Let’s talk about sex

The challenge

Almost everyone feels self-conscious about showing their body to a new partner and apprehensive about sex at first. And it’s not always easy to talk about sex; most people feel embarrassed or awkward about this at some time or another. However, if you and your partner are becoming more physically or sexually intimate you may need to talk further about your condition, mark or scar – especially if there are physical reasons or differences in shape, texture or sensation.

Talking about your condition

Although you might feel anxious about this at first, talking to your partner about your condition can actually reduce any nervousness that may affect both of you in terms of enjoying sex or physical closeness. Your partner may be worried about hurting you or if they should touch certain areas, but not know how to ask you about this. This may cause you to think your partner does not like this part of you. You might start to have negative thoughts that your partner is disgusted by your body – and stop wanting to be intimate.

Once you start talking about your condition and how you feel, you will both understand the situation better. Also, talking about such a personal and intimate thing is likely to make you feel closer, as well as give you ways to manage things together.

Here are some important things to remember when talking to your partner about your condition

  • Clear communication is essential.
  • If you are self-conscious about your body say so. If you would rather your partner didn’t touch certain areas of your body say so. It can help you to feel less apprehensive about sex and enjoy it more.
  • Don’t expect your partner to know everything about you and what might feel good or not.
  • Don’t assume your partner knows your condition, mark or scar has caused differences in the shape or texture of your skin, or you have altered sensation.
  • Your body or skin may be irritated, sore or highly sensitive – but how does your partner know this? Give them a chance to understand better by giving information.
  • Try to be clear by using descriptive and neutral words to explain shape, texture and sensations.
  • Above all, talk to your partner – and encourage them to talk to you or ask you questions

You will want to find your own words to describe your visible difference and the way it feels, but here are a few examples:

“I want to tell you about the scarring on my leg. It is dark pink and it is a little bumpy in places, but it doesn’t hurt me at all.”

“Even though my birthmark looks different, I have the same feelings there as you.”

“This part of my face is a bit sensitive, but it’s fine to touch everywhere else.”

“This part of my body feels less smooth and sometimes it feels sore, but don’t worry, I will let you know.”

If the shape or structure of your mouth is different, you might need to let your partner know about kissing, by saying something like:

“When you kiss me on that side of my mouth it feels great, but on this side I feel very little.”

It may be the same for certain parts of your body:

“I need you to take care when you touch me here… it’s very sensitive.”

If you feel uncomfortable or worried about something your partner is doing, explain this to them, and try to tell them what does work for you. You might decide together that during sex you will guide your partner showing them what feels good and what doesn’t. This could be moving their hands towards or away from areas of your body. This works both ways.

When it comes to sex, we all have to learn what feels good and what doesn’t. If you haven’t had sex before, it may be a case of trying things out and telling your partner how it feels. And everyone is different – with each new sexual partner, we have to learn about each other and what works best together as a couple.

About intimacy

Read

About anxiety

Read

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