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Chapter Six


Communication: Enriching Your Sexuality. Chapter Six. Agenda. Review Importance of Communication Discuss Gender Differences in Communication Describe Effective Communication Discuss Influence of Communication on Sexuality. Class Exercise: Sex Instruction.

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Chapter Six

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Communication: Enriching Your Sexuality

Chapter Six


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Agenda

  • Review Importance of Communication

  • Discuss Gender Differences in Communication

  • Describe Effective Communication

  • Discuss Influence of Communication on Sexuality


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Class Exercise: Sex Instruction

  • How did you find out about sex? What were you told? What was your reaction? Was the information accurate?

  • Are you comfortable talking about sexuality? Was you family comfortable discussing the subject?

  • What did your parents tell you about sex? Were you ever aware of your parents sexual activity?

  • How would you tell a child about sex? When would you begin to talk to them about sexuality?

  • How does the way we learn about sex as children influence the way we respond sexually as adults?


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Importance of Communication to Human Sexuality


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The Importance of Communication

  • Good communication is related to happier, more satisfied couples and increases the probability the relationship will last

  • Communication cultivates emotional intimacy, understanding, love

  • Relationship problems often due to poor communication, creating anger & frustration

    • Poor communication skills

    • Lack of self-disclosure

    • Poor listening skills


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Variables Associated with Communication

  • It takes some learning to communicate

  • Research suggests that women and men communicate differently

  • Types of communication: More than words


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Aspects of Communication

  • Communication with others involves three goals:

    • “get the job done” – send the message

    • “relational goal” – maintain a relationship

    • “identity management goal” – portray our self image


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Class Exercise: College Students’ Communiction about Sexuality

  • Research suggests that college-aged couples find it easier to “do it” rather than to talk about “doing it”?

    • What are the implications for contraception?

    • What are the implications for sexual satisfaction?

    • What are the implications for sexuality education?


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Gender Differences in Communication


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Gender Difference in Communication

  • Conversations with the opposite sex are typically harder than with same sex groups

  • Genderlects – fundamental differences in how men and women communicate

    • Men see a hierarchical world with need to maintain status; may interpret comments as challenges to defend; “report-talk”

    • Women: a relational world to connect in and avoid isolation; “rapport-talk”

      Continued …


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Gender Difference in Communication

  • Each believes the other sex interrupts more

  • Men are more likely to interrupt

  • Men tend to speak one at a time, and another comment is considered an interruption

    • When men interrupt they expect to be the primary speaker

  • Women use overlapping talk, where another interjects but does not take over in the conversation

    Continued …


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Gender Difference in Communication

  • Women and men differ in their topics of discussion

  • Male-typical talk: slang, money, business, time, space, quantity, destructive actions, motion, objects, hostile verbs

  • Female-typical talk: supportive, polite, expressive, home, family, feelings, evaluations, interpretations, psychological states

    Continued …


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Gender Difference in Communication

  • Women tend to soften opinionated statements through the use of (not in all cultures):

    • Tag questions

    • Disclaimers

    • Question statements

    • Hedge words


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Explanations for Gender Differences in Communication

  • Biological

  • Psychological

  • Social roles

  • Cross-cultural communication – grow up in different subcultures and learn different communication rules; begins in same-sex play groups

  • Cultural orientations, gender, & modes of communication are interconnected


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Types of Communication: More Than Words

  • Nonverbal communication

    • comprises the bulk of our communication

    • is expressed in various cultural forms

    • adds to verbal communication

    • Can be less threatening than verbal, but also more likely to be misunderstood

  • Women are better at deciphering nonverbal communication, and use more eye contact, head nods, smiles, and touches than men


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Types of Communication: More Than Words

  • Computer mediated communication

    • Women are more expressive, use emoticons

    • Allows focus on emotional intimacy, rather than physical attraction

    • Online intimacy problematic if they become compulsive in their use of the internet

    • Online infidelity typically with people happy in a relationship; due to personality traits


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Class Exercise: Overcoming Gender Differences When Discussing Sexuality

  • Do you think that conversations between men and women are more difficult than same-sex conversations?

  • Research suggests that when women in a heterosexual relationship process a problem, their partners often try to solve the problem rather than just listen. This seems to create conflict.

    • What can men do to listen better?

    • What can women do to help?

  • Research suggests that married women are more likely to identify another woman as their best friend while men are more likely to identify their wife as their best friend. What are the implications for intimacy?


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Giving/Receiving Feedback

Effective Communication


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Communicating More Effectively

  • Make sure you and your partner have the time and energy to communicate well before you begin a conversation

  • Limit the use of tag questions, they can indicate uncertainty and be misunderstood

  • Pay attention to your and your partner’s nonverbal cues


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Communicating More Effectively

  • Self-disclosure deepens intimacy and feelings of love as you share and grow as a couple

    • It is critical in a healthy relationship

    • Women tend to self-disclose more

    • Too much disclosure too soon is risky

  • Asking for what you need

    • Many people are insecure about sex

    • Honesty is essential to avoid unhappiness


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Learning to Make Requests

  • Taking Responsibility for Our Own Pleasure:

    • The best way for us to get our needs met is to speak up with our requests.

    • Two individuals willing to communicate their desires and take responsibility for their own pleasure create an excellent framework for effective, fulfilling sexual sharing.

    • Making Requests Specific

    • Using "I" Language


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The Fine Art of Listening

  • Nondefensive listening – without being defensive, focus attention on your partner’s concerns

  • Active listening – nonverbal communication that assures your partner you are attentive

    • Eye contact, head nods, “um hum”

  • Know your partner’s buttons and avoid pushing them


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The Fine Art of Listening

  • When your partner is finished, summarize and validate their thoughts

  • Take caution in interpreting a message that may not be perceived correctly, but altered due to mood state or the state of your relationship with the person

  • Women listen for details, men listen for the bottom line and/or what action is required to resolve a situation


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Constructive Criticism

Talking with Your Partner about Sex

I Like You and I Like Myself

What Makes a Good Lover?

Enriching Your Sexuality


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Delivering Criticism

  • Be Aware of Your Motivation

  • Choose the Right Time and Place

  • Temper Criticism with Praise

  • Nurture Small Steps Toward Change

  • Avoid "Why" Questions

  • Express Anger Appropriately

  • Limit Criticism to One Complaint per Discussion


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Receiving Criticism

  • Empathize with Your Partner and Paraphrase the Criticism

  • Acknowledge a Criticism and Find Something to Agree With

  • Ask Clarifying Questions

  • Express Your Feelings

  • Focus on Future Changes You Can Make


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Talking with Your Partner about Sex

  • Most couples initiate and consent to sex nonverbally

  • It is difficult to talk about sex

  • Each person’s desires are unique and need to be communicated

  • Good lovers know how to communicate and listen


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I Like You and I Like Myself

  • You need to feel good about yourself in order to be sexually healthy

  • The media creates the “ideal body”

  • Self-esteem is related to emotional and mental health

  • Having self-acceptance, autonomy, self-efficacy, and resilience will aid in maintaining good sexual relationships


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What Makes a Good Lover?

  • Sensitivity to their partner’s needs

  • Able to communicate own desires

  • Patient

  • Caring

  • Confident

  • Keep in mind that men and women can have different views of the same sexual behaviors and techniques


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Class Exercise: “War of the Roses”

  • How does communication influence intimacy?

  • Identify examples of gender differences in communication.