Why Vulnerability Unlocks Good Sex
Last Friday I spoke at Women’s Health Live on a panel titled “Let’s talk about sex: Why aren’t you coming?”.
As I reflect on it, the moment that stands out for me is the discussion we had about better communication with our partners, and the importance of creating space for that real vulnerability and depth.
When we have this intimacy and can talk about how we truly feel with one another, this inevitably seeps into the bedroom and we can start asking for what we want and tapping into our true sexual desires.
I have a practice that one of my coaches - Xochi Balfour - taught me, which I now use with my husband.
The practice is called ‘Pillowtalk’, and it goes like this: we each put our head in the other’s lap on a pillow and we have a defined time - we use 5 minutes - where the person lying down talks about everything that’s preventing closer connection with your partner. Maybe work is intense and you’re stressed and exhausted, maybe there’s a family issue, maybe they said something and it’s still ringing in your mind. Your partner receives this in silence until the end when they simply say ‘thank you’. We do this each way once a week. Afterwards, the intimacy feels almost like we’ve just had sex and it’s incredibly healing.
What’s opened up for us is a much closer connection. We’ve let go of the stories that we each had in our head about what was going on for us. We see each other as we actually are.
People often ask me about the ‘no reply’ element of this practice. Why can’t the partner respond in more detail?
The answer is: once you’ve been heard and seen the release has happened. Once the words are out the stories somehow lose their power over you and they don’t even need a response.
There’s another suggestion I love that’s more specifically about sex. And that’s to try a short ‘debrief’ after you’ve been intimate with your partner. Each shares a moment that was particularly good and why you liked it. This has the benefit of creating positive feedback loops of what’s working for you and your body right now, and also deepening the memory - our brains are much more likely to make memories of moments we talk about and relive. An unexpected side effect is that the reliving might arouse you so much you both want to do it again!
I’d love to hear what practices you have in your relationships to cultivate intimacy and vulnerability. And if you try pillowtalk or the debrief, I’d love to hear how it works for you.
Love Nikki x