“You mean, just tell her ‘honey, your feet are freezing—please put on socks while we make love’? Oh, I could never say that!”
This is what patients tell me all the time. They can take off their clothes, entwine their body with someone else’s, try to create a new life or risk catching a disease—but they can’t simply talk about the most basic, real-life stuff surrounding sex.
The reasons are familiar—embarrassment, fear of judgment or rejection, lack of self-acceptance, anxiety about ruining the mood. And yet that sense of inhibition, combined with the lack of practical information, can cripple sex with even the most exciting, desirable, or beloved partner.
Here are a few of the things my patients would really like to tell their partners.
* “Lube, please”
Not because we need it, or because someone is old or dried out, but because it makes sex feel better. Over lunch sometime, encourage your partner to think of it as “we use lube” rather than “you use lube” or “I use lube.”
* “Clean up your act”
This could be the hardest thing for people to say in bed—requesting that a partner shower, brush his/her teeth, shave (face, legs, or a pubic mound grown stubbly since the last shave), maybe clip their toenails. But no matter how spiritual or cerebral the sex, you’re still doing it with someone’s earthly body, so compatibility of personal hygiene is essential. You’re not nagging (or being nagged), you’re creating the environment for good sex.
And while we’re at it, if you’re going to put your fingers inside someone—vagina, anus, mouth—please wash your hands before getting into bed. You shouldn’t have to tell someone (or be told) more than twice.
* “Look at me! Talk to me!”
Many people want to feel more connected with their partner during sex, but feel this either happens magically—or it doesn’t happen at all. Ironically, many people would indicate that they’re present if they felt that their partner—you—were interested. So say so.
Sex is not an express train, which you have to ride to the end once you begin.