How Healthy Relationship Communication Skills Will Improve Your Love Life
Great sex is about healthy relationship communication skills
What makes great sex? Lots of stuff. For some, it’s about the gadgets; sex toys, lube and lingerie all keep the spark alive. For others, especially those I help as an online sex coach and sex therapist - great sex is about healthy relationship communication skills.
Being able to truly hear your partner and validate one another, is paramount to a relationship that survives the test of time. And this is true of sex, too.
If you want to improve your love life, the following communication skills will help you get there.
Four healthy relationship communication skills that make for better sex
If you’ve been together for years or decades, it’s easy to feel like you know your partner inside out. And in some ways - you do. You know they love a good 3 for 2 deal at the supermarket, and that they prefer starters to desserts. But thinking you know it all - is dangerous.
If you always opt for anticipating your partner’s feelings and reactions, rather than inquiring about them, you remove all curiosity. And when you stop being curious about your partner and their inner world, open communication dies. And so do the sparks in the bedroom.
This is why part of healthy relationship communication skills is learning to embrace curiosity. When you can take an open and curious stance towards your partner, your relationship becomes more satisfying, and so does your sex life.
Instead of assuming your partner wants a particular position, only likes sex in the dark, or wants a certain amount of pressure to experience pleasure - try asking them what they want. This way you naturally increase novelty in the bedroom. And with more novelty, usually comes more desire and passion. A win-win.
However, to keep curiosity alive, vulnerability is also needed.
For curiosity to thrive - both in and out of the bedroom - you need to be open to vulnerability. In fact, being vulnerable is one of the most important communication skills to hone.
Vulnerability is letting your partner know your thoughts and feelings, even when it’s scary. It’s being able to connect and show your partner your true self - even if you’re ashamed. It’s letting them in and allowing them to see you, hear you and validate you - all of you.
Vulnerability is one of the greatest ways of getting even closer with your partner. And when you practise it in the day to day - it can boost your love life tremendously.
Being vulnerable during sex means many things to different people.
For some, it’s about allowing your partner to see all of you, naked. And when you take in your partner's appreciation - it enhances your desire and pleasure.
For others, it’s about showing your partner how you best experience pleasure, or sharing your fantasies with them. This in turn can increase emotional intimacy, which can make you want to be intimate more often.
But in order for vulnerability to have a positive effect, you both need to practise being non-judgmental, as well.
Part of what makes vulnerability difficult is the fear of being judged. This is why it’s so important to think before you react, and why one of the most important healthy relationship communication skills is being non-judgmental.
Granted, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but responding to your partner with respect, not judgment, is worth working on.
Even if you don’t share the same thoughts or feelings about a particular subject - think of how you’d like to be treated by your partner if the situation was reversed - and do exactly that.
The more non-judgmental you can be about your partner’s dreams, aspirations and fears - the better sex you can have.
When it comes to sex there are lots of invisible norms and guidelines that we often feel compelled to adhere to. This can make our relationship with sex difficult, as our sexuality isn’t always in alignment with our general values or morals. And this can make sharing these fantasies or desires with our partner - scary.
For example, some people get turned on by the idea of dominating someone, and others by the idea of being dominated. This doesn’t mean they want this uneven power dynamic to be a constant in their lives. But it’s what makes for good sex for them.
In order to have a great sex life, practising non-judgmental reactions to your partners turn-ons, is a great way to get there. This doesn’t mean you have to be game for whatever your partner likes. But it does involve validation - even if you don’t share all of the same sexual preferences. And sometimes, this validation alone is enough.
Validation is an important part of every relationship. It’s part of what a relationship or marriage is. We all have the deep desire to be seen and loved for who we truly are, and when our partner validates us, we feel it, deeply.
Validation can occur in many different ways; through touch when we’re upset, through eye contact as we share a difficult story, or through verbal compliments.
And this validation happens during sex, too.
When you get good at confirming your partner in the day to day, it comes easily during sex. For some, validation during sex is about the mere act itself. Just by giving yourself to one another and experiencing pleasure together, you both feel validated. For others, the validation is about your partner’s willingness to try something new with you, sexually. Or about their eagerness to help you if you’re experiencing difficulty having an orgasm.
When you learn how your partner wants to be validated and make a conscious effort to make it happen on the daily - you’ll see your relationship and love life blossom.
Communication for a better sex life
Sex is about so many things - one of them - is communication. If you want to improve your sex life, doubling down on healthy relationship communication skills - is a great way of getting there.
By practising curiosity about your partner, daring to be vulnerable, reacting in non-judgmental ways, and validating each other’s experiences and feelings, you’ll find these traits trickle into your sex life. In turn, this will make it one you desire to engage in, again and again, no matter how long you’ve been together.
Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and coach with a Master of Science in Sexology. She helps people reduce stress, shame, & anxiety surrounding sex -- so they can get their sex drive back and enjoy their partner again. If you want to learn more about your feelings towards sex and how to communicate them, download her free resource: Talking Sex.
Originally published at LeighNoren.com.