Most of the married couples I work with, after a while, they become almost like family. It's mostly because, on average, I'm rockin' with them at least a couple of years. Most stints are two-hour sessions, twice a month. Yeah, being a marriage life coach has taught me a ton (it's honestly a part of the reason why I'm still single because it's revealed some truths about relationships that I don't think I would've discovered any other way). One of the main lessons is that a couple's sex life—or lack thereof—can reveal volumes about how happy and healthy two people truly are when it comes to their relationship.
Take this one couple that I worked with for almost four years. During their "exit interview", I asked them how content they were in various areas of their marriage. When I got to the topic of sex, the wife said, "I know I'm tired of using my own spit to get myself wet." Umm…come again? No really…come. Again. That one statement alone resulted in us resuming our sessions for six more months. It also taught me that, when it comes to sexual fulfillment, getting on the same page as your partner is not just about certain positions or various techniques. Good sex is about clear and consistent communication; a part of what comes with that is asking the right questions along with listening—and I mean, really listening—to the answers your partner provides.
A screenwriter by the name of J. Michael Straczynski once said, "Your assumption and the truth, dine at totally different tables." So true. If you want to know if your partner is good, in the sense of being satisfied, in the coitus department, never just assume that they are. Ask. Ask what? These 9 questions will reveal a lot, for starters.
9 Sex Questions To Ask Your Partner
1. "How Do You Feel Our Sex Life Has Been Lately?"
To me, I think one of the most important questions to ask your partner is how they feel sex has been lately between the two of you. Have things been going great? Is it just the same ole' same ole'? Or worse, have they not really given it too much thought at all? Why do I say "worse" as it relates to that last question? Simple. Since we reportedly have somewhere around 50,000 thoughts a day, if your partner can't remember the last time one of those thoughts was even remotely related to y'all's intimacy—at best, they are indifferent and at worst, they are disconnected. Neither are attitudes that make for a fulfilling sex life.
That's why this lil' questionnaire is starting off with this type of inquiry.
The truth is, some people find themselves in a rut or ho-hum routine because, when it comes to sex, they haven't really processed if they are actually pleased or not.
Hmph. No time like the present for you and yours to find that out.
2. "Are Your Sexual Needs Consistently Being Met?"
Whenever I listen to married couples express their sexual frustrations, a pattern that I tend to notice is they oftentimes have a hard time discerning the difference between what they want to happen vs. what they need to happen in the bedroom. Take one husband in particular. He wants to have sex twice a day, every day. But he doesn't need that; he needs to not go a week without getting some. On the flip side, his wife wants more sexual spontaneity but what she needs is more foreplay ('cause, especially when it comes to women and how our bodies are made, sex isn't much fun without foreplay; just from the lubrication that it provides alone).
A need, by definition, is something that is necessary. When something is necessary, it is essential and when something is essential, it is the very essence of a thing. In a perfect world, whenever we have sex, both our wants and needs would be met. But this world ain't perfect and neither are our sex partners. Still, if you want to have a healthy sex life, it is important that the two of you are super intentional about knowing what one another's needs are and then doing all that you can to meet them; not some of the time. Consistently so.
3. "What’s Your Favorite Sex-Related Memory of Us?"
I recently read an article on The New York Times site entitled, "Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. It Can Be Healthy." One of the points that it made is nostalgia is considered to be a phenomenon that creates "a high-order emotional experience more on par with love than, say, fear". That said, I'm sure you can see why, off the rip, I recommend asking your partner what their favorite sex-related memory of the two of you are. Not only can it mentally seduce them to say it and you to hear it, the literal recollection can spark an emotional high that makes you feel more loving and passionate towards your partner too.
As a bonus, if you've been feeling like sex is cool but also really predictable, the memory can take you both back to a time when you were hanging off of the chandeliers. It can serve as a great reminder to you both that you've got the ability to pull that out of one another—even now.
4. "What's a Fantasy You've Never Shared Before?"
In the article, "What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Sexually Compatible?" that's featured on this site, one of the things that I touch on is how important it is to be open to exploring you and your partner's sexual fantasies. For one thing, it helps to keep the bedroom action fresh and new. Another benefit is it can tap into you two's imaginative side that may not always come out during usual sexual activity.
Sometimes, women especially, will tell me that they are not comfortable with sharing their fantasies with their partner. The main reason is because, based on how "buck wild" it is, they feel like their partner may see them in a different light. First of all, that's can be a good thing because everything about us, including our sexual nature, has layers. And second, to this day, I don't think I've heard one man tell me that their lady's desires totally turned them off. Besides, no one is saying that you have to act on everything that comes to your mind.
The main point in sharing fantasies is they can help you to see other sides of one another; they can help you to explore—mentally and possibly physically—where you want to go in order to take things to a new level and dimension. You should never feel self-conscious about that.
5. "What Can We Do to Make Foreplay Better?"
You know what's interesting? Whenever wives talk about foreplay with me, if they have a gripe, the issue isn't that they aren't getting enough of it; the real issue is that the foreplay has become predictable…mechanical even. As a result, they end up becoming bored to tears. It's no secret that men, on average, are able to climax in around five minutes while women, on average, need between 20-25 (this includes foreplay). But sometimes, the mistake that men make is, once they know what "buttons to push", they just keep doing the same things over and over…and over and over…and over again instead of thinking outside of the box.
