Lets talk about sex

When we think and talk about sex, often the focus is about what’s going on in between our legs. When in fact we know that the biggest sex organ in the body is the brain, and one of the most critical ways of using it, is our mouths. So it’s no surprise that experts in the relationship therapy space constantly credit communication as a tool to improve your sex life. We are constantly searching for a magic formula for good sex, but the reality is that this isn’t a fixed concept, rather a group of concepts with communication leading the way.

So why do we all find it so hard to talk about sex?

There is such irony in the fact that often the hardest person to talk to about sex is the person that we are having it with; and that when sex changes in a relationship it is more common for it to be swept under the carpet than openly addressed. We aren’t equipped to have these conversations, they aren’t taught either explicitly or implicitly. It’s not a part of formal education and we rarely learn through trial and error, because as a society in general the dialogue isn’t in the mainstream. This further exacerbates where we feel that we are struggling as there is an absence of feeling that others are in the same boat, and what we hold is an assumed idea of sexuality, which to us, looks like everybody else has got it all worked out.

So often in therapy I hear phrases like, “I’ve never said this to anyone,” or, “I feel so embarrassed to say this,” and, “I just thought things would sort themselves out,” but nothing else in our lives changes, evolves or improves without at least a bit of attention and often some form of talking it out with another person. Our sex lives are a fine balance of being open, vulnerable and honest about our sexual preferences. To express ourselves sexually and to let go is to feel free of expectation; but that comes up to clash with intimacy, feeling close to someone and caring what they think about us. We fear the negative judgement of those we are closest to, and our sexual practices and preferences come into that. So how do we create the space to have these conversations?

Firstly, get comfortable with the topic of sex.

We are more afraid of what is unfamiliar and listening to others having these conversations can help us to gain in confidence without feeling under pressure. Listen to podcasts or Ted Talks in your own time, and notice what interests you, and what you deliberately avoid or feel uncomfortable with. This is a great example of how we can improve our sexual communication without feeling any pressure to act or do anything sexual. They can also provide a great springboard for a conversation with your partner, e.g. “I heard an interesting podcast today, shall I share it with you?”

The Sexual Wellness Sessions , Dr Karen Gurney Ted Talk, Diana Richardson Ted Talk , The Erotic Philosopher , Culture, Sex Relationships with Justin Hancock and Cosmopolitan’s All The Way With

Discuss a great conversation starter to talk about sex

Sex is also becoming much more commonplace in our homes with everything from Normal People to Bridgerton reportedly impacting the desires of their viewers, and this more normalised and public placement also helps to create a shift and sense of sex being positive and open, rather than negative and behind closed doors. The viewing figures say it all really. These are also great conversation starters, whether it’s with a partner, or even just more generally. With a partner we might invite the conversation after a sexy Netflix scene, “that looks like fun, would you ever be interested to try it?”

And we should also remember that within the context of all of this desire is responsive. This means that it is often triggered e.g. by touch, passionate kissing, eye contact, what we are watching, listening to or thinking about. So the nature of even having these conversations brings the topic of sex more into our consciousness and awareness, which can place us in a more sexually open and responsive mindset.

Work on your self life, it won’t happen on its own

Another important point to make here is that often and commonly in long-term relationships, we need to do this intentionally. Our sex lives don’t just magically maintain themselves they need us to nurture and pay attention to them. We have this myth that when it comes to sex and relationships that they should ‘just happen’, but when we apply that to other areas of our lives such as our careers, friendships or fitness, then we realise that we naturally work on them, and that expect to.

There is no ‘right way’ of doing all of this; the more important focus is finding the ‘right way for you’. Your sex life should be about fun, pleasure and connection and not feeling under pressure and that you are acting according to ‘shoulds’. There are so many ways to explore like sitting down together over a drink and looking at a sex toy website,   and talking about what you like the look of, and what you don’t. Logging into a platform like FrolicMe and looking at the sex videos together, or even just having on the volume in the background if you want to ease yourselves in. Audio erotic stories are another great way of sparking your imagination and creating curiosity. Don’t feel like you need to jump in at the deep end and change everything; instead, focus on variety and every time you have sex, change one thing. Lean into the senses which are your gateway to experience. Use an eye mask to close down the sense of sight which will heighten the others in response, play music or audio, change the lighting and play with textures on the skin, light candles or use functional fragrance – my recommendation is Love Sleep by This Works which is designed specifically for couples.

The more you try and explore, the more you will grow in confidence. Offer each other positive and affirming feedback about what you liked, and try not to criticise about what you didn’t, but instead focus on the act of what didn’t work for you, not on them as a person.

Unless we communicate, our partner can never truly know us sexually.

We aren’t mind readers, but this idea fits into the narratives that we have around sex and relationships that it just ‘should’ work, and this narrative gets in the way of so many people getting what they want.

So when it comes to our sex lives, one of the sexiest things we can actually do is learn is employ two of life’s basic skills: talking and listening.

About the author

Kate Moyle

Kate is a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist and Psycho-Sexologist, and host of The Sexual Wellness Sessions Podcast.

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WC Captcha − 7 = 2