Communicating About Sex, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog centered on communicating about sex and gave readers some suggestions on how to do just that with their current partners. The other side of communication is listening. What happens if the communication about sex breaks down, especially when a partner isn’t being open-minded to sexy suggestions or is simply not listening?

Being able to communicate and to listen to one another are cornerstones of a healthy relationship. Hard work must be done or tough decisions must be made when communication in any relationship breaks down.

Use as many forms of communication as possible to get the message across. Some people prefer to write out their thoughts. In this case, emailing or texting a sexual suggestion may achieve better results than trying to just verbalize the suggestion.

If a partner is not listening because he or she won’t let anyone finish a sentence, sit the partner down and very nicely tell him or her this quality is harming the relationship’s ability to grow and that this needs to improve, starting today. Give the situation a few months to see if there has been any positive changes. If there is no change and the behavior is still present, a tough decision about leaving the relationship may be the next step if the behavior is indeed a deal-breaker.

Successful relationships of any kind depend on the ability of all parties involved to compromise. Small suggestions, such as a new sex position to try or the addition of some sexy attire, should really not be an issue, but could be depending on the suggestion as the devil is in the details. If a partner is not warming up to the idea of giving a blowjob in the car in public, think of a compromise.

Perhaps the resistant partner is afraid of sex in public or works in a career where a charge of public indecency would cause loss of his or her job. In this case, suggest a blowjob in the car while it is still parked in the garage. For people who only have access to street parking, ask a close friend or family member to borrow his or her garage when no one is at home. Or just wait until someone with a garage goes on vacation, offer to house sit while he or she is gone and enjoy the instant garage access.

If a partner is asking for something controversial, such as full-on anal or a threesome, he or she may be met with some resistance as these topics can push emotional, mental, physical, moral and/or ethical boundaries. If met with resistance in this situation, understand this is a perfectly valid reaction as more communication and thought-processing could be required in order to make a healthy decision when faced with such a weighty suggestion. Above all else, always respect the partner’s decision, be it yes or no, to any sexual suggestion.

What happens if compromise is impossible or the partner is still not listening? If the relationship is its infancy, or just getting warmed up, the two partners may not be right for one another in the long-term sense. For example, if someone is completely unwilling to give oral sex a good try (without a valid reason) yet insists his or her partner always perform oral on him or her, this is a not a healthy scenario for either partner. In this situation, I recommend breaking the relationship off entirely. Common sense tells us a relationship that is dysfunctional in its beginning will just get even more dysfunctional as time progresses.

If the relationship has been ongoing for a year or more and the partners still feel a strong connection to one another, I recommend the couple speak to a relationship counselor. If one partner is struggling with his or her own inner demons, such as depression or anxiety, individual counseling is a great idea to avoid affecting the intimacy of the relationship past the point of repair. There is no shame in seeing a counselor, especially in stressful situations such as death of a loved one or after receiving a devastating medical diagnosis. Many employers offer employee assistance programs, which may pay in-full for several visits with a counselor.

When one partner is not handling life well, the other one should be willing to take on extra tasks and stress in the relationship while respecting his or her own individual emotional, mental and physical limits. However, once those limits are reached, a re-evaluation of the situation is necessary to avoid a deterioration in the relationship.

If the relationship has been ongoing for a year or more and the partners no longer feel a strong or even a healthy connection to one another, then it is simply time to part ways as partners. I know break-ups can be emotionally draining, but this drain is usually temporary and a little time and space can do wonders for a new outlook on life.

Even in times of darkness, there is light. We can take our failed relationships and examine them for ways to better our own personal communication skills, be it in a general or in a specific manner. If we apply that knowledge to our current and/or future relationships, those connections will only be stronger and, hopefully, more fulfilling and longer-lasting.


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