Thursday, March 12, 2009

Negotiating Sex with your partner part 1

"My partner wants me to talk dirty to him, be rough and call him names. I have a real hard time with any of that even though he's asked me to on more than one occasion."

One of the most difficult tasks in any relationship is being able to comfortably talk about sex with our partners. The issues can range from simply how often and what to do to whether or not the relationship should be open, monogamous or some variation thereof.

The main goal in any couples counseling relationship is open and honest communication about what you want, what makes you happy, and what you don’t want. A key component of sexual health is a similarity between your values and your behaviors. It's your responsibility to communicate these values with your partner(s). The decision about the degree to which any behavior is consistent with your values ultimately rests with you.

As you think about sex with your partner, there are four general subjects that are important to address.

1) Tell him – Have you communicated what you like and don’t like with your partner? Too many times I’ve run into couples saying to one another “I didn’t know that.” For any number of reasons (shame, self-esteem, fear of being judged, not wanting to upset their partner), clients won’t talk about their likes and dislikes. Now is not the time to be bashful.

2) Ask him – Once you know what you like, do you know what your partner likes and dislikes? It's important not only to know what but why he or she has these interests. For example, I worked with a couple where one guy wouldn’t bottom because it physically hurt. It turned out the pain was due to anal warts, and once those were addressed, the problem went away.

3) Learn – Don't be shy if you don't know how to do something. Whether you're a top or a bottom, you need to learn some basics regarding foreplay, stretching the sphincter muscle, proper clean up and so on.

4) Get help – If after going through the first 3 steps you find you are still having problems, you may want to seek some outside help. This doesn't necessarily mean therapy or counseling, although professional help is a very good option for more challenging problems. Try having a frank, "out of the box" conversation in which you look at creative outlets and avenues to get your sexual needs met. These could include talking to your spiritual adviser, attending a body electric or similar sexuality workshop, or reading "The Joy of Gay Sex." Each of these interventions might be helpful in breaking the log jam in your relationship.

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