Not having enough sex? Here's how to have the sex talk you've been dreading with your partner

July 29 | Guest post by Jenna
Let's Screw card from Etsy seller TurtlesSoup

My husband and I have been married for two years now and with him being active duty, he is gone for months at a time and in a demanding and high-stress work environment. Naturally, as you might expect, the fullness of our sexlife dissipated. I was feeling neglected and dissatisfied with the few times we did have sex, and never seemed to have a constructive conversation about sex, until now…

I wrote a letter to my husband and he's already opened up to me about it much more than he has ever before. I wanted to share my suggestions of what to include, in the hopes of helping others find the right words to say when bringing up these issues to their partners so that they too can have productive conversations about their sex lives.

1. Reassurance

Reassure your partner that the rut in your sex life has nothing to do with how much you love them and how attractive you find them. Explain that you're going to tell them what you want and need from sex, and encourage them to open up to you, too. Here's what I said:

I want to know what you need from me because I'm about to get into the specifics of what I need from you. I'm not trying to make you feel inferior or insecure. I want to give you the knowledge you need to approach sex with me as confidently as possible, and I want to know what YOU need for me to be confident too. I'm pretty sure that our lacking sexual confidence is 99-100% of what's holding us back from being that couple who can't keep their hands off each other.I promise that I'm having this conversation with you to make our sex life better, not to tell you you're not good enough. You ARE good enough, and you're MORE than capable to satisfy me — we just have some kinks to work out and some time we need to invest in practicing.

So, I'm going to spell out the things I DO know about myself that can help you when it comes to my sexuality, and then I want you to tell me what YOU need from me in order to feel confident and satisfied too.

2. Tuning

Here I gave detail — lots of detail — about what turns me on. I used a metaphor to help him understand the importance of me being turned on before we get down to sex. Be specific and list the places you want your partner to spend time on, and how to do it.

I'm less like a set of drums and more like a guitar — you can't just pick up your sticks and go right into the music and expect good results — I need certain strings to be tightened and loosened before I'm ready for a melody.Tuning these strings of mine, and particularly in the above order, I guarantee you'll be playing me like Santana.

3. Time

I stressed that foreplay needs to be a proportionate time to the actual deed.

I need time in both the tuning and the playing if satisfying me is your goal. You can't go through tuning all the strings in 10 seconds and go right to playing Stairway to Heaven (at least without mastering the guitar first).Honestly, it's physically uncomfortable and makes me self-conscious about my body and it's innate ability to be sexual. Even worse is when we try to go right into sex. Not only is it uncomfortable and sometimes hurts, but by the time I feel like I'm getting "tuned," the "song" is already done.

So I need time for both. Time for tuning and playing. The more you've mastered the tuning, the less time I'll need for playing, I'm sure.

4. Feedback

I let him know how I want him to be more vocal so that I know he's enjoying it.

I want to know when you like what I'm doing to you (e.g. via moans, intensity of touch, you don't always have to SAY anything). I also want to know when you like something that you're doing to me. I understand the thrill of knowing you're turning me on so I want to know what works for BOTH of us the most. So if it's intense for me and you like doing it, I want to do it more. Win-win!

5. Reciprocation

I let him know that I want us to be enthusiastic in taking and giving.

The quality of our sex life declines the second anyone feels it's one-sided. We need to reciprocate sexual favors and acknowledge one's efforts to please the other. Make sure both sides are satisfied before caving to exhaustion.

6. Be adventurous

I encouraged spontaneity.

Feeling frisky in the car? Express that and see what happens from there. Have a fantasy? Share it with me. Feeling kinky? Let's try it.I want you to feel like you can be completely open with me about your desires without me judging you. And I want you to feel like we can get a little crazy like teenagers and have sex like we'll get in trouble.

7. Reassurance, again

It's not easy to have these types of conversations, so I closed the letter with more reassurance. I also asked him to tell me what he needs from me.

Now I want YOU to be totally and completely honest with me about your needs and what YOU think we should do to improve our sex life, even if you think a lot of the same stuff as me.Know this: You're my sexy mista man and nothing will ever change that. I love you x infinity, and am so lucky to be on this life-adventure with you. I wouldn't have it any other way.

P.S. Looking forward to "practicing" when you get home.

We have a lot that we need to work on, but I'm so glad I said what I needed to say and in a way that he actually was responsive to.

I encourage anyone going through the same stuff to have those conversations about sex that they've been dreading. The faster you have a productive conversation, the faster you can get back under the covers and REALLY get productive!

  1. I was in a similar but slightly different spot. My sex drive was at about 0% until I changed my birth control method (From the pill to an IUD) and then my sex drive rocked off the charts for a while.

