9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. ​Tonight.​​​​

The key to better sex lies in asking the right questions (and listening to the answers).


Most of the married couples I work with, after a while, they become almost like family. It's mostly because, on average, I'm rockin' with them at least a couple of years. Most stints are two-hour sessions, twice a month. Yeah, being a marriage life coach has taught me a ton (it's honestly a part of the reason why I'm still single because it's revealed some truths about relationships that I don't think I would've discovered any other way). One of the main lessons is that a couple's sex life—or lack thereof—can reveal volumes about how happy and healthy two people truly are when it comes to their relationship.

Take this one couple that I worked with for almost four years. During their "exit interview", I asked them how content they were in various areas of their marriage. When I got to the topic of sex, the wife said, "I know I'm tired of using my own spit to get myself wet." Umm…come again? No really…come. Again. That one statement alone resulted in us resuming our sessions for six more months. It also taught me that, when it comes to sexual fulfillment, getting on the same page as your partner is not just about certain positions or various techniques. Good sex is about clear and consistent communication; a part of what comes with that is asking the right questions along with listening—and I mean, really listening—to the answers your partner provides.

A screenwriter by the name of J. Michael Straczynski once said, "Your assumption and the truth, dine at totally different tables." So true. If you want to know if your partner is good, in the sense of being satisfied, in the coitus department, never just assume that they are. Ask. Ask what? These 9 questions will reveal a lot, for starters.

9 Sex Questions To Ask Your Partner

1. "How Do You Feel Our Sex Life Has Been Lately?"


To me, I think one of the most important questions to ask your partner is how they feel sex has been lately between the two of you. Have things been going great? Is it just the same ole' same ole'? Or worse, have they not really given it too much thought at all? Why do I say "worse" as it relates to that last question? Simple. Since we reportedly have somewhere around 50,000 thoughts a day, if your partner can't remember the last time one of those thoughts was even remotely related to y'all's intimacy—at best, they are indifferent and at worst, they are disconnected. Neither are attitudes that make for a fulfilling sex life.

That's why this lil' questionnaire is starting off with this type of inquiry.

The truth is, some people find themselves in a rut or ho-hum routine because, when it comes to sex, they haven't really processed if they are actually pleased or not.

Hmph. No time like the present for you and yours to find that out.

2. "Are Your Sexual Needs Consistently Being Met?"

Whenever I listen to married couples express their sexual frustrations, a pattern that I tend to notice is they oftentimes have a hard time discerning the difference between what they want to happen vs. what they need to happen in the bedroom. Take one husband in particular. He wants to have sex twice a day, every day. But he doesn't need that; he needs to not go a week without getting some. On the flip side, his wife wants more sexual spontaneity but what she needs is more foreplay ('cause, especially when it comes to women and how our bodies are made, sex isn't much fun without foreplay; just from the lubrication that it provides alone).

A need, by definition, is something that is necessary. When something is necessary, it is essential and when something is essential, it is the very essence of a thing. In a perfect world, whenever we have sex, both our wants and needs would be met. But this world ain't perfect and neither are our sex partners. Still, if you want to have a healthy sex life, it is important that the two of you are super intentional about knowing what one another's needs are and then doing all that you can to meet them; not some of the time. Consistently so.

3. "What’s Your Favorite Sex-Related Memory of Us?"


I recently read an article on The New York Times site entitled, "Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. It Can Be Healthy." One of the points that it made is nostalgia is considered to be a phenomenon that creates "a high-order emotional experience more on par with love than, say, fear". That said, I'm sure you can see why, off the rip, I recommend asking your partner what their favorite sex-related memory of the two of you are. Not only can it mentally seduce them to say it and you to hear it, the literal recollection can spark an emotional high that makes you feel more loving and passionate towards your partner too.

As a bonus, if you've been feeling like sex is cool but also really predictable, the memory can take you both back to a time when you were hanging off of the chandeliers. It can serve as a great reminder to you both that you've got the ability to pull that out of one another—even now.

4. "What's a Fantasy You've Never Shared Before?"

In the article, "What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Sexually Compatible?" that's featured on this site, one of the things that I touch on is how important it is to be open to exploring you and your partner's sexual fantasies. For one thing, it helps to keep the bedroom action fresh and new. Another benefit is it can tap into you two's imaginative side that may not always come out during usual sexual activity.

Sometimes, women especially, will tell me that they are not comfortable with sharing their fantasies with their partner. The main reason is because, based on how "buck wild" it is, they feel like their partner may see them in a different light. First of all, that's can be a good thing because everything about us, including our sexual nature, has layers. And second, to this day, I don't think I've heard one man tell me that their lady's desires totally turned them off. Besides, no one is saying that you have to act on everything that comes to your mind.

The main point in sharing fantasies is they can help you to see other sides of one another; they can help you to explore—mentally and possibly physically—where you want to go in order to take things to a new level and dimension. You should never feel self-conscious about that.

5. "What Can We Do to Make Foreplay Better?"


You know what's interesting? Whenever wives talk about foreplay with me, if they have a gripe, the issue isn't that they aren't getting enough of it; the real issue is that the foreplay has become predictable…mechanical even. As a result, they end up becoming bored to tears. It's no secret that men, on average, are able to climax in around five minutes while women, on average, need between 20-25 (this includes foreplay). But sometimes, the mistake that men make is, once they know what "buttons to push", they just keep doing the same things over and over…and over and over…and over again instead of thinking outside of the box.

