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Communicating About Sex - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Communicating About Sex
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  1. 8 Communicating About Sex

  2. The Nature of Communication • The ability to communicate is important in developing & maintaining relationships • Communication: a transactional process • Involves conveying symbols, words, gestures, movements • Goal of establishing human contact: exchanging information, and reinforcing or changing attitudes & behaviors

  3. Contexts of Communication • Cultural context • the language, values, beliefs, and customs in which communication takes place • Social context • the roles we play in society • Psychological context • how people communicate based on their personalities

  4. Nonverbal Communication • The ability to correctly interpret nonverbal communication is important in relationships • Most of our “feeling” communication is nonverbal • Three important factors: • Proximity: nearness in physical space • Eye contact: a symbol of interest • Touching: signals intimacy, closeness

  5. Sexual Communication • Our interpersonal sexual scripts provide us with “instructions” on how to behave sexually • In beginning relationships • Halo effect • Interest and opening lines • In some cases: establishing sexual orientation • First move and beyond • Directing sexual activity

  6. Sexual Communication • In established relationships • initiating sexual activity • For heterosexuals: men typically initiate more often • In same-sex relationships: typically the more emotionally expressive partner initiates

  7. Gender Differences in Partner Communication • Women send clearer messages to their partners than men do • Men more than women tend to send negative messages or withdraw • Women tend to set the emotional tone of an argument • Women tend to use more qualifiers in their style of speaking

  8. Developing Communication Skills • Generally, poor communication skills precede relationship problems • First step in better communication: self-awareness • Recognizing tendencies to • Suppress “unacceptable” feelings • Deny our feelings • Displace or project our feelings

  9. Talking About Sex • Obstacles to sexual discussions • Lack of models for talking about sex • Risk of being thought of as sexually obsessive, or bad • May believe that talking about sex threatens relationship • Lack of a comfortable sexual vocabulary

  10. Keys to Good Communication: • Self-disclosure • Creates the environment for mutual understanding • Helps us discover who we are • Must be reciprocal • Trust • A belief in the reliability and integrity of the person • Relationship must be likely to continue • Behavior must be predictable • Each person must have options • Feedback • The ongoing process of restating, checking accuracy, questioning, and clarifying messages

  11. Conflict and Intimacy • Conflict is natural in intimate relationships • A lack of arguing can signal trouble in a relationship • Conflict isn’t dangerous; it’s the manner in which it is handled that can hurt or help relationship

  12. Conflicts about Sex • Fighting about sex • Can result from a disagreement about sex • Can also be used as a “scapegoat” for nonsexual problems • Can be a cover-up for deeper feelings such as inadequacy • It’s hard to tell during a fight if there are deeper causes

  13. Sexuality and Power Conflicts • Destructive tactics used to gain power: • Withholding sex • Forcing sex • Unequal power relationships can be changed • It is not easy once embedded in the structure of the relationship • Talking, attempting to understand, and negotiating are the best approaches

  14. Conflict Resolution • The way couples deal with conflict reflects and contributes to their happiness • Strategies for conflict resolution • Summarizing • Paraphrasing • Validation • Clarification

  15. Negotiating Conflicts • Agreement as a gift • Either partner has right to freely agree with the other without coercion • Bargaining • Making compromises to create the most equitable deal for both partners • Coexistence • Allowing irresolvable differences to be lived with

  16. Key Points • Communication is the basis for good sex and good relationships • Communication and intimacy are reciprocal: • communication creates intimacy • intimacy creates good communication