How to ask someone if they want to have sex

  • Published: May 8, 2016

If you ask someone to have sex with you, it’s important to be very clear!

That means you need to have a specific idea of what you’re interested in. Since it can be a tough conversation, it helps to choose a place that feels safe for everyone. Then you can ask in a way that doesn’t put pressure on someone. It helps to be ready for any answer they might give!

Before asking the other person

Figuring out what kinds of sex you want to have and what relationship you’d prefer can help you ask for them clearly! You can ask yourself:

  • Is it important for you to have a romantic relationship with someone before you have sex with them?
  • Would you prefer casual sex with no strings attached, or something more long-term?
  • What types of sex would you enjoy? What kinds are you not comfortable with?
    • There are many kinds of sex, and it helps to know how you feel about each one.
    • You can even go through a list of different kinds of sex and boundaries.
  • Do you know the risks for the kinds of sex you want, and how to lower them? Are you comfortable with these risks?

Asking these and other questions can help you figure out what you want and make it easier to talk to a partner about it!

Finding a quiet, comfortable place

When you’re ready to ask the person you’re interested in, it can help to choose a place where you both feel comfortable and safe.

Many people feel the safest in places where they can leave easily, like a park or coffee place. Some people also like quiet places where people won’t overhear.

Being clear when you ask someone to have sex

If you’re clear about what you want, the person you’re interested in can make an informed decision about whether they want the same thing.

Some people prefer talking about what they’re interested in doing instead of what they’d like from someone. This can help the other person not feel pressured.

If you ask someone to have sex, they might need time to think about it. It’s important to give them that time. This way, if they say yes, you can be more sure that they chose what’s right for them!

What the other person might say

Your potential partner might want the kind of sex you do, not want that, or be open to talking about it. Ultimately, it’s their choice, and it’s important to respect that. If they say no, it’s important to respect that. Bringing it up again might feel unsafe for them, so it’s best to leave it there and not ask again.

A potential partner might suggest other kinds of sex that they’re interested in. They might only want what you’re into in certain cases, like if you make it safer. You can decide if you’re interested in what they are! You can also say no if you’re not. Remember that they need to respect your choices too!

What if they say no?

Some people can feel awkward if someone isn’t interested. It’s important not to make someone feel bad or ashamed for their choice. If the person you’ve asked says no, there are many other ways to explore the kinds of sex you want. You can try masturbating, trying new sex toys, or fantasizing. You can also try to find a different partner who wants the same kinds of sex you do!

It can be hard when someone you’re interested in doesn’t feel the same way. But there are many other ways of enjoying yourself!

Need to up your sexting game? We teamed up with the sex ed website O.School for tips to help you nail it.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Whether you’re single and trying to mingle, dating multiple people, or in a committed relationship, knowing how to sext can be a huge game-changer. It’s a great way to build anticipation in the lead-up to a hookup, not to mention keep the spark alive if you’ve been with the same partner for a long time. During COVID, sexting is especially beneficial, since you’re not able to (or really shouldn’t) meet up with new folks for casual sexual encounters.

Sexting is a delicate balancing act—one that requires the sexter to navigate the grey area between sexy and weird. Should I call my penis a “dick,” or is that too porn-y? Is role play on the table, or nah? What if I’m being catfished? These questions are understandable: the last thing you want to get in response to an earnest attempt at a dirty text is a “LOL, WTF?”

That said, if you adhere to proper sexting etiquette, sexting can pay off big time. According to a study published in the journal Computers In Intimate Behavior, half of those with committed partners reported that sexting had a positive outcome on their “sexual and emotional relationships.”

How to send a great sext

First and foremost, sexting should always be a two-way street because unsolicited dick pics are never sexy—and could be considered sexual harassment. (In fact, Texas has actually banned sending unsolicited dick pics; if you’re in Houston and you send a pic of your junk to someone who hasn’t asked for it and doesn’t want to see it, you can be hit with a $500 fine, according to Insider.)

