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Talking about sex can feel more vulnerable than actually having sex! It might be awkward opening up about your needs and desires. And, it can completely transform your relationship. So, I would like to say that Sex Talk is life-affirming. Sex is one of the most intimate things you can talk about with another person.


Regardless of how long you and your partner have been together, you will both be happier when you open up about sex. The Family Planning Association- Sexual Health Charity advises "By sharing your likes, dislikes and expectations you can learn more about how to please each other."


Bad communication about sex could be sign that you aren't communicating well in other areas of your relationship. If you aren't communicating, your relationship could be in trouble.


I see this often when a couple comes to see me with a sexual issue. They come in because their Sex Life isn't great. When I learn more about their relationship, a lack of communication is an area that often needs work. It is rarely just about the sex. Sexual problems may be what brought them to me and it is often not the only concern.


An example of this could be one partner having low desire and doesn't want to have sex. When asking questions and learning more, I find that partner is holding onto something that happened 5 years ago in their relationship. They never talked about what happened. Emotional wounds can't heal if you don't talk about them.


Is talking about sex a bad idea? No.


What is a bad is complaining about your partner's performance. No one likes to be criticized. Never bring sex problems up during or right after sex. Instead, schedule a time to talk about them outside the bedroom.




Where do you start?


Here are some tips that may help!


Start early in the relationship. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Establish trust and intimacy with easier conversations.


An example of this would be talking about consent and contraception. Then, you would be able to move onto what feels good and what doesn't. Starting with simple conversations paves the way for the deeper sexual conversations you will have.


When sharing fantasies start with more vanilla fantasies. Note how your partner responds. This helps to build intimacy and trust.


If you are in a long term relationship you have time to share your other fantasies as you move forward. You may not want to jump right into BDSM unless you know your partner is already interested! If you know they are, then go for it!


Talk to your partner about what role you would like them to play in your fantasies. Ask what role they would like to play. Help them feel safe and included instead of threatened and excluded.


Your partner always has the right to say "No" to things they are not comfortable with.


It's never too late to start talking about sex. Even if you have been in the relationship a long time, it is still essential for you to have these conversations.


talk about your sexual fantasies


Clients find it is hard to talk with their partners about their sexual fantasies. I know this because at the end of each session I ask, "What was most helpful for you today"?


The responses are usually, "I was able to finally talk with someone." "I don't have anyone to talk to about this." "I am worried about what my partner will think."


This saddens me. Most of my clients are in long term relationships. And, they don't feel like they can have these conversations with the one who needs to hear it the most, their partners.


I encourage my clients to bring their partners in for sessions so I can help facilitate these conversations.



Justin Lehmiller, an academic who specializes in Sex, Love and Relationships surveyed more than 4000 people in 2018 for his book Tell Me What You Want . In his research he found that 97% of fantasies fall into the same broad categories.

  • Multi-partner sex

  • Rough sex

  • Novelty and Adventure

  • Voyeurism

  • Fetishes

  • Non-monogamous sex

  • Deeper emotional connection

  • Gender fluidity

This shows that we are more normal in our fantasies than we might think!


Whether you choose to share your fantasies or to act on them or not, this can be an easy way to introduce novelty into your Sex Life. Sometimes, simply talking about sexual fantasies is arousing enough time outside of the bedroom to talk about it. Schedule it at a time when you aren't rushed and can give your sex life the attention it deserves.


It might seem completely natural to talk about sex right before or right after you have sex. However, talking about sex in the heat of the moment, with all of your clothes off can feel very vulnerable.


Instead make time outside of the bedroom to talk about it. Schedule a time when you aren't rushed and can give your sex life the attention it deserves.


When you share your sexual fantasies it is usually best to do this when you and your partner are turned on. Your partner may be more receptive.


Try breaking the ice with an erotic movie and a glass of wine to get the ball rolling.


Take responsibility for your sexual pleasure


When working with couples, one of the most effective assignments I give them is to go home and focus purely on their pleasure. Not the pleasure of their partner just on their pleasure!


I don't want them thinking about how to please their partner. I want them thinking about "How can I please myself?"


This takes away performance anxiety that can distract from pleasure.


Through the coaching process of Your Pleasure First, couples are transformed. They have an intimate knowledge of their own bodies and are able to share that knowledge with their partner.


