Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy - Erectile Dysfunction, Sex Problems, Sexual Dysfunction - Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Sexual Problems In Relationships
Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy, Erectile Dysfunction, Sex Problems, Premature Ejaculation
Sex Problems Sexuality in the relationship, marriage, can sometimes be a barometer for what else is happening in the relationship. The physical response to our underlying feelings, including those about our relationship, can have an impact on our sexual expression. Our own sexuality (and our partner's) can be enigmatic and understandably open us up to vulnerability or a deep longing, searching. When we are sexually dissatisfied, this may point to relationship dissatisfaction or often how we are with our own sexual energy when we mix our sexual energy with our partner's - together yet separate. Our sexual experience can be pleasurable or confusing. Men and women may seek sexual counselling and psychotherapy for numerous reasons... One or both of us may have sexually closed down. We may feel ill at ease with sex, fear having sex, feel afraid, ashamed, so we tense up in our body, which prevents us relaxing, letting others in or letting go of the physical tensions in our body and we may sexually withdraw. The therapy takes into consideration other psychological influences. Other sexual concerns may include:
- Preoccupation with our partner's sexual past
- Struggling to reconnect sexually with our partner (What started off as sexual attraction, longing for our partner & feeling safe may have moved to a sense of boredom, detachment or crisis. Responding to this may be important for us)
- No longer using sex to mask feelings or as a compensation, e.g. a substitute for emotional connection
- When the spark has gone, wanting to reignite or improve our sex life
- Living in a celibate or near sexless relationship, marriage, which is not what we desire
- Using sex to be filled, feel validated, loved, take away tension when one partner becomes needy, demanding
- Feeling hurt, rejected, maybe heartbroken, when our partner says "No"
- A degree of shame, which most of us have felt at some points in our life
- Sexual attraction, relaxation or desire for fulfilling sex (some of us may be in touch with our desire, with the prospect of arousal or sexual pleasure, yet may struggle to be open, loving, intimate & engaging with our partner, having meaningful sex, without closing down or sexually withholding, which may also be our passive aggressive response, as if sex is something separate & apart from us)
- Wanting to be less sexually passive, cautious and more sexually adventurous, confident, assertive, so we enjoy making love
- Sexual frustration
- Sexual desire, arousal
- Sexual addiction & use of pornography, sexual anorexia
Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy for Erectile Dysfunction, Sex Problems - Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Healthy Sex Life
Sex is a natural, healthy part of being human and is one of the most intimate things we can do and share with another. No longer being sexual together as a couple, yet loving, respecting, trusting each other in a sexless, yet intimate relationship can work for some couples. Yet other aspects may be in play... A healthy sex life supports our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Sex validates us, connects us - we exist. Integral to human life, sex for many is the ultimate mutual communication, expression of affection, love and companionship, enabling us to give and receive love, pleasure, enjoyment - see also Reciprocated Love, Requited Love. (During sex our bodies release oxytocin - stimulating the brain's reward system and involuntary reactions, putting us in contact with our real emotions, heightened senses, opening us up to love.) Having a healthy sex life as an act of love reinforces and deepens closeness, our emotional bond as a couple. Our lifestyle, how we feel about us, our partner and how romantic we are influences our healthy sex life, as may our dignity, sensitivity and respect. Having sex with our partner can affirm us, that we are human, desired, important, special and can also be an intrinsic way of feeling our self as a man or woman. When we are in a close relationship, it can be the most intimate activity, binding us as a couple, where we open our heart, share with our partner, are in touch with our openness and longing, creating a lasting bond through each other self-disclosure. We may have sex for a combination of reasons: to be in touch with and express our desire, attraction, affection, to love, be passionate for each other, wanting to please our partner and us, to have children, for excitement, playfulness and fun, to meet our need for intimacy, to communicate and feel sexually open, connected with our partner at a deep level (see also Staying In Our Head Or Overly Focused On Sex, Performance, Positions, Genitals). We may enjoy the anticipation, spontaneity of sexual pleasure. Sex can also bring us relief and release. It can soothe our anxiety, stress and depression. We can also feel wanted, desired, less alone, open, powerful and potent - a warm glow. Affectionate sex and making love can be our way of sharing, feeling close, more connected, most intimate, tender, vulnerable, trusting, being loving and loved. Some report that the powerful experience of Love, a connection with their sexual energy, ecstasy and joy puts them more in touch with their truer self or sense of a spiritual connection. Being loving, sexual through this connection may be important to us. We may want to improve the quality of our emotional connection alongside our sexual experience, enjoyment, performance. Some may be drawn to sex to experiment and explore their sexuality, and our sexual self-esteem and freedom may be important, as may valuing our sexuality, being in touch with expressing and celebrating our sexual being, enhancing our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Enhancing our relationship (and our sensual surroundings, e.g. not taking our technology to bed with us), we may want to relax, enjoy a good and pleasurable sex life, intimacy, have meaningful sex, allow and let things happen naturally, which takes openness and effort, communication, curiosity, making quality time together and being open to learning, exploring, valuing our taste and preferences, subjective experiences of how we feel, less about what we "do". (See also Desire, Passion, Eroticism, Imagination, Fantasy, Drives, Urges, Impulses)
Sexual Counselling & Sex Psychotherapy - Sex Counsellor & Psychotherapist - London, Camden, Kings Cross
Eros in the Greek mythology was uniting and we humans have a desire for union. And sexual union can temporary remove our experience of difference, otherness - giving us pleasure, relief, yet we may return to separateness, difference, existential loneliness. Some link sexual union with spiritual union especially when we are no longer staying in our head or are overly focused on sex, performance, positions or genitals.
