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Surprising Science

Why You Shouldn’t Shut Up During Sex

A Cleveland State University study suggests that speaking up during sex leads to more satisfaction with your sexual life...but some still prefer nonverbal cues.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

At Cleveland State University, health communication expert Elizabeth Babin asked over 200 people to complete surveys discussing communication satisfaction levels during and after sex. Her findings showed that people who talk about sex have higher levels of satisfaction, and those who were comfortable talking about sex often did so during sex. Any anxiety felt about sexual talk lowered people’s ability to talk and, correspondingly, their level of enjoyment. “The participants, whose average age was 29, also responded to questions about their sexual self-esteem, such as how good a partner they felt they were and how confident they were in their sexual skills.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Public health experts are often looking for ways to help people become more comfortable talking about sex, so that they can take their personal health into their own hands by not being afraid to ask for birth control, to use one example. Babin says that very little research has been done on why people don’t speak up. Interestingly, nonverbal cues were more closely linked to satisfaction than verbal ones; Babin suggested that such cues “could be perceived as being less threatening…[Talking] might seem too direct for some people.”

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