Natasha Helfer Parker is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist and a member of the Church with 13 years of experience working with LDS members. Here she shares with us representative cases from her practice and insights she has gained from her work as a therapist. She blogs at mormontherapist.blogspot.com.
My husband and I don’t really talk during sex. What’s there to talk about? I’m certainly not going to talk about something other than sex because then I get distracted and the mood totally dies. Or we can talk about sex, but talking about sex while you’re actually doing it seems stupid it me. And saying stuff like, “Do you like that? How about that?” just seems like silly porn talk to me. I would laugh out loud if my husband said that during sex. So what the heck are we expected to talk about? Sex isn’t exactly a “silent” experience around here, but it doesn’t come from chit-chat. Chit-chat is annoying. What are we supposed to be doing instead?
It sounds like you are happy, satisfied and comfortable with you and your husband’s sex life. That’s wonderful!! And by no means go about trying to fix something that’s not broken. I hope my suggestions offer new ideas and help those who are looking for something different than what they currently have. Things that are helpful for some may not be for others. That being said, here are some points I want to make.
- Although you may not be “talking,” it sounds like you are still definitely communicating. And if this comes in the form of a moan or a sigh, this is a form of verbal communication. And this is good because it affirms for your partner that you are enjoying your shared experience. We all can use some positive feedback.
- Don’t be so quick to dismiss what you stereotype as “porn talk.” There are many different types of talk that a couple can engage in that are perfectly appropriate. Here are some examples:
- Using pet names (i.e. honey, darling, love man, etc.)
- What I call “Beauty Talk” which highlights the physical attributes you love about your spouse (i.e. “your eyes are so beautiful,” “your skin is so soft,” “I love your…”)
- What I call “Reminiscing” by bringing up loving memories of a past shared moment (“I loved it when…,” “I love thinking back on the time when…”)
- “Love Letter Talk.” Speaking out loud things that you might write in a love note (i.e. “I love being married to you,” “I’m so lucky to be your wife/husband,” “It feels so good to be with you,” “You are such an incredible person.”)
- And there is the “I like, I don’t like” talk which can be very useful for many couples. It’s a tool that can reinforce touching and behaviors that feel good as well as be a non-threatening way to communicate something you don’t like (i.e. “Wait, that’s too rough,” or “I liked what you were doing before better.”
- It’s OK to laugh or giggle together when trying new things. There’s a certain playful element to sex that can be refreshing to tap into. When we try new things it can feel uncomfortable or corny at first. But by exploring new things you never know when something new and exciting will work for the both of you.
- Being willing to communicate in our sex lives does translate into being willing to be more vulnerable with our spouses. This can at first feel uncomfortable as well.
- Remember that just because you are satisfied with your sex life, doesn’t always translate to your spouse being satisfied. That is why it is also important to talk about sex outside of the bedroom in a more neutral environment.
Many people find “love chat” erotic, sensual and an added enjoyment to their sex lives. Who wouldn’t love hearing they are sexy or beautiful? Keep having fun! When we take into account that one of the main purposes for sex to begin with is that of a bonding union, I would hope all kinds of communication would be seen as useful towards this end.
Readers – what sorts of sexual communication do you see as appropriate or not appropriate? Bonding vs non-bonding? How does sexual communication affect things such as “being in the mood,” your libido or your feelings of love towards your spouse? Does sexual communication leave you feeling awkward or corny? How does sexual communication relate to your beliefs about eternal marriage? Is sex part of eternal marriage in your belief system?