So before you get your wang ready for its closeup, ask your partner if they’re comfortable with it. Keep the conversation light by asking, “Do you want to exchange photos?” or, “Have you ever sexted? Is that something you’re down to try?” If they are, be mindful of what they are and aren’t cool with. No pics, all texts? Great. Call yourself Sext-speare and get to writing.

Once you and your partner have decided it’s game on, you might be at a loss for what exactly to say to come across as cool and sexy, as opposed to creepy and awkward. Call it writer’s (cock) block. Just remember things your partner likes to do in bed. What are their turn-ons? What’s something they did in bed that turns you on just thinking about it?

If you don’t know what they want or where to start, ask: communication is key. You can keep the tone silly and playful and fun. Humor can help diminish awkwardness, especially at first.

Alright, with said, let’s get down to how to sext.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Start slowly.

Let’s say you and your partner decide you want to start sexting. You can’t go balls to the wall and send them a close-up of your hard-on. Not only is that far too aggressive, but you also need room to build. Sending a dick pic first is like starting a performance with the big finale—when you start with the finish, there’s nowhere else to go.

Kick things off by sexting cutesy phrases like “Couldn’t stop thinking about you last night ;)” or “I can’t wait until we get naked together again. ” This will also give your partner a heads up so that they can think to themselves: Okay, we’re actually doing this right now. Let me change gears.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Sext about what you want to do.

“Explaining exactly what you want to do to your partner, whether it’s inspired by erotica, porn, or a real-life past sexual experience, is a simplified way to ease into dirty talk without feeling awkward,” says Gigi Engle, ACS, Promescent brand advisor and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life.

So, after a few exchanges, you can say what you plan on doing with your partner when you finally get to meet up IRL. Do you want to eat them out until sunrise? Let them know. Do you want to bring out some sex toys and try something new? Sext it. This harkens back to classic dirty talk tips: First, say what you did; then, say what you’re doing; and finally, what you want to do. But really draw it out, create a full scene.

Write a sexy story.

If you really want to up your sexting game, you can write an entire sexy story and email it to your partner, Engle says. When they read that bad boy on their lunch break at work, they’ll (hopefully) get all hot and bothered and excited for the next time you’re together IRL. “Sometimes having a fuller narrative can keep the sexting flow going,” Engle says. Writing erotica is really helpful if you sense a lull in your sexting or feel like you’ve already said and sent everything you can. “Plus, you can try out different fantasies while pretending to be someone else; that can add a whole layer of eroticism.”

Send pics of sex toys and props.

If you have some sex toys you’d like to use with your partner, send a photo of them displayed on your bed. You can write something like, “I can’t wait to use this with you.”

Maybe you’ve been talking about some hot spanking you’d like to do together. Send them a pic of your leather crop with a message like, “For when you’ve been naughty.” If you bought some sexy underwear or a jockstrap, take a picture of just the underwear. (From there, it’ll be a smooth transition to you sending pics with you wearing it.)

Let’s talk a little more about sex toys:

Then, start sending non-naked pics.

If you and your partner have sexted back and forth for a while, and your partner has responded positively to each message, then it’s a good time to up the ante by sending some naughty pics. (Sometimes, there’s nowhere left to go with words alone!) But before you go ahead and send a pic, ask for permission. I’d text something like, “Can I show you something naughty?” Then, if I got the go-ahead, I’d send the pic.

Don’t start with a graphic, full-frontal dick pic. Perhaps take a photo in the mirror while you’re only wearing your underwear—or whatever you’re comfortable with! The point is to get your partner excited with anticipation, and you can do that at any stage of undress.

Finally—if you want to—send nudes.

Just like the previous step, you have to ask first. Get creative in the way you ask, otherwise, it’s not sexy. “Wanna see my dick?” isn’t cute. But do you know what is? “These undies are getting awfully tight. I think I may have to talk them off. Wanna see?”

