Sex therapist Isiah McKimmie explains when to say I love you during sex

Sex therapist Isiah McKimmie explains when to say I love you during sex

Welcome to Relationship Rehab,’s weekly column solving all your romantic problems, without restriction. This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie explains why some men find it easier to express themselves during sex.

Question: I’ve been dating a guy for six months and I really like him – I don’t think I like him yet, which is good. The problem is that when we make love, he always says he loves me. The first time he did it I let him through because I thought he was just in the moment, but now he does it every time we have sex. He never told me otherwise and I really don’t think he loves me anymore. Why does he think it’s appropriate to say it in the bedroom but not in everyday life? And how do you tell him to stop?

Reply: It’s completely understandable that you don’t think you like this guy yet. Six months is still a relatively new relationship – sometimes it takes time for feelings to develop.

I can understand, however, that his statements during sex make you uncomfortable. Saying “I love you” is an important step in a relationship.

When you hear it, you want to know it’s true. When someone says something that isn’t true – no matter how small – it can erode trust in a relationship. He probably doesn’t realize it, but these slip-ups can potentially damage the trust and connection between you in the long run.

Hormonal increase

As for why he thinks it’s okay to say “I love you” in the bedroom, but not say it in everyday life, I suspect there are several things going on. I guess he “gets lost” somewhat in the moment and doesn’t really think about what he’s saying.

Our culture doesn’t really encourage men to express their feelings. Sex is the socially sanctioned arena in which men are allowed to show affection, be emotional and expressive.

Due to the release of hormones and endorphins it causes, sex can trigger feelings of euphoria and “love.” The release of oxytocin, in particular, makes us feel more connected to someone. These feelings can be overwhelming. If we do not know how to manage them well, they can sometimes express themselves in interesting ways.

How to approach it

These factors combined can lead to awkward and misguided expression of feelings. It seems likely that he has feelings for you that he can’t express at the moment. Or, he may feel he needs to say something after sex, but isn’t quite sure what.

Talking to him about it is something you should do gently. Chances are he feels embarrassed about it.

Although I normally suggest having important conversations about sex outside the bedroomin this case, it might be better to say something in the moment (or right after sex), rather than making a fuss about it later.

Gently try to draw his attention to it and ask him what it means to him.

You could say something like:

I don’t know if you realize it, but you often say “I love you” when we make love. I wonder what this means for you.

His response may be an opening for you to share more about why this makes you feel uncomfortable.

It’s easier for someone to hear what we would like them to hear make rather than how we don’t like what they already do. When asking him to stop, try to phrase it in a way that lets him know what you would like instead. Framing comments as positive is less likely to trigger defensiveness.

For example:

I’d love to hear that from you when you really mean it.

I hope this conversation leads to more understanding for both of you.

Isiah McKimmie is a couples therapist, sex therapist, sex therapist and speaker. To book a session with her, visit her website or follow her on instagram for more advice on relationships, sex and intimacy. If you have a question for Isiah, email [email protected]

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