Psychologists say that the road to sexual pleasure is paved with open communication | Panda Anku

For a society teeming with sexual content, we’re still pretty bad at having sensitive, nuanced, and factual conversations about our own sex lives with the people we’re intimate with.

The topic of sex sets off alarm sirens in our heads and inhibits open dialogue. This is of particular concern when sex life causes psychological distress.

Here are three possible signs it might be time to make sex a topic of conversation with your partner.

#1. Does your partner only follow because of you or vice versa?

We are taught that compromises and adjustments for the benefit of a relationship should be valued. But what happens when we bring that same philosophy into our sex life, trying to fulfill narratives we may not want?

In general, this doesn’t bode well for the relationship. Yet it’s more common than we might think, even in men. A study published in psychology and sexuality tracked rates of sexual compliance (consensual but unwanted sexual activity) in heterosexual men and found that about 60% of the men in their sample engaged in acts of easy sexual compliance with their partners over a 12-month period.

In other words, sexual compliance is common among both men and women. Although the root of the behavior is altruistic, it can affect the quality of your relationship, sexual satisfaction, and even your sanity.

Educating yourself about gender stereotypes and unlearning the self-sacrificing “martyr” conditioning so you can invite or decline sexual activity as you wish can help you lay the groundwork for a healthier relationship.

#2. Does porn use get in the way?

Navigating pornography in a romantic relationship can be difficult. Here’s what the latest research has to say on this complicated subject.

On average, sole porn use was negatively associated with factors such as relational and sexual satisfaction.

On the other hand, some couples who watch porn together experience higher levels of sexual satisfaction in the short term. There are a number of possible reasons for this, such as

  1. Sharing pornography could indicate similar sexual attitudes, sexual preferences, and sex drives. In general, people who are more alike have better relationships.
  2. It’s also possible that simply reading a novel and engaging in an exciting activity with a spouse or partner, like watching porn together, can ease the boredom in the relationship and reignite sexual (rather than sexual) interest in one another
  3. Sharing porn can also lead to increased sexual communication and experimentation, leading to renewed enthusiasm for sex

What matters at the end of the day, according to researcher Taylor Kohut, is whether you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to porn use and sex in general. Differences in pornography use are a pretty clear indication that you might not be.

#3. Is the pleasure one-sided?

Current research results published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences reports that about 50 percent of men experience orgasm with every sexual intercourse. For women it is only about 4 percent. Other research published in Archives of Sexual Behavior reports that these percentages are about 75% for straight men and 33% for straight women.

This phenomenon, known as the orgasm gap, is more common in heterosexual couples than in bisexual and same-sex couples.

This means that female orgasm is thought to be more difficult to achieve than it is simply because it is biologically different from male orgasm. The solution: acts of sexual diversity.

According to research, you can close the orgasm gap with the following steps:

  1. Oral and manual stimulation is key to female orgasm
  2. Wearing sexy lingerie/underwear, incorporating mini massages/back rubs, trying a new sexual position, or sharing a shower or bath increases the chances of reaching orgasm for both men and women

In summary, the orgasm gap can be reduced by addressing sociocultural factors and engaging in a greater variety of activities during intimacy.


Sexual health and intimacy are integral parts of a relationship’s health and longevity (and even your own mental health). Creating a safe space for open conversation and space for experimentation can have benefits that go well beyond your sex life.


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