Luisa Tam
SCMP Columnist
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam

Pillow talk: the dos and don’ts of intimate bedtime chats, and how they can help your relationship and sex life

  • Honest communication between partners is one of the foundations of a successful and loving relationship
  • Pillow talk builds intimacy and enhances sexual desire, but there are some subjects you shouldn’t talk about

When miscommunication takes place between couples, a common phrase that gets thrown around is, “I’m not a mind reader”. While frustrating to hear, it does raise a salient point about open communication. Communicating clearly and honestly is one of the cornerstones of a successful relationship. 

Obvious point to make? Yes. Easy to achieve? Not necessarily. This kind of intimate communication doesn’t have to be done in a formal setting; it just needs to be maintained. 

Sometimes when verbal communication is difficult during the day or even at night during domestic interactions such as dinner, it may be a viable option to take your talk to bed. 

This is especially helpful to partners who have grown too familiar and are consequently taking each other’s presence for granted.

Sonia Samtani is a clinical hypnotherapist, life coach, and relations and wellness coach.

The bed may be the perfect “venue” as it is a familiar place where both parties can finally drop their guard (if they are willing). 

Many relationship experts will tell you the importance of pillow talk as it has numerous benefits, says Sonia Samtani, a clinical hypnotherapist, life coach, and relationship and wellness coach. “Since pillow talk is done in a private setting, it means that our defences are down.

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“It doesn’t have to be sexual, but it is often sensual and builds emotional intimacy. It can occur pre or post sex, or even on a non-sexual occasion as you are cuddling or lying next to each other. Often this is the down time couples get to spend with each other at the end of the day, where there are no distractions and they can finally connect.” 

Aside from the obvious emotional connection being fostered, there is the added benefit of raw authenticity. “The lights are usually off or dim in the bedroom, you are in little to no clothing, and lying down. This setting itself allows us to be vulnerable and access our authentic selves.” 

Pillow talk can also enhance sexual desire, she points out. “The environment, the positioning, and the honesty often results in couples feeling more connected and thus more attracted to each other. The whole thing is a great prelude to sexual intimacy.”

Pillow talk ‘doesn’t have to be sexual, but it is often sensual and builds emotional intimacy’. Photo: Shutterstock

Equally important is the choice of topics to cover in your talk in bed, she adds. Even though pillow talk can do amazing things for a relationship, what you talk about can either fan or put out the flame. 

Samtani offers some dos and don’ts. 

“Great topics to talk about during pillow talk are related to sharing your feelings, being playful, talking dirty, or asking meaningful questions.

Avoid judging or blaming your partner, or complaining. Photo: Shutterstock

“What you need to avoid more than anything are things that wake up your defences or add stress like judging or blaming your partner, talking about chores that need to be done, or complaining about things.” 

Other topics to avoid include things you are unhappy about with your partner; political debates; future planning or to-do lists; past relationships; past lovers; parents; children; comparisons of any type that put your partner down; and complaints about recurring issues between the two of you.

And if you are new to it, start with lighter topics, then go deep. Feel free to touch, cuddle or kiss during these talks. In fact, the more skin-to-skin contact, the better! 

‘Start by sharing and expressing yourself without expecting them to do the same.’ Photo: Shutterstock

And if your partner is not a pillow talker, Samtani offers the following advice. “If your partner is not interested, from my experience it’s usually because they are worried it will lead to some sort of judgmental debate based on your past experiences. They are not used to sharing and need time to open up, or don’t know how to. Or they feel stressed and overwhelmed during the day and perceive this as another chore.” 

She warns against forcing the other person to pillow talk. “The worst thing you can do is force your partner into pillow talk, it takes away the safe environment and people cannot open up when they feel imposed upon.” 

She advises to get them on board by making it easy and lighthearted. “Start by sharing and expressing yourself without the expectations for them to do the same. You could share about your day, or engage in a little good-natured mischief. When they feel like they have the freedom, they may choose to – or subconsciously – open up to you. 

Partners who have been together for a long time can benefit from pillow talk. Photo: Shutterstock

“The key is to give them choice and inspire them by positioning it as a loving or fun activity. 

Pillow talk gives partners a chance to wrap up a day and be with each other. Being in an environment with no external distractions or pressure can make you feel like new lovers all over again. Happy bed time talking! 

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Interesting pillow talk topics

What you love/appreciate most about each other 

How you are truly feeling right now, or during this phase of your life 

What you are most grateful for during this time 

Something funny that happened during the day 

Your biggest fears

Sexual fantasies 

Dreams about the future 

Favourite shared memories, including sexual ones 

The best thing that happened to you today 

Luisa Tam is a Post correspondent who also hosts video tutorials on Cantonese language that are now part of Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment programme.