Relationships, as essential as they are to our mental and physical health, can be quite challenging to manage and thrive upon. Research has shown that minimal or lack of positive relationship and sex education decreases the quality of our relationships as adults. Why is that? Because like all other skills in life, human beings need to learn the tools and resources to navigate emotions, relationships, and vulnerability. Let’s call it emotional and sexual intelligence. So, why is it important to talk about it with your partner?
It’s not enough to be aware of emotions and relationship dynamics. We need to understand how to deal with them in more constructive ways backed by evidence-based research and science.
Intimacy and Connection
That’s right, scientific research has shown that continuous open (and constructive) communication about your sex life increases intimacy and emotional connection. There’s something very connecting when you feel heard, acknowledged, and seen by your partner.
It could be a weekly check-in to see where you both are in your relationship in and out of the bedroom. It can also help prevent going into a dry rut with your partner in the long run. Remember, prevention is always better than treatment.
Anyone who has been, or is currently, in a relationship can understand the role sex plays. Think of sex as another dimension of your relationship. It’s not just about the act. It’s consensual teamwork, one that requires us to understand our own selves and our partners in the most vulnerable way.
Safety and Consent
One of the most important topics to consider talking about is where your boundaries lie. Popular opinion gives way to a belief that consent is a simple ‘yes or no’ ‘black or white’ concept. Truth be told, it lies far deeper than that. If your body doesn’t feel right, that’s not consent. If you’re hesitant, uncomfortable, or have simply changed your mind, that’s not consent. Consent is an enthusiastic yes. Sit down with your partner and discuss where your comfort lies, what you are willing to try and not try.
Another important question to start with is ‘what do I need to feel safe?’ or ‘how can my partner support me in feeling emotionally or physically safer?’
Let’s face it; talking about sex might be considered one of the biggest taboos in our culture. It’s also quite dangerous in some households. When we are so worried about being judged, shamed, or criticized, we won’t be encouraged to open up about our likes and dislikes now, would we? Although avoidance might sound like the easier option here, it’s actually piling up the problem. Find ways to start slow and subtle to ease into connection. At the end of the day, the underlying value of all this is the desire and need to connect to each other.
Interested in finding out more culturally-oriented tips and tricks on how to start working on your relationship? Let us know.
MS, MFT-Couples and sex Therapist. www.danasarhan.com