“Let's talk about sex, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things And the bad things that may be. Let's talk about sex.” The lyrics from the 1991 Salt N Pepa song make it sound easy, but talking about sex with your partner can be tricky, even though pop culture and the media constantly cover the topic. Whether you have already been intimate in your relationship or not, sex is a marital expectation that you might think you don’t need to have a conversation about before the wedding, but it’s an area that causes many fights within marriage. Discussing your sexual past, beliefs and expectations about intimacy, and even your preferences can smooth the way for a satisfying sexual relationship within your marriage.
Starting the Conversation
If you’re nervous about starting a conversation about sex, consider starting by talking about your favorite sexual memories with each other. What was the best sex you’ve ever had? Is there a special experience that stands out in your memory? What made it so special? If you and your partner haven’t been intimate yet, what are you most looking forward to? It’s important to remember that good sex isn’t immediate in every relationship, but open communication and a willingness to learn about what works well can improve sex and create a better experience for both partners.
Talking through your sexual history is rarely a comfortable conversation, but certain topics are bound to come up at some point. Rather than waiting until you awkwardly run into an ex (or a one-night fling) in a coffee shop, discussing past partners who you might run into removes the element of surprise. As you talk about sex with your future spouse, it’s important to remember that the conversation should be non-judgmental or comparative. Remember that you and your partner may have different views on sex and have therefore had different sexual experiences. There are also plenty of topics that could make either of you feel vulnerable, such as STDs, past abuse, or negative emotional baggage. As you work through this conversation, be sensitive to your partner’s feelings and experiences, just as you want them to be respectful of what you share with them, and remember that those experiences were in THE PAST. Getting angry or frustrated about something your partner did before you were together doesn’t help the relationship grow and move forward.
Chat with your fiancé:
What is your sexual history?
How many partners have you had?
Have you ever had an STD?
Have you ever been pregnant/gotten a girl pregnant?
Have you ever experienced abuse (emotional, physical or sexual) in a sexual relationship?
How was your view of sex defined by the way you were raised? Was sex taboo? Was it something you could openly talk about with your parents?
How were you first introduced to the idea of sex? Did you get the birds and bees talk?
Expectations About Intimacy
Many individuals have certain expectations about what married sex life looks like, and this is often built by movies and TV shows that make it quite clear: happily married people have lots of sex, and a lack of sex means something is seriously wrong. If you and your partner are already intimate, you probably think you have a great sex life that will continue throughout your marriage; if you’ve been waiting until marriage, you likely can’t wait to experience a healthy, exciting sex life.
But what happens when your sex drive changes?
Some couples are unaware of influences that may affect their sex drive, such as hormone changes, lifestyle changes and external circumstances such as the loss of a job or family member. "Couples often get into a pattern of uncertainty and guilty feelings if one person seems to want sex more frequently than the other — and unfortunately, this is almost always unavoidable," says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D, sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive.
Couples may also go into their honeymoon with expectations about countless nights of passion, but almost half of all couples are too exhausted to have sex on their wedding night! Think realistically about what you want out of your honeymoon, and if sex or the honeymoon activities are the priority. Consider what you want the sex to be like (super intimate, playful and fun, experimental such as with new lingerie or toys, etc) and what you can do to make sure you have an amazing honeymoon.
Chat with your fiancé:
What do you consider a healthy amount of sex?
What is the best way for me to let you know I feel like we’re not having enough sex? Too much sex?
How can we communicate with each other when our sex drive changes?
What can we do to resolve differences in the frequency of sexual desire?
How can I make you feel loved and special when I’m not in the mood for sex?
How important is sex to you?
How can we prioritize intimacy?
How do you think having kids will affect our sex life?
What are your wishes for our honeymoon?
Just as your sex drive may change through different seasons of your life, your preferences may also change. After all, you want to have great sex for the next 50 years, but doing the same thing all the time could get boring after a while. Identify your current preferences, even if they seem obvious, to make sure you and your spouse have great sex in the early stages of your marriage. But also consider talking about your interests, curiosities and limits. Have fun with this part of the conversation, and remember that this should be a continuing dialogue as your relationship grows and changes over the years.
Chat with your fiancé:
What do you like in the bedroom?
Do you prefer sex that focuses on intimacy and comfort? or sex that focuses on physical desire and satisfaction?
Are you interested in bringing variety (such as role play) into the bedroom?
Do you have any sexual fantasies you’d like to enact one day?
How do you feel about sex toys?
How do you feel about pornography?
Are there certain things that are off limits?
How can we resolve differences in preferences?
What do you define as cheating?
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