How to Talk With Your Partner About Sex
It’s surprising that with sex all around us (movies, ads, gossip with friends), it still can be so hard to talk about sex with your partner. Why should you be able to communicate about sex? First off, if you don’t share your needs and desires with your partner, you open yourself up to settling for sex that is suboptimal- and who needs that?!
Discussing sex and intimacy also allows your relationship with your partner to become deeper and more intimate. Opening up communication in one area is generally good news for communication about other aspects of your relationship. Read on to learn about our best tips for talking with your partner about sex.
6 Tips for Talking
1. Timing- They say timing is everything in life, and it’s even more true when talking about sex! It may be helpful to avoid having the conversation before, during, or immediately after sex. Sex is a time when our guards are down, and our vulnerabilities are ever present- a potentially difficult conversation doesn’t mix well with this! (*Note this does not include saying things like “I like that” or “do more of that” in the moment*)
2. Let them know ahead of time- Don’t blindside your partner with this topic, which can potentially cause feelings of defensiveness and blame. Set up a time when you both can devote time, energy, and attention to the conversation.
3. Start Positive- Start the conversation with positivity and love. Affirm that you know they ultimately desire to please you, and start slow. Avoid blame and criticism, and start with something you have enjoyed. Try and use “I” statements- it sounds less critical and keeps the conversation positive.
4. Express Yourself- This is a space to talk openly with your partner! Make sure to take the time to express your desires, fantasies, expectations, fears, and concerns. You could even try making a “Yes, No, Maybe” list with your partner.
5. Make Sure to Listen- Engage in listening to your partner, and ask questions! Try to park your emotions while your partner speaks to listen fully. Listening to your partner in a vulnerable moment will help keep the focus on intimacy rather than blame and criticism. Asking questions is also a great way to clarify what your partner is asking for.
6. Rinse and Repeat- Don’t make this a one-time thing! Having regular conversations with your partner helps maintain trust and intimacy. Regularly connecting will also help troubleshoot intimacy issues as they arise rather than letting them build up.
How to Deal with Special Issues
1. Talking with your partner about Erectile Dysfunction- Talking to your partner about your ED can be challenging. It may be helpful to present your partner with information about ED and that it doesn’t happen because they do not turn you on. Keep in mind that this will be a shared journey going forward. Here at Optimal Hormone Health, we have resources that may help including testosterone replacement and our Duo for men using FDA-approved technology, our focused, low-intensity shockwave device can help strengthen & maintain erections.
2. Talking to your partner with Erectile Dysfunction- While ED certainly affects both of you, it’s important for the conversation to be supportive. Shared intimacy for both of you should be the goal. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open going forward, and be receptive and encouraging during this journey. Check out this helpful guide for conversation starters.
3. Talking with your partner about your STI/STD- With so many stigmas and emotions surrounding STDs, this may not be an easy conversation. First, the best policy is to be 100% transparent and honest. While every first date doesn’t have a right to your private medical history, it is important to communicate your STD/STI status before any sexual interaction happens. Similar to ED- it may be helpful to provide your partner with information such as their risk, your expectations, what your diagnosis means, etc.
4. Talking with your partner about their STI/STD- The best way to ensure a productive conversation about your partner’s STD is to avoid blame and shame. You have the right to express your fears and concerns over their diagnosis, but make sure to communicate these clearly and use “I” statements. Reach out to a medical professional if needed, and make sure you and your partner keep the lines of communication open regarding this topic.
5. Talking with your partner about low libido- Decreasing estrogen and testosterone can have a significant impact on libido. If you suffer from low libido, it may be a good idea to get your partner in on the conversation early. Communicate needs, desires, fears, etc clearly and effectively. You and your partner can discuss options together on how to work through this going forward. At Optimal Hormone Health, we love working with couples together for increased sexual satisfaction.
While these conversations are not always easy, they are so worth it! Your partner may pleasantly surprise you, and talking about sex helps build your intimacy overall. Remember that these conversations shouldn’t be a one-time thing, and checking in regularly with your partner will help prevent pent-up feelings and issues. And don’t forget the best part- research shows that couples who frequently communicate about sex tend to have a better sex life!