How to Ask for What You Want, According to a Sexologist - Par Femme

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by Maddy Woon

Despite the fact that I know flossing will extend the shelf life of my teeth, I still struggle to incorporate it into my nightly routine. The same could be said for my approach to communicating in ~the bedroom~, whether that be in my longterm relationships or during casual flings. There's numerous reasons why many people, myself included, might struggle to talk about sexuality—including: lingering taboos, conservative upbringings, and an inability to articulate what we like—yet double that number in reasons why open lines of communication are crucial to a great sex life. 

The ability to talk about sex is essential when it comes to closing the orgasm gap and fostering deeper connections with our casual and longterm partners. Pretty important stuff! I recently spoke with sexologist Juliet Allen about asking for what you want, and emerged with a stronger insight into the importance of becoming a better sexual communicator feat. many practical tips... 

How important is communication during sex? And, what is the link between sexual communication and sexual satisfaction?
Communication is the absolute foundation of maintaining a happy and healthy sex life, especially when in relationships. It's important to be able to communicate what we desire, what we need and how we feel, otherwise our lovers are left to guess, and that often leads to frustration and disconnection. It's important to note that communication doesn't always come easy, not many of us are taught about communication as children. So, if you find it challenging to communicate, especially on the topic of sex, know that it takes practice and that with time and support we can all feel more confident in this area of our life.

If we can communicate what we desire, what we need, what we want and how we feel, then our lovers will be more likely to understand us and give us all that we desire, and, hence we feel more sexually satisfied. I also think that communication between lovers creates a deeper connection and bond, which in turn leads to great sexual satisfaction.

What factors contribute to poor intimate sexual communication?
There's plenty of factors. The most common one would be the fact that we haven't been taught how to communicate, so we need to learn effective communication skills. Another factor is that lots of us don't actually know how what we are feeling—we feel an array of emotions, but we are disconnected from our heart and our genitals, and this makes it tricky when communicating with our lovers (because we don't even know what we need to communicate until we learn to connect deeper with ourselves first). And then there's the taboo factor, the fact that sex is still taboo, and not spoken about in a holistic way, which leads to many people feeling awkward when the topic arises.

Is good sexual communication something that people inherently possess or is it a skill we can learn?
I think it's definitely a skill we can learn. Obviously some people just have a knack for great communication, and others not so much. But we all have a lot of learning and growing to do in this area of life! It's an ongoing work in progress, I believe.

What are some simple techniques for becoming better sexual communicators?
Firstly, connecting deeply with ourselves. Develop a strong and powerful inner union—become your own lover, best friend and partner. When we know ourselves intimately and we understand our desires, then we are better able to communicate them with lovers. Secondly, learn how to become a great listener! Great listening doesn't get enough attention, but it's just as important as the speaking part. This is all the stuff I work on with clients and in workshops that I run. Thirdly, don't blame others, avoid using 'YOU'. For example,'You make me feel like XYZ'. Instead, use 'I' statements. For example, 'When we don't make love often, I feel disconnected to you.'

Do you think there’s a link between introversion and an inability to communicate with sexual partners?
Wow, interesting question. I haven't done any study into this, so can't comment from a professional point of view. Personally from experience I feel that perhaps introverted people may have less of a natural ability to communicate outwardly in general, so this may flow into their sex life. But this is a BIG generalisation—we are all so unique, and introversion is just another label.

What role do non-verbal cues play in good sex?
Non-verbal cues play a big part. Listening to our lover's breathing, sounds and movements are all key foundation for great sex. Learning to become very present during lovemaking is a great skill to acquire.

Any tips for communicating with a sexual partner during a one-night stand or during a casual, short-term relationship?
My only tip is that you need to get clear on the expectations of the sexual interaction. For example, is thisjusta one night stand, or does one person have the expectation of it turning into a relationship? And what's the intention behind a casual hookup? This stuff needs to be spoken about to avoid unmet expectations and heartache.

Does all communication about sex have to happen during intercourse?
No, in fact most of it has to happen outside of the bedroom! These are great conversations to enjoy over dinner, or whilst driving, or while on a date.

Do you think sexual chemistry can be worked on?
Well, to be honest, I feel like ultimately you want the chemistry to be there from the beginning, but that's just my personal experience of it—for me it has to be there from the moment we meet. But for others, it can be worked on, and couples have reignited the flame, absolutely! It's a unique experience for everyone, we are all so different in how we feel and connect, and how sexual energy moves in our bodies.

With thanks to Juliet Allen. You can read her website here, scroll through her Instagram here, and listen to her podcast here

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