You want to talk about what?

Here are five conversation starters to help you build an emotional and sexual connection with your spouse.

You want to talk about what?

Here are five conversation starters to help you build an emotional and sexual connection with your spouse.
  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lori Cluff Schade's blog,

  • em,Monogamy and Bliss
  • It has been republished here with permission.

  • "Have you ever had a discussion about what sexuality means to you or what you want your sexual relationship to look like?" I have asked this question countless times as a couples' therapist, and it might be surprising to find out that I can't ever remember a couple answering, "yes." It doesn't even occur to most couples to have these types of discussions. Often, people assume that sexuality will just be intuitive and they shouldn't have to discuss it. Others have just never felt safe discussing such a "taboo," topic and haven't even considered it.

  • Our culture is so bombarded with information about sex that it can seem almost counter-intuitive to encourage more conversation about it. The problem is that the voices and images that scream the loudest contain messages that are completely contrary to the principles for quality monogamous sex.

  • There is an emphasis on techniques and novelty, which in a safe sexual environment can sometimes be used in ways to enhance the relationship, but the reality is that these things will do little to help a couple feel connected in an integrated way. Sexuality is rich with meaning for people and colored with beliefs, history and experiences. Far too often, it is associated with earlier trauma and shame. It is imperative to learn how to talk about it within a couple context.

  • As a first step in improving physical intimacy, couples can begin dialoguing to understand their partner's views and meanings about sexuality. Here are five questions to start the conversation:

  • 1. When I hear the word, "sex," I ...

  • 2. The messages I got about sex growing up were ...

  • 3. The messages I get about sex now are ...

  • 4. Something that I think would improve our sexual relationship would be ...

  • 5. Something that would help me feel safer in our sexual relationship would be ...

Lori Cluff Schade, Ph.D., is a licensed, practicing marriage and family therapist and supervisor and adjunct faculty member. Her research has been covered in national media outlets and addressed in television and radio interviews. More importantly, she is a mother of seven and owner of a metaphorical gray picket fence.


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