If you’re not Getting the Sex You Want then this book could prove a helpful guide. Its premise is that ‘couples have a greater likelihood of staying together, and for longer periods of time, when they improve their sexual communication skills.’
The central concept is of dialogue, which is different to conversation, because one is totally present in the moment to concentrate on what your partner is saying, and not on your response – it also requires no response.
I found the first part of the book tedious as it repeated the anticipated dialogue several times. I realized that this was because the technique is unnaturally stilted and needs to be learnt and used over and over again to be fully acquired. My wife and I tried using it a couple of times but we ended up arguing – we forgot that appreciation is essential to setting a positive, relaxed tone beforehand!
The aim of the dialogue is to condense one’s message into bite sized pieces that are heard and repeated back, without comment. Then the receiver sits in the sender’s intellectual shoes, imagines why they would think like that, and then moves into their emotional shoes and imagines how they would feel.
This is a great way to diffuse emotion out of an issue between couples. By listening until the sender feels heard, then validating and empathizing with the sender, and then vice versa, there is a wide open opportunity for the resident love in a relationship to rise to the surface and resolve the issue.
I did find the exercises to be painfully slow in progressing but then building a sense of safety is a prerequisite for open and honest sharing in any relationship, especially when the subject is sex – another good reason to encourage the habit of appreciating one’s partner.
I preferred the second half of the book, which introduces some more risky elements and explains why we fantasise, how it is often only healthy psychology at work. It was good to see a framework in which to evaluate fantasy – moving from curiosity to fantasy to action, without the necessity to act out.
As we need safety to relax and trust in a relationship we cultivate the things that build companionship but these make sex dull and unexciting. Sharing our deepest thoughts and fantasies often lights the fires again, especially if they are able to be safely acted out.
Understanding the dynamics of people’s erotic and sexual natures is a great help in learning how to arouse one’s partner – submission and domination, being passive or active, receptive or directive and controlled or controlling – are all elements of any truly erotic recipe.
It was well worth reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their sexual connection or wanting to help couples in their sexual relationships.
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