Talking About Sex with Your Partner
Many of us spend a lot of time and energy hoping to find Mr. Right. We also imagine that when we find him, the sex will always and automatically be fabulous. When we first meet someone new, we often feel so much passion that the specifics of what we are doing don’t matter all that much. Sooner or later the novelty starts to wear off and we find ourselves wishing he would do things a little differently. Or maybe this guy is wonderful in just about every way…except for your connection in bed. What do you do?
You’ve got a right to express your desires. Getting most of your wants and needs met is important in a relationship. Still, effective communication in the bedroom is different from talking about other stuff. Its one thing to have your partner tell you that he doesn’t approve of the way you stack dishes in the dishwasher; it’s quite another to hear that he doesn’t care for the way you do oral sex.
In intimate matters our hearts are closer to the surface. Feelings get bruised more easily. Handled poorly, he ends up feeling incompetent as a lover and you feel like a cad. This is not the way to get what you want in bed!
One thing to keep in mind is that for most of us, our lover is the scariest person in the world. If you are having casual nookie with someone and he doesn’t like what you are doing, it’s generally no big deal. It’s very different with a lover. Truth is, you probably care about what he thinks of you more than you care about anyone else’s opinion. If you aren’t pleasing him you can find yourself feeling pretty upset with yourself. Your partner is scary to you not because he’s a bad guy, but because you are invested in him and really care what he thinks.
It is important to understand that you cannot read his mind and he can’t read yours. You may feel absolutely certain you know what he’s thinking – what feels good to him, what turns him on – but you don’t know for certain unless he tells you. Believing that your partner would know what you like “if he really loved you” is to set yourself up for big disappointments.
Ask him if he likes what you are doing. Better yet, stop what you are doing and whisper the question in his ear. Make your question sexy. Instead of clinically asking his preference for something, try doing your best and then cooing “do you like that, handsome?”
If you would really like your lover to try doing something differently, be sweet in the way that you ask. Keep it positive. “Oh baby, I’d love it even more if you did this….” Then show him what you want. Smile, be encouraging and don’t require perfection from him. When you find your partner doing something that you like, let him know. This isn’t about faking an orgasm; it’s more about letting your pleasure be big and obvious enough so that you are sharing it with him. When we share our pleasure with someone we care about, the pleasure often becomes bigger still.
If the two of you have a serious problem to talk about, keep it out of the bedroom. Have the discussion elsewhere at a time and in a place where you can give each other your undivided attention. Keep the bedroom reserved for lovemaking and sleeping.
Want to try something new? Exploring new interests with a partner can be lots of fun. It also requires sensitivity from each of you. Trying a new erotic activity can feel a little awkward at first, but broadening your sexual repertoire can keep things interesting. Don’t rush. Don’t laugh at your partner – even if he sounds funny saying “Who’s your Daddy?” (Laughing at yourself is OK.)
Finally, keep in mind that it is that it is in your best interest to help your partner feel like a great lover. Psychologists understand that punishing a behavior decreases how often it occurs while rewarding a behavior increases its frequency. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So don’t punish your partner by criticizing the way he makes love. Doing that may make him uninterested in sex with you at all, resulting in a serious case of bed death.
Let him know he’s a great lover and you’ll make it much more likely that he will keep his interest in sex with you. Make some noise when you make love to give him clues about what you are experiencing. Tell him you love it when he does something you like. Compliment him on the way he looks, on how sexy you find him.
Look at him with the eyes of a lover, not a critic. Even if you wish he would spend more time at the gym, there are probably many things you can compliment him about. Let him know you appreciate him sexually – not in a demanding or manipulative way, but in a genuine way that helps him understand your attraction to him.
A caveat here: some guys who are very well-endowed report that they are often treated as nothing more than a life-support system for their ample equipment. Almost everyone likes having his pride and joy admired, but don’t let it stop there. Let the big guy know that you think he has a great butt, or that his chest is the sexiest torso you’ve ever seen. Watch his eyes light up!
I have been licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years. My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression. My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships.
I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems. My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate. If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.
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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions. It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist. I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.