When you own your sexual experience and pleasure, it's harder to criticize your partner for what they didn't do.


Some people believe their partner has all the power to give them an orgasm.


I disagree.

Orgasm

When you take ownership of your own pleasure and orgasm, you have the power.


When you're in control of your pleasure and orgasm, you really can't blame the other person because your pleasure and orgasm are within your power. You own it!



Be clear and explain


Your partner is not a mind reader!


If they were you wouldn't be reading this blog post.


If you don't feel like having sex because you are getting ready to start your period and having stomach cramps, then say that.


If you don't feel like having sex because you have been working outside in the heat all day and you feel sweaty and nasty, then say that.


Otherwise, your partner won't understand why you are saying no and may feel rejected. Eventually, they will stop trying to have sex with you.


I often ask couples "How do you cope with being told no when you ask for sex?" And, "How do you deliver a no when your partner asks for sex?"


These questions open up a lot of great communication between them.



Be positive, not critical


Use "I" statements rather than "you".


They feel less accusative and puts you in control.


Try saying, "I feel" rather than "you make me feel."


Own your emotions. You feel the way you feel. It's not right or wrong. It's how you feel and how you feel matters.


Be nice rather than critical. Say something like "I really like when you ..." rather than "Stop doing that."


Be vocal about what feels good. Sometimes the conversation may not need to go further than "That felt really, really good!" Let's do that again"!


Listen and ask questions


Not listening is a big problem in relationships. We all know how to talk and few of us know how to really listen. Most of us are so worried about how we are going to respond that we spend the whole time thinking about what we are going to say next, rather than really listening.


Whew! How do we do that?!


Park your emotional response and try to be curious, detached and present with your partner. Say to your partner "Tell me more about that."


Reflect back to them what you heard them say. Then ask, "Did I get that right"? If they say "No," then ask more questions.


We are hard-wired to think that our reality is the only one and other perspectives are wrong. That it is up to us to get our partner to agree with our point of view. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree.


When we are able to really listen and be present with our partner, it can help when we have more difficult conversations.


Conclusion


Talking about sex is imperative in any relationship. It allows you to share your feelings, opinions and expectations. Most people fail to talk about sex due to fear of rejection, upsetting their partner or possibly even losing them.


Talking about sex can't be ignored. Couples that are not able to openly communicate outside the bedroom with their partner will face issues when it comes to sexual intimacy inside the bedroom.



"Don't let the lack of sexual communication get in the way of your pleasure any longer. Dare to ask the questions that will make sex so much more enjoyable, boost passion, and facilitate deeper connection and intimacy in your relationship". - Miya Yamanouchi

couple in love sharing an intimate moment

My love and I enjoying some fine wine at a Stone Ashe Vineyard in Hendersonville, NC and always time with each other.


Lisa Neville

Sex and Intimacy Coach

Better Sex 4 U

828-585-7669

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Last week I talked about Emotional and Intellectual Intimacy. This week I want to talk about the other 2 types: Experiential and Spiritual Intimacy. All 4 types of intimacy discussed are as important as Physical intimacy.


When all 4 types are present in a relationship it feels amazing! Trust me! Mark and I have this in our relationship. We are very fortunate to have found one another and we work hard everyday to keep our relationship in and out of the bedroom amazing. If you are willing to do the work you can enjoy it too!



Let's move on to the 3rd and 4th types of intimacy!


3. Experiential Intimacy


Shared experiences can lead to inside jokes and private memories that deepen intimacy between you and your partner. Teamwork and moving toward a common goal while creating experiences together also establishes a feeling of closeness. This bond is a result of Experiential Intimacy.


Our memories are closely linked to our senses. An example of this would be, when I smell chocolate cake baking in the oven, I remember visiting my grandmother's house. She always baked a cake for me when I visited. Now the smell of a chocolate cake baking stimulates the memory of my grandmother.


So, if the moment was pleasurable, it prompts the same energy we experienced at that time.



Examples of Experiential Intimacy

  • You and your partner decide to get into better physical shape. This allows you to support and push each other toward a confidence building goal.

  • You and your partner enjoy cooking a meal together. You are prepping the vegetables and your partner is getting the pots and pans ready on the stove.

  • You both decide to go an a nice hike. Your partner is responsible for planning the route on the hike and you are responsible for packing snacks and water.