Sexual Counselling London Sex Psychotherapy for Erectile Dysfunction - Sex Counsellor London Sexual Psychotherapist
Sexual Attitudes, Beliefs, Thoughts, Expectations
Influence Of Our History, Culture, Social & Religious Background Our own culture, social conditioning, religious background, what we learnt when younger alongside our sexual experiences, history may influence our sexual life now, positive and negative feelings about sex or our partner. There may be a discrepancy between what we imagine what our sex life should be and what it is (maybe shaped through the internet, newspapers, films, our friends, etc.) We may have an injunction that sex is bad, wrong or hold negative attitudes towards sex or a fear of sex, love making (erotophobia). Some of us may feel guilty in anything pleasurable, including sex. Confident in some areas we may feel understandably vulnerable, shy, traumatised or ashamed around sex. When we think about sex, it can put us off, which prohibits our sexual expression.
Expectations, Attitudes, Assumptions, Beliefs & Thoughts All our thoughts, beliefs, needs can bring up a lot of feelings, some of them running very deep, affecting our sex life. We may have expectations about our partner - that they should be all things to us: sexual, romantic, erotic, best friend, soulmate, domestic, etc (see also Expecting, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs), which get in the way of simply being intimate with others. We may be dissatisfied, emotionally cut off. Some may seek or have lots of sexual relationships as if sex is consumerable, that others, even us are disposable or of little significance. We may have issues around our sexual boundaries, which keep us safe - may be either overly loose or rigid. We may feel remote, struggling to valuing intimacy and love. We may also have thoughts, which we find hard to filter, some of them may be going back years (see also Beliefs About Love). We may have or hold certain views, life attitudes, expectations, assumptions, beliefs and thoughts about sex and want to explore these further:
- We may be convinced that we or they are so extremely attractive, that due to our perceived mismatch it renders it difficult for us to be sexually intimate
- Confusing sexual attention for loving attention, we may believe that we are not lovable as we are, or that we only matter when we are sexual. We may be in touch with a longing, searching that we want to fill through sex (see also Confusing Longing With Loving). And when we confuse the chemistry of love, emotional connection for sex, some of us may use sex additively for love or for reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, confirmation, attention.
- We may hold an idealised perfect view of love or mistake romantic infatuation & intense sexual experiences for love
- We may believe that when romantic love, passionate love & sexual feelings fade, the relationship is over, holding assumptions that intimacy & sex will inevitably dwindle, and struggle to tolerate relationship transformations & phases, the emotional pain of growing together through being compassionate.
- Some may view sex as about conquest, others - a chore
- We may convince ourselves that sexual fulfilment is consequence-free & developing a stable, loving relationship, valuing the human body may have become secondary.
