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6 tips for discussing intimate issues with your partner

When it comes to intimate issues, it can be tricky finding a way to approach topics with your partner. Terminology falling under this umbrella tends to sound too “clinical” or seem too “inappropriate,” but having conversations about intimate issues is important to the health of a couple’s relationship.

So while finding the right language can be tough, it’s definitely doable and a worthwhile endeavor indeed. In that vein, try some of these tactics the next time you find yourself struggling to speak openly about the intimate stuff in your life.

1. Be confident

Any time you talk about something outside of your natural comfort zone, it involves a certain risk. Will your partner be receptive? Will they be weirded out by what you’re about to tell them? You can second-guess yourself until you’re blue in the face, but that won’t get you anywhere. When it comes to opening a dialogue about intimate issues, confidence is key. Yes, you are subjecting yourself to potential judgment or embarrassment. However, doing so will only further the trust and empathy in your relationship, which — bonus! — just makes these conversations easier in the future.

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2. Find the right moment

Timing, as they say, is everything. If you’re planning on chatting with your husband about your infertility issues, choosing to spring the discussion on him while he’s watching the big game is basically a no-go. It’s not like you’re bringing up a topic as simple to work your way through as what’s for dinner — infertility is a complex and often highly emotional subject that merits ample time to talk over. Similarly, husbands shouldn’t expect their wives to tackle such mentally taxing topics after spending an exhausting day boss lady’ing it up in the board room or at home chasing after rowdy children. Choose a time when you both can offer your undivided attention.

3. Make the time

Just as it’s important to pick the right time to talk, it’s important to carve out the time to do so. Like many things in a marriage, you must make conversations about intimacy a priority. This isn’t to say you have to set aside hours in the afternoon or burn the midnight oil chatting about your libido. As few as 15 dedicated minutes in a day can encourage healthy and meaningful dialogue between you and your partner.

Alternatively, if you are going through a particularly difficult intimacy issue such as infertility, you may feel inclined to withdraw if your partner doesn’t share your conversational style — i.e. you want and need to talk about it often, while your partner gets stressed out by too much conversation centering on the subject. In this event, try narrowing the scope during the time you talk.

4. Just be straightforward

One of the biggest hindrances in having intimate conversations is the perceived stigma surrounding such conversations. Society has made natural, bodily functions and sexual topics seem taboo, which discourages candor. So don’t play into that tired idea and do broach these subjects like you would any other with your partner. Want to let them know you’re about to get your period? Come straight out and say that.

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5. Answer questions, no matter how silly they seem

If you’re going to discuss intimate issues, you have to be prepared for the fact that you and your partner may not be on the same page. Particularly when you’re talking about issues pertaining to women’s health — like the period, PMS and such — you’re probably going to get more than a few questions that seem silly to you. But try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. The fact that they are asking questions at all shows interest, which is a step in the right direction. And, let’s be real, they likely legitimately don’t understand what’s going on with your body. So do your best to tell them what they need to know. You don’t have to go into superfluous details such as how heavy your flow is, but it’s not a bad idea to let him know you’re headed for raging cramps and could use some TLC.

6. Go in with your guard down

There may be a topic you need to discuss that could be especially sensitive for you or your partner, like one of you suffering from a low libido. No matter which side of the conversation you fall on, remember before going into the discussion to disarm — as in, don’t be defensive. Let your guard down. You’re not preparing for a battle, because you and your partner are on the same side. Relay your thoughts and feelings about the intimacy issue, yet be mindful of their feelings too. Practice active listening and be authentically receptive to your partner’s point of view.

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This post was sponsored by RepHresh.

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