I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to talk to each other about sex. A strange phenomenon occurs with many couples where they actually become more shy with each other over the years and find it incredibly difficult to talk about this very personal and intimate subject. They find it easier to do it, then to speak about it! But they must talk about it.
Couples often report that after discussing their fears and fantasies with each other, they are, in fact, amazed at how receptive their partner is. And that's how it should be.
Our spouse should be the one person on the planet that we feel safe exploring anything with and this takes time alone together and some ground rules to make the communication safe, healthy and productive.
In my research and practice, I have learned that these ground rules include “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” a couple must keep in mind when talking about sex:
- Do “own” it. Take responsibility for your sex life. It’s not the other person’s responsibility to make you feel sexy. Ask for what you need. Be honest. Help them help you.
- Understand that your sex life is about everything else in the relationship. A good sex life is a result of a healthy relationship because sexual foreplay is happening all of the time. If you’re fighting about money, the kids, or hurt feelings during the day, you’re likely not going to feel in the mood for intimacy that night. So make sure you’re relationship is happy and a great sex life will follow.
- Listen and be open to your partner. Most people are great at talking and making their point. They've got charts, graphs and long lists of their point of view, but they don't listen worth a darn. Consequently, they can never really know what their partner needs.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise. Not everyone wants the same thing out of their sexual relationship, but we have to understand that everyone’s desires and feelings are their own and therefore right to them. Be willing to openly discuss what your partner needs. Understanding those needs and coming to an agreement will help you have a healthy conversation about your sex life.
- Lighten up! Most married sex should be light and easy, so make flirtatious comments, compliment your partner, laugh together and allude to future fun. These all communicate your connection to, and desire for, your partner.
- Don’t wait to talk about sex. Problems with sex are cumulative. They build on each other and the longer you wait to talk about it, the harder it is to talk about it and the more effort it will take to undo any damage or bad habits. And specifically, don't wait to talk about sex till you're in the bedroom. In fact, it’s almost always a bad idea to talk about sexual concerns while you're in the bedroom. That doesn’t mean that you can’t provide encouraging suggestions now and again, you just want to avoid the heavy stuff while you’re in the moment.
- Don’t see your partner’s sex life through your eyes. Take what your partner says at face value. If she tells you, “I need dinner and a date before I really feel like the sex is about me,” believe her. And if he says, “I don't feel like making love when you've just spent the last 20 minutes telling me how I can be better in this relationship,” believe him. Many couples get frustrated when communicating about sex because they have repeatedly told their partner certain things over the years but, because their partners don't feel the same way, they are never taken seriously.
- Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about what’s right. Sex is an extremely sensitive subject and no one wants to hear that they’re not doing it right. Try to avoid any and all comments that feel blaming or shaming. Don’t get angry. That will only heighten the tension and make it more difficult to talk about sex in the future.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of sex in a relationship. A relationship without sexual intimacy by definition is simply a friendship. And while we may truly love a friend, we are not “in love” with them. Sexual intimacy is what differentiates friends from lovers. It connects the couple on a deeper level, helps keep the marriage fun and exciting, and if you're doing it right, creates a bond that you have with no one else on the planet. In order to maintain and build on that bond you need to talk about sex.
- Don’t talk about your sex life online or with other people. Your sex life should be between the two of you. If one partner discovers that you’ve been talking about or complaining about it, they may be less likely to be open and honest about their needs with you.
You have to take action and constructively talk about your sex-life to make it better. And remember, it takes time to grow and adapt to new skill-sets. Have patience with yourself and your partner during this process, but stick with it! Your relationship and your bedroom fun is worth the effort!
To learn more about having the sex of your dreams using our online videos and downloadable exercises, check out our StrongMarriageNow System.
Talk about sex: Have you recognized any other issues holding you back? How can we help? Please comment below.
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com
Don’t Ignore Your Relationship Problems. Visit http://strongmarriagenow.com