Let's talk about SEX!
Just saying that word, “sex”, can be scary for many of us. Whether it’s family training, religious training, media (TV, movies, social media), there are a lot of expectations and ideas about what is wrong and right about sex. It can be very confusing to reconcile your personal feelings (that you might have labeled as right or wrong) with the plethora of messages in our families and culture about sex.
How many parents have “the talk” with their children? In my experience this seems to be less common these days due to the fear that some parents have that talking about sex will encourage their children to have it. (Research shows that this is in fact usually the opposite of the truth.) And of those parents who have that talk, how many are comfortable or informed themselves? Instead, what happens is that younger people frequently learn about sex from friends (who might or might not know what they’re talking about), or from strangers – in other words, on line.
Why do I bring this up? Because regardless of who you are, or what sexual experience you have, if you are in a sexual relationship it’s time to talk about sex with your partner. Typically, when we start a new sexual relationship (and I’m assuming two consenting adults here), our libidos take over and it’s pretty good. With time, however, and age, the joy of sex and the frequency of activity may drop off. Or it might not.
In my limited sample of clients, I find that when couples have conversations about sex, their sex lives improve. Why? I believe it’s because talking about sex with someone we trust makes it less scary. Sharing some of our thoughts and desires with our partners helps us understand better what we each want and it helps us feel like we are doing it together and on the same team.
However, I’m not advocating that you share all of your thoughts and desires about sex with your partner. (In her book, Mating in Captivity, the author, Esther Perel, talks about mystery being part of what makes things erotic, and I think she might have a point.) What I am encouraging is that you have regular conversations about sex with your partner with the goal of making it a comfortable topic.
Here are some ways to start your conversations about sex:
1. Do a sex survey together. There are plenty on line. I frequently recommend one that is designed for teens but I think can be useful for adults of any age. LINK HERE.
2. Visit a “sex shop”. Here in LA, there are places like The Pleasure Chest. In San Francisco, there was a great place called Good Vibrations.
3. Talk about your sexual histories with each other. What did you enjoy? What do you find most attractive about your partner?