Sexual Shell

Bringing your partner out of their sexual shell;  have you and your partner fallen into the same sexual routine?  Have you noticed that your partner always initiates sex play the same way?  Does sex feel repetitive or does your partner have a hard time being creative?  If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then it is possible that your partner suffers from sexual anxiety.  This tip is designed to help you break your partner out of their sexual shell through a particular communication technique so you and your partner can work on having the sex the two of you want.  The most effective way to break someone out of their ‘sexual shell’ is to use only sex positive language.

What is sex positive language you may be asking. Sex positive language is an intervention that sex therapists at Sex Therapy in Philadelphia have been teaching for years. In our office we teach couples to talk about sex / sexuality by only commenting on the emotional and sexual behaviors that is enjoyable, turns you on, or you want to have repeated.  Imagine that your lover is technically horrible in the bedroom. In our office we would not allow you to say anything negative (other than the very first session).  In our office we help our clients find the one positve statement, and then build a story around why the behavior is positive. For example, if your lover kisses like a vacuum cleaner, instead of saying “your kisses are too wet and I feel like the life of me is getting sucked out, you might find the one compliment by simply saying “I appreciate your enthusiam.  Being with someone who is excited is a turn on.  Or you might say, “I like the fact you don’t seem to mind my bad breath.  Having my bad breath makes me feel accepted”.  Naming the negative is seen as shutting a person down.  This style of positve sex talk is designed to build a person’s sexual confidence. It is only when someone feels like they are doing the right thing that they will feel confident enough to become creative in the bedroom and try something new.  It is only through experimentation that most people learn how to be good lovers.  Positive sex talk builds a person’s confidence which breaks the person out of their anxiety which has created their “sexual shell.”

A useful technique to increase a partner’s sexual comfort is to talk them through sex.  Forget the “dirty talk” pictured in movies and go for the “lite” version.  Imagine using direct language that focuses on quiting a persons inner anxiety. For example you can start off “lite” by saying: “It’s Ok to focus on yourself.”  Rather than saying: “I love when you fuck me, it makes me so wet.”  After all, the point is to give them permission to be more in the moment.  You can take it slow and make sure what you are saying is comfortable to both parties by using discretion while using this “lite” version of dirty talk. With time finding the words will come easier. A lot of the problem for the inhibited partner stems from a lack of self confidence or basic insecurities.  If you make your partner feel like a sex god(dess), he / she will be one.  It is important to make him / her feel sexy and to focus on the connection.  Additionally, talking “dirty” to your partner can really get them out of their own head and instead can allow them focus on their body.  As you talk to your partner you can suggest that they focus on what their body is doing and their specific body parts.  For example, you can say: “Take a breath and let your body relax, focus on how you are breathing.”  You can continue to encourage your partner to focus by asking them to become aware of their genitals and how they feel.  Ask your partner what kind of genital touching feels better.  For example, if your partner is a male you can gently rub the head of his penis and ask: “Do you like when touch ‘a’ better . . .” then move your hand down his penis and begin sliding your hand up and down the shaft of his penis and continue to ask: “ . . . or does touch ‘b’ feel better.”  Your partner can choose the touch that feels best to them and now you can continue to introduce new ways of touching and ask your partner to identify which feels best to them.  By introducing various methods of touching to your partner you are inevitably going to try something new; you can slowly build on the touches that your partner enjoyed to expand your sexual repertoire.

Another common source of anxiety for individuals is the fear of how their body looks while they are having sex–this can lead to a partner’s refusal to have sex with the light on.  Decreasing a person’s focus from their looks will enable the person to relax into sex and enjoy sex (ultimately with the lights on).  The following is an example of how this may look practically: perhaps your partner is uncomfortable having sex with the light on because they are worried about how their body looks in the act.  In this instance you can begin the “lite” dirty talk while having sex without the lights on.  Focus on complementing your partner and assuring them how good it feels.  Once you are your partner are both comfortable with this communication in the dark, ask your partner if it is OK if you introduce some small light into the situation (you can use a night light, a candle, or a hallway light–all things that are subtle).  Once they agree to introduce a little light continue your “lite” dirty talk and now add slight compliments about their body as well.  The focus has shifted slightly because you are now able to see their body–the source of their insecurity–and you can give your partner subtle encouragers to make the experience more comfortable for them.  If your partner is listening to you and engaging in the conversation as well as the act of intercourse they will have less time to be nervous about how they look.  This can continue until your partner is completely comfortable again and then you can introduce a new light source–maybe a bedside lamp or something brighter than what you were previously using.  Continue the “lite” dirty talk and complementing your partner.  If you continue to build up your partner’s confidence they are bound to feel better and be more adventurous with their new found self-assurance.

Another great way to get your partner out of their “sexual shell” is to mirror their behavior (or desired behavior).  Typically people touch you the way they want to be touched.  If they touch you softly, touch them softly. If their speed of breath increases, match yours to theirs. When you are able to recognize your partner’s sexual patterns (which are likely, but not always, their preferences).  The process of mirroring someone is called “pacing them.”   Pacing someone creates a safe atmosphere.  Nothing will be introduced that they are not comfortable with – this is because any sexual change will have been introduced by them.  Thus, without verbally articulating anything you will have placed your partner in full sexual control.  Interestingly many couples experience increased foreplay.  The rush to intercourse often is slowed down.  Sometimes the sexual experience stops with foreplay, which in the long run, can feel more arousing. Nothing is a guarentee! Ultimately, the combination of figuring out what turns your partner on, making them feel sexy, and increasing the overall sexual safety will aid in unleashing your partner’s wild side.   Here are two different ways to make their dreams come true:

  • Assume your partner’s role. Often we are the kind of lover that we would like to have, so if you take note of your partner’s sexual behavior and return the observed behavior they will think you are a great lover.
  • Brainstorm their fantasies.  Take about a week and think about your partner’s favorite movie or book.  Observe what they are watching on TV or what they are reading and make a list of these and imagine what they find seductive about the book or movie–you can use a particular scene or generic plot.  As you create a list think of how you can make each fantasy a reality.  Pick the top 5 ideas you have generated and go to your partner with the list.  See what they would be comfortable trying and always reiterate to your partner that you can keep it simple and still keep the “hotness” factor.  For example you can begin by saying: “I’ve been thinking a lot about your favorite movie, Unfaithful, I think we can reenact the bathroom sex scene.  We can start at home though, when you are ready you can go into the bedroom and in a few minutes I will follow you.  Then we can start making out against the wall and continue standing up the whole time.  What do you think?”

The three most important goals to help break your partner’s “sexual shell” are: increase their sexual safety, make them feel sexy and become sexually savy – know their sexual turn-ons.  Sexual hang-ups are created by anxiety, meaning that they are currently not safe. Poor sexual self-esteem is caused by anxiety, and lasting turning someone on requires you to get your partner out of their head and into their body.  Lastly, remember good sex takes practice. Lots and lots of practice.  If at first you don’t suceed, try, try and try again.