The 22 Sex Questions Experts Say You Should Ask Your Partner

Just think of it as an extra-spicy game of "20 Questions."
Couple laying in bed together
Photo: franckreporter | Getty Images
Jamie Cuccinelli the knot writer and wedding expert
by
Jamie Cuccinelli
Jamie Cuccinelli the knot writer and wedding expert
Jamie Cuccinelli
Senior Editor, Sex & Relationships
  • Jamie is a Senior Editor for The Knot where she oversees all sex and relationship editorial content.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, she worked with an array of digital publications that include Brides, The Zoe Report, Bustle and MyDomaine.
  • Jamie graduated with a degree in English and Media, Culture & Communications from New York University.
Updated Aug 31, 2023

Whether you're navigating a new partner's preferences or looking to deepen the sexual connection in a long-term relationship, sitting down and communicating—and even asking one another specific sex questions—can be crucial in getting what you want out of your sex life and satisfying your partner.

Of course, that statement can sometimes be much easier said than the act of conquering that conversation itself. But trust: It doesn't have to be as intimidating as you think. In fact, discussing sex questions for couples can even be a fun turn-on. And such conversations can also help set the stage for continuous communication as your and your partner's sex lives grow, deepen and change.

Below, we talked to some top sex educators and therapists for the sex questions they encourage people to ask their partners. Here are their top prompts to consider when communicating sexual and emotional desires, needs and preferences.

In this article:

Sex Questions To Get To Know Your Partner Better

Whether you're starting a new relationship or are looking to better your understanding of your partner, these sex questions below will help you and your partner open up.

1. How and what did you learn about sex growing up?

It can feel really uncomfortable to share your deepest sexual desires. After all, some people's feelings could be rooted in shame or guilt. Understanding where someone is coming from can help you make sense of their preferences, behaviors and desires.

"This is a good question to ask because it can give you an idea about their feelings, attitude and knowledge about sex in general," says Donna Oriowo, owner and lead therapist at Annod Right. "It gives you a starting point for being able to address things with them to have a more fulfilling experience."

2. How do you feel most comfortable telling me what you want?

Cassandra Corrado is a sex educator who works with adults to unlearn shame and improve pleasure. (She's also the educator behind the @FeministSexEd Instagram account). When we talk about unlearning shame, this question is foundational in creating a safe space for both partners to communicate.

"Pretty much all of us want to be able to tell our partners what we enjoy in bed," she says. "But in reality, most of us feel self-conscious or just have a hard time speaking up in the moment. This question can help conversations flow more easily by getting to the 'how' of communication."

3. Where do you like and not like to be touched?

When you're with a new partner, you don't yet know what turns the other person on—or off. It's sometimes best to start with the basics. Consider asking the above question, as well as whether or not someone has touch triggers that make them uncomfortable.

"I think these are good questions to know how to show up for your partner," says sex educator Jimanekia Eborn. "It allows them to opt in, and also takes care of themselves."

4. What do you tend to do when you masturbate?

"Your partner may opt to keep their solo sex life private, but if they're open to sharing, this is a great alternative to 'What do you like in bed?'" explains Chicago sex and relationship therapist Rachel Zar, LMFT, CST. "After all, we tend to touch ourselves in the ways that get us to climax the quickest."

"For those with vulvas, are they inserting anything into their vaginas or opting for external touch only? Are they using any toys that can be incorporated into your partnered sex life? For those with penises, what kind of motion and friction works best for them?"

"For extra points," adds Zar, "masturbating together to get the full visual demonstration can be very sexy."

5. What time of day do you like to have sex?

"Some people swear by morning sex, others only want sex before bed," Zar explains. "Getting clear on this with your partner will set you up for success in terms of initiating," she says. "And it will give you insight into how things like stress or fatigue impact their libido."

6. What kind of erotica do you love?

"It's true that many people like to read, watch or listen to erotica that they have no interest in trying in real life," says Zar. "But sharing that fantasy can be sexy in and of itself—and there may be pieces of it that you can incorporate into your own sex life."

"Think of it as creative inspiration for ways you may want to play," she adds.

7. What have you learned about your body in the last three years that could make our sex life more fun?

"This question is a twofer as far as I am concerned," Oriowo says. "For one, it relays that the body is constantly changing and our desires and what works for us also changes with it. Second, it keeps your sex life from being in a constant state of stagnation. If you are relaying what you have learned about your body and changes that may need to be incorporated, it makes your sex life a changeable, growable, flexible thing."

8. In what context do you feel the sexiest?

"Feeling sexy isn't just about how we look," says Corrado. "It's also about our environment." Being honest about when you feel sexiest can help your partner understand your turn-ons and turn-offs.

"For some people, feeling sexy and desirous may have nothing at all to do with their appearance and everything to do with what's going on around them," Corrado explains. "Your sexy context might mean lit candles and fresh sheets on the bed. Your partner's might mean that the kids are out of the house for the night, so they don't need to stress about getting interrupted. Figure out what works for each of you, and create a context that's mutually pleasurable."

9. Have you had any past experiences that have negatively impacted you that you think I should know about?

As licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist Becca Hirsch, LMFT, CST shares: "Many people have had unwanted sexual experiences which can impact how they show up sexually in their current relationships. Having these conversations can create more safety and trust in the relationship."

