How to Talk About Sex with your Partner
Thank goodness Sex is no longer a taboo subject. Sex positivity is quite popular. Everyone has sexual needs, and we are all here because someone had sex. So why is it still so hard to talk about when you need it to change? Well, it’s because it also ties into so many other aspects like: ego, self-esteem, attraction, embarrassment, love, religious upbringing or prior shaming. Worry or anxiety that talking about it might show flaws in the relationship or trigger a fight. So, how do you overcome that? Read on…
A woman’s sexual health and happiness is just as important as a mans. A good sex life is crucial to a couples emotional and physical well-being. A good sex life elevates your relationship. A good sex life takes work, practice & requires adaptivity. Talking about it is an investment in your relationship. It requires candid communication and a lot of self-reflection. BOTH PARTIES need to put aside ego and LISTEN TO EACH OTHER! Easy right?!
Quote: “A good sex life can’t fix a bad relationship, but a bad sex life can ruin a good one.” -author unknown
That should really say: “No sex, Infrequent sex or Lack of Intimacy, can ruin any relationship.”
Communicate Is Key:
So how do you broach a vulnerable subject like sex, without your partner interpreting it as “ I’m not good enough” or feeling attacked? First you need to understand the differences between men and women in general terms. Then consider the unique characteristics of your partners personality & love language. Why? To find a common “emotional safe space” style to talk openly in.
A woman’s brain is her most powerful sex organ. Your body’s physical desire for sex is NOT what motivates you to have sex, or achieve arousal, or even achieve orgasm. Your brain is. Even women with a naturally high sex drive require mental stimulation. If your brain is turned on, your body will follow. If your brain isn’t turned on it can shut off desire in a snap. Men are generally more physically driven to have sex first, regardless of mental stimulation. However, the mind is powerful, stress can diminish their desire as well.
Sexual satisfaction differs for every individual. Sexual response is also individual. How you are feel about your partner, your self-esteem, if you are feeling confident, or pretty, your health, your religious or cultural influences, and your own view of sex for pleasure, contribute to your response. Whether you have issues with your sex life to tackle, or if you just want to liven it up, or have it initiated more often, talking with your partner is essential.
Where To Start
Let’s assume you love your partner and have a stable relationship. So what barriers do you are need to take into consideration when you discuss sex? Can you eliminate- fear of rejection, ridicule, sex as a weapon (the with-holding of sex to manipulate or punish) as a response to you bringing up sex? If the answer is yes ,then you probably have a safe and loving foundation to openly discuss sex. If these issues are present in your relationship, (by you or your partner) then sex is not the primary issue. You might do better to talk about it in counseling .
Common Sexual Issues
- You have a high sex drive but your partner doesn’t,
- Your partner wants sex but you don’t.
- You have sex on a regular basis but don’t feel satisfied.
- Your partner is dealing with performance issues (erectile dysfunction or health related like prostate cancer )
- You have changed physically or mentally (hysterectomy, cancer, menopause, after childbirth, weight gain or weight loss.)
It might not be easy but your partner can’t read your mind. Share your thoughts and say what you want to achieve. Things like, “I really want to try…”, Muse aloud your favorite sexual experiences together, highlight what’s good, “I love it when you nibble my neck”… You want to build a positive space to discuss your specific needs. Tell your partner if you are feeling shy or ask if you can get their thoughts on some ideas you have. This can put you both in a good mind frame to openly talk. Starting with “I’m not happy”, or “I wish you are were better at” or any YOU statements “You’re never romantic anymore!” All will automatically put your partner on the defensive and possibly trigger an argument.
Self Reflection – Questions to ask yourself so your can be specific with what you need. –
What item has priority? Is it your relationship? Are you just too comfortable and not putting in effort to be sexy with each other? Do you watch TV late every night? Do you need a “no personal devices” time slot? Do you need to hang out and do something you mutually enjoy? Do you want to nurture or rekindle your friendship? Do you need a break from the kids?
Time -Do you need to book dates with each other? Do you need to snuggle together when you watch TV instead if sitting in opposite seats? Do you need to say, “Sunday night we have nothing going on, how do you feel about an early or fun night in bed?” Do you need to schedule alternating weeks to be in charge of initiating sex (might not seem romantic up front, but each having a reminder on your phone and the freedom to plan the entire evening can be fun) Do you need to hire a housekeeper once a month, week etc. so you have one weekend a month free of chores?
Romance – Does your partner know what you find romantic? Do you know each others love language? Is it acts of kindness? Grand gestures? Compliments? Gifts? Helping with dishes? Noting you are run off your feet and taking the kids so you can nap? Is it being wined & dined? Hotel room getaway? or Rose petals & candles? Is it buying you lingerie? Is it rubbing your feet? Or bringing you a cup of tea? Is it making supper?
