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How to Talk to Your Husband about Sex

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Being great women and wives means focusing on who we are as whole people—not thinking about ourselves as sex objects or allowing ourselves to be used as sex objects by men. But it has taken me a long time to learn that it also means accepting our sexuality and sharing it with our husbands. Good communication is part of sharing our sexuality and a vital part of healthy sexual relationships.

Over time, I’ve learned that the most important thing you can do before you start a conversation with your husband about sex is to pick the right time and place. Choose somewhere you both feel less vulnerable—fully clothed and outside of the bedroom. Make sure you aren’t going to be interrupted. And keep the rules about having good conversations with your husband in mind.

(Of course, it is completely appropriate to tell him in the bedroom if something feels uncomfortable or painful—most men are horrified to find out they’ve hurt their wives without realizing it.)

When you do start your conversation, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Be honest. Most men crave to satisfy their wives, but they absolutely do not want to be lied to. As hard as it may be, it is vital to the health of your sexual relationship that you are completely honest. Tell him what works for you and what doesn’t.
  • Be open. Expect your husband to be as honest as you are. You should be willing to listen to what he has to say without getting your feelings hurt or judging him. Keep in mind that men usually feel their sexual needs differently than women, so you may be surprised about some of the things your husband has to say.
  • Be specific. Yes, it’s awkward to talk about sex in detail. But providing clear instructions and criticism is the only way to make a sexual relationship work better. If you’re addressing a problem, try to have a solution in mind. And try to communicate in “I” statements, telling him exactly how you feel.
  • Be yourself. Communicating doesn’t mean pretending to be someone you’re not. Don’t feel compelled to “act sexy” or talk in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. By the same token, don’t feel like you have to be distant and clinical, either. Talking about sex is a lot less awkward when you’re not also pretending to be someone or something you’re not.

Ready to get the conversation started? Here are a few great conversation starters:

  1. It feels good when you… Most of us don’t feel completely self-assured in the bedroom. Providing your husband with positive feedback will not only boost his confidence, but it will also make him more attuned to your needs.
  2. I don’t like it when you… There is no need to patiently endure things you don’t like. Your husband wants you to feel genuine pleasure, not pity. Tell him what you don’t like in a safe, fully-clothed moment to reduce the chance of hurt feelings.
  3. I’d like to try… During my pregnancy, I learned the hard way that the same things don’t always work all the time. Get in the habit of trying new things for those moments in life where the standby just won’t cut it. Besides, it’s fun to add a little creativity to your sex life.
  4. I am afraid of… It’s okay to admit your fears and vulnerabilities to your husband. Sometimes, you can come up with a solution together. Other times, he can at least provide comfort and reassurance that he loves you no matter what.

For more information about healthy sexual relationships, check out the Gottman Relationship Blog. While you’re there check out one of my favorite posts on how to talk to your husband during sex.

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