From The Straits Times    |

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“Let’s talk about sex, baby!” sang 90s hip-hop trio Salt-n-Pepa and this is literally something that couples should do. Having a sexual relationship increases intimacy and could also add a fun and pleasurable element to your relationship. While the frequency of sex is entirely up to you – and you can have a fulfilling relationship without sex – getting to know each other better sexually could improve your relationship.

One way to do this is by asking your partner ‘sex questions’. These conversations help both of you to understand each other better and lead to an overall more satisfying sex life.

Dr Angela Tan, CEO and principal coach at Academy Of Relationship & Sex (ARAS), says that discussing sex questions allows us to understand each other’s preferences, set expectations, as well as avoid assumptions or misunderstandings which can lead to quarrels. Also, since sex is often deemed as a taboo subject, talking about it means you trust your partner enough to share your vulnerabilities and is a way of strengthening your bond.

Additionally, it can iron out any misalignment or misconceptions you may have on the topic, as well as voice out any concerns, for example, your previous partners, contraception, painful sex and whether or not you have been tested for STDs.

The right timing for a sex talk

So, when should you have this chat? Dr Tan reveals that anytime is the best time. Do it when you feel you can trust your partner enough to talk about vulnerable subjects. It also doesn’t have to all happen at one go, you can do it in piecemeal.

“For couples who are open to pre-marital sex, preferably talk about it when both of you view sex is on its way, before it actually happens,” Dr Tan advises. “You can still talk about it after you have sex, as a way to share your thoughts and experiences. For couples who prefer to have sex only after marriage, it’s good to include this as part of the pre-marital discussions beyond the wedding and applying for a BTO flat.”

These sex questions aren’t just for couples who are new to having sex with each other. They can also be tackled if you’ve been having sex for a while and are satisfied with your sex life. Dr Tan says you might find out new things that you didn’t know about your partner and there might also be things your partner has been too shy to share. 

“Through my work with couples, I found out that a good number of men think they are doing very well in bed, lasting long and can go for a few times in a night, but their partners aren’t exactly happy. Most women do not voice out what really makes them feel pleasured,” says Dr Tan.

Not everyone is comfortable with talking about sex and it can be an awkward subject to bring up even if you’re married to the other person. Dr Tan suggests to do it in a neutral setting, such as while having a causal chat on the sofa. Don’t ever initiate this conversation in bed before, during or after sex. This is because things might go south in such situations as your partner’s mind is already on the action.

Also, start with a neutral opening, such as, “I read an article on talking about sex with my partner and thought it might be good if I can understand your needs better” or, “I was having a chat with my girlfriends and this topic popped up and I want to hear your thoughts on it”. 

“Go as far as your partner is comfortable, you do not need to exhaust all the questions in one seating,” Dr Tan adds. “You could offer that some of the more teasing or flirty questions could be part of your sex game next time.”

Questions to get started 

Still not sure about what you should ask your partner? While some of the questions might be performance-based and sound like you’re doing an interview to assess your partner’s performance, make sure you keep the chat casual and light-hearted, even though the subjects covered could be serious. 

Dr Tan lists some serious and flirty questions you can start with. 

Serious questions:

  • What were your past sexual experiences like? This can include sexual activities like petting, caressing and mutual masturbation, not just intercourse; as well as masturbation habits, not just partnered sex. “This might bring up previous failed experiences or sexual assaults, hence it is important that this conversation is done in a safe space or neutral setting, and both agree not to judge,” says Dr Tan.
  • What do you like/not like about sex?
  • Is there anything you would like to improve?
  • What is your expected frequency of sex and how long should it last?
  • What turns you on and off?
  • When is a good time to approach you for sex and not get rejected?
  • Do you prefer to initiate or for me to initiate? (share cues of how each other should initiate)
  • What do you think I like? (if the couple has already started exploring, this is also a chance to clear up any assumptions)
  • Do you watch pornography? What genre of porn are you into? And are you okay if we watch it together? (assuming you are not adverse to watching porn)
  • What is your preferred form of contraception/protection? I’ll share what I am comfortable with. (If both of you had previous partners, it’s also good to explore testing for STDs)
  • What are your boundaries around sex eg. penile-vaginal intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, usage of sex toys, bondage etc?
  • What are your concerns/fears about sex? (especially for first-timers)

Teasing/ flirty questions:

  • Tell me about a fantasy of yours.
  • What is your preferred sex position?
  • Tell me one thing that turns you on for sure.
  • Tell me how you would like to be kissed.
  • Where is a favourite place you would like to have sex?

“I hope that women get the idea that having a sex talk is important and it will make them feel safer and more connected, thereby having a better sexual experience,” Dr Tan adds. “It can be fun and flirtatious at times. But there are important things that we need to find out prior to that.”