Even if you're a confident, sexually active person, talking about sex can still be a very uncomfortable thing. It's not all moaning and dirty talk: There are also some things you shouldn't say in bed. Because sex is so intimate, it's natural to feel vulnerable, which can make it hard to properly communicate what you want and need in bed.
Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, says that the key to a healthy sex life is being able to communicate, verbally or nonverbally, what you need, want, and desire. If you're aiming for orgasms, the only way to get what you need from your partner is to express that to them — you can't just stay silent and hope that things will get better on their own.
"Many people learn about sexuality at a young age through verbal and nonverbal messages," Levine tells Bustle. "They replay [these messages] in their head through adulthood, coupled with experiences that didn't go well as they learned about sex through trial and error. Ultimately, both of these can sabotage their sex lives."
When you're communicating, it's important to be direct, honest, and open-minded, but also to remember that there are some things you just shouldn't say. Here are five phrases to avoid saying before, during, or after sex, because ultimately, they'll do more harm than good.
1. "Don't Worry About Me."
If you have a hard time reaching orgasm, it can be easy to put your own needs on the back burner so as not to "burden" your partner, but pretending your own sexual pleasure doesn't matter is only going to hurt you in the long run. In a healthy relationship (or even a hookup), both partners should be on even footing, each striving to satisfy the other.
If you act like it's OK for your arousal to take a backseat, it's only sending the message that it's fine if your partner is selfish, which can quickly spiral into a pattern where your partner always gets off, and you never do. Instead, Levine suggests showing your partner what you like, or sharing things that you love that they do, rather than focusing on what they're doing wrong.
2. "I Feel Ugly."
While it's not always easy to radiate confidence (and some days you honestly just feel meh), the bedroom is not a place to voice your insecurities. Trust that your partner is attracted to you — otherwise, why would they be in bed with you in the first place? Levine says that deciding to close up shop for a night because of how you're feeling about your body image is a subtle way of self-sabotaging, and only puts a band-aid on more serious issues. Of course, you're not obligated to have sex if you're really not feeling up to it. But negative body image can have a serious impact on your sex life, and it's best to get to the root of these insecurities rather than getting in the habit of putting yourself down during sex.
3. "That Sounds Stupid."
Another difficult thing to approach is discussing kinks, fetishes, and fantasies with your partner. As uncomfortable as it might seem — especially with a new partner — it's vital that you're both honest and open when delving into the subject. A big no-no? Immediately dismissing your partner's desires without consideration, or demeaning them, saying something like "That's gross" or "That's dumb." As with all things in relationships, good communication goes a long way. If you're unsure where to begin, there are sites like Mojo Upgrade (an interactive sex questionnaire) and apps like PlsPlsMe that can help you talk about your turn-ons with minimal embarrassment.
4. "It's Fine, You'll Learn."
Even if you're trying to make your partner feel better during a weird moment in bed, saying something that would make someone self-conscious about their inexperience is likely to induce performance anxiety, Levine says. If you're with a partner who technically has less experience than you (whether it's about a certain act or sex in general), they're likely already worried about that and don't want it to be brought up. Instead of giving them a verbal pat on the head to "console" them, try looking forward to the future, saying, "Next time, we should try doing [whatever you want]." Being willing to continue learning and growing in your sexuality together on a level playing field will make your partner feel much more comfortable in the long run, and put him or her at ease.
5. "You're The Best I've Ever Had."
Sorry, Drake. Sure, this might make your partner feel great about him- or herself, but even if this is true, it sets the precedent that there is no room for improvement. It's always nice to compliment your partner and tell them what things they do during sex that you love, but a healthy sex life is always evolving, and you should both be open to trying new things. Plus, it's not healthy to make your partner feel like you're comparing him or her to your past partners. Leave the past in the past, and focus on the sex life the two of you have together.
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