Do you know what your husband finds romantic? Is it wearing lingerie? Is it making him a special supper? Is it a kiss and hug when he comes home? Is it stopping what you are doing and looking him in the eye when he talks to you? Is it bringing him a beer and talking about sports or fishing? Will individually putting reminders on your phone to be romantic help? (Don’t tell each other what they are, just do something). Send your partner love texts, or send a sexy text…
What do you enjoy in bed? Do you need a clear signal earlier in the evening so you are mentally and physically prepared? Do you like to set the mood? Do you like to kiss and cuddle first? Do you like to start foreplay before heading to bed? Do you need a calming evening ritual, like a cup of tea or glass of wine to set the mood? Do you require more foreplay? Be specific- “Oh I love when you kiss my neck” and if he’s doing what you like, give audible feedback- “ Keep doing that… mmmm don’t stop… mmmm slower its so good” Be open to hearing what your partner wants… and be willing to change too! Talk about what sexual activities excite you most. Let him know if anything is a complete turn off.
Is sex too predictable? Is there a particular technique, position or toy you want to try? Do you want or need your partner to initiate? If so, have you routinely turned them down? What do you want instead? Morning sex? Earlier than midnight? The odd quickie? Do you just want to give and not receive? Do you want a “princess” night? (not return the favor), A massage? Self-stimulation? Watching your partner? Oral sex? A vibrator or toy? Better lube? More kissing? Anywhere but the bedroom?
Do you have an emotional connection? Do you need more non-sexual touching or kissing? Do you need to talk more? Do you just need 20 minutes to relax and cuddle first?
Are hormonal changes making you crazy? If so, let your partner how you want him to respond to that. “Honey if I’m cranky, I probably just need a hug & an ‘I love you.” Do you feel sexy and comfortable in your own skin? Has anything changed physically, that requires specific sensations or position? We’re women. We change, weekly, monthly, every few years too. How about post-baby, post-surgery, or after menopause? Tell your partner what has changed. Everyone needs variety, we aren’t stagnant. Work, illness, age, kids, lack of privacy- are all factors that can impact your sexual desire. If sexual performance issues are impacting your sex life, talk to your doctor about it. There are many medical reasons why this could be. If they seem more emotional in nature… consider a therapist. You are trying to build intimacy and joy, don’t let sexual anxiety lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, rejection or resentment.
Consider thinking about sex differently.
If your focus is only on achieving orgasm it limits the scope of the conversation. Consider implementing only one little change at a time. What one aspect of your sex life needs the most attention? You might not need to change a lot. Sometimes its just understanding that there are multiple ways to approach sex. A healthy sex life will include a combination of the following:
I love you sex– deeply emotional, exceptional connection, high-level turn on, feel in sync.
Good Night / Good Morning Sex- tactile with a cuddle start, quickie or short but still sweet (may or may not orgasm).
I’m Horny Sex- hot & full of adrenaline, just need an orgasm… whatever it takes to release pent-up sexual energy.
Let’s Play Sex- can be initiated by either partner – may involve toys, lingerie, time, games, teasing or sensual & romantic. Where sex is the only focus, no distractions.
Need for Affection Sex- busy lives, need to reconnect, need to touch, need to feel like our satisfaction is a priority.
Vacation sex- no distractions, time together, both relaxed, fall in love all over again.
Validation /Need for Attention sex- may require affirmation of attractiveness or desirability. Shown or told you are special & loved Focus may be centered around one partners needs or desires. After an argument reconnect.
Quote: People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you can stand in front of them and their response is “you’re safe with me” that’s intimacy – author unknown
Relationships aren’t all candlelight and romance story sex. It’s not about chasing an orgasm. It’s about sharing a physical and emotional connection. Sex can be satisfying and wonderful, whether you orgasm or not, when the other aspects like love and respect, being desired and cared for are met. Orgasms are good! Don’t get me wrong, I just believe you miss so much if they are the main focus. And most importantly… If you don’t know how to achieve orgasm on your own, how do you expect your partner to figure it out? Know your own body intimately. Learn to control your self talk. Give yourself positive reinforcement & feel free to fantasize! Focus on the sensations… free your mind & your body will follow. Romance yourself and your partner will follow suit. And most of all have fun talking about it!
Final words… If you want your partner to change something… CHANGE FIRST! Your partner will change in response. Don’t expect immediate results. Allow things to adapt organically. Just like you needed time and self-reflection to figure out what you need, offer that same space to your partner.
This is all so true. My best, deepest and most satisfying sex has come about with partners who can talk intimately about what they want and can confidently ask what I want as well.