how to make sex and relationships chats easier BISH

How to make sex and relationships chats easier

I’ve had nearly 25 years experience of making it easier to chat about sex and relationships, here are some of my top tips.

The biggest part of my job is making it as easy as possible for people to talk to each other. You know what, I’m very good at that! Lately I’ve been asking the groups I’ve worked with what makes their chats easier, and I’ve learnt a lot from them too. Also I do coaching sessions for couples, so I’ve learnt a lot about how to make talking about difficult things easier. So, here are my top tips for how to make chats about sex and relationships just that little bit easier.

How can I make this easier?

One of the words I use to describe what I do is facilitation. That’s a very useful word because it comes from the Latin ‘facil’ which means ‘easy’. So facilitation, bringing people together for a chat, is really about how we make things easier. Make that your first aim, making it as easy as possible to chat. If you make a conversation easier, it’s more likely to happen, that means it will be more useful. Lots of my tips below are about just this. It’s about paying attention to the process (how you will chat) as much as the content (what you will chat about).

Here’s a board of ideas that one of my groups of 16 year olds came up with recently.

Background music

One thing I’ve found really helpful when I’m facilitating (with young people and adults) is some background music. This is useful because it gives a bit of privacy and allows people to say things without the risk of being overheard. A lot of you probably don’t get a lot of private time to have conversations (just like with sex). So a bit of music on in the background might be useful (just like with sex).

For music, pick something that isn’t going to intrude on your conversations and one which is going to keep you calm without it being boring. Avoiding stress is super important in conversations so pick something which is going to help you breathe, hear each other, and pay attention. I’m listening to this hour long track by The Necks as I write this which might work well. A long jam like that might be good, but you do you.

how to make sex and relationships chats easier it's all about vibes

You may find it useful to have some kind of music on in the background even if you’re alone. It’s like having someone else there with you. This might remind you that your relationship is in relation to the outside world, and that it’s actually not just about you. It might also help to soften the sound of the words as they come out of your mouths too.

How you sit / stand / walk

When I used to work in sexual health clinics (when we could afford to have sex educators working in clinics) I paid a lot of attention to where I put the chairs. I wouldn’t have the other person’s chair right in front of me, but to the side. If you sit ‘on the wonk’ like that then you can give eye contact if you want to, without feeling pressure. It’s probably also easier to hear each other that way.

how to make sex and relationships chats easier try outting the chairs on the wonk

You could also go for a walk and a chat. This keeps it light because you could just distract each other with things you see, take breaks, get an ice cream, or just leave. Don’t just run away though, unless you are genuinely feeling unsafe.

Have something to fidget with

If conversations feel awkward, or difficult, we might get fidgety. Having something that we can touch, or play with, can be really useful. So get some playdough, or a fidget toy, or lego or anything that might feel nice to touch. Maybe jenga would be too loud and disruptive, so soft things might be the way to go. Pen and paper is really helpful, because then you can make notes or write on a resource. Anything which is going to make your conversation easier is the way to go.

Be comfy and relaxed

Get your bodies as comfortable and relaxed as possible. If you’re sitting, choose a comfy chair, and feel yourself sink into it. Are you wearing comfy clothes? Is there a hoodie you really like to wear? Favourite trainers? What’s the smell of your favourite comfies, notice how you respond to that. Whatever you can do to get just 5% more comfy will help make the conversation easier.

Take a long breath out and feel your body just getting a bit heavier. See if you can slow your breathing down as much as possible before you start speaking. Notice what you can see around you, what you can hear, smell and feel. Breathe out again, and repeat the above. With each breath, just notice what feels easier.

Keep it fun

Hey it’s just a chat. The tips I’ll give below will help to keep it easier. Of course, some conversations are hard and not fun: like break ups, or making someone accountable. But conversations about having the kind of sex you might want, or how you are going to organise your time and energy in a relationship can be fun. In fact it can feel like a celebration.

