Although good communication in a couple’s relationship is essential for its ever-lasting success, some women find it hard to talk to their partners about what they want in bed. Moreover, the effects—short- and long-term—of not talking to your partner about your wishes, desires, fantasies, likes and dislikes, needs, and wants in bed can be very detrimental, not only to your relationship but also to your emotional, mental, and physical health.
According to Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, one of the main complaints women have about men is that they don’t listen. Louann Brizendine is the founder and director of Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California-San Francisco. In her book, The Female Brain, she asserts that women are chatterboxes and speak 20,000 words per day on average. Conversely, men speak a mere amount of 7,000 words per day. Nonetheless, often times, women have difficulty expressing themselves candidly about their needs from men in their sexual relationships.
What are some reasons why women may refrain from telling their male sexual partners what they want from them and result in them enjoying a fulfilling sex life? Moreover, why do women tell other women what they want from men in bed but they are more reluctant to share with their male sexual partners? The reasons are as varied as sexual positions. Here is just a sampling from some women who were willing to share with us:
Women perceive that men don’t listen. Moreover, women may not understand how men communicate. A man’s silence may leave a woman feeling confused and frustrated. This perception discourages women to talk to men about their needs.
I really believe my husband does not listen! I can talk to him about things, including our sex life, and he is unresponsive and clueless. —Rita B., Mayaguez, PR
Women don’t want to feel judged, ridiculed, or rejected.
My husband is very insecure about me giving him some guidance on how to satisfy me sexually. He has asked me where have I learned that, if I ask him to do something different in bed. I have learned to conform to avoid conflict. —Irene C., New York, NY
This especially comes into play when it comes to sexual fantasies….
I have some sexual fantasies I would like to explore. But, although my husband may be good with them, I am not comfortable sharing them with him. I am afraid he will think I am weird or a freak. —Jossie G., Miami, FL
Or sexual experiences with previous partners.
I have had the experience that when I tell my husband about something I have done (before his time), and that I would like to repeat, he rejects the idea as though there is something “icky” about trying with me what I have tried with someone else in the past. I find it ridiculous since I don’t ask where he has learned his tricks. It is like men are supposed to come with a “wealth of sexual knowledge” but we are condemned for having a sexual past. —Lisa W., Alexandria, VA
Women find it easier to talk to other women. Call it the sisterhood. Women prefer to talk to other women rather than their men because women can understand, since they share the same anatomy and emotional make-up.
Women feel that men are not receptive to guidance. If a woman perceives that her man is not open to suggestions (as in the example in #2), then she may choose to remain silent in order to avoid conflict and hurting her mate’s ego.
My husband is very touchy about me giving him ‘instructions.’ He really needs them, but he refuses to take guidance from me. He comes to our sexual encounters with a ‘I-know-it-all’ attitude, but he is lost! —Stacey M., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Women go along to get along. Many women have been taught to “just suck it up,” and withstand unpleasant behaviors from men to not stir controversy. Remaining silent for the sake of keeping men’s egos intact and keeping the peace in the relationship can lead to negative consequences for women, their sexual relationships, and the overall health of their sentimental relationships. A healthy relationship should be based on honesty, especially when it comes to fulfilling the sexual needs of both men and women.
Many times, I have let my partner do things that are unpleasant because he seems to be enjoying himself so much. I don’t want to burst his bubble. But sometimes, he likes to do it in certain positions, and it feels uncomfortable. I really want to tell him to stop! —Lila V., Flower Mound, TX
Some recommendations to improve communication between women and men regarding sex are:
- Avoid communicating in a confrontational way. When men feel they are being confronted, they tend to fight. A confrontational approach to communicating about sex will less likely lead to a productive conversation and outcome.
- Avoid criticizing. Instead, use positive language and offer to share with him something that “he’ll want to know.” He’ll be more receptive.
- No sex talk during sex. By that, I mean have the sex talk—what you like, fantasies, etc.—while you are taking a walk or driving or in some other neutral environment.
- Play Show and Tell. Don’t just tell your partner what you want, show him. Place your hands where you want to be touched or show him with your own hands. Men are visual so telling him and reinforcing the message may be more effective on getting you what you want.
When men and women do not learn to communicate effectively, especially in sexual matters, it could lead to negative consequences, which include discouraging honest and open communication and perpetuating negative gender stereotypes, especially those that are degrading of women. Furthermore, when women bottle up their sexual frustrations it can lead to anxiety, depression, and infidelity. For your sexual, mental, physical, and emotional health, learn how to talk to men about what you need during lovemaking. The results will make both of you happier!
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