Sexual Issues In Relationships - Counselling London
Sexual Concerns, Challenges Whether single or part of a heterosexual or same sex couple, we may have certain sexual dilemmas, challenges, want to express our sexual selves differently. In how we sexually connect, there may be sexual differences between us and our partner. Our own sexuality (and our partner's) can be enigmatic and understandably open us up to vulnerability or a deep longing, searching. (Sexuality in the relationship, marriage, can sometimes be a barometer for what else is happening in the relationship.) The physical and psychological response to our underlying feelings, including those about our relationship, can have an impact on our sexual expression. When we are sexually dissatisfied, this may also point to the possibility of relationship dissatisfaction or differences in sexual energy and how we are when we mix our sexual energy with our partner's - together yet separate. 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, have certain taboos, 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 sex therapy can be a space to explore what sex means for us, our expectations, attitudes, beliefs & thoughts. (Some may also seek counselling for sex addiction, porn addiction.) What we do with our urges, desire, sexual passion, imagination, fantasies, affection, intimacy needs & love may also be explored in the sex counselling. Our sexual concerns, challenges, experiences we long for, may include:
- Sexual frustration
- Living in a celibate or near sexless relationship, marriage (maybe as we are friends, siblings), which is not what we desire
- Psychological factors
- Preoccupation with our partner's sexual past
- How to feel sexually safe
- Examining our sexual attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, expectations
- Wanting to discover our true sexuality, what our body really wants & live it
- Finding out, exploring our sexual selves. Feeling comfortable with our sexual orientation.
- Being in a cycle of sexual dissatisfaction - staying in our head or overly focused on sex, lust, climax, orgasm, speed, outcomes, performance, techniques, goals, positions, genitals, stuck in over-familiar roles
- 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. as a substitute for emotional connection
- Exploring & sexually opening up with our partner
- One or both of us unable to make, protect quality intimate time together, not making it a high priority
- Wanting to be less sexually passive, cautious and more sexually adventurous, confident, assertive, so we enjoy making love
- A degree of shame, which most of us have felt at some points in our life
- No longer sexually abandoning ourself
- How to pleasure ourself
- Responding to our sexual differences & how we engage
- When the spark has gone, wanting to reignite or improve our sex life
- 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"
- Putting love and sex together in intimate ways. 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)
- Public displays of affection (PDA)
- How to have a healthy, positive sex life
- Healthily responding to sexual desire, passion, eroticism, imagination, fantasy, drives, urges, impulses
- Sexual arousal
- Sexual addiction & use of pornography
- Monogamy, polyamorous relationships, multiple sexual relationships, serial affairs
- Sexual healing
- Need for deep union, orgasmic experiences
Healthy, Positive Sex Life
Sex is a natural, healthy part of being human and is one of the most intimate experiences, triggering powerful bonding feelings of love and sharing with another, integrating sex and sensitivity into the whole of our mutual relationship, as we give, receive, share loving touch, connection. And we have the right to choose how we define our sexuality, express our sexuality, sexual lifestyle. No longer being sexually expressive generous together as a couple, yet loving, respecting, trusting each other in a sexless, though intimate relationship can work, be fine for some couples. Yet other aspects may be in play - a healthy regular sex life supports our psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing, our vitality when we live with, express our passion and love, increasing our self-confidence. Loving sex validates us, affirming we exist, offering reassurance and realisation that we are wanted, needed, connects us. To enhance our healthy sex life we may also want to connect in this way without being sexual. Through this sexual connection - when we let go, leave our ego at the door, we are able to be in touch with our tenderness, vulnerability. Integral to human life, conscious sex for many is the ultimate mutual communication, expression of affection, love and companionship, enabling us to give, receive, share love (without obligation), warmth, pleasure, enjoyment (for some couples, our sexual experiences may be the only time we touch or connect with each other) - 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.) Our lifestyle, how we feel about ourself, our partner and how romantic we are, influences our healthy sex life, as may our dignity, sensitivity, respect, sense of spirituality. Experiencing loving, positive sex with ourself and our partner can help us grow be healing, liberating, self-affirming that we are human, important, special and can also be an intrinsic way of feeling our self as a man or woman through expressing our desire and being desired (see also Sexual Desire, Energy, Passion, Eroticism, Imagination, Fantasy, Drives, Urges, Impulses). When we are in a close relationship, being sexual together can be the most intimate activity, binding us as a couple, where we soften our heart, share with our partner, are in touch with our openness and longing, creating a lasting secure bond through sexual connection including embracing the depth, pleasure of sexual union slow sex.
We may have a sexual relationship with our partner for a combination of reasons: fundamentally to get something (see also Sexual Expectations, Attitudes, Assumptions, Beliefs & Thoughts) or share love, warmth, connection to be in touch with and express our desire, attraction, affection, love, to be passionate with each other, wanting to please our partner and us, to have children, for excitement, playfulness and fun, to meet our need for intimacy, for tenderness, to communicate and feel sexually open, connected with our partner at a deep level, experiencing a warm glow, nourishment, transformation, getting out of our head so we are less focused on sex, climax, orgasm, outcomes, performance, techniques, goals, positions, genitals or stuck in over-familiar roles. We may enjoy the anticipation, spontaneity of sexual pleasure. Loving sex can also bring us relief and release. It can soothe our anxiety, stress and depression, bring us nourishment. We can also feel wanted, desired, less alone, open, powerful and potent. Loving sex and making love can be our way of sharing, feeling close, more connected, most intimate, tender, vulnerable, trusting, being loving and loved. Having a healthy sex life as an act of love reinforces, deepens, strengthens closeness, our emotional bond as a couple and provides the glue to our relationship. Some report that the powerful experience of Love, a connection with their sexual energy, union, ecstasy and joy puts them more in touch with their truer self or sense of a spiritual connection.
Sexual Self-Pleasure, Masturbation Some of us may have digisex - using technology, virtual spaces, devices. This usage may be acceptable for some and problematic for others. Masturbation (especially when experienced mindfully - being present in the moment) can enhance our sensuality, sexiness, brings us vitality, include exploration of our sexual energy, sexual selves, sexual potential, improve our sexual self-esteem, be self affirmative, help override certain sexual difficulties, can enliven us as a full body experience. However, history, religious influences, culture, our parents, peers, gender, sexual orientation may have shaped our attitudes, beliefs around masturbation - some of them negatively (including the historical impact of onania, onanism), that we are guilty, it is shameful, sinful, vulgar, we are not a real woman, man. Some may lead a masturbatory lifestyle (which can be experienced as a deadening effect) when bored, to get us off to sleep others may be out of control with it so masturbation dominates our life and have become dependent on pornography and its images for masturbation yet feel empty, lonely inside (see also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity). This for some can also be a way of cutting off parts of us, avoiding the complexity of human relationships, emotional connection, touch and intimate sexual contact with others. However others may repress, suppress our range of senses, sensuality, sexual instincts, desire for sexual self-pleasure from a special or sacred space and want to masturbate without shame, so we expand our receptive capacity, explore, experience, refine our own sensual sexual journey experimentation, discovery, expression, nourishment, fulfilment - our own precious personal intimate space of intimacy, love, wholeness, fullness, completeness utilising our own memories, daydreaming, imagination from the core of who we are (beyond reason), our fantasies (where what is erotic, turns us on is unique to us).
