Talking About Sex With Your Spouse

Question: My husband and I never talk about the subject of sex, and this is frustrating to me. Is this a common problem in marriage?

Answer: It is, especially for those who are having sexual difficulties. It is even more important that the doors of communication be kept open in marriage when sex is a problem. When intercourse has been unenthusiastic, and when anxiety has been steadily accumulating, the tendency is to avoid referring to the topic in everyday conversation. Neither partner knows what to do about the problem, and they tacitly agree to ignore it. Even during sexual relations, they do not talk to one another.

One woman wrote me recently to say that her sex life with her husband resembled a "silent movie." Not a word was ever spoken.

How incredible it seems that an inhibited husband and wife can make love several times a week for a period of years without ever verbalizing their feelings or frustrations on this important aspect of their lives. When this happens, the effect is like taking a hot Coke bottle and shaking it until the contents are ready to explode. Any anxiety-producing thought or condition that cannot be expressed is almost certain to generate inner pressure and stress. The more unspeakable the subject, the greater the pressurization that tends to weaken sexual desire.

Furthermore, when conversation is prohibited on the subject of sex, the act of intercourse takes on the atmosphere of a performance--each partner feeling that he or she is being critically evaluated by the other. To remove these communication barriers, the husband should take the lead in helping his wife verbalize her feelings, her fears, her aspirations. They should talk about the manners and techniques that stimulate--and those that don't. They should face their problems as mature adults, calmly and confidently. There is something magical to be found in such soothing conversation; tensions and anxieties are reduced when they find verbal expression.

The The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide

By Dr. James Dobson

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