In an ideal relationship, you and your partner would always be on the same page when it comes to sex: you'd either both be down to get it on or both be closed for business. It'd be seamless. But unfortunately, no one has that kind of ideal relationship (and if you do, tell me your secrets!). Chances are you and your SO won't always agree about how and when you want to meet beneath the sheets. Luckily, if you needs some tips for talking to your partner about wanting sex either more or less frequently, I've got you covered.
According to sex therapist and social worker Danica Mitchell, if you and your SO have a discrepancy in your sexual desire, that's totally normal. "People have different libidos and preferences around sex," she explains. "If you never talk about sex, it will feel more uncomfortable to bring it up out of the blue. But if you talk about sex more frequently, it won't be so scary if you need or want to bring something up." Here are a few ways you can try talking to your partner about your sexual needs if you're not sure where to start.
Make Talking About Sex A Regular Thing
First things first: You and bae should try to talk about sex more often. If the only time sex is brought up is in the bedroom, then conversations about doing the deed are likely to feel weightier and more intimidating. The more comfortable you and your partner get discussing sex with each other, the easier it will be to express your preference on how often you do it.
The most important sex subject to cover? Consent. Without enthusiastic consent, sex and other forms of sexual contact should be off the table. That's true if it's your first time hooking up and it's true if it's your hundredth.
"Talking about sex doesn't necessarily even have to be about the specifics of the sex you are having," Mitchell says. "It can be political topics, past experiences, social stories, something you read in a magazine, etc. Sex is a normal part of life — talk about it as such." Once you and your SO normalize the topic of sex, any conversation you have about it will feel more natural, both inside and outside the bedroom.
Let Your SO Know When You Feel Most Available For Sex
Some people are too tired at the end of the day to engage in a sex sesh. Some people can't imagine having sex in the morning without taking a shower first, or at least brushing their teeth. You and your boo may have total different ideas about when's the best time to hook up. To ensure that you and your partner understand each other's preferences, the key is — you guessed it — talking about it.
"If you aren't a morning person and can't function until your second cup of coffee, it's likely very normal for you not to be your most sexual at this time," explains Mitchell. "Let your partner know when you feel most available for sex and let them know times that likely won't be a turn-on for you, like right after a big meal, or while you are working from home." As she points out, figuring out when your partner is most likely (or least likely) to reciprocate will help you know when to initiate, and vice versa.
Communicate Rather Than Criticize
If you and your partner aren't having sex as often as you'd like (or you feel your SO is initiating sex more than you'd like), try to avoid pointing fingers. Likely, if you and your boo aren't in agreement about how frequently you have sex, it's because someone isn't communicating their desire. Rather than blaming your partner for not intuiting your sexual needs, make them known in an open, respectful way.
"Use 'I' statements and talk about the things you like and prefer," says Mitchell. "Gently guide in the right direction and be kind. And ask questions — if you have something you want to talk about, it's always good to open the door for the other person to express themselves so the conversation isn't one-sided. Their pleasure matters, too." If you want to avoid hurting feelings when it comes to your sexual frequency, simply explain to your partner what you need, because they won't know unless you tell them.
For example, you might say, "I love how close we feel after having sex. I'd prefer if we had sex two or three times a week. What do you think?"
Work Towards A Common Goal Together
Like with most discrepancies in a relationship, compromise is probably going to be required. If you want sex more often or less often than your partner does, you'll want to come to an agreement so that neither of you is left feeling totally unsatisfied. The more you and your partner can meet each other halfway, the more likely it is that you'll both be satisfied in bed.
As Mitchell suggests, "Ask yourself what you want and what you need in a sexual relationship, and ask for the same information from your partner. Then see where you are similar and work towards a goal together, and be OK with compromise." Learning to accept when your SO doesn't want to have sex is crucial, and so is finding a way to keep both you and your partner happy.
Engage In Post-Sex Pillow Talk
Even if you and your SO aren't into post-coital cuddling, you might want to get into the habit of discussing what you liked or didn't like after you're finished. You don't have to do a total play-by-play, but like a coach in the locker room after a sports game, it helps to have a post-sex chat to analyze what worked and what you can do to improve your performance in the long run. Once you get used to expressing your preferences, you'll also have an easier time talking about how often you want to do it.
"If you've just had an intimate experience (especially one that went well), use that as a path into conversations about sex," Mitchell suggests. "It doesn't need to be lengthy. You can compliment a part of the experience you enjoyed or offer a suggestion for next time — though you should do this in a positive, constructive way." If your partner had a great game, give them a high-five. If they fumbled the ball, talk about what you both can do better next time — whenever you both may want that next time to be.
Even if you and your partner are both satisfied with your sex schedule, that can always change, depending what's going on in both your lives. "Sometimes desire changes because life changes," Mitchell points out. "For example, if you just changed jobs and now work a later shift, your preference around when and how often you have sex may change. Be OK with your libido changing and shifting, and adapt your sex life to the rest of your life." Above all, communication is key. As long as both you and your partner understand what the other person wants, you can work towards meeting both of your needs.