Talking About Sex
Speaking out about sexual problems can
help you find lasting solutions.
Imagine you're in the middle of lovemaking,
and your partner loses his erection. Or
she just doesn't seem to be aroused. You:
- Think about your
aging body or the weight you've gained,
wonder why your partner doesn't find
you attractive, and wonder if there's
- Think of all the
other people who do find you attractive.
- Plan to avoid sex
so this won't happen again.
- Vow to not discuss
it so you won't hurt your partner's
This is a trick question; none of the
answer options offer a good solution.
It's only human to have any or all of
the thoughts and feelings I've just listed.
But don't stop there.
TV and movies suggest that everyone is
having sex easily and often. But in the
real world, sexual dysfunction is a fairly
common occurrence for both men and women.
You can get through all the angst and
disappointment and learn to talk about
such issues without taking their personally.
Silence Is Not Golden
People are often uncomfortable talking
about sex because they mistakenly think
their partner knows their concerns, naively
think sex should "just happen,"
are uninformed about how the other sex
experiences sex, or are afraid of hurt
feelings or rejection.
But if your sex life is interrupted,
it is better to address the problem than
to allow distress, anxiety, and fear to
Lovemaking is more than a physical act.
It can be a method of developing deeper
emotions and intimacy, a forgiveness ritual,
and a foundation for basic physical and
emotional satisfaction. It's about intimacy,
bonding, affection, sharing, fun, and
friendship - gifts well worth working
Don't Assume The Worst
No question about it: Blood glucose fluctuations,
poorly controlled diabetes, and related
complications can all affect sexual interest
and ability. But when problems arise,
don't assume that a long-feared complication
is here to stay. Sexual problems can happen
for a variety of reasons and often are
temporary or easily resolved.
However, having diabetes and fears about
its complications can increase the anxiety
that anyone with sexual difficulties might
feel. This makes the willingness not just
to talk but to communicate effectively
about sexual problems more crucial.
Withdrawing, getting angry, nagging,
or using sex as reward or punishment are
easy and common reactions. But they aren't
likely to help. Instead, try these tips
for talking to your partner about sex.
- Choose the right moment. Don't bring
up sex when either partner is stressed
out. (But don't let waiting for an opportune
time become an excuse for not talking.)
Consider talking while taking a walk.
You can hold hands and not be inhibited
by each other's facial expressions.
- Use positive reframing. Try to view
sexual problems as opportunities to
get closer. Focus on what you'd like
to have happen, not on what's already
happened. If planning ahead for sex
becomes necessary, think "anticipation,"
not "loss of spontaneity."
- Describe problems objectively. Be
specific and succinct. Separate facts
and feelings. Don't judge. Instead,
talk about your feelings and needs by
using sentences starting with "I."
Ask questions. ("What worries you
most about seeing a doctor about your
lack of desire?")
- Listen. Practice empathy not reactivity,
when your partner is talking.
Don't be defensive. Give feedback after
you have listened fully,
- Move away from self-centeredness.
If your partner is having difficulties,
it's probably not about you. If you
are having a problem, know that it also
affects your partner.
- Share responsibility. Don't allow
yourself to think, "If he wants
to have sex, he'll get the evaluation"
or "If she has no desire, let her
go to the doctor." Sexual problems
are not "yours," but "ours,"
- Keep a sense of humor. Sometimes
laughter really is the best medicine.
If nothing else, it helps keep things
- Prioritize your sex life. Sex has
to compete with too many things - overeating,
overweight, alcohol use, smoking, stress,
busy schedules, financial worries, chronic
illness, and more. Slow down, take time,
and give this your full attention.
- Don't grow accustomed to a life without
sex. New issues arise at all stages
of life and marriage from pregnancy
and parenthood, to midlife, to menopause
and beyond. Make a habit of expressing
your willingness to work through whatever
problems exist, whenever they appear.
Ongoing communication is essential to
avoid performance anxiety. Don't be
afraid to get professional help.
- Meanwhile, just do it. Don't wait
until you've resolved every issue and
quelled every fear to try reconnecting.
Michele Weiner Davis, author of The
Sex-Starved Marriage, notes that desire
does not necessarily precede arousal;
it can just as easily follow. If necessary,
couples can learn alternative sexual
techniques to help them stay close.
To emotionally connect, Dr. David Schnarch,
author of Passionate Marriage, recommends
simply hugging, with no intention of
having sex at all.
Source: Diabetes Forecast