Source: Best Health Magazine, Spring 2008
Talking about sex is a bit like writing about cooking—sometimes the words get in the way of the savouring. But if your love life could use a dash of spice, it may be time to order up a frank discussion. “If there’s any type of communication that’s particularly difficult, it’s sexual communication,” says Sandra Byers, chair of the University of New Brunswick’s psychology department and co-author of Understanding Human Sexuality. To make it easier, try one of these simple conversation starters for better, more passionate, more connected sex.
Tell him: “Let’s make out like we’re teenagers again.”
A cheeky come-on takes the pressure off performance and puts the focus on fun. After all, your sex life isn’t a failure if you don’t have a mind-blowing orgasm every time. “You don’t eat gourmet meals all the time—sometimes you just have mac and cheese, and that’s okay,” says Byers. Rather than asking, “Did you have an orgasm?” she recommends that couples ask each other, “How satisfying was that for you?”
Ask him: “Do you feel rejected when I’m not in the mood?”
Men are just as vulnerable as women when it comes to their desirability, explains Lori Brotto, a psychologist and director of the sexual health laboratory at the University of British Columbia. A man may consider temporary disinterest in bed-play as a rejection of him as a person. Tell him you still feel the chemistry. Brotto also suggests asking, “What will it take for you to believe that I really do desire you?”
Tell him: “You’re driving me crazy—with desire!”
You don’t have to become a screeching banshee when you’re making love, but do use words. “Silent sex is almost always bad sex,” says Byers. “People need feedback, because what you liked yesterday, you may not like today.” It’s perfectly acceptable to rely on simple cues, as you would during a back rub: higher, faster, to the left!
Ask him: “Hey baby, what’s your number?”
Go ahead, ask your guy for some important stats: How often would he really like to make love, and for how long? Consider that according to a 2007 Sun Media/Leger Marketing sex poll of 1,524 Canadians, 21 percent of married people spend 10 minutes or less on foreplay. But everyone’s different. “While one woman might be happy with foreplay for 10 minutes, another might need 30,” says Byers. So forget about that impossibly hot couple you know who are all over each other; what works for you two? Use those other couples and stats to launch an honest discussion about what you both need and want.
Tell him: “I’m going to do some ‘homework.’”
In this case, “homework” means a little self-pleasuring. You see, Brotto’s clinical research shows that women aren’t exactly, well, in touch with their own sexual response. When women at the UBC lab were shown a short clip from an erotic film, almost all said they weren’t aroused by it, despite vaginal blood-flow measurements indicating that in fact they were. To bridge the mind-body disconnect, Brotto counsels women to explore “mindfulness,” a meditation practice. Try staying “in the moment” for five minutes a day: When you’re washing dishes or walking to work, stay focused and don’t allow your thoughts to wander. Or conjure up a steamy sexual fantasy and note your body’s response—even react to it by moaning or touching yourself. After two to four weeks of frequent mental exercises, Brotto says you may see an improvement in identifying—and acting upon—your own arousal.
Ask him: “Do you really like that little move I have been doing for years?”
While relying on your tried-and-true routine seems like a no-brainer, it can also lead to ho-hum sex. “I see this in therapy with a lot of long-term relationships,” says Byers. “Each partner knows exactly what parts to stimulate, for how long, in order to bring the other person to orgasm, but it’s the same every time.” Keep him guessing by trying something new every other time you have sex. Also, ask him what might make your best moves even better. As long as he knows he can answer without offending you, chances are he’ll happily help you, ahem, tweak your technique.
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