Just Say It: Talking Out Loud about Sex

“Erotic life is complex, and talking about it can be awkward and scary. Without the skills to communicate about sex, a relationship will likely become disconnected, frustrating, and even downright boring!” “Finding and Revealing Your Sexual Self: A Guide to Communicating About Sex,” by Libby Bennett & Ginger Holczer.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would address the complex subject of communication and sex. I think most of us can agree that there are a multitude of reasons why talking about sex is hard. Before beginning this multi-week series, I’d like to challenge a widespread myth about sex and communication: the myth that communicating about sex ruins it because it sabotages spontaneity. I’ll also highlight some of the benefits of communicating about sex in a variety of contexts.

First, I don’t think it is spontaneity we’re protecting through non-communication: I believe we’re protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable. More on this next week.

Second, for those of us who are no longer turbo-charged on hormones, get real! There isn’t much about sex that is spontaneous! It is good, honest, clear communication about our likes, dislikes, our changing bodies, turn-ons, turn-offs—that makes sex spark beyond the hormone-laden years. It is being mindful about planning sexual time together and showing up engaged and open to one another. Most importantly, it is consciously choosing—as a priority—to remain sexual and connected that makes sex continue to work for individuals and long-term couples.

The following are a few of the many good reasons to learn to talk about sex—whether you are with a long-time partner or dating:

·      Communication is an essential part of any relationship—without it, we can feel separate from our beloveds and new partners;

·      Talking about sex fosters greater self-awareness;

·      We are more likely to get our needs and desires met if we can ask for what we like/want; communication is a sign of self-care and self-respect;

·      We’re more likely to meet our partner’s needs if we can listen with open hearts;

·      We’re less likely to tolerate behavior/situations we don’t like;

·      We’re more likely to protect ourselves by insisting on safer sex conversations and practices if we are comfortable communicating about sex;

·      When you get past the awkward, talking about sex with your partner can be a total turn-on!

I’m looking forward to delving into this fascinating and complex subject over the next few weeks. If you’re interested in diving in more fully, I highly recommend the book I mentioned above, “Finding and Revealing Your Sexual Self: A Guide to Communicating About Sex,” by Libby Bennett & Ginger Holczer.

Accepting that there are very good reasons to talk about sex can be a great first step to gaining comfort in doing so. Join me next week as I explore common barriers to good sexual communication; in coming weeks, I’ll discuss ways to break down communication barriers and open the lines.