Written by Katie Mitchell, M.A., CST
Certified Sex Therapist
For many couples it can be uncomfortable to talk about sex. As a sex therapist, I have heard all of the concerns and what ifs on more than one occasion. What if I say the wrong thing? What if my partner misunderstands what I am trying to say? What if they take my comment as a criticism regarding performance? All of these are legitimate concerns, but I also think it is very possible to have a productive conversation regarding sex that removes many of these fears. Enter the Sex Review! A sex review is pretty much exactly like it sounds. It is a conversation that centers around discussing the last sexual experience that you had with your partner(s) or the ways in which you would like to change future sexual experiences. To give a better understanding of what this conversation might look like, a sex review can include the following topics or aspects of conversation:
Open dialogue. It is extremely important to recognize that you are speaking on a sensitive topic for many people. It can be helpful to acknowledge that at the beginning of the conversation and recognize that you both are there to support one another (and to hopefully foster a better sexual connection with each other).
Non judgmental language. Utilize positive reinforcement during this conversation and try to refrain from blaming each another; doing this will help to greatly decrease the defensiveness that could arise. Acknowledge if you are feeling defensive or if you are perceiving that your partner is feeling defensive. Can the two of you get in touch with what lies underneath the defensiveness or where that feeling is stemming from? Taking ownership of your own emotions and decisions can also help to cultivate a nonjudgmental tone to this conversation. For example, discuss that you were not in the mood for oral sex during the last sexual experience, but communicate that you will ask when you would desire that in a future sexual experience.
What was pleasurable? This goes back to the positive reinforcement from above! The focus of this conversation should be to discuss what was pleasurable for each of you. Discussing and describing what you both find pleasurable helps each of to better understand your partner’s experience during a sexual experience (and how they experience sexual pleasure).
When thinking about your last shared sexual experience, what would you like more of? Is there something that you would like more of from your last sexual experience? Express those desires to one another! It is important to remember that your partner is NOT stating that what has recently occurred is not enough, but that they would like more of it, if possible.
What things would each like to incorporate into your sex life? Are you both open to trying these things out? What types of activities and toys would you like to incorporate into your future sexual experiences? Again, it is incredibly important to cultivate a nonjudgmental atmosphere. This includes NOT laughing at one another or mocking each other when discussing these desires. This is also important to express if you are not comfortable taking part in something that is a sexual desire for your partner. It is okay for the two of you to have different sexual desires – it is not okay to shame each other for it. If you are both open to incorporating new things, make a game plan of when/how to go about adding these things to a future sexual experience.
Have the two of you taken time for yourselves? Do you need more time to connect with one another (both emotionally and sexually)? Discuss with each other if you need more self-care time (individual time) so that you can come back to your relationship more refreshed and ready to sexually engage with your partner. Discuss if you need more time to connect emotionally with each other before a sexual experience. Again, if expressing these needs, take ownership of them. For example, “I need more time to connect with you in the week, so that I feel emotionally connected with you when we go to have a sexual experience.” Or, “I think it would be helpful for me to have some alone time in the week, so that I can feel more appreciative of you and connected when I go to initiate a sexual experience.” This could also look like, “Having more time for myself, allows me to come back to our relationship renewed and motivated to sexually initiate and connect with you.”
Never underestimate the power of a helpful and connecting sex review! I hope you and your partner(s) are able to have a successful sex review. If help is need to working out the kinks of integrating the sex review into your relationship, reach out to our office today!