You may have noticed I said “nudes” and not “dick pics.” Typically, a full-body nude is far more appealing than a zoomed-in, pic of your disembodied, veiny stump. (If you know your partner is into isolated dick pics, then go ahead and send them a pic of your junk.)

When done correctly, sexting isn’t just “hot” in and of itself—it builds anticipation. When you two finally get to meet in person, you’ll be all over one another—and the sex will be that much better.

You can instruct someone without inadvertently criticising them.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

We all know that great communication is the key to any healthy relationship and satisfying sex life – but it’s sometimes easier said than done, especially when it comes to sex-related matters. We all want to be open and celebrate what we enjoy sexually, but when we start to factor in our partner’s feelings, things get complicated.

Even if we have an honest relationship, bringing up other sex things we’d like to try can be difficult. We worry our partner will perceive our suggestions as criticism. In an ideal world, we’d be able to get across that we need certain things, but without making them feel vulnerable or judged. And it’s a difficult balance, because sex is such an exposing and intimate activity, it’s natural to feel sensitive.

“Women often have a problem saying what they want in bed for two reasons,” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein says. “Firstly they are often socialised to feel shy or inhibited around their sexuality. Women get very mixed messages in society about sex, but one of those messages is ‘if you are sexual and seek pleasure then you are a slut’. “It can also be difficult for them to figure out what they like in bed and tell their partner in a direct manner.”

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Talking about sex, especially if you’re not used to it, can feel like a minefield. But as long as you’re kind and thoughtful with your wording, there’s no reason discussing your sex life with your partner should be a problem. Both of you want to have an empowering, fulfilling sex life – so it’s time to open up the conversation. So here’s how to assert your sexuality and ask for what you want, without hurting your partner’s feelings.

1. Remember sex is meant to feel good for you, too

Firstly, remember that your sex life is not just about pleasing your partner – it’s also about pleasing yourself. Aimee says this is the other big dilemma for women and people with vulvas.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

“The other challenge is that in heterosexual and male/female pairings, women can tend to be deferential to men and a bit passive,” she says. This is not our fault, FYI, but down to how we are socialised and our patriarchal culture. “But sex is supposed to be something you participate in that feels good to you. And only you know what that is.”

If you’re losing your nerve, remember that you deserve to feel great, and that your partner wants you to feel great too.

2. Choose your tone and setting

A huge part of how your partner is going to respond is down to how you talk to them about it. “The best way to tell your partner what you want in bed is to be direct, but also complimentary and kind,” Aimee explains.

You may want to avoid doing it right after sex, when they’ll probably be feeling particularly vulnerable. See if you can bring it up organically, rather than as a big announcement where they might feel under attack. Then be kind, but firm.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

3. Be clear

If you’re going to have the conversation, there’s no point in beating around the bush – and your partner will probably appreciate the clarity.

“You might feel comfortable saying straight out that you want them to touch you harder or softer,’ Aimee says. “Chances are they will welcome the guidance and be game.”

“When they do something great, tell them!”

You can even show them. As Reddit user ArielAlien says, “I think it helps to show them what you like. Either guide their hands or move their face how you want it. It could also help to show them yourself how you like to be fingered. And lots of positive reenforcement.”

Underslug357 agrees being clear and concise is really important. “Tell them to add (or subtract) a finger, tell them to curl or uncurl the tips of their fingers, guide the tempo (faster, slower, go deeper, stay right there, etc), and when they do something great, tell them! Likewise, when they don’t do something right, correct them gently. Say, ‘That’s a little uncomfortable,’ or ‘Maybe do the other thing instead.'”

But what if you’re with someone who is super sensitive to criticism of any kind? Raychelpotter says, “When I am with someone [like that] I find blunt descriptions work best such as, ‘Suck the clit as if it is my nipple’, ‘Lift your finger towards the ceiling while sliding it in and out slowly’, or ‘Don’t push down towards the floor, the G-spot is up towards the ceiling’.”