- We may view sex as an enjoyable activity, regardless of any commitment, yet others see it as an expression of commitment & intimacy, a unique expression of love
- We may expect, need, our partner and the relationship or marriage to meet all our needs
- We may believe it's not normal to be attracted to both sexes
Staying In Our Head Or Overly Focused On Sex, Performance, Positions, Genitals Some of us may use sex or pornography as a way of avoiding emotional intimacy. Others may have goal-orientated sex (e.g. how long sex should last, the number of orgasms, giving our partner the best time of their life), which can get in the way of relaxing or getting in touch with our sexual energy, enjoying pleasurable sex, seeing what happens. How we sexually communicate with kindness and devotion, creating shared intimacy and erotic experiences, giving, receiving, sharing of each other - savouring these experiences (usually through a slow sexual experience), getting to know each other, expressing our deepest desires, exploring our boundaries and fantasies may be rewarding, rather than rushing to the sex act, sexual excitement, conquest. Sometimes our mind can be somewhere else. In our sexual relationship we may want to cultivate being present, listen to our body, following our feelings - connecting with ourself and our partner, our heart, staying in the relationship, sexual intimacy, sensuality, pleasure, the to-and-fro of energy, enhance our whole body experience, in touch with our senses, being relaxed in the foreplay, after-play, so the experience is not just sexual but also profoundly creative, meaningful, present to ourself and partner in the moment (so we are not stuck in our head) where our sexual energy, vitality may also include a deep spiritual union as we sexually open. (See also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity)
Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy for Erectile Dysfunction, Sex Problems - Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Psychological Influences We all have certain sexual triggers, preferences and may have certain blocks. Some of them may be psychological. Our body, feelings, mind are interconnected and often, there is a mind-body loop, each affecting each other. Our work, tiredness, low body confidence, esteem, sense of emptiness and sex addiction may also influence any sex problems we have. The challenges of parenting can affect our sexual relationship. Conflict in our life, anger, stress, lack of confidence, low self-worth and depression may affect our sexual enjoyment, desire and drive. Anxiety or fears may arise each time the possibility of having sex together emerges and some may experience sexual pain. The psychological effects of an illness or a STI, STD, VD may have an impact on our sexual enjoyment. Medication can be a factor. Once medical and physical conditions, the effects of lubrication and drugs have been ruled out, counselling can help us to explore possible psychological influences, beyond genital function, like our intimacy and closeness, self-image, obesity, lacking sexual confidence, sexual messages we received when younger, sexual myths, lifestyle factors, unwanted habits and addictions (like internet pornography, alcohol, drugs, etc. - believing we can't have sex without these), having an affair, control, power, vulnerability, not feeling sexually intimate, trust issues with our partner and in ourselves. Others may struggle to be loving, emotionally connect. Fear of rejection, engulfment, craving those initial loving feelings, valuing sex as important and a range of other considerations, emotions, thoughts and beliefs specific to what's going for us can be explored. We may have conflict in our life, unresolved, unexpressed fears in our relationship, personal fears and unspoken hooks, triggers, buttons which get pressed, or other issues with our partner, where the passion may be missing or we have sexually closed down (see also Going Numb, Numbing Our Feelings - Closing Off, Shutting Down, Bottling Things Up, Switched Off). There can be complex philosophical as well as psychological influences surrounding our sexuality. The impact of our biology and hormones, culture, society and place in the world, work-life balance, our maturity and age, sleep patterns, attitudes and feelings about life, death, infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy termination, childbirth (and feeling desired, sexual, erotic), our family and friends, sexual differences between us and our partner, whether our love is reciprocated, the nature of our compassionate love and consummate love, passionate love. may all shape our sexual life.
Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy for Sexual Differences, Sex Problems - Sexual Counsellor London Psychotherapist
What May Be Happening Between Us & Our Partner One of us may fear that our partner may become critical, demanding, or have needs we struggle to meet. Some may feel used if our partner pulls on us, using sex to feel good about themselves. Finding a way to check out our assumptions, fears and any confusions, openly talk about things with our partner may be important, as may distinguishing between the misleading images about sex in many movies and especially pornography.
Sexual Arousal Finding out and getting to know what sexually arouses us and our partner, and what erotic stimuli turns each other off may be important. What initially arouses one person (e.g. visual stimulation) may be less so in another (e.g. connection). For many of us, we may not feel aroused on each occasion, nor want to act in a sexual way because we are sexually aroused (see also Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passion, Aspirations, Imagination, Our Desires, Including Sexual Desire). Some may be sexually active, when we aren't sexually aroused and this may be linked to absence of our sexual imagination, fantasies or being out of touch with our sexual desire in general or towards our current partner.
Sexual Differences Between Us & Our Partner Whether we are in a heterosexual relationship or same sex couple there will be certain preferences, differences between what we bring to the sexual relationship, the way both of us contribute, share, give and receive - allow ourselves and our partner to both take pleasure. Being active in both giving and receiving, sometimes taking charge and being approaching and allowing ourselves to be approached, may be important for us. One of us may be more passive or receptive, the other more dominant, active. Early sexual experiences, previous sexual encounters, current differences, preferences may also come into play (see also Psychological Influences). Making room for emotional intimacy may be important for us and we need to feel emotionally right inside, so we feel sexual, can have sex, allow our sexual energy to ripple. Bringing out, expressing the layers of our own sexual energy and polarities, different to that of our partner, may be important to us and this can be challenging if we have become so like friends or enmeshed. We may want to enjoy sexual encounters, other than intercourse.
