By now, we know what we like and don't like -- whether it's food, cars, style ... or sex.
If you've undergone a painful divorce, I bet you've composed a list of things you tolerated with your former spouse, but no longer want to do with a new partner. For example, under sex, maybe it's a position like "doggie-style" or a sex act you don't like.
So tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: After going through divorce after 20 or 30 years of marriage, you've started dating again and have found someone intriguing.
Now it's your third date and you feel the sexual tension building. This guy could be the one! So you invite him in and before you know it, you're in bed, ready for fun -- excited, but nervous.
Then he asks you to do something in bed that you do NOT want to do. Your heart sinks. Not this again!
Whether it's doggie-style, missionary or another sexual position, this scenario is not primarily about sex. It's about personal preferences and how to talk about them with your new partner.
This is a dilemma faced by everyone in new relationships after 50. You've both had a lifetime to develop patterns that you like. And the older we get, we begin to assume others like them, too.
Lets say that he'd rather sleep after sex instead of talking about it, but you want to cuddle and whisper.
In a recent blog, I talked about acing "the relationship talk." This time, we're walking one step further down the gangplank of tough conversations. How to survive the sex talk with a new partner without losing your cool.
Why is talking about sex so difficult for those of us divorced and over 50?
First of all, it's just plain awkward. We're talking about a highly charged, private event. There may be some déjà vu, too. Sex issues are usually a huge contributor to divorce.
Second, it's like driving a car. Most of us think we're great drivers and if everyone else would drive like us, traffic problems would disappear. Sex is the same.
Third, nothing sets off more untamed insecurities than sex. It might be over body image, past partners who disparaged us, or the age-old question, "Was it good for you?"
So talk about it!
It's critical to discuss sex with a new partner, especially if there may be a future with this person. No more living a life of quiet desperation, please!
Here are six tips to get you started:
- Bite your tongue and never discuss your sexual routine in bed. Instead, find another time, when you are fully clothed and not blinded by lust or frustration.
- Acknowledge that this is awkward. Really, really awkward.
- Tell your partner what your bedroom preferences are. Say something like: "Being in bed with you is really fun. I love it when you do this (say something positive). But I've got to tell you, when we do this : (activity you want changed), it's not as much of a turn-on for me. I'd much rather try this: (give suggestion)." Keep it brief. Five minutes of you talking, max!
- Give your partner a chance to respond. Ask, "What works for you?"
- Remember that he or she may have never talked about sex with a partner. Don't expect well-thought out answers.
- Don't take it personally if the talk bombs! It's not you. It's the subject of sex. As a therapist, I can tell you: Sex and money are two of the toughest topics to talk about.
Describing our most intimate needs is at best challenging, often intimidating, and at worst, terrifying. Do it, anyway! Think of it as a gift you're giving yourself and your new relationship.
If you put structure around the talk, keep your eye on the timer, and say it with true concern to make things better, you'll be setting the stage to enjoy your erotic adventures, as you're both getting your sexual needs met.
Stay tuned to my blog next week for part two of "The Sex Talk." It will be about how to talk about the even harder sex stuff -- asking your new partner the non-negotiable questions that could save your life.
If you have a tough talk coming up or if you need help concerning your own personal challenges in other arenas Contact me personally
Want more tips on the sex talk, right now? Get Kat's book, Sexperienced: Guide for the Seasoned Woman Seeking New Possibilities.
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Earlier on Huff/Post50: