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My Magazine > Editors Archive > Advice > How to Use Your Mouth (to Talk About Sex)
How to Use Your Mouth (to Talk About Sex)   by Tristan Taormino

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Tristan Taormino is the author of several sensationally sexy and informative books including Down and Dirty Sex Secrets, Pucker Up: A Hands-on Guide to Ecstatic Sex, and The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Tristan tours the country touting the wonders of anal sex and the overall goodness of sex in all its frisky forms. News flash: This month, Tristan celebrates the release of Tristan Taormino's House of Ass, with a DVD party in New York City featuring the DVD's punk-wild star child Joanna Angel (check out Joanna's site, too For details, visit Tristan's official website,

I got an interesting letter the other day from a guy named Scott, and it echoed similar questions that I get asked a lot:

I would like to thank you for all you have done to encourage people, both men and women, to explore their fantasies. I appreciate it, but I have one thing to point out: your words sound great but you are obviously talking to a certain category of people, those who are open minded and willing to try to enhance their sex lives. What about the people who are not sexually open? Most people, especially women, were raised in a conservative environment. I can assure you that they are ready to discuss or practice anything but anal sex. When I have brought it up in the past, some women have responded with: “How dare you ask me to do that?” Or: “Do you think I am hooker to do such a thing?” Or simply: “Yuk.” I even know girls who’ll drink my pee but won’t do anal. I generally just don’t bring it up since I pretty much know what the answer will be. But if I do want to bring up the subject, how would I do it?

His letter got me thinking about how to ask a partner not only about anal sex, but about trying anything new or out of the ordinary. Of course I realize that not everyone is sexually open and adventurous. While what’s perverse to one person is totally acceptable to the next person, there are still stigmas associated with things that people perceive as “not normal” or taboo or kinky. You can’t make another person open-minded, but one element at the heart of Scott’s dilemma is the issue of communication. People are often afraid to tackle a sexual subject with their partner, and that fear really holds them back from getting what they want. Like Scott, one guy told me, “Oh, my wife is so traditional, she’ll never go for that.” But I challenged him to check his assumptions; sometimes, when we assume we know how the other person will react, we’re actually projecting our own insecurities onto our partners.

Every couple communicates differently, and your particular communication style carries over to how you talk about sex. If you share things openly and directly, you probably don’t have as much trouble discussing new things. I think many more couples don’t feel comfortable saying to one another, “Hey, I want to do this with you.” I advise those folks to take a more indirect route, and bring up a topic like, “I read some article about spanking. What do you think about that?” Hopefully, it feels less threatening and leaves the topic open for discussion in a general way.

If your partner shuts down the subject right away, there may be a few different things behind their dismissal. Realize that lots of people refuse to even consider something sexual based on myths and misinformation about it. (This is very true of anal play which has many myths associated with it.) I know a woman who wouldn’t use a plug-in vibrator because she heard she could get electrocuted. You can laugh, but she really believed it. Others may have lingering shame and guilt about their own desires. My friend Rena wanted her boyfriend to pull her hair and be rough with her once in a while, but she didn’t know how to tell him. “I don’t want him to think I want to be his sex slave or something,” she told me, which expressed her fear about how he might judge her and her ambivalence about her submissive fantasies.

I don’t want anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. But if you are in a relationship, I think it’s important to challenge one another, especially when one person won’t even consider something. It’s totally valid to ask your partner, “How come you are so adamant that you will never ever try (fill in the blank)?” The answer to the question may reveal a negative past experience, a stereotype that’s not true, or a deeper issue at the root of everything. If you approach the situation with love, respect, and trust, it can be an opportunity to get to know each other better and take your sex life to the next level.

Jen and Jake, a married couple, came to me for help working on anal sex–a sexual issue they couldn’t agree on. Jen had only had one anal sex experience, and it was a negative one. An ex-boyfriend stuck his dick in her ass without lube or warm up and it hurt like hell; that was the first and last time she explored it. When Jake suggested they try it, she was understandably reluctant. What we found out together was that it was important for Jake to verbally re-assure Jen that the experience would be a positive, pleasurable one. He told her that she would be the one calling the shots, that he would go slowly and stop if it hurt. For weeks, Jake worked up to one finger inside her butt while he licked her pussy. Not only did it feel good to Jen, but she could come that way. Then, he added another finger, then a small butt plug, always with plenty of lube, warm up, and patience. Eventually, Jen was ready for his cock, and when they did it, she was excited but also relaxed because she trusted Jake. They reported six months later that anal sex is now a regular part of their repertoire.

It can be scary to reveal parts of ourselves, especially sexual parts, to our partners. It’s difficult to put our desires and fantasies out there, it makes us feel naked and vulnerable; however, we need to if we are going to really achieve intimacy in our relationships. Without risk, there can be no reward. You’ve got to agree that Jake and Jen adding a new element to their sex life is a great reward.

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