When the majority of your relationship happens in person, you don’t always need to sext. Instead you can just, you know, have sex. Circumstances can change, though — maybe one of you takes a job that requires frequent business trips, or maybe you’re just looking for a new way to heat things up when you’re not together. But when you and your partner have been boning non-digitally for years, how are you supposed to initiate a new form of sex that, in many ways, feels like something you do before you’ve ever been intimate?
In short, you treat it like you would any other new sex act: as something that deserves discussion. Nearly every relationship expert and sex coach I spoke to confirmed that it’s always best to talk to your partner about what you want to try before you dive in, then use their responses as a guide for what to do next.
Of course, every relationship is different, so the outcome of the conversation you have is likely is likely to depend on your dynamic. For example, my partner and I had sex more times than I can count before we ever actually tried sexting. By the time we actually got around to it one weekend when we were apart, I basically just asked him to send me a dick pic and he sent one. He’s still not one for sending lengthy messages about what we’d like to do to each other, but sending him the occasional nude is fun. Being straightforward about it works for us. You might find that something different works for you.
That said, again, it’s best to ask what they’re comfortable with first. “If you’re in a long-term relationship and want to start sexting with your partner, don’t find out how they feel about it by sending an unsolicited dirty text,” says Kate Delgado, sex educator with Lioness. “Instead, approach the subject with them openly. The next time you’re connecting, whether it’s over dinner or in the car on a drive somewhere, ask your partner how they feel about sexting and if they’d be open to trying it. If it’s something they want to try, make a plan for when you’ll give it a shot.”
Additionally, you might want to define what “sexting” means to each of you. In some people’s minds, sexting constitutes little more than a butt photo followed up by a drooling emoji. Other people want something more involved, like a tiny, adjective-heavy graphic novel sent over text. And what about videos? What if one of you wants a nut vid?
Whatever the outcome, make sure you’re on the same page about what you’re looking to send.
Delgado also recommends laying some ground rules — how does your partner feel about receiving and sending photos? When is it okay to send them? Would they prefer you stick to written messages? What would each of your ideal responses be? Once consent is cleared and you’re on the same page, there’s still plenty of room for that element of surprise to emerge in a fun way. “Perhaps one of you will initiate while the other is on their lunch break the following week, or maybe you’ll just try sending a sensual message while they’re out with their friends for dinner,” says Delgado.
Now, what if you’re both down for sexting, but you’re not sure what you want to sext about?
“One thing that holds many people back from sexting, dirty talk and other types of sexy communication is that they feel awkward and don’t know what words to use,” says Leah Carey, a sex and intimacy coach and host of the podcast Good Girls Talk About Sex. “They get stuck in their heads, and they’re afraid that anything they say will sound stupid.”
There are plenty of ways to work through this before the sexting begins, though. “I suggest going to a site like literotica.com or listening to audio erotica on an app like Dipsea to find words and phrases that turn you on,” Carey recommends. “The first few times you send a sexy text, even if you’re using words you gathered from someone else, you’re likely to feel awkward. That’s okay! Our brains don’t like change, so doing new things can make you feel like the world is going to end. I promise, it won’t.”
If you’re looking for an avenue to speed up the sexting without the drawn-out planning, there’s one possible route. “If you’re new to sexting, start with something simple — it doesn’t even need to be explicit,” says somatic sex coach Anya Laeta. “For example, ‘I’m thinking of you and getting all worked up/hot and bothered…’ Hopefully, your partner takes a hint and asks you to elaborate.”
Obviously, the goal is to keep the conversation going. Despite the erotic subject matter, sexting follows the same basic rules of any other conversation: Listen to what your partner’s saying, pay attention to the details they offer and ask questions to propel the conversation forward. And again, if you’re not great at coming up with scenarios on your own, it’s perfectly fine to draw inspiration from other sources. “You can use your imagination, hot scenes from movies or erotica or your real-life experiences,” suggests Laeta. “The more you do it, the easier it gets.”
However you decide to go about it, it’s supposed to be a fun, healthy way to bring the two of you closer together. Take it slow, and don’t put much pressure on yourself to be something you’re not. The hottest sexts seem real — they’re a text/visual hint at the things you’d like to do in person. Thankfully, in a long-term relationship, you’ve probably already done a lot of those things. There’s no need to talk about bending your partner into a pretzel if you already know she’s never wanted to bend that way. That makes it easy to draw off the experiences you’ve already had and use them for sexy fodder. If you haven’t done something, sexting can also be a safer avenue to introduce some of the themes and desires you’ve been wanting to do in person.
In any case, none of it needs to be scary. You two are already together, right? Probably seen each other’s buttholes? With sexting a long-term partner, the scary part — actually doing it in person — is already over. Once the other person is on board, all you’ve really gotta do is be horny — and yourself.