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, depression, lack of confidence, low self-worth (and some women or men may also base their self-worth on sexually satisfying their partner) and shame, guilt, humiliation may affect our sexual enjoyment, desire and drive. Some may feel anxious inside, experiencing deep emotions (maybe some shame), wounds, needs, meaningful and private aspects of us. If we don't carry out certain sexual acts we may fear that our partner will leave us, not love us. Anxiety or fears may arise each time the possibility of having sex together emerges and some - often women may experience difficulties feeling aroused, sexual pain, painful intercourse - dyspareunia (see also Men & Women). The experience of orgasm may be missing for some (see also Union - Orgasm, Orgasmic Experiences). Some men may experience issues with ejaculating, erectile dysfunction (ED) which can be linked to porn overuse (porn-induced erectile dysfunction). The psychological effects of an illness, state of sexual health contracting a STI, HSV - herpes, 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 or body image, obesity, lacking sexual confidence, sexual messages we received when younger (e.g. how our parents were loving and sexual together, how tactile they were with us, how sex was spoken about, the role of nudity in the home, comments made about our body), 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. We may repress our sexuality, sexual impulses. Others may struggle to be loving, emotionally connect, be empathic, intimate, sexually fulfilled, which may relate to early bonding, attachment experiences. 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 alongside specific relationship issues. 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 sexual passion may be missing or we have sexually closed down (see also Spacing Out, Tuning Out, Going Numb, Numbing Our Feelings, In A Daze, Lethargy - 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, hormones, menopause, culture, morality, 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, childhood abuse issues, 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 (see also Sexual Healing).
Sexually Abandoning Ourself We may have abandoned ourself sexually (see also Sexual Self-Pleasure, Masturbation & Imbalance Of Sexual Generosity In Giving, Receiving, Sharing) by not fully expressing our sexuality, having unfulfilling or unsafe sex, disconnecting from intimacy, vulnerability, our feelings, emotions, heart, love. When we abandon a part of us in specific ways, we may not only ignore, disrespect ourself, but also ignore the effect on our partner, who may also feel disrespected.
Healing ourselves sexually may include connecting to a place back in time when we were innocent, in our lives maybe before guilt, shame, damaging comments or experiences that limited our sexual desire or inhibited our sexual attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, expectations (see also Influence Of Our Sexual Past, History, Culture, Social & Religious Background). Healing our relationship with men, women and indeed ourself (see also Sexual Self-Pleasure, Masturbation) may include how we sexually relate with others in our own time, experiment with our sexual life now, exploring this alongside our sexual boundaries, being connected with ourself, without giving ourself away. Healing what needs to be healed, through being kind, considerate to ourself and our partner now through tender, loving, authentic sexual experiences, bonding together, sexual union, exploring at our own pace can also be a movement towards our sexual healing.
Feeling Sexually Safe Alongside what keep us safe in our relationship, marriage, we may also want to feel emotionally, sexually safe. Some of us may feel insecure, shut down our feelings, go numb as if on automation, become anxious when we experience sexual energy (our own or that of another). We may want to trust and be vulnerable, honour, love ourselves, others, to feel solid, centred, confident in bringing all of ourself into the light of our sexual life, be connected to our sexual drive, passion, boldness, gentleness, tenderness, senses, sensuality. What keeps us sexually safe means different things for different people and themes may include:
- Looking after our sexual health
- Our envy, jealousy is healthily expressed & responded to
- Not judging our (or our partner's) sexual past
- There is openness, agreement, clarity, sexual boundaries about relationships with our ex, pornography, monogamy, polyamory, multiple sexual relationships
- Overcoming fear of rejection, engulfment
- Getting out of our head or overly focused on sex, climax, orgasm, outcomes, performance, techniques, goals, positions, genitals, stuck in over-familiar roles
- Exploring & opening up with our partner, talking about our sexual feelings, desires, expressing them
- Realising we don't have to act on all our sexual fantasies, imagination
- Being fully engaged
- Experiencing our basic dependency needs being met
Sexual Attitudes, Beliefs, Thoughts, Expectations
Rushing Towards Being Sexual Very Early On In The Relationship We may need to determine, be clear about whether is it sex we want or a relationship. (Some may believe we won't be liked if we don't have sex quickly.) Do we want to fall in lust, fall in love? Some of us may believe that having sex with someone as soon as possible before we even know them, creates deep intimacy and others may just want a conquest. Some may want to rush in to being sexual because they, fear rejection, abandonment. Others may quickly be sexual because they also want to fall in love quickly. Sex without deep caring may be physically satisfying, yet emotionally, spiritually flat. Jumping in very quickly to a physically intimate experience without spending time getting to really know each other, laugh, cry, be together, discover each other, deeply care about each other first (and especially without negotiating the inevitable conflicts) may not necessarily be a healthy foundation for a depth of love, building a loving sexual, soulful relationship if that is what we want. When we are sexual together from intimacy, emotional connection, willing to learn and grow with each other, this can provide a foundation for a more lasting relationship, if that is what we want.
Influence Of Our Sexual Past, History, Culture, Social & Religious Background Some may have experienced healthy responses to our sexuality, expression, growing up, and others not so. Our own culture, social conditioning, religious background, what we learnt when younger alongside our sexual experiences, history, any sexual abuse may influence our sexual life now, positive and negative feelings about our body, genitals, sex or our partner. Our sexual past may have been pleasurable or confusing especially if experienced in inappropriate, unwanted sexual moments. There may be a discrepancy between what we imagine what our sex life should be and what it is (maybe shaped through past sexual experiences, the internet, newspapers, films, our friends, etc.) We may have an injunction that sex (or masturbation) is bad, wrong or hold negative attitudes towards sex or a fear of sex, love making (erotophobia). This can be compounded if we felt sexually humiliated in the past. And previous negative, shameful sexual experiences may impact on our self-esteem, feelings of self-loathing, self-hatred, self-disgust. Confident in some areas we may feel understandably confused, vulnerable, shy, traumatised or ashamed or feel guilty around sex or anything pleasurable. When we think about sex, it can put us off, which prohibits our sexual expression and we may want to explore, experiment our sexual life now.
