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How to Ask for What You Want in Bed: 11 Tips for Men

8 min read
How to Ask for What You Want in Bed: 11 Tips for Men

Oddly, for many, having sex is a lot easier than talking about it. Given it's possibly the most intimate thing we can share with another person and one of the most enjoyable and satisfying acts we're organically programmed to do, surely, we should be open to anything that helps us get the most out of it.

Sadly, having those types of conversations with our sexual partners isn't easy. Despite many studies confirming that sex frequency and quality are both great for our mental health (A National Longitudinal Study of Partnered Sex, Relationship Quality, and Mental Health Among Older Adults, for example), we're still a bit backward in coming forward.

To hone any hobby, activity, or skill, you need to practice; the same goes for personal and intimate conversations.

If talking about your fantasies, favorite sex positions, and experimentation isn't part of your repertoire yet, build up slowly, sneak a few small topics into your everyday chats, and get your partner used to the idea of speaking about sex in a different way from how you do at the moment.

After all, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

1. Take a moment to understand what you really want

Choosing the right words can help things be a little less awkward, and knowing what you want to say will help you stay on script and in control.

If it feels awkward, it's okay to say so. Trying something along the lines of, "Why is talking about sex so awkward compared to actually doing it?" It should help lighten the atmosphere and perhaps even draw your partner into helping you tell them what's on your mind.

To pinpoint what you want to say, you've got to do your homework. That could be intimately exploring your body to understand how to maximize your own pleasure goals or reading up on whatever new thing you're hoping will bring even more pleasure to your sex life.

Choosing the right words can help things be a little less awkward, and knowing what you want to say will help you stay on script and in control.

And if it doesn't come out exactly right, don't worry about it. Own your verbal slip-ups and muscle through the awkwardness. You'll encourage your partner to be less bashful, too, paving the way by example—because nobody's perfect, right?

2. Choose the right moment

When is the right moment? Well, there are plenty of wrong moments depending on the topic, act, kink, or fantasy. For more significant requests, for example, introducing deep desires and dark fantasies, or for those boundary-pushing acts you haven't previously tried together, approaching the subject outside the bedroom is the right moment.

Before sex

An open conversation about what you want in bed has to happen when you've both got the time and the state of mind for it. Start with the more simple admissions; tell each other where and how you like to be touched, things you find a turn-on but have never been brave enough to suggest, what you already do that you'd like more of or something you might have seen on TV or heard about that's caught your interest and you'd love to try.

If it all feels a little too serious, why not try a lighter approach on date night, making it into a game? Men's Health magazine has 100 Sex Questions to Find Out Exactly What Your Partner Likes in Bed. You don't have to answer all of them, but it's a great way to make a slowly revealing deep dive into what your partner thinks and likes about all things sex, suggesting plenty of new things they'd be open to try.

One of the easiest ways to introduce ideas outside of the bedroom is sexting.

If you've got a date night planned, send a few sexy messages to build the mood, suggesting some of the exciting new things you'd like to do with them later.

During sex

"Communication during sexual activity was [also] positively associated with sexual satisfaction and indirectly associated with relationship satisfaction through sexual satisfaction." -- Testing the Communication During Sexual Activity Model

As the quoted study showed, if you can talk about sex during sex, and you want to achieve higher levels of connection and satisfaction, then do it.

You can guide a partner with physical or verbal cues during sex.

With smaller, lesser acts, groaning, "Mmmmm, more of that," will certainly encourage a partner, or for positive affirmation that things are moving in the right direction, ask, "Is that okay?" or even "What would make this better? Show me how."

You'll have to assess how comfortable you both are and how open conversations might look in the bedroom—whether you should stick to smaller changes and suggestions or break down each act into an in-depth, step-by-step show-and-tell is up to how comfortable you both feel in the moment.

After sex

Once you've both had time to catch your breath, talking about what just happened is a great way to unpack your experimentation as part of your aftercare: which parts you'd do the same, which parts you'd like to try again but differently, and which parts didn't work for you at all.

3. Frame it in a positive, affirmative way

Saying, "There's something I'd really love to try with you; it sounds so sexy and I think it'd really suit the way we enjoy sex together," already sounds like a joint effort, focussing on mutual satisfaction.

Using the word 'try' takes the pressure off; that every exploration doesn't have to be a success.

Avoiding words like 'always' and 'never' should help to take damaging, negative connotations out of the conversation. Avoid anything that sounds like criticism, so reframing those 'you never...' sentences into "It really turns me on when..." will help move things along instead of jamming on the brakes.

