• What do you enjoy most about sex? What feelings do you hope to experience when you are sexual? What do you identify as the purpose and meaning of sex in your life?

• How do you feel about yourself as a sexual person? How has porn influenced your sexuality?

• What past experiences may be affecting how you feel about sex now? For example: Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease? Have you been troubled by chronic sexual functioning problems? Do you have a past history of sexual abuse?

• What are your preferences for when, where, and how you would most like to engage in sex?

• How do you like your partner to initiate sex? What things get you in the mood? How do you show that you are interested in having sex?

• What type of language do you prefer when discussing body parts and sexual activities? For example, are you comfortable with slang terms or do you prefer medical terminology, or something in between?

• How do you want to protect against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections?

• What do you need to feel physically safe and comfortable when you relate sexually? For example: cleanliness, nail care, privacy, pillows, or lubricants.

• What do you like to do following a sexual experience in order to continue feeling positive and intimate?

• What are your expectations regarding confidentiality, fidelity, and the future of your sexual relationship?

Remember, when talking about sex with your partner, there are no right or wrong questions or answers. You both will probably have differ­ent needs and desires. Your goal as a couple is to understand each other better and negotiate differences you may have without compromising your values, safety, personal comfort, or self-esteem. Don’t try to impose a particular sexual agenda on your partner. Realize that you may need to let go of certain porn-related sexual expectations that are unrealistic or potentially damaging to your partner and to your relationship. When sexual concerns and differences surface, figure out how to address them creatively as a team. Be attentive, respectful, and find ways of integrating your own needs and desires with those of your partner.

In addition to discussing important sexual topics, it’s helpful to brainstorm specific guidelines for sexual relating. Agreeing ahead of time on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior reduces unnecessary guesswork and sets the stage for positive sexual experiences. You may want to consider the following set of guidelines that many couples in recovery decide to honor:

• It’s okay to ask for what we each want.

• Ridicule, even disguised as teasing, is not allowed.

• It’s okay for either of us to say no to a particular kind of touch or sex at any time.

• It’s okay to stop and take breaks in our sexual interaction at any time.

• Our needs for comfort and safety are a priority and will be ad­dressed as needed.

• We equally value emotional closeness and physical pleasure.

Honest communication about sex can lead to wonderful surprises. Brad told us, “My wife and I finally know what we want most from sex. Our sex life has more variety than I ever dreamed it could have before I quit porn. Paula’s willingness to try new things, to be more intimate, to branch out in various sexual activities has increased tenfold. I never knew she could be so open. She says talking with me about sex makes her feel emotionally close and has brought her out of her shell.”

For Logan, being able to share his anxieties about his sexual perfor­mance with his wife has made him much more comfortable initiating sex with her. “I used to avoid sex because I was afraid I’d lose my erection and not be able to complete the experience,” he said. “Now, when I feel like making love, I let Nancy know I desire sex, but also that I’m anxious about it. The talking calms my fears. We’re having much better experi­ences when we do make love now, and it’s empowering.”