Some practical tips on how to have clear conversations about sex are to follow:
Say what you mean and mean what you say
It is very important to say what you mean and mean what you say when communicating. Trying to protect the other person by saying that you enjoyed what you did not will only create confusion, frustration and mistrust. “I love it when you rub my breasts gently and prefer that to when you press harder” can be an example of how one can give feedback without being hurtful.
Don’t point fingers
Using “I” statements as opposed to pointing fingers is also very important as it takes away the blame. Remember that you are both stating what you enjoy because you want your time together to be more fun and connecting for both. One might want to say “I would really like to see your face and body when we are being intimate. What do you think if we have some very low light in the next room to start with instead of pitch black darkness?” instead of “You are shy and because you want pitch black I can’t see anything…” To start with, it might feel mechanical to talk this way but once you get used to it you will realise that you are moving away from blame and guilt and towards a more partnership type of discussion.
Make time to talk about yourselves
Another very important tip is to spend time talking about the relationship. Find some time during the week when both are relaxed, away from the TV and just talk about yourselves as a couple. It’s important to talk about the relationship regularly and not only when things are going wrong or to discuss the washing, food, children, money, and all the other functional things that are equally important. Talking about yourselves as a couple reminds you that you are loved and taken care of. It also helps emotional intimacy which does help physical intimacy.
– Matthew Bartolo is a counsellor specialising in Sex & Relationships. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples, and runs the sex education services within Willingness. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.