Ask Emily: How Do I Get My Partner to Try New Things in the Bedroom?

woman laying on back on bed

Dear Dr. Emily,

My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We are still very much in love, but our sex life is not exactly exciting. Ever since we began having sex, it’s always been the same missionary sex position: me on top, her on the bottom. It’s beginning to get old, and I really want to try some new sex positions. 

I’m afraid that because of her inexperience with sex and relationships, (she has never had a serious boyfriend and only a few sexual partners), we won’t have good sex. She seems content with what we currently have. I would love to share my sexual energy with her and encourage her to express her wants and desires so that we can both be together on a much deeper level, but I am afraid to bring it up! How do I start a conversation like this, and when should I do it?


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Dear John,

You’re asking one of the age-old questions: how do I make my sex life more exciting? I get this question all the time, and the most important thing is to communicate your wants and desires. It sounds like you know this is what you need to do, you just aren’t sure how to initiate the topic. So, let’s talk about the best way to initiate a “sex talk” with your partner.

Empathize with her experience.

The best way to have better sex is to talk about it. Once you break down the communication barrier and get into the habit of talking to your girlfriend about your sex life, you’ll both feel more comfortable exploring your desires. 

Before having any sort of conversation with your girlfriend, I encourage you to look at the situation from her perspective. You said it yourself: your girlfriend is inexperienced. She may stick with missionary because she doesn’t know that other great sex positions are an option. 

Your girlfriend may also not feel comfortable exploring what turns her on. Many vulva-owners grow up thinking that masturbation is taboo, or something only reserved for those with penises. They don’t understand how to explore their bodies or prioritize their own pleasure during sex—that’s why the orgasm gap is a thing! 

Have a calm conversation.

If you and your girlfriend have been together for two years, you’re definitely ready for a little “sexual check-in.” The number one thing you need to do is to communicate and ground the conversation in kindness. 

Use my three T’s of communication (timing, tone, and turf) to get started and try to be as honest as possible. Tell her that you love her and that you love having sex with her, and that you also want to try some new sex positions. Emphasize that you want to please her and that you think that trying new things will be enjoyable for you both. Keep the conversation casual, but be direct about what you want. As for when and where—do it in a neutral space (like the living room) at a time when you’re both feeling alert but calm. These aren’t the sort of conversations you want to have if you’re drunk, tired, or stressed.

Who knows? Maybe your girlfriend has some undiscovered fantasies, kinks, or positions that she’ll want to try out. You won’t know unless you get the conversation going. For additional help, check out our Yes, No, Maybe Guide. It’s designed to help couples find common ground when it comes to new sexual activities and might be a great gateway for you two to add some more variety to your sex life.

Make her feel safe.

Okay, you had the conversation and your girlfriend is (hopefully) down to try some new positions—now what? Even though communication is one of the most crucial parts of expanding your sex life, there are things you can do when you’re actually having sex to make her feel comfortable. If she sees that you’re confident, it may help put her at ease. Plus, confidence in the bedroom is hot AF.

As you communicate with her about how to move, help guide her body into the sex position. Have patience and a sense of humor if the positions feel awkward at first. Ask her what feels good and what doesn’t. Eventually, you’ll find your groove and start having connected, mind-blowing sex.