You’ve see them on TV, in the movies – or perhaps you think you know them. The couple that looks so in tune. Completing each other’s sentences and talking openly about everything under the sun – including sex. In actuality, talking with a romantic partner about intimacy can feel very intimidating.
Most couples grapple with various issues pertaining to their relationship – and communicating about sex is definitely one of them. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been married for decades, discussing your personal thoughts and feelings about intimacy can certainly be tricky, and many try to avoid the delicate topic at all costs. This is where couples therapy can be very beneficial.
As difficult as it may be, effective communication surrounding intimacy is a vital part of any healthy relationship. When couples explore their feelings freely, they create a tighter emotional connection, which ultimately leads to a stronger sexual bond. When I work with couples and provide couples counseling, working on effective communication is one of the main goals in our therapy together.
Many couples converse well on simple issues yet get stuck on trickier ones. You know your partner’s favorite restaurant, travel destination, or sporting team – but do you know what really turns him on? And when was the last time you opened up and shared your sexual fantasies? It’s through the process of challenging yourself to do things that feel uncomfortable that you’ll experience personal growth. So take the plunge today and initiate a conversation about intimacy. The payback is huge – a stronger and more honest relationship, and more sexual satisfaction.
Many couples make the error of only discussing sex when there is a problem in the bedroom. A better option is to regularly partake in an open dialogue. Here’s how:
Think before you speak: Before initiating the conversation think about what you want to say. What does intimacy and sex mean to you? Are you satisfied with your sex life, or can it be improved? What would make it better? Remember that your partner is not a mind reader and can only learn about your desires when you effectively communicate them.
Timing: Timing is everything in life – but especially when bringing up important topics pertaining to your relationship. Find a quiet time to speak to your partner when you’re both relaxed with few distractions. This could be over a quiet meal at home or in a restaurant, while away on a vacation, or lounging on a weekend morning.
How to begin the discussion: If you are not experiencing any sexual problems here are some openers:
- “We talk freely about most topics, but I’ve noticed we really don’t talk much about sex. I thought it would be a good idea to explore how we both feel about our sex life because it would bring us even closer.”
- “We have such a great connection, including an intimate one. I think we could make our sex life even better if we talk about our desires and what turns us on.”
If you have a specific issue that you’d like to bring to your partner’s attention try this line:
- “We have such a great relationship, and I hope you know how much I value you. I think honest communication is the back bone of a healthy relationship, so in that spirit there is something I’d like to share with you regarding our sex life.”
At the end of the conversation take a moment to congratulate yourselves on a job well done. Let this dialogue be the first of many. You now have a foundation to build from. Agree to talk about intimacy on a regular basis. The first time is always the most challenging, and it definitely gets easier with practice.