Sex is… complicated. It's impossible to feel in sync with our partner 100% of the time, and that includes physical intimacy. But when things feel consistently "off," it can be immensely frustrating—and even trickier to talk about.
The good news? It's also totally normal, says sex therapist Victoria Legowski, MFT. Below, she addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about getting busy and why seeing a professional for extra help is NBD.
1. "If it's okay with you, it's okay with me"
"Honestly, the biggest question that all therapists get is, Is this normal?" says Legowski. "Is my low sex drive, high sex drive, fetish, or sexual quirk okay?" The short answer is yes, and you can be sure that your therapist has heard it before.
"Couples often come in with differing sex drives, dealing with a partner's infidelity, or wanting help exploring 'nontraditional' sexual and relationship dynamics," she says. The point is that even if it feels uncomfortable (or even embarrassing), the more honest you are with your therapist, the better they can help.
2. Communication is key
Even if you're not sure you want to enlist a therapist's help just yet, transparency with your partner is the first step, and more often than not, any "issues" (or unfulfillment) in the bedroom comes down to a simple lack of communication.
"Communication is hands down the most important part of building a better relationship or better sex life," says Legowski. "If you're comfortable with your partner and can ask for what you need to orgasm, talk through issues as they come up, and check in with each other, there's much less room for problems to fester."
3. A therapist can help guide trickier conversations
Sometimes, talking about it is easier said than done. It can be really scary to address something so intimate with your S.O., especially if you're worried about hurting their feelings or feeling judged. We all crave emotional attunement with our partner, but we also can't expect them to be a mind reader. Sometimes we need to vocalize those needs, and that's where a sex therapist really comes in handy.
"[That's true] if there is a persistent issue that you've been unable to talk through or if you just want to increase intimacy and communication," says Legowski.
4. But there also doesn't have to be anything "wrong" for her to help.
It's a common misconception that you can only benefit from therapy if you have a specific problem, and the same goes for visiting a sex therapist, says Legowski. You don't even need to be partnered up to get quality advice.
5. There's often an easy fix to a "rut" or dry spell
Dry spells happen, but the first step is acknowledging that there's probably something deeper at play. "Think about what that means," says Legowski. "Are you comparing your sex life to some unrealistic standard?"
The good news is that getting over the hump (so to speak) can actually be really fun. "If you want to mix things up, sometimes challenges to either have sex every day or not have sex (but to have intimate physical contact without having sex) can help a couple get over a small dry spell," suggests Legowski. "Also, talking about fantasies, browsing a (reputable and female-friendly) sex toy store (in person or online) or sharing materials you find sexy with your partner can help couples try something new."
The bottom line: Sometimes better sex—and in turn, a better relationship—is as simple as talking things out and mixing it up, and chances are your partner is definitely on board.