    I ASSUMED my husband wasn't satisfied with our sex life before the switch because – honestly – I wasn't satisfied. So our conversations were more about him reassuring me that he was happy, and I was ok with that because I didn't really want more sex then we were having. But I never really believe him when he told me he was happy, he's a dude – he must want tons of sex all the time right?

    Well it turns out those were all poor assumptions on my part because when when my sex drive picked up – his stayed exactly the same. Things are better because I enjoy sex more now that I'm off the pill, but especially now I want to have more sex, and he doesn't.

    So maybe I need to use some of these tactics when talking to him. Thanks for sharing!! It'll help me for sure!

    8 agree
  2. Hell, write a letter even if you're in the same room! I love all of this advice; the reassurance, the details, the multiple offers of reciprocity, the writing. We are a couple in which one person is into bondage and the other had never even considered it as an option. Cue lots of long, intricate talks about our sex life. This is spot on and I wish you the best in your "practice sessions!"

    3 agree
    • I Love it too. 🙂 Especially how it speaks to foreplay.

      I sometimes find myself reminding my Gamer partner to not use me like an Xbox controller in the heat of a COD battle (slamming buttons, twisting things) but instead to treat me to a more concentrated focus, like when he's customizing his characters and carefully choosing his weapons for the match. At least in the beginning, then I'm more willing to "go to battle."
      It seems to help get the point across, and always makes him chuckle a little…

      16 agree
  3. Anything using writing is an excellent idea, it makes everything feel so much more neutral and means that no-one has to worry about what the other person will read into their reactions, so they can concentrate just on what is being said rather than trying to say the right thing immediately.

    I wish there were more media representations of people talking properly about sex. Not just because the absence of it normalises an absence of it in real life but because I'd feel like I had some kind of role model for it. An example of someone being ditched for complaining that any discussion of likes and dislikes "takes all the fun out of it" would be a start, seeing as I've had to do that before and it felt dreadful so some validation would be nice.

    8 agree
  4. And then there were kids… having younger children means that we get very little time to ourselves… and usually that time involves doing chores. It's so hard to make sex a priority. It's taken from all the other me-time things I'd like to be doing. We have scheduled date nights… so we get to go out together… but it's not the same. I really miss morning sex, and after lunch sex. But I know my babies will grow up before I'm ready to lose them. So I guess I just have to enjoy everything in it's own time.
    🙂

    6 agree
    • This is where you have to get creative. If you want it to be a priority, you have to make it one. It is tough in the beginning, but eventually it becomes second nature. 🙂

      1 agrees
  5. " we just have some kinks to work out and some time we need to invest in practicing."

    I'm going to pretend that was a masterfully orchestrated sex pun.

    No, but seriously, this is very helpful. I am stashing this one away for future use.

    12 agree
  6. You have no idea how badly I needed to read this. Our sex life has absolutely fizzled. I've tried talking it out and it just leads to hurt feelings (him) and resentment (me). Thank you SO MUCH for this post.

    1 agrees
  7. Don't know when this posted originally but just StumbleUpon-ed it at noon on 11/22/16. This is a great idea and I plan to use it with a girl I'm seeing soon.

    So you know, I'm a guy (who, FWIW, kinda prefers foreplay to the act itself, and "going down" on someone I'm involved with is one of my favorite things to do on the planet) (hope I'm not being too graphic here…) and would like to share some perspectives from the guy side of things.

    What Jenna says about how the letter is worded is INCREDIBLY important. Anyone writing a letter like this should go the extra mile to ensure their words are constructively critical and not just critical. Be really careful. It's hard hearing even constructive criticism with this topic but if the words unintentionally come across as harsh, the whole thing might backfire.

    Jenna's metaphor is a great one but… to be honest, I don't think a guy is going to be thinking much about symbolism when reading this letter. If it gets too literary, there might be a risk of the letter backfiring.

    I would encourage being forward, blunt, and literal.

    Using words for pet names for body parts might make the SO more comfortable while they read it. Using words you've never USED before could make the SO really hot while they read it.

    If you write something along the lines of "If you (blank) my (blank) while you're (blanking) my (blank), it will drive me crazy and it'll only be a matter of time until I (blank) all over the (blank)," it would probably get the reader ready to attack you when they walk in the door later.

    Also, the timing could be important. Maybe try leaving it out somewhere where your SO will see it before they leave for the day. Put their name on it with a heart or something, so they don't think it's a break up letter. They'll read it during the day, get worked up all afternoon, and be dying to see you that evening.

    These are all just thoughts from a guy's perspective so hopefully it doesn't come across as "This is how it SHOULD be done." It's just how I think I would react in this situation and what would help me react positively.

    Good luck, everyone!

    1 agrees

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