Can it be awkward to talk to your spouse about your sex? Absolutely! We all want to think that we have everything figured out sexually and that our spouses are completely satisfied. Many couples enter into a marriage expecting that things in the bedroom will just happen or have a way of working themselves out. Obviously, this is not always the case.
I often ask couples to look at it from this perspective: Would you rather endure a few possibly uncomfortable conversations or a lifetime of being unhappy or unsatisfied in your sex life? By following these suggestions and opening dialogue between you and your spouse, you can assure you are moving intimacy in a more enjoyable and fulfilling direction for both of you.
What Are You Comfortable With?
We all have different expectations about what will happen in the sexual experience
It is very important to discuss what you are and are not comfortable with ahead of time. Understand that your spouse’s fears and concerns may be very different from yours. Be open and willing to hear your spouse, as well as be honest with them about your comfort. Make sure that you stick to any boundaries that you set.
What are you feeling?
If you feel uncomfortable during sex, make sure you tell your spouse in a gentle yet firm manner at that moment. Allow your spouse to understand that it is safe for them to do the same. Remember that it needs to be talked about after sex is over, not during sex! Make sure you are expressive about what it was specifically that was not okay for you, and how it made you feel. Keep in mind that if you don’t set boundaries, it can lead to the continued buildup of anger, resentment, and lack of fulfillment.
How Much is Enough?
Men and women often have different baselines when it comes to the frequency of sex.
Make sure to talk to your spouse about what you both need on a weekly basis. Don’t stress out if you don’t meet that magic number of times every week, but don’t be indifferent either. Do your best as a couple to arrange for times alone if spontaneous sex is difficult.
Don’t allow the frequency of sex to become an added stressor.
Remember that your need for sex is not always going to match your spouse’s all the time. If you are the spouse with the larger sex drive, be cautious not to harass or bombard your partner. If you are the spouse with the lower sex drive, don’t reject your spouse every time. Learn to negotiate and compromise as a means of communication.
Meeting Each Other’s Needs
Men and women often approach sex with different emotional and physical needs.
For men, it can be purely physical at times, with a need to release built up stress and tension. For women, it often is about the emotional connection. When these different needs meet in the bedroom, it is very easy for one partner’s needs to get met while the other lays there, not saying anything, but completely unsatisfied with the sexual experience. Understand what intimacy means to your spouse and ensure that you are doing whatever is necessary to meet their needs.
Don’t assume that your partner always has the same need sexually every time you have sex.
There will be times when men want to have sex for the emotional connection or to feel close, and there will be times that women want to be fulfilled physically. Sometimes sex can be tender and healing, other times it can be playful. Stating your need before you initiate sex will help to clarify to your spouse what you want from them this time. Allow them to do the same.
It’s Not Always About You!
Talk about trying new things that could help your spouse find sex more enjoyable.
Implement lingerie, novelties, new techniques or positions. Take sex out of the bedroom and into another room. Surprise your spouse with flowers, a small gift, a card, or a nice dinner. Try to spice things up outside of your sex life. You may just find that it has a positive effect on intimacy!
Keep in mind that although sex is something we crave and desire, going in with an “All about me” attitude is not healthy.
Try to change your approach and think about your partner. Focus your energy on making them feel good physically and emotionally. Make sex about “giving” to your spouse. You may see, that over time, they feel more wanted and satisfied, which in turn may motivate them to give back to you as well. It’s a win-win situation!
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.