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Communicating About Sex

70 women and 119 men have answered
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  • More people said their spouse was uncomfortable than reported they were uncomfortable. While we can assume those taking the survey are more sex positive, it seems unlikely this explains the entire difference. Do we over rate our spouse’s discomfort, underrate our own, or a combination of both.
  • Significantly, more women than men think they talk openly about sex with their spouse. Are many men holding back? (See below)

© surveymonkey.com

  • Men as a whole are sharing less than women, but not by much. A third of men, and 39% of women are withholding a significant amount.
  • Women shared more as they got older. Men shared the most in their 20’s than at any other age.
  • Fear of what he would think dropped somewhat as women aged. Shame and embarrassment were higher for those in their 40’s and much higher for those 50 and older.
  • Length of marriage affected how much women share. After 15 years of marriage more women shared everything, and more women held back many things. Fewer shared most but not all.
  • Length of marriage also affected how much men share. The first two years men shared most or all, but then shared less during the next five years. After that, the number of men sharing most or all went up with length of marriage.

© surveymonkey.com

  • This question was asked to all who did not say “Completely, share it all” on the previous question.
  • Fear of what their spouse would think was the most common answer for women at 45%, and the second most common for men at 41%.
  • Knowing she does not approve of something he wants was the most common answer for men, at 42%. This was much lower for women at 12%. Along similar lines, a third of men but only 8% of women had previously has trouble for bring up something.
  • Fear of risking what they have sexually is an issue for 10% of women and 22% of men.
  • Women listed other marriage problem or general lack of communication somewhat more often than men, 20% vs 16%.
  • Shame, embarrassment, and fear was more common for women than men, 25% and 13%.

Women’s Comments:

  • It took 20 years to get up the nerve to tell him what I wanted and needed. I wish I hadn’t waited so long but we now have an amazing sex life!
  • I want to explore
  • We communicate clearly, but there are (good) things I wish for that he doesn’t want to fulfil so I have finally stopped asking for it.
  • Is it fair to tell your spouse that you need sex?
  • We both had previous spouses who had issues sexually. As a result we decided to be open and honest about our sexual relationship – we can discuss all aspects of our physical relationship and our sex life is amazing!!
  • It’s kind of hard because we don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong.
  • He has also seemed VERY uncomfortable in the past when I bring up sex. He says “if we have problems, they’ll show themselves. If nothing is showing up, why search?”
  • I could not talk about sex much at all in my 27 year marriage (4 kids) that ended. I determined that if I entered another relationship that it would be different. And it is WAY different and way better. Open complete talking about sex – critical!

Men’s Comments:

  • My wants and desires are “more” than what I “need” according to her. PIV should be enough, she says. My desires for more, are “selfish”. These attitudes make honest sexual communication difficult…
  • Knowing WHEN to bring it up and try to talk about sexual issues is probably the most important skill to have.
  • My wife puts me in the bind of “If you ask for it then it’s not spontaneous” and therefore she’s uninterested. But if I don’t ask I don’t get it either so quiet is the norm. 🙁
  • I’ve tried countless times to begin sexual discussions and make them a normal part of our communication. I’m met with resistance and know I’m not married to someone who really cares enough about our sex life to talk about it.
  • For many years we’ve had sex once every month or two (her choice). I also had a recurring porn addiction. She found about it early on in the marriage but thought I had kicked it. It came and went, but I’ve always been fearful of communicating my sexual desires/ideas for fear she’d ask how I came up with the idea, a fear not without merit. I did finally decide to straighten out my act last summer and also quit porn cold turkey. The sex did increase to about once every week or two. Last fall I confessed the porn use. She’s still devastated and is trying to heal. Right now, I’m lucky to have sex at all. She doesn’t like me reading about it, asking for it, discussing any aspect of it or suggesting any kind of variety. I hope that will change over time.
  • I was completely honest and open about my desires early on, once I realized she would never be open and honest with me, I just gave up. Now we live as roommates for all intents and purposes.
  • I think this is one reason we have such a GREAT marriage, We share it all, with each other that is.
  • I would like to have my wife stimulate me anally, but I brought it up to her once and did not appreciate it.

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