Importance of Sexual Communication

Many modern couples don't communicate properly about sexual hangups, creating unnecessary strain on their relationship.

You may not agree with me, but I think that for some time now there has been much too much emphasis placed on the sexual needs of women and not nearly enough on the sexual problems of men.

Right now, thanks to feminism, there is more information available on female sexuality than on male sexuality. But, of course, men are more likely to be aware of their hang-ups, right? Wrong. It’s been proved that many men are just as ignorant of their sexual failings as women, and even less likely to admit them.

On her TV show, Not for Women Only on BC, Barbara Walters devoted an entire week of to men’s sex problems, and she got tremendous audience response. And this was before discussing sexuality was as commonplace or accepted in polite society. Why did she get such a great response? Because she attempted to tear away the veils of mystery surrounding "sexual dysfunction," as it’s called. Miss Walters and a panel of medical experts including Dr. Helen Kaplan, author of the excellent book, The New Sexual Therapy, brought up the point that if you do have a sexual problem, you no longer have to suffer in shame and secrecy. Those days are past. Sex therapy is opening up a whole new world for millions of individuals. Sex problems can be treated at a modest cost through visits to a clinic or a doctor’s office in your area on an ordinary outpatient basis.

Discussing Impotence

Every man may be impotent at one time or another, just as every woman may be frigid. The fantasy cliché that men can always perform at any place and any time is totally untrue. And losing an erection during intercourse is extremely common, yet many couples are not aware of this. If it happens once, the man often anticipates that it will happen again, and sometimes out of fear of another humiliating experience, he becomes temporarily impotent.

Many factors can produce impotence. If, for example, your boyfriend is either high or drunk, neither he nor you will get much of a rise out of his efforts. 

The most subtle causes of impotence are psychological and these causes are of particular interest to me. A woman can easily turn her man off by saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment, and if the vibes aren’t right between lovers, lovemaking can become forced and unpleasant.

Lately, I’ve heard feminism blamed for impotence. It’s said that the increasing aggressiveness of women in bed turns some men off. It shouldn’t. A woman’s demands for her pleasure should turn a man on. Ideally, the franker and more open both partners are, the better their sex life. This brings me to what is probably the most basic element in any relationship: communication between lovers. If there isn’t any real communication between a couple, how can there possibly be arousing, imaginative foreplay?

Recently, a girlfriend of mine complained that her lover would lie absolutely silent beside her in bed. They’d make love, but he would say nothing before or after. “Talk to me in bed,” she pleaded. And he replied, “If I do, will you answer?”

We all long to do marvelous, secret things to each other, things that right now we may feel too embarrassed to confess. We think, “It’s up to him to tell me what he digs,” and meanwhile he’s thinking, "Why doesn’t she tell me what arouses her?"

There are several false assumptions we have to give up, and one of them is that women’s sexual problems are almost exclusively emotional, while men’s hangups are physical. It all depends on the individual. There are some very emotional guys who have trouble getting an erection, and there are some extremely independent women who are frigid. Deep down, they can both be released with tender loving care and patience.

If either you or your lover has a continuing problem in your sex life, don’t feel guilty about seeing a doctor. But first, open up your heart and talk a little bit about it. In that wonderful book The Joy of Sex, Dr. Alex Comfort says, “Finding out someone else’s and your own needs and how to express them in bed is not only interesting and educational, it’s rewarding.” And that’s what sexual love is all about.

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