As someone who’s spent most of my career talking and writing about sex, I’m often asked what’s the best piece of sex advice I can share. People are inevitably taken aback when I don’t impart a groundbreaking oral sex trick, or secret Kama Sutra position. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big advocate for continuously adding to your bag of sexual techniques, but without this piece of advice, most of them are redundant. That piece of advice is simple, and kind of common sense, but it’s something very few of us do when we initiate sex; and it’s to ask our partner a four-word question: “What are you into?”
Why it’s so difficult
While it might seem obvious to ask our sexual partners how they like to have sex, our sex-negative culture has created so much shame and stigma around the topic, we’re overcome with discomfort at the thought of even broaching it.
It’s not just new couples or casual sexual partners who struggle with raising the discussion. I’ve put the question to couples who’ve been married for 20+ years, “What is your partner into in bed?” and been met with the response, “I don’t know. I’ve always been too shy to ask,” on more occasions than I can count.
Using your mouth
It might sound boring, and arguably isn’t nearly as sexy as a fancy blowjob technique, but the fact is, great sex begins and ends with great communication in bed. You can know every oral sex trick in the book, but if you don’t know what specifically gets your partner’s motor running, you’re likely to have unsatisfying, mediocre sex, at best.
What drives one sexual partner wild with desire can send another off to sleep. That’s because our sexual preferences are innately unique to our own personality, life experiences, and physical anatomy. Which ultimately means that, unless you possess the skill of mind-reading, you can’t meet your partner’s sexual needs until you open your mouth (not for the blowjob, that’ll come later). For example, if you want to try a toy like We-Vibe’s Chorus, it would be a shame if it didn’t work out just because you didn’t express the wish, right?
Communication in bed: Putting it into perspective
I get that any discussion about sex is tricky – that it makes most of us feel awkward and nervous. But consider this: when you’re about to have sex with someone, be it a new partner or your spouse of 20 years, chances are, you’ve already done the most scary, intimidating, vulnerable thing you can do as a human being. You’ve already stripped down naked, and let someone else touch your naked body. When you put it into perspective, opening your mouth and asking four little words, “What are you into?” is really the easy part.
So go ahead and try it next time you get down and dirty. You might just be surprised at how much impact those words can make on the quality of your sex life.