Sexual Expectations, Attitudes, Assumptions, Beliefs & Thoughts We may be sexual to share connection, warmth, love or to get something - All our thoughts, beliefs, needs can bring up a lot of feelings, some of them running very deep (see also Connecting To The Innocence Of Our Childhood - Our Child Within), 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, have a great body (see also How We Feel About Our Body), etc. Our expectations, assumptions, etc. may get in the way of simply being intimate, enjoying, experiencing and sharing sexual energy. Dropping our expectations may help (see also Expecting, Assuming, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs). Some may seek or have lots of sexual relationships as if sex is consumerable (see also Serial Sexual Relationships, Cheating In Our Relationship), that others, even us are disposable or of little significance. We may have become more focused on sex than intimacy. We may have issues around our sexual boundaries, which keep us safe - may be either overly loose or rigid. We may be dissatisfied, emotionally cut off, feel remote, struggling to value intimacy and love, believe we can only feel something through sex. We may also have thoughts, which we find hard to filter, some of them may be going back years (see also Beliefs About Love, Beliefs About Relationships). We may have or hold certain views, life attitudes, expectations, assumptions, beliefs and thoughts about sex and want to explore these further:
- Believing we have to have sex with someone, our partner, in order to feel safe. Equating love or being liked with sex - believing that if we are loved, love, we must be sexual. Confusing sexual attention for loving attention, we may believe that we are not lovable as we are, or that we only matter or feel safe when we are sexual (this may be particularly pertinent to people who have experienced sexual abuse). 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 addictively for love - confusing the two or use sex for validation, appreciation and our partner may feel used rather than loved.
- We may hold an idealised perfect view of love or mistake romantic infatuation & intense sexual experiences for love
- 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
- We assume we should fake pleasure, satisfaction (see also Talking About, Sharing Our Sexual Feelings, Needs, Desires, With Our Partner)
- We may come from a needy place (which is not very erotic for our partner) & no longer want to feel inadequate, unlovable, moving towards feeling love, lovable, safe, secure, whole, validated, powerful & in control,
- We may believe that when romantic love, passionate love & sexual feelings fade, the relationship is over, holding assumptions that intimacy & sex will inevitably dwindle. Yet we may struggle to allow for relationship transformations & phases, growing together through being compassionate.
- Some may view sex as about conquest, others - a chore
- Believing that sex should be red hot or that orgasm should be simultaneous
- We may convince ourselves that sexual fulfilment is consequence-free & developing a stable, loving relationship, valuing the human body, whole person 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
- We may view sexual orientation as inflexible, not fluid, plural
- We may believe it's not normal to masturbate
Compartmentalising Sex, Cycle Of Sexual Dissatisfaction - Staying In Our Head Or Overly Focused On Sex, Lust, Climax, Orgasm, Speed, Outcomes, Performance, Techniques, Goals, Positions, Genitals, Stuck In Over-Familiar Roles We may be having acceptable sex with our partner yet afterwards be thinking there has to be more. We may have fallen into unhelpful, ingrained patterns of sexual experiences, which may include viewing sex as distinct from relating, communicating, expressing ourself in all different known and unknown ways. Some of us may use pornography or sex (which can be addictive for some) as transactional - it's something we do with another rather than fully experiencing the experience, without warmth as a way of avoiding emotional intimacy, emotional connection as if somehow sex is separate and split of from the human being in us, our partner and all the other ways we relate, communicate, express ourselves. Sometimes our mind can be somewhere else as if on autopilot, that we are watching ourself from afar. Numb inside, others may experience robot-like, meaningless sex. We may not be fully engaged during sex or only become engaged when sexual, be sexually greedy and we may be stuck in over-familiar sexual roles, maybe bored inside. When we are in our head, ego, we may calculate we owe our partner or they owe us. In unholistic ways, some of us (tends to be more men than women, whether in a same sex or heterosexual relationship - see also Relating, Connecting With Women) may compartmentalise sex, also treat it almost like a commodity, consumption (grabbing), a pursuit or a competitive game, recreational sport (keeping score), predatorial (struggling to regulate our aggressive instincts when we need to through our emotional responsibility). We may treat sex as a function or formula ignoring the attributes of our or our partner's feelings. One of us may be overly focused on the quantity of sex or lust, less so the depth, quality and relationship satisfaction. If we are living as if only we count or only that our sexual needs matter, others may feel objectified, used, controlled, drained, for our own sexual needs, gratification, to fill us up from our emptiness, trying to take us away from loneliness. Believing that sex should be only lustful, red hot, we may have haphazard goal-orientated sex, focusing on friction, genitals, striving for outcomes, climax, ejaculation or orgasm chasing as if it is a biological imperative (which once reached, can permanently end the journey of union - orgasm, orgasmic experiences). Avoiding our own feelings of insecurity and as if some fast food version of sex, we may use rushing to orgasm as the only way of being in touch with our self, which may lead us towards sexual addiction as if the only result is climax. Others may act as if there is somewhere to get to - monitoring, judging, grading the result (e.g. trying to get it right, how long sex should last, the number of orgasms, giving our partner the best time of their life, believing that orgasm has to be simultaneous). Some of us may put unnecessary pressure on ourself to put on sexy looks, exaggerate our sounds, turn the other on, provide fake orgasms out of concern for our partner's feelings. We may miss a soul to soul, heart to heart connection.
Getting Out Of Our Head (See also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity) Being in our head, emotionally blocked, can get in the way of relaxing being in touch with our sexual energy, enjoying pleasurable heart-centred sex, allowing ourself to be vulnerable, tender, honest, real (not through performing, being compliant, conforming or making love when not turned on). Dropping our focus on rushing headlong for results, performance as if there is somewhere to get and learning to love without lust may help us. Exploring, seeing what happens without only focusing on positions, techniques, genitals, orgasm, climax may take us out of our head. Releasing our tension and letting go of what we believe we need to achieve may help us as we connect more with our being rather than doing sex. In our sexual relationship we may also want to cultivate releasing our over-defensive ego, being out of our head, quietening our mind, letting go of trying to be in control, being present to ourself, in tune with our body, following our feelings - connecting with ourself and our partner, our heart, enjoying sexual intimacy, sensuality, pleasure, the to-and-fro of energy, the ravishing and being ravished. We may want to enhance our whole body experience, be in touch with the full range of touch and being touched, our senses, relaxed in the foreplay, after-play ("do we feel empty or love after making love?" might be an important question) so the experience is not just sexual but also profoundly creative, meaningful. Being loving in the moment with pure feeling without thoughts (so we are not stuck in our head) may be important where our sexual energy, vitality, the energy of nature may also include a deep union. This may be enhanced as we let go, are sexually open, relax into ourself and partner, take things less seriously, are in touch with our vulnerability, tenderness, able to lighten up and become more playful, rather than rushing to the sex act, sexual excitement, conquest. How we create space and time for each other with no agenda, sexually communicate with warmth, kindness and devotion, creating shared intimacy and erotic experiences, giving, receiving, sharing of each other - savouring these experiences (enhanced through slow, timeless sexual experiences), getting to know each other intimately, experiencing eye to eye contact, expressing our deepest desires, exploring our boundaries and fantasies can be rewarding. Dropping any expectations, allowing ourself to be sexually explorative, compassionately loving as well as passionately loving may also help us. Counter-intuitively taking pauses (especially if we believe, that faster and more is better or that sexual interactions are a science and not an art) may enable us to have a deeper sexual experience, especially when we stay present in the moment. Tuning into our own and partner's subtle sensations based on feeling, sensitivities, vibrations, intense sexual energies, rising and falling rhythms, arousal levels, slowing down, choosing to make love may enhance orgasmic experiences which are continuous rather than reaching for the singular destination of doing the climax experience or going to goal-orientated orgasm, which when our sexual energy is dispersed or depleted becomes over in a few seconds and quickly fades. We may need to open up to an infinite variety of sexual depth (not necessarily variety of positions, toys, sexy clothes, partners) by falling into a journey of intimate conscious moments of connection and growth, exploring the edges of what's possible outside of our normal boundaries in tune with ourself and our partner and attuned to the infinite varieties of speed, pressure, wildness, savageness, tenderness, gentleness, direction, texture, sensations, electricity, exploring and growing into new places inside, together - feeling, experiencing these through emotional connection, heart-based making love.
