What are some topics I should discuss with my sexual partner?
One-on-one contact, empathy, and emotional connections are all usually very important in establishing sexual intimacy. Sensual actions like cuddling are very important for maintaining expressive bonds.
When intimacy moves from emotional to physical, partners in a sexual relationship must have open and honest discussions. There are some topics you should always consider discussing when engaging with a new sexual partner.
Also, remember that relationships can change. Even in established partnerships, you should continue to have conversations about these topics. Understanding expectations can help you start and maintain a healthy sex life.
Expectations of what a healthy sex life looks like should guide your discussion. Body confidence and emotional experience can foster a rich, satisfying sexual experience. Sex topics you should consider discussing with your partner include physical limitations, gender history, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and religious upbringing.
Why is it important to discuss physical limitations?
Knowing the capabilities of your body is very important when considering physical activities — especially sexual activities. Certain sexual positions require plenty of flexibility and stamina. Many variables can determine what is considered “normal” — and what is deemed to be taboo.
A history of injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, or other physical limitations can leave one or both partners disappointed. Also, those born with clinically diagnosed physical disabilities or who are diagnosed later in life may have different concerns about sexuality and what it should be. An open and honest discussion about physical limitations can help both partners adjust and feel comfortable. Those with physical limitations are entitled to an enjoyable sex life as well.
Why is a gender discussion important?
Many years ago, this topic might not have been an issue. Society dictated that men dated women. No other options were openly discussed.
With the growing societal acceptance and legal protections given to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) community, gender can no longer be assumed. Non-binary and transgender people may find it challenging to know when to self-disclose. This disclosure is especially sensitive. Revealing trans status can sometimes lead to emotional or physical harm.
Safe and direct ways for those in the trans community to reveal their status as soon as possible can lead to better communication. Shared understanding can motivate and enable proactivity. This principle should hold true with all non-traditionally recognized gender roles, as well as with cisgenders.
Should you talk about STDs?
Though it may be embarrassing, be sure to discuss your sexually transmitted disease (STD) status and any history of sexually transmitted infections. STDs are widespread, especially in younger adults. In 2018, the United States documented 26 million sexually transmitted infections.
Some common STDs include syphilis, genital herpes, HIV, and gonorrhea. Many of these do not show symptoms at all for an extended period. However, they can still be passed from partner to partner during this time.
Talking about both your current STD statuses is very important when moving forward with an intimate physical relationship. If your status is unknown, you should get tested by your primary care doctor or local clinic. Untreated STDs can lead to future sexual dysfunction and infertility. A discussion about prevention and use of protection like condoms is also very vital. You and your partner can enjoy a more worry-free sexual relationship if you are both informed about each other’s health status.
Why is discussing religious upbringing important?
It may be hard to believe that in this day and age, religion may play a part in sex and in sexual dysfunction.
However, throughout human history, many religions have taught that sex is sacred and confined to marriage. For people affiliated with a religious organization, sex outside of marriage can still lead to both societal and personal guilt.
As we mature, spirituality often becomes increasingly important. Religion and spirituality influence sexual behavior because of the built-in expectations of traditional forms, community support, and aspects considered the norm with intimacy and sex. An honest discussion of these expectations can make sure neither partner is caught off guard.
Will discussing these topics ensure a good sex life?
A simple discussion can help you better understand your sexual partner, though there are no guarantees. Happy couples often have strong intimate bonds that fuel their sexual activity. Discussion of the mentioned topics can lead to a shared enjoyment of sex because everything has been honestly placed out in the open.
Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2021
American Sociological Review: “Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage.”
The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality: “Sexuality and people living with physical or developmental disabilities: a review of key issues.”
CDC.gov: “CDC Fact Sheet: Information for Teens and Young Adults: Staying Healthy and Preventing STDs.”
Harvard Health Publishing: “11 ways to help yourself to a better sex life.”
Journal of Sex Research: “The Role of Religion in Shaping Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction: Evidence from Married and Unmarried Older Adults.”
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction: “I Don’t Want Them to Not Know”: Investigating Decisions to Disclose Transgender Identity on Dating Platforms.”
Sexual and Relationship Therapy: “Relationships, sexuality and adjustment among people with physical disability.”