Being able to talk about sex is essential for increasing your intimacy, pleasure and awareness in your sex lives regardless if you are in a long-term relationship, marriage, just started dating or having one-night stands. Having this conversation uncovers the things that you feel is obvious and believe your partner should know, as well as helps you understand what your partner truly wants. I will guide you through some background of how this can help and support you. There is also a description of a structure of what to talk about and a demonstration of the practice where I had this conversation and made a transcript, just for you!
Intimacy comes with trust
Trust is one of the key components to create intimacy in a relationship and communicating what you actually want. But how do you suddenly start trusting someone with something we generally keep hidden and close to our hearts? What does it take to build that connection, of daring to lean into the unknown and be vulnerable?
All of us have lived through experiences that have shaped us in different ways, some experiences have made us trust more, others trust less, especially if you have a background with not being listened to or respected, where there might even have been some type of abuse or neglect in yours or your partners history. Then trusting can feel like you might die, because that may have been the atmosphere you grew up in.
Then we have the other side that many say, “I don’t trust myself”, and prefer to listen to anyone else but yourself, that is when you have muted your inner voice.
“How can you trust your trust about me if you don’t trust yourself?”
This is the end on a quote by Osho that has followed me around since I heard it many years ago. I have a long history of not trusting myself or my surrounding, leading to a need to feel control all the time, even though control is an illusion. We often do this because of past events in our lives where we were in a situation that made our nervous system go into survival mode and that survival mode is either still active or on high alert if something would happen.
Is your past blocking you from intimacy?
If you are in a relationship and feel that you have trust issues, then the tool below can help you start to have a vulnerable conversation with your partner, especially if you are wanting to explore something new in the bedroom, reconnect with intimacy, or if you feel is hard to express your desires. It is helpful to build the trust and understanding between each other by putting words to it, however that might not be super easy without guidelines in the beginning.
And even with guidelines, there might still be hard to find the vocabulary to express what it is that you want. If that is that case it can be helpful to have an experienced professional during the conversation go give an outside point of view and support. Such professionals can be tantric bodyworker, sex and relationship coaches, or therapists.
Sex talk or agreement
It is common to talk about this sex talk as an agreement, a sexual agreement, or an interaction agreement, because you do not always need to have sex. Setting up an agreement like this is not the most common in “standard” hetero- and monogamous relationships, however there are beautiful exceptions! Agreements like this are common in polyamorous or open relationships, as well as in the tantric and kink scene.
This is also an amazing practice to do before having a new interaction (Tinder date etc.), I promise it can be one of the sexiest things to do!
Even if this is an agreement, if you talk about something that is new, that you want to change, help each other remember in a loving way. Even better in the beginning is not just have this as a one-time conversation, it can be an “every time” conversation and you can make it into your own ritual, i.e. setting an intention before intimate events.
Something that is great with these agreements is that you start communicating about what is so easy to take for granted. Even if you feel like you are with your soul mate, they will still not be able to read your mind, unfortunately. An important thing to remember is that it can be difficult and vulnerable to have this conversation, so set an intention together to let go of judgement, an honor what you say to each other.
There are some different standard talks you can have with your partner and I will go through one of them here! It is called “BDSM” (the conversation, not the kink this time), which in this case of course stands for:
Boundaries: What do you feel safe and comfortable with? What is your edge for this interaction? Are there areas or ways that you do not want to be touched? And when you are receiving boundaries, remember to honor them, it can be painful to have your boundaries crossed after having them expressed. Repeat your partners boundaries or ask them again later if you feel unsure.
Desires: What would you like to experience during this interaction or exploration? Verbalizing desires can be one of the hardest things to do because so many of us are not used to expressing shamelessly what we want, and an even deeper issue can be that we are not connected enough with ourselves to even know what our desires might be. This is an amazing opportunity to start practicing, and that will build trust in between the two of you. If you do not know what you want start so see if you can find a feeling you would like to experience, also take some inspiration from the transcript below.
Safety: Normally here I talk mostly about STIs, pregnancy protection and injuries, if you are going to have any anal exploration then include hemorrhoids, or scars in the anus/perineum/rectum area. Is there anything that makes you scared or nervous? Also talking about the definitions of words like “Stop”, “Still”, “No”, and other directions mean to you. It can be hard to guide someone if you have different interpretations of the same word.
Meaning (and Intention): Is there a deeper meaning for you doing or experiencing this? For example: Understanding your body in a deeper way, knowing how to hold space and serve my partner in this vulnerable space, or daring to explore a desire from your fantasy. Basically, how can I expand and grow as a person from this experience.
I remember the first time someone initiated me into this practice, it felt strange in the beginning, I did not really know what it was that I actually liked or wanted. I know I felt shame about expressing myself, “what if I said something wrong”, “what if I got rejected”. These are common feelings in the beginning of connecting with what you actually want and desire, which is where trust comes into the picture again. As Osho says, do you trust yourself? And do you know what you want?
This was an eye opener for me, and so many that I have initiated in this self-exploration and can be a start of a great journey.
Because this could be a new concept for you, just like it was for me, I did a demonstration of how one of these conversations might go. Here is a slightly modified transcript of how a conversation can go, and this ended up becoming a very hot conversation.
Sex talk demonstration
A: Hi! Thank you for doing this with me.
