There is this sentiment that talking about sex can ‘ruin the mood,’ but sex therapist Gloria Brame, Ph.D. believes the opposite.
“You can’t have a great sex life unless you have great communication about sex with your partner,” Brame explained. “The more you can talk about what you want, ask for what you like, and listen to and act on your partner’s needs, the better your sex life will be.”
Here are 5 important conversations you should be having with your sexual partner, according to the experts.
1. How Does Your Partner Know You’re In The Mood? It’s important to be able to interpret when you’re partner is trying to initiate sex—otherwise you miss an opportunity. “Many people think that this should be obvious and doesn’t really need to be discussed,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive. “But this is one question that most couples learn the most about each other when they first come in to see me for counseling. Think about it: If you aren’t picking up on the signals your partner is sending you, misinterpreting the signals, or maybe even ignoring them, you are missing out on a chance to form a connection with your partner.”
2. Discuss Turn Ons/Turn Offs Maybe it’s morning breath. Maybe it’s not so hot to get down and dirty when you haven’t showered. Whatever the reason may be, you and your partner need to understand what turns the other off, so that you don’t kill the mood with your behavior. Alternatively, turn ons, like lingerie, a good meal or stimulating conversations, are also important to note. Brame explains, “The best way to ensure your partner keeps you turned on is to know and indulge each other’s biggest turn-ons. If there are specific acts, positions or words that instantly turn you off, telling your partner will help him avoid upsetting you in bed,” Brame says.
3. Open Up About Your Fantasies. When it comes to sex, being shy is not an option. Telling your partner your deepest desires can open up a world of sex you all never knew was possible. “Vulnerability breeds trust,” says Kat Van Kirk, certified sex therapist and author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life, “The more you can establish that in your sex life, the better and more fun it will be. Oftentimes, it’s just the thought that can help you create arousal,” she says.
4. Talk About Changes In Your Sex Life. Sex changes just like everything else in this world–and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Telling your partner about your personal mental, social, or physiological changes when it comes to sex is crucial. “Sharing what you’ve noticed can be ways that sex has become more positive for you or more challenging for you,” says Castellanos. “By sharing this information, both of you can celebrate how things are better and collaborate to find solutions for the challenges that your sexual relationship may face.”
5. The Honeymoon Won’t Last Forever. It’s hard to keep the spark in long term relationships, but it’s not impossible. Acknowledging the changes without judging them is the key. “All long term relationships have ebbs and flows regarding sex,” says Van Kirk. She suggests a “quickie, make out session, or simply giving foot rubs during a Netflix marathon,” can make or break the relationship.