What Do You Want Your Sex Life To Feel Like?

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Dr. Debby Herbenick suggests how to explore your desires and needs around sexuality - what you want from your sex life and how things can change.

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Photo: Tony Case (Great Beyond on Flickr)

Communication with sexual partners - say it with candy.

All too often, women and men go with the flow when it comes to sex. You may have noticed this with yourself or among your group of friends.

For example, perhaps you or a friend has, at some point, wondered why they hooked up with someone or did something that they didn’t really enjoy or feel comfortable doing. From time to time, then, it’s worth taking a moment to ask yourself what you want out of your sex life anyway.

Try to take 5 or 10 minutes to start with and ask yourself:

  • What are your values about sex? Do you feel most comfortable being sexual (whether that’s kissing, making out, intercourse, etc) with someone because you’re attracted to each other? When you’re in love? When you’re in a committed relationship? When you’re engaged or married?
  • What do you need in order to feel “safe” being sexual with another person? Do you need to know that you’ve both been tested for sexually transmissible infections (STI)? That neither one of you is seeing anyone else?
  • What type of sex are you interested in having? Are there certain sex acts that you’re exciting about trying and others that you’d prefer not to engage in? Are you hoping to be sexual in a way that feels loving, caring, exciting, funny, hot, or sexy? Do you want to sleep together after you make out or have sex, or would you prefer to sleep in your own beds?

These are just some of the questions that you might consider asking yourself as you figure out what feels right in your life when it comes to sex.

And remember: it’s common for people’s desires, interests and comfort levels around sex to change, so check back in with yourself from time to time. That way you’ll be prepared to communicate your needs and interests to a sexual partner.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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