Couples Communication: Sharing Your Sexual Needs

“We know the importance of good communication, but for whatever reason, we never talk about sex.” ~Daniel, married four years

Most of the couples who come to see me for couples counseling realize, before they even walk into my office, that effective communication is an important part of a healthy marriage or relationship. They realize that the communication process has broken down, but they feel like they cannot change the negative interactional patterns that are feeding defensiveness and obstructing the emotional openness needed for a fulfilling emotional connection.

But I’ve also noticed that even when couples are able to shift these negative patterns and begin connecting emotionally, many couples do not transfer their newly-acquired communication skills into the bedroom.

In other words, even couples who communicate well aren’t necessarily talking about sex and their sexual needs. As a result, sexual intimacy can suffer.

Sexual Intimacy: Making Your Sexual Needs Known

Sex is inherently a multidimensional sensory experience, with all the senses stimulated and alive at different times during the sexual experience:

  • Touch and a wide range of physical sensations;

  • The scent and smell of your partner;

  • Taste through kissing, licking and oral stimulation;

  • The different sounds of pleasuring each other, as well as any direct verbalization of your experience and needs;

  • And, of course, visual experience.

This can act as a blueprint for sexual communication:

Would you like more talk during sex (auditory stimulation)?

More touch in general or a different kind of touch/physical stimulation (physical sensations)?

Would you like your partner to wear a particular type of sexy clothing or perfume/cologne (visual and/or olfactory stimulation)?

Would you change the amount/kind of kissing and oral stimulation during sex play (the oral/taste experience of sex)?

As you and your partner discuss your sexual desires and needs, keep in mind the importance of effective communication and approach these issues in a sensitive and gentle manner. Remember, focus on your needs and what you’d like, rather than focusing on what your partner is currently failing to give you. And of course be likewise open to discovering your partner’s specific needs as well.

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