What disastrous strategy are couples using for sex? Silence. And this self-imposed hush around “our sex life” is keeping us from getting what we want sexually and is distancing us from our partners.

Carrie and John started out hot and heavy, spending hours touching and talking. Every graze of skin felt arousing. But ever since they moved in together, sex had become different, almost mechanical.

Over the last few months Carrie tried to fix the sexual disconnect by dissuading John’s habit of racing for the clitoris without warmup. His eagerness used to be fun and cute, but now it seemed abrupt and almost painful, especially when she wasn’t sufficiently aroused. She kept trying to give him hints — first gently moving his head, then turning her body out of direct access. When that didn’t work, she used a teasing voice “not quite yet…” But he seemed to be missing every cue she tried.

A more direct sex talk seemed to go against their self-proclamed in-sync-ness. She didn’t want to ruin the illusion by admitting things weren’t working for her. She feared hurting his feelings, especially since he was so proud of being able to please her.

Instead of being more direct, she switched the focus onto his needs. When he went for her clitoris, she moved into a position and was going down on him instead. Without getting any of her own stimulation, her desire for sex began to plummet. And most recently she was noticing that she was avoiding sex altogether.

She missed their sexual connection.

John, on the other hand, was confused. Carrie used to love it when he enjoyed her clit. She would giggle and her body would open up to him. He felt like a ‘sex god’ as she came over and over again. But over the last few months she had this annoying habit of stopping him or moving him around. It would break his stride and he was starting to feel controlled. Last month she seemed more interested in going down on him. He wasn’t complaining! But he was also noticing that she seemed not to be as “into” sex as she used to be. She rarely had an orgasm anymore and it was almost like she wanted sex over with.

He missed their sexual connection.

Carrie and John’s misunderstanding is so common it can almost be called — the norm.

Once the blush of a new relationship has worn off, and the exciting new relationship settles into a stable long-term relationship, sex changes. It has to change, as it is now fueled by different things than a newer relationship. Feelings of love and affection now drive sex more than lustful newness. And sexual desire is now thwarted by day-to-day realities.

This change requires a renewed understanding, figuring out what this new sexual situation means for each of person. But this “sex-redo,” while essential to keeping sex exciting and fulfilling, rarely takes place. Why? Most find the “our sex life” talk unbearable for a number of reasons. The two top reasons include what John and Carrie experienced, “we should magically know (because we used to),” and “I don’t want to make it worse!” Read more reasons here.

Whichever reason is stopping us from talking, this self-imposed silence keeps us separated from what we want sexually and from a quality connection with our partner. Both parties are left, at best, with misunderstandings and, at worst, resenting their partner for not being their sexual ideal.

Do you have good sexual communication? Get your score and get tips to make it easier.

What you gain from communicating your sexual needs.
Research on sexual and relationship satisfaction is clear about the benefits of having the “our sex life” conversation.

  1. Better sex:
    Several studies have found that ongoing “effective communication” is what leads to greater sexual satisfaction.
  2. Fewer sexual difficulties:
    Couples who didn’t talk about sex, or did so in a way that was unproductive, were found to experience more sexual dysfunction (such as erectile dysfunction and orgasm issues). For example, women who had more orgasm difficulties were found to talk less about sex to their partners than the women who had no issues. )
  3. More sex:
    Avoiding the subject can lead to less sex. It was found that couples who didn’t have effective communication around sex eventually just stopped having sex.
  4. Higher relationship satisfaction:
    And finally, the couples who talked more about sexual subjects, and were also the more “assertive” about their sexual lives, were found to not only have better sex lives, but also better relationships overall.
  5. Understanding differences in desires:When one person in a couple wants more sex than the other, there is only one way out — negotiation. Without talking about it, and respecting the other’s position, resentment can build. A solution is out there. You just have to find it together.

Sexual negotiation is one of the most important aspects of good sex, and yet we still adhere to the tired myth that we should just magically know what our partner wants and needs. Stop the guessing!

What is stopping you? Tell us in this short quiz

Do you have good sexual communication? Get your score and get tips to make it easier.