Sexual Differences & How We Engage
Not Fully Engaged Or Only Become Engaged During Sex Love and sex may not always belong together and may render one of us feeling empty, unfulfilled, disengaged. If we are in a relationship, sex may have become routine if the relationship, marriage is full of disinterest or we may have given up on our passions, have sexually closed down. There may be an imbalance in sexual generosity in giving, receiving, sharing. Being present to ourselves and our partner may not always be 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, especially if we are emotionally blocked, stay in our head or overly focused on sex, climax, orgasm, outcomes, performance, techniques, goals, positions, genitals or be sexually greedy. 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 as if dissociated from sexual encounters. 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, emotional 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. We may feel that we only matter or only get our sense of aliveness, excitement from our sexual energy, as if we cut off from the rest of us (see also Confusing Longing With Loving). 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, being in touch with our desire - expressing this, may be important. (See also One Or Both Of Us Not Interested In Sex With Our Partner, Different Libidos, Low Desire, High Desire, Desire Imbalance)
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 (see also Sexual High Maintenance). 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. Keeping a distance from our coupledom, embracing our separateness, can counter-intuitively enhance desire for some. 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 Our Biological Drives, Instincts, Urges, Impulses, Passion, Desires, Aspirations, Imagination). 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 Male and female exist as does gender and a spectrum of sexuality - outside of rigid notions, that is not necessarily based on anatomy, which also exists. Whether we are single or in a heterosexual relationship or same sex couple, we all experience the different parts of our inner masculine, inner feminine, decide upon our male, female role and this can change (see also Men & Women) and sometimes one is more expressed than the other and there will be certain preferences, differences between what we bring to the sexual relationship, the way both of us generously contribute, show affection publicly, share, give and receive love (see also Finding Out, Exploring Our Sexual Selves). There may be an imbalance of desire. One of us may be more passive or receptive, the other more dominant, active and for many the sexual relationship can thrive because of our yin yang differences. Early sexual experiences, previous sexual encounters, current differences, preferences may also be in play (see also Influence Of Our Sexual Past, History, Culture, Social & Religious Background) influencing us psychologically. 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, feel sexually safe, allow our sexual energy to ripple. Bringing out, expressing the polarities of our masculine, feminine sexual energy, different to that of our partner, may give each other a sexual charge as we explore these layers and this can be challenging if we have become so like friends or enmeshed (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns). We may want to enjoy sexual experiences, encounters, other than intercourse. Some may not want a monogamous relationship, explore casual sex, polyamory or seek multiple sexual relationships which for the other may be challenging, make us feel sexually unsafe and not something we feel comfortable with. Being very honest about our sexuality to ourself and our partner, willing to explore, discover the different parts of our sexual selves (including our sexual orientation - see also Exploring & Sexually Opening Up With Our Partner) may matter to us. And for some individuals, couples this may leave choices, decisions (about whether to be sexually exclusive with each other, stay together as companions, have open relationships, with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy - impacting on what loyalty and commitment means, or ending the relationship, or end relationship with an array of other options) - a decision one or both of us comes to. Especially with the prospect of a long term relationship we may want to overcome any fears before fully committing to our partner.
Imbalance Of Sexual Generosity In Giving, Receiving, Sharing Experiencing loving sex with our partner is such an intimate form of human bonding and this may have got lost in our relationship. For some couples the sexual imbalance of giving, receiving, sharing works fine (see also Giving, Receiving & Sharing Love - Loving & Being Loved). And for other couples it can put a strain on the relationship if sexual intimacy is not integrated into the rest of the shared relationship and there is no dual commitment for a participatory, healthy, positive sex life, mutual sexual pleasure, sexual union (see also Sexual Differences & How We Engage). Allowing ourself and our partner to take pleasure, be active in both giving and receiving, sometimes taking charge, being approaching and allowing ourselves to be approached, may be important for each other so our sexual journey of exploration, expression as a couple continues and is integrated as part of our relationship journey. For a thriving mutual sexual partnership it takes two to be equally committed to each other's sexuality, sexual expression. Sometimes one partner may be open, give their all, be willing to explore and the other doesn't respond or give their all - taking but not giving much back (see also Sexual High Maintenance). It can also be tempting to see them as lazy, blame them, yet far more constructive to talk about each other's sexual feelings, needs, desires.
One Or Both Of Us Not Interested In Sex With Our Partner, Different Libidos, Low Desire, High Desire, Desire Imbalance Some of us may have sexual desire but not for our partner. Others may have lost, have little or no sexual desire. There can be simple and complex reasons for these. Mismatched or differing libidos - one with low desire, the other with high desire may occur (see also Rekindling Sex, Reinvigorating, Deepening Our Sex Life). And each person, couple have a range of options when responding to differences of sexual desire, intimacy. And we are individually responsible for our sexual needs. For many, physical, sexual intimacy is vital to us in a life partner - an intricate central ingredient, essential for us in the relationship. And for others it is not so, where physical proximity is enough. And for many there is a lot between these sexual needs. Both partners may need to be willing to be committed to resolve sexual differences in truthful, honest, open ways, explore what else may be going on for us, other considerations, whatever the outcome. We or our partner may have a low libido, high libido (low sex drive or high sex drive). How to positively respond and compromise, "meet somewhere in the middle", if one of us feels more sexual that the other may be one challenge. Yet for some compromise may be the worst option where we both don't honour our truth and lose out. We may also want to consider whether it is more sex we would like or better loving sex, sexual union, more spontaneity - see also Not Fully Engaged Or Only Become Engaged During Sex. (One of us may only crave orgasms as the way we can feel in touch with ourself, let go, which can put our partner off.) For some, our low libido may be linked to feeling stressed, low, depressed or include other psychological considerations. Some men may have low testosterone levels. Others may repress, ignore or inhibit our desire, sexuality which is rarely in isolation of other factors in our life including absence of physical intimacy, imbalance of desire, little emotional connection. We may not initiate sex, or give out signals, which are interpreted as "available", as much as our partner. In our relationship, a familiar theme may be pulling and resisting. For example, when one of us initiates sex, the other may retreat and we may be caught in a control/resist, control/compliance, compliance/compliance system 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, where it is more important to have control over sex, than actually having sex. (And this system may bypass a true and generous sharing of love or joy between each other as a sexually loving couple.) It may help us, our partner to feel appreciated, loved, if occasionally we reverse roles as to who initiates sex. If we are withholding our sexual energy, not fully engaging, it may put our relationship in crisis and we may need to take responsibility for this. If our partner sexually withholds loving, sexual contact, responding to any sexual rejections may not be easy for us. We may feel hurt, rejected, frustrated, angry, heartbroken, lonely, helpless over our partner. Keeping our heart open with kindness and compassion, without the need to control, may help us learn what we need to understand that leads our partner to sexually withdraw. Discovering how each of us need to be loved (see Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love) may transform our libido. Learning (or re-learning) to experience love through touch may help some couples. Both of us may need to be willing to engage and take responsibility for our self, our needs, desires, unblocking the sexual energy between us as a couple. Prioritising being with a partner who we are sexually compatible may also be a consideration, either way we may need the courage to openly talk about things.