A: What I would like to do with you today is an intimacy agreement. So, that would be setting up a play* container for if we are going to have sex for example. For you to know what my boundaries and intentions are and for me to know yours, so that we have an understanding and can build more trust, connection and understanding. This will give us a free space to express what we want and what we do not want. How does that sound?
*Play is often used in tantra and sometimes kink for an interaction that can be sexual but does not need to be sexual.
B: Sounds good, but I am not sure what I am getting myself into.
A: The four parts that I like to talk through is B D S M, which stands for Boundaries, Desires, Safety, and Meaning. Talking through these points really helps to become more connected and understanding each other, but also a need for yourself to really figure out what it is that you actually want to experience.
A: I can go first and share my boundaries and then I would love to hear yours, okay? My boundaries are; I don't want to be licked in the ears, that makes me scared because I can easily get an infection there, I connect ear licking with pain so even like being around there too much like gets me out of the mood. I have a neck injury, so I love being caressed in the neck and held there, and especially held when I am looking upwards. But quick movements can make me scared and there is a risk of me getting injured and feeling pain is a boundary for me. I am not into impact (like spanking) as you might have guessed since my boundaries are a lot about no pain. Also, be careful with using really feathering touch in the beginning, that makes me feel ticklish and contract. I prefer much more a slow tight holding and grounding touch, that makes me aroused.
A: What are your boundaries? And even if it feels like you do not have any, see if there is something that you don’t want to experience.
B: I do pleasure over pain, I do not have a deep interest in pain, I like sensations. I love it when a partner listens to and response to my body. Not so much my words but my body.
A: Any other boundaries that comes up?
B: Do whatever you want, within reason. (Here would be great with even clearer instructions but keep the conversation up in the interaction, then you can start finding each other’s boundaries.)
A: Desires are your core inner longings to experience, that can be emotions, sensations, and experiences that you would like to have. It can be about being held and taken care of, it can be about being dominated or dominating someone else, it can be about not needing to be responsible for the other person, among so many other things. And what the core feeling that are behind those fantasies.
A: I am a switch (=someone that can be both dominating and be dominated) so I can definitely be dominant and play with that and I think that's a lot of fun, but something that I've been missing for a while is to dare to go into surrender and really just give myself to someone and feel taken care of, held, taken, desired and accepted.
B: To trust someone, you have to let go.
A: If my boundaries are being respected. Yeah, then I can go there, when I get scared by something like my boundaries being crossed or something going too fast, then I lose the connection.
B: Have you done it before, going into surrender?
A: Yeah. I have, many times with the ones I learned to trust and understand my boundaries.
A: And what is your desire?
B: I am a switch and desire to surrender to someone, either to you or someone else, that are able to hold me in that place of surrender.
A: And you are trusting enough to go there?
B: At this moment until you break it, yes. I always love surprise. I love not knowing what is happening, do not tell me what you are going to do. If my body language changes, then check in with me.
A: For me, it is really sexy to tell me what it is you want to do with me. Not necessarily asking for permission even if that can be really sexy too, but just telling me what you're going to do will help a lot.
A: This is mostly for people who is not in a relationship yet, but if you have not talked about this in any context with your partner, it is definitely time to do so! For example, if you have any injuries what you want to share about, if you have any other partners, what your STI statuses is (when and for what did you get tested last, and how many partners have you had protected/unprotected sex with since). How we are protecting ourselves from STI and pregnancy now if we are having intercourse. (Injuries, “stop words” or the meaning of words, and anal/vaginal issues are great to address here as well)
A: I got tested in October and has had one partner with unprotected sex and two with protection since. We are using condoms to make sure that we do not have any STI transmissions or risk of pregnancy if we have sex.
B: I care about my safety; I care about not having permanent damage while experiencing different experiences. The last thing I want to do is have bad memories that are at risk. I also do not want to catch long term diseases. I have an open policy, and always ask my partners so there is an opportunity to express if or something has happened.
A: And another example is, even if we are don't have an STI is right or active herpes. If you get a feeling of having a tingle and lips, for example, then be open about that because it can be the start of a cold sore. Also, in general, feeling like you are coming down with a cold is something to share too.
(We did not have any stop word conversation because we did not intent do push any boundaries.)
Meaning or intention
A: Something that I find is a beautiful practice. Setting an intention can be what you want to learn or grow in, something to experience or whatever feels like the intention you want to have for this this interaction.
In Tantric Yoga, we talk about something called Consecration, which is another type of setting an intention, which is a form of prayer or surrender where you remove your ego and invite something bigger than yourselves to act trough you. I generally do it through setting an intention and sending the energy of the interaction and everything that we are experiencing into the universe, to something bigger than ourselves. I know this might feel strange, so no need to push it.
A: My intention with this interaction is to see if I can relax a little bit more than normal and see if my body can feel safe enough to open up myself more to you, and trust, you will actually hold me and take care of me, the meaning and intention that you would like to say.
B: I am still working on intentions beyond your orgasmic pleasure.
A: I would love to hear an intention that is only about you.
B: Me, about me?
A: Yeah, from you to you.
B: That I will be able to inspire happiness in my partner. There will be magnified and returned to me. It is all about me. But it is reliant on her.
A: You see if you can find someone that is just about you.
B: My intention is to be happy and to have a fulfilling life and to have a fulfilling life.