by Dr. Terri Orbuch, The Love Doctor®
You need to talk openly about sex with your partner to have a sexually satisfying relationship. Being able to communicate with your partner about anything is crucial to a good relationship, and it’s no different with sex. In fact, studies show that when you talk about sex (sexual histories, medications, desires, fears, concerns) with your partner, it greatly improves your relationship and your sex life.
Yes, many people find it hard to talk candidly about sex, particularly if they’ve never spoken about it with friends, family or intimate others. Other people might think that they don’t have the vocabulary to discuss sex with a partner. You might have learned at a very young age that sex wasn’t something you discuss with others. Also, some people assume that if they plan ahead and talk about sex, then those sexual experiences wouldn’t be as exciting or enjoyable.
In all honesty, don’t let any of these excuses or myths prevent you from communicating about sex with your partner. You can do it! It may be awkward and uncomfortable at first, but remember, communication about sex – before, during or after a sexual experience – increases sexual satisfaction and the likelihood of good sex. Here are my helpful tips to start talking about sex with a partner:
1. Practice conversations about sex with friends.
Start to talk openly about sex with your good friends. Practice discussing what gets you in the mood, whether you like to initiate or be initiated into sex, and which activities you find pleasurable, with people you trust and whose opinions you feel safe to expose yours to. If these conversations are difficult to start with good friends, find a magazine or internet article about an interesting sex topic and bring it to the get together or happy hour with your friends.
2. Pick the right time.
If you’re concerned about a particular issue in your sexual relationship with a partner, don’t discuss it when you’ve just had sex and it hasn’t worked. Choose a time when you can be alone together and aren’t distracted by phones, work, children, or the television. And, if this is your first discussion with a partner about sex, it is fine to be honest with your feelings, particularly if you think sex is a challenging topic to bring up and discuss. You can start a conversation with, “I’m not used to talking about sex openly or straightforwardly. I care about you a lot, and I would like start talking about our sexual relationship.”
3. Focus on the positive.
When you talk about sex with a partner, always focus on the positive. Instead of talking about what your partner doesn’t do to excite you, say what he or she can do. For example, you might mention that you would find it extremely erotic for your partner to initiate sex or to make love over your lunch hour. Talking about sex when you first met can also be a huge turn-on. I asked a client to recall what she found most exciting during the “honeymoon phase” with her partner. She told me that he used to surprise her by coming into the shower with her. A really good way to start a conversation about sex then, is to remember back to the first several times you two had sex and discuss what made your sex life exciting at the time.
4. Develop “sex signals.”
Some couples have secret ways of communicating that they’re in the mood. It could be a look, a private code word or phrase, or the wearing of a certain sexy outfit. This signal isn’t evident to others; it’s intended for your partner only. Having a secret language lends mystery and suspense to your relationship. It helps bring some fun and laughter to a part of your relationship that might be difficult to talk about. It also allows your partner to express sexual desire when there are other people around. Recently, I asked a client to pick a sexy signal to give her partner when she was feeling frisky. She decided that telling her partner that she had a “great workout at the gym” would be their special phrase, especially since she always felt more amorous after exercising.
Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert for OurTime.com, as well as a professor, therapist, research scientist, and author of 5 best-selling books, including “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship,” available on Amazon.com. Learn more about her at: DrTerriTheLoveDoctor.com.