I regularly suggest you ask your wife about sex. But what if she won’t talk about sex? I hear this often from men. They can’t get her to stop talking about everything else, but when it comes to sex they’re doing good to get three words.

Woman covering mouth in shame. © pathdoc | dollarphotoclub.com

Why is she this way, and what can you do about it?

  1. You’re running her over: You know how you feel much of the time you talk with her, like you’re trying to drink from a fire hose? Many wives feel this way when their husband talks about sex. He’s way ahead of them in several ways. They have no hope of keeping up, and trying is painful. So they choose to not talk about sex.
  2. Avoidance: If she’s not very into sex, or if she doesn’t want to go beyond what you already do, talking about sex is going where she doesn’t want to go.
  3. Fear: If she has sexual abuse in her past talking about sex may cause fear or even panic. If she was molested she was almost certainly warned not to talk about it, and this makes it feel dangerous to talk about sex in any way.
  4. Shame: This could be from her parents, religious upbringing, or past promiscuity. Whatever the cause, talking about sex makes her feel bad. Years ago, my wife once told me, “We can talk about sex tonight or have it, not both.”
  5. Ignorance: She may not understand her body or its drives. She may have no idea what to do with your body. Or maybe she doesn’t have words for sex, or doesn’t have words she feels comfortable using.
  6. It’s not comfortable: This is the bottom line for most women, and is based on some or all of the above. She has no interest in talking about sex, and when you try to do so it makes her feel uncomfortable. Avoidance seems her best plan.

Getting her to talk about sex is difficult. Understanding why she doesn’t want to helps, but if she won’t communicate at all you may not know why. Take your best guess and do what you can to avoid or limit what hurts her.

When to discuss sex is important too. This will vary from woman to woman. Some women feel relaxed and willing to talk about sex after sex. Other women feel what they just did is being dissected and reviewed. Women who struggle talking about sex rarely do well discussing it before having it.

Talking about sex when there’s no possibility of then having sex will be a good choice for many.  (In a car, for example, especially when you are going somewhere, not returning home.) Having a limited amount of time for the discussion can also help. A car ride is self-limiting, or you can set a timer (and respect the timer absolutely, no matter what).

How you talk about sex is also important. Your choice of words can be a major issue. One slang word may crash the whole conversation. Listen to the words she uses, and use those. Graphic descriptions of acts or sexual body parts are another problem for many women. Sarcasm is a bad plan, and tone of voice is important. Giving her time to process and then speak are good ideas. Silence is fine; give her time.

Putting words in her mouth is another common issue. Don’t tell her she enjoys something or she wants something. At best you’re right and making her uncomfortable; at worst you’re wrong and making a bigger mess.

Try discussing how sex can bring you closer as a couple. This can include all the fun you want, but keep the focus on intimacy, not the physical side of sex.

For some couples writing about sex is much better than talking. You can do this on paper or by email. Just remember less is more when you do this. You don’t want to overwhelm her!

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