A couple sitting back to back on a beautifully tiled floor.
Illustration by Marta Pucci

How to talk about a sex issue

Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Katherine Hertlein,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness
Photo of Dr Katherine Hertlein
Reviewed by Dr Laura Vowels,
created by Blueheart
created by Josh Green
created by Sophie Browness

No-one likes having difficult conversations. We’re well-trained in avoiding them as much as we can, because we don’t have the heart to tell our friends that we’d rather eat a live slug than go to their poetry recital, or that you actually didn’t have a family emergency last time you cancelled, you just wanted to sit in your dressing gown and eat peanut butter out of the jar. One day there’ll be a world in which we can be really honest with each other, but most of the time, we end up doing things we don’t like or don’t want to do, just to avoid the awkwardness of expressing how we really feel. And that’s no good. 

When it comes to therapy, and particularly sex therapy, all of this gets heightened, because we don’t want to hurt our partner’s feelings, or start an argument, and we very often don’t quite have the words to talk about what we need - which is part of the reason we come to therapy in the first place!

So if you and your partner are a bit stuck when it comes to talking about sex, this session will give you some tips on how to bring up the idea of Blueheart if you’re worried that your partner might get upset or put up barriers around this conversation. If this does happen, it’s worth remembering that very often the reason for the defensiveness is just that they feel bad about the issue, and they don’t know what to do about it - and has nothing to do with how they feel about you. Having issues with different levels of desire is no-one's fault - it’s a relationship issue, and you both need to be on board in order to make a change. 

Even though there might be a temptation from one or both of you to avoid this conversation, here’s a statistic that might help you take the plunge. According to research by Dr. John Gottman, 91% of couples who can’t comfortably talk about sex together say that they’re not satisfied sexually.⁠ In other words, being able to talk comfortably about sex is better for your sex life

But you don’t have to be good at this right away - it’s a skill that takes time to develop, and it’s hard! But we’re here with the tools to help you do that. So here are some tips on how to introduce Blueheart to your partner:

  1. Firstly, find the right time to have the conversation. Ask your partner if they have a few minutes to talk about something important. Make sure they have enough time, energy, and attention to have a proper conversation. Don’t choose a time when one or both of you are stressed, or bring it up in the middle of an argument; the best time is when you’re both relaxed, maybe while you’re watching TV or having dinner. 
  2. Be honest about what you think the issue is, and how it’s making you feel. Whether it’s anxious, guilty, stressed, scared, rejected or resentful - your feelings are completely valid and it’s helpful for your partner to hear them presented in a calm, compassionate way. Reassure your partner that you love them, that you know it’s no-one’s fault, and even though it’s a difficult subject to talk about, you really want to work on it together. 
  3. Then, tell your partner that you’ve found something that can help, and show your partner around the app or the website. Just like choosing a therapist, you’ll get the most out of Blueheart if you’re both comfortable with it and what it entails. If you’d like to, you can play them this short explanation of how the app works:
  1. You’ll learn the key concepts of sex and desire, the things that can interfere with them, and how you can start to think differently about sex and sexuality based on the latest scientific research;
  2. You and your partner will do guided touch activities, both alone and together, that are designed to take the pressure and expectation away from touch by bringing it back to the essence of sensation. This is called Sensate Focus - an effective technique used by sex therapists all over the world; and
  3. And we’ll provide structured conversations to help you improve communication as you explore everything you’re noticing and learning together, and helping you re-discover intimacy.

You only need one subscription between you, and then, once you’ve linked your accounts, you’ll be able to work on your plan together, and keep track of your progress with data-driven insights. All of our sessions are carefully structured to start with short, low-pressure activities in each exercise or topic, so you can go at your own pace, and explore from a place of relaxation and comfort - the cornerstones of a happy, healthy sex life, that works for you both. 

  1. And finally, if there’s still a bit of uncertainty, maybe you can find a compromise, and try doing one of our early touch sessions together, and then see how you feel? A small, 15 minute commitment like this could be more manageable than committing long-term, and might open up some new topics of conversation. We’d recommend the 3-Minute Game in the Blueheart app as a good place to start.

And that’s it! The rest is up to you. We know starting therapy together is a big step - but it’s a really positive one, that proves how committed you are to each other and to deepening the intimacy between you, so you can get your life together back on track.

If you want more lessons on how to deal with the difficult stuff, check out how with the Blueheart app here.

Learn how to talk about sex
Blueheart has helped numerous people reduce their anxiety and stress around sex. Learn how to focus on feeling good, and how to communicate your needs with your partner.
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