How to talk to your partner about issues in your sex life

RYOT Studio

Sex is the most intimate interaction humans can have with one another, but for so many couples actually talking about it together can be a struggle.

Some people just aren’t comfortable speaking so bluntly about their sexual preferences, issues or worries and allow them to fester and stagnate until it puts a fissure in their relationship.

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But it doesn’t have to be that way at all!

To help you feel more comfortable talking to your partner about sex, including potential issues, here are a few tips for making that conversation go smoothly.

Be prepared

Improvisation works pretty well for comedians, but it’s not the best approach when you want to talk to your partner about sex.

Instead, you should really think about what you want to say so that when you have the conversation you have picked the right words, and issues to raise. You don’t want to end up turning your stream of consciousness into a row.

It’s also worth having a few compliments to hand so that you can sandwich your issue in between the positive reinforcement of kind words.

Bring up one thing at a time

Don’t bring all your concerns up in one go. If you bring up multiple issues at once, it could come across as an attack. It might also make your partner feel that there is too much to fix and you’d may as well give up now and not try.

Limit yourself to one topic per conversation and try to pick three key points to talk about within that topic. It will mean you can focus on that area, fix it and move on. You can always address other things in future chats if they are still a concern.

Timing is everything

There is a time to talk about your sex life and it’s not 11.30pm, in bed, right when your partner is half asleep. You both need to be in a coherent and alert state so that you are able to really take in what you each have to say and find a ready solution.

So, plan a good time and ask him or her to keep a weekday evening or a Sunday morning free to have a chat. Just make sure it’s not during the football or when they’re watching their favorite TV show.

Make suggestions, not demands

Good sex is of course about pleasure, but that pleasure must only be enjoyed if it stems from mutual consent and trust. If you want to spice up your sex life then it’s best to have a conversation about it first rather than just pulling out a Karma Sutra move without warning.

That conversation should also be exactly that, a conversation. You shouldn’t be laying down the law to get what you want but rather framing what you want as suggestions. Your partner will be far more receptive to your ideas if they’re coming from a diplomat, not a dictator!

Be positive

In a relationship, your tone and attitude often have a bearing on your partner’s feelings, so it is important to be kind when discussing sex with your partner. There’s already rather a big stigma on the subject, for both men and women especially when a medical issue might be putting your sex life on hold.

Either way, an optimistic approach is vital to ensure that you can sail past this problem together.

Make a list

Lists might be a little formal for some people, but it can make it easier to achieve goals, and, in this case, sexual ones.

Rather than writing a list of things that you like and don’t like to do in the bedroom, you should make a list of things you might be willing to try instead. Or even in the case of a medical issue (like erectile dysfunction, for example) you could make a list of things to do to manage the issue.

Keep the conversation light hearted

Sex is fun, so the conversation around it should be too. If you’re struggling to find ways to bring it up, think outside the box.

If you want to spice things up, point to an example in a TV show you watch and gauge their reaction to sex scenes. Or maybe turn it into a sex game so that you are both smiling throughout the conversation and no one feels pressured.

Don’t point the finger

If there are issues you want to raise with your partner, make sure you preface your words with “I feel” and never begin a sentence with “you” as it can come across as accusatory.

You don’t want them to feel blamed for issues you might have in bed and ideally you would use “we” as often as you can. It suggests that you and your partner feel like you’re in this together and working with each other to find an appropriate resolution.

Make sure you listen (and make it obvious)

Communication goes both ways. If you’ve engaged the conversation about your sex life you should make sure you offer your partner the same courtesy to respond.

Let them know that this is a two-way chat and you are willing to hear how they feel about things. Keep eye contact, face each other when talking and give reassuring touches to let them know you are listening.

What if there is a medical concern?

Talking about a sexual medical concern can seem trickier as it combines two relatively uncomfortable topics. But sexual health conditions are surprisingly common (for example, 4.3 million men in the UK experience erectile problems*), so there really is nothing to be embarrassed about here.

With any health concern, if something isn’t right, don’t ignore it. Discussion, openness, honesty and support are very important things in this scenario.

For example, if your partner is struggling with erectile dysfunction, you might want to suggest that they speak to a pharmacist about the issue. They can recommend things to help. One of the products they might suggest is VIAGRA Connect®, which is available at pharmacies and online pharmacies without a prescription and can help men maintain an erection during sex by increasing the flow of blood to the penis.

On the other hand, if it is you with the condition then it is important to reassure your partner that it is not their fault and that it’s not because you don’t find them attractive. You could suggest that using a product could help rebuild the connection in your relationship.

For more information on ED and Viagra Connect, please visit: www.viagraconnect.co.uk

VIAGRA Connect®: 50mg film coated tablets. Contains Sildenafil. For erectile dysfunction in adult men. Always read the leaflet. PP-VCO-GBR-0188

* men reporting occasional and frequent difficulty getting or maintaining an erection [ref. Kantar TNS Omnibus Survey Dec 2010 – in a survey of 1,033 men]

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