Some women express that, when they try to talk to their sexual partners about their likes/dislikes, fantasies, needs, and wants, their men get upset, judge them, feel insecure, and/or their egos get bruised. Men, contrary to popular belief, are capable of feeling and talking about their feelings. However, it is true that men may not be as chatty regarding sexual topics as their female counterparts.
My husband and I have been together for over 25 years. He has a “I-know-it-all” mentality and he gets very defensive when I try to point him in the right direction during sex. I get very frustrated but I just bottle it up. —Stephania C., Buenos Aires, Argentina
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TALK TO YOUR PARTNER ABOUT SEX?
Obviously, if you want to improve your sex life and your relationship, communication is key. And there is a very compelling reason why you should not bottle up your feelings with your partner. The results of a study published by The New York Times found that women who did not voice out their frustrations to their male partners were four times more likely to die during the 10-year study period than women who told their husbands how they felt. Men did not show any increased risks of dying because of the silent treatment. Thus, expressing your feelings is not only good for your relationship, it is also good for your health and may keep you alive longer!
WHY ARE MEN SO “TOUCHY” WHEN IT COMES TO SEX TALK?
According to John Gray, author of the best–selling book Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, when a man feels challenged, he gets defensive and may turn the communication into a counter-productive one. As such, the tone of the communication may change to a negative one for both partners. When men face confrontation, their “fight or flight” mechanism gets activated. Usually men “fight” but they can also “flight” and leave the conversation, thus leaving matters unresolved.
Sex talk intimidates men for many reasons. Although we may not understand why men get so scared, the truth is that men have an underlying fear of not being able to perform, not being adequate lovers, not being able to satisfy their partners, and of rejection. Men have a pressure to perform and, unlike women, men cannot easily fake being aroused. Also, men are expected to “know it all” in sex matters and it is a big disappointment for both and a big failure for him when he is proven otherwise.
My husband and I have been married for 20 years. When I try to introduce new things to our sex repertoire, he gets evasive. He is very elusive about the sex talk. I like our sex life, but sometimes I would like to explore other things. He is not receptive at all. I don’t know how to approach him! —Melissa M., San Juan, PR
Here, some basic tips to approach him on sexual matters in a way that he will be receptive and open to what you have to say without getting touchy:
Positive Talk: No one is fond of criticism. Especially, when expressed or perceived in a negative way, a criticism tone can shut down the communication channels leaving both you and your partner stranded. Therefore, avoid harsh tones when talking to him about your sexual desires, frustrations, fantasies, likes and dislikes. Instead of “you don’t know what to do!” try telling him how good he does something and then telling him that you would like more of that. Or tell him something that you saw or read seemed interesting and describe it to him vividly. Tell him you may like to try it!
Avoid Eye Contact: Helen Fischer, author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, says that men find eye-to-eye contact confrontational. Therefore, when talking about sensitive topics, such as sex, it may be more beneficial to talk to men while in a drive, while walking, or sitting side to side. Men would perceive the communication in a less confrontational way and be more receptive to the message.
Use Visual Aids: For men, it may not be enough to hear the message. Men are visual creatures and they respond well to visual imagery. Use this to your advantage! Talk to him about your thoughts, narrate to him in a descriptive way what is it that you would like in the form of a story or a dream, and show him.
I take advantage of technology. I have learned to use the phone to send my husband steamy pictures and videos, we do “sexting,” and that usually sets the stage for sex in the bedroom. I use technology to foreplay. When he is ready, he is already so worked-up that everything goes! —Selma C., Dallas, TX
Lets Do It: Be spontaneous and surprise him. Start seducing him with your words and initiate sex at the same time. Whisper in his ear and touch him while you tell him what you envision to happen in that encounter. Be self-confident and take the lead.
Give Positive Feedback: When your man does something that you like, positively reinforce him by saying it and possibly, doing something else for him. Rewards work very good with all of us. Offer to give him a massage after he has performed the new trick you wanted, while also telling him how much you loved the experience. Text him the next morning telling him how much you cannot stop thinking “that thing he did.” Positive reinforcement and reward will encourage him to loosen up and be more receptive and confident in his abilities.
Maintaining open channels of communication channels between you and your partner is good, not only for your sexual health, but also for your overall health and that of your relationship. The worst thing you can do, besides nagging or expressing your feelings in a negative way, is to keep quiet due to fear. Talking sex to your partner will strengthen your relationship and help you live happier—and longer!
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