4. Make it part of your pre-sex build up

If the thought of talking about sex that frankly makes you blush, don’t worry, the more you do it the easier it gets. Once you get used to it, it’ll make conversations about sex so much more fulfilling and useful.

“Use sexting to subtly weave in what you want to try”

If in doubt, try experimenting with sexting, subtly weaving in the things you want to try, and the way you like to be touched. This can be a great way to get your point across and turn your partner on in the process.

Or you can do this in real life, too, like honestredditor69: “I’ll come up behind him when he’s in bed and start kissing his shoulder while telling him what I want him to do to me.”

5. Wrap it up in positives

“But if you worry that they’re going to be sensitive about it, you can also add input about the things they already do that you like,” Aimee says. “Tell your partner that you love the way they do X and Y, and that it would be great if they could also add Z.”

You can even try a compliment sandwich: start with something great, make a suggestion, then talk about something else you like. It’s a great way to have an open conversation about your sex life, rather than it just feeling like criticism.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

“Emphasise on the pleasurable and positive so they don’t get insecure or out of the mood,” adds Underslug357.

6. Ask them what they need

Another good route in, is to ask about what your partner might want or need in bed that they’re not already getting. By making suggestions and asking questions, it becomes a back-and-forth. And, if your partner is able to bring up what they’d like to try, your suggestions will feel less like a lack of satisfaction and more like a mutual appetite for exploration.

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Three questions all partners should be asking each other.

THE BASICS

  • The Fundamentals of Sex
  • Find a sex therapist near me

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

One of the most frequent questions I hear in my practice is, “I’m a considerate person, I am a good partner, and I take care of myself. So why doesn’t my partner want to have sex with me?”

When we are faced with sexual starvation in a relationship, we wrack our brains for a solution. We try to imagine what our partner might be thinking. Or we fall back on gender norms, like, “Women just have lower desire, right?” Or a man might muse, “My partner complains about not feeling sexy and becomes a victim of her body-image issues. But I think she is sexy, so why doesn’t she?” Or we imagine that perhaps stress is to blame: “After all, he/she has been really busy lately. But, then, so have I!”

But one critical reason sex stalls that is not often discussed is how sex starts—that is to say, sexual initiation.

Let’s begin by looking at why people initiate sex. Most people will say, “To have sex, of course!” But wait: For most people the goal is not only to get a partner to have sex, but also to get our partner to want to have sex, and at the same time as we do.

If you want your partner to want sex, you have to know what ignites their erotic flame. Your partner may be rejecting your advances not because they don’t want to have sex with you, but because they don’t want sex initiated at that particular time, or in that particular way.

I have asked thousands of men and women in long-term relationships to weigh in on their experiences with sexual initiation—how they like it, what turns them on, and whether they are satisfied with how sex is initiated in their current relationship. Two results stand out:

  1. Many people are unhappy with the way their partner initiates sex.
  2. Everyone is different when it comes to how they want sex to start.

Don’t assume: Research shows that many people have only some idea of what works for their partner (MacNeil & Byers, 2005), and others are just wrong about their partner’s interest in sex (Muise et al, 2016). For example, too often we assume that our partner is not interested when they actually are, or that they like to start sex in the same way as we do: “If I am turned on by kissing, then my partner must get hot with kissing, too.” This is a big mistake, and it reveals a secret obstacle to successful sexual initiation—namely, that if you don’t know what your partner prefers, you may be getting rejected unnecessarily.

It is not surprising that so many of us are in the dark about our partner’s initiation-preference. After all, for most people the topic of sex is difficult to bring up. But in long-term relationships, it is absolutely essential to do so if you want to have good sex.

One danger I see regularly is people relying on clichéd gender stereotypes to understand their partner. Venus and Mars-era advice taught us to treat all women the same—mostly with romance. But sex researchers and therapists have found that when it comes to sex, gender roles do not tell the whole story. For example, while some women reported being turned on by stereotypical “romance,” they were in the minority; many more got turned on by other things, such as being “pushed against a wall” in a fit of passion.