A good lover, whether it is a man or a woman, knows that the prelude to intercourse is just as relevant and wonderful as intercourse itself. Whether it's discovering new erogenous zones; extending the kissing time; doing a lil' sexting; shooting him an online gift card to a lingerie shop so that he can pick out something he would like to see you in; giving one another a sensual massage; waking up early in the morning for a little oral and then "finishing things off" once you get back home—be open to saying and listening to what would make foreplay that much hotter for you both.

Back when I was gettin' it in, it was my personal experience that if the foreplay was off-the-charts, it was almost a definite that the sex was gonna be good. But when the foreplay sucked? Sometimes I would rather have a V-8 than complete the act (and I hate tomato juice).

6. "What Can We Do to Make Sex Even Better?"

In Science Alert's article "More Adults Than You Think Are Avoiding Having Sex. Here's Why", it shares some interesting points. Points like 40 percent of women avoid having sex altogether at some point in their lives, the main reasons why some relationships become sexless is due to health-related issues and, a lack of sleep plays its part in a lack of sex too. So yeah, when it comes to this particular question, if your partner seems to have a lot of excuses for why they don't want to have sex lately, it's a good idea to ask why. If neither of you have had a physical in a while, there's no time like the present to make an appointment with your physician. If you're averaging less than six hours of sleep a night, you are working against your libido; you might wanna change that.

Simple adjustments like these can automatically improve your sex life. So can asking your partner if there is something that you can do in the oral, technique or sexual positions department. Believe me when I say that some people consider their sex life to be pretty uneventful; still, they don't do much to change it because they feel like any sex is better than nothing. Eh. I believe that you should think more of your partner and your sex life overall by not settling for less than awesome copulation. You can start getting there by asking you partner what they feel will make the literal act of sex better for them—which ultimately means better for you.

7. "Is There Something You Would Like Me to Change or Switch Up?"


One husband I know, he has said in sessions that, while he loves the sex that he has with his wife, what he hates is that her vagina doesn't have any hair on it; because of that—and this is a quote—"I feel like I'm having sex with a teenager or something." A single woman recently told me that she is in an exclusive sexual relationship with someone. When I asked her if there was anything that she wished he would do differently, she said that she hated that his initial go-to position was always doggy style. A male friend of mine said he wished that his steady partner would get out of the bedroom more often, while a wife recently told me that she wanted her husband to perform cunnilingus—not more but better.

We all know the saying—closed mouths don't get fed. More times than not, they don't get off either. While a great sex partner does make it a point to be in tune with the person they are having sex with, at the same time, it isn't fair to expect them to be mind-readers either.

The only way to know if your partner would like some adjustments to be made is to ask them. And then check your ego at the door, so that you can receive their response.

8. "What Can I Do Outside of the Bedroom to Make Sex More Satisfying for You?"

There are plenty of articles out in cyberspace that says the biggest sex organ is our brain (you can check out a few of them here, here and here). You know what this means—in order to feel truly connected during sex, you need to be willing to do some things for your partner that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Maybe it's going on dates more. Maybe it's speaking your partner's love language more fluently. Perhaps it's helping out more around the house, setting healthy boundaries with family members and/or friends, or being intentional about listening to your partner more.

Some people have less-than-stellar sex lives, not because the act of sex isn't good; it's actually because their partner doesn't feel nurtured and supported enough in all of the other room of the house. When that happens, sex feels more like going through the motions than anything else. And who wants to say that their sex life is not much more than that?

9. "Is Sex Intimate, Sexual or Both for You Right Now?"


An author by the name of John O'Donohue once said, "Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved." Another author by the name of M. J. Abraham once stated, "A physical attraction is often desired above many things, but you'll discover it to be short-lived. Find yourself someone that gets under your skin, seduces the dusty corners of your heart, and provides you with a mental connection. That is when you'll know true intimacy." Former porn star (and author) Jenna Jameson once said, "The best sex takes place in the mind first." What all of these statements reveal is we should never assume that just because the physical act of sex is transpiring that real intimacy is taking place as well.

In the article, "The Signs Of A Truly Intimate Relationship", things like mutual honesty, warmth, affection and spirituality are used to express what authentic intimacy is. You know, one of my favorite documentaries of all time is51 Birch Street. As a son was discovering all of the unknown dysfunction and unhappiness of his parent's marriage, he decided to ask his own wife if she was happy in hers. He was shocked to hear that she wasn't. Moral to the story—just because two people aren't abusing one another, just because a couple doesn't have any real drama, that doesn't mean that they are being intimate with one another—even if they are having sex on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.

Most married people will say that there are times when sex is more sexual (physical) than intimate (mental, emotional and spiritual). In the grand scheme of things, there's nothing wrong with that. When you should be concerned is if your partner feels like sex is merely a physical act most of the time. If that is the case, it's time to reconnect on an intimate level. But you'll never know if that's what's going on—watch how this article comes full circle—unless you ask them. Do your relationship and your sex life a big favor—ask them. Tonight, if you can.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

I Only Have One Rule In The Bedroom: I Come First.

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male And Female Orgasm

These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom

What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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