If you have felt dissatisfied or disconnected with your sex life for a long time, chances are that you have tried different things to fix the issue. You read every book that has been published on how to make sex fun again and subscribed to every blog that promised to jump-start your sex life.
Maybe you tried to put sex on the schedule or make a weekly appointment with your partner to have sex. You experimented with toys, different positions, lingerie & weekend getaways.
All this effort but very little tangible change. Perhaps, the sexual connection improved momentarily only to get off the rails within a week or two. You are exhausted and want to give up hope of ever fixing the issue. You even tried to convince yourself to just accept things the way they are by rationalizing that there is more to your relationship than sex. However, you just can’t fathom spending the rest of your life without having a satisfying sexual connection with your partner.
You realize that there is one thing that you have not tried yet- seeking the help of a professional trained in helping couples like you tackle sexual issues. You get excited knowing that there is more that can be done but also concerned about how to broach the subject with your partner. You wonder what would be the best way to start the conversation with your partner.
Here are a few pointers for having a conversation with your partner about getting help for your sex life.
Before the conversation-
If you struggle with expressing your feelings verbally or impromptu, I suggest outlining all the things you want to convey. Write a rough draft and take a couple of days to revise and make changes. Perhaps do a role play sitting across from an empty chair which represents your partner. Also, try to pinpoint a time and day that would be appropriate for the conversation. You want to ensure that there are enough time and very few distractions for you both to have the conversation. Don’t pick a day or time when you or your partner have a lot going on or are bound by work deadlines.
During the conversation-
Approach your partner and express that you would love to sit down with them and share a few things that have been on your mind recently and confirm if it’s a good time to do so. If they agree, here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Express without blame- Be honest about your feelings regarding the struggling sexual connection but don’t put the blame on your partner. Remember, you are 50% of the relationship and you both played a part in this. You are more likely to get your partner on board if you don’t accuse or blame. No one wants to seek outside help if they are going to be singled out as the problem.
- Frame it as our problem– Establish a feeling of we as opposed to me vs. you- convey to your partner that the sexual issue is our problem and it will take a concerted effort from both of us to fix it. Even if you believe that you are the only one who has been trying to fix it, this is not the time to expect recognition for your efforts.
- Be present– After you have expressed everything you wanted to say, allow your partner to take the stage. Create a sense of openness and validation by just being present, ready to receive your partner’s feelings. Don’t pass judgment, offer your opinion, brainstorm solutions or interrupt with questions. After your partner is finished talking, reflect back or summarize to them, what you think they were trying to convey and ask any follow-up questions for further clarity.
After the conversation-
Give yourself and your partner a couple of days or a week to reflect on what you both shared with each other. You both don’t have to decide on the spot if you would like outside assistance with your sex life. Reconvene with an open mind and heart to come to a mutually agreed upon decision.
Remember, if your partner decides against participating in sex therapy, you have the option to seek help individually. Sex therapy is an effective approach for both couples & individuals.