A good lover, whether it is a man or a woman, knows that the prelude to intercourse is just as relevant and wonderful as intercourse itself. Whether it's discovering new erogenous zones; extending the kissing time; doing a lil' sexting; shooting him an online gift card to a lingerie shop so that he can pick out something he would like to see you in; giving one another a sensual massage; waking up early in the morning for a little oral and then "finishing things off" once you get back home—be open to saying and listening to what would make foreplay that much hotter for you both.
Back when I was gettin' it in, it was my personal experience that if the foreplay was off-the-charts, it was almost a definite that the sex was gonna be good. But when the foreplay sucked? Sometimes I would rather have a V-8 than complete the act (and I hate tomato juice).
6. "What Can We Do to Make Sex Even Better?"
In Science Alert's article "More Adults Than You Think Are Avoiding Having Sex. Here's Why", it shares some interesting points. Points like 40 percent of women avoid having sex altogether at some point in their lives, the main reasons why some relationships become sexless is due to health-related issues and, a lack of sleep plays its part in a lack of sex too. So yeah, when it comes to this particular question, if your partner seems to have a lot of excuses for why they don't want to have sex lately, it's a good idea to ask why. If neither of you have had a physical in a while, there's no time like the present to make an appointment with your physician. If you're averaging less than six hours of sleep a night, you are working against your libido; you might wanna change that.
Simple adjustments like these can automatically improve your sex life. So can asking your partner if there is something that you can do in the oral, technique or sexual positions department. Believe me when I say that some people consider their sex life to be pretty uneventful; still, they don't do much to change it because they feel like any sex is better than nothing. Eh. I believe that you should think more of your partner and your sex life overall by not settling for less than awesome copulation. You can start getting there by asking you partner what they feel will make the literal act of sex better for them—which ultimately means better for you.
7. "Is There Something You Would Like Me to Change or Switch Up?"
One husband I know, he has said in sessions that, while he loves the sex that he has with his wife, what he hates is that her vagina doesn't have any hair on it; because of that—and this is a quote—"I feel like I'm having sex with a teenager or something." A single woman recently told me that she is in an exclusive sexual relationship with someone. When I asked her if there was anything that she wished he would do differently, she said that she hated that his initial go-to position was always doggy style. A male friend of mine said he wished that his steady partner would get out of the bedroom more often, while a wife recently told me that she wanted her husband to perform cunnilingus—not more but better.
We all know the saying—closed mouths don't get fed. More times than not, they don't get off either. While a great sex partner does make it a point to be in tune with the person they are having sex with, at the same time, it isn't fair to expect them to be mind-readers either.
The only way to know if your partner would like some adjustments to be made is to ask them. And then check your ego at the door, so that you can receive their response.
8. "What Can I Do Outside of the Bedroom to Make Sex More Satisfying for You?"
There are plenty of articles out in cyberspace that says the biggest sex organ is our brain (you can check out a few of them here, here and here). You know what this means—in order to feel truly connected during sex, you need to be willing to do some things for your partner that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Maybe it's going on dates more. Maybe it's speaking your partner's love language more fluently. Perhaps it's helping out more around the house, setting healthy boundaries with family members and/or friends, or being intentional about listening to your partner more.
Some people have less-than-stellar sex lives, not because the act of sex isn't good; it's actually because their partner doesn't feel nurtured and supported enough in all of the other room of the house. When that happens, sex feels more like going through the motions than anything else. And who wants to say that their sex life is not much more than that?
9. "Is Sex Intimate, Sexual or Both for You Right Now?"
An author by the name of John O'Donohue once said, "Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved." Another author by the name of M. J. Abraham once stated, "A physical attraction is often desired above many things, but you'll discover it to be short-lived. Find yourself someone that gets under your skin, seduces the dusty corners of your heart, and provides you with a mental connection. That is when you'll know true intimacy." Former porn star (and author) Jenna Jameson once said, "The best sex takes place in the mind first." What all of these statements reveal is we should never assume that just because the physical act of sex is transpiring that real intimacy is taking place as well.
In the article, "The Signs Of A Truly Intimate Relationship", things like mutual honesty, warmth, affection and spirituality are used to express what authentic intimacy is. You know, one of my favorite documentaries of all time is51 Birch Street. As a son was discovering all of the unknown dysfunction and unhappiness of his parent's marriage, he decided to ask his own wife if she was happy in hers. He was shocked to hear that she wasn't. Moral to the story—just because two people aren't abusing one another, just because a couple doesn't have any real drama, that doesn't mean that they are being intimate with one another—even if they are having sex on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.
Most married people will say that there are times when sex is more sexual (physical) than intimate (mental, emotional and spiritual). In the grand scheme of things, there's nothing wrong with that. When you should be concerned is if your partner feels like sex is merely a physical act most of the time. If that is the case, it's time to reconnect on an intimate level. But you'll never know if that's what's going on—watch how this article comes full circle—unless you ask them. Do your relationship and your sex life a big favor—ask them. Tonight, if you can.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.