How to Increase Communication in the Bedroom
Center for Growth / Marriage Counseling in Philadelphia
While you may find your current sex life to be working for you and your partner's sexual needs, at the end of the day you may be wondering, “Could there be more?” The answer is of course! Of course there can be more options for your sex life. Or there may be something that you don't like at all, and want to change it. For example, your partner tends to bite your ear during sex; you hate it and don't find it remotely sexy, but you don't know how to make it stop. In order to embark on this journey of sexual communication, you need your partner to be on board with you, which means you need to initiate dialogue about what you want out of your sexual relationship. Finding the right approach, and the right time to strike up such a conversation can be difficult.
Strike While the Iron is Cold
Avoid bringing up sensitive issues, especially conversations involving your sex life during already heated moments. Whether you are planning to discuss new sexual activities to try, or asking to include props, or to discontinue a type of sexual behavior, try and address your interests and concerns during a time free of other conflicts or issues. Try and choose an opportunity where you have the luxury of time, and you have plenty of time to talk. The less feelings of judgment, and the more feeling of open communication and acceptance, the better. An effective approach may be identifying a calmer moment, such as using post-sex pillow talk as an opportunity to talk about what you both liked and disliked about the sex you just had. Commenting on how much you just enjoyed the sex, and asking your partner what they liked about it would be a great way to initiate a conversation about your sex life. Whether you pick pillow talk, or cooking dinner together as an opportunity to discuss your sex life, the key is to pick a moment when you are both with your guards down, calm, and in a positive mindset. You want to have time to prepare and gather your thoughts in order to share your ideas in the most positive and non judgmental way possible. Avoid other distractions, or opportunities to bundle your issues into one big discussion. Make sure sex is taking a priority in your conversation, and is the only topic between you and your partner at that moment.
Glass Half Full
When presenting new ideas and desires to your partner, start with what you already like, for example, “what turns me on is: (fill in the blank)” and what he/she is doing right. Avoid using such a discussion for addressing the flaws and the criticisms you have with your partner. To use the ear biting example,try saying, “What I enjoyed most about the ear biting is that you focus on my outer ear where I am most sensitive, it would be exciting for you to try touching my ear five different ways.” Or, “Can you keep doing things experimental? It's exciting not knowing what you're going to try next.” Another approach could include, “I can't wait till you try something with my belly button.” By using this approach, you're giving your partner new ideas while giving a compliment. The important piece of giving this kind of feedback is that you are telling a story about what you like. For example, “My favorite part is when you focus on the outer part of my ear.” Note that you are leaving out the negative. Your silence speaks volumes. Focus on what you like that he does that involves your ear, without bluntly stating “I don't like when you bite.” Give your partner compliments you can stand behind. The more positive focus your partner receives about what he/she is doing right, the more frequently he/she will do those acts for/to you. Compliments help our self-esteem and confidence, especially when it comes to compliments about our bedroom skills. The goal here is for both of you to feel sexy and confident enough to experiment sexually and find new pleasurable activities that the two of you can add to your sexual repertoire.
If your partner is doing something that is painful or uncomfortable, absolutely speak up. In this instant, be clear and specific when addressing the pain. For example, if the ear biting hit a nerve or your partner bit too hard, in that moment you can immediately say “ouch, that hurts when you bite the tip of my ear like that, don't bite my ear.” Once you have expressed your pain, move on at that point, do not add on to the negativity or insult your partner. Keep it technical and short.
Keeping It Fresh
If you want to keep things interesting, and keep all possibilities open, you can code your request by saying something like, “Let's go up and talk in bed.” Or, a request like, “Let's go watch a movie in bed.” Maybe you and your partner will have a really great in-depth conversation about emotions and the future, maybe you will find a great new movie to watch. Or, maybe your expectations will change from wanting conversation, to wanting hot, unplanned sex. Sometimes no expectations are the best expectations. Being less direct and less specific about wanting or having sex sometimes can be a huge turn on, especially for couples heavily into a routine and lack surprise on a day to day basis. However you code it, whatever you call it, and however you get it, in the end that is all determined by you and your partner.
With the use of striking when the iron is cold, and viewing and stating things from a more half full perspective, you will have a better opportunity for your partner to fully hear your message without finding distractions in your content. Keeping it fresh with your partner will not only keep you both on your toes, and better avoid things becoming routine in the bedroom, but it will remind both of you that intimacy and sex are fun, especially when you get creative!
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