Author & Marital Therapist

How Do I Talk to My Partner About Sex Without It Causing a Row?

Update Your Sex Life for the People You Are Today

Talking About Sex to Your Partner

The better you know someone, surely the easier it is to talk about sex?

But, surprising as it may sound, the opposite is more likely to be true with your partner.

Here’s how to update your sex life for the people you are today.

Andrew

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How Do I Talk to My Partner About Sex Without It Causing a Row?

The better you know someone, surely the easier it is to talk about sex? But, surprising as it may sound, the opposite is more likely to be true with your partner. Many of the couples that I counsel are left guessing what each other likes or dislikes depending on a conversation they had fifteen years ago or more, when they first met. Over the years people’s needs and desires change, but your partner won’t know if you don’t share them. So here’s how to update your sex life for the people you are today.

Don’t talk about sex in the bedroom

Although your bedroom is a private space, it is too loaded for such an intimate topic. I recommend a long car journey alone together (as less eye contact can make talking easier) or over dinner (eating can cover potentially embarrassing silences or provide thinking time).

Concentrate on the positive

We all have insecurities, so even the most innocuous statements can be heard as criticism. So ‘start with an unambiguously positive statement: ‘I really enjoy our love-making’ or remember a particularly good occasion: ‘Do you remember that four-poster bed in Paris?’ and explain what you liked.

Follow up with a question that invites your partner to think creatively: How can we build on that?

Avoid words that raise the stakes

As soon as you say ‘never’ or ‘always’, your partner will get defensive or find the one exception. Own your statements: ‘I feel’ instead of ‘You make me feel.’

Be specific as possible

Instead of saying ‘I’d like longer cuddles’ try saying ‘I’d like to cuddle for ten minutes’ or your partner could think you mean hours of foreplay. If your partner says something upsetting, ask him or her to explain, or ask a question. You might have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Show rather than tell

A touch is worth a thousand words, so take your partner’s hand and put it where you’d like to be caressed, or use it to show when you prefer firmer or lighter pressure. When it feels good, let out a moan or a sigh so you’re giving positive reinforcement.

Great Sex after Fifty

No-one would deny sex is important to a meaningful life, but what that looks like changes as we age. In this first episode of my personal development podcast The Meaningful Life with Andrew G. Marshall, international sex therapist and Daily Mail columnist Tracey Cox discusses her new book Great Sex Starts at 50: How to Age-Proof Your Libido.

While wild, lustful sex can certainly be a unique and special life experience, the sex that brings us meaning is different. It’s the sex that lasts past the orgasm, to include that afterglow as you lie together or even just make each other a post-coital cup of tea. It’s about building a sexual relationship that is not solely focused on orgasm.

Trying new things is something the majority of couples never do – but it’s a simple recipe for exciting, meaningful sex, and Tracey and I have plenty of tips on where to start.

You can find out more about keeping sex great in a long term relationship in my book Have the Sex You Want: A Couple’s Guide to Getting Back the Spark.

Have a question for Andrew?

Andrew has answered many questions over the last decade in the Help & Advice section. Comments on those articles are now closed, but there are other ways you can receive help and join the conversation:

Online Video Counselling Sessions via Skype or Zoom

Working via a secure video call, identify the issues stopping your relationship from flourishing. Find a convenient time for you with an experienced counsellor from the Marshall Method Therapy team.

About Marshall Method Therapy

We believe that relationships run into problems because of poor communication but that good relationship skills can be taught.

We concentrate more on solving current problems than understanding what went wrong. Our approach is solutions-focused.

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Online Counselling Sessions via Video

During the Coronavirus pandemic with many of us having to go into lockdown, relationships can be under even greater strain.

Online video counselling (by Skype, Zoom or Whereby) is an excellent alternative to traditional face-to-face therapy – and we have a team of fully trained couples therapists who are experienced in delivering it.