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The Dos and Donts of Having the Sex Talk with Your Partner(s)and 13 Points to Keep in Mind When You Do

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How often do you talk about sex with your partner? The sex talk can be very exciting but also very uncomfortable for many reasons.  Being able to talk about sex with your partner can be very informative and seducing.  However, you have to get to a point within your relationship where you are able to be vulnerable enough to hear something you may not like and also things that may be intriguing to understand what each of you may need sexually.  What I have found being a sex therapist is that people tend to discuss sex during distressful moments because of frustration with lingering issues they have experienced that haven’t been resolved due to the lack of communication surrounding it, or everyday struggles like being tired from work, hungry or in a nutshell complete overstimulation from the hustle and bustle of day to day routine to support our families. 

Sex Talk Communication blocks

Understanding the barriers in your communication style regarding sex can help pinpoint any adjustment that is needed to have a more productive conversation about sex and sexual needs.  Some barriers in sexual communication include embarrassment that resulted from an experience where you attempted to discuss, and your partner responded in a dismissive or disparaging manner. The feeling of fear and discomfort due to being unsure of how to articulate certain things, unsure of your own needs, pressure, guilt, and underlying schemas that influence thoughts and your decision to not discuss or bring up things.

Ultimately the inability to regulate your emotions is the main precursor to lack of or no communication about sex because of how you may feel during it and unable to cope during these moments that ultimately lead to avoidance.

Despite this, couples find that talking about sex can be a perfect opportunity to connect with each other.  Improving this skill can be life changing.  The benefits of engaging in discussions about sex can improve and increase satisfaction in the bedroom, communication is reassuring, brings you closer to your partner, and creates an opportunity to normalize it just as you would talk about your work week on a regular basis.

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According to Litner, when you avoid those vital conversations, you might avoid some awkwardness, but you’re also settling for suboptimal sex. By having these conversations, you and your partner’s relationship can have emotional, psychological, and mental benefits.  Having a sex talk allows couples to fully understand what is wanted and needed and what is unwanted and combine these factors to create a sex life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

As you continue to have more conversations about sex the more comfortable it will become.  If you find that it’s still difficult to initiate the conversation then utilizing other avenues to jump-start things can be helpful. For example, watching movies that display erotic scenes, reading erotic books, and watching porn and couples games just to name a few can help with initiating conversations and identifying some things, and exploring based on what you see.  As you continue to navigate the sex talk there are some things to keep in mind that can really help with being more receptive, understanding, and comfortable.

13 Points to Keep in Mind

  • Understand the difference between knowing and asking- if you assume what your partner may like or what your partner should know you set yourself up for a defensive conversation surrounding sex. Ask so that you know!!!!
  • Establish a shared vocabulary related to sex and if this is too complex then use the correct terminology to describe certain behaviors or acts
  • Always use positive messages
  • Be open and non-judgmental
  • Always teach each other new things you come across on your own time and research. This promotes healthy discussion about sex and creates the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Embrace the feeling of discomfort and embarrassment. This is an opportunity for growth. Sometimes finding security in the fact you and your partner are unsure can create an opportunity to figure out how to explore and teach.
  • Reassure each other it’s okay to not have all the answers
  • Be mindful and respectful
  • Maintain simplicity
  • Use I statements
  • Identify and focus on what needs are already being met sexually with gratitude
  • Start this conversation outside the bedroom
  • Be approachable

Establishing a communication style for your relationship can help bridge the gap between a lot of areas in your relationship that need tweaking especially when talking about sex.  The one component to remember is to understand yourself, your desires, and your boundaries so that you can establish what sex will be like in your relationship and explore how to try new sexual behaviors when you are ready.

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