Talking about sex makes the act more enjoyable, especially if the talking happens during the deed, according to new research.
Researchers found that getting comfortable with sexual communication is directly associated with sexual satisfaction, and people who are more comfortable with talking about sex are also more likely to do so while having sex, according to the study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
However, researchers noted that the difference doesn't completely explain why people who are sexually chatty are happier with their sex lives.
"Even if you just have a little bit of anxiety about the communication, that affects whether you're communicating or not, but it also directly affected their satisfaction," lead researcher Elizabeth Babin, an expert on health communication at Cleveland State University in Ohio said, according to Live Science.
She said that the anxiety "might be kind of taking them out of the moment and therefore reducing the overall satisfaction they experience during their encounters."
Researchers say that communication during sex is crucial for health, like asking partners to wear a condom, and enjoyment, like telling partners your likes and dislikes in bed. Babin said there is little research into what keeps people from communicating about their likes and dislikes in bed.
"In order to increase communication quality, we need to figure out why people are communicating and why they're not communicating," Babin said.
The study involved 207 participants who were on average 29 years old and completed surveys about their apprehension about sexual communication, their sexual satisfaction and the amount of non-verbal and verbal communication they felt they gave during sex.
For instance, participants were asked to rate how much they agreed with statements like "I feel nervous when I think about talking with my partner about the sexual aspects of our relationship," and "I feel anxious when I think about telling my partner what I dislike during sex." Participants also answered questions about their sexual self-esteem, how good a partner they felt they were and how confident they were about their sexual prowess.
Results of the study found that being nervous about sex was linked to both less communication in bed and less satisfaction overall, and predictably less sexual communication apprehension and better sexual self-esteem was linked to more communication during sex.
Researchers revealed that communication during sex was linked to more sexual satisfaction. However they noted that nonverbal communication was more closely linked to satisfaction compared to verbal communication.
Researchers suggest that nonverbal communication may be more suggestive of sexual satisfaction because they seem safer and "less threatening."
"It could be perceived as being less threatening, so it might be easier to moan or to move in a certain way to communicate that I'm enjoying the sexual encounter than to say, 'Hey, this feels really good, I like that,'" Babin said, according to Live Science. "That might seem too direct for some people."
The next big step is to research couples to understand how couples' communication styles connect with their sexual satisfaction. Ultimately, Babin wants to help therapists and sex educators teach people how to talk about sex more openly with their partners.
Talking about "is a skill," she said. "And we're not all well-trained in that skill."