April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
Let's talk about sex, baby! Why? Because communication just might be the difference between a good night and an AMAZING night, according to a new study.
"Individuals who are more comfortable communicating about sex are both more likely to communicate pleasure during sexual encounters and experience greater sexual satisfaction," study researcher Elizabeth Babin, Ph.D., an expert on health communication at Cleveland State University in Ohio, tells HealthySELF.
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In other words, according to the study, published in August in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people who are comfortable talking and communicating about sex are likely to do so during the act, AND they're more likely to enjoy sex more than those who aren't comfortable talking about sex.
Babin explains that if you're shy or uncomfortable communicating about sexual issues, not only will that (obviously) reduce your communication during sex, but it can also reduce the satisfaction you experience.
"The more we communicate, the more our partners learn about what we like -- and dislike -- during sex, and they can use that knowledge to cater to our needs," says Babin. "If we stay silent in bed, our partners are left to guess what feels good to us, which might result in a very sexually unsatisfying encounter." Plus, she says, communication during sex can create greater intimacy between partners, which itself can result in greater satisfaction.
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The study also found that nonverbal communication during the act is directly tied to your sexual self-esteem (and thus how much you enjoy sex!). "Your sexual self-esteem manifests itself in greater nonverbal communication during sex, which in turn results in greater sexual satisfaction," says Babin.
Nonverbal cues might be even more important than literally talking out loud during sex, yet Babin says, "I wouldn't advise people to avoid verbal communication during sexual encounters, especially if they enjoy telling their partner what they like or dislike during sex!"
Feel shy or inhibited? No worries! Babin offers these tips for getting more comfortable communicating between the sheets (or wherever you may be):
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You don't have to "talk dirty" to let your partner know what you like during sex. "You can use more subtle, nonverbal cues such as sounds and movements to accomplish the same goal," says Babin. Start with that, and then, if and when you feel comfortable, try out some "dirty talk" to see how that feels, she advises.
Look to your partner for guidance. "You can start by modeling your partner's communication and then introduce new expressions when you become more comfortable," Babin says.
Practice makes perfect! "Sexual communication is a skill that you learn through practice," says Babin. "The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be communicating with your partner." Better go tell your honey you need some more practice!
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