Homelove, sex & relationshipssex & consenthow can i talk about sex with my partner?

How can I talk about sex with my partner?

It can feel a little awkward talking about sex with someone, especially if it is your first sexual experience or they are a new partner. But it doesn’t have to be! It’s important to communicate so that you’re both on the same page, aren’t rushing into something you aren’t ready for and so that everyone involved has a great time. 

Consent is key. 

How can I ask for consent?

Being an open communicator is an important part of good sex. By speaking openly about what you want or don’t want, and checking in with your partner about what they are comfortable with, you will ensure everything is consensual, and ultimately, more pleasurable.

You could say things like: 
  • “Do you want to have sex?”
  • “Do you want to keep going?”
  • “Do you want to stop?”
To make sure sex is pleasurable for everyone involved, you could ask: 
  • “What are you comfortable with?”
  • “What are you not comfortable with?”
  • “Are you enjoying this?” 
  • “What do you like?”
Signs you should stop

Sometimes people will use body language or facial expressions to communicate. If your partner seems: 

  • Tense
  • Pushes you away
  • Makes a strange face 
  • Or if they stop responding, it’s time to stop and check in. 

Ask if they are okay, and if they want to keep going. Consent can be withdrawn, even without saying ‘no’ out loud.

How to say no to sex

If you don’t want to have sex, or want to stop, that is your choice. You have the right to say no or stop at any time and your partner has to accept that.

To say no to sex, you could say:
  • “Can we slow down?”
  • “I’d like to kiss you but that’s it”
  • “I don’t feel like it”
  • “I really like you but I’m not ready for sex”
  • “Can we stay like this for a while?”
  • “No, I don’t want to”
  • “Stop”

Remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation. If you don’t want to do something sexual, you have a right to say no.


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What if your partner doesn’t stop?

If things are moving too fast and your partner won’t stop, do whatever you can to get out of the situation:

  • Yell “STOP! I don’t want to do this”
  • Say you need to go to the toilet
  • Tell them you are about to vomit (Put your hand over your mouth and pretend you are going to be sick)
  • Tell them you have your period and leave

Once you have left, call someone you trust to come and pick you up.

If you tell your partner to stop and they keep going, it is sexual assault

Read our post on Sexual Assault for more info.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or visit their website for online chat and video call services available 24/7. Call, text or online chat, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST (except national public holidays) or make a video call (no appointment needed).

How to say yes to sex

If you and your partner are both enjoying it, and want to keep going, you both still need to give consent. 

You could say:
  • “Keep going”
  • “That feels good”
  • “Don’t stop”
  • “Let’s have sex”

But remember, when saying yes, always use protection, like condoms, to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. 

As Otis says in Sex Education, good communication around sex is key to a healthy and happy relationship:


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A post shared by Teach Us Consent (@teachusconsent)

How to ask your partner to use protection

You could say: 

  • “Do you have a condom?”
  • “I have a condom”
  • “I won’t have sex without a condom” 

Just because someone is consenting to sex, that does not mean that they consent to having unprotected sex. 

If you have an STI: 

  • Let your partner know
  • Either agree not to have sex, or to use a condom. 
  • If you feel like your partner might say no to sex if they know you have an STI, it’s important to tell them.

Talking with your partner about sex is the best way to make sure everyone is having a good time. Being honest with each other can take some pressure off, making you both feel safe and free to enjoy getting to know each other better!

Where to get help

If you need to talk to a medical professional about contraception options or anything to do with sex and your body, we recommend heading to a Sexual Health Clinic. These are free to access. Follow the links below to find a clinic near you:

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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