Part of the Better Sex Series

Throughout all of my work with couples, I continue to be surprised at two things. No one seems to know how to talk about sex. And as if that weren’t bad enough, no one seems to know what good sex is.

Once I started noticing these two common threads, I was no longer surprised that so many couples unsuccessfully spend hours, months, years at home agonizing over how to improve their sex life. So I’m going to let you in on a secret. What are the two things that will stand in the way between you and better sex? Surprise surprise! Learning how to talk about sex and learning what good sex means to you and your partner.

You may think this doesn’t apply to you but stick with me here. Most of the couples who come into my office say they are here because:

  • They argue all the time.
  • They feel less connected than they used to.
  • They say they love each other but are not in love anymore.
  • They don’t feel important to their partner.
  • They don’t know how to compromise.
  • They don’t know how to communicate.
  • They don’t know how to recover from an affair.
  • They don’t feel happy anymore.
  • They feel dissatisfied with the quality/quantity of sex in their relationship.
  • They are having trouble adjusting to a major life change.
  • They feel like their relationship lacks the honesty and communication it used to have.
  • They want to improve their relationship skills to prevent problems in the future.
  • They don’t know how to handle the role of stress, anxiety, and/or depression in their partnership.

Look at that list one more time. While only one of those concerns specifically addresses sex, every single one of them impacts the sexual relationship, physical affection, and intimacy within a partnership. Do you see it? How about if we rephrase them a little?

  • We have less sex when we argue all the time.
  • Feeling less connected to you makes me less interested in sex.
  • We had more sex when we were “in love” – it seems like the passion is gone.
  • I don’t want to give you sex if I don’t feel important to you.
  • When we can’t compromise, I feel like we’re always against each other and that’s not very sexy.
  • You don’t listen when I tell you what I want in bed – help me know what to say to you.
  • When I start to feel in the mood, I think of the affair and I just can’t anymore.
  • I don’t feel like sex when I don’t feel happy – or when I don’t feel good in my body.
  • I don’t understand why you don’t want sex as much now as you used to when nothing has changed.
  • I know it’s been three months since we had the baby, but I just don’t feel like a sexual being anymore. It’s like I can’t turn the “mom” off.
  • Ever since you lied to me, it’s like my body just closes up when you ask for sex.
  • Teach me what you want more of – it’s really important to me that we can talk about this if something comes up later.
  • I feel so anxious and stressed that I can’t seem to get excited about anything. It’s not that I don’t want you, I just don’t remember how to want you.

Each of these comments has actually come up in counseling. Sometimes, in the therapy office, we have these beautiful small moments where, in just one statement, everything is different. We may not understand why we argue so much and how stressful it is to us until we discover that it even impacts our ability to connect physically with our partner. And what if, when we aren’t connecting physically, we argue even more? It could be a wicked cycle!

If you can relate to any of the comments or areas of difficulty above, know that you’re in the right place. There is a tremendous amount of healing that can happen in a relationship when we bring sex and intimacy into the discussion – even though these are the two things we like to (falsely) think will just work themselves out.

So maybe this means it’s time to start learning how to talk about sex. Stay tuned for more articles in the Better Sex Series to learn how to bring sex into your own discussions at home. Read more here about the importance of intimacy and the ability to talk about sex.

Get these helpful articles in your inbox.