First, let me dispel a few myths for you. Our lovely media, television and movie industries would have you believe that great sex just happens naturally. I am here to tell you that great sex can happen with communication and cooperation. We are not mind readers like good old Prince Charming appeared to be in Cinderella, nor are all women created equally, which Cinderella suggests by her passive acceptance of his gallant gestures. This is a sweet fairy tale, but obviously one-dimensional. In actuality, as sexual beings our expressions of, and needs for sex are as individual and unique as we are. If everyone is unique, how can any Prince Charming possibly know what to do all the time? Via communication, of course, but furthermore, how you communicate is the secret to a great relationship.
Arguments, defensiveness and avoidance, whether it is about sex or not at all, send a message to our partners that we are not interested in their well being, and that we are only interested in protecting our feelings. It’s one-sided and it’s not genuine.
So, here are the seven steps I found and now recommend to start talking your way to a better relationship and sex life today. Whether the conversation be about sex or about who is going to do the dishes is not important; it’s how you say it that really matters.
1. The first technique I always suggest learning is self-soothing. Learn to calm and relax yourself. If a conversation is making you angry, anxious or frustrated, learning to self-soothe is key. If you respond from an angry place, or if you are anxious, nervous or scared, you are likely to say things you don’t mean, that are hurtful, that point blame, and /or criticize. So do practice breathing. Take long deep breaths and count to 10. Go outside for some fresh air. It’s okay to say, “I will be right back, I need to get some air.” Practice breathing often, not just during a heated conversation, but while driving, while at your desk, even while relaxing. Breathing is at the core of relaxing. And, the absolute best thing to do is talk when you are calm.
2. Be non-judgmental. Shut your critical and emotional mind off and really listen to what your partner is saying. Put yourself in your partner shoes, if you need to.
3. Use positive “I” language. This is also about remembering to avoid blaming, pointing the finger, criticizing and judging, and instead saying things about your feelings. For example, instead of saying, “You don’t even try to please me,” try this: “I really feel unsatisfied with our lovemaking these days.” Focus on using “I” feel and avoid using “you” in the sentence.
4.. Summarize, paraphrase, or repeat what your partner has said. This is an easy way to let your partner know you have heard them and can often quite easily diffuse an angry situation. If your partner says, “I am angry and sexually frustrated these days, and you don’t seem to care about sex.” Instead of responding defensively, which might be the inkling, this is a great opportunity for you to start the conversation about sex. You can respond by saying, “It sounds like you are feeling dissatisfied with our sex life. Perhaps we could find a solution.”