It’s no secret that the sex life you and your partner share plays a big role in how happy, safe, and loved you feel in your relationship. There’s even more to the story of sex than feeling physically good. Sex is a (very enjoyable) ritual of connection, drawing you and your partner into each other’s world.
So when it comes to twisting the sheets with your spouse, don’t be shy—talk about it! If you commit to being open with your partner about how you’re feeling in the bedroom, navigating a sometimes tricky subject can open you up to greater intimacy, not conflict (phew!*).
If you’re unsure or afraid of talking about sex, and usually find yourself mind reading instead, here are five great reasons to change tactics.
1. Mind reading won’t give you answers.
When it comes to figuring out what your partner likes in bed, talking gives you answers, while mind-reading yields guesses. If you’re not talking about sex, and jump to conclusions instead, an avalanche of worst-case scenarios can overwhelm you. You could start to feel really alone in your relationship or frustrated that you are not getting what you need. Talking about sex helps you avoid mistaking assumptions for truth.
2. Talking opens you up to another kind of intimacy.
Romantic intimacy is all about vulnerability. Part of the reason sex can so powerfully connect you to your partner is that it requires opening up, and accepting your partner’s vulnerability too. You might be more comfortable seducing your partner than talking about how, when, and why you do it, as touch can sometimes feel safer than words. But by sharing your vulnerable feelings, intimacy becomes even deeper.
So talk about it—how do you feel when your partner touches you? What would you like to do more of? Talking reinforces that your shared sex life is a relationship, not just an occasional meeting.
3. Your partner can still surprise you.
It might seem like after all these years, you know how to push your partner’s buttons, when to push them, and for how long. You might have a bedroom routine or even that is gone now. Sometimes you try to spice things up to keep the spark alive, but the spice you add often becomes awkward too. Or, maybe you feel like you’ve learned everything there is to know about the person who shares your bed.
In truth, your partner’s needs and preferences can change over time. They might want something in bed they never considered until now. The only way to take the temperature of your partner’s desires is to ask.
4. When you talk about sex, both of your needs are on the table.
If you’re unhappy with how things have been playing out in the bedroom, you can start to feel disconnected—like maybe your partner doesn’t understand you. If you’re tight-lipped about the tension, all the things you’re feeling build up. “This isn’t fair,” you might think, after your partner denies your advances a few times in a row.
When you talk about sex, both of your needs are out in the open. You might learn that your partner simply needs a different kind of foreplay to feel interested. You might surprise your partner with what turns you on too.
5. Talking is proactive.
If your sex life is feeling a little tense, talking about it can add fuel to frustrated fires. If you talk about sex when things are good, you set the stage for working together when things get tough. Talking about how you’re feeling prevents miscommunication from coming between you and your partner. So get out there and get busy!