How To Be Comfortable Talking About Sex

Have you ever felt tongue-tied when it comes to talking about sex and what you want? Join the club, a lot of women do!

This video will help you understand why it’s super important — essential, really — to be able to talk about what you want sexually, and will give you strategies to help make that easier. Enjoy!

Video Highlights

  • [04:20] Share with your partner what you like
  • [04:58] You have to know your setting a new norm
  • [05:32] Deliver the message with care and positivity first
  • [08:12] How to deal with your own discomfort
  • [10:37] Different strategies for making it easier
  • [11:05] WW?D?
  • [14:38] What if my partner reacts badly?

Video Transcript

Hi guys, I'm Dr. Erica Marchand. I'm a licensed psychologist and sex therapist, and I have made it my mission to understand women's pleasure and orgasms better and to help women -- all of us everywhere -- have better sex, more orgasms and orgasm equality.

So in these videos, I am answering frequently asked questions about sex and orgasms. So today the question comes from a woman who was attending a webinar that I did recently, and she said, "Having to be verbal or to tell my partner what I want makes me really uncomfortable. How do I get more comfortable saying what I want?"

This is a great question! How many people don't have this question, how to be more comfortable saying what you want?

Now, by the end of this video, I want you to know three things: I want you to know, one, how to share with your partner what you like, and I'm going to give me some concrete strategies for how to do that.

Number two, how to deal with your own discomfort about speaking up because that's gonna be there. And then three, I wanna share with you some common strategies for making it easier mentally, for making it easier for you to do this.

Now, why is this important?

So women are not taught to speak up for ourselves and what we want.

I mean, how many times have we all heard this message? Of course there are exceptions. Sometimes we all do ask for what we want and we get it, and we fight for what we want, and we get it. There are definitely exceptions.

But in your day-to-day life, in my day-to-day life, I can think of a million ways that I don't ask for what I want, or I put somebody else's needs or desires above mine or somebody else's comfort above mine and therefore don't get what I want. And I'm sure if you're watching this video and you have a question about how to be more comfortable asking for what you want, you're probably in the same boat.

So I think it's super important because going without what you want when you could have it... it's it's just not right or fun.

Why *not* get what you want if you *can* get what you want?

It also sets up this inequality that I talk about a lot in terms of pleasure and orgasms, in sexual situations. Especially for women who have sex with men, or who have male partners, there is often a real inequality in how much pleasure and how many orgasms are happening in the situation with women often coming out with the short end stick. So I think equality is really important in every area of life, including in the bedroom. So that's one reason it's really important.

So, the first reason is so that you can get what you want, and the second reason is so that you don't get what you don't want.

I will share with you that the actual wording of this question that this woman wrote to me was, "I feel uncomfortable being verbal during sex and I end up putting up with things that I don't want."

This is what she actually said, and to me this really took me aback, it made me kind of freeze for a second, it made me sad, it made me think, what is happening that she's not wanting?? No one should have to go through that. Sex should be a mutually consenting experience, like everything that you do should be something that you want, not something that your partner wants, but that you don't... And so speaking of being verbal is the only way to be sure that that happens. You can tell that I get really activated about this one.

So it's really important to speak up to be sure that you're not enduring things that you don't want.

And then the third reason that communicating about what you like sexually is really important is to have pleasure and orgasms, which is obviously what I talk about all the time. In order to have orgasms and in order to experience pleasure in bed, most women, (most people) have to tell our partners what we really like. Without being able to do that, it can be really hard for our partners to know what we like and to do it so that's why it's important.

Okay, so what is it that we have to do?

Number one, we need to do is share with our partners, what we like.

Now, how do you do that?

The first thing you have to do is to know what you like. And in order to know what you like, you may have to experiment, you might need to masturbate, you might need to practice saying in your mind what it is that you like, you might have to practice saying out loud what it is that you like in the mirror, and you might need to work on this for a little while, if you're a person who's uncomfortable speaking up.

So in order to share with your partner what you like, (a) You have to know what you like, and (b) you have to know that you're setting a new norm. Especially if this is not how you've been in your relationship before and you're gonna start saying more of what you want, you have to know that you are setting up a new pattern in your relationship that hasn't been there before.

So it will be uncomfortable at the beginning, and then it will get easier and feel more normal, the longer that you do it.

So just know that when you start anything you change any pattern and in a relationship you feel uncomfortable, your partner may feel uncomfortable, but over time it gets easier and better.

In order to share with your partner what you like, it's also helpful to deliver the message with care.

What I mean by that is when we're talking about sex, often it can be uncomfortable for you, the person who's giving the message, and it can also be uncomfortable for the partner, who might feel self-conscious or insecure about whether they're pleasing you, or not, or have their own issues around sex or feelings about sex.

