If you’ve been dealing with sexual challenges in a long-term relationship, talking about sex may be full of blame, guilt, regret, embarrassment, and a whole host of other emotions that have built up over the years. If your partner suggests sitting down to talk about your sex life, your first reaction may be to brace yourself for the inevitable bad feelings that will come out of that talk. I designed Your Erotic Menu to guide you through this conversation in a way that bypasses the blame game and supports curiosity and exploration.
Most people will understand an ‘erotic menu’ to mean the activities they engage in during sex. But if I ask a client what’s on their erotic menu, they’ll often look perplexed. They’ll start with intercourse, kissing, touching, oral sex but, after these more obvious activities, they realize their list is pretty short actually. “I mean, how many things can two people do during sex? Was what someone said to me a few weeks ago.
This week a client told me she was doing a Marie Kondo on her closet. She was getting rid of what no longer gave her joy. We went on to talk about her sex life with her partner and the nagging resistance she has to being touched. Somewhere along the line she formed a belief system about touch. She couldn’t identify a particular incident that informed that belief system. There was no trauma or abuse. She just knew that when she was touched (even by her loving partner) her body would recoil and she’d shut down.
If you’re in a relationship with another human, disagreements will happen. It’s a given. No matter how much we love someone, you can’t avoid differing opinions and heated discussions. The secret to a happy relationship is how you navigate these disagreements and move through them to a feeling of resolution. This doesn’t mean finding a solution, it means getting to the point where you both feel heard and empathized with. In the end we all need to feel respected, even in the midst of disagreements. Dr. Marshall Rosenberg developed a communication model called Non-Violent Communication.
When I first saw Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues in 1996, One of the monologues stood out to me. It was a woman’s account of being with a man named Bob. This is some of what she wrote. “…Turned out that Bob loved vaginas..."