Having a healthy sex life isn’t as simple as sliding in between the sheets regularly. “Communication is as vital here as it is as in all other areas of our lives. If we do not ask for what we want, how do we make sure we get it?” says Martha Tara Lee, clinical sexologist at Eros Coaching. Simply put, it’s important to convey your feelings and needs to your partner.
However, talking about sex openly with someone is never easy- no matter how long you’ve been together. Here’s how to open up to your partner confidently and positively at different stages of your marriage.
In your 30s
TOPIC: WHAT TURNS YOU ON AND OFF
Address it: It can be hard to express our wants and needs when we’re still getting to know someone intimately. Nonetheless, don’t let this fear overwhelm you, because talking about what flips your switch isn’t about criticising your partner, but rather what you like or don’t about a certain move or position. Martha suggests clearing up the air by telling him “it’s not personal, I just don’t like it”. Express yourself clearly and when you’re both relaxed, so he doesn’t get defensive and it isn’t such a blow to his self-esteem.
TOPIC: SEXUAL FANTASIES
Address it: Starting a conversation about your fantasies can be as simple as saying, “You know, I’ve always wanted to try…” or “Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if...” But let’s get this straight: talking about sexual fantasies doesn’t mean you or your partner has to act on it, since consent needs to be mutual. If you’re not ready to turn these fantasies into reality, having a heart-toheart with him fosters understanding, which itself is a form of intimacy.
In your 40s
TOPIC: NOT IN THE MOOD
Address it: There are times when you just won’t feel like making love. Instead of avoiding his touch and coming up with excuses, tell him the truth. Offer to do it some other time, or suggest another intimate activity like masturbation witnessing, which is when one of you masturbates and the other watches. You can gauge his interest by saying, “I really don’t feel like having sex today, but I am willing to do this...”
TOPIC HOW OFTEN TO DO ‘IT’
Address it: When your career is thriving and you have kids to care for, it’s easy to shrug off sex after a long and tiring day. So it’s important for the both of you to be on the same page when it comes to the frequency of sexual activity. If he wants it every day but you only want it once a week, sit down and talk it out. As unsexy as it sounds, the best way to compromise in this situation is to maintain a sex schedule that the both of you can agree on. Statistically speaking, most couples have sex at least once a week, but Martha warns that there’s no ‘magic number’ – do what satisfies the both of you.
In your 50s
TOPIC: SEX AFTER MENOPAUSE
Address it: One of the biggest issues with sex after menopause is vaginal dryness, caused by the declining level of oestrogen in your body. But don’t despair, as there are ways to make sex as enjoyable as it was before. Tell him your concerns, and take as much time as you need during foreplay. You can suggest things like a sensual massage or oral sex to stimulate arousal. If you’re experiencing pain during sex, invest in a good lubricant and try different sexual positions, like being on top so you can control the speed and depth of penetration according to what feels comfortable.
This article was originally published in Her World Malaysia.