Andrea Monteverdi is a sex and life coach with a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. Andrea has a background in behavior therapy with children but found her true passion for working with adult individuals and couples who are looking to improve the overall quality of their lives and relationships. She recognizes the important role intimacy and sex play in the lives of her clients and works alongside them at their pace to help them reach their goals. Andrea’s warm personality and the sense of openness she brings into sessions allow people to open up and explore parts of themselves they may not have ventured to do before. Coaching is a present, solution-focused approach aimed at incorporating new functional ways of interacting with the world around you.
So how does one begin to broach the subject of sex with a new partner or in a long-standing relationship? Sex is one of the most intimate and sometimes vulnerable domains we enter into, so it’s natural that we may feel a sense of shyness or hesitation when wanting to initiate a conversation about our sexual desires. Here are a few tips to help you get started with a sex talk:
Timing and Setting Matter
Let’s first look at some common timing errors. Imagine you’ve just finished having sex with your partner and then mere moments later they bombard you with comments about what an unsatisfactory experience it was. Your ego may end up bruised and the opportunity for continued connection, nuzzled in bed together, is likely gone. Another scenario to avoid is initiating the conversation in the midst of an argument. When emotions are running high, we are less likely to express ourselves in a caring way which frequently leads to the true message we were trying to convey, being lost.
Now let’s focus on functional times and settings to begin communicating your desires. Picking a neutral zone will keep guards at bay and avoid tarnishing the sexy aura of the bedroom. Perhaps during a car ride with your partner, while on a walk, or in a shared space like the living room. In regards to when, choose a time that you are both feeling at ease and comfortable. Being clear-minded and in good spirits will help to ensure that your message is being received in the way you are intending to convey it.
Avoid Definitives like “Never” and “Always”
When trying to communicate desires to your partner, try to think of how you would feel if they were saying those words to you. If your partner says you NEVER hug them anymore, you will probably shrug off their comment as being untrue because you recall a time earlier this week when you hugged, but in reality, they’re trying to tell you that being embraced in your arms is something they would like more of. Avoiding words like “never” and “always” will help your partner really hear what you’re trying to say to them.
Positive Framing Goes a Long Way
This is a key piece of our communication breakdown! Framing your sentence structure to be positive as opposed to negative will make your partner’s ears perk up to listen instead of shutting down as a way of protecting themselves. Instead of saying “you don’t kiss my neck anymore” try saying “I really like it when you kiss my neck.” Focusing on your likes instead of your dislikes reinforces the behaviors your partner does to ultimately increase the frequency. Another tactic to consider using is recalling a past sexual encounter with your partner that brought you genuine pleasure. Emphasize the parts that made the experience so enjoyable and explain why it had such a lasting effect on you. If you’re hoping to explore your partner’s fantasies, it may be helpful to share one of your own first. Additionally, remember that a fantasy can remain a fantasy, it doesn’t have to play out in reality, and that in itself can be an erotic source for you both. Sharing sexual desires and pleasures with one another is an essential piece in expanding your erotic repertoire together as a couple.
Fun, Not Forced
Remember, talking about sex can feel uncomfortable when it isn’t part of the usual dialogue so be mindful to be gentle, clear, and open. The good news is that like any other skill, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes. I encourage you to view this as an exciting opportunity for you and your partner to explore new facts of your sexual relationship while learning more about how each of you experiences pleasure. It may feel scary if your partner introduces wanting to engage in a new sexual activity that you have not done before so take your time to learn about it and try it if you feel comfortable doing so – you may just surprise yourself. Consent, communication, and connection are sexy!
If you still are feeling unsure of how to go about having a conversation regarding sex with your partner, sex coaches and sex therapists are a great resource. A trained professional can help facilitate conversations and present new ideas that aim to bring satisfaction to the couple as a whole. Most of us were never taught the ins and outs of talking about sex in a mindful, productive way, but it’s never too late to learn!