In Christianity, we spend a lot of time talking about when is the right time to talk about sex with your kids or sexual boundaries with a boyfriend/girlfriend, but usually the question “When is the best time to talk about sex with your spouse?” is not answered. Generally, as Christians and/or the church, we do a lot better at talking about not having sex than we do about talking about sex in a positive light. I think often it’s just assumed that if your married, then sex is no longer an issue, it’s just a given, so we don’t need to talk about it anymore.
This is obviously not the case. So, when is the best time to talk about sex? Now, this is just my opinion based on one marriage, and a bit of science, so if it doesn’t work in your marriage, adjust accordingly. So, when is the best time to talk about sex?
The best time to talk about sex with your spouse is right after sex, in the dark, lying on your back, facing the ceiling.
Why do I think this? There are a few reasons.
Talking about sex can be more intimate and vulnerable than having sex
There are many marriages where sex is happening and no one ever talks about it, even to each other. It’s just that thing they do behind closed doors that no one needs to discuss…ever…even behind closed doors. And in some ways it’s sort of ridiculous that you can have sex, literally exchanging bodily fluids, we see each other at our weirdest, at all angles, and yet the exchange of ideas and feelings…that’s just too much. But in other ways, it makes sense, feelings are far more intimate than our physical actions. While everyone sees our bodies every day (covered generally), our minds are, for the most part, closed but to a select few, if any. Many of us feel that if our real thoughts and feelings were known, we would be rejected, and being rejected based on your body is one thing, but rejection of the mind, of who I am, that’s devastating.
So, here are a few tricks to help get over this first hurtle if you are unaccustomed to talking about sex, or really any intimate subject (like feelings, or spirituality).
Turn the lights off
Many couples keep the lights off during sex anyways (which is a whole other topic), but I think it’s for much the same reason. Darkness allows us to hide. It’s very exposing to be transparent about your feelings and thoughts on a topic like sex, and having light in the room often is just too much illumination, if you know what I mean. The darkness allows us to retain this sense that we are still safe, they can’t really see us, we’re not completely naked and exposed, body and mind to our partner (even though we are).
Lie side by side looking at the ceiling
This really does the same thing as turning the lights off, but is another way to sort of reduce the perceived vulnerability. We often grow up with the feeling that sex is a taboo topic, that we should be embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it, and it’s really hard to look someone in the face when you are ashamed or embarrassed. So, don’t. Baby steps. Look at the ceiling, it’s safe. There are no deep eyes searching yours, no facial expression to watch for, no body language to be wary of. You can ignore a lot of that non-verbal communication that is going to be severely muddled anyways because of the topic of discussion. Actually, this tip can implemented in a variety of ways: walking side by side or sitting together alone in a vehicle. These situations make it easier to open up and share for those couples who are uncomfortable talking about certain topics.
This actually include two effects. One of the effects of sex is a fairly massive release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” or sometimes the “bonding hormone” or the “trust hormone”. It’s what makes us feel safe, wanted, trusting, bonded to our spouse after sex. Ever notice, for those that don’t fall asleep right after sex, that your best conversations come after a really good sex session? Well, use this effect to your advantage. This dose of oxytocin has a tendency to lower inhibitions due to the heightened feeling of trust towards your spouse during this time. So, it might be an ideal time to bring up something that requires a lot of trust to talk about, like sex.
Another benefit to this time is that you don’t have to worry about the discussion ruining your chance of sex that night, because you just had it. So that takes some pressure off. You can speak your mind a little more opening when it’s not such a high-stakes conversation. Also, there isn’t the pressure to instantly act on the discussion, it can wait until the next time you are intimate, giving you time to gear up for it if need be.
So, that’s my tip: After sex, in the dark, starting at the ceiling. Let me know what you think the best time to talk about sex is in the comments below.
16 thoughts on “When Is The Best Time To Talk About Sex With Your Spouse?”
We do it almost the total opposite, sitting up in bed (side by side) lights on, before sex. In fact my wife is very strict about not having any sex talk after sex except for something like ‘Wow, I loved that when you ….’
Sitting in bed allows us to look at each other, or away from each other if we want or need to. We can hold each other or pull apart a bit. A lot of communication is non-verbal and I think it’s a good thing to see on somebody’s face and body language while they speak. Yes it does demand making yourself more vulnerable but that is a good thing.
We don’t discuss difficult things after sex because it can end the night on a bad note and ruin what happened before. Talking about it before, we both have a motive to find a resolution and make the conversation end positively, which is good as long as you both have the integrity to not push your long term needs aside for the sake of getting laid that night.
There have been a couple of times where it came close to winding up with no sex because of how the conversation went. And one time that really did happen, but it can really show the depth of feeling about something when you will risk that, and stick to it when it costs you. That is the rare outcome though. In most cases having sex after the talk soothes and heals the emotional bumps and scrapes of the talk. The sex really does become a renewal of our commitment to each other. Way better than shaking hands on it too.
Thanks for another perspective on this, I appreciate it. It’s completely contrary to what I posted, but that’s OK. It works for you, so it’s real.
Hey Jay Dee,
You got me all excited with one of your opening sentences (in a purely platonic sense of course), and I quote…”Generally, as Christians and/or the church, we do a lot better at talking about not having sex than we do about talking about sex in a positive light. I think often it’s just assumed that if your married, then sex is no longer an issue, it’s just a given, so we don’t need to talk about it anymore.”
This has been one of my pet peeves for the better part of my married life (I have been married to my bestest friend for 32yrs. It is my estimation that the church has done an excellent job of educating its youth with “Good girls don’t”, but has left the education process unfinished by not continuing and completing marriage prep classes with “Good wives DO!”
