Great sex doesn't come easy, it requires some chit-chat sessions.
Sadly, this much needed practice barely exists in bedrooms.
Talking about sex is essential for couples who wish to have an enriching and mutually satisfying sexual relationship.
Sex therapists have frequently documented the lack or even absence of communication about sex between partners.
Partners -- usually introverts -- and females feel shy, guilty and even scared when it comes to expressing their needs, likes and dislikes, as a result of social taboos and gender role stereotypes.
As a psychotherapist, I keep receiving messages and e-mails with various questions.
Some of the most common questions are:
- How do I understand my partner's needs?
- How can I make my partner talk about sex?
- How to inquire if she likes what I do?
- How to make her speak about what she wants me to do?
After reading numerous emails, two things struck my mind.
First: there are people who have trouble interacting freely with their partners.
Second: there're many responsible partners struggling to establish an open, respecting and comfortable relationship.
Effective pillow talk will work wonders in people's sex lives. Read to find out how...
Opening the doors
If your partner is reserved or not comfortable discussing sexual matters give him/her some time.
One should resist the urge to jump start the discussion about wild fantasies or reckless sexual experiences.
Instead begin with a casual talk about your partner's mood, health, day, work, etc.
Make your partner comfortable and give them the required space.
This facilitates warmth in a relationship and brings people close.
In this way, partners get to know each other better and feel emotionally connected too.
This in turn makes it easier for partners to know each other deeply and feel open and concerned about each other.
This opens the door for frank and intimate conversations.
Patience is the key to bedroom discussions.
Sometimes, a partner doesn't respond to the other partner's initiatives.
This is usually perceived as indifference and disinterest, which may not always be the case.
One may expect their partners to respond and be spontaneous in conversations.
However, depending on your partner's thought process and emotional state it may be helpful to give them the required time to verbalise their thoughts.
Patiently waiting for their response, and even changing the topic if your partner isn't comfortable, are subtle cues.
These cues will help your partner realise that you understand and care about them and that they're with a safe person.
This feeling of security helps them respond and even initiate the discussions freely.
Discussing fears, feelings and taboos
It is essential to understand what makes your partner shy away from discussing sexual matters.
Once, a young couple in distress came for marital therapy. The man felt dissatisfied in the relationship because his wife didn't respond to his seductive and erotic moves. She didn't guide him when he asked her about how she felt, and remained like a dummy.
The wife, on the other hand, was overwhelmed by shame whenever her husband inquired about how she felt.
She also felt confused on whether she should respond to her husband's questions and if she has the right to feel the pleasure.
She admitted, "I try to be blank when he is close. I think he might think bad of me if he gets to know I enjoyed sex."
Taking a dive into your partner's mind to understand their fears, insecurities and confusions saves a relationship from unwanted trouble.
A man recently wrote to me about his relationship difficulty with his girlfriend.
He wanted to keep his conversations, meetings, fights and make-ups with his girlfriend personal. But his girlfriend used to tell everything to her friends and even post the details on the social media.
He had requested her to cut down on this practice and keep personal affairs private. But she didn't seem to understand.
This left him frustrated and even confused about continuing with the relationship.
Sometimes partners are not able to discuss their deep desires and not willing to go forward in the relationship due to the perceived lack of trust or insecurities.
They fear that their secrets will be shared with others.
Thus partners should be sensitive enough to each other's emotional needs.
It is the responsibility of a partner to make sure that the other partner feels safe in a relationship.
Some people wish to keep their private lives secret. Thus ensuring the need for privacy (not discussing your bedroom secrets in public, avoiding recording intimate scenes, etc.) should be the top priority for both partners.
Being respectful and accepting
It is important to remain respectful and accepting.
I remember a male client who was utterly disturbed after an interaction with his girlfriend a night before.
The couple started playing the game wherein they had to share their intimate details.
Gathering a lot of courage, this boy shared a very personal detail with his partner.
Contrary to what he had expected, the partner started laughing at him, made fun of him and even called him names.
This experience was so humiliating for the client that he started avoiding girls, fearing relationships and staying quiet.
One should be very careful about their actions and reactions when your partner shares something private with you. Respect the faith that they've shown in you and appreciate their courage.
Sharing sexual fantasies and preferences
This involves spending a good time together by simply telling and listening to your partner about the sexual fantasies, likes and dislikes. This is the process of knowing each other.
However, you or your partner shouldn't feel obliged to act on the fantasies immediately without being sure about them.
Such conversations allow for a better understanding of each other, your comfort zones, figuring out common interests, feeling emotionally connected and concerned, cooking up your thoughts for the night and even spicing up your mood to try something new.
Proceeding with mutual consent
Whatever you try in your bedroom, make sure that you and your partner, are comfortable doing it.
Also remember to ask your partner if they are willing to proceed or not.
Such inquiries communicate concern, respect and help your partner open up and feel free. On the other hand, anything forced may lead to emotional damage and rupture in the relationship.
Overcoming disabling emotions
Shame and guilt are common emotions.
All of us experience them at some point or another, especially in the bedroom, between the sheets.
It is not rare to feel anxious before, during or after you undress in front of a person as you fear their judgment about you, your skills and body, feel ashamed about expressing yourself, and suffer guilt of not being able to match up to their expectations, etc.
Shame, fear, anxiety and guilt complicate the matter and make it difficult for a person to feel the passion, enjoy the moment and use creativity.
It may take a while for your partner to overcome the burden of these disabling emotions and enjoy candid conversations with you.
Sex is much more than just a biological act. It is the manifestation of your psyche -- it gets better with deep emotional connection and desirable understanding.
Couples plan some cozy pillow talk sessions and experience the difference.
Don't just have sex, make love.
Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Joey Yee/Creative Commons