Communication is hard. And when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy, it’s even harder. And one of the things that make it is so difficult to say what we want and what we mean is that many of us have communication barriers that stand in the way of intimacy.
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Why talk about intimate communication?
Intimate communication is important because we know couples who communicate about sex, from talking about the sex they’re having to the sex they want to have, tend to have more fulfilling and satisfying sex lives.
We also know that when couples improve their intimate communication, their sex lives improve. They’re more likely to reach orgasm and engage in sex more frequently.
But before we can openly talk about sex, we need to become aware of and remove the barriers that stand in our way. Here are five of the most common!
Perceptual Communication Barriers
Perceptual communication barriers most often result from the things our parents, religion, and society teach us about sex, which may or may not be true. If you were reared in a household where sex was not talked about in a positive manner, you may think of sex as shameful or dirty. You may feel guilty for wanting something sexually that deviates from what society tells us is “normal.”
Many people are taught NOT to talk about sex. That only “loose women” talked about sex. Or perverts. Deviants. Many people were shamed for masturbating. Some were punished for simply being sexual.
These issues can easily create barriers in our perception that make talking about sex and your own pleasure difficult.
Biases and perceived notion about what you think your partner thinks about sex also fit into this category. So be leery if your internal chatter likes to list off reasons why your partner wouldn’t be interested in something… Unless you have specifically discussed it, don’t assume the worst!
Sex myths as communication barriers
Sex myths are the things society teaches us about sex that just aren’t true. Yet when people believe them, they tend to manifest in their relationship, therefore deepening the myths. These often are handed down to us through our parents, books, and even the movies.
Here are some examples of sex myths:
- Good girls don’t talk about sex.
- Sex is only exciting at the beginning of a relationship.
- Sex always dies after marriage.
- Women don’t enjoy sex as much as men do.
- Women lose their libidos after menopause and that’s just how it is.
- The clitoris is hard to find.
- It’s hard for women to orgasm.
When we’re subjected to these myths, they hold us back and keep us from seeking solutions to the sexual problems we’re having. We “believe” that these are normal things. We believe that there isn’t a real solution that works. That this is just how things are supposed to be and we should suck it up and be okay with it instead of trying to address the problem.
If you want to experience intimate communication with your lover, you must consciously set these sex myths aside to allow yourself the openness to see past these sex myths.
Emotional communication barriers
Emotional barriers to communication can develop from a lot of things. It may be sex shame. It may be sex guilt. It may be the fear of what will my partner think of me if I ask them for that. Or fear of rejection. Or resentment.
Lack of trust becomes a communication barrier. If you’re partner has violated your trust in the past, that can now stand in the way of moving forward.
Trauma, whether sexual or not, can also impact how you communicate and stop you from being vulnerable. And being vulnerable is necessary for open and honest communication about sex, desire, and passion.
Seeking to be understood instead of seeking to understand
When you open up a dialogue with your partner about intimacy and sex, of course you want your partner to understand you. But you also need to seek to understand them and where they’re coming from. Their wants, needs, and concerns are just as important as your own. And if you want lover to consider your position, you must also consider theirs.
Overcoming this communication barrier comes with a lot of active listening. A lot of shutting our mouths and opening our ears. When we’re not really hearing our partner, it leads to a lot of mixed messages and unintended misunderstandings.
Fixing what is wrong instead of exploring what could be new
When you talk about what is wrong in a relationship, it often comes out as criticisms and complaints. “We don’t have enough sex.” “You don’t last long enough.” “You never go down on me.”
Right off the bat, remarks like these trigger emotional reactions in your partner. You make a complaint. Something is wrong. Something is bad. And it’s taken personal. They become hurt. Or angry. Or defensive. They may even shut down.
In that moment, they are not receptive to anything you have to say.
So instead of coming to the discussion with there’s this bad thing you want to fix, approach your intimate communication by talking about new things you can explore. Discuss where you have opportunities to grow and develop together.
Want to overcome these communication barriers?
Then download my special report on the 10 building blocks of intimate communication and start building the sex life you always wanted!