For me, learning how to talk about sex wasn't easy. In sex ed I learned about things like using condoms and getting tested for STDs, but no one told me how to bring sexual topics up with a partner, like what I wanted, or didn't want, in bed. So when I met my first husband, and even though neither one of us was sexually inexperienced, our sex ranged from bad to just plain boring. There were so many sex questions I wish I'd asked him sooner. If I had, maybe we would have enjoyed better sex.
So, why didn't I feel comfortable asking my own husband for what I wanted in the bedroom? Well, communicating my needs and wants was difficult, and our culture's puritanical view of sex and women's role in the process certainly didn't help. From an early age I was at the mercy of heteronormative, misogynistic messages that argued that women were supposed to wait to have sex, but also supposed to please their man. Men are expected to want sex all of the time. If you are a girl who likes sex, you aren't supposed to talk about it, and if you are a guy who isn't interested in sowing his wild oats with every person he meets there's something wrong with you. I think that trying to meet these harmful and unrealistic expectations got in the way of actually learning how to talk about sex effectively.
Fortunately, and after my divorce, I eventually went on to have other sex partners and learned what I liked and didn't like in the bedroom. I learned to ask my partners questions, and much sooner in our relationship, and as a result the sex I had improved dramatically. I think the key to evolving sexually was opening up a line of clear communication with y partners, and that meant learning to ask questions that were, at least at first, uncomfortable.
Turns out, I'm not the only person who wishes they could go back and time, communicate with their partner, and consequently have better sex, either. Read on for the sex questions couples wish they'd asked each other sooner:
Clay, 38 & Steph, 39
Clay: "Honestly, I wish I had communicated so much more before we had sex the first time. I didn't know what your expectations were for me, and I felt insecure the first few times, because I didn't want to disappoint you."
Steph: "Me, too. I wish I had asked you what you enjoyed, and told you about what I enjoyed much sooner. Life is too short to try to guess about these things in the heat of the moment. I also feel like there are too many expectations about sex in the beginning, like you have to do things on a timetable. It's such bullsh*t. There literally are no rules, as long as everyone consents."
Mark, 53 & Kat, 47
Mark: "Are you down with watching porn together and if so what are your preferences?"
Kat: "I'm glad he asked. I was absolutely down. I eventually I told him I like watching guys-on-guys and threesomes with two guys and one woman, and he was cool with that and started building us a little library on a separate jump drive entitled 'good clean fun.'"
Molly, 31 & Zack, 28
Molly: "I wish I had been confident enough to ask about several positions I wanted to try earlier. I assumed because I am a bigger girl that certain positions for oral sex were probably out. One time I brought it up jokingly, and he was so game. He hasn’t suffocated yet."
Zack: "I don't really have any."
Molly: "It's true. We had been dating like minutes before he asked me to do some of the kinkiest sh*t I’ve ever done. I was just weirdly insecure."
Zack: "I do wish I had asked if 'butt stuff' was OK sooner."
Hillary, 30 & Brandon, 26
Hillary: "I wish I had asked more about what they like and don't like. And also things like what they call their body parts, when they were last tested for STDs, and if they'd be willing to be tested."
Brandon: "I've always asked about my partner's history and if they'd been tested since their last partner. I also think it's important to ask about birth control methods before having sex."
Gi, 38 & Luke, 33
Gi: "I wish I'd asked my partner what his favorite things were, and what sexual acts had baggage for him. I went through a period where I was very self-conscious, because he seemed odd about oral sex. I held that inside. I later found out the last time he'd been intimate with someone, in that way, they'd left him soon after. It was his baggage, not mine. And, we could have unpacked and tried to heal it, much sooner."
Luke: "I wish we'd discussed control and initiation, sooner. We'd actually gotten into a rut with me being the dominant and person who initiated sex, due to my partner's mental health medication sapping their sex drive. Somehow, that turned into them just assuming I like being in charge in the bedroom, when I like to be submissive, sometimes. It's never too late to ask these questions."