Category Archives: Affairs

Advice for Couples: Having the Sex Talk


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Most people have a difficult time asking for what they want from their sexual partner. And they have an even harder time saying what they don’t like. The following, taken from my book The Marriage Makeover is provided as a guideline to having a talk about sex:

Begin a conversation about it by expressing your love or positive feelings for your partner. Open the conversation by asking what is pleasing or displeasing to him or her as a way to put you in the more vulnerable role first. Then say what you like or don’t like. Be as specific as you can. “I would like it if we could talk more before sex, during sex, or afterwards.”  “I really like it when you ___________” etc.

State your needs and wishes clearly as requests, not demands. Put your requests in the positive: rather than saying, “You never want to have sex” or “You’re so self-involved in bed.” Say, “I really like it when we make love. I’m wondering if you have any ideas about what I can do to have it feel better or more pleasurable for you?” Write down what you each think the other expects in terms of frequency. See if you can reach a compromise.

Assume it will be awkward to talk about it, especially when you first begin to try.

Raise the topic of your sex life in a period of relative peace or harmony, never during a fight. If you raise this issue, be open to hearing your partner’s complaints that aren’t sexual in nature such as a desire to have more time together, less criticism, more help with the house or kids.

Work on the issues of shame, self-criticism or embarrassment by listing your sexual anxieties with your partner. If your partner is trustworthy, tell him or her your worst fears and agree to not make fun of the other’s sensitivities or to raise them during conflict.

Try to keep an open mind about what should happen sexually between you and be creative about satisfying each other’s needs for closeness and pleasure. What matters most is not that you engage in any particular sexual act, but that you problem-solve as friends.

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Talking with Kids About Infidelity

What do you tell your kids when they find out that one of their parents has had an affair? How does the discover of an affair affect a child? Can families ever recover?

Listen to the recording of Dr. Coleman and psychotherapist Susan Berger, MFT on Childhood Matters Radio with host Rona Renner KISS 98.1FM San Francisco

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