Communicating about sex

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Communicating about sex

Why is talking about sex or sexual themes so difficult?

Talking about sex has barriers

First of all, it's difficult to talk about sex because often we haven't learned that it's a good thing to do. From an early age we learn that talking or asking questions about sex brings certain negative feelings with it. Just think of shame, doubts, guilt, insecurities, and so on. We have learned that it is taboo. In the meantime, we are making great progress in this regard and more people know that sex education is a very important aspect in the development of children. This is because it will influence the sexual relationship with oneself and with others in adulthood.

There's nothing wrong with talking about sex. Sexuality will remain present throughout your life. So why should we stay quiet about this?

Often it is from fear. This is due, for example, to the following thought: 'talking about sex cannot mean anything other than that something is not going well in the bedroom'. This doesn't have to be the idea. Your body changes over time. Your wishes, desires, needs, boundaries and so on change along with it. This makes it extremely important to talk about sex. What you previously considered pleasant can and may change. Sometimes it is even very good to look at new things and experiment. Continuing to pursue your sexual self and your own and partner sexual pleasure should be a goal, which you can achieve by talking about it.

On top of that, we often have the idea that sex should be spontaneous, mind-blowing every time and that it is about a physical connection that we destroy by talking about it. A major correction is also needed here. A physical connection means that you are attuned to each other and that you know and respect your partner's boundaries and wishes. However, as mentioned earlier, these can change and talking about your own wishes and boundaries and those of your partner is a prerequisite for that physical connection. The expectation that every time you have sex it must be 'mind-blowing' puts the pressure very high. Sex is not as depicted in movies. In reality, moments can occur that are very normal. For example, think about awkwardly changing positions, not (always) having an orgasm, having silent sex because the neighbors/parents/children would hear it otherwise, trying something new and laughing because it doesn't quite work out, and so on. Not only are these examples realistic, but also intimate, passionate and intense, which can be 'mind-blowing' in a completely different and positive way.

Learning to talk about sex

Be curious

Ask questions to your partner out of interest. Listen and be open to what is being said. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you want to know more or if you don't understand something.


Speaking about your desires, your boundaries, your fantasies, your sensitive zones, and everything else also means making yourself vulnerable. Tell honestly what you want or need and what is going on in your mind. Speak from your own feelings and keep in mind that these feelings are allowed.


Use positive language. You don't want to give criticism but feedback. Tell what you like and what you would like more of. Also give compliments on what is going well.

Don't judge

A conversation about sex calls for safety. You want to try to understand each other without judging. Only in this way can and may everything be said. If something scares you, you can explain why. Each of you deserves an explanation why/why not.

Your individuality

Be yourself in such a conversation. Use the words you would normally use when talking about sex and that make you feel good. Make sure you make yourself clear. For example, do you both understand the word 'sex' the same way? Is this penetrative sex or does it include other things?