So, there can be feelings involved. And so when I say deliver the message with care what I mean is, really be mindful that both of you might be uncomfortable and be really kind about it. So if I wanna tell my partner that I need more oral stimulation or I want more oral stimulation what I don't say is "you never go down on me for long enough."

No. The reason I don't say that is that it's a "you" statement, which is difficult for other people to hear, and it's stated in the negative. "You don't ever blah, blah, blah."

That's a recipe for not-good communication.

What I might say instead, is I need more oral stimulation. What you do, feels really good and I think if we could do that for longer, I would really enjoy it.

And the reason that that works better is, it's an 'I' statement, which is easier for the other person to hear and it states in the positive what I want, not what I don't want, so, "I want more oral stimulation," for example.

There's a little bonus part there too, which is that I point out what's already going well, so if my partner's already going down on me and I enjoy that, I'm gonna point that out 'cause they're already doing that and then they can just build on that. They already feel somewhat successful when I say it that way.

So when I talk about sharing with your partner what you want all of these things go into it, now what you want, state what you want with care and kindness, using 'I' statements, using a positive message about what you want and also acknowledging what your partner is already doing that you like and then also know that you're setting a new norm or a new pattern in your relationship and it might feel uncomfortable at the beginning, and it will get easier over time, the more you do it.

Okay, so that's the first thing.

Okay, so the second thing that we have to do in order to be more comfortable being verbal and saying what we want is we have to deal with our own discomfort about it.

Now, I know that sounds weird 'cause I'm saying "here's how to get more comfortable, but on the way to getting more comfortable you're going to feel uncomfortable," and we have to deal with feeling uncomfortable, it's not gonna be comfortable right away.

So the first way to deal with discomfort is I just want to normalize it.

So you are part of a community of women who's trying to have better sex, trying to understand our pleasure better, trying to have more orgasms, and really feel like the sexual experience is equal.

And among us in this community, women who are doing this, we are all pushing back against the status quo, that teaches us to not speak up or not want too much or not be high maintenance or not talk about sex... all the things in that society or family or whomever tells us not to do. So know that it's really normal to feel uncomfortable changing that, and you're not alone, you're not the only person who's feeling uncomfortable, there are so many of us out there who are trying to do this and feeling uncomfortable in the process.

So you're a part of a very large group of women who are doing this. There is a sisterhood of people who are out there feeling uncomfortable and forging ahead. So know that if you feel uncomfortable, it's totally okay, it's totally normal, it'll get easier and you are not alone. I think that's the first big thing to remember when you start to feel uncomfortable.

Also, I would say try to remind yourself why you're doing it.

So if you are choosing to speak up and to let your partner know what you want, you are doing it for a reason. You're doing it because you wanna have a better sexual experience or you wanna have an orgasm or you wanna get more turned on or you wanna get more of what you want and less of what you don't.

And the ultimate goal is probably for sex to be better and your relationship to be better. So there is a very positive worthy goal at the end of this.

So if you remind yourself that that's what you're aiming for, it's easier to deal with the discomfort of speaking up for the first time or is speaking up for the first few times. Okay, so that is the second part of this. You have to deal with your own discomfort about speaking up and saying what you want.

Okay, now the third thing I wanna share with you are some strategies for making it easier? So dealing with your discomfort is one thing, and that's really important.

Reducing your discomfort, could be another thing that you might wanna do. So how to reduce your discomfort? Okay, so first I'd say think of the sisterhood that I talked about even just knowing that there are other women who are doing the same thing, and feeling the same way can calm you down. So think about that.

Another strategy that I like is thinking about what would a woman that I really admire do in the situation, how would she handle it? So, when I'm thinking about sexual conversations, I will often think like, "what would Rihanna do?" Or "what would Amber Rose do?"

'Cause they both... And obviously, I did not know these women personally. I wish I did, but I don't.

But they both seem really empowered and really comfortable with their sexuality, and so I think about, well, what would she do, how would she handle this, what would she say, how would she feel if she needed to tell her partner something? And then I try to think, okay, can I try to embody that or feel like that?

And it can actually surprisingly really help to think of what would one of your idols do if they had to have this conversation? So you might try that yourself insert whoever you really admire, and who you think would be helpful here and see what you think they would do.

And then, finally, another way to make it easier is to think that your partner really wants to know this information. And they very well may really want to know this information!

So I know that what makes it uncomfortable for a lot of us, is we think that we're gonna be burdening our partners or embarrassing them or asking for too much or whatever, and it's gonna be unwelcome information for our partners to receive.

On the other hand, it may be the case that our partners would love to know what brings us more pleasure or love to know if they're doing something that we don't like, or I would love to know what would help us have an orgasm.

And so if we share it with them, they're gonna be really happy to have that information or relieved to have that information or feel more knowledgeable, having that information.

