By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
References “A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds” Dr. Douglas Rosenau
Being forthright with your partner is essential to good sex. You won’t get what you want unless you ask for it. But talking about sex can be awkward, even with the person you’re having it with. You might be worried about seeming selfish or upsetting your spouse, so here’s some advice about navigating the minefield that is “intercourse about intercourse.”
Empathize Even When you Don’t Agree
You and your mate are not going to agree about everything and that’s okay. It’s probably even healthy, especially if one of you ever thinks it’ll be a good idea to start an emu farm. However, this natural difference of opinions can lead to hurt feelings if you don’t take care to disagree lovingly. Rather than approach marital discussions with the goal to “win, debate, convince, or make a point,” you slip on your partner’s shoes for a bit and try to understand their point of view. (77)
1. State Your Perspective
Time for some good ole’ fashioned “I” statements and “feeling” words. The goal here is not blame, or attack, your partner, but rather to explain your position. “Assertive communication is direct and respectful without being aggressive or passive.” (77) Say exactly how you feel, but be nice about it.
“I feel turned off when you use slang words for my genitals.”
“I know you don’t want sex as often as I do, but it makes me feel desirable when you initiate.”
2. Empathize with Your Mate
You don’t have to replace your opinions with your partner’s, but you do have to try to see why they feel as they do. As they speak, show you understand by briefly summarizing what they’ve said to show you’ve been listening. (77)
“I can understand how…”
“You’d like me to…”
3. Learn how to Keep Emotionally-charged Topics from Blowing Up
Learn to choose your battles and not chase rabbit trails. The more time you spend early in the relationship learning to hash things out, the better off your marriage will be. And, the better you are at discussing non-sexual topics, the better you will be at discussing the sexual side of your relationship.
• Stick to the topic (Do NOT start in on how they’re just like their same-sex parent)
• Not every hill is worth dying for
• Be aware of timing. (Is this long car ride with the kids REALLY the best place to have this discussion?)
• Set limits (call a cease-fire when you’re not being productive anymore or it’s late at night)
• Reconcile (forgive, apologize, say “I love you”)
Sex Q&A for You and Your Partner
Take turns answering the following questions. Be honest and open with one another, and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. It’s your sex, too.
1. How do I feel about oral sex?
2. How do I feel about sex during menstruation?
3. How do I feel about experimenting with toys or new positions?
4. Who likes to initiate the most?
–Do they feel as if the other partner doesn’t initiate enough?
–How do I get my spouse to initiate sex more?
5. What does my favorite sexual fantasy involve?
6. When are good times for sex?
7. What kind of birth control is best?
8. What should foreplay look like?
9. What do I like/would like more of during sex?
10. What do I not like during sex?
Christian Counseling for Talking About Sex
Talking about sex is awkward for just about everyone– particularly for people from conservative backgrounds. If you and your spouse struggle to discuss your sexual preferences and expectations, get in touch with a professional Christian counselor. A Christian marriage counselor’s office provides a safe, helpful environment for more reserved partners to talk about their sexual relationship. They will use therapeutic and scripture-based principles to help you find the openness and pleasure God intended for his children to enjoy in sex.
Newlyweds-¬ Flickr user xjrlokix
Roses- Flickr user Moyan Brenn