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How to Talk to Your Wife About Sex

By Kathryn Rateliff Barr ; Updated June 13, 2017

Talking to your wife about sex could make both of you uncomfortable, but not talking about it won’t solve a problem or help you improve what you have. Instead of avoiding the conversation, make an effort to make it one that both of you will find valuable, avoiding accusations, a defensive posture or a power struggle. Add some humor if you can and let your wife know that you appreciate her participation in the conversation.

Set the Stage

Start the conversation outside the bedroom when you aren’t feeling tense, suggests therapist Laura Berman in “Talking to Your Partner About Sex.” Don’t talk about your sex needs and desires during or right after sex, suggests marriage therapist Corey Allan in “How To Talk About Sex With Your Spouse.” Either of these situations can make the discussion harder and more threatening. Say positive things to your wife and promise her that you will limit the conversation to under an hour with the option for more talks later. Begin with a determination to keep the conversation on track.

Agree on Rules

Establish guidelines for this sensitive talk. Agree to be honest and open with one another. Don’t blame, threaten or attack your partner for problems the two of you are experiencing. Maintain a calm and respectful atmosphere, respecting each other’s vulnerability and feelings. Let your wife know that you want her input about how to make your intimate times more fulfilling for both of you. Promise to listen to what she has to say and ask her to do the same, addressing feelings and words.

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Topics and Questions

Common sexual concerns between spouses include sexual frequency, fantasies and what you want or need to have fulfilling sex, according to Elizabeth Bernstein, who writes about relationships fort "The Wall Street Journal." Ask your wife about her preferences for the time of day you have sex, how she wants to be touched, whether she prefers scheduled or spontaneous sex and what you can do to help her be ready. Share similar information with her about your desires and preferences. Suggest that if there is something too difficult for her to talk about with you, she can write it down or mark it in a book.

Moving Forward

Make a plan, suggests therapist Michelle Weiner-Davis in “9 Tips for the Spouse with a Higher Sex Drive.” If your wife indicates that you aren’t touching her the way she likes, ask her to show you, suggests Berman. Admit that she is the expert on her body and how it responds, so you need her input. Ask her for the same consideration, gently showing her what you like. Compromise if you can’t agree on your wants. Try to enjoy learning more about each other and creating some sparks in your love life.

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