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5 tips for talking about sex with your spouse

POSTED: June 1, 2014 9:00 a.m.
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Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won't be an end. Anthony Robbins.

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Doesn't it seem odd that, despite society's focus on sex and all its depictions in the media, it's still difficult to talk about it with your spouse? Somehow it seems taboo to have an open and honest conversation about it, even though it's an integral part of your relationship. If you're in this boat, you're not alone. Many people, especially women, have a hard time communicating with their spouse about their sexual experiences and desires.
Oprah.com consulted sex therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, to find out what she suggests to help couples work out their intimacy issues. She said, "You'd think we'd all be open, relaxed, and comfortable with [sex], but the opposite is actually true. We talk about it on the surface a lot, but in our own homes and in our bedrooms with our partners, and even with ourselves, we have this image that nice girls aren't entitled to their sexual response." That image is wrong, obviously. Girls are just as capable of having a pleasurable sexual experience as men.
Be willing to be vulnerable
The first step in being completely truthful on this subject with your spouse is to open yourself up to vulnerability. This requires being able to trust yourself and your spouse with things you've never talked about before. Be willing to bare yourself (literally and figuratively) forgetting any imperfections you think you may have. Your spouse loves you and won't care about those things anyway.
Know a little anatomy
How will you be able to explain what you like, dislike or want from your spouse if you don't understand how your own body works? Do a little research, explore yourself a little and then start a conversation with your spouse about what you learned. Choose a quiet time of day when you're unlikely to be interrupted. If you're alone with him or the kids are in bed, maybe you could give him a little anatomy lesson of his own. . . Here are 6 ways to stir up your love life.
Give him feedback
Guys like to be told what they do well. Don't we all? So begin the conversation with a compliment, telling him what you like about having sex with him. If you just jump right in to all the things you need him to do differently, he might feel like he's been unable to satisfy you in the past. Be gentle with his feelings, as you'd like him to be with yours. Guys can feel vulnerable discussing this subject, too.
Don't be too serious
Sex isn't supposed to be serious, solemn business. It's about fun, intimacy and love. It's all right to make mistakes and laugh at yourself. Sometimes a dose of humor is what you need to relax and really enjoy the experience. Nothing is more damaging to a healthy sexual response than stress or tension. Here are some ways to help your spouse get "in the mood."
Understand it's a learning process
Things won't instantly be better after one conversation about sex. Remember this will be an ongoing process as you each come to know one another better. Your guy will still make mistakes along the way, but those are just opportunities to explain yourself better and you'll grow closer together as you problem-solve.
Pleasure from sex isn't a one-way street. Women are just as capable as men of having a fulfilling, satisfying intimate experience. Men don't automatically know what to do, though, so it's up to you to teach him what you like. Every woman is different, and there's no perfect way from point A to point B, but with patience and love, you'll find talking about sex will get easier and easier. And of course, you both will enjoy yourselves more, too.
Contact Katie Nielsen at nielsen.katiec@gmail.com

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