Different Libidos Differing libidos may be a consideration. How to positively respond and compromise, "meet somewhere in the middle", if one of us feels more sexual that the other may be a challenge. Being spontaneous or responding to any sexual rejections may not be easy for us. We or our partner may have a low libido, high libido (low sex drive or high sex drive). One of us may crave orgasms as the only way we can feel in touch with ourself, let go. We may acquired this throughout our life or recently and there may also be psychological considerations. For some, our low libido may be linked to feeling low, depressed. One of us may repress or ignore our sexuality. We may not initiate sex, or give out signals, which are interpreted as "available", as much as our partner. When one of us initiates sex, the other may retreat. We may be caught in a scenario when one partners is interested in having sex, the other pulls away or doesn't fully engage, as if subtle control issues are in play, that it is more important to have control over sex, than actually having sex. It may help us to feel appreciated, loved, if occasionally we reverse roles as to who initiates sex.
Responding To Our Sexual Differences How differences are responded to in the relationship may also relate to sexual differences. Sexual differences may have been present when we first meet our partner, and we may somehow have expected them to change. It is natural that couples can grow sexually apart after time together. We may take sexual differences personally, making them about us and embracing each other's differences may help. Communicating how we feel and what we need form each other may help us. Some of us may struggle to desire our partner, once the newness, excitement and unpredictability erodes. Passion, arousal and enlivening sex may be a concern, where the spark may have disappeared from the sexual relationship. Desire and search for a deeper soul connection may be important. How welcoming and appreciative we are, may also have an impact, alongside our willingness to emotionally engage and make an effort together. Strengthening the bonds between each other, creating an intimate setting, shared intimate experience and loving mood may be important. We may also want to experience touch and affection without a sexual agenda. Making special time for affectionate, sensual sex (and sometimes being intimate, sensual, without sex), may also be important, as may occasionally being spontaneous. How we communicate, sexually dance together, emotionally connect, co-operate, sexually respond to our partner may matter to us, as may our trust and intimacy, affectionate sexual contact, the pace of things, moods, being sexy and a considerate lover. And fearing close intimacy can put us off sex. Respecting our partner, how we give and receive, talk about sex, our needs and preferences with our partner without withholding may be important to us, as may remaining open to love and sex, being present to our dynamic, sexual energy rather than isolating ourselves. We may be curious about exploring new or exciting ways of being intimate. Bringing romance back, adding some old or new spice, being adventurous or daring, spontaneous, or willing to try new things may be important, for some, yet not for others. Opening up to deeper areas of our sexual life, integrating aspects previously not available to us, may be important in order to deepen our sexual relationship. There may also be psychological influences shaping what happens between us. (See also Relationship Counselling & Marriage Counselling)
Men & Women When sex occurs between man and woman the traditional roles of women as gate keepers controlling the level of intimacy - needing more warmth, care and love in their sexual relationship, and of men as the initiators - maybe wanting sex more frequently, may still be in play. We may also have our own sexual insecurities, concerns, anxieties, secrets as a man or woman... We may want to become more selfassured as a sexual man or woman - feel less discomfort about our body, so we can relax, enjoy each other's bodies. Men may experience dwindling impotence, inability to ejaculate, delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation or rapid ejaculation, erection difficulties - struggling to have or maintain erection. Some men may have a level of psychological impotence, struggling to perform (performance anxiety), which may be related to stress, difficulties relaxing, letting go or being insecure in our relationship. We may struggle to connect with, integrate what's happening in our head (including what we tell ourselves) with our heart, emotions and physical responses (see also Staying In Our Head Or Overly Focused On Sex, Performance, Positions, Genitals). What it means to be potent, be in touch with our potency, masculinity, without being brutal or angry, may challenge us. Depleted hormones, reduced blood flow, may be factors. Some of us (tends to be more men than women, often connected to testosterone levels) can be more biologically driven, thinking about and initiating sex more. Other men may not be very sexual, possibly indicating low testosterone levels, fear of engulfment or being controlled. The effects of ageing (e.g. circulation, lubrication) may affect us. Some of us (tends to be more women that men) are more emotionally driven, think more about romance, the process of intimacy, connection and sharing feelings of love. We may have more of a biological push towards sex when ovulating. Our hormones may also impact on us. Some women may find it difficult to feel aroused, have an orgasm or experience painful intercourse. Painful penetration may be a problem. What it means to be feminine and vulnerable, without being passive, may be challenging. (See also Responding To Our Sexual Differences)
Sexual Counselling London Sex Psychotherapy for Sex Problems - Counsellor London Psychotherapist
Exploring & Opening Up With Our Partner
Sexually Explorative & Accepting When we are sexually explorative, opening up at our own pace and connecting with our partner, exploring what it means to let go and surrender to each other, powerful feelings may emerge - we may feel vulnerable and in touch with our tenderness. Some of us may feel anxious inside, experiencing deep emotions (maybe some shame), wounds, needs, meaningful and private aspects of us. Being accepting of our own and each other's sexual self and feeling safe may also be important.
