Sex questions every couple should ask
Real couples bravely took home our list – and found it made them closer than ever.
These days most of us have sex unrestrainedly, whenever we please, in bright places and ambitious positions. At the same time, we keep our private sex souls deeply buried. What we say we like out loud are often the things we think the other person wants us to like, not the stickier things, the quieter, stranger and truer things. But voicing those bits is the only way to really be naked; the truth might be the most ambitious sex position of all.
What would you ask your partner if complete honesty were the only rule? What would you reveal? We started with over 50 possible questions, and then narrowed them down to 21, which our volunteers went through at their leisure.
A few couples dropped out, but those who completed the questions – see the list on the last page – have in common a remarkable openness. They know many of the other’s answers before asking. But they, too, discovered some surprising things about the person they sleep with. That’s the thing about sex: even when we’re naked, we’re afraid of being irrevocably exposed. As these couples show, it’s worth pushing past that, worth being brave with the person you promise yourself to.
You may imagine that talking about past lovers is the most substantial sexual history to share with a partner, but more overlooked is what you learn from question 10 – the experiences of your formative years, perhaps before you were having sex at all. Leslie, 35, a nurse, and Brian 39, an analyst, combine the comfort and security of a 10-year marriage with the zeal of new lovers.
Brian So what shaped the way you have sex? Leslie Until now, I’d never linked this, but when I was 14, I had my first job working at a public library. I would see massive amounts of smut novels coming and going, and I was like, ‘What are these?’ I remember rushing to get done with shelving a cart of books so I could sit beside the shelves and read a few pages. Now I still have those storylines in my head when we have sex. You’re a neighbour and I need a cup of sugar. Or we’re the only two people camping on a cold mountain, and my tent malfunctions… all of it’s from those books! Brian I’m so tuned into what I’m feeling that there’s no room for even one thought going through my brain! New question: what do you wish I’d do more of? Leslie Talk dirty. Brian That would take me out of the moment – I think I’d lose my erection if I tried to think of what to say. Complete the sentence: I’ve never wanted to have sex with you as much as when… Leslie You do manual labour around the house. When you built that table? Or the way you know your way with your tools? All that cliché caveman stuff makes me want to jump your bones. Brian [Laughs] I don’t find female stereotypes sexy. I don’t see you washing dishes and want to jump you. For me, I like to watch you try on clothes, dresses, looking at yourself in the mirror. You look beautiful. have fallen into a sexual routine. They still have a sense of adventure, though: twice a year, they swing. Sahara was surprised by the answer to question three: is there a place you’d like me to touch more?
Michael I wish you touched my back more often. Sahara Your back?! [Laughs] Michael Yes! I want you to pull me towards you. Sahara Noted. I wish we had more foreplay: massage, touching, oral. We are too young to just head straight to sex without the foreplay. Michael I didn’t realise it was so important to you. I’ll make an effort to do better. Question two: what frustrates you about having sex with me? Sahara Well, you take an hour to come sometimes and that can be exhausting. Michael I feel a lot of pressure to do it, and that slows it down, I think. As for question 19, we know the answer – we do have sex with other people. I admit, sometimes when we’re having sex, just the two of us, I’ll call up visuals of past swinging experiences. Sahara I do, too! Except that one night when we stayed over, and you held the other girl all night. The sex is fine, it’s a turn-on for me to watch you with someone else, but when you were holding her, I was like, “Uh, that’s not me!” Michael Do you want me more when you’re jealous? Sahara Yes – it reminds me how attractive and what a great catch you are.
Stacey And when you wear sunnies. And a grey and pink cross-hatched bikini. And you have a cocktail. And there’s a hotel room nearby. Jenni Ha! I love your strong forearms and back. What about turn-offs? Stacey I have to say that having sex when you’re pregnant is a major turn-off. We spend so much time trying to strategise that the mood just fizzles. Jenni What totally kills my mood is when I feel you getting exasperated when it’s taking me too long to come. I get this guilty feeling of ‘Why am I taking so long?’, and I automatically shut down. I can tell that you’re annoyed. Stacey I don’t get annoyed! Jenni You do sigh and stuff. Stacey I do not! Jenni Maybe your ‘cues’ are 99% in my head. Stacey More like 100%. Next question: do you think that we have less sex than our friends? Jenni Absolutely. We have a toddler! And I’m pregnant. Stacey Remember how we used to subscribe to that porn channel? That ended once the baby arrived. Jenni We both love our sleep. Sometimes – a lot of times – we choose it over sex. Stacey But we’re still big fans of the afternoon midnap quickie! Jenni Next question: if I were OK with you having sex with other people, would you do it? Stacey I’d consider it. Jenni Me too. It’d be a turnon at the time, but – Stacey Are you kidding? You’d be psycho awkward. Jenni OK, you’re right. The idea makes me feel insecure and weird. Stacey I kind of like getting jealous – it makes me want you even more, knowing that, at the end of the night, you’re all mine. Overall, I like our routine, but we’ve become efficient, which is not the hottest quality. Jenni Let’s bring back more of the afternoon quickie!