Sex. It’s everywhere! It’s on TV, movies, the internet, magazines. And yet, for many couples, sex remains somewhat a mystery. Many couples enter into sexual relationships assuming that their sex lives will be like what they’ve seen in the media, only to find that *gasp* it’s quite different. So then they turn to magazines and internet articles, searching for tips and tricks on improving their sex life, only to find that what those articles recommend just might not work for them. So, where can you find foolproof techniques for improving your intimate relationship? Turns out that researchers have been searching for that answer…
New research from Australian scholars shows that communication between partners about their sexual relationship can significantly increase sexual satisfaction in couples. Simply stated: talking about sex with your partner can improve your sex life. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer. But many new couples avoid talking about the details of their sex lives together because of fear, embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt their partner. How can you and your partner talk about your intimate relationship? Below are three ways you can enhance communication about sex in your relationship. So, let’s talk about sex, baby!
Get comfortable talking about sex.
For some people, talking about sex is natural, fun, and easy. But for others, talking about sex may be embarrassing and scary. Learning about your own sexuality (i.e., how your own body works) is one way that you can become more comfortable talking about sex. Understanding your partner’s sexuality (i.e.how his/her body works) may also make it easier to feel comfortable talking with him/her. Seeking out advice or knowledge from trusted family and friends is one way to learn more about sexuality. Reading reputable books recommended by trusted others may be a less intimidating way to learn about sex. Be cautious and aware of the biases in online resources you turn to to learn about sex. Many of the resources out there are meant to be exciting, novel, and probably not the best place to start.
Be open with your partner
Learn to express your sexual needs and concerns. Many partners feel comfortable talking about sexual “likes” (what feels good, what they want more of…) but may be more hesitant to talk about sexual “dislikes.” Understand that your partner wants you to feel good, and letting him/her know what you don’t like will enable them to achieve that. If you still aren’t sure what your likes/ dislikes are, being open with your partner during times of exploration (sexploration, if you will) can allow you to get into the pattern of communicating what feels nice and not-so-nice.
Talk about your emotions
Assuming that sex is simply about your body’s physical response may rob you of experiencing a more whole sexual experience. There are many emotional aspects to sexual intimacy, and acknowledging and communicating about those can increase closeness and sexual satisfaction. Let your partner know not only how you physically feel during sex, but also how you emotionally feel. Letting him or her know that you feel loved, appreciated, or special is a powerful way to increase connectedness during sex.
Talking so openly about sex may seem a little unnatural at first. But as you take some steps to increase communication about your sex life, you can expect to feel closer to your partner. If you’re currently not in a relationship, you can still work on being more comfortable discussing sex and understanding your own sexuality. So — go ahead! Practice!
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Written by Bonnie, masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Reviewed by Brian Willoughby, PhD.