Many relationships fall apart these days because the couple lacks the ability to communicate openly and honestly. There are times that they engage in unhealthy communication without even realizing it. Most of the time, these scenarios end up with silence and even nonchalance. Situations like these often lead to emotional detachments and break-ups, which we could have avoided if we didn’t draw conclusions from silences and react to them without checking out what they really mean.
If you’re reading this article, there’s a chance that you are experiencing that right now. Some aspects of a relationship are not easy to bring up with your partner but have to be had, like finances and sex.
Perhaps, you feel overwhelmed, you don’t know where or how to start, or maybe you’re just simply embarrassed to discuss sex with someone. That’s completely understandable, and a lot of us feel that way. But talking to your partner about sex – your likes and dislikes, boundaries, and even fantasies – can not only help boost your sexual health and wellness but also improve your connection as a couple.
So, where do I start...?
Before anything else, you need to be aware that your partner is not a mind reader. Especially with a new one, sometimes you may expect that they already know what to do in bed. But they don't, because you never brought it up with them. And then, you end up being unsatisfied when things do not feel good.
So you have to start with yourself. Know what actually makes you feel good, what works for you in bed, and what does not. You cannot communicate something to another person if you do not know what to say. There are plenty of things that you can do to discover your sexual inclination, and one of those strategies is by masturbating.
And then, what’s next?
Once you know what you want to communicate, pick out the most appropriate timing to have the conversation. Some couples prefer doing it before or after sexual activity, and then others talk about it casually over dinner. Whenever you decide to do it, it helps to consider the environment as well. Are you both relaxed at the moment? Is there no rush to finish the conversation? Are there any barriers or distractions that may hold you back from being 100% open? Kids? Friends? Other people? Needless to say, sex talk is a private matter and requires a one-on-one setup.
We’re already here, and I’m a little nervous…
The approach in having the conversation is just as important as the preparation. Of course, you do not want to be accusative, disrespectful, or demanding. The whole point of the conversation is the total opposite of those things. You want to be supportive, humble, and open to compromise. Let’s go over some tricks to reinforce positive exchange when talking about bedroom affairs.
- Start light. It is never encouraging to start any conversation by jumping straight into the heavy questions. You have to break the ice. Start small, and then build your way up until you establish a comfort zone. Asking about your partner’s day may be a good way to start the conversation as it suggests concern and curiosity.
- Set the goal. For a conversation to be effective, the message that you want to communicate should be clear. This step will allow your partner to recognize where you are coming from. Goal setting can sound like “I would like to bring up something about the quality and frequency of our sex...” Or, “I would like to talk about birth control methods that make sense for us as a couple…”
- Use kind and encouraging language. You want to steer clear away from aggressive statements and skew towards more compassionate delivery. One specific example could be, instead of saying “Why are you NOT open to exploring in bed with me,” you could rather say “I would like to hear your opinion on trying new things in bed with me…” This sounds like you are open to discussion and incites more positive feedback from your partner.
- Use “I” statements instead of “You” statements. Using statements like, “You never seem to want to do foreplay with me” can feel accusative and personal. What you can say instead is, "I would like for us to spend more time with foreplay if that is okay?" Acknowledge that partner sex is a two-way street, and you can find a solution together.
- Compromise. The final step in improving your communication skills is to practice making room for accommodations. Meeting halfway means you can listen carefully to the other party and keep an open mind. In the bedroom, it is most likely that you and your partner have different sexual preferences, but by doing this, you get to satisfy each other and grow together intimately.
Before ending the talk, it also pays to revisit if the message was delivered and received appropriately. This lets you know that the conversation was fruitful. If not, find an opportunity to try again. Partner communications may take some time, but as with any other skill, practice makes perfect.
By Coco Eje