Being comfortable enough with your partner, especially if they are new, is something that always takes time. Even if you were good (or best) friends before getting serious, feeling relaxed with that person sexually is an entirely different ballpark. As you begin your journey to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, the delicate dance of getting to know someone intimately is often played out without any verbal communication. We’re nervous and afraid of being rejected, so we tend to let them fumble around in the dark without much guidance until they figure it out.
The unfortunate part about this dating ritual we’ve created is that it leaves both partners feeling unsure and possibly even insecure about their abilities in bed or about their bodies. Even more ill-fated is that those feelings can escape the bedroom and begin to harm the relationship even before the relationship really gets a chance to take off!
There is also the flipside of this: couples that have been together for a lengthy amount of time, or even married, may have never broken through the barrier of telling each other what they like and what they want. Sexual tension or frustration, un-satisfactoriness, and discontent in the relationship could all be stemmed from the simple fact we are, generally speaking, too afraid to ask for what we want.
I was raised that it’s not lady-like to be confrontational about anything. That includes not asking for what I want, even if it’s simply wanting more free breadsticks at Olive Garden! You can imagine what a mental switch it was for someone like me to go from being too timid to ask for help with an item on a high shelf at the local grocer to asking (and sometimes demanding) things of (and from) my partner sexually. But, if I can do it, anyone can. I promise.
Figuring out when to have critical conversations like this is always a tough question, and it’s a case-by-case basis, depending on the couple. Some partners like tips and advice during activity, some like it before or after. Some (I’m of this party) like to interject it during the most random times, like while watching TV or driving in the car together. But, the most important thing about timing is to do it when you are feeling safe (and you perceive your partner is feeling safe, too).
We are able to have all sorts of conversations with the people we hold dearest. You have discussions and negotiations on different parts of your relationship: where to eat, what movie to see, what bar to go to; if you go to the basketball game, he’ll go to that play you want to see. These nuances are just a part of the everyday, so why isn’t conversation about sex? I’m not downplaying the importance of intimacy and sex, of course. Infact I’m upping the importance. Something that is a much bigger event than going to the movies should always be on the table for discussion.