Couples don't talk about sex.
There's a flirtation that happens when one or both partners is open to the idea of sex. There's the nonverbal gestures: grabbing her butt, leaning in for a passionate kiss, sending an eggplant emoji text message. Then there's the more overt declarations, especially if the arousal is high enough - anywhere from "do you wanna have sex?" to more direct, descriptive invitations.
But how comfortable do you feel with talking about sex? In a neutral, non-charged zone, conversing with your partner about what you like, what you don't prefer, what you love, what hurts you - and why.
This could be a weak area within your intimate life. Talking about sex is crucial, because it communicates that both partners are fully accepting of (and receptive to) one another's vulnerabilities. It simply isn't enough to only care about the information that will lead to his or her orgasm. No, no, there is so much more.
If you or your partner have difficulty discussing intimacy, there are a number of factors that could be under the surface:
1. You have never discussed intimacy with a partner before.
This is an obvious one! We aren't going to be comfortable with something that we haven't experienced yet. And, if you have attempted this in the past, but your partner wasn't great at communicating effectively with you, you'll have reservations about giving it a try again.
2. You don't think it's necessary
The sex might be great. You both enjoy yourselves immensely. But there is always an opportunity to grow deeper with our partners. To be more connected, more in tune, more aware of the other person as a whole being (body, spirit, soul), and more aware of ourselves as seasons and life events change. Intimacy is an experience of daily renewal. Sure, you could focus on tips and tricks and orgasm-boosters - but that is only a sliver of intimate sexuality. Plus, to say that you know your partner's likes, dislikes and thoughts 100% of the time is just untrue. Unless your partner is a robot. In that case, I'm sure they're very one-dimensional.
3. You have a history of hurtful or traumatizing sexual experiences
Oh, I have such a heart for you if this is an area where you struggle. Because intimacy is so rarely discussed openly, you may have experienced a wound in this area that you didn't feel safe sharing with your community. It could be that you didn't have a trustworthy friend or mentor, or that counseling was considered "just for crazy people" and you stayed far away from professional help. Or, maybe you were hurt so deeply that you've simply tried to forget and move on. This is a new person, right? The past won't affect your relationship now.
False. Our life's story is an intricate web, completely intertwined. Any wound that has been inflicted sexually, relationally, or spiritually likely can impact your ability to be fully free in your sex life. It's worth addressing, friend. Tenderly, with caution, and with so much importance. You are worth it.
4. It's So Awkward
"Babe, can we try something else tonight? My clitoris is burning today."
"Hey, I know you really like oral stimulation, but I don't feel super confident. Can you help guide me through what you like?"
"This feels so good, and I think it love it more if you could keep doing A or B."
Honestly, not everyone is comfortable saying these words. You may even have cringed reading them (and scrolled super fast, just in case someone looked over your shoulder and saw the "c-word.").
The awkwardness is understandable. Sexuality and intimacy are vulnerable areas of your life - as they should be! Did you know that there is a sacred and gentle way that you can learn to speak confidently about your sexual experience? That's what sex therapy is all about, folks! And when fused with spirituality and psychology, you can begin to unblock some of the limiting you beliefs and cognitive distortions that separate you from the sexual part of yourself.
5. You Don't Want to Disappoint Your Partner
Maybe you know that they are interested in some types of sexual connection that you're not a big fan of. Maybe it hurts, and you don't know why. You are so focused on keeping your partner, pleasing your partner - and you have no idea how to also tend to yourself. The conversations, when they do happen, seem to be repetitive and non-constructive.
"This isn't good."
"So what can we do?"
"I don't know."
There's a way to get unstuck. You can get unstuck. Do you believe that?
Your next step can (and should) be a simple one, friend. Communicating about intimacy takes practice. Let's begin.
Step 1: Get the Intimacy Convo-Starter guide, directly delivered to your mailbox. It'll walk you through basic questions to help you and your partner communicate around your sex life.
Step 2: Book a 50-minute counseling session. I'd love to meet with you, hear your specific story, and show you and your partner, in person, how to begin talking about a topic that feels impossibly difficult on your own. Players improve when they train with a coach!
Special Step: if pain during sex (or even mild discomfort) is part of your problem, take this brief 10-question quiz. There are numerous origins that could be contributing to your pain. This quiz will get your brain stirring and empower you with language for your condition.