The Juice & the Squeeze
Let’s talk about sex, baby!
Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be…
If you’re a millennial or just enjoy 90s hip-hop, you’re likely familiar with the unapologetically raw girl-group Salt-N-Pepa and their classic sex-positive anthem “Let’s Talk About Sex. The song touches on subjects of safe sex, positive and negative sides of sex, and the general uncomfortableness of the topic. Besides being wildly catchy and popular when it was released, the song also moved the needle towards making discussions around sex less taboo.
So let’s talk about sex for a minute.
When we think of what we want from a romantic partner, we typically think of the standard categories found in most “match preferences” of an online dating profile – things like relationship goals and the desire for kids. And while sexual wants and needs are probably too nuanced to be categorized in an online profile, that does not diminish their importance.
Sex is one of the most fundamental aspects of any romantic relationship – whether a situationship, a partnership, or a marriage. Beyond the physical pleasure, sex makes us feel uniquely connected with our partner. For that reason, sexual compatibility – your sexual preferences, desires and styles – is key to a fulfilling relationship; and, on the flip side, sexual incompatibility can be a pink flag.
So you should definitely be talking about sex with your romantic prospects and you should be doing it early on. We don’t mean to imply that you should list out your kinks and fantasies over a second-date coffee. But just like with other aspects of dating, you should share your basic likes, dislikes and expectations so that you can determine whether you’re on the same page. Even if you don’t discuss it before your first intimate encounter, you should find the right opportunity to articulate (whether non-verbally or expressly) what would make you feel good, especially if you aren’t feeling satisfied. It’s all in how you say it. (By the way, if they don’t listen, it’s a good litmus test for how they’ll be in the relationship).
For example, if you’re looking for a serious relationship and they’re just looking to casually date, you’ll likely end things. But what if you both want to be in a relationship (check ✔) yet when it comes to sex they don’t like foreplay while you get most of your – ahem – “satisfaction” from the buildup (editorial note: that example is from personal experience)? Unless they’re open to fulfilling your desires, you’ll be in a pretty unfulfilling relationship. And even if that’s fine for a little while, the frustration will eventually boil over.
While talking about sex is hard – it can feel even more vulnerable than the act itself – communication about sex is often a gateway to good communication elsewhere in a relationship. Difficult topics are difficult topics and we need to learn to tackle them with our partner.
To make the sex discussion less awkward, establish trust and intimacy first with easier conversations, say about consent or contraception. Then move on to more meatier topics. Ultimately, creating a dialogue about basic sexual needs and expectations opens the door to sharing deeper and more intimate desires and fantasies. And being open and transparent about these things should only help strengthen your relationship.
So have the conversation about sex, baby! You’ll thank us.