How we experience our sexuality has a lot to do with bodies: how we like to touch and be touched, how we respond to different kinds of stimulation that may change our sexual desire and responses. But that’s not the whole picture. A big part of our sex lives is defined by the things we have learned about sex, by what we think and how we feel about sex and also by what we know and believe about relationships.
The brain is the biggest sexual organ – that’s right. Just think about that for a moment…..
For many people great sex happens when there is an emotional connection with your partner. The essence of sexuality is not individual sexual performance, it is two people sharing pleasure that has multiple roles, meanings, and outcomes.
Our thoughts and beliefs about sex can lead us to a great, fulfilling sex life; or it can fill us with shame and guilt. There is no right or wrong way to experience sexuality and no one should be allowed to define your sexuality for you. The power is in your hands to dismiss the scripts being hurled at us from every direction and to write our own sexual story.
When we talk about scripts we mean the messages we can from others about how things ‘should’ be. Anytime we hear the word should from clients we challenge with – Who says?
We hear messages around our bodies which can come in many forms. The media, our peer group, friends and family. It can also come from our culture and society. Attitudes towards how we dress or present ourselves. Who decides what is sexy? It can be different things to different people – depending how we think and feel about it.
If we go back to the beginning, perhaps we should look at how we think and feel about sex. The start of intimate relationships can be intoxicating and addictive. Over time the honeymoon period can wear off. Less care taken of the relationship perhaps? As people come together and form longer term relationships there can be little (or big) moments that knock them. In our client work, we find clients can ignore the seemingly unimportant issues going on between them. They forget to spend time together but when one of them realises the intimacy has gone, that maybe the time they decide to seek help.
There can be a mismatch in levels of sexual desire. That may not just be down to libido – it might just be someone is feeling differently about sex and intimacy. Perhaps the emotional connection has waned or been neglected. We all need to take care of the relationships in our lives.
John Gottman, a highly regarded relationship expert, has developed an evidence-based approach to couples therapy has defined a 5 to 1 rule. This rule states that for every negative thing you or your partner does or says in the relationship, you should do 5 positive things to counteract the impact of the one negative. It’s not even necessarily that you or your partner do 5 positive things as much as you recall or remember 5 positive things about the other and how they are there for and choose you. Give it a go and see how it works for you.
If you feel you need to talk through how you are feeling about your relationship or maybe you and your partner or partners would like some counselling to help you work out issues between you, talk to us. We can help and are experienced in working with traditional and non monogamous relationships.
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