And now, even as someone with a sex life that goes beyond kissing alone, I’ve continued this habit of postgame analysis (an analysis that, to be clear, has nothing to do with which team won the Super Bowl) with my closest friends. Whether a sexual encounter was particularly gratifying, satisfying, or horrifying, they heard about it—until recently, when my routine suddenly changed. That’s because my current partner introduced me to a new after-sex tradition: pillow talk about the sex we just had together. And it turns out sex-educators are huge fans of the practice.
The case for introducing a postgame analysis into your bedroom
Post-sex analysis are similar in spirit to the postgame-analysis broadcasts that occur after sporting events—but sexified. After catching your breath, cleaning up and disposing of contraceptive barriers, and in general letting sex-brains symptoms subside, get comfortable (cuddle, even!) and take turns hashing out the details of the sex that just took place. “That kind of frank back-and-forth can increase intimacy and provide the opportunity for each of you to better understand what is most enjoyable for you sexually,” says clinical psychologist and sex therapist Christopher Ryan Jones, PsyD.
“That kind of frank back-and-forth can increase intimacy and provide the opportunity to better understand what is most enjoyable for you sexually.” —sex therapist Christopher Ryan Jones, PsyD
Sexual-wellness expert and director of education at sex-toy Satisfyer Megwyn White agrees that pillow talk is a beneficial practice. “Creating a space of inquiry and sharing is so important,” she says. “The earlier you can start a relationship with these types of communication rituals, the more likely you are to find fulfillment in lovemaking.”
Furthermore, Dr. Jones says taking the feedback into consideration during future encounters can increase the pleasure potential of every romp. To that point, White says pillow talk might hold the power to close the orgasm gap. If more vulva-owners felt comfortable sharing what they enjoy sexually, their partners might have a better idea of what they can do during sex that might lead to more orgasms, she says. “It’s a way to make sure you’re both comfortable with what happened, are equally enjoying the (sexual) experiences you’re sharing, and will continue to enjoy the experiences of the future,” Dr. Jones says.
How to bring pillow talk into your sex life
If you’ve never had a post-sex analysis with your partner, White suggests finding a physical position where you both feel safe, comfortable, and can see each other’s eyes. “You don’t want to start this conversation without some kind of physical intimacy,” she says. “Touch will help ground your interaction and allow for more empathetic listening and sharing.”
Next, take the sandwich approach: “Start with positive feedback, then offer something that could be adjusted or improved, and share another highlight from the experience,” says White. “This feedback structure will help your partner to feel cared for while also making them most comfortable in hearing any suggestions you have for future encounters.”
“Start with positive feedback, then offer something that could be adjusted or improved, and share another highlight from the experience.” —White
Not sure what, exactly, to say? Try telling them how beautiful they are, or how hot they looked in the heat of the moment. Let them know how good of a kisser they are or how fabulous they are at oral sex. Likely, they’ll feel moved to counter with a compliment about you. In my personal post-sex analysis, we compliment each other with phrases like, “Oh my gosh, your tongue!” or “I loved the way you scratched my back while I went down on you.” We ask questions like, “What were you doing with your fingers those first few minutes? That sensation was wild!” And we also feel free discuss any component we didn’t like. For instance,“I liked when you spanked me, but next time can you start lighter?”
While we discuss anything and everything during our pillow talk, it is important to note that these conversations aren’t meant to replace consent, which needs to be an ongoing discussion. And if you have any follow-up questions, now’s also a great time to ask. Like, “What was it that you were doing with your fingers when I moaned super loud?” or, “I felt like the sensation changed when you got on top—did the angle of penetration change?”
“And don’t be afraid to say something didn’t feel good,” says White. “Something not working can lead you to something that does. It can help you fine-tune the details of what does feel good,” she says. By making these kinds of conversations your norm, White says you really only stand to gain pleasure and lose nothing. “Little by little, improvements and adjustments will take place that make the sex feel better for both of you.”
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