We've all seen them. The sex scenes in movies that portray those initial moments afterwards to be euphoric and filled with mutual pleasure and happiness. But, we know that just isn't always reality! It can be a really awkward or uncomfortable time for couples. Add pain, difficulty with communication, or a physical limitation to the mix and it can really become a difficult time to figure out what to say post sex.
I often get asked by client's, "how do I ask for what I want?" and "what if I want my partner to do something different?" or, what is more likely is, I'll find out that sex just ends "bad" with one or all partners frustrated.
Early on in my clinical practice I developed what I like to call, The 3 A's.
These are the three things I recommend as talking points for my clients after sex.
Accolades- Tell them what you enjoyed. “I really like when you ____”.
Affirmations- “You're so (insert positive attribute)”. EX: sexy, beautiful, hott, great in bed!
Appreciation- Thank you. “Thank you for making me feel great” or “Thanks for the boink!”
These three talking points can be helpful if you feel like giving or receiving feedback - either positive or negative is difficult. While it's okay to give 'negative' feedback, it's important to keep it constructive and know when and how to give it. For example, giving negative feedback right after sex is not the best timing. No one likes to hear that they did something wrong, especially right after having sex which can be a very vulnerable time. Instead, it can be helpful to appreciate the time spent together, utilize the 3 A's, and then save the constructive feedback for later. Timing can make all the difference.
Talking about our sexual experiences shouldn't be limited to the moments right before and after sex.
Those conversations can be great at the breakfast table, during a car ride, or anytime during the day. Getting to a point where it's comfortable for you to have those conversations at any time of day can feel difficult. It can take time and practice to do something new, and let's be honest talking about sex (either during or outside of it) is new for a lot of us.
Ending sex on a positive note can make it even more likely sex will happen again, and practicing the 3As is a great way to center the positive post sex!
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Dr. Kathryn Ellis
Occupational Therapist & Sexuality Counselor
Realistic sex advice for grown folks