Watching other people have sex is tucked deep into our DNA. We’re drawn to it out of curiosity, the thrill of voyeurism, the excitement of arousal, and the all time big driver in our human bodies, the desire to procreate. Watching others have sex signals our desire to have sex ourselves, since time immemorial. As a sex and relationship coach, I see how porn tends to pit partners against each other and leads a couple down the road of sexual shame, secrecy and mistrust. It doesn’t have to be this way.
April 22nd was Earth Day, and I couldn’t have found myself in a more awe- inspiring part of the world, The American Southwest. It was my first visit to the Grand Canyon. My partner led me up to the rim with my eyes covered. He placed my hands on a metal barrier that stood over a very deep part of the canyon and told me to open my eyes.
Every decade serves us up a unique sexual buffet of experience and challenges. We mature emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually, and if we want sex to remain an integral part of our lives, we make sex part of our conversation, to insure that sex matures right along with us.
Did you know that the most common sexual fantasies for Republicans are infidelity and orgies, while Democrats most enjoy BDSM fantasies? And yes, I voted for Biden. I’ve been enjoying, Kinsey Research Fellow, Justin Lehmiller’s latest book, Tell Me What You Want, The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. I’m enjoying it probably because I agree with most of what he says. Funny how that work.
Sex can invite us to be light and playful, and it can be intense and psychological. Sex can open our hearts to romance, or unite us in spirit. Sex can heal us of our pain, and introduce us to new-found pleasures. Sex can lead us into the deeper and more shadowy feelings that lie under the surface, waiting to be revealed.
When I hear a woman make such a resounding statement as ‘I’m done with sex’, I imagine a long road of frustration, obligation, unmet desires and unspoken words, leading up to that absolute declaration. Sex is not about obligation, although women have been told it was their obligation for eons of time. Relatively speaking, it wasn’t all that long ago that women were considered the property of a man, and their role in life was having a family and pleasing her husband. (and in many parts of the world still are).
Savoring is more than mindfulness. Mindfulness brings us to a razor’s edge of awareness that has qualities of neutrality and acceptance. Mindfulness teaches us to be with what ‘is’. Savoring brings an additional layer of experience with it. It brings a depth of noticing that is filled with feelings of gratitude and appreciation, and even a sense of preciousness.
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.
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..."
The number one reason most people say they don’t speak their truth to their partner is because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. But I think it runs deeper than that. I think we don’t want to speak our truth because we’re not confident about having a conversation that will lead us to the deeper intimacy that can be found in truth telling.