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Lets Talk About Sex!

April 1st, 2013

Blog Format

This should be an exciting newsletter judging by the title, right? However it may not be your usual "sex talk," and I assure you it is not an April's Fool issue!

sex-issue

A little over a week ago, I attended the 2013 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in DC. I had the opportunity to listen to amazing presenters and leaders in the field of Psychotherapy, Personal Growth, Mindfulness, etc. needless to say I was in my element!

Anyway, one of the speakers was Dr. Barry McCarthy, he has been studying sex for most of his carrier, and has authored 11 books on the topic. He is a couple therapist and a sex expert. I had a few insights when listening to him, and that is what inspired today's newsletter.

His first statement was that sex is very complex, and a very unique experience to each individual, so sex is an experience, there is no science about it, and it varies from person to person.

Sex can be described as different kinds of touch that can be: sensual, playful, erotic (non-intercourse or intercourse). And sex has different roles and meanings depending on when and how it happens. Here below are some of the roles it can play:

  • A relaxing and tension relieving practice
  • A deep way of showing love and affection
  • A comforting act to sooth pain and grief
  • A pleasure sharing activity
  • A boost of self-esteem
  • A procreation method
  • A spiritual practice

As for pleasure, it can be achieved through masturbation alone, but one of the greatest roles of sex is to connect people at a very deep level, that is why it is also called "lovemaking."

Lovemaking is a beautiful act when it is done respectfully, by acknowledging the other person and trying to find some balance in the giving and receiving of it. Which is why it is important to feel safe with the person you are sharing the experience with.

Sex may not fulfill the same role to the people involved, and that is OK, as long as there is respect and open communication. The problem is, in many cases there is very little communication about it, being a taboo subject, people have a hard time talking about it, even with their spouses!!
Also, being such a natural part of our human existence, many people assume there is nothing to talk about because it is instinctive and it should just work out!

However, there is much more to sex than our instinctive drive, sex is 90% in our minds! so it is very subjective. Therefore, talking about sex (openly and respectfully) with your partner is very important in order to avoid frustration, misunderstandings and resentments. Communication is crucial to having a better experience.

Also, it is important to start off always with acceptance and then build up to a sexual relationship that works for both partners, as opposed to starting off with high expectations and criticism, which can really scar people and relationships. Criticism can be really damaging in the sex arena, because we are at our most vulnerable state.

As human beings we all have a sexual voice, but many people don't really own it, in great extent because of the collective taboo that has always existed around sex, and the misleading information out there. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of or intimidated by, and it is important to find our own voice, not just follow what the collective social rules say or what porn movies show (actually the latter is probably the most misleading depiction of sex there is).

It is important to know what you want and what you don't and to be able to communicate it freely to your partner, with love and respect. Whether you are married, single, in a long-lasting or short-lasting relationship.

Sex is NOT about individual performance, nor is it a competition, sex is a high expression of human connection, and it is a gift, a gift that you give and receive, but it doesn't need to happen at the same time, sometimes you can be at the receiving end and at other times at the giving end, and that is OK.

According to some spiritual traditions like Taoism, sexual energy is incredibly transformative and it can become spiritual energy. If you are interested in knowing more about Taoist Practices, I highly recommend the books: Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy and Healing Love through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy

So, a few important points to remember:

  • It is important to find your own sexual voice and own it
  • Communication is key to a fulfilling sexual relationship
  • Sex can play a different role for both partners at any given time
  • Every sexual experience is unique
  • There are no set rules, as long as both partners agree
  • Sex and spirituality do not need to be at odds

And last but not least, as we age, our bodies change and so does our sexuality, we have to adapt to a "new normal," which doesn't mean in any way giving up on it!. It is important to remember that our whole body is sexual and we can experience pleasure and all the other benefits of sex in many different ways. Aging can be taken as an opportunity to explore and be creative sexually.

Have a great week!

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