IDEAS FOR CONVERSATION
Good communication is essential for good sex.
But that’s easier said than done!
Many people find it hard to talk about sex. We may feel embarrassed talking explicitly. We may have shame around sexual issues inherited from our parents, or through our religious upbringing, or from the puritanical roots of our culture.
Talking about sex can be fraught with all sorts of baggage and long-simmering issues and almost everyone has some kind of hangup or things they can get defensive about, and that can turn conversations into a minefield, or at the very least, awkward.
Well, sex is awkward! It's not the dreamy romantic perfection of sex in movies... and it certainly ain't like it is in porn.
Maybe you have some things you want to say, but you can’t get up the nerve to broach the subject. But often once the conversation gets going, you might find your partner really appreciates it and it turns out to be a great, intimate moment. What you need is a conversation ice-breaker. Here it is.
The GSP is a tool to make those conversations a little bit easier and a lot more fun. With the brightly colored squares, like toys of childhood, sex is set in the context of play. The play has purpose: to make sexual topics deliberately non-erotic, helping you approach sex with your defenses down and your intellect turned on.
The Graphic Sex Project taps into creativity, logic, and playfulness, to open up new avenues in the self-exploration of sexual issues and relationships, encouraging people to think about their sex lives from a new perspective and giving them the tools to share that perspective with a partner.
Making the graphs gives you and your partner a fun, active, positive way to talk about sex with a bit of distance from the actual “doing” of it.
Opening up sexual conversations is the goal! Use your graph to start a sexy conversation and share your insights. It’s a way to make a time and place to have a good heart to heart talk about sex, and it creates its own visual aids to help out the discussion!
We hope your experience with the Graphic Sex Project is fun, as well as an illuminating process of discovery about your sexual story.
So make a graph! Then come back to Talk Tips for more ideas and get started communicating better about sex.
OK, GOT YOUR GRAPH?
Pick your time and place to talk about sex: everyone should be relaxed and no time pressure or places to be. Pick a time when you are both feeling good, not hot on the heels of any conflicts, and not a sexual time.
Maybe over a dinner on a night out? Bring up your experience with Graphic Sex Project. Did you send them your graph? It may have landed in their spam folder. Tell them about the site and what you thought about it. Or text them a link to the gallery, and suggest a time to look though it together. That is sure to spark some conversations!
As you are looking through the gallery, talk about specific graphs. Which graphs by other people look good to you? Which ones does your partner like? Do you see other activities in other people’s graphs that look intriguing? Are there graphs that turn you off? Or turn you on? Which ones make you laugh? (some of them are funny!)
SHARE YOUR GRAPHS
Maybe your partner is ready to make their own graph now that they’ve had some inspiration. Give them time to do that. Or maybe the two of you just want to look at the graph you made. That’s fine too!
When you look at their graph, be curious. Try saying “tell me more about that,” instead of “why do you…?” or anything that might be interpreted as judgmental. Try to remember you are both just trying to hear each other - you don't have to make any guarantees of future activities!
If either is interested in an activity that the other isn’t interested in, that’s ok - for now just hear it and acknowledge their desires as valid.
Reflecting is a conversational tool that's worth learning - not just for this conversation, but lots of them! It means taking turns just listening to each other and "reflecting" back what the other person said.
It can feel awkward at first - you don't ask questions, you don't say how you feel, you don't comment - you simply repeat back what they just said and ask if you got it right, then let them continue. You take turns, giving each person a few minutes to hold the floor. For more information about this powerful conversation technique, check out this, or for more depth, this.
One good way to use this reflecting technique with your graphs is to take turns describing each other’s graph — what activities happen and in what order and proportions? You describe your partner’s graph, and your partner describes yours.
When you are describing your partner's graph, you are reflecting back to them what they have said with their graph. You aren’t commenting or judging - you are just repeating and describing what you see in the graph and asking if you are getting it right.
Then they do yours, reflecting your graph back to you. It’s an easy way to get the conversation rolling, and it will help you both feel like the other has really seen their graph and heard what is being said.
NEXT: Some questions to discuss
How are the graphs the same? How are the graphs different? What is in your partner’s graph that you also like?
Now here’s a harder one: What is in your partner’s graph that you don’t like as much? Talk about what works for you and what doesn’t, and try not to get defensive!
Everyone has different preferences. Again, try to use reflecting to keep the conversation productive. Reflect back to your partner what they just said.
For instance say "what I hear is ......" then whatever they just said. It really works! It gives you a moment to absorb before reacting, and you double-check that you heard right what your partner said. Your partner feels heard. Ask your partner to do the same.
Here are some more topics. Choose whichever ones appeal to you!
Do you use different words for similar activities? For some people, one word can be a turn-off and another word a turn-on… for the same activity! It’s good to be aware of each other’s word preferences.
Order is another important sexual preference. Are there some things that happen in the same order in your two graphs, and some things that happen in a different order? Sometimes a person might not like something at the beginning of a sexual encounter, and really, really like it later.
And how about the order of climaxes? Where do they happen? How does the order of climaxes change things? It can be revealing to talk about whether you like to be the last to climax or the first. Why do you have that preference?
Are there things you both have in your graphs, but in different proportions? Are there things you would like to spend more time on? Less?
Are there activities that either of you would like to add to your graph? Oral? Sex toys? Restraint? Sensual massage? Anal play? New positions? Sexy words? How about a little flogging? Browse the Gallery for ideas.
Make a new graph together
Return to the make-a-graph page and make a new graph together! Make it a collaborative effort - just like sex! Move things around and play with the order and proportions. Talk about how that can change things. You might come up with a mutually agreed-upon proposal that you can’t wait to try out!
If you have fun with this - you might want to order Magnetic Graphic Sex in our online shop. Make a graph and keep it by the bed for easy reference!