Sex

Expert to sex-starved couples: To do it more, talk about it more

April 21, 2014 at 5:37 PM ET

Video: Harry Fisch, author “The New Naked,” and sex therapist Kimberly Flemke join TODAY to talk about a typically taboo topic that they feel needs to be an essential conversation for couples both in and out of the bedroom.

When it comes to sex, many couples shy away from talking about the action (or lack thereof) in the boudoir, but relationship experts told TODAY that communication about sex remains vital to a healthy relationship.

TODAY surveyed viewers about bedroom habits and found that having sex once or twice a week was the norm for more than half, or 51 percent. But, Dr. Harry Fisch—author of “The New Naked”—wonders if couples should only strive to be normal.

“That’s not bad if you’re 50 years old,” he told TODAY’s Al Roker and Tamron Hall. “If you’re younger, we want to see it more. But let’s face it, who wants to be average?”

While viewers admit to having average amounts of sex, the survey also found that more than 50 percent feel satisfied with your sex lives.

“That is pretty good. I think it is important to remember it correlates with the stage of a relationship,” said Kimberly Flemke, a couples and sex therapist. “New couples tend to have a lot more sex than couples, 10, 20 years out.”

But Fisch notes that this means that half of all respondents aren’t enjoying their sex lives.

To make sex more fulfilling, the experts recommend open communication. But talking candidly about sex makes some of you feel uncomfortable—34 percent admit feeling fairly comfortable, but sex conversations don’t happen often; 14 percent say you tread lightly; and 5 percent never discuss sex.

Fisch stressed that an open dialogue is essential.

“Oh, it’s critically important … We tell people ‘talk about sex’ … Once you’re in an adult relationship, nobody tells you what to talk about,” Fisch said. 

Flemke says that talking about sex in an affirmative way can lead to better results.

“When I work with couples, they want to change their sex practice or make it better, I will often say ‘Build on past positive experiences’ because sexuality really represents our most vulnerable part,” she said. “If you can approach it in a positive way, a strength-based approach, like ‘I remember when we did that. I loved it. How about we try this?’ It doesn't make your partner feel inadequate or rejected.”

While having an honest communication between partners improves sex, Fisch notes that physical problems like erectile dysfunction can play a huge role in a couple’s satisfaction with their sex life. But the biggest complaint that couples have when it comes to sex is that it doesn’t last long enough.

“Sex is too quick,” he said. “It’s usually not the woman that's too quick. It's usually the guy that's too quick. That's the number one sexual dysfunction that we don't talk about.”

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