TODAY   |  April 21, 2014

Sex expert: We don’t communicate enough about sex

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.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> so if you're married or in a relationship, then you know talk about sex is --

>> you're not comfortable with this one.

>> i'm not, and i'll talk about that later. but sex is not always easy because it's tough to communicate. you stumble over your words. but to have a healthy sex life , you've got to talk it out.

>> that's right, and here to help us, dr. harry fisch , the doctor of "the new naked." kimberly flemke is a couple and sex therapist . good to see both of you. burning question. maybe i shouldn't use that phrase. when it comes to sex, what is normal? we've conducted a poll online. we asked our viewers how often they have sex. just over half, as we go to orange room , half responded with once or twice a week on a good week.

>> once or twice. how does that fare?

>> that's not bad if you're 50 years old. it turns out that in my book "the new naked", we have actual frequency of sex per age. so if you're like 50 years old, once a week is good. if you're younger, we want to see it more. but let's face it. who wants to be average?

>> exactly.

>> right.

>> there you go.

>> why are you uncomfortable with this?

>> listen, the reality is you're talking about sex. i always feel like that's something that should be kept in the bedroom, but apparently we're not talking about it in the bedroom.

>> worried about your mom watching?

>> and i'm worried about my mother watching. thank you, al.

>> she probably had sex sometime before, right?

>> really? don't talk about my mother and sex. you crossed the line. the reality is, kimberly , this is very telling about us, including whether or not people are satisfied. we asked folks whether or not they were satisfied. 50% said they were. that's pretty good.

>> that is pretty good. and i think it's important to remember it correlates with the stage of a relationship. the length of a relationship. i mean, new consumers tend to have a lot more sex than couples ten years, 20 years out.

>> 50% -- half of people are not enjoying sex?

>> right.

>> that means statistically, one out of two, right?

>> or one of the two of you.

>> nicely done.

>> thank you.

>> i wrote the book, okay? so i'm just telling you --

>> snap! doctor fisch coming back strong.

>> now talking sex and we've got jokes.

>> how important is it to communicate about whether you're satisfied with what's going on with your partner?

>> oh, it's critically important. that's why i wrote the book "the new naked," because we tell people talk about sex. so what do you know what to talk about? you learn it when you're in junior high school and high school . but once you start having sex , once you're in a adult relationship, nobody really tells you what to talk about. that's why this book gives you information to address these issues.

>> as it relates to the satisfaction issue, it's easy to blame schedule. it's easy to blame being busy. how do you get around that?

>> i mean, typically, couples that struggle with this usually have a less frequency of having sex . couples that have sex more often generally have more ease discussing the topic. usually i'll find that there's a level of safety and emotional comfort for couples that bring it up regularly.

>> dr. fisch , making light of it a little bit, but there can also be some physical issues --

>> absolutely.

>> that can impact this.

>> oh, absolutely. half of my book talks about the physical issues. yes, we do talk about the emotional and the communication issues, but there are so many issues that are affecting us. we see it on commercials daily about erectile dysfunction . but one of the more physical aspects is something people don't talk about, is sex is too quick.

>> men and women make that complaint.

>> yeah, but 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.

>> i know they said 43% feel comfortable talking about sex, but kimberly , it's interesting, i think that couples who have been together for a very long time, they blame one another rather than coming at this as a team and finding the solution.

>> right. 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. so 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.

>> harry makes a good point about humor. i think things that are complicated to talk about, it doesn't hurt to have a little smile and humor with it.

>> especially with this topic.

>> thank you so much.

>>> coming up next, one family