Men, too, have been stereotyped as being “visual and act-oriented” when, in fact, we found that many of them prefer an emotional connection, such as romance. (Meston & Buss, 2007)

So, how do you find out a partner’s initiation style? In studying the preferences for sexual initiation of tens of thousands of members of both sexes, we found three common places where couples get stuck. To make it easier to get started, we have identified three questions you can ask your partner to bypass common sticking points:

Ask: “Would you rather be…

  1. . asked (verbal) or touched (physical)?There is a clear distinction between talkers and touchers. Some people love to have clear, verbal invitations to sex; for them, talking is a form of foreplay. Others are turned off by the use of words; they would rather be turned on with a graze of their skin or a prolonged hug or kiss.
  2. … approached subtly or directly?Some people love to lay their cards on the table, with direct requests or suggestions that leave no room for misunderstanding: “Are you in the mood?” or “Get into bed now!” But others would find such directness startling, cold, or abrupt. Instead, they’ll talk about a preference for the seduction game, with subtle teasing or flirting that allows them to get them in the mood.
  3. … be surprised, or see it coming?One person may want to anticipate, think about, and/or plan for the event as their arousal evolves, while others find that their arousal erupts when they are surprised. These people will often talk about “spontaneity”: Do you want me to give you a “heads-up” that I am thinking about sex, or do you want to be surprised?

Ask your partner these questions and listen closely to the answers. Find out what really “lights up” him or her, and your invitation will be much more likely to be accepted. And don’t be worried if the two of you have differences in how you like to initiate sex. Those differences can add the spice we crave in long-term relationships. In the short term, we can offer you some solutions to this dilemma of differences:

  1. Get creative and find a way to eroticize your partner’s initiation style.
  2. Or, simply take turns.

Facebook image: pixs4u/Shutterstock

MacNeil, S., & Byers, E. S. (2005). Dyadic assessment of sexual self-disclosure and sexual satisfaction in heterosexual dating couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(2), 169-181.

Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of sexual behavior, 36(4), 477-507.

Muise, A., Stanton, S. C., Kim, J. J., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Not in the mood? Men under-(not over-) perceive their partner’s sexual desire in established intimate relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 110(5), 725.

Zebroff, P. (2019) Sexual Initiation Scale of Arousal Development and Reliability (and preliminary Validity). Unpublished Manuscript.

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Jessica Shepherd, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology. She practices at the University of Illinois at Chicago and appears regularly as an expert on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and more.

Ready to get hot and heavy with a new partner? Take a moment to stop and breathe. Before the clothes start flying for the first time, it’s a good idea to talk about sex.

Sex education doesn’t end in high school. Your own personal sex ed quiz is a useful tool when beginning any new sexual relationship. These questions can help both you and your new partner protect your physical health.

Have You Been Tested for STDs?

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

If you ask people if they’ve been tested for STDs, they’re likely to say yes. Many of them will be wrong. People often think that their doctor automatically tests them for diseases at their annual exam. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The vast majority of physicians do not screen their clients automatically for STDs (CDC guidelines don’t recommend such screening). You have to ask your doctor to do the tests.

Furthermore, you should specifically ask your own doctor about testing, at least for chlamydia and gonorrhea, before starting any new sexual relationships. Doctors are sometimes reluctant to test other STDs, such as syphilis or trichomoniasis, unless you have symptoms or know that you have been exposed. Still, it never hurts to ask for the tests you want.

As for talking to a potential partner, here’s an important hint. If someone says they have been tested for STDs, they should be able to tell you what diseases they’ve been tested for. If they can’t, they may be mistaken about having been tested. If they can’t recall, they can also call their doctor’s office and ask for their most recent testing results.

When Was Your Last HIV Test?

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

HIV is an STD. Still, both doctors and people on the street tend to think of HIV testing separately from STD testing. That may be because of the stigma associated with HIV. Still, HIV testing can be an important part of primary care.

