A new study by a researcher, Erin Fallis, PhD candidate in the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo suggests that both men and woman are equally skilled at gauging their partner’s sexual satisfaction. But people who talk openly about their sexual preferences with their partner are often generally better at telling if their lover is really satisfied or not, research shows. The study relied on 84 heterosexual couples from around Waterloo Region who were studied at a lab on campus. All were married or in long-term relationships, and ranged in ages from 21 to 65.

The couples were separated and surveyed anonymously about their sexual satisfaction and sexual communication habits, then tested for their ability to recognize other people’s emotional states, using only images of the eyes.

The study showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that feeling comfortable discussing your sex life with your partner seems to have a connection with sexual satisfaction.

Over time, couples can tend to fall into sexual routines. That’s why it’s a valuable skill to be able to tell if your partner is sexually satisfied.

“Discussing sexual preferences tends to be very helpful for people’s relationships,” Fallis said. “For that reason, I’d encourage couples to try talking openly about their sexual relationship, or to work toward that.”