Doing the deed. Making sweet love. Whatever you call it, the business of getting busy can be a sensitive discussion subject for you and your partner. Whether you’re hashing out a sticky situation in detail or are trying to figure out the best way to ask your partner for sex, some ways are better than others when it comes to approaching the conversation. The next time you broach the subject, steer clear of these six communication mistakes couples make when talking about sex.
1. Discussing sex right after the fact
The Wall Street Journal says unless you have good things to say, never discuss sex right after wrapping up. Instead, choose a place other than the bedroom (or wherever you were for the occasion), like in the kitchen while making dinner, on a walk, or taking a drive. Relocating to a place and time that isn’t so tied to sex will encourage a healthy, open conversation.
2. Disregarding your partner’s love language
Men’s Fitness chats with Gary Chapman, best-selling author of The Five Love Languages, about the importance of making your partner feel special. To do this, you need to put forth some effort. Chapman explains gifts, quality time, words of affirmation or compliments, acts of service, and physical touch are the five ways individuals can both give and receive love. It’s important not only to be aware of your partner’s love language, but also to be able to effectively communicate yours. It might take some experimenting, but the two of you will eventually find a method that works for both of you.
3. Asking what your partner wants without actually doing anything
It’s great to be vocal in bed, and when you’re actually in the act of passion, it can be beneficial for both you and your partner to openly express what you like don’t like. However, as mentioned in this Redbook article, it can be intimidating and even awkward if you ask your partner what he or she wants before the two of you are actually in an intimate situation. After all, how can they tell something feels good if they aren’t actually experiencing it? Instead, work on communicating during a moment of intimacy.
4. Failing to tell your partner you’re not in the mood
No, everyone can’t be in the mood all the time. It’s completely normal to just want to go to sleep when crawling into bed after a long, stressful day. But make sure you’re properly communicating this. Furthermore, if this becomes the norm in your relationship, it may be time to begin a bigger conversation. On the subject of “being in the mood,” Prevention talks about what’s called a hot-cold empathy gap, a theory developed by economist George Loewenstein. The idea is that people have two selves: a cold, clear-headed rational self, who decides they want to get intimate with their partner out of love. The other half is the hot, emotion-driven self, who lets the stresses of the day frustrate them to the point where they’re not interested in sexual activity. The story went on to say many people can find themselves interested again by simply choosing to listen to their more rational selves. If you’re truly not in the mood, just make sure you’re effectively communicating your feelings.
5. Telling your partner what he or she is doing wrong
If your partner does something that you don’t like, you have to find a way to communicate it. But remember, there’s a time, place, and tone for everything, and you’re both vulnerable when it comes to talking about sex. In this Oprah.com article, Dr. Laura Berman, a sex therapist, says that reacting in a positive way is key. “Don’t bring it up for the first time when you’re both getting started — bring it up when you’re both outside the bedroom where things maybe aren’t as tense or as vulnerable or as fragile,” Berman offered. Instead of focusing on what he or she is doing wrong, tell your partner what you actually enjoy. Each member of the relationship, regardless of gender, should choose their words wisely.
6. Forgetting to discuss different ways to mix things up
Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship that’s lasted longer than a month knows the importance of getting creative every once and a while. As relationships progress and people become more comfortable with each other, your sex life can become stale. To prevent bedroom boredom, it’s important you and your partner are able to discuss new ways to keep things spicy. Novelty is a healthy part of a person’s sex life. Dr. Michael Krychman, executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, tells Prevention, “Very often, low libido is just related to boredom with your partner or what you are actually doing — sex has become a routine script that can be played out without much thought or emotion.” The solution? Talk about trying something different. That can be everything from a new location to different position, so use your imagination.