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Great Sex Requires Effort
Nothing in life that is worth it comes easily. Sex might be natural, but it is not innate to humans…well not good sex anyways. We have to learn how to have sex by exploring ourselves and our partner to eventually become great lovers. When we have our first sexual encounters with a partner, it can be relatively simple, fluid and fun. We can quickly feel connected to that person and feel a rush of intense physical sensations. The newness of the experience is very thrilling as we discover bits and pieces of that other person’s sexuality. Little effort is required as we get rapidly sexually aroused and sexual desire is spontaneous and frequent.
So why doesn’t that last in long-term relationships? Why does it take so long to get sex started and so much effort to feel sexual desire after a few years? Sexual redundancy, predictability, recurring and unresolved conflicts are the main reasons for such issues.
Your Sex Mountain and its Summit
We can compare sexuality of a couple to a mountain to explore. At first, we start at the bottom where it is relatively easy to explore and walk around. No altitude, no inclination, just easy breezy discovering of each other. We discover multiple paths, some of which are easy hikes and others that look treacherous to impossible to climb. The easy hikes are the ones we normally pick first. The path you choose determines what type of relationship and intimacy you will have. Some are differences and conflicts you perceive and avoid at the beginning of the relationship, which will inevitably come back. We also only let each other discover from one another what we are willing to show and see. We want to avoid rejection, so we don’t really risk being really known, especially when it comes to sex.
There comes a time where we have explored sexually the same hikes over and over again. We do what is familiar and safe when it comes to sex. Except doing the same hike (a.k.a. having sex the same way) always leads us to the same destination. We eventually get bored and tired of having the same end of the road. This might come sooner for one partner, normally the low desire partner. This is where sexual difficulties start popping up. It becomes increasingly difficult to feel sexual desire for one or both partners to redo the same hike one more time. This has consequences on sexual arousal (erection & lubrification) over time, which creates impatience, frustration and displeasure from sex for most couples.
Wanting more from sex
To explore sex in different ways requires tackling a couple of obstacles to get where we want to. We must explore parts of the mountain that we thought we could avoid or hikes we didn’t even think possible. This pushes us out of our comfort zone because these paths are unknown and more dangerous to the relationship. We must learn and acquire new ways of having and being in sex. Unfortunately, a lot of couples do not want to put the effort required to reach the summit of their (sexual) mountain.
» Feeling discomfort and sexuality normally don’t make a great mix for satisfying sex. That is true, but nothing is really worth it if you don’t push yourself a little and get out of your comfort zone. »
Tolerating discomfort to explore your sexual self
Sometimes, we don’t even want to acknowledge our sexual self. We limit our behaviors based on our sexual education that integrated negative messages about it. We follow these unwritten rules without putting them into question and we fall short on our sexual evolution. We avoid the dark side of the mountain. Couples often report in couples therapy sessions, that what happens in their head is far more exciting than what is going on in bed with their spouse. When I ask the question why can’t both be the same: they all fear their partner’s reactions and judgment about their sexual preferences and who they are sexually.
Are you willing to discover your true sexual self?
Feeling discomfort and sexuality normally don’t make a great mix for satisfying sex. That is true, but nothing is really worth it if you don’t push yourself a little and get out of your comfort zone. Taking the bulls by the horns and climbing those hikes on our sex-mountain that are more hazardous and tiresome will give us a way better viewpoint and understanding of our partner.
» It is important not to lose your integrity while attempting this exploration. It’s to find new comfort zones and pleasures that used to be frightening or discomforting in the past »
If you wish sex to remain easy and without effort, that is your choice to make. Although, you will have to stay at the bottom of the mountain and keep having the same sex redundantly. You will never get to achieve or obtain your full sexual potential nor reach the summit. #areallyniceview
So, what is it that we have to do?
Life as a couple is really hard, especially if you add kids to the mix (a.k.a. ball busters). Fortunately, it is not impossible of a challenge to overcome. #Challengeaccepted! First and foremost, you have to prioritize your relationship and sex as well as develop your sexual creativity. You will need to tolerate disclosing parts of your sexuality that you wanted to keep hidden even from your partner. Perseverance when facing these harsh times and even failures is key to success.
- Try new ways of flirting and seducing each other to initiate sex
- Experiment with different attitudes when having sex such as sexy, humorous, playful hard, soft, tender, loving, etc.
- If you tend to be the lovy dovy type, try a more dirty and ferocious sex type. The opposite is also true
- Open the lights and your eyes
- Look at your partner in the eyes for prolonged periods while having sex
- Focus on feeling connected to your partner, not just exchanging orgasms with them
- Take the time to pleasure and not just get sexually aroused by doing sexual techniques
- Share your sexual fantasies
- Be spontaneous and surprise your partner (it might be hard, but not impossible)
Increasing our intimacy is discomforting
You might have guessed it at this point that sex as an adult isn’t always fun and pleasurable. You will have to live through the same discomfort that you had when you first had sex in your teenage years. Remember that feeling of being incompetent and uncomfortable with your partner. Remember the first time you got naked in front of them, that you gave them or received oral sex? Were you confident and fully relaxed? Probably not! Do you remember that you also got over it and started enjoying sex more over time and becoming better at it? It is now time to go through the process again with your erotism and sensuality. You will have to redefine yourself as a sexual person and your sexual preferences. It is important not to lose your integrity while attempting this exploration. It’s to find new comfort zones and pleasures that used to be frightening or discomforting in the past.
Learning to manage discomfort
Time and experimentation will attenuate your feelings of sexual incompetence and pleasure will slowly set in to replace it. Once again, it is important not to force the other person or not to respects one’s self, but to requestion what blocks us from truly enjoying sex. Learning about our sexual self and our partner’s sexuality is a process that is laborious and creates difficult emotions to manage. Just like the mountain metaphor, giving ourselves the chance to confront the obstacles on our paths gives us the opportunity to REACH NEW HEIGHTS we never thought possible.
Sex therapist & psychotherapist Montreal