Why is it so hard to talk to my partner about our physical intimacy?

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“Why is it so hard to talk to my partner about our physical intimacy?”

This is one of the million dollar questions in my intimacy coaching practice.

Women come to me shocked at how challenging this feels — especially when their partners are often the ones they’re closest to otherwise.

The two biggest reasons I have found for this over the years of working with women and couples:

1) We as women have been deeply conditioned to be passive participants in our own sexuality.

We are conditioned to perform our pleasure. To be desirable and pleasing versus the one who is doing the desiring. Emotions like shame and disgust often get coupled with our bodies and pleasure which — even if unconsciously — can make it almost impossible to take up space with our own voice and desires.

Most of us don’t get accurate education and information about our sexual anatomy or about how our arousal and pleasure “works” — which is different than how a man’s pleasure and arousal is experienced.

We don’t know what we don’t know, so it can make it that much harder to then bring any kind of knowing into our relationship. We may just have a sense that there must be more or that we want more. But also a sense of dread or futility at voicing that.

2) When we’re in long-term relationship or marriage, we can feel like there’s too much at stake.

Listen, rocking the boat or the status quo in our marriages or the intimacy there carries some risk. There’s a lot at stake after years together…our households, our families, the emotional intimacy we’ve built.

It can feel disruptive to acknowledge that you want something more or different.

We might hurt our partner’s feelings. They might become sad or angry. Things might very well get weird before they get better. (I can attest to that.) Men experience their own conditioning around sexuality and “manliness”. This comes with a lot of internalized pressure to perform well in their own way. So, yeah, it’s a vulnerable subject for everyone involved.

Any kind of change or growth requires embracing a certain level of uncertainty. We know this and yet, as humans, we don’t tend to run toward uncertainty with open arms…especially in our long-term relationships.

Many of us carry wounding from earlier in our lives where we lost a sense of love or belonging by expressing our truths or by being fully ourselves sexually or otherwise. To these parts it can feel almost like impending doom to open up this conversation with this person we equate with safety and security in our life.

Whew! No wonder it feels so hard. And that’s just some of what we’re up against when we imagine talking to our partners about physical intimacy.

Now, my hope is that you use this information to offer yourself some grace. To understand that this isn’t just a “you problem”. It’s an “us problem”. Meaning it’s systemic. We’re all up against this to varying degrees.

However, the only way we change this for ourselves and for future generations is to be willing to start having these hard conversations and create proactive growth in our intimate experiences.

We can do hard things.

And I’m pretty sure you often do.

The stretch here is to bring your capacity for doing hard things into the realm of physical intimacy, which is for many women the final frontier of where they still feel powerless to create change.

In my next post I’ll share how we go about leaning into this final frontier as women.

For now, I’d love to hear from you: Have you found it hard to have these conversations and create positive (and pleasurable) growth in your relationship’s physical intimacy? Does what I shared above bring up any questions or a-ha’s for you? Leave a comment below and let me know.



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Hi, I'm Jazmin.
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