Despite what many rom-coms and sit-coms seem to tell you, sexual compatibility does not magically develop between two people without any effort at all. It's actually a very delicate and necessary process that you and your partner can take part in cultivating together. For example, when it comes to sex drives, it's very normal and common to have differing levels of desire for sex. If you're curious about how to tell your partner you want sex more often, Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, sex and relationship expert, has tips.
"Sexual frequency is an issue in every single relationship for several reasons, and so if you want a happy, lasting, compatible relationship you and your partner should talk about sex," says O'Reilly. "You cannot expect your desire for sex to align with your partner’s perfectly. That would be like asking them to want the same foods in the same quantity at the same time every day as you. It's normal to want different things." eds.
"Compatibility isn’t something you find. It's something you cultivate and you can make things work even if you experience different levels of sexual desire," says O'Reilly. Her main recommendation is that you should talk about what you both want sexually before there becomes a significant disparity between the two of you. "Every couple can be mismatched at some point in time. Even if you’re on the same page today, your desire levels will shift over time," says O'Reilly.
Let's Talk About Sex, Baby
It's crucial to remember that a partner is never required to meet your sexual needs. Enthusiastic consent is required for any sexual experience you have. That being said, if you want to ask them if they would be interested in having more sex, O'Reilly recommends a three-step approach to discussing the subject with your partner.
Start with the positive
O'Reilly recommends that you start by communicating and affirming your partner on what they do that you like. Whether that's a specific technique they have, how they initiate sex, or things that they say during sex, it's all about whatever they do that works for you. Your partner may really appreciate knowing you like certain things. You can further this step by asking them what they like about what you do during sex, as well.
Ask more questions
Once you've been talking about what is going well, O'Reilly recommends that you add an open-ended question into the conversation. This could be anything from, "Do you feel like you're enjoying our sex life?" or "Is there anything you'd like to try in bed?" or "Is there anything you would like more or less of?" By centering what they want, and learning about their preferences, you can lead the conversation towards talking about what you want, as well. This helps to ease both of you into the conversation, and won't sound like a criticism or a demand.
Don't frame your request as a complaint
Once you and your partner have been discussing what is going well and what you both would like to try in the future, request that you would like to have sex more often. It's important to keep an open mind during this conversation; it's possible that your partner may want more sex, as well, and didn't know that this was something on your mind. By talking about the past, present, and future of your sexual relationship together, you can work together to understand what works for both of you.
When dealing with something like disparate sex drives, try to keep in mind that a lot of different factors can influence a person's sex drive. "Differing stress levels, medications, menstrual cycle, relationship duration, relationship satisfaction, communication, sleep habits, exercise, fitness, mood and hormone levels can affect a person's sex drive," says O'Reilly. Because everyone is different, lower or higher sex drives don't indicate that there is something wrong with a person's health. If you feel like you and your partner are on different pages, the best way to get in sync is to talk it out. There could even be other aspects of your lives, or relationship, influencing the amount of sex you're currently having.
Hopefully, these conversations surrounding your sex lives are productive and validating. As O'Reilly explained, this is a conversation that most, if not all, couples need to have at some point. What's important is that you are in a partnership where both partners' wants and needs are heard, respected, and validated.
Whether you come to a resolution right away or you reach a balance over time, talking about sex with your partner is a vital step towards finding a balance in your sex lives. Salt-N-Pepa had a point when they said, "Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk about sex."