It’s time we talk emotional intelligence, because our inbox is brimming with questions from confused readers who want to know how to communicate with their partner about sex. It seems like very few people know how to do so with any real self-assurance.
You might be wondering: What is emotional intelligence? An emotionally intelligent person is someone who has the capacity to not only express their emotions succinctly and fully, but with confidence. It is someone who knows what they want, how they feel about it, and are able to convey that to their partner. Someone with emotional intelligence has the skill to absorb, process, and respond empathetically to the emotions of another.
The short answer: It is someone who understands and can process emotions.
Emotional intelligence is a crucial part of fulfilling sexuality, we just never talk about it. We tend to bracket sexuality with the physical and animalistic side of human nature, while talking and the processing of feelings is put in the bonding, emotional bracket of humanity. The problem is that the two sides are inextricably linked.
One cannot exist in its full potential without the other. This is why we need more emotional intelligence in our sexual relationships … and why you should probably start working on yours ASAP.
Ask for what you want
If you understand your emotional state and how things make you feel, you’ll be better at sex. It’s when we’re insecure about our feelings that we have bad sex. Being able to discuss emotions might not seem like the sexiest thing in the world, but whether or not it’s sexy is context dependent. It’s hot when someone isn’t afraid to ask for what they want in bed.
And it’s even hotter when someone has so much empathy for your pleasure that they ask you what feels good for you. A spouse who cares about your orgasm is a keeper.
If you feel like what you’re asking for is inconvenient, asking too much, awkward etc., you won’t get it. You wind up talking about it nonstop with your therapist and emailing sex columnists because you don’t know what else to do.
Understanding emotional needs is as important as understanding the physical
We must give emotional awareness the same weight in sexuality that we do physical. Is it fantastic that you know where the clitoris is or how to give an amazing blow job? Yes, it’s good to be aware of anatomy. Truthfully, too many people are lacking both a basic understanding of how to physically arouse and emotionally understand someone.
You need to have empathy in order to be a good sexual partner. Knowing how to touch someone is necessary, but being able to sense what they want and how they want it is equally as needed.
If you are aware and in-tuned with your emotions and those of your partner, you can help them feel more comfortable sexually. You know they’ve had a rough week at work and are stressed, and as an emotionally intelligent person you know that their confidence could use a boost. You can make them feel sexy and hot by recognizing their emotional state (and then perhaps screwing them through it with love).
When we don’t know how to express our emotions to our partner and aren’t confident that they can be a reliable container for those emotions, our sex lives suffer.
Think about a fantasy you may have had. Perhaps it was a threesome fantasy and you’d love to be able to tell your partner about it. If they are emotionally intelligent, they’d take in this information without judgement and be willing to explore the psychological aspects of this fantasy with you. You may even be able to bring it into your sex life, if that’s something you want. At the very least, being able to share openly is crucial for a healthy sex life. Sex shouldn’t have barriers.
When you can’t talk about fantasy, something you want in bed, a kink you’d like to explore, a desire for more sex, etc. without a fear of your partner becoming defensive, how will you ever realize these desires?
If you are aware of how someone is feeling, the sex will be better
There is something to be said about total comfort when having sex. When you’re emotionally connected to your partner, you’re automatically at ease. You feel sensations more deeply. You stop being nervous to let loose and enjoy yourself.
The love and sexual chemistry join together in a gorgeous symphony. Even in the moments when you’re so sexual, in those I-need-you-now-tear-my-clothes-off moments, you should have emotional intelligence. Being able to sense that wanting, that passion, and that overwhelming desire in your partner is hot. Knowing that you can fully express yourself sexually, without judgement, is delicious. We should be embracing the hot, dirty, loving, tender, complexity of sexuality.
Emotions and sex simply go together. Good sex requires passion and it requires empathy. Pleasure and emotional connection are two sides of the same coin.