02 Nov Let’s talk about sex baby
In theory, being open about our sexual needsisnotonlyfora also to maintain a close out side the bedroom. But sitting down and talking about the intricacies of sex can be difficult. It’s often in long- term how to communicate about sex. This relationships that goodsexlife,but rewe lationship forget is compounded when there are other seemingly more pressing issues to be discussed, such as kids or finances. For many couples, the problem is more likely to be communication than chemistry. Some might have been together for 15 or 20 years and have never talked about sex properly. Others might simply be out of the habit of giving feedback. But once you start a conversation about sex, no matter how long it has been, you become more open and relaxed. You’ll feel closer, have more understanding and better sex as a result. Here’s a guide to the four key conversations you need to have and how to approach them.
ARE YOU STILL HAPPY?
This is a gentler way of asking: “What would you change about your sex life?” It’s important you talk about this to keep your relationship fresh. It’s fine to keep doing the same thing for 20 or 30 years if you enjoy it.This is more about making small enhancements and introducing variety to maintain intimacy.
How to approach it: This conversation could start like this: “Our sex life is great, but can we make it better?” Avoid any language which could sound as if you’re blaming or accusing your partner. Use positive language, such as: “I’d like it if…” or “It’s good when…” Sex can make us feel vulnerable, so take a kind and sensitive approach and try to have some physical closeness while you’re talking by holding hands, for example
WHAT’S GOOD SEX TO YOU?
Unhappiness around sex can feel awkward and difficult to deal with, and the longer you don’t have sex, the more difficult it becomes to talk. I always tell couples that they can’t expect their partners to know what they want or like. They have to work it out for themselves first so they can share their thoughts. If they are having trouble, I tell them to think about previous sexual experiences they enjoyed. When you think about them, ask yourself what made them so exciting? Did your partner kiss or touch you in a certain way?
How to approach it: Start by doing the thinking in your own time. Then you could ask: “Is there anything we haven’t tried in bed that you might like to?” This will give you the opportunity to share what you like doing and to start building your thoughts and desires into sex. Do this in a romantic setting outside the bedroom. For example, you can cuddle up on your sofa and hold hands so you both feel open.
HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?
Your skin is your largest erogenous zone and touch forms the foundation of any intimate experience, from foreplay to sex. It is what gets you in or ruins the mood and it’s about feeling whether the person really gets you. If they are not touching you the way you like, it can feel like you don’t have a real connection.
How to approach it: You need to understand your own body first. Next time you’re alone in the bed, the bath or the shower, explore your body and what works for you, then share this with your partner. But be sensitive so they don’t feel they’ve been doing it all wrong. Try using the sandwich technique, where you say something positive, then something they need to change, followed by another positive. You can also play a game by placing his hand over yours while you direct him on how to touch you, then swap it around so he can do it himself. Approach it like a new, fun game of exploration.
We should all give ourselves permission to have fantasies. Sharing some of yours lets your partner into an area of your life that’s deeply personal and helps create more intimacy, heighten the mood or act as inspiration.
How to approach it: It can be difficult tovocalise your deepest fantasies for fear of shocking your partner. Try writing them down first. As you read about each others’ thoughts and desires, have an open mind and avoid being judgemental. Ask questions about what else they’d like or suggest things you could do to build on the fantasy together. But avoid fantasies that involve close friends as this can spark jealousy. Make it clearwhether you’d like to act out your fantasy or prefer just to talk about it.■
WHAT HE’S THINKING…
Women’s concerns about sex often relate to confidence in their bodies, but men tend to worry about technique, so conversations that feel like criticism could hit a man’s nerve, says relationship therapist Andrew G Marshall, author of Make Love Like a Prairie Vole: Six Steps to Passionate, Plentiful and Monogamous Sex. Avoid raising problems after sex, and talk positively about things you’d like to do more. Also, don’t make global statements like, “I’m happy with our sex life”.
Instead use three-part sentences to keep it specific. You can say, for instance, “I feel our sex life is unsatisfactory when we have sex at night because I’m tired”. When you do this, he will feel like it’s an issue he can deal with. Another fear for men is that the conversation will go on for hours. Men see every issue raised as a problem they need to solve. Talking during a short(ish) car journey or walk enforces a welcome time constraint, says Andrew.