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Do you have unfulfilled sexual fantasies? Have you at least shared them with your partner? Does your partner have fantasies that he or she are reluctant to share as well? For many couples, opening up about fetishes, fantasies, and sexual preferences can be a scary and unnerving experience, but these necessary conversations can potentially take your sex life to the next level. And according to sex and relationship therapist Marissa Nelson, it’s all about how you approach the conversation.

“If couples don’t talk about sex, what will happen is that they will start to avoid conversations with sex and they will start avoiding sex when it comes to anything that is uncomfortable for them. It’s very important to talk about your sexual relationship,” said Marissa.

Continue reading for Marissa’s  tips on how to create a safe environment for you and your partner to be transparent about your sexual desires.

Approach the conversation with an open mind.

“What’s needed for conversations like this is a ton of empathy. Lots of empathy. What typically happens, more often than not, someone will say, ‘I really enjoy having you lick my butt,’ and their partner to be like ‘Ew! No! That’s nasty. I’ll never do that.’ Well, you’re going to be hard pressed for that person to ever tell you what their sexual preferences are moving forward.

Acknowledge what’s right

“In order to understand what’s not working or introduce other preferences, it’s easier to begin by talking about what’s working in your relationship. ‘What do I really enjoy about our sexual experience?’ ‘What are the best parts of our sexual connection or intimacy together?’ ‘What do I really like that you do?’  You should also praise you partner for the things they do well. ‘I really love when you do this,’ or ‘This really turns me on.’ A lot of times, our partners don’t have the awareness of what we really do like so that they can do more of it.”

Be curious

“I can’t tell you how many couples that come in and when I split them up and talk to them separately, they say, ‘These are my preferences but the last time I tried them with my partner, they were like ‘Hell no. No! I’m not doing that.’’ There wasn’t a sense of curiosity. There wasn’t a sense of interest. There wasn’t a sense of investigation into what really excites them about that.” You know, it should be ‘What does that mean for you?’ ‘That’s pleasurable?’ ‘How can I be a part of that?’ People have to push their own threshold and their own sexual limits. They have to have that conversation as a couple.”

Acknowledge the discomfort and work through it

“I would ask myself, ‘What are the things that are really uncomfortable for me to share with my partner that I really want to?'”

Keep the conversation going

“Sexual communication is vital for every couple. Every couple needs relationship hygiene. Just like you wake up and brush your teeth, you need to be having conversations about different aspects of your relationship—including sex. I find that a lot of times with couples, they only talk about sex when they want to have sex when they’re not having it or during sex or after sex when things don’t always go right. A lot of times, what people don’t like comes up in conversation during those times and cause a lot of hurt, pain and discomfort. There needs to be this ongoing dialoge that couples are having about sexual attitudes, beliefs, preferences, all of that stuff. They need to be talking about it.”

About Marissa Nelson: After years of serving as one of Washington, D.C.’s premier couples and sex therapists, Marissa Nelson and her husband decided to pack their bags and move to the Bahamas. There, Nelson founded Intimacymoons Couples Retreats, which offers specialized training in emotionally focused couples therapy, relationship therapy, and sexual health. To learn more, visit, or

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