How to Initiate that Delicate Conversation About Intimacy with Your Partner

How to Initiate that Delicate Conversation About Intimacy with Your Partner

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People want deep intimacy and passion, but they often don’t bring up the topic with the person they are intimate with. As a relationship coach, I hear it all the time – from people old and young, across different nationalities and even from couples who’ve been in a relationship for decades!

I get it. Sex and intimacy are tricky subjects. Layer upon layer of social and sexual taboo, combined with a lack of education and communication have created a stigma around discussing sex, intimacy and relationships – not only with our friends but with our partners.

Therapy is often the only place where we feel we have permission to discuss the intimate desires of our imaginations and probe the role sex plays in our lives. Usually, it’s a longing for deep connection, an expression of love, the feeling of being desired and experiencing deep passion.

My view? Life is too short NOT to experience the intimacy you desire.

Nathalie Sommer
Intimacy and relationship coach Nathalie Sommer. Photo courtesy of author

But in order to have these desires met, it is critical to have great communication. By making your intimate needs known, you help your partner understand you better and it increases the intimacy in your relationship. This also puts you in a better position to have the sex life you’ve always dreamed of.

Say what you really feel to build connection 

Do you ever find yourself feeling frustrated about a situation, but you don’t know how to process it? Speaking things out loud will help create clarity and to let go of tension. You’re also less likely to take your frustrations out on a partner as a reaction to built-up emotions.

It’s really important to think about “how” you say “what” you say. Criticism hurts, offends and discourages. Instead, approach the conversation with compassion and curiosity, not frustration. A good idea might be to first ask your partner if there’s anything you can do to meet their intimate needs and show how eager you are to connect with them. Then they are more likely to take your cue to do the same.

Here are a few proven steps you can take to help strengthen your relationship by creating open communication (you can both take turns):

Vulnerability: Share with your partner how you truly feel. Drop the masks and express what’s happening in your inside world (your longings and desires).

Mindful listening: It’s important to fully listen to the person speaking and be present with the other person. Don’t try to fix things right away or come up with solutions in the moment.

Validating: Whoever is mindfully listening, repeat back what you’ve heard to your partner to show you understand what they are saying and that you can see why they might be feeling this way (even if you don’t share the same viewpoint).

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Know What You Want

In order to tell your partner how you want to be pleased inside the bedroom and understood in your emotions, you need to know what your needs are. Having some solo time will help you focus on what you want in the absence of judgment and the pressure to worry about someone else’s needs. Also, use this “me-time” to free your mind and feel what it is you truly desire. If it’s sexual desires, why not spend some time on your own exploring your own body so you can fully understand what turns you on. It will make it easier to tell your partner what you like and don’t like.

When it comes to talking with your partner, be really specific about what you (really) want. Instead of just saying “more quality” or “more passion”, try to be specific like “I would love for us to not use our phones for an hour before we go to bed” or I would try taking their hand in yours and saying “I want you to touch me here slowly and lightly, like this,” then follow up with your very own version of sexy show-and-tell. It might also help to talk things over with a trusted, non-judgemental confidant or a relationship coach to explore your emotions and help you better communicate with your partner.

© Liza S./Unsplash

Pay Attention To What Your Partner Needs

What I often see in relationships is this: we give to our partner what we want them to give to us. If somebody is upset, you don’t talk to them, because when you are upset you like to be left alone. Or say your partner always does the dishes. Do you assume it’s because they like to? Or is what they really want is for you to roll up your sleeves and take over? If you haven’t talked about it, you don’t know. The same goes for sex!

We often “give” sex the way we enjoy it (think of the touch you like to receive, kissing, sex positions). But are you paying attention to your partner’s needs or are you assuming they enjoy what you like? Remember, we’re all uniquely erotically wired. This in turns means that we all have a unique pathway to arousal, which will most likely differ from your partner. Which makes it important to talk about it!

And if you want to feel confident and find out more about each other’s pathways to deeper connection, touch and sensual desires, then take this quiz to discover your Sensual Archetype!

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Talking Your Way To Deeper Intimacy Is A Journey

Coached the right way, your partner might be pleased to get reinforcement and feedback, as they want to know they’re doing the right thing to satisfy you sexually. Also, talking about your intimacy needs shows you are both emotionally invested in making your sex life and relationship better.

Nobody came out of the womb a fantastic lover and partner, and we’re all teachable in the ways of intimacy and pleasure. One of the best ways of getting better in relationships and in bed is with the guidance of a partner who is empowered enough to ask for what they really want and patient enough to get it – that means you!

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