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Talking About Sex

I tell clients that, often, it is easier to have sex than it is to talk about sex. I don't know that there is anything more vulnerable than opening up about what we think about, feel about, believe about, and have experienced about sex. I once had a client ask me if it had always been easy for me to talk so specifically and openly about sexual topics. This came after a thorough explanation of the physiology of sexual arousal and orgasm, where I used lots of terms (clitoris, penis, orgasm, anus, lips, vagina, head, etc.), drew pictures, shared slides, and detailed the barriers and feelings that get in the way of experiencing fulfilling sexual intimacy. I laughed when my client asked this and I shared that it is way easier for me to explain this kind of stuff to clients or to get in front people and talk about the vivid details of sexuality than it is for me to talk openly with my husband about our sexual life. Mind you, I do that. My husband and I talk openly and specifically, but, truly, most of the time I want to just die when we have those conversations. It is like dragging and forcing the words out of my mouth, it is so deeply uncomfortable. Talking about our sexual relationship takes us to a very deep place of vulnerability

So, the focus of the research study I am doing is communication about sex, probing those vulnerable places within and sharing them with our spouse. The study uses the EIS model of sex therapy. EIS is a mnemonic for Empathy, Intimacy, and mutual sexual Satisfaction, and the Greek word eis means for, into, towards. One of the goals of this model of sex therapy is to guide couples toward greater relational, physical, emotional and sexual intimacy by focusing on three areas of a couples life, the individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural/spiritual aspects of their lives. As a sex therapist using the EIS model, I do this by promoting empathy, guiding genuine communication, and building intimacy skills verbally, physically, sensually, and sexually. I use Graduated Intimacy, a manualized 10 level intervention that incorporates in session tasks and homework exercises that gradually increases intimacy in the marital relationship. A primary focus of the intervention is learning how to take the risk to talk openly, honestly, specifically, and vulnerably about our sexual likes, dislikes, fears, hopes, turn-ons, turn-offs, feelings, needs, etc.

The goal of this work is to increase sexual pleasure, improve sexual functioning, and build relational intimacy. There is a reason that the greatest concentration of nerve endings are in the sensitive erogenous zones of the genitalia. God intends for us to enjoy our sexuality. My hope for each couple I see is to bring them to or return them to that enjoyment.