Sex is a universal topic, yet many couples have trouble in the bedroom. They may not be having regular sex, or the sex they may be having is so routine that they can predict their partner’s every move. No longer is it passionate and spontaneous or emotionally intimate. One way to improve intimacy in your relationship is by increasing and improving your sexual communication. In A Celebration of Sex, Dr. David Rosenau suggests partners take the following three steps to improve sexual communication:
- Assertively state your personal reality.
- Objectively empathize with your partner’s reality.
- Tenderly negotiate a partnership reality.
Assertively State Your Personal Reality
Effective communication about sex is the key to a healthy sex life. It is important to talk about sex with your partner, even if it is uncomfortable. Lack of a sexual dialogue hinders growth and can be the cause of a dull, uninspired romance. Good lovers ask their partner what they like and dislike. Assertive sexual communication is direct, to the point, and not overly passive or aggressive. A key to good sex is sharing about your needs and wants.
Be sure to use I-statements about what you like and don’t like in the bedroom. Take responsibility without blaming your partner. There’s nothing that douses the flames of passion more than blaming your partner for not knowing what you want. So don’t be shy. Speak up and tell your partner what you like. Even take their hand and guide them to an area that is more pleasing to you. You also may find it helpful to share your personal fantasies and talk erotically with one another during sex. This creates, and may even heighten, your sexual atmosphere.
Objectively Empathize With Your Partner’s Reality
Empathy for your partner is not always agreeing with their point of view, rather it’s holding back on judgments and feelings while you process his or her reality. Many times partners beat around the bush and are intimidated by how their partner might react. But nobody likes rejection. When we display genuine empathy and seek to understand our mate, they feel listened to and respected. More women than men complain about their partner not recognizing and showing empathy for their feelings. At times, feelings are more important than the facts! And men, the more you practice this behavior, the more likely it will result in some positive results for you in the bedroom. The more a woman feels heard and connected to emotionally, the more likely she is to respond to your sexual advances.
Tenderly Negotiate a Partnership Reality
Being in relationship requires skillful, empathetic negotiation and compromise. But compromising isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it often shows maturity while demonstrating love for one’s partner. We must never coerce our partner and cause them to lose their self-respect. Love is kind, patient, and protective. John Gottman, a leader in the field of relationships, devotes an entire chapter in his best seller’ The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work to the topic of allowing your spouse to influence you.
Emotionally intelligent relationships still have disagreements—with the topics of sex and finances at the top the list. Consider negotiating with your partner how often you want to connect physically. What do each of you view as ideal and then negotiate terms. But don’t let negotiation ruin the fun, spontaneity, and beauty of sex. Sure, pencil it into your calendar but don’t look at it as a chore. Women—just like it takes an iron a few minutes to warm up, spend some time anticipating and warming up to the idea of sex later that night. Realize that this part of your relationship is important to your partner and make it a priority.
If you and your partner would like help working through some of your sexual intimacy issues, contact Mark Harol, MS, LPC for an appointment today.
Source: Rosenau, Douglas E. (2002). A Celebration of Sex. Nashville TN: Thomas-Nelson Inc.