Talking About Sex With Our Partner Talking about sex for some can be potentially embarrassing. Some of us view sex as a private matter, strictly confined to its activity in the bedroom, that sex shouldn't be spoken about. Others may feel like talking about sex, yet are hesitant or deem it inappropriate. All of us have different ideas about what we might enjoy, our deepest desires, fantasies, our boundaries, what's acceptable and having open conversations early on, checking out each other's differences, assumptions (e.g. our relationship to our ex-partners, staying overnight with others, pornography). We may want to be brave, freer, more open and transparent, relaxed, truthfully talking about sex with our partner (and asking them to be as truthful as they can) in a more caring, honest way able to express our feelings, needs, preferences, curiosity, what we like, don't like, might like, feel comfortable with as we relish our erotic experiences. Letting our partner know what we enjoy, what satisfies us, may be important. Yet some things can get in the way. There may be areas of our sexual desires or needs - what we want and how we feel, our fantasies, imagination, which we (or fear they) may judge, feel ashamed of. We may be afraid that if we are honest about our sexual needs, desires and past, we will be rejected (and some may push talking about this beyond our partner's comfort). Being or feeling controlled by the other, when things are demanded, may inhibit us. Fear of engulfment may get in the way. We may feel a little defensive or hold on to false beliefs, because of previous sexual relationships or from things, messages, we picked up in our upbringing. We may want to be open to learning together with our partner, without us or them having to give ourself up.
Sexual Counselling London, Sexual Psychotherapy for Premature Ejaculation, Sex Problems, Sex Counsellor London Psychotherapist
How We Engage
Not Fully Engaged Or Only Engaged During Sex Being present to ourselves and our partner may not come easy to us. Some of us only have to think about sex and it puts us under pressure. We may shut down sexually or fear love. Some of us may emotionally cut off as soon as things become sexual, as if we are out of contact with our own and partner's human warmth, so sex can sometimes be alienating for us. If we view sex in isolation without involving emotions, affection, love, acceptance and willingness, we may have a sense of emptiness during or after sex. We may struggle to be present, let others in, relax, fully let go, where feelings can be reciprocated, as if we are "doing sex", observing, looking on the sexual experience from a distance or having sex as if it were a sport and only about techniques or looking sexy. Depersonalising sex, we may separate sex from the rest of our life, as if we are partially disconnected, have an absence of feeling, numbing or detaching our feelings and emotions from sex, rather than fully engage. Having a wondering mind we may struggle to focus or may also separate sex from the person. On the one hand we may yearn for deep connection, yet on the other, fear our vulnerability, neediness. We may experience primitive feelings, ranging from fear of engulfment to fear of separation. This may also be related to our bonding patterns. Integrating our sexuality with the rest of our life - all other aspects of us, so it is less separate, compartmentalised and into the whole of our mutual relationship, may enhance our relationship, marriage. Others may only get our sense of aliveness, excitement from our sexual energy, as if cut off from the rest of us. Expressing a love that is not only erotic may also be important, so sex is not isolated, but part of a bigger picture, combining love, sex and spirituality (whatever it means for us). Some of us may feel bored or like an object, we may have sex purely as a duty or as ways of getting our partner to care about us, which may point towards a struggle to be emotionally intimate. Even when we are being sexual, some of us may feel alone or lonely. Emotional connection may be missing - much of which may point to our relationship style. Being more connected, sensing the whole of our body - what we are experiencing, feeling, tuning in to our own and partner's sexual energy, having a real exchange with our partner, may be important.
