Saying something that undermines their security or sense of self is hurtful and damaging," explains Cassandra LeClair, PhD, senior lecturer in the department of communication studies at Texas State University. "This type of comment reinforces feelings of self doubt and may lead them to question themselves in relationships going forward."
So, while this might not be the partner for you, it's not necessary to shatter their confidence for a future partner who might be a better match. And if you're doing it less these days, here is The No. 1 Reason You're Having Less Sex in Your Relationship, Study Says.
"Do you mind brushing your teeth?"
Of course good hygiene is important, and you'd hope your partner adheres to a similarly high standard as you do. But halitosis isn't necessarily a sign of bad hygiene. "Bad breath [can be] a symptom of digestive problems," says Sandra Glavan, the founder of Super Sensitive Sandi, a website for helping people reduce and manage anxiety. "Even if the person brushes their teeth five times a day, they can still have bad breath in the morning. Most people who suffer from bad breath know it and feel very conscious about it. [Confronting them] can cause problems with their confidence, intimacy, and sex life." And for other ways you may be offending people in your life, here are the Rude Things You Didn't Realize You're Doing Every Day.