How To Talk About Sex In A Relationship When You're Ready

The beginning of a new relationship, especially before you have sex, is filled with fun, excitement, and anticipation. And if we're being real, it's probably also filled with some questions, like exactly how to talk about sex in a relationship. Talking about sex — including everything from your sexual history to your health history to your emotional history — can feel a little weird, especially when you're talking about it with someone you really like, but you're still getting to know.

Of course, you need to discuss the nitty gritty details of everything, but then, there's the overall vibe you should be feeling yourself before you dive into a talk like this. Here are four things you need to feel in a relationship before you talk to your partner about sex:

1. Comfort

Before any conversation about sex can happen in a relationship, you need to make sure you feel as comfortable as you could possibly imagine with your partner.

Sex is a really, really fun thing to do (in a relationship or otherwise). Sex isn't, though, a really fun thing to talk about at the beginning of a new partnership. It's usually a little awkward, and both parties are kind of unsure how to approach it. (It's later, after you've been having sex for a while and the sex talk turns to dirty talk, that it's really fun.)

Because talking about sex like adults is such a nerve-wracking thing to do, it's best to assess your comfort level with your relationship before you have a conversation like that. Your partner should make you feel like you can laugh about the awkwardness, ignore it, or otherwise push through it into a comfortable conversation about sex.

If you aren't feeling a pretty significant level of comfort with your partner, then now might not be the best time to either talk about sex or to start having it.

2. Acceptance

One very important thing you need to feel from your partner before you can talk about sex is acceptance. This is different from comfort because true comfort just means you feel able to begin a real conversation with your partner, no matter how weird it might be.

Acceptance, though, is when you know your partner is going to continue to be there and care about you just as much, no matter what you say. Acceptance is when you feel certain your partner likes you for exactly who you are, and that taking about sex won't change things.

When you feel acceptance from your partner, you won't worry about whether or not you'll say something wrong or say something weird in a conversation about sex. You'll be ready to talk about it like an adult, because your relationship is already strong.

3. Capable Of Listening

While you need to feel certain things from your partner in order to talk openly about sex in your relationship, you also need to be willing to give certain things to your partner. One of these things is good listening skills. Before you go into any conversation about sex with your partner, you should make sure that not only do you feel great, but also that you're intentionally focused on making your partner feel great as well.

A relationship is a two-way street, and the best relationship is one where the partners work together to ensure they both feel cared for, accepted, and happy. Having a sex talk isn't just about the nitty gritty details, like getting tested and positions that do and don't work for you. It's also about growing the bond between the two of you as a couple.

Give your partner the same careful listening that you would want them to give to you in any serious talk like this.

4. An Open And Honest Space

The number one most important thing in any relationship sex talk? Honesty. The way to achieve that? Intentionally creating an open space where you and your partner feel good to be honest about any possible thing that could come up.

My husband and I have this thing called our "Marriage Bubbles." What it means is that before any serious talk, one will ask the other if we can "bubble." All that happens in practice is that the person asked to bubble is prepared for anything that may come and is prepared not to react or get upset and, instead, to just listen and move forward.

Creating a "bubble" space for any sex talk in a relationship is a really good idea. Sometimes, people have to reveal things that make them uncomfortable, like prior sexual or health history. Making sure the two of you are on the same page about an intentional space where you can talk openly and honestly about everything will really help.

Talking about sex can make anyone a little nervous, especially with a new partner in a new relationship. That said, it's one of the most important things for a couple to do, because it will form the very basis of your physical relationship.

If you feel comfortable and accepted by your partner, and you think you can give them that same comfort and acceptance, as well as an open and honest space for listening, you're in a good spot to begin talking to your partner about sex.

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