So try to think of it is something that your partner might really want to know and that can be a way of reducing the discomfort.

So again, the things that we have to do or share with our partners, what we like, deal with our own discomfort about it, and try some strategies for making it easier for us, reduce our discomfort about it. These are three things that we have to do in order to get more comfortable speaking up about what we want and what we like.

Okay, so now what if you're hearing everything that I'm saying and you still feel really uncomfortable, like sex and pleasure is not something that you were ever taught was okay to talk about, it's not something that you've done with any of your partners before you're worried about what would happen if you did it now, and this is new territory for you.

So what I would say to you is (a) go slowly, so you don't have to do this all at once, you don't have to do it perfectly. Pick one small step that you think you could take and take it, and it could be a step that's just a mindset shift. Like think about who your example would be like, if mine is Rihanna who would yours be? Think about who your example would be... And how she might say things or feel or approach things that might be the step that you take today. And that might be everything. And then tomorrow or in a few days or next week, think about another tiny step that you could take in this direction.

And know that you don't have to do it all at once.

Another thing I would say is you, there's no way to make an uncomfortable change without feeling discomfort, and you might feel significant discomfort you might sweat, or your stomach might be in knots or you might feel numb or tingly, or you might want to run out of the room.

There's a lot of discomfort that can be wrapped up in talking about sex and there's no way out of it, except through it.

Unfortunately, I wish I had a better way. But there's no way out of the discomfort except through it. And so sometimes you have to know that you're going to feel the discomfort and you're gonna do it anyway, and then it's gonna get easier and then you're gonna get more of what you want and then it'll really get easier and it'll go from there. But sometimes at the beginning you have to feel the discomfort and do it anyway.

Sorry. Sometimes it's the only way.

Also, if you feel uncomfortable, remind yourself of the sisterhood of people who are also doing this. You're not alone, you can imagine all the rest of the women who are out there watching this trying to have these potentially uncomfortable conversations with their partners.

All of us kind of going down the same road together, in a way.

Okay, "so what if my partner reacts badly" is another question that I get about speaking up and getting comfortable speaking up.

So, the sad truth is, sometimes partners do react badly. Sometimes they feel embarrassed, sometimes it brings up their insecurities, sometimes they can be selfish, it doesn't match with what they wanna do, partners can be kind of selfish. And you find yourself with a selfish partner, I highly recommend evaluating that relationship and seeing if there's a way to make sure that you're both getting what you want. So there are a lot of reasons that partners could react badly to us speaking up about what we want or what we like. How do you handle that?

So number one is preventing it. So we can't control how our partner reacts, but we can only clean up our side of the street and communicate with care and kindness. And so that's why the framing of how you say what you say is so important. So communicating with care and kindness, means using 'I' messages, stating what you want in the positive, and building on things that your partner is already doing. So for example, "I really want more oral sex, it feels really good, you're really good at it when you do it, and I think if we could do it for longer, I would really like." Something like that.

So, delivering your message with care and kindness is what you can do on your side of the street to help the message land in the best possible way. Now, what your partner does on their side of the street, that's up to them. We can't really control that, but hopefully, if they can see that you were being careful and kind with their feelings, they will be careful in kind with your feelings.

If you have this conversation and your partner does react badly, you can always ask them what's upsetting about hearing this. They might be able to tell you they might be able to say, "Oh I feel... Really embarrassed or... Oh, I didn't know that. I wish I'd known that," or whatever it is. You might be able to learn what's upsetting for them and understand what feelings they're having that look like a bad reaction. Maybe, it isn't a bad reaction toward you, maybe it's their own stuff that they're dealing with. So you can ask. It's also helpful, if your partner feels criticized or feels like they haven't been doing it right and they feel embarrassed, emphasize that it's just part of the learning process, you're not criticizing them, they haven't been doing it wrong, they just didn't know.

It's just part of learning each other, so I hope that helps.

I know that communicating about sex and particularly about what you want with your partner can be really challenging because it goes against most of the norms that we were taught about not talking about sex. But if you can share with your partner what you like, deal with your own discomfort about it, and use strategies to reduce discomfort, you will be well on your way to having much easier conversations with your partner, about what you like and opening up a dialogue to make your sex life better.

So I hope that was helpful. Try to implement some of these strategies, try to take at least one small step in communicating more about what you might want the next time the situation presents itself and see what happens.

Okay, and then you'll take steps forward from there.

Okay, so I hope that was helpful. This is Dr. Erica and I will see you somewhere soon! Bye.

Take the Orgasm Spectrum™️ Quiz to discover where you fall on the spectrum and then Dr. Erica will show you exactly what to do in order to make orgasms a regular part of your life. 

Take the Orgasm Spectrum™️ Quiz to learn where you fall on the spectrum and what to do in order to make orgasms a regular part of your life.