Responding To Our Sexual Differences It is natural that some couples can grow sexually apart after time together. And fearing close intimacy can also put us off sex. Some of us may struggle with our desire towards our partner, once the newness, excitement and unpredictability erodes - or the effect of being parents. Sexual passion, arousal and enlivening sex may be a concern, where the spark may have disappeared from our sexual relationship. How welcoming and appreciative we are, may also have an impact, alongside our willingness to emotionally connect and make an effort together. Expressing how we feel and what we need from each other may help us. How differences are responded to in the relationship may also relate to sexual differences. And these sexual differences may have been present when we first meet our partner, and we may somehow have expected our partner to change. We may take sexual differences personally, making them about us. And sometimes in our sexual life we may be faced with identifying what's non-negotiable for our personal happiness so we don't compromise. Strengthening the bonds between each other, creating an safe setting, shared intimate contact and loving mood creates a secure base and can also relieve our fear, anxiety. We may also want to experience trusting touch and affection without a sexual agenda being necessary. Making special time for affectionate, sensual sex (yet sometimes being intimate, sensual, without sex) may enrich us as a couple, when we follow our passion. How we respond to our partner, communicate, sexually dance together, co-operate may matter to us, as may being trusting and intimate, offering affectionate sexual contact, in tune with the pace of things, moods, being sexy and a considerate lover. Respecting our partner, how we give, receive and share, explore and open up with our partner, talk about our sexual feelings, our needs and preferences with our partner without withholding, blaming, shaming them (or us) may assist, as may remaining open to love and sexual contact, being present to our dynamic, sexual energy rather than isolating ourselves. We may be curious about exploring new or exciting ways of being sexually intimate. Bringing romance back, adding some old or new spice, being adventurous or daring, sexually spontaneous, or willing to explore new or different sexual contact, connections may be important. Experiencing a deeper soul connection, making love from the heart may matter to us. Opening up to deeper areas of our sexual life, integrating aspects previously not available to us, may also be important in order to deepen our sexual relationship, as we open to our masculine, feminine sexual energy. 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 (see also Sexual Differences Between Us & Our Partner) the yin and yang of polarities or 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 and women wanting to make love, may still be in play as may a woman's belief that their safety comes form a man and a man's role is to save, protect women - some of which may be healthy yet also limiting (see also Finding Out, Exploring Our Sexual Selves). We may also have our own sexual insecurities, concerns, sexual anxieties, secrets as a man or woman and our willing to explore with our partner the mystery of our man or woman, unwinding any bondages of conditioning around what it means to be a man, woman. We may want to become more self-assured as a sexual man or woman - feel less discomfort about our body, so we can relax, enjoy each other's bodies, feel a sense of ease in our male, female body. We may have challenges, concerns in how we receive, penetrate, penetrating each other's heart and soul with love - letting each other in. Men may experience dwindling impotence, inability to ejaculate, delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation or rapid ejaculation, erection difficulties - struggling to have or maintain erection (erectile dysfunction - ED) which may be associated with overusing pornography (porn-induced erectile dysfunction), orgasmic difficulties (see also Union - Orgasm, Orgasmic Experiences), some of which may be connected to regularity of porn overuse. Other men may have a level of psychological impotence (with a sense of impending doom), struggling to perform (performance anxiety), which may also 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 Compartmentalising Sex, Cycle Of Sexual Dissatisfaction - Staying In Our Head Or Overly Focused On Sex, Lust, Climax, Orgasm, Speed, Outcomes, Performance, Techniques, Goals, Positions, Genitals, Stuck In Over-Familiar Roles). 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 (see also Union - Orgasm, Orgasmic Experiences) or experience painful intercourse. Painful penetration may be a problem. Without shame or being passive, we may want to be in touch with what it means to be feminine and vulnerable, in our creative power with healthy boundaries. As a woman we may prefer clitoral stimulation rather than penetration alone. The impact of superficial (or porn-led) sex on a purely physical level to obtain a quick orgasm, ejaculation, pleasure our partner or procreate may build up tension (e.g. headaches), whereas orgasmic experience may be of a different nature when we take care of and respond to the fullness of our sexual energy supported by sharing with our partner about our sexual feelings, needs, desires.
Exploring & Sexually Opening Up With Our Partner
Finding Out, Exploring Our Sexual Selves We all have different levels of sexuality and may have certain sexual doubts, contradictions and on a spectrum of sexuality, questioning if we are gay, lesbian, straight, other. Honouring our sexuality, feeling comfortable with, expressing our sexual selves may be important to us. We each have our own ways of rediscovering and getting to know our sexual self and what our bodies really want (see also Sexual Experimentation In A Loving Relationship) - the sexual man, sexual woman, sexual orientations we are through mental and physical stimulation on our own and with another (see also Sexual Differences Between Us & Our Partner). Different erotic triggers work for different people, different moods and bringing back sexual passion - breathing our passion into life, intensifying our desire for affection, love, erotic sexual intimacy may matter to us. We may have inhibited the spirit of our desire. Sustaining desire can be problematic for some, especially if we are trying so hard to be normal and keep things routine without exploring and opening up with our partner. We may want to talk about, share our sexual feelings, needs, desires with our partner. Our relationship can be familiar, give us a sense of belonging, identity, continuity, comfort. We may have given up our passion, show disinterest when our relationship becomes secure, predictable, when our partner may have become our soulmate, trusted best friend (see also Expecting, Assuming, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs). These qualities on the one hand anchor us and our relationship, yet on the other hand being intimate, not just around sex, may have also got lost where our sexual journey, exploration and expression as a couple continues, and may be of a different frequency, requiring a less than predictable response.
Sexual Exploration In A Relationship Rather than doing what we are supposed to do, be as we are suppose to be, finding out, exploring our sexual selves may be important. We don't have to agree to do things we don't really want to do and can say "No", be clear about our boundaries and our "yes's". Being accepting of our own and each other's sexual self and feeling sexually safe, trusting may also be important so we can also say what we desire (see also Difficulties Being In Touch With & Asking For What We Need, How To Know, Name & Respect Our Needs - Speaking Up For Ourselves & Letting Others, Our Partner Know What Works Best For Us). We may want to almost start again in our sexual relationship with our partner, drop all expectations, to light-heartedly learn about how our body and our lover's body works in creative, loving ways, to improve the quality of our emotional connection alongside our sexual experience, enjoyment, performance without pressure. We may be drawn to sex to experiment and explore our sexuality, sexual self-esteem and freedom, to value our sexuality, be in touch with expressing and celebrating our sexual being, enhancing our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and relationship. We may want to relax in our sensual surroundings (e.g. not taking our technology to bed with us), enjoy a good and pleasurable sexual life, intimacy, have meaningful loving sex, allow and let things happen naturally, which takes openness (including open communication), effort and paradoxically letting go, being open to our imagination and fantasies, curiosity, making quality time together and being open to learning, exploring and opening up with our partner, experimenting, expanding our sexual repertoire, valuing our taste and preferences, subjective experiences of how we feel, less about what we "do". 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.