    Sex Questions For Trying New Things

    When it comes to sex, communication is always vital—especially when trying new things is on the table.

      1. What would you like to try sexually if there were no consequences or guilt?

      This question can feel nerve-wracking to answer with both a new partner and someone you've been sleeping with for decades. For many of us, it can feel uncomfortable to fully and explicitly verbalize our most intimate desires, especially if we perceive them as less common fetishes or perhaps a favorite position we don't know if our partner will be open to.

      Sangeeta Pillai, founder of Soul Sutras, suggests framing it in a way that takes the pressure off of the two of you and focuses on the fantasy. "Questions like this free up your partner to express desires they might otherwise feel too worried to express," she says. "It gives them a sense of liberation to really explore their needs and fantasies."

      2. What's one thing you've never done that you'd like to try?

      Rebecca Alvarez Story, a sexologist and co-founder of Bloomi, shares a specific tool for couples to help them open up about what they might like to try in the bedroom. "I often ask couples to work on their 'yes, no, maybe' list," she says. "The 'yes' list has things that you enjoy doing and want to continue. Your 'no' list are things that are off-limits, and the 'maybe' list has things that you are open to trying."

      Your list may include sexual experiences you've had and want to have again, or things you haven't yet tried. Some ideas to get your bucket list started include anal play, dirty talk, experimenting with sex toys, mutual masturbation and taking nude photos.

      3. It might be really hot if we tried [insert sexual interest]. Would you be open to that?

      "This is a great way of gauging your partner's openness to trying something specific," says Elizabeth Perri, PsyD, CST, a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist. "You're asking for permission and feedback from your partner, with the understanding that your partner has a right to say no."

      4. What's a fantasy you would like to try with me?

      "This question acknowledges that we have sexual fantasies, but it also gives permission for the fantasy to be discussed and shows a willingness to explore and possibly make that fantasy into a reality," Oriowo explains.

      If your significant other shares something you aren't comfortable with—now or ever—remember that you can say no while still being respectful of their opening up to you. Sexual intimacy is just as much about respecting boundaries as it is about good foreplay and steamy sex.

      5. Would you like to go sex toy shopping with me?

      Whether you're sex toy shopping online or in person, try exploring vibrators and sex aids and accessories together. "It may be hard to pull new things to try out of your imagination, but seeing things in person like a sleek vibe or padded handcuffs may be the perfect inspiration," says Zar.

      Sex Questions For Enhancing Intimacy

      Deepen both your emotional and sexual connection with these expert-approved sex questions for enhancing intimacy.

      1. What's one thing you love that I do when we're intimate and why?

      While some of the questions on this list can open up difficult conversations, this one can leave you both feeling confident, happy and maybe even in the mood. "This question gets couples warmed up for an interesting dialogue," Story says. "Sexual communication can be intimidating, so the question allows you to facilitate sharing something you enjoy. The partner receiving the information will also have positive reinforcement to continue the act and possibly explore similar things in that wheelhouse."

      2. "When do you feel most attracted to or drawn toward me?"

      "This will give you a beautiful roadmap for inviting your partner toward you when you're feeling disconnected or craving more intimacy," explains Zar. "Do they swoon when you tell a joke? Does a bear hug make them melt? Try to explore the grand gestures as well as the little moments. And don't forget to share all the moments that draw you to your partner, as well."

      3. What allows you to feel most comfortable and present during a sexual encounter?

      "Being present in your body is a key factor in enjoying a sexual interaction," says Hirsch. "Lots of things get in the way of this, such as stress, anxiety, past trauma, body image issues or even just thinking about your to-do list."

      4. When do you feel closest to me?

      As Hirsch explains, "Some people feel most connected during a sexual experience, and some people feel most connected during a deep conversation or a shared experience together."

      "This is important to understand how each of you likes to connect with the other to make sure both of your needs are being addressed."

      5. Is there anything you need from me to add to the connection in our relationship?

      "A lot of people request more quality time to feel more connected to their partner, or to share deeper emotions or vulnerabilities," Hirsch notes. "And when a person feels like they're connected to their partner emotionally and there's a lot of emotional safety, it can be easier to talk about these sexual questions as well."

        Sex Questions For Married Couples

        While the prompts below are suitable for any relationship stage or structure, our experts encourage married couples in particular to consider discussing.

        1. When has sex between us been most enjoyable for you?

        "Maybe it has something to do with a particular position or sexual act, or perhaps it was the context or emotional connection," muses Dr Perri. "Having a dialogue about what has been especially positive in your sexual relationship can potentially help you to replicate or enhance what has worked well in the past."

        2. What would be a good way for us to initiate sex?

        "I frequently see couples who struggle with initiation," Dr. Perri reveals. "For example, one partner may feel pressured or turned off by the way in which their partner initiates. Making adjustments to your approach, based on your partner's feedback, can potentially increase the chances of getting a positive response."

        3. How can we be more intentional about physical intimacy and/or quality time together?

        As Hirsch explains, "It's common for long-term couples to schedule sex or time for physical intimacy with no specific goals in mind. Oftentimes when you remove the goal of intercourse or orgasm off the table, there can be less pressure which gives more space for exploration and being present."

          Contributions by Megan Lierley

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