Every once in a while, someone contacts me saying their spouse won’t talk to them about sex. Sometimes it’s part of a larger issue of not wanting to talk at all, but often every other topic is acceptable, it’s just sex that isn’t. So, I thought I’d write a post explaining why talking about sex, specifically, is important.
1. Not talking about sex makes it seem undesirable
Typically we don’t like to talk about things that are dirty or otherwise don’t want to deal with. “Bathroom talk” is an example of this. We all know we urinate and defecate, but talking about it is socially unacceptable. Even more so than sex. Truth is, people don’t really want to deal with what we do in the bathroom. They’d rather not have to deal with waste at all. Life would be better without it.
If we don’t talk about sex, the same beliefs can crop up. We don’t talk about it, so our spouse might assume we don’t want it. That we think life would be better off without it.
2. Not talking about sex makes it seem sinful
We also don’t tend to talk about those things we are doing that we know we shouldn’t be.
No one wants to discuss the box of Oreos they ate, or the cake they finished off themselves, or the tub of ice cream they were only going to have a spoonful of and ended up eating the entire carton. We don’t like to talk about the movies we pirate, the income we left off our taxes or the expenses we inflated (really, the Xbox was an “office expense”?) By some estimates, over half of Christian men, and 1/3rd of Christian women, actively involved in church (including pastors) have been, or currently are addicted to porn, but that’s not a topic of conversation that comes up. It’s the dirty little secret of Christianity.
We don’t talk about the things we are doing and know we shouldn’t be, and so if don’t talk about sex, our spouse might get the idea that we think sex is wrong, or we might actually start to think ourselves that it’s somehow wrong, that it needs to be hidden and not discussed, further cementing the habit of not talking about sex.
3. Not talking about sex makes it seem unimportant
The other reason people don’t talk about this is simply that they have either no interest, or it’s not really important to them. People uninterested in politics don’t have conversations about who is running the country. People with no interest in theology don’t discuss apologetics. If you have no interest in books, you won’t be joining a book club to talk about what you aren’t reading.
If you don’t talk about sex, it can send the message that that part of your marriage is unimportant to you. That you could take it or leave it. Considering sex is an integral part of marriage, it can also send the message that the marriage itself is unimportant to you.
4. Talking about sex builds other forms of intimacy
Sex is a very personal topic for most people. Discussing it shows vulnerability. Almost every post I write requires me to open up and share something deeply personal knowing there’s a good chance someone will use it to attack me one day. That one day it will likely lead to embarrassment, potentially lose me friends or standing in my social circles, or negatively impact my ability to serve my local church. But, I do it because it’s important to me to help those who need it to be discussed.
In a marriage, it’s similarly risky to talk about sex. Talking about sex with your spouse shares a very personal, deep, emotional part of who you are with them. All vulnerability comes with the possibility of being rejected, of being attacked or otherwise hurt. But it’s that willingness to be vulnerable and then have that vulnerability accepted that grows emotional intimacy.
Every week, people email me deeply personal questions and situations, asking for another perspective. Things they often won’t share with anyone, sometimes including their spouse. Why? Because I was vulnerable with them. Reading it made them feel a connection, trust, comradery, even if it’s only one way. Returning that trust and being vulnerable then again is easy. It’s not because I’m an expert. I have no degrees, I’m not a licensed therapist, I haven’t been to seminary. Granted, I have spent years doing my own personal research, but I think more importantly they feel more comfortable talking to me because I’ve been willing to share with them.
In marriage, the same thing happens. When you share these embarassing ideals, beliefs, feelings, hopes and fears, it opens the door to further intimacy in all areas. Marriage isn’t split into discreet parts. Marriage is holistic. Every part impacts all the others.
5. Talking about sex improves sex
Lastly, talking about sex improves sex itself. If you can’t talk about sex, then you can’t address any issues that might occur during sex. You can’t express any but the most basic desires. You can’t talk about your struggles, what you want to do, what’s working and what isn’t. In short, you can’t work to make sex any better.
And why wouldn’t you want sex to be better? I mean, most of us aren’t masters of sex right out of the gate. Probably none of us. I know I’m still not, despite years of study on the topic, I still have a lot to learn. But sex still keeps getting better. I still keep finding out new tricks, which I do my best to share with you. We also still have plenty of struggles and opportunities to get better, which I also try to share so that you can feel you aren’t alone.
6. Talking about sex increases the frequency of sex
Back in July, we ran a survey about talking about sex. Unsurprisingly we found from that survey that talking about sex increases the frequency of sex. On average, couples that don’t talk about sex have sex about once every 2 weeks. Having even one conversation about sex a year nearly doubled the frequency.
But if you want substantial changes, the numbers indicate that conversations once a month correlate with sex almost twice a week. Weekly conversations jump to slightly more than twice a week. But those talking about sex daily … on average they’re having sex 3-4 times per week.
If you want more sex. Talk about it.
And the truth is, there is no good reason not to talk about sex. It shouldn’t be a taboo talking among spouses. It should be as comfortable as talking about your feelings, your dreams, your hopes and fears. And I know, all those things can be uncomfortable, but they’re only uncomfortable because you don’t do it often.
Start talking about sex. Need help? Check out our 37 sex questions for spouses to ask each other. If you’re on the mailing list, you should have gotten it the day you signed up. If you are on the mailing list and can’t find it, send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll send you a copy.