Telling Your Partner Exactly What You Like In Bed Doesn’t Have To Be Hard, So Here’s How

If you're not totally comfortable with it, telling your partner exactly what you like in bed can be really hard. But here's the thing: It doesn't have to be. It may take a little work and a willingness to put yourself out there, but it's totally possible to open up about what makes you happy in bed. Believe me, both your body and your partner will thank you. You're entitled to good, safe, happy, pleasurable sex, and unless you’re really lucky — and I mean, like lotto-winning lucky — your partner isn't going to know exactly how to make that happen for you without your own guidance. So it's up to you to speak up and let them know what you need and want.

I realize for the shy among us (which by the way I totally am too, so I get it) that it's a lot easier to say that you should speak up in the bedroom than it is to actually do it. That's why I reached out to sex experts for their best tips and advice on how to make opening up this line of communication as easy as possible, and let me tell you — what they told me is life changing. So, if you're ready to let your boo know what you want in the bedroom, here's how to get started, according to folks who really know what they're doing.

Increase the intimacy in other areas of your relationship.

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If you want to open up about your sexual preferences but aren't ready to dive right in, the good news, according to Good Clean Love founder and psychosexual therapist Wendy Strgar, is that it doesn't have to start in the bedroom. That’s because “this kind of conversation is easier to get to when you have this kind of open dialogue in the entirety of the relationship,” she tells Elite Daily. “In other words, if you can't talk about preferences you have about family, friends and how you prepare dinner, this conversation will be all the more difficult.”

She says that if you're really serious about opening up sexually, you can begin by “opening up intimately about the many parts of life where small differences can be misinterpreted and then turned into larger issues.” The reason this works, she explains, is that “intimacy begets intimacy. Starting anywhere leads to more intimacy everywhere.”

Create a list of preferences.

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Another way to make the conversation go a little more easily is to approach it with a structure, says sex expert Olive Persimmon, author of The Coitus Chronicles: My Quest for Sex, Love, and Orgasms. "My best piece of advice for couples trying to talk about sex more openly is to fill out a ‘Yes, No, Maybe’ list,” she says. “It's a list of things you and your partner might want to try. Each person fills it out individually and then you exchange the lists.” The reason this is helpful, says Persimmon, is that it creates “a jumping off point for an honest and vulnerable conversation.” It also creates “a space that feels safe for each person to discuss their desires.”

Have a physical “conversation.”

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If you're just not ready to actually use your words, Strgar says there are other highly effective forms of communication, including body language. “When it comes to our sexual preferences, we're all often tongue tied,” says Strgar, so instead of keeping your desires to yourself she suggests “a game of show and tell, or what I refer to as a physical conversation.” How it works, she explains, is that “each person takes a turn touching the other person. The person being touched can say things like warm or cold, harder or softer, lower or higher.” She says it’s really effective because “it is more like an exploration than a demand. And often, people's defenses won't get triggered if you present the idea like a game appealing to our inborn curiosity.”

Focus on improving your confidence overall.

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Strgar’s last bit of advice may actually be the most important. If you're really struggling to speak up in the bedroom, the first step may just be to give yourself a break and instead focus on building up your own self-esteem. “Feeling confident sexually, like all confidence, begins inside,” says Strgar. “Many people believe that their partner has the skill or responsibility to make them feel sexy, and when it isn't working or is mixed up with other unresolved conflicts, which is really common, than it's easy to blame the relationship for what is not working sexually.”

So, instead of fixating on opening up about your sexual preferences, start getting comfortable with talking about your wants and needs outside the bedroom. “I believe that when we listen to what we know is true and we slowly develop the courage to use our voice, this makes us confident,” says Strgar. And nothing is more sexy and sexually empowering than confidence.

Once you're ready to finally take the plunge and speak up about what you want in the boudoir, Persimmon offers one last bit of advice: “Be clear that giving instructions during sex is a part of that honest conversation and isn't an attack on your partner as a lover.” She adds that it’s important to remember that “we're all so very insecure about our sexual prowess, but the only way to get better is to listen to your partner's wants and needs.” It might be that if you're feeling insecure about speaking up, there's a good chance your boo is too. Consider this an opportunity to set an example of how its safe (and honestly, pretty hot) to talk about your desires with one another. All of a sudden, it's not so scary after all.

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