Ask "what works for us?" What are the "default" normal's that are present in your relationship that don't work? For example, it may be better to strive for less sex of a higher quality, than have more sex of a mediocre or poor quality.
3. Don't use "excuse" normal to blow off your partner's complaints. When a partner brings up something that bothers them about sex, it's really important not to respond with a "but everyone else does it this way" attitude.
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Common blow off attitudes:
o "Guys all use porn and if they say they don't they are lying!"
o "Men have physical needs, and woman have emotional needs!"
o "It's normal for sex to go away after a baby comes."
o "Men are very visual."
o "Women take a long time to get warmed up."
o "I've never had complaints before."
When you use "but it's normal" to answer your partner's complaints it sends the message that your partner's feelings don't matter. When your partner raises a concern, complains, or gets angry about sex, it's time to look at options beyond normal.
Find your normal:
Ask this question: "I hear that this part of our sex life isn't working for you, what can we do about it?"
4. Don't use "stereotype" normal to make a complaint or label your partner. Expressing your complaint using stereotypes can make it difficult to work through concerns you have about your partner. That's because stereotypes are based on assumptions that may or may not be true.
o "It's not normal for a guy not to want sex every day, especially this early in the relationship!"
o " I can't believe you don't think about and want sex everyday!
o "It's like our roles are reversed and I'm the guy."
o "I know that if you aren't having sex with me, then you must be getting it somewhere else."
Find your normal:
Express your complaints by starting with your feelings about what you experience:
o "I am not enjoying this part of our sex life, let's find something that works for both of us."
o "I don't like it when we wait until we climb in bed and the lights are off to start sex."
o "I don't like it when you wake me up in the morning."
o "I don't like that you don't initiate sex."
Your normal is the best place to start on the path to feeling great about sex!
Want help finding your normal?
Dr. Lisa Terrell can help. If you would like to explore how to feel better about yourself sexually, we invite you to try the E-Sensual Woman program. It's affordable and convenient and available in online, hard copy or in-office classes. Extensive men's programs for healthy sexuality also available.
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