Sexual Communication: When Words Aren’t Needed

sexual communication without words

You cannot have sex without communicating with your partner at some level—in fact, communication is constantly occurring during sex, whether you realize it or not. And often sexual communication doesn’t involve words. Murmurs and moans, movements and touch, tensing and relaxing, facial expressions, changes in breath, all send feedback to your partner about your sexual experience. Non-responsiveness (just lying there) is also a powerful non-verbal message, suggesting lack of interest or boredom.

And while sex is permeated with non-verbal communications, picking up each other’s non-verbal cues isn’t a given. For a rich and rewarding sex life, couples must become astute at reading one another’s non-verbal reactions. Failure to understand this important communication dimension can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • You are consumed by your own pleasure in the moment;
  • Your partner’s cues are so quiet or subtle that you miss them;
  • You don’t know what a particular non-verbal cue means for your partner (you misinterpret her/his cues);
  • You become self-conscious or insecure during sex, blocking clear awareness of your partner;
  • You aren’t open to the experiences that are unfolding before you (you are a selfish lover or you simply haven’t learned about the importance of becoming attuned to the other during sex).

“Curtis is such an attentive lover. During sex it’s like we’re in this beautiful dance, a sexual dance where we are in step with each other’s feelings and reactions.” ~ Amelia

“Whenever we have sex, Marko is constantly asking, ‘Is this OK? Do you like that?’ He asks so much it pulls me out of the moment and my sexual arousal plunges.” ~ Heather

Sexual Communication: Are You Attuned to Your Partner’s Sexual Cues?

The above quotes point to the issue of sexual security versus insecurity. Curtis and Amelia are secure lovers. They are attuned to each other’s sexual rhythms and behavioral cues. They know which cues indicate pleasure, which fall flat, and when to change course. This attunement allows them to easily enter into a back-and-forth dance of sensual and sexual pleasure.

Marko, on the other hand, is insecure about his ability to satisfy Heather. This insecurity manifests in his repetitive questions that get in the way of savoring the present moment pleasures. In short, Marko isn’t attuned to Heather’s non-verbal sexual cues that indicate she is enjoying the experience. So rather than feed off the non-verbal in ways that enhance the experience, Marko interrupts the flow of his wife’s sexual experience with words.

Sex Tip: Asking what your partner needs sexually and requesting feedback about what is working and what should be altered are an important part of sexual communication. However, for some people, depending on the moment, words may actually detract from the sensual flow of the experience. Part of learning about your spouse’s/partner’s sexual rhythms is knowing when the spoken word enhances his/her sexual experience and when words hinder it.

How To Spice Up Your Relationship Action Step

Sexual attunement requires an openness and an alertness to the different ways in which your spouse/partner is responding or not responding to what is occurring sexually. Sexual cues may be subtle or overt, but in either case, knowing what these cues reflect regarding your partner’s experience is essential to sexual connection and fulfillment.

You and your partner can answer the questions below and use the answers to help learn about each other’s sexual, non-verbal forms of communication. Also, share what you each notice about the other regarding non-verbal reactions and how this information can be used to enhance sexual connection and pleasure.

  1. Are you aware of most of the things that turn your husband/wife on?
  2. How do you know when your partner is experiencing sexual pleasure during love-making?
  3. What are your spouse’s non-verbal cues that s/he isn’t reacting positively to something you are doing sexually?
  4. How do you know when your partner is indifferent or not enjoying a sexual activity/experience?
  5. What internal blocks prevent you from being more fully open to your partner’s non-verbal cues?

(Featured [top] image Man Looking at Woman” by Nuttakit/