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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Are You Having Sex?

Uploaded: Sep 9, 2022
Talking with your partner about sex might lead to more sex, and better sex. What’s only in your head about your sexual intimacy? (As distinct from emotional intimacy; which can grow through a healthy sexual intimacy and vice-versa.)

Most people don’t talk about sex with their partner. Most people are taught at a very early age that sex is a taboo topic. And it’s so taboo that the actual words are never spoken, but you got the message loud and clear. These types of messages might have been used, if sex ever came up:
“We don’t talk about that.”
“Touching yourself is bad/wrong/a sin.”
“You’ll find out when you’re married.”

There’s always a flip side to a taboo. Being forbidden to talk about sex has always led to sex-related media at least as far back as the printing press. “A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. He posited it to be ‘confusing and harmful’ to the mind. Gessner died in 1565. His warnings referred to the seemingly unmanageable flood of information unleashed by the printing press.” https://slate.com/technology/2010/02/a-history-of-media-technology-scares-from-the-printing-press-to-facebook.html

You can find pretty much anything relating to sex on the Internet, including all sorts of topics you may never have thought about.

Given the easy access and wealth of sexually-related topics online, it’s sad that people in relationships generally don’t talk about sex. We’re back to taboo. Plus, it’s scary and you might feel vulnerable. Both sex itself and talking about sex are vulnerable, if you’re actually present with yourself and your partner.

I am challenging you to start having sexual conversations with your partner – outside of bed. I had one this afternoon with my husband on the drive home. I’m so glad we did.

What do you want to try sexually? What do you need your partner to know? Are you being touched in ways that you like? What foreplay works for you (and yes, some women find their husband doing chores/dishes is a turn on), and what really doesn’t get you aroused? If you don’t tell him/her, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Is that what you want for the rest of your life?

Here's a huge roadblock (besides not talking about sex at all), and one of the few gender-based comments I’ll make: Men feel connected through having sex. Women want to feel connected, in order to want to have sex.
You each need to make bids for connection outside the bedroom. Here’s why: things will be way more fun and less stressful in and out of the bedroom.

Bids for connection are ways in which you try to get your partners attention in order to connect. A bid might be trying to catch your eye, trying to talk with you [while you’re doing something else, reaching out to touch you, and so on. Ask each other what your regular bids for connection consist of so you’ll recognize them more easily. Bids for connection once your partner is yellow or red (remember traffic lights: Green, Yellow, Red) may include grousing or yelling, bringing up unrelated complaints, etc. In other words, escalated. Yes, those yellow/red bids are not pleasant, but if you begin to see them as your partner being in distress and trying to reach you, you at least have a chance to respond rather than react. (Maybe you missed prior more subtle bids.) You can say something along the lines of “Oh, you’re trying to connect. Let’s do that in a Green way” or “Wow, you’re agitated, let me hug you”, etc.

So, readers, please share your ideas for bids for connection. CouplesNet is full of tools and education for you to live in a connected and healthier relationship.

Remember, you can become a better lover. But it’s not likely to happen if you don’t talk about sex. What would you like to improve? How can you satisfy your partner better? What would make you more interested in having sex?

There are a million reasons/excuses to not have sex. You know the litany. Good sex is healthy for you inter-personally, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

If you’re using sex as a bargaining chip in your marriage, knock it off! Talk. Be kind. It’s uncomfortable for your partner, too. You have nothing to lose, and a ton to gain.

Also know this: As long as you are both consenting – with a good heart (not because of fear of losing your partner if you don’t comply, or any other unhealthy reason), there’s no recipe for a good sex life. It’s your sex life. What do you want, together?
Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

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