Sex Communication 101: How to talk about sex toys and kink
Plenty of sex guides state that the most important thing in or out of bed is communication. We all know communication is vital if you want to enjoy a fulfilling sex life with a partner. But how do you start those conversations?
The idea of launching into an open and honest chat about sex can be incredibly intimidating. So we thought we’d have a go at writing a guide to sex communication. Here we’ll lay down some basic ideas for how to get those conversations flowing. And seeing as it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, we think talking about sexy Valentine’s gifts would be a great way to get started.
Here are our top tips for practising sex communication, as well as a few practical examples that you can use to help your partner open up too.
Sex Communication Tip 1: Open questions are your friend
Closed questions are ones which have a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For instance, ‘do you want to tie me up and spank me?’ is a straightforward one, with fairly limited responses. But in sex communication, ideally, you’re looking to explore, so open questions tend to work far better. For example: ‘how do you feel about bondage and spanking?’ This question is far less leading and could lead to a much more expansive answer.
Open questions leave room for the person being asked to say not just ‘yes I like that’ or ‘no I don’t’ but to elaborate further. Perhaps they like the idea of tying someone up but they’re uncertain about spanking. Or perhaps they have a similar-yet-different fantasy that’s playing on their mind.
If you’re looking to open up a conversation about sex toys, ‘surprising’ your partner with a brand new toy effectively works as a closed question. (This is not something we recommend!) It says, ‘do you want to try this? Yes/No.’ We’d suggest starting that discussion in a far more open way – sending them a link to a sex toy website, or sitting down in front of the site with them, and asking ‘what takes your fancy?’
Sex Communication Tip 2: Be bold, be vulnerable
It can be tricky for someone to open up about their kinks and desires if the person they’re talking to is very tight-lipped about their own. So although it may sound nervewracking, taking the plunge and letting your partner in on some of the sex toys and kinks you like is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling.
What you’re aiming to do here is encourage curiosity. Offer open topics that you can discuss together rather than giving each other a tickbox list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.
By modelling the kind of communication you want from your partner, you can encourage them to do the same.
For instance: ‘I have a lot of fantasies that involve handcuffs and dominance – how about you?’
If you want your partner to be welcoming of your kinks, you need to welcome theirs in the same spirit…
Sex Communication Tip 3: Do not shame
It can be tempting to revert to jokes as a way to lighten the mood. But we’d advise you steer clear of this, at least in the beginning. Sure, sex is meant to be fun. Plus a good laugh can help to ease the tension if something you’ve meticulously planned together doesn’t quite work out! But when you’re encouraging someone to be open about their kinks and desires, joking about what they like can come across as shaming.
That’s not to say you can’t say ‘no’ to something if your partner’s ‘yum’ is your idea of ‘yuk.’ Try to give (and receive!) feedback in a positive and open way. Rather than saying ‘eww no’, explain that although this particular kink or sex toy doesn’t press your buttons, this other thing might do. Bonus points if you can take an element of your partner’s kink and meld it into a scenario with one of your own kinks, creating something unique that turns you both on!
Sex Communication Tip 4: Practice makes perverts
Conversation can only go so far when it comes to communication. Sometimes you need to put your chat into practice to work out whether it floats your boat. Exploring together, with the goal of learning each others’ bodies, can be a really good next step to take.
If you’re interested in trying new sex toys, for example, don’t just buy the toy and try it once then decide if it’s a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ based on whether orgasm happened. Instead, embark on a play session where your goal is to explore in a more open way what you think of this particular thing.
Use the toy on your partner. Or watch them use it on themselves. Commit to having a conversation either during use or afterwards. Ask questions like ‘how did that feel?’ and ‘what did you like about this particular toy?’ Remember to be positive in your feedback! Highlight the parts you loved and found sexy, and ask what your partner found sexy too.
Sex Communication Tip 5: You have to keep it going
This is perhaps the most important sex communication tip: any and all discussion about sexual pleasure is an ongoing one. It’s not as if you have this chat once and immediately understand exactly what your partner wants. Their desires and needs may change over time, just like yours do, and there are infinite possibilities when it comes to what someone might enjoy in bed. So remember that sex communication can (and should!) happen during many different points.
If you struggle with this, a simple shortcut is to commit to giving your partner one piece of (sexy, positive) feedback after every time you’ve had sex. ‘I really loved that noise you made when…’ or ‘I liked that thing you did with your legs’ or ‘you looked so hot using that toy on your clit’… whatever it might be. Doing this models good communication, shows your partner that you’re open for chatting, and also helps to reinforce that sex is something you can talk about: it’s not taboo or embarrassing, it’s a joyful thing that you’re sharing together!
Get started on communication now
If you find communicating about sex intimidating, the best time to start it is as soon as possible: that way it doesn’t build up in your mind to become something insurmountable. Start off gently, using the tips above, and see how the conversation grows from there.
As it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, it can be a great time to give your sex life a tune-up. Sex and intimacy can be a great way to celebrate each other, and be a nice escape from the hectic holiday season (or other horrors of 2020 – yeah, we had to mention it). If you’re taking time off work, and have some quality time planned in with your partner, why not take the opportunity to get started on some of these conversations?
Ask open questions, be vulnerable, and explore in a positive way, and perhaps 2021 will see you having some of your best sex yet.