Think about the last time you talked about sex with your partner. Like really talked about your sex life, in detail, and what you want out of it. If your mind just went blank then have a seat, my friend, we need to have a discussion. Whenever I read love and relationship advice articles, I’m amazed at how many questions people ask about talking to their partner about sex. So many people are so confused about how to ask for what they want in the bedroom or how to tell their partner about that one move that they don’t like. But the truth is that sex can be difficult to talk about when we talk about it personally. Have you ever noticed that it feels normal to see magazine headlines about ’27 New Sex Positions to Try Now’ or watch steamy sex scenes on our favorite television shows, but it suddenly feels awkward when it comes to talking to our children or our partners about good, healthy sex? Sometimes having sex with our partners is much easier than talking about it with them. Honestly, even I’m guilty of getting a little squirmy and awkward myself when the topic arises. And although I don’t exactly know why talking about sex can be so weird in the first place, I can tell you there are ways to get over it. Being someone with the gift of gab, I’ve learned that the more you talk about something that makes you feel uncomfortable, the more comfortable you become with it.

Now some people may think: Why do I need to talk about sex when I can just do it and figure it out as I go along? Great question and the answer is that talking about sex makes for better sex. By talking about it openly with your partner you’ll learn each other’s likes and dislikes, so you can do more of the former, less of the latter and a lot more of the hanky panky. There will also be better communication when one of you wants to try something new. This way, when you decide that you want your partner to lick ketchup off your body, you won’t stress about asking them and stay up until 2 AM drafting a letter to a sex advice column (we’ve all been there right? Right?).

Initiating a conversation about sex with your partner is probably the hardest part. Consider the timing of your conversation. Perhaps your vibrator preference isn’t something you should bring up just before going to dinner with their parents. Whereas talking about it when you’re cuddling or during Saturday cereal and cartoons seems like a better option. You might even find that the easiest way to talk about sex with your partner is while it’s happening, telling them what you like and don’t like in between kisses and giving them breathy affirmations about what feels good to you.

No matter when you do it, remember that the talk should be just that, a talk, not an interrogation about what they want or criticism of what they do. When talking about preferences, don’t just rattle off a list of sexual activities and pressure the other person into saying yes or no. Don’t make them feel bad for doing something that they didn’t know you don’t like; instead, offer them an alternative of something you do like. Remember, suggestions are always welcome but if your partner declines then respect their decision. Your name is not Sam-I-Am and this isn’t a Dr. Seuss book. If they say they don’t like something that opinion probably won’t change whether it’s in a box or with a fox.

Communication is important because every person and everybody is different. Each time you have a new partner, there is some adapting to be done. This is something I’m sure all the seasoned pansexuals and bisexuals out there have definitely realized. The moves you used on your ex-boyfriend probably won’t work on your new girlfriend. But learning how to please someone is half the fun and teaching them how to please you is the other half. So don’t be afraid to talk about sex with your partner, chances are that you’ll be happy you did.