Sexual Counselling London Psychotherapy for Lack of Sexual Desire, Sexual Passion sex Counsellor, Psychotherapist
Desire, Passion, Eroticism, Imagination, Fantasy, Drives, Urges, Impulses
Inhibiting The Spirit Of Our Desire It is common that sex is more frequent at the beginning of the relationship. It may also be important for us to build the foundations of intimacy between us, come from our personal power, which is more attractive than our neediness, so our sexual relationship can flourish. For many couples, good sex can fade and we may be questioning that although we are intimate as a couple, our sexual connection has diminished. Bringing back passion to our relationship can be challenging and may need more attention than a one off spontaneous act. Alongside hormonal shifts, overworking, child rearing or physical causes (which may need to be ruled out by a GP), lack of sexual desire may spring from many sources:
- Turning to the convenience of pornography
- We may have lost connection with ourself, or feel unable to let go in our partner's presence, and our sexual expression may be inhibited
- We may have neglected having emotionally intimate times together outside of the bedroom
- One or both of us may not feel safe & secure with the other through blame, criticism, anger, resistance, withdrawal, inattentiveness, neglect, lack of integrity
- One of us may have become a caretaker for the other, giving ourself up or have allowed our partner to control us
- One partner may trade sex for affection
- One of us is using sex addictively and the other feels pulled by them, maybe objectified, used rather than loved as if they are meeting us from a needy child place (where eroticism can be absent) rather than from their personal power
- We may have personal triggers which prohibit us from feeling, being sexual. (It could be minor or major irritations, small, unresolved squabbles, niggles or conflicts, impatience, old resentments or something our partner recently did.)
- Any old hurt, pain, shame or guilt, anger we carry which inhibits our desire
- Desire may have eroded for one or both of us and we may find it uncomfortable expressing our desire, so the erotic becomes forgotten or forbidden and the sexual relationship loses its potency
- We may have a dilemma of expecting, needing our partner to meet all our needs
- We may feel burdened that we have to love our partner in a certain way, give up our freedom in order that we don't lose our partner
Rekindling Sex, Reinvigorating Our Sex Life Some may feel sexually switched off inside. We may be committed to our relationship in every other way except of the area of sex, not view this as part of our commitment. The sexual spark may have gone out of our relationship, marriage for various reasons and we may want to keep love and sexuality alive within our relationship, yet the passion may have gone. We may have a compassionate love for each other or may have fallen out of love. Reinvigorating, enriching, bringing our aliveness into the relationship, fostering closeness and intimacy and emotional connection, being loving in all the ways we can, in touch with our own desire may also be important, as may developing a consummate relationship. Some couples try to reinvigorate their sex life by creating more space, distance, drama or mystery, which can temporarily work for some, yet underlying feelings, needs, may be in play...
Confusing Longing With Loving We may have mixed up love with longing, so when there is no longing, we struggle to find our passion and therefore stop initiating, pursuing. Some of us may look to others for our sexual excitement, assuming it is our partner's job to turn us on. We may say that they just don't turn us on anymore as if they should generate the sexual charge and excitement without doing this for ourselves, yet as we connect to our own sexual energy - the fire or glow of our own passion, aliveness, heightened sexuality, we can bring this energy to our partner, who when willing to meet us there can create and nurture an alive, exciting, evolving, sexual, transformative relationship. We may believe that we must have longing in order to have love and passion (frequently emphasised in love songs, stories, films) - see also Love Addiction, Romance Addiction & Obsessive Love. Many relationships may break down at this point and we take our longing into a new sexual relationship and after a while history may repeat itself. We may have overlooked tapping into our own internal presence and sexual energy, openness, availability, desire and compassionate love, willingness to walk towards emotional closeness, opening our heart to having sex, making love together. Our longing, searching for union with our partner may also point to other longing needs we have (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns). For some, our longing, yearning may be of a different nature and may also point to spiritual search or towards our simple human need to belong. Our longing may also be connected to:
- To be seen & known for who we are (which may also date back to our early bonding patterns)
- The love we feel for someone may be unrequited
- We may have become like siblings, no longer sexual lovers
- In our relationship there may be frequent pattern of one person pursuing and the other distancing
- We may believe we have become too close, seeing, hearing & knowing so much about each other (see also Enmeshment)
