couples

The 3 conversations no couple wants to have - but absolutely needs to.

Having some really Not Fun conversations is just part of being in a serious relationship. And it's way fkn harder than anyone lets on. 

Beyond tagging each other in memes, posting Instagram pics captioned "the boy did good" and "love doin' life with you", there are a whole load of other things you need to work on in order to make sure you both understand each other and want the same kinda things (a pet jaguar, to live in a treehouse etc.).

The key to this is obviously communication - which can honestly be confusing and awkward at times - especially when you're tackling the big stuff. If you're anything like us, just thinking about it can send you into a new level of panic you didn't quite know was possible.

But! It's really freaking important in order to develop and sustain a healthy partnership. And that's what you want, yeah?

"As a sex coach, when I work with couples in session and I see firsthand how crucial communication is to a healthy relationship - it can really make or break a couple," said sex educator and intimacy coach Georgia Grace.

"Though the good news is - I believe good communication skills can support a couple in working through most relational concerns, and as it’s a skill - you can (and will) always be learning how to communicate better." 

Watch: How to communicate anger with your partner. Post continues below.

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Video via Mamamia

And while most of us know how to effectively get our feelings and needs across to our partner, and are keen to get the awkward conversations out of the way - more often than not, it just ends up... not happening.

We put it off. Get distracted. We end up feeling shitty with ourselves, or feeling scared with all the ✨dramaz✨ that might happen if we bring things up. 

Meaning? Many of these kinds of conversations end up being canned.

So, how do we make sure we actually have them? And what are some of the most important conversations every couple should have in the first place? 

According to Grace, there are a few key things you need to establish - the first being the right environment for communication and self-disclosure.

"Before jumping into a conversation I recommend creating the context for safety and openness: Choose a time and setting that is free from distraction, feels safe, and will allow you to be open and vulnerable (in the middle of sex, at an event with others or at the end of a really stressful day probably isn’t the best context)." 

EVERYTHING GOING WELL TY

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"Instead, carve out sometime over dinner, or on a walk where you can be intentional and free from distraction. Try to speak from the perspective of ‘I’, listen to each other, show them you hear what they’re saying and intend to understand one another," she said.

When it comes to the actual conversations you should have, Grace recommends focusing on three key areas.

"I see a few recurring themes in the topics I think all couples should discuss though I know how tricky it can feel navigating such intimate topics, so I’ve offered a few conversation starters."

Ready? Great! Let's go.

1. Desire.

This is a big one, you guys. Discussing where you both sit when it comes to intimacy is super important.

"Mismatched libido or desire discrepancy is one of the most common reasons people seek professional support," reveals Grace.

Getting stuck in a sex rut can happen for a whole load of different reasons - it's complex as heck. However, one of the most common things to impact your sex drive is stress.

"Changes in desire and libido are common: When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, increasing cortisol production and decreasing your interest in sex." 

Don't panic, though - it's not just you.

"With all the financial, emotional, physiological and overall pressure humans are feeling right now, it’s no surprise our libido takes a rain check! 

"Though, unlike what movies and pop-culture will lead us to believe, it’s virtually impossible to desire sex at the same frequency or time as another. We are so unique and require different contexts and stimulus to be in the mood for sex - that’s where some sex talk can come in really handy."

A stale sex life can feel awkward AF to address - and a lot of people just push ahead because they feel like it's too uncomfortable to discuss. 

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However, there are some easy things you can do to help pull you both out of a rut and have a better sex life. 

Grace suggests asking each other the following questions:

  • What turns you on?

  • What turns you off?

  • Have you noticed any changes in your desire?

  • What do you want / need to create the context for your desire to thrive?

  • When are you most likely to want sex?

  • When are you least likely to want sex?

  • What can I do to help create the context for desire?

  • What does a fulfilling sex life look like to you?

2. Sexual confidence.

"This is an area I think all people benefit from exploring - even the most sexually confident person will have moments of feeling a little meh," said Grace.

"Your sensual confidence affects every sexual choice you make. It guides your sexual boundaries, influences who you choose to sexually engage with and how you voice your desires, wants and needs. It’s a base-line for how good you feel in your body and yourself – and plays out way beyond the bedroom."

Of course, striking up a convo about sexual confidence with your S.O. can feel a little ~uncomfortable~ at times. However, as Grace said, it's a super crucial part of building and maintaining both emotional and physical intimacy within your relationship - so don't push it out.

If you're struggling with how to bring it up in a conversation, Grace recommends asking questions like this:

  • When do you feel most sexually confident?

  • What’s getting in the way between you and feeling sexually confident? 

  • How does it feel asking for what you want?

  • How does it feel when others tell you what they want?

  • What do you want / need to feel more sexually confident?

3. Boundaries and relational agreements.

According to Grace, respecting personal boundaries and agreements is an essential part of any healthy relationship, and it involves setting guidelines to how you wish to be treated.

For example, they may involve what behaviour is okay and what is not, as well as how to respond if someone passes those limits and goes against what has been agreed upon.

"Boundaries refer to what an individual chooses for themselves, and agreements refer to what you agree to do, accept, allow etc.," explains Grace. "All parties involved agree to this (without coercion / force)." 

Putting boundaries and agreements in place can take some of the guesswork out of navigating life together - so, it's defs an important convo to have.

"Consider your personal boundaries, relationship agreements and communicate! Often!"

If you need help in how to establish some healthy boundaries as well as how to assert them, Grace suggests asking the below:

  • Where do you like to be touched?

  • Where don’t you want to be touched?

  • Can you think about your boundaries and let me know?

  • What do you never what to do / try when it comes to sex?

  • How would you define infidelity? (ie is it emotional, sexual, technological etc)

  • How do we want to make each other feel in this relationship?

  • What’s important to our relationship?

While these kinds of conversations can help improve and strengthen your relationship, there is obviously such a thing as dishing too much too soon (like, not on a first date, sweetie). 

However, when you know you're in this thing together for the long-haul, having these conversations will help improve your relationship and navigate your future together as a team. 

Go team

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Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share? What are some conversations you think are important? Share with us in the comment section below.

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