Written by relationships columnist Corey Allan of Simple Marriage.
Sex is an important aspect in most every marriage. It’s what differentiates your relationship with your spouse from all others. It’s powerful, chaotic, and wild. Full of all types of energy—spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Everyone who ventures into the world of sex does so with some level of anxiousness, nervousness, excitement, and perhaps even fear.
Sex is also everywhere. Stand in line at the grocery store and see if you can avoid seeing the word sex on a magazine cover. I bet you can’t.
It seems that everyone is doing it.
Talking about sex however, is possibly one of the more difficult conversations in life. Having a conversation about sex with your children is one thing. But what about with your spouse?
Did you realize that for many people, it’s easier to talk about sex with friends than it is with their sexual partner? It’s because of the anxiety this most intimate subject and act creates.
Remember how nervous you were during your first sexual encounter? Filled with uncertainty, the exploration of the unknown, being vulnerable with someone else, sharing new parts of yourself with another person?
After a while, the nervousness subsides, confidence increases, but … routine takes over.
If you’re honest with me, you probably have a set amount of routines for sex. Like, you only have sex on Sundays, or it must be in the dark.
Sure, there’s times when the routine is altered and the playbook is thrown out the window (like on vacations), but it’s likely that any new routine designed will just replace one of the older ones.
Here me out: there’s nothing wrong with routine sex, especially when both of you enjoy it. But what happens when one of you wants to alter the plays a bit?
Photo by Ben
Are you more likely to simply try something new in the midst of the moment, or bring up the idea first to gauge how your spouse may feel about it? And what about when things are happening during sex that you don’t enjoy, get no pleasure in, or you’d like to never do again?
It’s usually hard to talk about intimate subjects because there’s a lot of risk involved with these conversations. But just because the topic is intimate and the person is someone you love, doesn’t mean you back down from bringing up the things that are important to you.
When it comes to talking with your spouse about sex, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Timing is key.
It’s never a good idea to bring up the subject of sex while having sex (this is different than a follow-the-connection talking, which enhances the experience). If you want to discuss some unresolved aspect of your sexual relationship or a disappointment or frustration, don’t bring it up during sex, or right after a rejection or frustration. Both of you will likely be less open and objective about the conversation.
Also, avoid bring up the “touchy” subjects as you’re heading to bed.
If you’re going to address this subject, be upfront and honest. This may seem like common sense, but there are many people who resort to code words or only bring things up half-way.
Avoid placing blame and attacking.
It’s easy to address this topic with statements like, “Why do you always want to …” or “You always seem to initiate when I’m…” When a person feels attacked they’ll respond defensively; it’s part of our survival nature.
During personal discussions, take care of yourself. Talk about your experience, your thoughts, your feelings. While this will still impact your partner and may possibly hurt a bit, it increases the chance that you’ll be heard.
Seek to hear their side of things, be clear on their perspective. This is especially good advice if you have a spouse who’s reluctant to have this conversation.
Listen intently throughout the conversation.
Slowing down to really listen can help keep the conversation calm and less emotionally-charged. The less reactive you can be, the more likely a good solution will result.
Fill the conversation with respect.
Avoid talking down to your spouse or assuming they know what you’re thinking. Also avoid interrupting them while they’re speaking.
Photo by takacsi75
As the conversation proceeds, you can also examine and discuss these sexual styles (everyone has these styles or moods at some point):
• Spiritual: The union of the mind, body, and soul during sexual encounters together. This connection comes from your deep appreciation of being with each other and is created by being more aware of the little moments in your life.
• Lusty: The flirty and wicked looks at one another, the quickies, and the pleasure of having sex simply for the physical pleasures of sex.
• Tender: The gentle, romantic, affectionate touch that involves massages, light touches, and catering to one another.
• Funny: Teasing and laughing with each other in bed. Having fun with one another.
• Angry: This is making love, even when you’re ticked off at each other (yes, it’s possible). This can be reparative and healing, provided the issues you’re angry about are still addressed.
• Fantasy: An explanation… It’s the style of collaboration between the two of you, to create a bit of daring and experimentation. This could be role play, new positions, or risky locations.
Every one of us is designed as a sexual being.
And when you can talk about sex with your spouse you’ll have a greater chance of engaging your most powerful sexual organ… your mind.
How have you handled this effectively in your relationship?