Sustaining Our Sexual Passion, Desire, Spirit, Affection & Creativity It is natural that passion in relationships waxes and wanes, and not unlike the moon, so our sexual passions may include eclipses, partial eclipses, familiar, recognisable phases and patterns, a dark side and fullness. Initially things may have been exciting, new, unknown. The sexual relationship may now have entered into a transitional phase, which has the potential to deepen... Reinvigorating our sex life may be what we desire, and it is our very desire, aliveness, vibrancy, vitality and sexual energy, that can be our driving force. Sustaining desire can be problematic for some, especially if we are trying so hard to be normal or when our relationship becomes secure, predictable, when our partner becomes our soulmate, trusted best friend (see also Expecting, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs). This on the one hand anchors us and our relationship, yet on the other hand our sexual journey, exploration and expression as a couple continues, and may be of different frequencies, requiring a less than predictable response. The passionate lover in us both may have gone into hiding. Being in a stable relationship, intimate, not just around sex, kissing (especially in surprising, spontaneous moments) may be another expression of our passion. One of us may prefer to feel overwhelmingly desired, wanting our partner to excite us, the other may want to excite our partner. Including foreplay as a part of the fabric of our relationship, and not quick precursor to sex, may support us. Changing the environment, spending time to arouse our sexual desire in pleasurable and connecting ways may help invigorate things together. Creating sexual privacy, a space, which belongs to us as a couple for the depth of our sexuality to be expressed, may be important. Having sex in different sensual or romantic places, being creative or luxurious, getting away from our usual obligations, can help couples. We each have our own ways of rediscovering ourself, bringing back passion, intensifying our desire for affection, love. Different things work for different people. Our relationship can be familiar, give us a sense of belonging, identity, continuity and comfort and is known, yet transcending the mystery and awe of sex into unknown territory can be of a different energy. We may have limited our sexual expression, need for risking our sexual selves to enter into the unknown (willing to explore each other's "red light district"), going to places we haven't been before, allowing for the unexpected and surprises, spontaneity, mystery and adventure.
Love & Desire In The Mix As a lover we may conflate love and desire, so the very ingredients of love - protection, mutuality, selflessness, care and taking responsibility for the other, can be the very qualities, which can stifle desire. When we desire and are free-spirited (also free of caretaking, without any part being needy or taking responsibility for everything), the erotic charge can be of a different quality. Deeper, underlying energies may also be in force. Desire may also include baser qualities, alongside love - being also connected to what we want, our difference, possessiveness, aggression and power, risqueness, mischief, jealousy, playfulness and some of these qualities may bypass our politically correct self, rational brain. With our desire comes a want. We may want to remain open to the mystery of us and our partner next to each other, allow ourselves to let go what we need to let go of, abandon ourselves, yet also be focused and present, enter into a journey of exploration, see what may happen.
Mystery is not about travelling to new places, but looking with new eyes.Marcel Proust
Imagination, Fantasies In order for our desire to be fulfilled it may need a bridge to cross, and that bridge may be our imagination - a space of exploration. We may experience our relationship as lacking desire, yet it may point to a stifled imagination. Our imagination can enable us to bring parts of us out, we are willing to explore, go to. On a sexual voyage, utilising our imagination, we may want to create a special or sacred space together as a couple, to behave in ways we want to explore, develop an evolving poetic language together as a couple. Some of us may want to be aware of different ways we shut down and turn our desires, arousals off, and what happens inside when we are aroused and fully awake (see also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity). In our mind there is often a host of things going on, and we may want to explore any fantasies, the vastness of our sexual expression. We can utilise our imagination to allow us to anticipate, imagine experiences, cultivating the ingredients of our sexual cake. We may want to allow our imagination to come into play, discover new ingredients, see what happens, be drawn to our partner when they are passionate about things, in their element, radiant. How relaxed we are, able to laugh together, explore novelty (not necessarily by performing with a repertoire of techniques, but more from a mutual space of exploration), be present in the moment, in a place where we can even allow ourselves to be spontaneous, saucy, naughty, playful, curious, safely aggressive, enigmatic, even express our infantile wishes, transcend familiar places towards sexual union, may support us. How our relationship with our partner is, how we communicate, influences our sexual exploration. Our imagination and sexual fantasies belong to us (including things we should never act out), some we want to share, others not and our partner may choose whether or not to meet us in them. Some of us may have sexual fantasies, yet lack love, desire, intimacy. We may struggle to relate emotionally.
Sexual Experimentation We may be holding a lot of questions: What is normal, am I supposed to be doing this and what should I be doing? Who takes responsibility for protection? How close can I let myself be to a person and can I trust them? Am I good enough and will I be loved for who I am? Learning to explore and trust what we enjoy may be important to us, so we are less frightened to be truly ourselves, choose how to be sexual safely, so we don't have to lose ourselves or give ourselves away in a relationship? As the sexual relationship develops we may wonder how we can feel secure, yet allow for surprises, spontaneity.
Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passion, Aspirations, Imagination, Our Desires, Including Sexual Desire Sometimes desire and reason may pull in different directions. We are all biological beings with instinctual, powerful drives, yet not only. Some of us may deny, suppress, repress aspects of us, we would rather not acknowledge, including our lust, passions, sexual vitality and shadow selves. Others of us (maybe believing we only exist when we are sexual) may act out our sexual desires, or any other desires (e.g. food, greed), impulses, urges, basic or aggressive drives or bad motives in unhealthy ways, damaging ourself or others, as if we have to follow them, some of these may be conscious, others unconscious. And these forces have the potential to drag us down, lift us up. Without denying these aspects of us - our drives, desires, impulses, etc., which need a response, we may struggle to think, whether to choose to follow them or not, contain them when we need to (including any surplus sexual energy), open our heart to our own supportive ethics, find alternative responses, changing them (transmuting) into another creative force or form. A symbol of our creative potential may be found in a lotus plant, as it transmutes mud and water from a pond rising upwards (through the murky water into something more aesthetic yet at the same time be grounded in the muddy water, which sustains the lotus flower) into delicate beauty through its own inherent vitality, energised through the light of the Sun, as it reaches from below upwards. We may hold sexual ideas, mental images, which we may project onto reality, as if we cannot help but to satisfy our sexual drives, biological impulses. Directing these forces in healthy ways may be challenging for some. Others may deny or repress their sexual passions, impulses, etc. Some may struggle to be loving and find their "Yes" to being sexually open. Others may no longer want to treat others (or us) as objects of gratification for our pleasure or to be dominated, exploited or reduce sex as a mere technique, as if it is a commodity, believing that once we have it, we will be happy. Some of us may cut off our instinctive and physical aspects of sexuality as separate and independent from our emotional and psychological experiences, as if our sexuality and sensual physical pleasure, emotional union with another and the creativity of something coming into form are distinct. We may see sex as something we do. Viewing and responding to our sexuality as a quality in us - something we are, may for some enable us to fully express our sexuality in a range of ways we want to, including all the colours of the rainbow. In our passionate engagement - whatever this may be, we may want to connect at a deeper level. We may also be in touch with what else is happening, transforming, between us and our partner, through mutual exploration, communication. The potential to transform our sexual energies have been long recognised.
The elements of the sexual instinct are characterised by capacity for sublimation, for changing their sexual aim into another of a different kind, and socially more worthy. To the sum of energies thus gained for our psychological productions we probably owe the highest results of our culture.Sigmund Freud
Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity Our desires are not rational. Some of us may want to be more in touch with our passions, desires. Others may have a problem controlling our sexual arousal, sexual urges, as if the fires of our passion need containment (see also Self-Control), neglecting our own wisdom. We may have become overly focused on sex, performance, genitals. We may struggle to understand ourselves, our libido and desires, allowing them to influence us and our values, rather than us influencing them. Diverting, changing, transforming our energies, emotions, fears, anger, behaviour (e.g. greed), habits and addictions (e.g. food), purpose, intention, arousal and sexual energy may be challenging, especially when they are unconscious, as we choose to remain authentic, channel a different response to these powerful feelings, behaviours, instincts, biological impulses, so they don't control us. Adopting an objective attitude towards sex, we have a choice whether to let our libido control us, what to do with our passion in searching for the warmth of our sexual energy (heat). Like an alchemical process, crystallising all our energies, we have the potential to be destructive or creative in how this energy (heat) is released and displaced, transforming base elements into something more precious as our artistic expression of genuine love. Through diverting our energies into another form - sublimating them we can grow. What we choose to do with our energy charges may be supported by the decisions we make whether to accept and respond to our impulses and our will. This may take practice with little and increasing significant acts of will, supported by our resilience and boundaries. As our impulse is set in motion we may be drawn to physical activity. Sometimes it may be appropriate to sublimate, transform, redirect the quality of our sexual energy to a higher end. How we want to express the potential of these energies with freedom of choice may be part of the transformational process. Transmuting and sublimating our sexual energies can for some be beneficial by substituting other sensual pleasures, e.g. stimulating our senses, food, nature, beauty, artistic pursuits, creativity, work activities, expanding our mind and intellectual capacities, using symbolisms connected to things of beauty. Some may expand their platonic love and deep friendships to others around them. Some choose to extend this further to humanity and communion with others, radiating outwards, upwards and all things living, altruism, a spiritual dimension. Not unlike a pseudo-self, who may unsuccessfully practice non-attachment, some of us may be tempted towards a pseudo sublimation, where our intention may be unclear or connected to our martyr, as if we have to forgo or repress our sexual energy.