You’re at brunch with a bunch of friends, and one jokes she hasn’t gotten any action since Obama was in office. Cue: The rest of your brunch crew jumping in to commiserate about their husband’s schlubbiest traits. Suddenly, you find yourself in a spiral of negative sex talk.
Bad relationship juju can be socially transmittable. But luckily, there are ways to avoid it. Follow these golden rules for keeping sex-negativity to a minimum.
Empathize – but don’t add on
When a friend is complaining about how annoying her husband can be, don’t jump in with dirty details of your guy’s flaws. Instead, talk out how both you and your pal could improve your dynamics, says therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. Otherwise you’ll find yourself furthering the worst narrative about your relationship.
Keep your stats to yourself
Your best friend and her SO have sex once a month and are fine with it. But there is no “normal” frequency, and yours might be higher or lower – no shame in that! You don’t have to be a prude in these convos, but the comparison game can hurt everyone involved. When in doubt, smile and nod.
Spend time around happy couples
Make a point of hanging out more with duos who have rapports you wouldn’t mind emulating, suggests Kerner. You know, couples who seem to actually like and respect one another and still have a spark. That way, any rubbing-off effect will be a positive force for your own bond.