Current guidelines from the CDC recommend that individuals be screened for HIV as part of their routine healthcare visits. If you have had any possible exposure to HIV through unprotected sex, sharing needles, or other exposure to bodily fluids, you should be tested. If you’re not sure if you could have been exposed, you should also be tested.

In general, routine HIV testing is a good idea. Most states will test you anonymously. Furthermore, free testing is available at numerous locations. If your partner says, “I’ve never been tested,” you might want to wait to sleep with them until their answer changes. In this day and age, when free, anonymous testing is easily available, there is no reason not to be tested regularly. Indeed, there is every reason to be. In general, a good rule of thumb is to do an HIV test annually or when changing partners.

Three questions all partners should be asking each other.

THE BASICS

  • The Fundamentals of Sex
  • Find a sex therapist near me

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

One of the most frequent questions I hear in my practice is, “I’m a considerate person, I am a good partner, and I take care of myself. So why doesn’t my partner want to have sex with me?”

When we are faced with sexual starvation in a relationship, we wrack our brains for a solution. We try to imagine what our partner might be thinking. Or we fall back on gender norms, like, “Women just have lower desire, right?” Or a man might muse, “My partner complains about not feeling sexy and becomes a victim of her body-image issues. But I think she is sexy, so why doesn’t she?” Or we imagine that perhaps stress is to blame: “After all, he/she has been really busy lately. But, then, so have I!”

But one critical reason sex stalls that is not often discussed is how sex starts—that is to say, sexual initiation.

Let’s begin by looking at why people initiate sex. Most people will say, “To have sex, of course!” But wait: For most people the goal is not only to get a partner to have sex, but also to get our partner to want to have sex, and at the same time as we do.

If you want your partner to want sex, you have to know what ignites their erotic flame. Your partner may be rejecting your advances not because they don’t want to have sex with you, but because they don’t want sex initiated at that particular time, or in that particular way.

I have asked thousands of men and women in long-term relationships to weigh in on their experiences with sexual initiation—how they like it, what turns them on, and whether they are satisfied with how sex is initiated in their current relationship. Two results stand out:

  1. Many people are unhappy with the way their partner initiates sex.
  2. Everyone is different when it comes to how they want sex to start.

Don’t assume: Research shows that many people have only some idea of what works for their partner (MacNeil & Byers, 2005), and others are just wrong about their partner’s interest in sex (Muise et al, 2016). For example, too often we assume that our partner is not interested when they actually are, or that they like to start sex in the same way as we do: “If I am turned on by kissing, then my partner must get hot with kissing, too.” This is a big mistake, and it reveals a secret obstacle to successful sexual initiation—namely, that if you don’t know what your partner prefers, you may be getting rejected unnecessarily.

It is not surprising that so many of us are in the dark about our partner’s initiation-preference. After all, for most people the topic of sex is difficult to bring up. But in long-term relationships, it is absolutely essential to do so if you want to have good sex.

One danger I see regularly is people relying on clichéd gender stereotypes to understand their partner. Venus and Mars-era advice taught us to treat all women the same—mostly with romance. But sex researchers and therapists have found that when it comes to sex, gender roles do not tell the whole story. For example, while some women reported being turned on by stereotypical “romance,” they were in the minority; many more got turned on by other things, such as being “pushed against a wall” in a fit of passion.

Men, too, have been stereotyped as being “visual and act-oriented” when, in fact, we found that many of them prefer an emotional connection, such as romance. (Meston & Buss, 2007)

So, how do you find out a partner’s initiation style? In studying the preferences for sexual initiation of tens of thousands of members of both sexes, we found three common places where couples get stuck. To make it easier to get started, we have identified three questions you can ask your partner to bypass common sticking points:

