Remember that dreaded conversation your parents were supposed to have with you, but probably didn’t? Yeah, that one…about sex. While it is best that parents summon the courage to address this difficult but vital topic with their children, most more commonly avoid it out of discomfort and sheer embarrassment. If the content of family conversations were any indication of all that is real and important in the world, it would be logical to conclude that neither sex nor sexuality exists. This is kind of environment in which most of us, now adults, spouses and lovers, developed our perspective on sex. It is of little wonder why the topic of sex is so full of embarrassment, discomfort and shame. The lessons of our families carry forth into our marriages and love relationships, resulting in partners who stay safely clear of conversations about their sex lives.
Avoiding the subject does not make it go away, and the costs of doing so are potentially very high. Almost always, when an activity arouses anxiety, avoiding it not only makes the situation worse, but also, an opportunity to grow emotionally is lost. The potential costs of a poor sexual relationship range from putting up with an unpleasant or frustrating sexual experience for the rest of your life, chronic feelings of disappointment, regular feelings of pain, emotional disconnection from your partner, emotional distancing in your relationship, and finally divorce or break up. Of all the aspects of a love relationship, sex constitutes only a fraction, but if a sex life is troubled, this small part grows to infect all other parts of the relationship.
Sex is a team sport. As with any activity that involves more than one person, cooperation and coordination are essential for a successful outcome. Let the two of you be a team for your mutual sexual satisfaction.
Love relationships are intensely challenging. Emotional safety is the name of the game. By communicating your mutual sexual needs, the chances are increased that sex will become a part of your relationship where you can deeply relax and freely be yourself. It is optimal that you and your partner are a team for maximizing your mutual pleasure and satisfaction. Your likes and dislikes in the sexual arena of your relationship are as telling about your individuality as your fingerprint. By sharing your preferences with your partner, you are expressing love by sharing yourself, which is what a relationship is all about. Andrew Aaron, LICSW 508-997-6091 x106