Changing our relationship to sex, sexuality, and our bodies

sexuality, intimate relationships, partners, sex talk

Changing our relationship to sex, sexuality, and our bodies

changing our relationship to sex, sexuality, intimate relationships, partners, sex talkWhy are we so uncomfortable with sex? Seeing it, talking about it, having it, making it work for us. Let’s talk about changing our relationship to sex, to our sexuality, and to our bodies.

Most of us want some kind of intimacy in our lives. And if asked, most of us would say that we would like to feel pleasure. If we want sexual pleasure we have to figure out how to articulate that. For ourselves and our partners. What gets in the way can be embarrassment, or a lack of experience, or shame.

Sex is everywhere we look. The vast majority of what we see is beautifully airbrushed, young, pretty people having sex. Perfect sex. She magically orgasms in minutes. His performance is stellar. In reality sex doesn’t happen that way. Our bodies don’t look like that. We fumble, we can’t get the right parts aligned, or something hurts. Or something wilts. We aren’t always in the mood. Our bodies don’t feel pretty/thin/young enough for sex. We rarely orgasm spontaneously. And our partner may not be adept at giving us what we need in order to maximize our pleasure—even when he wants to do so.

We are born with sexual feelings. Our bodies respond to pleasure before we even understand what’s happening. We are born with erogenous zones—the clitoris’s only purpose is pleasure.

So why is the idea of sex so often wrapped in shame or portrayed as something dirty and sinful? Why can’t we talk about it?

We lack the language to talk about our sexual desires. In the movies we see sex but we don’t see the preliminary steps that lead up to it. We don’t see two people talking about having sex. No one states what they like. It’s an automatic assumption that the man just knows. We’re missing the conversations that lead to greater intimacy. In movies it just happens. Magically. Flawlessly. She orgasms. (It’s always a given that he will climax). No talks about condoms or possible STDS.

We can be forgiven for not knowing how to talk about what we want. Doubly so if you’re a woman—schooled to be the giver. The quiet one, tied to a man who inherits, by virtue of having a penis, the role of initiator and expert. Yet, many men feel some degree of uncertainty about sex and may experience similar feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment.

I have never once had a prospective male partner talk to me about sex, not counting ‘dirty’ talk. I’ve rarely experienced a prospective partner ask about sexually transmitted infections, or what I liked sexually or if I had any preferences. More than once, in my suggesting a ‘sex talk’ and scheduling testing for possible infections I’ve encountered resistance and discomfort.

We are not accustomed to having these conversations. We don’t know how to talk about a subject that feels taboo in the light of day, but perfectly acceptable in dark rooms. Men, as a rule, are uncomfortable with outspoken women. The act of asking for what gives us pleasure is in some ways seen as a judgment of our partner’s prowess. Too often we’re expected to be sexy for a man, which is different from being sexy for ourselves.

It is a delicate conversation on many levels.

What I’m really talking about is our right, and our ability, to figure out what we want in an intimate encounter. And communicate that.

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I believe most of us want intimacy. We want closeness. We want to be desired and we want to feel sexual in our own bodies.

I believe it is possible for women to learn how to talk about what they want in an intimate encounter.

I believe that men want to please women and in order to do that they need to know more about our bodies.

I believe we can become better lovers by learning our body’s responses to touch by self-pleasuring and sharing what we’ve learned. We can’t help a partner pleasure us sexually if we are not aware of how our body responds.

I believe communication is our sexiest and most effective tool for satisfying, mutually pleasurable sex.

Sexual pleasure, whether solo or with a partner, is a delightful thing to have in our lives. We will find a sense of satisfaction, of delight and laugher, and intimacy when we allow ourselves to be open to sexual pleasure. It expands rather than shames or degrades us.   And, yes it can be scary and we may face fears or those moments when it’s not as good as we wished. But it’s an ever changing, evolving experience. And in my mind it’s worth the time and effort to nurture the connection.

 

Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash

8 Comments
  • Jeff Rutherford
    Posted at 10:06h, 18 April Reply

    If someone is resistant about testing or discussing testing, that’s a hard no.

    You might be interested in this series of videos about these types of conversations/discussions:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CTOa9IwQd4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgN9HtOK_7M

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVN4dKCRoz8

    I heard the creator of these short videos/films interviewed on the Savage Lovecast podcast about a year or so ago.

    • Walker Thornton
      Posted at 10:19h, 18 April Reply

      Thanks Jeff, I’ll take a look. Having the conversation about STDs is one of the most difficult thing for folks to do, particularly older adults coming back to the dating game–in my experience.

  • Ninah Hanson
    Posted at 13:10h, 18 April Reply

    “The man who isn’t willing to have that preliminary conversation, who won’t address STDS, or refuses to wear a condom doesn’t earn the right to be in bed with me. I’m clear on that. “

    So often this discussion ends the evening. Each time I feel I dodged a bullet! It’s especially after the 3rd date.. A lot over condom use.. they may be on a self-destructive path, but say they want a woman who’s more compliant. I’m not that desperate

    • Walker Thornton
      Posted at 07:27h, 19 April Reply

      Good for you. What I believe and say to groups in talks on dating, is that the man who isn’t willing to help protect you doesn’t respect you. It really is that simple–though incredibly difficult in the moment–and I admit to having been less careful in my earlier dating days. I don’t know that any man is fabulous enough to risk getting a sexually transmitted infection.

  • Janet Givens
    Posted at 15:49h, 18 April Reply

    Good sex burns calories, too. 300 or more I think. Any idea?

    • Walker Thornton
      Posted at 07:28h, 19 April Reply

      I’ve never thought to check that. I imagine it burns calories, the more active, the more burned.

  • Shari Broder
    Posted at 18:27h, 24 April Reply

    Very true! Humans are so afraid of being vulnerable, but you can’t have good sex without vulnerability. We”ve got nothing to lose by communicating!

    • Walker Thornton
      Posted at 08:46h, 25 April Reply

      You’re right, we’ve got nothing to lose. And it’s very affirming to communicate one’s thoughts and feel heard!

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