I find that these types of conversations that you have been talking about in this blog often go nowhere, because it just becomes a “he says/she says” circular merry-go-round. I just think that there has to be room for, at the very least, marriage tune-up classes that talk openly and frankly about sex, or maybe better, Christian adult toy ‘parties’ where the topic and focus should be self-explanatory. I also know that in some circles I would be pilloried at that stake for making suggestions like these, but I don’t know how else we can help couples get out of the downward spiral into a life of high-drive vs. low-drive conflict where the low drive always maintains control (but they never see it that way).
I will respectfully step down off of my soap box now. Thank you for the opportunity.
I like the idea of marriage tune-up classes. I’ve been thinking about doing something like that in my church, and that’s really, I think, where it needs to be taken. Speaking it from the pulpit doesn’t really work. First: most people don’t remember sermons 20 minutes after they are done. Second: It has a much higher impact if you can interact with the material, discuss it, ask questions, and that doesn’t really happen in a teaching/preaching situation. And thirdly, Songs 8:4 warns us not to awaken love before it’s time. It could be detrimental to speak of these things from a pulpit to unmarried couples. They need a very different message (still sex-positive, but I think different in it’s content).
As for the conversations that go around and around, I would suggest investing in learning to communicate more effectively. If your conversations are just a circular merry-go-round, then frankly, neither of you are communicating effectively, as part of communication is to move the conversation further along. I’m afraid I don’t have any specific resources for this. Perhaps another reader might have a good book recommendation. The common tips are: use “I statements” instead of “you statements”, reflect what the other person is saying (“Am I understanding that you mean…”), don’t think about what your going to say while they are talking (be attentive, and use active listening), and generally be interested in your spouse and really finding out what they want or need.
You are always welcome to speak here, bring your soapbox whenever you wish.
I totally agree with you on this issue but just like you said ‘baby steps first’, for me and my husband, it was awkard at first, my husband has been the open, transparent one while I feel such discussions make one more vulnerable than u already are. For four years now that we’ve been married, we’ve been getting better though I still have inhibitions some of the time, he’s been very patient and loving with me… I do appreciate this beautiful work of yours, your articles have been of great help to me though this is my first time of commenting – guess this is due to trying not to be vulnerable enough to share personal perspectives…keep it up
Well, if you keep to the baby steps, your husband is making a very wise investment in being patient. My wife has really just become comfortable with sex in the last few years. It took about seven years or so just for her to realize she needed to improve (don’t get me wrong, I had my own issues to deal with too), and then another five years of baby steps. But now, wow, do I ever feel like I hit the jackpot. Keep at it, and you’ll both reap the rewards.
I’m glad the articles are helping, and good for you for commenting. I’d love to encourage you to comment more. I think it really helps the process. It’s a very different interaction between reading something and then responding to it. When you respond to something, you process it more, you internalize it more, and it impacts your life more. And, this is a fairly safe place, online, anonymous, you can be as real as you dare without fear of it “getting around”. So, same to you…keep it up.
I’m curious what you mean by “talk about sex” and what that would entail. When it comes to very painful issues that have caused emotional hurt, I suggest couples get completely away from the bedroom, where tension runs high (yes, even after sex in some marriages) and find a low-stress environment where they can converse. Of course, if you’re just talking about sharing your heart, tweaking little stuff, etc., I agree that after sex is a great time.
And the side-by-side approach is wonderful. It’s often easier to open up when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face.
The potential danger of “after sex” is it can become something that is dreaded. That both reduces the change of having sex, and of her enjoying it. It depends on what is said, how, and how often.
Great tips here. I am often shy and think you address this really well.
Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
Have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Mel from Essential Thing Devotions
We tend to talk before sex, way before sex. Working side by side has its advantages. We are connected all day long. It’s in the evenings with a empty house (no kids around) that we talk about sex. I will actually wait until its just the two of us, alone in the house. That’s the perfect time for us to talk. Lately, we have been sharing the book, “She Comes First”. He doesn’t like a lot of words, so the beginning of the book is too wordy and drawn out for him. I’ve been reading to him, a few chapters per night (when it’s just us in the house). I can hardly wait until we cover the last part of the book.
Alright, that’s not fair…what’s the last part?
I always felt like talking about sex after sex was a bad idea because I thought it would kind of be like ” I wish you would have done this, I would have liked it better if it would have gone like that” even if you didn’t use those terms I think that’s how the spouse would see it, shedding a bad light on the sex that was just had.
I’ve asked my husband if he would like to try different positions (he has in the past) but now it’s the same exact scenario every single time in the same order (we use 2 different positions and seldom a 3rd position). Don’t get me wrong, I’m very satisfied every time, but I’m afraid of this becoming too boring. And honestly I would like something somewhat different. He says don’t fix what’s not broken. Can he really feel that way???? Is he just hiding what he really wants?? NOTE: we’ve had a serious issue in our marriage and have been working on us/marriage for the last 7 months after 20 years of marriage.
Do I continue to get him to talk more about sex? Or let it go?
I think it’s always wise to keep communication open. But, perhaps don’t force the specific issue.
What if, instead of asking if he would like to try different positions, you asked if he would try one for you? Then see how he reacts.
If in a sexless marriage, communicating about sex can be scary. When to start the conversation takes much wisdom as to timing, place, prep, attitude, emotions, words, etc. Once the conversation had begun, I realized that I could not let any opportunity pass to talk honestly about sex.