You might not think to look through the scientific literature to spice up your sex life, but it turns out that psychology researchers have some ideas about what makes good sex – and some data to back those ideas up.
In a recent meta-analysis, researchers at University of Texas reviewed studies on the link between sexual communication and sexual functioning, concluding that couples who communicate more consistently report having better sex lives.
Sexual communication, as defined in the studies reviewed by the researchers, includes things like telling your partner about your likes and dislikes, letting your partner know whether you’re satisfied and what your needs are, resolving sexual disagreements, and talking about the emotional aspects of sex. Also important is the frequency of sexual communication – communicating well generally means communicating often.
In their review of studies on the topic, the researchers found that sexual communication was associated with sexual functioning in multiple ways. Couples who scored higher on sexual communication reported higher levels of sexual desire and arousal. They were more likely to experience orgasm, and less likely to experience both erectile dysfunction and pain.
While the link between communication and good sex held for all types of couples, it was especially strong for married couples. More research has to be done to determine why this is the case, but the authors do point out that married couples’ sexual satisfaction tends to decrease over time. Therefore, communication might help keep couples in tune with each other’s sexual needs in the long-term.
The researchers also found that the effect of sexual communication was stronger for women than men, although both men and women experienced significant benefits.
Overall, these findings confirm that communication is an important part of sexual fulfillment. Good sex isn’t just about what you do, but also what you say!