  • You and your partner decide to visit a city neither of you have been to before. Together you are both able to discover and explore the city for the first time.


How can you Increase Experiential intimacy?


You can plan new adventures with your partner to increase Experiential Intimacy. Plan activities you haven't done together. Or, schedule a weekly date night at your favorite restaurant so that it becomes your spot. Mark and I love to go to Never Blue in Hendersonville, NC.


Each of you has your separate experiences. You don't have to collaborate on everything, however you need to have shared experiences. With shared experiences , your intimacy is interwoven with memories and acquired knowledge of one another. It exists in multiple spaces.


Couple sharing an intimate moment together gathering flowers

4. Spiritual intimacy


Spiritual Intimacy isn't necessarily about religion. However, it can be if you are religious.


This is more about a closeness that forms when you and your partner share passionate memories together. If you are religious, praying and worshipping as a couple can qualify as that moment. There are also many other examples of Spiritual Intimacy.


Examples of Spiritual intimacy

  • You and your partner are at the beach and you watch the sunrise or set together, both of you marveling in the beauty.

  • You and your partner take a walk through the park, holding hands, enjoying the beauty of nature and each other.

  • You connect with your partner as you stand on top of Grandfather Mountain in awe, taking in the beauty of the mountains.

  • You have a discussion about your ethics, sense of purpose and personal definitions of spirituality. This deepens your understanding of each another.

  • You read your favorite poems to each other at night before going to bed. This helps you to relax and feel mutually attuned to one another before going to sleep.

Spiritual Intimacy allows for transcendent connection beyond logic and conscious thought. It helps to be intentional in improving this type of closeness. Although, sometimes, it can just happen in a moment. Try to find those moments. It could be as simple as looking at the moon together with your arms around one another just enjoying the beauty of it all. (This is one of our favorites)!


Couple enjoying an intimate moment on the beach

How can I increase spiritual intimacy?


Talk about Spirituality with your partner so each of you can discover experiences the other considers awe-inspiring. Then regularly schedule times to do things or something similar to those things.


The good thing about Spiritual Intimacy is that you don't have to exert much effort. Just create the opportunities and let the moment do the work!


What to do if you fear Intimacy?

This is not as uncommon as you might think. Many of my clients come into sessions with a fear of intimacy. Usually, they are holding onto a past experience that left them feeling hurt or disappointed.


Vulnerability is a must when achieving intimacy of any kind. This can be really scary. You have to take the risk of opening yourself up to your partner. You have to be willing to trust. Trust that your partner will see you and love you just the way you are.


Clients who are afraid of being intimate often have the desire for intimacy and the fear of being hurt or disappointed is stronger.



My advice on overcoming fear of intimacy. Start with yourself. Learn how to become intimate with yourself so you can get comfortable with how it feels.


The bottom line

The non-physical types of intimacy discussed in this blog are 4 types of intimate relationships you can have with the same person.


Healthy relationships involve relating on many different levels not just physical.


Learning to engage in open, truthful communication, as well as working to understand your partner, helps create the exquisite feeling of closeness that strengthens your relationship.


Isn't your relationship worth it? Mine certainly is.


Intimacy is not purely physical. It is the act of connecting with someone so deeply, you feel like you can see into their soul.

Couple enjoying walk at Flat Rock Park

My love and I at Flat Rock Park. One of we like to go, enjoy the beauty of nature and always each other.


Lisa Neville

Better Sex 4 U

828-585-7669



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Often, clients reach out to me because they no longer feel a "connection" with their partner. Usually, it is because their sex life isn't what it used to be. After our first couple of sessions, they quickly realize that the connection they had with their partner outside of the bedroom isn't really there either.


So, what does Intimacy really mean?


The definition of Intimacy in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is:

  1. The state of being intimate: Familiarity

  2. Something of a personal or private nature

Some Synonyms of Intimacy: Belonging, Chumminess, Closeness, Familiarity, Inseparability, and Nearness.


Think about how these words feel in your body. They feel great! Right?


An Antonym of Intimacy: Distance


Think about how this word feels in your body. Not so great. Right?


Now, take a moment to think about the word Intimacy and apply it to your relationship. How does that feel in your body? Does it feel good and make you happy? Or, are you feeling empty and sad?


Struggling with intimacy? Reach out to me and let's talk!

Physical intimacy is most commonly used in reference to sex. Is sex an important part of your relationship with your partner? Absolutely!


