You Can't Have Great Sex Without Great Conversation


Arousal starts with a deep and meaningful connection.

Sex is confusing. Is it mostly about lust and a search for the Big O? Is it just Nature's trick to get us to reproduce? Is it an addiction? From working with couples, I have learned that what we really need to remember about sex is that we call it "making love" for a very good reason. In mammals who rear young, sex is a bonding behavior. The emotional connection in sex is not the icing on the cake; it's what creates the sense of safety that allows for spontaneity, openness and erotic play.

If we think of sex as bonding, it helps us to have better sex and better relationships. We must remember that:


When lovers have a long term loving relationship that is also "hot" it is almost certainly NOT because they read magazines like Cosmopolitan for sex tips or collect baskets of sex toys and dress up clothes. The kinds of techniques offered in magazines, like making love on top of the dryer in full spin, will more likely end up in awkward laughter or even physical injury rather than in sexual connection. Research on bonding and sex is clear: those of us who get caught in focusing just on sensation and performance are missing out on the dimension of sex that really makes it work — the emotional connection. Then we end up looking for passion in the wrong place.

Evidence shows that securely bonded couples, who are more open to each other emotionally, have more sex and enjoy it more. Their sex life has the most powerful force of all behind it — the longing for emotional connection. The way we deal with this longing determines how we make love. If we shut this longing down, we move into detached, emotionless sex. This is a bit like dancing without music. No wonder we then need bizarre positions and a truck load of sex toys to get things going.

When couples learn to open up and share emotionally and respond to each other`s emotions, their sex life improves. They can share their sexual needs, fantasies and insecurities. When sex isn't the way you want it to be, the first place to look is at your emotional connection and how to tune into each other on this level. You could start by each writing out one thing that you want the other as your lover to know about you and your sexuality.

Unlike in the movies, most people have  sexual issues and sensitivities. Sex is like everything else — sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We all hit times when we feel less desirable or less aroused. Maybe fatigue or health problems play a part. If we expect every sex act to be a symphony that leaves both partners on the ceiling, we are going to be mightily disappointed.

One of the main reasons securely attached lovers report better sex lives is that they can be open and communicate when things are working and when they are not working. Often a sexual problem is really just a communication problem. For instance, if the man loses his erection, instead of shutting his partner out because he is embarrassed, the couple should talk about ways to work through it. Sarah tells Tom, "It doesn't bother me if you lose some of your erection sometimes. I know how stressed you have been. I can come close and help you get turned on again. But if you shut down and turn away and refuse to talk then I get upset and we are stuck."  Sarah reassures Tom. They come together as a team, and find their way back to great lovemaking again.

Jack tells me, "I didn't realize that Kim's need to be held and to talk before sex was all about her feeling really safe with me and opening up to me. That this was like foreplay for her. Once I got that she needed to know where I was and how I was feeling and so she could let go with me, I found that talking for a while wasn't so bad." When a couple comes together as a team, they can find their way back to great lovemaking again.

We know now that if we take a little time and learn to share our emotions, we can have lust and love and passion and play with our partner. We just have to learn to turn on the emotional music.

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Article contributed by

Dr. Sue Johnson, Professor


Sue Johnson

ICEEFT Website

Upcoming Apperances 

Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Family Support
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