Ask: “Would you rather be…

  1. . asked (verbal) or touched (physical)?There is a clear distinction between talkers and touchers. Some people love to have clear, verbal invitations to sex; for them, talking is a form of foreplay. Others are turned off by the use of words; they would rather be turned on with a graze of their skin or a prolonged hug or kiss.
  2. … approached subtly or directly?Some people love to lay their cards on the table, with direct requests or suggestions that leave no room for misunderstanding: “Are you in the mood?” or “Get into bed now!” But others would find such directness startling, cold, or abrupt. Instead, they’ll talk about a preference for the seduction game, with subtle teasing or flirting that allows them to get them in the mood.
  3. … be surprised, or see it coming?One person may want to anticipate, think about, and/or plan for the event as their arousal evolves, while others find that their arousal erupts when they are surprised. These people will often talk about “spontaneity”: Do you want me to give you a “heads-up” that I am thinking about sex, or do you want to be surprised?

Ask your partner these questions and listen closely to the answers. Find out what really “lights up” him or her, and your invitation will be much more likely to be accepted. And don’t be worried if the two of you have differences in how you like to initiate sex. Those differences can add the spice we crave in long-term relationships. In the short term, we can offer you some solutions to this dilemma of differences:

  1. Get creative and find a way to eroticize your partner’s initiation style.
  2. Or, simply take turns.

Facebook image: pixs4u/Shutterstock

MacNeil, S., & Byers, E. S. (2005). Dyadic assessment of sexual self-disclosure and sexual satisfaction in heterosexual dating couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(2), 169-181.

Meston, C. M., & Buss, D. M. (2007). Why humans have sex. Archives of sexual behavior, 36(4), 477-507.

Muise, A., Stanton, S. C., Kim, J. J., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Not in the mood? Men under-(not over-) perceive their partner’s sexual desire in established intimate relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 110(5), 725.

Zebroff, P. (2019) Sexual Initiation Scale of Arousal Development and Reliability (and preliminary Validity). Unpublished Manuscript.

You’ll never know what they’re into unless you ask.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Whether you’ve been intimate for years or are just beginning the physical component of your budding relationship, it’s probably a good idea to learn what your partner likes sexually. It’s crucial to know their turn-ons, turn-offs, fantasies, and pleasure points. It won’t just make sex better for them, it’ll make sex better for you, too. I can’t be the only one who gets turned on seeing my partner moan ecstatically because they’re loving how I gently kiss their neck.

As every therapist has said since the dawn of mankind, communication is key. So go on and ask your partner some sex questions to get to know them better. Don’t ask questions like “How many guys have you had sex with?” That in no way affects you and can make your partner feel self-conscious or slut-shamed. You want to ask questions that help you better understand your partner’s arousal patterns, kinky thoughts, and mindset before, during, and after sex.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

Here’s a list of 52 sex questions to ask your partner to get to know what really turns them on in the bedroom.

(Note: Some of these questions are rather explicit. Be considerate when asking them. Don’t ever force of pressure your partner to respond to anything they don’t feel comfortable answering. Also, start with the tamer questions before asking the more graphic ones.)

2) Which parts of your body do you like to have kissed?

3) What’s your favorite part about having quickies?

5) Do you like being spanked?

6) Do you like spanking others?

7) Do you find yourself more dominant or submissive during sex?

8) Do you like role play?

9) Do you like calling guys “Daddy?”

10) What names do you like to be called during sex?

11) How much eye contact do you like to have during sex?

12) How long do you usually like to have sex for?

13) What’s something sexual you hesitated to try but ended up loving?

14) What’s something sexual you thought you’d love, but ending up not caring for?

15) What, if anything, do you like about having threesomes?

16) Do you like watching other people have sex?

17) Do you like being watched having sex?

18) What are your favorite sex positions?

20) Have you ever tried anal? Would you want to try?

21) Do you like anal play on a man?

22) Would you ever want to try pegging?

23) Do you like being choked during sex?

24) Do you like choking your partner during sex?

27) Which sex toys do you like to use during sex?

28) Do you like having sex in the shower?

29) How would you respond if a couple approached you to be their third?

