Knowing how to have better sex is more than just incorporating new positions, it's about understanding how your nonsexual relationship affects your sexual relationship with your partner. In this interview with the authors of Sex Comes First: 15 Ways to Save Your Relationship - Without Leaving Your Bedroom, authors Joel Block and Kimberly Neumann explain how Sex Comes First will help to reignite the spark in your relationship.
Fix Your Love-Trust Relationship
Work on a notion Kimberly Neumann calls your "love-trust relationship." She says, "For a relationship to be successful, the love-trust bond must be in place. It's appropriate to hyphenate it because the two are so inextricably linked. Intimate relationships take you to a vulnerable place and unless you can trust your partner to be there, you're probably not experiencing a relationship that is supportive both in and out of the bedroom." In other words, intimate sex is most successfully achieved when partners have a trusting bond with each other.
Understand How Your Partner Communicates
When you boil it down, men and woman can have differences from just about anything from communication style to problem-solving and emotional processing. Consequently, to have better sex you must consider your partner's communication style and tendencies. Joel Block explains, "Men tend to be direct and less emotionally driven and women frequently take longer to get to the point. She also tends to be more emotionally driven." This can cause a rift when attempting to combat a rough patch or bounce back from an argument.
Neumann adds, "This can set couples up for communication breakdowns because if both partners are attempting to communicate in the way they're most comfortable they might miss messages from each other." In other words, listen to what your partner is and is not saying.
Focus on the Big Picture
Work on understanding each angle of the issue. When men and women don't see eye-to-eye with the issues they're facing, it shows in intimacy because emotions during this time aren't necessarily positive for either party--especially during an elongated argument.
It's important to pay attention to your partner as a whole being (i.e. what he/she does AND says) to get the entire picture." Once you understand both your and their side of the argument, it's easier to find solutions and move on from the negative emotions. That will usually result in a happier relationship overall, including in the bedroom.
Balance Each Other Out
Like everything in life, your relationship must remain as balanced as possible. When one partner is too dominant, you could feel unimportant or taken for granted. "In order for a sexual relationship to be fulfilling for both partners, there must be some reciprocity. The best sexual relationships balance yin and yang either by meeting somewhere in the middle or by switching off (i.e. "Who's on top this time honey?"), says Block. Balance is important and both parties deserve to be treated as partners rather than one person always 'winning.'
Just like in a couple's verbal communication, men are likely wanting to rush to get to the point whereas women want to take more time and build a connection. The thing is, making love and having sex are two different things. There's a stronger bond forged when making love over having sex. Neumann explains, "The sex-periential yin/yang game in Sex Comes First challenges inhibitions while allowing couples to experience a broader range of sexual pleasures than they have in the past. The game also provides training in drawing on each partner's recessive side, male or female, so that they will be able to apply it to their relationship as a whole."
Leave "You" Out
Try to avoid "you" statements as they place blame and attack your partner. Instead, a more productive way to phrase statements is in an "I" statement as it is less abrasive. An example would be saying, "I feel like I'm not being heard and it hurts me." In the same respect, you also can't be angry at your partner if you choose to not communicate your issues as well.
"Couples consistently underestimate the ability of their partner to anticipate their behavior and vice versa. You cannot expect your partner to be a mind-reader. Saying "Well, you should know me!" is a very unrealistic pressure to put on a relationship or partner. You must communicate with each other," Neumann says. In other words, communication is very important. Always make sure to express what you're thinking and listen to your partner at the same time.
It's uncommon for couples to be sexually aligned on absolutely everything. Like your hobbies and interests, opinions very commonly differ here. It can be uncomfortable to discuss your wants and needs, but it needs to be done. Sure these talks can be uncomfortable to start, but over time you realize your partner isn't judging you but rather wants to make sure you're happy too.
Luckily, Neumann and Block have a simple solution for this issue, "In Sex Comes First we have created a sexual experience that gently burns through impasses. Negative emotions, such as those created by a stubborn impasse and lack of compromise, block the flow of merging energy. The 'sexual bonding experience' allows the energy to flow and, consequently, sets up an atmosphere where creative compromise is more likely. With that in mind, we strongly suggest using this sexual solution to free up collective energies so that negativity will wane and positive resolution may begin," Neumann exclaims.
Incorporate Daily Intimacy
This doesn't mean you have to have sex every day, whether you're in the mood or not. There are many things to do outside of the bedroom that boost your chemistry within the bedroom. Maintaining a physical connection and touching in non-sexual ways throughout the day brings a stronger connection to the surface. An arm around the waist, a hug, or even brushing a hair out of your partner's face "opens up the pathways to communication that will lead to a better sex life as well as promoting intimacy all day long," Neumann says.
If you are bored with each other outside of the bedroom, it will likely show in the bedroom as well. Block says to get out of the boredom rut, you'll need to both focus on inidivdually taking risks as well as taking risks as a couple. "On an individual level, challenge yourself, take reasonable risks and avoid complacency in your career and love life. As a couple, be experimental, try new activities, talk about everything and anything, and welcome, rather than fear, change. In the sexual area, even getting together somewhere other than the bedroom is a start."
A challenge Block suggests is to cut up a sheet of paper into business card size and write a sexual preference on each. When you have a decent amount written, put them in a bowl, shuffle them, pick from the bowl, read the desire aloud and discuss your feelings about each. If you find you like doing this, you can further heighten the experience by making it no clothing mandatory.
Pair Sex With Issue-Solving
There are more things you need to practice than just the actions done in the bedroom. In fact, there are many levels this book offers to couples looking to spice their intimacy up a bit. Things like communication, understanding, balance, and exploration are all key to discovering a better bedroom life.
Neumann explains, "This book takes 15 issues many couples struggle with such as trust, jealousy, and anger and shows readers how they can deal with them in a verbal way. It then pairs each with a corresponding sexual experience that solidifies the work done outside the bedroom in a physiological way. This isn't just a book about 'try this position' or 'introduce this toy' into the bedroom. It's about recognizing that relationships are multilayered and that sex is an integral part of any romantic partnership that should not be ignored."
Reigniting the Spark
At the end of the day, Neumann and Block both believe that communication makes sex much more intimate and open. Feel free to discuss your issues and express your wants without fear or embarrassment. It will ultimately bring both of you closer. Besides, this is the person you chose to spend your life with. No one should understand you more than them.