I woke up this morning and, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I came across a story from Buzzfeed about a man who emailed a spreadsheet to his wife detailing all the times he has tried to initiate sex with her since June third of this year. He quoted her responses to his requests. Out of the twenty-eight requests he made, he received three rolls in the hay. Despondent, she uploaded the spreadsheet to Reddit and the Internet responded. People adamantly made a case for either spouse. All this brouhaha and hurt feelings could have been avoided if the couple employed some basic communication skills.
Negotiating sex in a long-term committed relationship can be challenging. First off, couples do not always have the same drive to have sex. Some people are hardwired to be aroused more often or more easily while others may not have much of a desire for sex at all. Neither attitude is correct, they are just different ways that people exist in the world. Other factors such as stress, physical health (and perceived appearance), energy level, and emotional state also contribute to a readiness for intercourse. There are plenty of obstacles that can keep two people from wanting sex at the exact same time, it is no wonder that many long-term couples find it difficult to negotiate sex. Here are three tips to talking about sex:
[gdlr_dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#e36d39″]1[/gdlr_dropcap] Rejection sucks, and being rejected multiple times can lead to resentment (and a spreadsheet full of contempt that gets posted to Reddit) so if you are not in the mood for sex offer your partner an alternative or set up a time for sex in the future. You might say, “I just ate two plates of Indian food, how about I give you a massage instead?” A massage can help take the sting out of the rejection while it still offers physical intimacy. You could also try telling your partner “I really want to rock your world but I’m exhausted tonight, how about we wake up early and I’ll do things to you that would make angels weep?”
[gdlr_dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#e36d39″]2[/gdlr_dropcap]Consider what you can do to create an environment in which your partner feels freer to be aroused. Dr. John Gotten once said, “Every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay.” Some people desire romance and flowers while others need the dishes to be done before they can even consider doing the horizontal mambo. Ask your partner what you can do if you are unsure. If Mr. Spreadsheet had talked to his wife about her lack of desire for sex with empathy and curiosity, he would have created an opportunity to support her. Instead of being the powerless sexually frustrated husband, he could be the empowered partner whose compassion stirred up his wife’s feelings of sexual arousal. Please note that people are not owed sex just because they bought chocolates or did the laundry. This is about developing an atmosphere for lasting sexual intimacy, not coercing your partner into being Princess Leia to your Jabba the Hutt.
[gdlr_dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#e36d39″]3[/gdlr_dropcap]Know all the sexual acts you like to do and talk about them with your partner. Many folks think of sex as only being a penetrative act, which is a limited perspective. When you know all the ways you can get turned on and get off, you offer your partner options in fulfilling your sexual needs. Maybe full penetration is not in the cards for the night, but some light body worship and mutual masturbation could be arranged. When you can openly talk with your partner about all the elements of sex you enjoy, you are more likely to experience some of them.
These are only a few tips for negotiating sex with your partner. Sometimes a slight shift can offer a great deal of change. Perhaps you have tried some of these tips or others and continue to feel challenged in talking about your sex life with your partner. That is when couples counseling could be useful, providing a safe space to address difficult issues. A therapist can provide a fresh perspective on your issues, helping you maintain a long lasting relationship, full of erotic fun.