How To Talk To Your Partner About Sexting, Because It Can Get Real Awkward, Real Quick

There's a big difference between sexting and getting unwanted racy pictures. One can be hot and sexy, and the other is gross and may make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. The difference is consent. Both people on either end of the digital line are willing and active participants, and that's amazing! Sexting may seem like NBD, but it’s still technically a sexual act, so your partner's (and your) feelings should be treated with the same level of respect and consideration as any other. This means you need to (gasp!) communicate! So, knowing how to talk to your partner about sexting is really important.

There could be a scenario where you finding sexting really hot, but you're not sure where your SO stands on the subject. Maybe your partner has been dropping some not-so-subtle hints that they want you to send them nudes, or maybe they're sliding d-pics into your DMs and you're just not into that. Whatever the situation, you'll want to know how to broach the subject with bae without things getting too awkward. To help with that, I reached out to Jessica O’Reilly, sexologist and relationship expert, PhD, and host of the @SexWithDrJess podcast for her advice on how to tackle the topic of sexting with your partner. Here's what she had to say.

Here's how to talk to your partner about sexting if you're into it and they're not.

In a situation where you're super into getting your sext on but your partner doesn’t seem to be, the first thing, of course, is to respect their sexual boundaries. You wouldn’t want be pressured into anything you didn’t want to do, so make sure you're considering their feelings in the same way.

However, if sexting is something they aren’t opposed to but they need help getting comfortable with, or if you're still trying to figure out their comfort level, Dr. Jess recommends avoiding yes or no questions that just put them on the spot. Instead, she tells Elite Daily you should, “ask open-ended questions to engage in a dialogue that helps you both to identify specific desires and boundaries.”

If you're not sure what to ask, Dr. Jess says to “ask them what types of messages they’d like to receive from you. Ask them if there are any images or sounds that turn them on.”

It’s possible that your partner has a very different idea of what sexting is, and it could just be about finding the style that both of you are comfortable with and into. So, don't be afraid to experiment. “Sexting need not only be explicit images," says Dr. Jess. "You can send flirty messages, voice notes, and even flirtatious video clips."

What should you say if your partner wants to sext but you don’t?

You could also be in the reverse situation, where your partner really wants to sext with you, but it's just not your thing. You should never feel obligated to participate in any form of sexual activity that you don't want to do, or feel comfortable with. This is one of those moments where communication is key. Dr. Jess advises that you “voice your specific concerns with an emphasis on how you feel” to your partner.

Before you have a conversation with them, Dr. Jess says it’s worth taking the time to consider “what makes you uncomfortable about sexting? Is it the pressure to perform? Is it the fear that images could be leaked?” In doing so, you’ll be ready to address the topic with your partner, but you may even discover that there are some aspects to sexting that you might actually enjoy. “There are so many elements to sexting (it’s simply another form of sexual and relational communication) that you’re likely to find parts of it that appeal to you,” says Dr. Jess, adding, “Of course, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do, but you do want to consider whether pushing your comfort zone a little would enhance your relationship and self development.”

If your partner’s sexting style isn’t satisfying you, here’s how to help guide them to one that will.

What if you both are on the same page about sexting in general (as in, you both are super into it), but your styles of sexting just aren't meshing and you aren’t getting the enjoyment and satisfaction from it that you would like? (And that you know you could get if you could give them a gentle push in the right direction.) It can be a little awkward to tell your partner they aren’t quite hitting the mark, but you deserve to be satisfied, and it can be done with some tact, so no one has to be embarrassed or feel awkward.

So, how do you bring it up with our SO? Dr. Jess says you can point your partner in the right direction by highlighting the things you like rather than being critical.

“I suggest you use pop culture as a reference point to help them to understand what turns you on,” she says, adding, “For example, if you’re watching a Netflix show and you like the way a particular character engages with their partner, highlight their style to your partner. ‘I love the way he looks at her. I really like the way she’s playful with her words.'”

“Though fictional characters are often exaggerated in terms of communication style, we can all learn from exaggerated versions of our own desires,” explains Dr. Jess.

When it comes to sex, boundaries, and satisfaction, it's all about communication. You owe it to yourself and your partner to speak up and let them know your sexual truth. How else can the two of you grow? Yes, it can feel a little awkward at first, but you deserve to be living your best sex life. Sometimes, that’s about saying yes to what you need and saying no to what you don't, and other times it's just about a little course correction. So don't be afraid to speak up — embrace your desires and then hit send.

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