Failing that, there's always the compliment sandwich. Tell them something you love that they do already, then suggest how you could work it up into something even sexier, finishing off with how hot that would be to do together or building it into something else you already do that you know they love.

4. Ask what your partner wants, too

Sex is a two-way street. Sadly, female pleasure has been far too often overlooked within societal conventions. For those men in heterosexual partnerships, let's flip that one and make sure your partner knows that her sexual experience is every bit as important as yours—in fact, tell her you're going to make it your goal to make sure she gets what she needs before you do.

How? One of the most intimate and sexiest things your partner can do is show you precisely what they like, and if you tell them what a turn-on that is, you'll encourage them to give you all the pointers you need to work their body exactly how they need you to. If she can masturbate for you, she can show you the best way to get her excited sexually, how to find her G-spot, or how hard to tug or squeeze her nipple—all without having to speak a single word.

If you're shy and find verbal communication harder, a practical lesson could be far more your thing.

If you show more interest in your partner's needs, they'll be far more interested in returning the favor, helping you get what you want in bed. Just remember not to use it as a trade-off—it's about reciprocal care, not blackmail and manipulation!


Graph shared from the blog: How to Deal with Sexual Frustration as a Man

5. Lower the stakes

There's a good chance you'll overwhelm your partner if you open the conversation with your deepest, darkest fantasies, so kick things off with something easy. Also, make sure your partner knows that whatever you try it's about trying, and if it doesn't work for either of you, there are plenty more things that will.

6. Try to be clear

As awkward as it might be, it's better to be direct so your partner knows what you need instead of issuing half-hearted, ambiguous suggestions. If in doubt, show them. Guide their hands if you can, or give them a show. If you thought it was hot watching your partner play with herself, consider just how much watching you return the pleasure will turn her on, too.

7. Respect and establish boundaries

You're not going to agree on everything, so be ready. Accept that a hard no is a hard no, a maybe is for later, and that your partner is your partner and not a designated plaything (unless that's their kink, of course).

Respect boundaries at all times, during sex, and in your conversations. If it leads to serious issues, then a sex therapist can help you explore your options and issues on neutral grounds. Respect should be a primary function for every couple, so remember to keep that at the forefront of all your discussions.

8. Make sure to mention what your partner does right

A boost in confidence will open you both up to new things, and the easiest way is to let your partner know they're amazing. Show them what you like and express just how much you're enjoying it. Make each new move a positive one, using "Yes! Yes! Now do it faster/harder/tighter..." instead of pointing out what isn't working.

9. Try to make your partner understand your 'whys'

It's essential to keep things positive when telling your partner why you'd like to mix things up. Tell them it's not that you're bored; you're just curious; you heard it somewhere and thought it'd be fun (or incredibly hot) to try. Tell them you get so much out of sex together already you'd love to see just how much more sensual your sex life could be with a few new tricks or techniques in your sex play.

10. Do some research to make your points

There are vast resources of tools, games, and apps (or even coaching and sex therapy) for couples ready to explore their sex life. If it makes sense to you, then introducing your partner to your research will help them understand where you're coming from. Removing any worry or concerns they might feel will soon be replaced by all the feel-good fun that's up for grabs.

11. Don’t take a no personally

No two people are going to be on the same page all of the time. Getting used to taking a few kind knockbacks will help you move toward better communication.

Rejection is a tough pill to swallow, so tread carefully through your conversations, as both of you will feel fairly sensitive about what can often feel like criticism. As we said, focussing on the positives will help keep the mood and flow constructive and enthusiastic.

We've come to understand that desire for men and women flow differently, especially in long-term relationships.

As outlined by this study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour (Does Sexual Desire Fluctuate More Among Women than Men?), it shows that both sexes' sex drives can fluctuate over time, going up and down through various stages—in the short-term, affected by "various stressors and relationship-oriented states" and over the mid and long-term by life phases such as parenthood.

If she says she's tired, it's likely not an excuse but a good reason. You might have to make some effort outside the bedroom to move forward with your sex life. Relationship quality plays a huge part in your sex lives, so if you can help more around the house with the daily tasks and chores, allowing your partner to unburden some of her physical and mental obligations, she might have a little more energy and scope left to broaden your sexual-experience horizons.


If you practice communicating with your partner in other areas, it should help you talk more openly about your mutual sexual needs and how to explore what you both want in bed. If you follow our tips, it doesn't have to be a tricky conversation, just a healthy step towards becoming a closer couple and for both of you to get exactly what you want in bed.

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