This Habit is one of the 10 Habits of Happy Couples Tina and Michael LeBlanc write about in their blog and in their book that will be released in the Fall of 2022. To check out the other Habits as they’re released weekly, check out the index below. To really use these Habits to work on your relationship, you can access their book – The 10 Habits of Happy Couples – which gives you complete examples of each Habit and exercises that you can do with your partner to develop these Habits in your relationship.
The 10 Habits of Happy Couples
Habit #7: Talk About Sex
Habit #5: Respect Each Other
Habit #4: Prioritize Your Relationship
Habit #3: Understand Your Fights
Habit #2: Always Repair
Habit #1: Talk Openly and Tune In
Habit #7: Talk About Sex
Sex is very important in a healthy relationship. It’s the one thing that separates romantic relationships from other attachment relationships. It makes us feel bonded and special to our partner.
It doesn’t look the same between couples. Some like to experiment more, some swear by frequency, some are into fantasy, and others are okay with less sex. But the important thing is that it works for both partners.
A consistent observation we have when working with couples is that when they go through a rough relationship patch, they seem to have less sex. This makes sense as sex and emotions are connected.
So often, as they work on the other emotional dimensions of the relationship, a couple’s sex life automatically gets better. And the opposite can be true in some relationships, too! Some couples have a pack to have sex more regularly when they feel themselves sliding into disconnect.
It is well understood that having sex is important, but we also know that it can be a very difficult and sensitive subject for many couples. This is why Habit #7 is to talk about sex. Sex can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss for some couples. If sex becomes a taboo topic, this will just put more pressure on both partners and make sex complicated.
There are other complicating factors that can get in the way of a healthy sexual relationship. Sexual dysfunctions are more common than people expect. Things like low libido, vaginal dryness, and erectile dysfunction are some factors in many relationships and dealing with them can be challenging for couples.
Tips on How to Talk About Sex
Sex can be a complicated and sensitive topic at times. A couple can do things to ensure their sex life is kept healthy in their relationship.
First and foremost, don’t wait until sex is a big elephant in the room before you talk about it. Talk about it at a different time than in the “moment” when emotions or pressure are high.
When you do talk about it, focus on these two things in your conversation:
- Why is sex important to you?
- What do you want from your sexual relationship with your partner, and why?
Be sensitive to the challenges your partner might face with sex, and don’t put all the pressure on your partner to resolve your sexual issues. Check-in to see how your partner feels about it and try to understand their feelings.
Try to problem-solve together and make a plan of things to try, accepting that there will be learning from trial and error (sound fun!). Experiment with solutions instead of taking things personally.
Seek medical or counselling help for sexual issues if necessary. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and making progress can really show your partner that you are committed to resolving this issue. (Remember Habit #10? That’s often the only thing a partner needs to see… effort).
Sometimes you need to let go of the “intercourse” part for a little while so you can resolve some sexual issues while taking the pressure off performance. Just pretend you are back to the beginning of your relationship before you were having sex and be playful with each other. It’s amazing what sometimes happens with a couple once the pressure of intercourse is reduced.
About the Authors
Tina and Michael LeBlanc have been happily married since 2003, are parents to two teenage boys, and have over 20 years of combined experience as Licensed Counselling Therapists. Being experts in the Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) model and using it to help couples in their work, Tina and Michael drew from the EFT model to create a list of 10 Habits of Happy Couples. In this series of articles, they take you on a comprehensive walk through the 10 Habits, and with each, they give you an overview followed by specific tips you and your partner can use in your daily life.