Like anything else in life, it takes practice and repetition to get comfortable talking about sex. But it is possible to become more comfortable, and the rewards can be substantial.
Research shows that couples who are able to talk constructively about sex have more satisfying sex and are generally happier in their relationships. So why is it so difficult to discuss sex?
1. You don’t know what to say
Talking about sex is a difficult subject for many couples. But if you want a healthy, satisfying relationship, it’s essential that you and your partner communicate openly about these issues.
It’s easy to feel uncomfortable talking about sex, especially if you grew up in a family that didn’t discuss these topics or if your early sexual experiences were not positive. However, there are some tips that can make it easier to have these conversations.
For starters, choose a neutral setting for the conversation. The bedroom is usually charged with sex and emotions, so choosing a neutral place such as the kitchen or living room can help increase your chances of having a constructive conversation. Another tip is to start the discussion by sharing something that you like about your partner, says Campbell. This will set the tone for the rest of the conversation and can make it less awkward. You can also try practicing your response in front of a mirror to get a sense of how you’ll respond in the real world.
2. You’re afraid of being rejected
Many people avoid talking about sex because they fear being rejected by their partner. But rejection isn’t a valid reason to stay silent about an important part of your relationship. Rather, it’s often a sign that you’re not communicating effectively.
If you want to be able to talk more openly about sex, start by practicing your vocabulary. Try to name body parts, sexual activities and what you like and don’t like. This can help you to develop a common language and build trust.
You can also learn a lot by reading books or magazines about male/female sexual anatomy, techniques and more. Just be careful not to turn to porn, which can give you an unrealistic view of sex. Also, be sure to express your appreciation when your partner does something you like. This can encourage open communication in the future and lead to more satisfying sex.
3. You’re afraid of hurting your partner’s feelings
If you have different sexual views and expectations, talking about sex can be difficult. You might worry that you’ll hurt your partner’s feelings by expressing your preferences or disagreeing with their views.
It can be a good idea to approach the topic of sex with your partner in an open, non-judgmental way. It’s best to choose a time and place where you won’t be interrupted, and avoid criticizing each other or making comparisons.
It’s also important to develop a shared vocabulary around sex. This can be done by educating yourself with books, magazines and videos that discuss female/male sexual anatomy, positions and techniques. Also, try to avoid pornography which can give you a very unrealistic view of sex. And remember, a sense of humor can be an effective icebreaker when the conversation gets uncomfortable!
4. You’re afraid of being judged
Talking about bodies and sex can be uncomfortable, but it’s a normal part of human life. Millions of people have these conversations every day – with friends, siblings, crushes, parents, and partners. It’s worth pushing through some discomfort to be able to have these important conversations with the ones you love.
If you’re afraid of being judged, it may be related to the culture you grew up in or the people who surround you. Many Americans are taught abstinence-only education, which often encourages individuals to wait until marriage before engaging in sexual activity.
Being able to engage in regular, constructive communication about sexual issues is the key to a healthy, satisfying sex life. You should never be afraid to speak up about what you want — whether it’s rougher sex or softer sex, or openness in your relationship. Talking about these things will help you feel more connected to your partner. And if you find yourself avoiding these conversations because you’re worried about being judged, it’s worth considering couple’s counseling.