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Posted on in Healthy Living by Jessica Graham

Practice Talking About It


So many times I have heard people say things like, “I really love my partner. We have so much in common—the best coparent I could have hoped for. We could win an award for Best Spooning of All Time . . . but our sex life sucks.”

My first question is “Do you talk about it?” People often say “Yes,” but when I dig a little deeper, it’s clear that communication is not really happening. Brushing it off with a joke doesn’t count. Only bringing it up when you’re drunk doesn’t count either. Neither does talking your friend or therapist’s ear off about it. The conversation needs to happen in an honest and present way with your partner. This means sitting down next to each other and honestly discussing your sexual needs and desires.

From what I’ve seen in my work, many people are not having honest communication about sex with their partners because they can’t do it with themselves. That can make it difficult to open up and express deep sexual desires, fantasies, and preferences. Learning to listen to your body and communicate your needs takes practice and patience, but it’s a worthy endeavor and an important part of good sex.

We all have an inner voice or intuition that very clearly states what is true for us. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that part of you that tells you not to go on a second date with someone, or when it’s time to leave a job. This voice will also tell you what really turns you on, which sexual position you love, and which you don’t. That voice will reveal your most secret fantasies and deepest longings. You just need to listen and then be willing to speak your truth.

Not all of your inner voice will come in the form of thought. Sometimes your voice will be somatic, expressed through your body in the form of emotional sensations. That’s where focusing on emotions can be particularly insightful. Getting to know your emotional body is key in learning to communicate with yourself.

man and woman under cover

Tracking and observing emotional sensations in a daily meditation practice will make it easier to be aware of your emotional landscape at all times, including during sex. Your body will give you incredibly clear messages. Your job is to listen to what it’s saying and then communicate what you feel.

The “focus on self” meditation is a great tool when learning to talk about sex. This technique allows you to notice any shyness, fear, or discomfort in the body and mind, without judging your experience. Offering yourself this space and acceptance will gently encourage you to share with your partner what turns you on and what doesn’t. Here is a special exercise to help you become more comfortable talking about sex:

The Practice

» Sit comfortably and relax from your head to your toes.

» Take a moment to bring to mind what you’d like to say to your partner about your sex life.

» Imagine yourself having the conversation. Notice what happens in your body when you think about having that conversation. Gently rest your attention on those sensations. Just feel them without trying to change them in any way.

» Notice if any images or words arise in your mind in reaction to imagining the conversation. Don’t try to stop or change them, just notice what comes up. Be accepting and curious about whatever happens in your body and mind.

» After you have mindfully attended to what came up, take a moment to again imagine talking to your partner.

» This time, imagine the conversation going really well. Imagine that you are both relaxed, open, and loving. See your partner hearing you and see yourself feeling heard and understood.

» If a thought or emotion contradicts this positive experience you are creating, gently bring your attention back to the image of a loving interaction.

This exercise gives you a chance to explore some of what might come up for you as you begin to communicate about sex. It also helps you to imagine a positive outcome. This isn’t about getting attached to a particular expectation. It’s more about priming you to be in a positive frame of mind. Focusing on the positive will feel good and influence the way you communicate for the better.

Jessica Graham is a spiritual teacher, author, and sex and intimacy guide based in Los Angeles. This essay is adapted from her new book Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out (North Atlantic). YourWildAwakening.com.

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