Pick your own topics

This is something that most groups I work with find really helpful, picking your own topics. If you feel like you have to talk about something it will stress you out and you won’t be at your best. It could be that you don’t want to talk about a particular topic, but do want to talk about something else. Or you might want to talk about it, but not now, maybe you need a bit of time to think and find the right words. 

So this is about bringing more consent into conversations: the freedom to choose to agree. That means learning how to ask in ways that people can choose what they want, rather than saying no to something (or not even being given the option to say no). 

Read this about how to ask.

Problem to solution

It’s useful to chat about what the problems might be to begin with. If you’re not on the same page about what the issues are then you might waste your time and energy trying to fix the wrong thing. But when you have agreed what the problem is, it’s really important to quickly switch to talking about the solution. There’s a danger of making the problem ‘the thing about your relationship’ if you don’t. 

To do that you should ask the question ‘what difference would it make if [the problem was resolved]’. So let’s say that you’re not really enjoying sex very much. Ask, ‘what difference would it make if we could enjoy sex more’? You might answer, we’d have more fun, I’d feel sexier, we’d want to have sex more, it would be great for our relationship. When you work towards something you want it feels like you are working on something together.

Team work

Like I was saying the other day about how to impress someone, imagine that in your conversation you are playing table tennis. The best kind of tennis. But instead of keeping score, and trying to beat each other, you are applauding each other’s shots, and really enjoying the back and forth. You aren’t playing each other at table tennis, but playing together to see how much joy you can get out of it. 

how to make sex and relationships chats easier make it fun

So phrases like ‘yes that’s a good idea’ or ‘yes and we could try ….’ and ‘that’s good, what else?’ are your friend here. As this conversation emerges you may also find it useful to say what you are pleased to notice about the chat. ‘I really like how you are listening to me.’ ‘Yeah I feel really relaxed, so it makes it easier to listen, thanks for getting the vibe right.’

Use a resource

When I facilitate RSE I always use a resource to get people chatting. Something you can have in front of you to help you to guide the conversation. I’ve got lots of these resources here and here’s a little list of just some of them.

Why do people have romantic relationships?

Mono/poly different ways of doing relationships.

More than one kind of love

How to talk about talking.

Relationship graph.

What kind of sex you want to have.

How to have great first time sex.

Talking about safer sex. 

How you bodies react. 

Where you like to be touched. 

how to make sex and relationships chats easier use a resource

Having a resource in front of you can guide your conversation and opens up lots of different possibilities. It also helps with the eye contact and fidgeting thing I was talking about earlier. 

(If you want to facilitate chats about relationships and sexuality, with your family, friends, partners, or as an educator, you should get my Talking Sex Ed resource). 

Knowing when to end (for now)

Don’t make the conversation go on for too long, like those boring podcasts that dads make. If you’re noticing that you aren’t taking everything in anymore, or getting a bit fidgety, then it’s time to bring it to a close. You could summarise where you got to and pick it up again in a future conversation. The best ways to talk about sex and relationships is little and often, in my expert opinion. In between conversations you could both notice what’s better as a result and say them out loud. 

What works for you?

Please leave a (nice) comment below if you like or ask me a question here.

© Justin Hancock, 2024 Find out more about me and BISH here.

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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

If you’re over 18 and would like an advanced version of BISH check out my podcast Culture Sex Relationships. Also I’ve written a sex advice book for adults with Meg-John Barker called A Practical Guide to Sex available wherever you get books. We also did some zines to help you to figure out what you want from sex and relationships. They are at our website.

If you are an educator please don’t just show this website in class, they aren’t designed to be used as teaching resources. Instead, facilitate your own really great RSE with my resources at bishtraining.com.

2 thoughts on “How to make sex and relationships chats easier

  1. Hi am new to this website and
    my husband puts his penis very deep in my vagina and he said that it pains alot in his abdomen and dont feel any pain because it went deep he only had the pain

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