31) Do you like giving blowjobs? What do you like about it?

32) What’s the craziest place you’ve ever had sex?

33) Would you want to have sex in public at a sex party?

34) What’s your go-to nude you send guys?

35) What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve sexted?

36) What’s an unconventional thing that turns you on?

37) Do you like incorporating food while having sex?

38) Have you ever had Facetime sex?

39) Do you usually like having rough or gentle sex?

41) Do you like sex with the lights on or off?

42) Do you like getting your hair pulled during sex?

43) Do you like getting erotic massages?

44) Do you like being tied up or tying up your partner?

45) Have you ever tried sensory deprivation using a blindfold or earplugs?

46) For how long do you like cuddling after sex?

47) Where do you like penis-owning partners to ejaculate?

48) Would you ever want to have a threesome with someone of the same gender?

49) Do you like wearing lingerie during sex?

50) Do you like it when men wear jockstraps?

51) What makes sex amazing for you?

52) How can I make your biggest sexual fantasy come true?

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

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Casual sex with friends can work. The trick is simple, really: Just don’t get emotionally involved.

“I’ve interviewed many adults through the years who had friends-with-benefits arrangements that worked well for them when they were single and looking for fun and connection,” says Andrea Syrtash, Relationship Expert and Co-Author of It’s Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date. “The issue obviously pops up when someone in the friendship secretly (or not so secretly) wants more.”

Ultimately, casual sex isn’t all that casual, and there are a lot of factors we should consider before hitting the sheets with a friend. Here are some top tips from sex experts.

Sure, sex can ‘just happen’ but make sure you are on the same page.
“[Sometimes] sex just happens. If it keeps happening, and one person may develop feelings, that’s when things can get awkward. Be clear and communicate the difference between friends with benefits, and what behaviors cross over to dating territory,” says Marissa Nelson, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist / Sex Therapist, Founder and CEO of IntimacyMoon Couples Retreats.

Set rules.
Set and agree to ground rules. “As an example, I suggest that both parties agree that neither will ask about nor tell the other about additional friends,” says relationship couch Jess Brighton.

Take responsibility for yourself.
“Before you sign up for a friends with benefits arrangement, be honest with yourself about your true intentions and boundaries,” says Dr. Jess, Astroglide’s resident sexologist. Ask yourself some serious questions: 1. How would you feel if you saw your FWB buddy out with another partner? If you can’t handle the fact that you’re not exclusive, say so from the beginning. 2. How will you approach the dissolution of your FWB arrangement? Eventually, one or both of you will want to move on; how will you feel about this when the time arises?

Never lie.
Even if it’s to accommodate your partner’s feelings. “If something makes you uncomfortable, speak up. If you change your mind about the arrangement, say so sooner rather than later,” says Dr. Jess.

How to ask someone if they want to have sex

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Re-evaluate when necessary.
There is nothing wrong with making and updating rules (e.g., no multiday sleepovers; no hard feelings if you cancel at last minute), but each situation is unique, so you need to discuss them on an ongoing basis.

When someone gets emotionally involved …
If anyone gets emotionally involved, the rules have changed and need to be evaluated again. As soon as emotions enter the equation, all bets are off. “My advice to anyone wrapped up in this practice is, if you are having sex with a friend and all you want is sex and friendship, if you ever decide you want more, sex needs to stop. Otherwise, you will lose your friend, if not permanently, definitely, temporarily,” says Dr. Elaine Stevens, CRS, Board Certified Relationship Specialist.

There also has to be transparency and accountability to the friendship.
“This is not someone on Tinder who if your not feeling them anymore you can just swipe left or ghost them. People can get themselves in trouble by not remembering that they are friends first, so there is a certain respect and consideration that goes with it,” says Nelson. Remember, this is supposed to feel good, be fun and pleasurable. “Fantasize together, role play, use toys and all the sticky, fun stuff — and know that you’re safe to indulge your sexual desires because you’re doing it with a friend you trust,” says Nelson.

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