Talk Tips

Communication is the Number 1 Key to Good Sex

Want better sex? Talk about it with your partner and say what you want! But HOW do you get that conversation started? Talking about sex can be very awkward. Well, sex is awkward! Maybe you have some things you want to say, but you can’t get up the nerves to broach the subject. Maybe you are embarrassed, or worried your partner will get defensive. But many people find that once the conversation gets going, their 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.

First, make your own graph. 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. It’s a unique way of making the sexual — not-sexual, so it’s easier to talk about sex without embarrassment, defensiveness, or shyness, or whatever else gets in the way of good, honest, open sexual conversations. Share your graph with a partner, then try out the suggestions for talking below.

The Stories We Tell

Each graph tells a story – but we all have many sexual stories, many ways that sex plays out with different partners, or even with the same partner. People tend to have “typical” ways that sex happens – what do you do first… for how long… then what happens? Maybe you have several typical stories. Some of these stories you might like better than others! On the Make a Graph page, you have a way to name your story – is this a story about what you like? What you wish would happen more? You might even find that making a graph about a bad sexual experience could help give you the distance to get a healing perspective. Make multiple graphs to gain insight into all your sexual stories.

Think about sex differently!

Sexy BrainWhen you make a graph, you use a different part of your brain to think about sex than you usually do. In a science-y way: it takes thinking about sex out of the deep brain and into the neocortex, giving logic and language a crack at sorting out a complex emotional topic. (Yes, this is a total over-simplification. Sex happens all over your brain!) When making a graph, you have to think back to a sexual episode and sort it out. What actually happened? You draw boundaries between activities that usually feel seamless, create names and shapes for activities, define them. It requires thinking logically about time and proportion. It requires spatial and aesthetic judgement in the layout of the squares. It is a visual and tactile exploration of desire, but with the distance of logic. You might realize some things about your sex life that hadn’t occurred to you before.


Sexy Talk

Making a graph can give you and a sex partner or friend 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 graphs to start a sexy conversation and share your insights. It’s a way to make a time and place to have in 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 a fun, and illuminating process of discovery about your sexual story. Because better communication makes for better sex.


Ideas for Conversation

Here are some ideas for talking… it helps if both you and a sexual partner or friend each make a graph and then share them!

Start by taking 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. It’s an easy way to get the conversation rolling, and it will help you both feel seen and heard.

Then 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. One great trick for good conversations about hard topics is to reflect back to your partner what 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.

Here are some more topics. Choose whichever ones appeal to you!

TIME: Have you ever thought about how the length of time you like to have sex is a sexual preference? Do the two of you have different time preferences? How does the length of time affect the sex? Doing the exact same things, same order and proportions, could take 10 minutes — or hours! Do the two of you favor one person’s time preference? Why is that?

WORDS: 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: 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?

PROPORTIONS: 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?

ACTIVITIES: 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. Return to make-a-graph page and make a new graph together!