Talking About, Sharing Our Sexual Feelings, Needs, Desires, With Our Partner Talking about sex with our partner can dampen things as a couple rather than expressing our sexuality directly with them yet at other times in tender moments this can help deeper sexual connection. We may inhibit the spirit of our desire and want to find out, explore our sexual selves, sustaining, channelling, harnessing, following, expressing our sexual energy, passion, desire, spirit, affection and creativity. How we take a risk and share ourselves, our vulnerability, talk about our sexual desires, feelings and needs, expressing them, has the potential to be creative, lead to intimacy or be a passion killer especially if we take for granted our partner, under-playing the value of expressing our appreciation, gratitude. Talking, sharing openly about our sexuality, giving honest, genuine feedback about what we enjoy, gives us pleasure, expressing our desires and preferences for some can be potentially embarrassing. We may want to talk about our feelings, yet are hesitant or deem it inappropriate, viewing sex as a private matter, strictly confined to its activity in the bedroom or a specific time of day, that sex shouldn't be spoken about. We are each responsible for our own sexual needs. Being open, can be the ingredient for exploring each other's sexual needs, expression and for others creating a fun, erotically charged environment. 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 - see also Feeling Sexually Safe). We may want to be courageous, freer, more open and transparent, relaxed, truthfully talking and specifically about our sexual feelings, desires 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 specific stimulation 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 (and we don't have to share all this), we will be rejected (and some may push talking about each other's sexual past 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 experiences, messages, we picked up in our upbringing. We may want to be open to learning together with our partner through sharing love, respectful sexual self-disclosure, in a tender, open, safe space without us or them having to give ourself up in an atmosphere of dual commitment to giving each other sexual pleasure. Expressing intimate emotions may be important to us. (See also Emotional Engagement, Emotional Connection, Emotional Intimacy)
Sexual Experimentation In A Loving Relationship Being attracted to the person not necessarily their gender, label of sexuality, may be what attracts us, connects us. Being non-monogamous, having more than one sexual partner, experimenting with our sexuality, sexual orientation in or outside of a one to one relationship may for some be our lifestyle which may for others be unsatisfactory leading to certain problems. (See also Serial Sexual Relationships, Cheating In Our Relationship) Others may want to explore, experiment with their sexuality within their loving monogamous relationship. We may be holding a lot of questions: What is sexually safe, 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 risk, explore, expand our sexual repertoire and trust what we enjoy, experimenting at our own pace in a loving, sexually generous relationship, can be important to us, where we are less frightened to be truly ourself (or discover new previously unknown aspects of our sexual self), so we don't have to lose ourself or give ourself away in our relationship and we don't have to use sex for validation. As our sexual relationship develops, feels safe we may wonder how we can feel secure, yet allow for the unexplored, surprises, spontaneity, our red light district, imagination, fantasies, let go of our need to overly please, satisfy or be stuck in what we believe we are allowed to like, so we lose ourself to our primal all-consuming passion, and discover the fullness of our sexual selves with wild abandon (responding to the nature of our and their lust, wild, savage and tame, gentle animal within) - open to the mysterious, creative, sexually playful side of us, following our intuition, senses, feelings for a new or different energy to emerge, so the erotic is not forbidden which may include what can be perverse, disgusting, exciting, beautiful and loving. (See also Sustaining, Channelling, Harnessing, Following, Expressing Our Sexual Energy, Passion, Desire, Spirit, Affection & Creativity)
Sexual Desire, Energy, Passion, Eroticism, Imagination, Fantasy, Drives, Urges, Impulses
Love & Desire In The Mix As a lover we may conflate love and desire as if they are the same, 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 trust our desire and are free-spirited (also free of caretaking, without any part being emotionally 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.
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. (Others, who were loved through the experience of sexual humiliation, shaming, abuse, may equate "love" with sex - that if we are loved, love, we must be sexual.) We may also confuse sexual attention for loving attention. 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 any more as if they should generate the sexual charge and excitement without doing this for ourselves, yet as we connect to our own sexual energy, things may shift (see also Not Fully Engaged Or Only Become Engaged During Sex). 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 as if our sexual relationship becomes high maintenance. 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 our and others' sexual selves, being loving, making love together. Our longing, searching for sexual 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)
- To be validated
- 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)
- Believing we have to have sex with our partner, someone, in order to feel safe (see also Sexual Attitudes, Beliefs, Thoughts, Expectations)
Inhibiting The Spirit Of Our Desire 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 emotional neediness, so our sexual relationship can flourish. It is common that sex is more frequent at the beginning of the relationship. 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. One or both of us may overly please or have sexually closed down and want to find out, explore our sexual selves, how to sustain, channel, harness, follow, express our sexual energy, passion, desire, spirit, affection and creativity, talk about, share our sexual feelings, needs, desires with our partner. Bringing back sexual 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
- Being caught in rigid ways of sexual correctness, appropriateness, that restrict our range of sexual expression
- 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
Tuning Into, Expressing, Receiving, Appreciating Our Desires We may deny, repress, suppress responses to our sexual desires, believing they are unobtainable, we don't deserve desire, have fears that they might be too much. Sinking into our body, listening, tuning into trusting, following and nurturing our desires, senses - giving them attention, what pleasures, nourishes, connects us without shame may be important as may differentiating between preference - what just feels right and true desire - a deep seated feeling that carries a push, thread of rightness. We may want to unlock our true desires - let out all the love we have inside and tap in to our partner's desires, co-creating and responding to this energy.
Masculine, Feminine Sexual Energy For some men, it can help connect to the pulse and fullness of our masculine sexual energy by letting our mature man out with no defenses - remaining open, vulnerable from our feelings perspective rather than being goal orientated serving the female sexual energy - feeling this, (not understanding it). Both of us may want to contact the vitality, fire or glow of our own passion, aliveness and heightened sexuality, so we can bring this energy to our partner (where , the polarities of our sexual, circular energy, become like two sides of the same coin pulsating together). And when both partners are willing to meet each other in this way, this can create and nurture an alive, exciting, tender, evolving, flowing, vibrating sexual chemistry, transformative in its nature through sexual union moment by moment. And this may include holding back from discharging the sexual energy through ejaculation, climax, putting our focus on sensitivities, where the feeling of flesh becomes of less significance.
