Secret to Good Sex?
Talk, talk, and more talk.
What's the Problem?
Co-authors of Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, the Brodys make it
clear that learning to talk intelligently about sex is doable, not
But deep down, most people are conflicted, at least a little. "There's
an idea in this society that a lot of people are engaging in sex freely,
without inhibition -- it's the Playboy philosophy," says the Midwest
Institute's director, psychologist Barnaby Barratt, PhD, professor of family
medicine, psychiatry, and human sexuality at Wayne State University's School of
Medicine. "In fact, everyone has conflicts. Though many of us try,
strenuously, to make it appear that we don't, we do."
On one hand, he says, everything in our culture is greatly sexualized. On
the other, we feel profoundly guilty and ashamed about sex and think that
talking about it in detail is despicable in personal relationships.
Easier for Some?
Why do gays and lesbians fare better than straights when it comes to
straight talk, at least in the survey? Barratt ventures a guess, but stresses
that it is pure speculation. If your sexual orientation and preferences are
those of the minority, he says, you may learn to speak about your sexual wishes
as you develop them. You have to work out your shame and guilt. "You have
to own your sexuality," he says. This attitude of course, probably applies
most to those who are "out" and comfortable with their orientation.
Those who are just beginning to realize they are gay or lesbian may think about
what they want but not speak openly about it.
More Difficult for Others?
Heterosexual men, on the other hand, may find it more difficult to
communicate their wishes because they may be afraid of what they'll hear in
response, says New York City psychologist Elyse Goldstein. "They're afraid
that if they speak up about their needs and desires, the woman will speak up
about hers and they won't be able to satisfy her."
Chicago psychologist and online relationship counselor Kate Wachs says that
heterosexual men are often conditioned from an early age to shut up and
The Brody Success Story
Whatever your orientation and level of discomfort, the Brodys say you can
become better at talking about your needs and desires.
Married 29 years, the Brodys have learned to communicate their sexual
desires very effectively. He's 53 and she's 49, but there are times, Cathy
says, when Steve makes her feel like a 17-year-old in the back seat of a
"I'll say to Steve, 'I really like it when you undress me,' " Cathy
"And sometimes,'' Steve says, "I'll say, 'I really need oral sex
now, that would help.' "
Cathy: "Or saying, 'Let's have sex on the floor instead of the bed.'
" Or doing it in the morning instead of at night.