Ask Gigi: How Do I Communicate What I Want in Bed?
Welcome to Ask Gigi, an advice column where certified sex coach and writer, Gigi Engle, answers your most intimate questions. Nothing is off-limits! From threesomes to anal, unrequited love to cheating: we want to hear it all.
For questions on relationships, sex, or anything else, email Gigi at firstname.lastname@example.org
My boyfriend is beyond boring in bed. The most “exciting” thing he does is grab my ass and tits and I’m so over it. He makes no effort to bring me real pleasure, and does nothing to change.
Sadly I’ve come to the realization that he just isn’t good in bed. I’ve tried talking to him about it but whenever I do, he shuts down. I’ve told him the things I do and do not enjoy, and have spent countless hours trying to show him. On the rare occasion he does make an effort, he still misses the mark. He’s recently expressed that he wishes we had more sex, but I’ve grown to hate doing it with him. The only time I ever have sex with him anymore is purely out of obligation.
Even worse, sometimes I’m so appalled at the thought of his shitty sex that I have to hold back tears. I know my libido is fine, I’m horny constantly (and VERY sexually frustrated). I’ve also had many wonderful partners in the past that I’ve happily spent entire days having sex with. But now I force myself to have sex with my boyfriend at least once a month, and even that feels too frequent.
He is a genuinely good guy and I don’t want to hurt him, but I’m trapped at a dead end. I’ve tried communicating, showing him, and have even tried to end the relationship on numerous occasions because of how fed up I’ve become.
I feel you, girl. That is a rough situation to be in. Let’s talk about communicating what you want in bed and maybe it will help the two of you work it out.
Most of us are relatively adept at communicating around a wide variety of subjects. We’re great at interviewing for a job we want, talking to a friend about that thing that bothered us, asking a parent to respect our boundaries (personally still working on this last one).
We’re taught how to communicate what we need and want in life. Well, with everything except sex. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, sharing sexual needs and desires with your partner positively correlates to overall relationship satisfaction. Yet, we have no f*cking idea how to do this.
Communicating our erotic desires is not a skill-set we’ve been given. Hell, it’s considered a feat when someone knows where a clitoris is, let alone its full internal structure. It’s not just sex education in school that’s lacking, there are very few parents who teach their children about sexual health, while the topic of good sexual communication is on another plain entirely.
As a result of this lack of sexually-focused vocabulary, people are f*cked … and not in a good way. So many people are not getting what they want in bed, turning to friends, a journal, or the inbox of a sex therapist or coach in lieu of their partner.
A little deeper: Why we’re so freaked out by the subject of sex
The bottom line, we’re afraid our partner won’t be susceptible to a discussion about sexual desire, sexual needs, or a lack of satisfaction. We’re insanely terrified that we’ll be let down, forever ruining an otherwise stable and happy partnership. As in: Why rock the boat?
In other instances, the topic of sex just isn’t one we feel we can talk about in any sense. People are so afraid of being judged by their partners, that they opt for saying nothing.
“Developing good communication skills around what you want in bed is so important for improving your sexual wellness and maintaining a long, healthy sex life with your partner(s). It's so important for both partners to speak up about the things they want to experience and to make ‘sex talk’ a regular part of your relationship,” says Daniel Saynt, founder of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a sex-positive members-only club that hosts sexual education workshops. “Remaining silent won't bring you long term happiness.”
Approaching uncomfortable and awkward conversations
Reframing your thinking is the first step to opening up about sex. Remember that your partner is likely as uncomfortable about this topic as you are. When you take the first step to open the door of communication, it’s likely they’ll be relieved, not angry.
"We’re all screwed the hell up about sex and you’re not alone in this."
Come to the conversation with an open mind. Let your partner know that discussing your sex life is about the two of you and you’re relationship. It’s a two-way street, just like every other relationship discussion. “Let them know that they don’t have to confide everything at once, nor do they have to actually say the words,” says Sunny Rodgers, a clinical sexologist.. “Sometimes showing your partner what you’d like in the bedroom by guiding their hands, can be even more effective than explaining your needs to them. If they hear your breath quickening, that in itself speaks a thousand words.”
This whole situation might be awkward. Everything is awkward when you haven’t done it before. Don’t expect things to play out by a script and be ready for a little improvisation. When you don’t have practice with communicating sexual needs, you’re not going to be amazing at it right out of the gate. Do you recall the first time you asked your boss for a raise? That was scary too, but you got through it.
Come from a positive place
Have a little faith in your partner to come through. “Keep it light. Know that your partner – is your partner! Chances are your partner is willing to do almost anything to make you have a better sexual experience” Rodgers explains. “The best way to get their attention and to start a sex-related conversation off in a good way – compliment your lover. If you want more oral sex, tell your lover that oral sex with them is AMAZING! And when they blush, tell them you want more of it.”
If you want more foreplay, let your partner know how sexy it is when they build you up to penetration and how you’d love to incorporate more of that into your sexual routine. Tell them how you love having an orgasm before intercourse because it makes penetration feel even better.
If you’d like to try something new, ask your partner about their fantasies. Introduce the new sexual thing as a part of your own. Tell them how you’ve been thinking about them in X position, or doing X thing to you and how it much that turns you on. If you’re not about verbally saying these things, start with sexting!
All people want to be complimented and they want validation. Sex is vulnerable and weird for many of us. Coming from a place of sexual positivity and a desire to move things onto a more adventurous plain will likely yield desired results. “It's important to create a safe, judgement-free space for discussing things you're interested in,” Saynt adds.
Practice, practice, practice. Keep the communication ever-flowing. This is not a one-time conversation. Mentioning you’d like more oral sex one time will not yield desired results.
Once you’ve started using some of this positive sexual vocabulary, set up regular check-ins. You can do this on a weekly or monthly basis. It’s entirely subjective from person to person. What you want is to make sure everyone is getting what they want. This is an ever-changing and ongoing process. Sexuality is never in stasis.
“During these check-ins, talk about your current sex life and don't be afraid to bring up the things you want whether it's increased intimacy, more attention on certain parts of your body, certain toys you want to bring into the bedroom, or the possibility of opening your bed to more play partners,” Saynt says. “Whatever it is, it's important to establish a relationship with your partner where it's okay to talk about sex, without passing judgement. Where you can openly communicate, without fear of loss.”
You can even make it a fun, sexy game. After all, sex is about play and fun more than anything else. “I ask each partner to write down three new sexual things they’d like to try during the upcoming month. They write their ideas on pieces of paper and put them into a bowl. This bowl sits in their bedroom and when they have time for a date night (or a quickie) they take turns reaching in and pulling out a sexual suggestion,” Rodgers explains. “Some requests can be – ‘Please wear your high heels during sex’ and ‘I would love to try wearing an eye mask during lovemaking.’”
I hope this information helps. Sending lots of love your way, honey.
This piece originally appeared on Dame Products’, The Horizontal