Rekindling Sex, Reinvigorating, Deepening Our Sex Life Sexual chemistry can be especially essential to sustaining passion in the early stages of relationship yet for passion to continue, emotional connection, tenderness may also be important. We may have a compassionate love for each other, lack a consummate love or may have fallen out of love. Others, staying in our head, may feel sexually switched off inside and want to find out, explore our sexual selves and how we sexually engage. We may want to discover and live our true sexuality in explorative, loving ways. Some couples try to reinvigorate their sex life by creating more space, distance, drama or mystery, allowing for romance to flourish, which can temporarily work for some, yet underlying feelings, needs, may also be in play. We may be committed to our relationship in every other way except sexually with our partner, not view this as part of our commitment. Things may have become routine and the sexual spark and passion may have dwindled (see also One Or Both Of Us Not Interested In Sex With Our Partner, Different Libidos, Low Desire, High Desire, Desire Imbalance) disappeared out of our relationship, marriage for various reasons and we may want to keep love, desire and sexuality alive within our relationship. Investing our sexual energy, taking action to breathe passion in our sexual energy, creating the right mood, ambiance may be important. Reinvigorating, enriching, bringing our aliveness into the relationship, fostering closeness and intimacy and emotional connection, being loving in all the ways we can, personally in touch and connecting with our own desire, deepening our sexual union may be important. Reintroducing sexual experimentation, the unpredictable elements, imagination, fantasies, excitement, making room, allowing for surprises, rediscovering together what turns us on, exploring, changing the way we sexually relate (see also Sustaining, Channelling, Harnessing, Following, Expressing Our Sexual Energy, Passion, Desire, Spirit, Affection & Creativity), exploring and sexually opening up with our partner may be something we want to do.
Sustaining, Channelling, Harnessing, Following, Expressing Our Sexual Energy, Passion, Desire, Spirit, Affection & Creativity We may inhibit the spirit of our desire, want to find out, explore our sexual selves (including self-pleasure), talk about our sexual feelings, needs, desires with our partner There may be a desire imbalance between us. Our libidos may not always be synchronised. It is natural that passion in long-term relationships waxes and wanes, and not unlike the moon, 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. Sexuality i the outcome of the loving energy flow between us as a couple and if something is blocking this loving energy, the sexual energy between us as a couple may also become blocked. Reinvigorating our sex life may be what we desire, and it is the motivating force of our very desire - putting our attention there, aliveness - when drawn into our body, vibrancy, vitality and sexual energy, that can deepen, reinvigorate the sexual relationship as we feel more nourished, open to connection. Yet sexual energy doesn't have to mean copulation, penetration. The passionate lover in us both may have gone into hiding or stuck in sexual roles which have become over-familiar. We may want to get away from our usual patterns, creating sexual privacy, a tender, gentle, space, which belongs to us as a couple for the depth of our sexuality and desires to be discovered, harnessed, channelled, expressed in each moment. Changing the environment, spending quality, loving time to arouse our sexual desire in pleasurable and connecting ways may help invigorate things together. Experiencing sexual pleasure in different evocative or romantic places and movements, being creative or luxurious, can help couples. One of us may prefer to feel overwhelmingly desired, wanting our partner to excite us, the other may want to excite our partner. Flirting in ways that our partner enjoys can bring anticipation, excitement and arousal into our sexual lives. Including foreplay as a part of the fabric of our relationship, and not quick precursor to sex, may support us. We may have forgotten how even sensual kissing (especially in unguarded, spontaneous moments) may be a powerful yet subtle expression of our passion. We may have limited our sexual expression or have been unwilling to risk our sexual selves to enter into the unknown (willing to explore the unfamiliar territory of each other's "red light district"), going to places we haven't been before, offering each other fully, creating communion with our partner, allowing for the unexpected surprises, spontaneity, mystery and adventure allowing for deep connection and the sexual energy to naturally rise and fall, sensing when we need to pause, stop, conserving our sexual energy. Transcending the mystery and awe of sex into unknown places can introduce a different element of alchemic sexual connection. Whatever our sexuality, masculine, feminine energy, we may want to liberate our sexual energy (without fear we are too much), evolving, transforming this, give, receive, share without obligation or guilt, get out of our head, into our body, tune in to our senses, intuition to be open to sexual connection, channelling, harnessing this - completely absorbed, present in the experience, where we and our partner at different times are active in giving and receiving, leading, directing, yielding, submitting. (See also Sexual Experimentation In A Loving Relationship)
Mystery is not about travelling to new places, but looking with new eyes.Marcel Proust
Sexual Imagination, Fantasies, Daydreaming In order for our desire to be fulfilled it may need a bridge to cross, and that bridge may be daydreaming, 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 personally and together as a couple, to behave in ways we want to explore, develop an evolving poetic language personally and 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 (beyond reason), discover new ingredients, see what happens, be drawn to our partner when they are passionate about things, in their element, radiant. In our relationship, we may want to be more relaxed, 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, daring, sexually playful, curious, dark, safely aggressive, enigmatic, even express our infantile wishes, transcend familiar places towards sexual union. How our relationship with our partner is, how we communicate, compromise, influences our sexual exploration. We may have choices to make about how imperative it is to act out all our sexual daydreaming, fantasies and how important it is to value our relationship (see also Sexual Expectations, Attitudes, Assumptions, Beliefs & Thoughts). Some sexual fantasies - the erotic space of our own, interior life, erotic dreams may best remain fantasised in our head and in a relationship we can't always have it all and just because we have sexual fantasies it doesn't mean we have to actually experience all of them, which may be delusional. And when we realise we don't have to act on our sexual fantasies, this can keep us, our partner and the relationship safe. 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. Others may have rich sexual imagination, fantasies, yet struggle to relate emotionally which can be explored in the sexual counselling. Sometimes it can be as if our inner child is acting out feelings of falling in love as if caught in a fantasy bond - re-enacting the imagined, illusionary love we never received from one of our parents. (See also Exploring & Sexually Opening Up With Our Partner)
Our Biological Drives, Instincts, Urges, Impulses, Passion, Desires, Aspirations, Imagination Our desires are not rational. Also we all have impulses and we don't always have to give in to them. Sometimes desire and reason may pull in different directions (see also On Autopilot - Our Will Captured By Desire). Our desires shape our beliefs and are aroused by our drives - physical and emotional, alongside other factors. We are all biological beings with instinctual, powerful drives for food, status, power, territory and sex, yet not only. And some of these may live in our shadow. Some of us may deny, suppress, repress aspects of us, we would rather not acknowledge, including our lust, passions, sexual energy, 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 be bigger than them, 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. We 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. We may see sex as something we do. Some of us may cut off our instinctive and physical aspects of sexuality as separate and independent from our emotional and psychological experiences - our sexuality and sensual physical pleasure, emotional union with another and the creativity of something coming into form. 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 aimSigmund Freud
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.
Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity Some of us may want to be more in touch with our passions, desires, aspirations. Others may have a problem controlling our sexual arousal, sexual urges, as if the fires of our passion need containment (see also Boundary Setting Counselling - Self-Control), neglecting our own wisdom. We may have become overly focused on sex, performance, genitals. Maybe ignoring what is sacred in us, others, 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 (see also Intuition & Inner Knowing - Gut Feelings, Hunches, Instinct, Improvising). 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. Alongside our free will, this may take practice with little and increasing significant acts of will, supported by our resilience, boundaries, self-control. 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. When we need to we can train ourselves to notice arousal, instinct without giving them energy (see also Emotional Responsibility, Emotional Energy, Emotional Health, Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Evaluation, Emotional Strength, Emotional Resilience, Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Growth, Emotional Maturity - Being Emotionally Connected) and move on swiftly. (See also Accessing Motivation, Acting From Our Personal Will, Heart)
Union & Orgasmic Experiences
Eros in the Greek mythology was uniting and we humans may have a desire for union, being present, connected - fully engaged, attuned with ourself and our partner tuning into each other's needs, breathing in a profound deep experience exploring, expressing our deepest possibilities in mutual entity of togetherness, oneness, deep connection with an other in blissful bonding through erotic sexual intimacy. Being truthful, honest, real, authentic, emotionally safe (allowing for a range of surprising, trapped or stagnated emotions to arise, e.g. sadness, grief, anger alongside joy, pleasure) can be the foundation for facilitating loving sexual union, when we ourself are loving, respectful, devoted, hold a dignity of each other's profound humanity, mellowness, spirituality - whatever that means for us. And when we co-create sexual union with our sexual energies, this can temporary remove our experience of difference, otherness - giving us pleasure, relief, yet we may return to separateness, difference, existential loneliness. Choosing to wake up sexually, being in tune with and following the dynamic polarities of our sexual energy and direction of our desires, making love from the heart, sharing each other (maybe asking for what we need), discovering beauty, connecting skin-deep and beyond, offering ourselves fully to each other may be exactly what we need to do as may being carefree, playful, light-hearted together.
The art of loving sexual union can occur when our mind is quiet, we've dropped our ego, defences outside the bedroom door, our tensions, barriers between us, so we experience heart-based love making. Our inhibitions soften as we get out of our head and are no longer overly focused on sex, climax, orgasm, performance, goals, positions or genitals because we have let go of getting it right. We may want to let something new emerge, mix the interplay of sexual energy, share intimacy, emotional connection - give, receive, share love with each other through our whole body and soul in meaningful ways. Allowing for the unknown, mystery, through loving exploration, experimentation, surrendering to what unfolds, being relaxed, opening in our body, softening our heart following our intuition and our feelings moment by moment, exploring where this takes us on our sexual journey together (without any destination), can facilitate loving sexual union. And as we continue to let go, we are able to surrender to the flow of loving sexual energy between our self and our partner, staying connected, discovering being in tune with ourself and each other, creating a communion with this energy (see also State Of Interdependence (Coming Together As A Couple Yet Retaining Our Separate Identity)). We may want to be open to what emerges, explore, express and share the creative, unfolding layers of transformative, vital sexual energy, being fully in our body - inside and out, in touch with all our senses, including our inner masculine and feminine energy, our external and internal sensations, ripples, pulsations, vibrations, tingling, quivering and involuntary contractions. As if in a different world, savouring each other through our sexual bonding, we may choose to make love mixing and matching the to-ing and fro-ing of sexual energy like an unfolding sexual dance (slow, slow, quick, quick, slow as the foxtrot goes - or whatever mood dance we are in), swimming together in a loving sea of pleasure, ranging through stillness, slow motion, gentle, tender, subtle movements, through to devouring, ravishing, possessing, being possessed, engulfing each other and riding, surfing the waves of both inside and outside the depths of volcanic peaks and troughs.
Union - Orgasm, Orgasmic Experiences (Some of us may struggle with orgasm and if we do - including when pleasuring ourself we may want to explore, get to know, feel connected to what's inside our body, our own sensations, vibrations and we can also explore this with our partner as if an alchemic process. When sexual with our partner, we may need to drop inside ourself, remain open to discover who we are, our nuances, what happens inside, choosing whether to express our moods. The quality of our physical contact becomes enhanced by being energetically, holistically connected with our partner (rather than rush to orgasm) experiencing heart to heart contact, centre to centre, soul to soul. And when all our body opens up as an erogenous zone, we may express our sensual love sexually, connecting at the level of sensation, through loving each other body to body (transcending our ego, getting completely lost, being natural, part of nature, in touch with all its elements - earth, air, fire, water, ether) and following our desires (see also Talking About, Sharing Our Sexual Feelings, Needs, Desires, With Our Partner). Sexual union can be experienced through being in each moment with the energetic exchange of touch, caressing, stroking, kissing, giving, receiving, sharing sexual pleasure in a myriad of spontaneous and surprising ways, making love on each occasion as if for the first time so we experience different optimal states of consciousness, the subtle energies of orgasmic experience without the momentary over and out fleeting nature experience of orgasm and the addictive neuro-chemicals of dopamine etc. - (which can be counter intuitive to hold back from). When we override the need for instant gratification, this can take us to a different level of orgasmic pleasurable states which exceed orgasm yet are on the brink of orgasm, riding on its wave, surfing the crest of ecstasy without falling into climax, ejaculation as we stay together longer - a feeling of expansion, vibrating orgasmic tides of rising and falling waves, radiating energy pulsating through a full body experience, continuously, deeply echoing, vibrating as our antenna is sending, receiving delightful signals all over our body and beyond, cosmically as if we are visiting the Sun, Moon, sparks of stars and underworld of sexual exquisiteness (these golden moments for some can be described as a Khundalini opening). In these tender, magical ecstatic moments of aesthetic delight, pure feeling and avalanche of sensation, textures, flow, some experience oneness, joy or shared joy as divine lovers or a long lasting sense of expansive timeless space (as if our being is in infinity with no past, no future where we go off somewhere else, disappear into some revelatory dream) - like a meditation, slowing down, where spirit flows through us, as if our whole existence is concentrated like a peak experiences or mystical experiences floating in this current of bliss. And this orgasmic state or being one with ourself and the world, being connected without separation, an opening into infinity, we may have no idea how we have got there yet make a link between the nourishment, transformation, warm glow, elevated mood, joy and bliss, phenomenon of divine sexual union and sacred embrace, Khundalini experience with spiritual union.
Prolonged Sexual Union, Slow Sex - Slowing Down Embracing A Loving Space Together Some of us can feel in harmony with ourself and our partner when we get out of our head, are less focused on sex, climax, orgasm, outcomes, performance, techniques, goals, positions, genitals, over-familiar roles and move into the timeless, open-spaciousness of laying with our partner in receptivity, attached in loving sexual embrace fully open to what's happening, in stillness (or still as possible) yet aliveness - a vibration in pure feeling and senses as our mind disappears through our emotional connection - savouring this unfolding process, attuned in each moment to each other's sexual energy unfolding, heart ro heart, genital to genital, hardly moving in serene calmness, experiencing a spiritual and physical connection, plugged in to each other - deeply (with or without eye contact), entwined in togetherness where orgasmic experiences happen and orgasm may occur as if from nowhere. (See also Sustaining, Channelling, Harnessing, Following, Expressing Our Sexual Energy, Passion, Desire, Spirit, Affection & Creativity)
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