Must#3 for Great Sex: Talk to each other other! Communicate!

statue-of-couple-talking-photo-by-indrasensi-flickr

In previous weeks, I introduced Must#1 and Must#2 for Great Sex. Now for Must#3: Talk to each other!

Blah, blah, blah. I know, how many times have you heard about the importance of talking to your partner about sex? The thing is – it is completely true.

In one study, women who had difficulty having an orgasm were significantly more likely to be in a relationship in which they and their partners found it hard to communicate about certain types of sex. Can you guess which kind? Basically, types of sex that involved clitoral stimulation such as cunnilingus, hand stimulation of the clitoris or intercourse positions that focus on clitoral stimulation (more on those in a forthcoming post).  Other research shows that communication is key not only to orgasm but also to pleasure, satisfaction and reducing relationship conflict. It’s an all-around picker-upper when it comes to sex.

I cannot tell you how many women and men I’ve heard from who simply do not talk to their partners about their feelings and preferences related to sex. How else will he know that you’re uncomfortable (or excited!) about his porn collection unless you tell him? Or that doggie style feels a little too close for comfort for your cervix, but missionary or side-saddle does it oh-so-beautifully? Or that the thing he or she does with their tongue is, how to say, positively divine? That’s right: we must talk with our partners.

Timing is everything. When it comes to sex talks, try to keep them out of the bedroom. Find a time when you’re both unlikely to be interrupted by roommates, neighbors, Gossip Girl or a Fantasy League draft and let your partner know that you’d like to have a sex chat. Start by praising the great things you love about your sex life, and when you feel comfortable, address one or two things you’d like to change. Be gentle about it – and not accusatory or blaming. Most people feel vulnerable or insecure about their sex lives, and it’s important to handle one’s sex partner with care. For tips, check out For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy by Dr. Lonnie Barbach.

[Originally published in my weekly column at CheekyChicago.com]

[Photo by indrasensi, via their Flickr photostream.]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • JH

    It seems so simple. Yet, for some, so hard

  • JH

    It seems so simple. Yet, for some, so hard

  • http://www.early2bed.com/ searah

    I truly believe that no fancy trick or toy will make sex better than an honest conversation. As a sex shop owner, I have many customers who come and ask for the vibrator that will be best for their lover. When I ask what the lover likes, they have no idea, yet expect me, someone who has no intimate knowledge of said lover, to pick out a toy that will “drive her wild”. I try to help, but often suggest that they go back to their partner and talk about the issue before bring home a $80 sex toy that no one will use.

    People often scoff at the idea that communication is the key to a healthy & happy sex life, but the more I work around sex, the more I truly believe it is the only way. It is not as easy a buying something or learning a new technique, but it is well worth the potential awkwardness.

  • http://www.early2bed.com searah

    I truly believe that no fancy trick or toy will make sex better than an honest conversation. As a sex shop owner, I have many customers who come and ask for the vibrator that will be best for their lover. When I ask what the lover likes, they have no idea, yet expect me, someone who has no intimate knowledge of said lover, to pick out a toy that will “drive her wild”. I try to help, but often suggest that they go back to their partner and talk about the issue before bring home a $80 sex toy that no one will use.

    People often scoff at the idea that communication is the key to a healthy & happy sex life, but the more I work around sex, the more I truly believe it is the only way. It is not as easy a buying something or learning a new technique, but it is well worth the potential awkwardness.

  • Debby

    Absolutely. Toys are great complements to an enjoyable sex life, but without communication, there’s not much one can do. I’m so glad you’re out there educating people about sex through Early to Bed. Chicago is a better place because of you and your shop!

  • Debby

    Absolutely. Toys are great complements to an enjoyable sex life, but without communication, there’s not much one can do. I’m so glad you’re out there educating people about sex through Early to Bed. Chicago is a better place because of you and your shop!