Communicating About Sex

For many, communicating about sex isn't easy, but it's an important part of a relationship. Here are some guidelines for communicating about sex.


Between men and women, there can be a lot of double meanings, confusion, and missed communication. When this happens around sexual issues, it can mean trouble - like acquaintance rape.

FACT: We have been taught to value certain kinds of communicating (pleasant and agreeable for women, tough and dominating for men) - but these are stereotypes which often lead to poor communication.

It is very important to communicate what you really want. You have the right to set sexual limits and to communicate them. It's not unfeminine to express an interest in having sex, and it's not "uncool" to make your lack of interest clear.

If you don't like what someone is saying or doing to you, tell them how you feel. Be very clear and assertive. If you mean no, say "NO!"

Be firm if necessary. You have the right to be rude and aggressive in a threatening situation.

Ask yourself, "Can I say no clearly?" before entering into a potentially dangerous situation.

Things Men and Women Often Think But Don't Say to Each Other


It's very hard to always be the one to offer yourself. Some men are afraid that women say yes, but mean no. Men don't like to pretend that they always want sex. Men are afraid of being rejected and turned down.


Women are socialized to believe they should always go along with what men want, in spite of what they want. Many women are afraid of hurting men's feelings. Some women don't like pretending that they don't want to have sex. They may enjoy sexual contact - hugging, foreplay - but do not want to have intercourse.

Men and Women

Do want friendship with each other. Sometimes the friendship includes sex, sometimes it does not.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2021, December 18). Communicating About Sex, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: February 22, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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