How To Find Out What Your Partner Is Into In Bed
by Emma McGowan
Ashley Batz for Bustle

While figuring out what a lover is into can be extremely fun, it can also be really frustrating, awkward, and damn near impossible. If your partner isn’t really comfortable talking about sex or is just shy in general, it may be hard to get them to open up about what they like in bed. Personally, I tend to be super direct about it and just ask but I can tell you that, more than once, the response has been something like “I like seeing you turned on” or “Whatever you like!” Well, OK, that’s awesome that you’re a generous lover but… What else? What do you like?

Other than the direct approach, I’ve also found that a good way to get people to open up about sex is by talking about what you like. It not only lets them know what will turn you on, but also opens up the conversation for them to feel more comfortable talking about what they’re into. It can be a little nerve-wracking to put your needs out there, but I’m here from the future to tell you that it is so worth it.

But those are just two ways to find out what your sex partner likes in bed. For these seven more, I pulled in the big shots: sex therapist Stefani Threadgill, certified love and relationship coach Nikki Leigh, and psychosexual and relationship therapist and co-founder of the couple’s intimacy app Pillow Play Kate Moyle. Bonus: A lot of these are not only great for finding out what your partner is into but also letting them know what you love as well.

1. Do “Yes-No-Maybe” Together

“I do an exercise in-session called Yes-No-Maybe,” Threadgill tells Bustle. “It is an extensive list of sexual experiences and each person in the couple communicates whether they would yes, no, or say maybe to the experience. We compare the lists, process the no’s, and negotiate the discrepancies.”

2. Be Straight Up About It

“The best way to approach new things in your sex life or with your partner is communication,” Moyle tells Bustle. “Whether it is trying a new position, introducing a sex toy or trying to ask your partner what they are into — be open about it, don't try and hide it in a conversation about something else.”

3. Be Conscious About Where You’re Having The Conversation

“Its tough to open up this conversation even for people who are extroverts,” Leigh tells Bustle. “One way to make this easier is to have any conversation in a neutral setting, never start the conversation in bed or in the heat of the moment. In private moments with your partner take the opportunity to get their attention and tell them you'd like to try something new. Or that you heard about something that might be interesting.”

4. Pay Attention To Moans And Non-Verbal Communication

“A moan in the right places can communicate pleasure,” Threadgill says. “Many couples report feeling intimidated about communicating what pleases them because they are unsure what to say. Moans and nonverbal communication, such as tightening your grip while clasping hands or squeezing your inner thighs as they are wrapped around your partner, can communicate what you might not know quite how to say.”

5. Lead With A Compliment

“It is also helpful to lead with a positive or compliment,” Moyle says. “Talk about how much you enjoy something you already do in your sex life, then suggest something you might like to try, and ask your partner to offer something that they are interested in too.”

6. Try A Sexual Coupon Book

“You can create a gift certificate or a coupon book they can redeem,” Leigh says. “These can be handwritten or created on the computer and you can make them simple or fancy. Maybe add multiple choice options and add a couple of activities you know they enjoy and add in a couple of new things you'd like to try. This will get them thinking and you won't have to say the words.”

7. Ask Them About The Films And Books They’re Into

“Discussing films and books can be a less intimidating way to communicate what you are into,” Threadgill says. “That scene in Fifty Shades? The Notebook? Commenting on a favorite scene can be less intimidating to those who are shy in expressing their pleasures.”

So many of us approach sex like it’s something that will magically work out just by doing it, but the truth is that really good sex requires a bit more than that. Hopefully these seven expert tips will help set you up for great sex from here on out!