Today we welcome guest author Layla Martin, founder of the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality. Through her VITA™ Method, Layla teaches people how to have a more fulfilling sex life through by experiencing heightened senses and more connected and powerful love. You can listen to her interview on the Bulletproof Radio podcast here.
Two Effective Practices for Sharing Your Sexual Desires With Your Partner
by Layla Martin
Over the course of my career as a Tantra and sexuality teacher, I’ve worked with thousands of couples and seen a few recurring themes over and over again, that generally people:
- Crave an interesting, exciting and passionate sex life
- Want to experience deeper intimacy with their partner
- And want to grow together sexually over the course of many years
…but most find it challenging or stressful to have the kind of discussions around your sex life that could make that a reality.
In this article, I’ll walk you through my two most potent practices that allow you to share your sexual desires with your partner… completely shame- and judgment-free.
Because sharing desires can be scary…
But it’s also a huge key to a sexually satisfying relationship that continues to evolve even after many years together.
If you don’t grow together sexually, the relationship goes stale
And for all of the amazing research happening around sexuality, we still don’t know exactly how to keep sex magnificent and, well… sexy, over the long haul.
This is likely because no matter how many research electrodes you strap to a human to understand their sexual behaviors: sex is more art than science.
And like any good artist, producing great art requires trying new things, being experimental and exploring unknown edges.
Having an interesting sex life requires exploration
But most couples are terrified of sharing the new things they’d like to try sexually.
Why the deep terror?
For myself, I often worry that my partner Andrew will judge me. I like doing things like genital worship because I skew more energetic and spiritual. Can I really ask him to feel his penis as a giant pillar of energy when he makes love to me? (Spoiler alert: yes.)
Before I told him that’s what I desired, I got all kinds of thoughts in my head: “What if he says no? What if he says yes and then I actually have to go through with it? What if he shames me?”
Andrew on the other hand has expressed a desire to be able to have more quickies and to feel more free to be primal and wild. Before he expressed this to me, he was worried that I’d be hurt or angry, or that saying that would start a huge fight. (Spoiler alert: sometimes it did, but it was worth it ;))
But since we’ve made it a regular practice to express our sexual desires and to make it safe for us to do so with each other in the tools I’ll be sharing below, we’ve had more quickies, more primal sex and, yes, Andrew did make love to me with a lightsaber penis of spiritual power…
And yes, it was truly awesome.
Express your desires without judgment or shame
So while expressing your sexual desires can be rocky territory, the benefits of sharing are immense. It’s important to remember that just because your partner desires something doesn’t mean the two of you ever have to do it.
You can always say no or maybe. Maybe is a great option.
But wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to be able to express your desires in a shame-free, judgment-free zone as a couple and then figure out what desires you want to fulfill together… And which ones you don’t?
Easier said than done.
So below I’m going to share with you the two practices that Andrew and I have successfully used for years to cultivate shamelessness and non-judgment in sharing our sexual desires.
Sharing Sexual Desires: Practice #1: Expressing Fears, Desires & Loves
Time Investment: 6 – 15 minutes
Why this practice works: Structured sharing allows you to create a safe and intimate space to openly speak about your fears and what you desire.
If you are afraid of being judged or rejected, it can be super helpful to share that with your partner (as you are guided to do in these exercises). Then, you are prompted to share what you love about each other, which creates a safe landing space afterwards.
How: In this practice, you’re invited to share in a structured and transparent way with your partner, using these three different question prompts:
- What are you afraid of?
- What do you desire?
- What do you love about me?
I recommend that beginners allow 2 minutes for each question and ideally set a timer for each one. Sitting across from each other, Partner A asks the first question and Partner B responds. In this case, Partner A will ask Partner B, “What are you afraid of?”
Partner B will respond genuinely and share over and over again what they are afraid of – both sharing their desires but also any fears about their sex life. Partner B may say something like, “I’m afraid you will say ‘no’ to what I’m asking and I’m afraid that since we haven’t had sex for three weeks that you don’t desire me anymore.”
Partner A doesn’t coach, fix, interrupt or change the question, no matter what Partner B says. If Partner B pauses or stops, Partner A says, “Thank you,” and then repeats the same question, “What are you afraid of?” After the time is up, they switch and Partner B will now ask Partner A, “What are you afraid of?” following the exact same format.
In this way, you move through the questions, first asking one another, “What are you afraid of?” and then moving on to, “What do you desire?” and finally, “What do you love about me?”
If you’d like more clarity and a demonstration of the process and dialogue, you can watch a guided video that takes you through this practice step-by-step here.
Helpful pointers to express fears, desires and loves:
- When your partner is sharing, make an effort to stay present with them and listen actively without judgment.
- Over time, the idea is to go deeper with being honest and holding a safe space for your partner to express any fears or desires. This creates deep safety over time, which creates trust, which creates love.
- Also, if you have a bombshell you’ve been holding onto for years, don’t drop it in the first sharing. First, do the process a few times to build up a sense of safety, increase the depth of intimacy and build a solid container of communication and trust.
- Don’t start a fight with your partner during this process.
- Don’t roll your eyes or laugh inappropriately at your partner.
- Sometimes it can feel intense to hear about a desire that your partner has. So if you get triggered, take a lot of deep breaths and wait to address it until you feel calm and grounded again outside of the sharing. Remember: you never have to do anything you aren’t a full “hell yes” to!
After the exercise, you can discuss what was shared and how you feel about it. Have a loving conversation about what you might want to explore together and/or if you have any boundaries. If possible, you can even schedule this as a once-weekly appointment between the two of you. I’ve noticed that when Andrew and I do this, our sex life gets better and better.
Sharing Sexual Desires: Practice #2: Intention + Recap
Time Investment: 2 – 5 minutes
Why: To create a clear intention for your sexual experiences together (including whether you want to explore any new desires) and integrate and reflect to build greater trust and clarity around what you desire.
- Set an intention. Before you have sex, take 1 – 3 minutes to discuss a shared intention together.
Do you want to try something new? Do you want to explore a fantasy? Do you have a shared emotional desire? Taking time to set an intention allows you to be on the same page about exploring each other’s desires in a structured way.
Let’s say one of you has been wanting to explore a fantasy. You’ll be able to drop in a lot more if you decide to do it together in an intentional way before sex. Once you’re clear on your intention, you can start to connect intimately like usual.
- Recap. This is done after a sexual interaction. Take 1 – 3 minutes to reflect on what you experienced, how you felt, what you loved, what you want to explore more of and if you desire anything different in the future.
While this might not sound that sexy, what Andrew and I have discovered is it clearly shows both of us what we’re actually experiencing during sex. Did he love that? Did I orgasm? Does he want to try more of that? Was I not into that ear thing?
Again, you want to be super compassionate with your partner and focus on being supportive and making them feel safe, rather than criticizing or focusing on what you didn’t like.
Over time, the recaps become an easy, fun way to reflect on your sexuality and review what you love and don’t love!
If you love these practices and want to try more, you can sign up at www.laylamartin.com for my weekly video series and feel free to email me through the website if you have any questions!
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