You can also show physical intimacy through hugging, kissing, hand holding, cuddling and skin to skin touching. Do you do these things without feeling like you have to have sex? I hope so!


When you think about intimacy, is the first thing you think of sex? If it is, you are not alone. That is word most people think of. Sex is about being as close to another human being as possible.


However, did you know there are at least 4 types of Intimacy that do not include sex or touching at all? All of these are just as important in a romantic relationship as sex. Maybe even more so. When you are humming along as the Intimate human being you are, things like an amazing sex life will often fall right into place or the bed, the car or the kitchen counter.


Couple talking in the back of a car

In today's blog, I will talk about 2 types of intimacy. Emotional and Intellectual.


Next week, I will talk about the other 2 types. Experiential and Spiritual.


So stay tuned!




1. Emotional Intimacy


Emotional intimacy involves candid and authentic sharing of thoughts and feelings. This means being able to tell each other your deepest fears, dreams, disappointments and most complicated emotions. You both also feel seen and really heard by one another.


Emotional intimacy means you both feel safe and comfortable with uninhibited expression around each other.


This is a "safe space" you both have cultivated by refraining from judgement or contempt when the other person is sharing.


We confide in the people we trust. We believe our partner is that person. They will not repeat anything we share in confidence. We also do not expect them to embarrass or belittle us.


Examples of Emotional intimacy

  • You and your partner have a long and meaningful conversation about what you want out of your relationship. You both come out of the conversation feeling closer than ever and more understood.

  • Your partner comes home and starts talking about something very stressful that happened at work. You are on your partners side of what happened. You ask questions to help them process what happened and validate their emotions.

  • Your partner confides in you that she is unhappy with her body since having the baby. She trusts that you will offer her comfort and help her come up with solution if she asks for it. She doesn't want you to dismiss her feelings by telling her she "looks fine."


How can you increase your Emotional intimacy?

You can cultivate Emotional Intimacy in your relationship by engaging in deeper more thoughtful conversations together, talking about emotions and experiences you don't usually share with others.


You can also ask your partner thoughtful questions and be curious about they way they think and feel. Listen to understand rather than waiting to respond. Be careful not to invalidate your partners feelings by saying things like, "Don't feel that way." Or, "You shouldn't feel that way." Instead, say things like " I totally understand how you could feel that way". Or, "I would feel that way too if it were me in that situation".


You need to create an environment that is conducive to an open and honest dialogue between the two of you.




2. Intellectual Intimacy


Intellectual intimacy is created when partners provide comfort with communicating beliefs and viewpoints.


Basically, each person in the relationship has the freedom to think for themselves and believes that their opinions are valued instead of feeling pressured to agree with the other partner.


This can encourage stimulating conversations. You feel closer to your partner who cares for you independent from your differences and respects your voice. So, what you believe and what you say matters.


Examples of Intellectual Intimacy
  • You and your partner debate the importance of a college education. You respect and honor each others opinons. You just enjoy hearing your partners thoughts about it.

  • You and your partner discuss the possibilities of other life in the universe. You both know there isn't a concrete answer to the question, "Are we alone in the universe?" Each of you can entertain ideas neither of you may have considered before.

  • You and your partner read and discuss a book together. You are both excited to compare your takeaways from the book instead of telling each other what you thought the author meant. It is talking about what it meant to you both as individuals.


Couple having meaningful conversation

How can you increase intellectual intimacy?

You can create more Intellectual Intimacy by sparking discussions where you and your partner have a different perspective. Make a conscious effort to really be open and listen when you have these discussions.


You can also have conversations about ideas and abstract concepts like art, education, or social issues you are both passionate about. Ideas you are exploring together.


This type of intimacy is about connecting through logic and philosophical conversations. Sharing your beautiful minds with one another.


Remember, long term relationships require more than just chemistry in the bedroom. You need to cultivate the chemistry outside the bedroom too.


When you are engaging in all 4 of the different types of intimacy in your relationship it will be stronger and you both will feel more connected to one another.


Next week, I will talk about two more types of intimacy needed to keep the chemistry and connection in your relationship. So, until then!


Winery in Hendersonville, NC

My love and I at a local winery enjoying some intimate conversations over a glass of wine.


Lisa Neville

Sex and Intimacy Coach

Better Sex 4 U

828-585-7669

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