By Angela Borders and Joe Borders, MFT
There are so many reasons that sex and communication should be a “can’t have one without the other” sort of thing, but we are going to talk about our top 5 reasons. We hope this blog inspires you to be open and talk about this stuff with your partner/s early and often!
#1: It’s Safer!
Whether it be concerns about pregnancy, STD’s or STI’s, rape, or even physical injury, talking about you and your partner/s’ concerns openly from the get go really helps everyone involved take the proper precautions to prevent negative experiences surrounding sex. Checking in with your partner/s before, during, and after sex ensures that you are on the same page, understand what is needed to keep everyone safe and content, and really makes for a much better time for everyone involved.
#2: Tell me what you want what you really really want—The Key to Better Sex!
Talking leads to better sex! This seems really obvious: if you talk openly about what you like and don’t like, and follow through with each other’s wishes, you’ll have better sex! And yet many people, whether because they are embarrassed, or feel guilty, just don’t do it. This is such a shame!!! Imagine if you went to a restaurant and just said “I’d like some food please”. That’s basically what you are doing if you don’t talk about the kind of sex you want to have! It doesn’t make sense that if you would really love a cheeseburger but got served dry crust, you just keep eating bread crumbs because you are too embarrassed! No! Talk to each other, and before you know it, you could be enjoying something way better.
This happens all the time in therapy. Couples will come in who have been together for years and they haven’t talked about their sexual fantasies and desires. It might be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but you might be surprised what your partner is willing to try.
#3: MORE sex
Sex often times becomes a landmine of sorts in relationships. When something happens to make it “bad” or difficult, the subject often becomes loaded and people avoid talking about it with their partners. In cases like this, wounds can scab over and become really solid impasses in relationships. It’s important to talk about your fears, needs, and insecurities so that you can address them with your partner. Many people find opening up to their partner to be a relieving experience and the worry is often worse than actually talking about it. This is a hard one that a lot of people struggle with in couples therapy: being able to come to a place where they can say something like “I’m feeling ugly and I think you might think I’m unattractive” rather than holding it in, which is often no better than fully believing that your partner thinks you’re unattractive.
Dealing with all of this can alleviate those worries, and eventually lead to partners having sex again/more sex. Preferences vary greatly, but generally speaking, this is a sign of improvement and leads to a stronger, healthier relationship.
#4: Sex Talk is Sexy
It may not feel like it if you are new to being so vocal about your sexual needs and desires, but as your comfort level rises, so does the amount of fun you can have when being communicative about sex. Talking about sex can be frank, earnest, vulnerable, and even scary, yes, but once you and your partner/s have come to a place of confidence and comfort, you can level up to having a lot exciting, enticing, and fun conversations/communications. Going back to number 3: being able to communicate what you want goes a long way to getting it (!), and being able to do so in a fun flirtatious way goes a long way towards our biggest reason communication is key in all areas of life, reason #5….
Whether it be playful, flirtatious, or serious, whatever communication you have about sex (or any topic!) brings you closer to your partner/s. Being able to be open and discuss topics that are sensitive shows how close you are. And the more you talk about things that require you to be vulnerable, the closer you become. This is not to say you necessarily have to share every single thought that pops into you head (thinking of people who are not comfortable with certain topics here), but it means just engaging with each other, more, often, and yes on topics you may have trouble with. Be gentle and understanding if there are certain boundaries that each person needs respected. Be excited to learn more about each other and to grow by seeing things from another person’s perspective. Most of all, be open and kind to each other. Also be open to the idea that people are not static beings. We change over time, and your partner might be more open to something now that they weren’t open to ten years ago.
We hope this list of ideas helps people to be thoughtful and reflective of their own relationships and how they are intimate with each other. Hopefully we encourage people to get talking and having fun regarding their sex lives!
After having shared our top 5 reasons talking about sex is important and encouraging you to talk about sex more with your partner, it occurs to us that it’s also important to share some things you should not do when talking about sex with your partner:
3) Use the phrase “like a real man” or “like a woman”
4) Try to force anything your partner is uncomfortable with
5) Ridicule or tease your partner in a mean way about anything they open up to you about.
It can be awkward, but talk about sex!
Here are some Resources to get you started!
With the goal of helping people get started in their conversations, here are a few links to resources that can help you get talking/ finding the tools you need.
This isn’t necessarly just sexually focused per se, but it is definitely relevant! And like we said above, sexual intimacy and overall intimacy are completely related and affect each other! The five love languages concept is a great one for building intimacy/becoming more aware of your partner’s needs, and Joe already wrote a blog post all about it, over on his personal web site. If you want to learn more, check it out!
As is hopefully well known, Planned Parenthood is an amazing resource for all things sexual health. If you are needing products like birth control, condoms, or testing for STD’s or STI’s, they are phenomenal (and on a local note, the offices in Roseville off Sunrise and Sacramento near the capital have always been super awesome in our experience!).
These guys have a lot of fun and frank talk on sex, and a TON of information on sex products such as toys, lotions, etc. They also have a new book that looks to be a great primer for newbies, called Drawn to Sex.
This is a local store that has helpful staff and a wide variety of products, if you are looking for a local source.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues related to sex or couples issues, consider checking out our listings of therapists who specialize in couples therapy, sex therapy, non-traditional relationships, and sex positive therapy.