When was the last time you had an open conversation with your partner about your sexual needs? Do you communicate often? Do you never say a word, even if you want to?
Talking about sex, pleasure and intimacy shouldn’t have to be hard. And, if you do open up to your partner, it can lead to better communication and higher levels of satisfaction within the relationship. There are a few methods to help improve your communication skills and help build a stronger bond between you both.
If you’re new to your relationship, it’s always good to be open about sex early in the relationship. Start with talking about contraception and consent, simple and easy topics. Then, move on to more in-depth topics like pleasure and turn-ons. Having these open conversations from the start helps to build trust and intimacy within your relationship as it develops.
But, It’s Never Too Late To Start
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in your relationship for several months or years and have never brought up the topic of sex. It’s never too late to start. Sometimes it is helpful to have a fresh start and open up the conversation from a new beginning. A good tip is to not bring up all the past experiences that haven’t been pleasant or fulfilling. Instead, focus on the future and what you hope to achieve together from now o9n.
Talk About Your Fantasies
Unfortunately, there can be a lot of shame surrounding fantasies, so many couples don’t disclose them. But, the majority of fantasies fall into one of seven different categories, so your fantasies are either quite common or shared with your partner. The more you understand that fantasies are quite normal, the easier it will be to talk about them with your partner and move into acting on the safe and consensual ones.
Time Your Discussion Right
Right before or after sex is not the best time to talk about your needs. This is likely to be when you’re feeling more vulnerable and may lead to an awkward discussion rather than a healthy one. Make some time out of your day to sit down together and talk about your desires. This is the best time to talk about what feels good, what doesn’t and what you’d like to do in the bedroom.
One exception to the rule is to talk about your fantasies when you’re already turned on. Believe it or not, discussing your fantasies in the heat of the moment when you’re both already aroused can help lessen the blow of any fantasies that you’re unsure of disclosing. Your partner may be more receptive to your fantasy at this time and may help to get the ball rolling on talking about your fantasies together.
One thing to be sure of when talking about your needs is to keep the conversation positive and use “I” rather than “You” statements. We don’t want the conversation to become a blame game of who isn’t doing what. Remember, regardless of how you feel in the bedroom, it’s always important to still be thoughtful to your partner. After all, you’re opening up the discussion to make things better for your relationship!
Instead of “You don’t do…”, try “I would like to…”. Talk about what you like and how you feel rather than focus on the things that aren’t going so well. Also, add in some positive reinforcement for things your partner does do well. Try and add in phrases like “ I like it when you do…”.
Remember to Listen And Ask Questions
With big conversations surrounding sex and intimacy, it can be hard to focus on listening to what your partner has to say because you’re so tied up thinking about the next thing to say to them. Listen to their responses and see if they talk about how they feel as well. You may even find that you’re on similar pages. Don’t forget to ask any questions if you need clarification on anything they say to you, too.
It may feel daunting to talk about your desires and needs in the bedroom, but a good, open conversation can help develop your relationship to ensure you’re having a fulfilling sex life. It can sometimes be useful to have these conversations with a therapist who can help guide the conversation and help to reduce4 any friction that may occur. Aly’s Place in the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, has highly experienced counsellors and therapists who can help guide you and your partner to a stronger relationship. Or, you can join the discussion online at the Real Relationships Facebook group where you can ask questions anonymously and talk to our therapists and other like-minded individuals.