happy sex girl

Good Sex, Happy Sex, Conscious Sex: Let’s Parse What We Know

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Some people are not as excited about sex as I am. Some people are much more excited about sex than I could ever be. And some people make their living showing people how to have better and better sex. What are the lessons I’ve learned in 10-years of marriage and 11-years as a single parent?

Sex Is a Personal Issue

How YOU experience sex is a completely personal choice. Some of us are more inclined towards sex. Some, due to trauma or experience with disconnected sex are less motivated towards fulfilling sex. The first step in understanding how sex works for you is to spend some time exploring what pleases you. Without a partner. What are the things that still turn you on? What are the ways you like to be pleasured? What are some things you might like to try but haven’t had the opportunity to experience?

I recall, early in my post-divorce dating ambition, I was all hot for sex. Any sex. Sex in the final few years of my marriage had been infrequent and a bit overly controlled. I was finding myself learning more about what pleased me, without the participation or interest of my then-wife. She was in some other mode. She was figuring out how to divorce me and maximize her opportunities. It was something she used to talk about when we were dating. “Minimize the risk, maximize opportunities.”

So, in one early coupling, with a woman I had seen three times, was fun but unfulfilling. We had pleasurable sex. I did not have an orgasm. It was okay. “Yeah,” she said. “You do you. I”ll do me.” It was the right approach for an early dating sexual experience. It was not what I’m seeking in my next partnership. Sex needs to be good, but sex can grow into GREAT with two willing partners, even if the relationship starts with varying degrees of experience, both in sex and in relationships.

Happy Sex ≠ Good Sex

Happy sex is step one. Sex should not be trauma-fueled, or crisis-driven. Makeup sex should not be the starting point for good sex. Happy sex is the starting point. You’ve got to find another partner (like yourself, right?) who thinks sex is a trip, sex is fun, sex is a journey of discovery.

If sex is about “getting off,” it needs to be the same for both of you. When I am looking to establish a long-term relationship, sex is not the most important thing. Happy sex is pretty important. If there is a lot of stress or dysfunction around sex, it’s going to be a bit of a long haul to reach connected sex. But, let’s say, for the sake of this story, that you’ve found a “happy sex” partner and you’re both beginning to aspire towards good sex.

To move from happy sex to good sex requires two things: 1. trust and 2. experience. As you spend time with your new partner, both in bed and out of bed, you will begin to align in more of your actions. As you flex towards things they ask for, and as they stretch to meet some of your requests, you are building both trust and a history of time together doing fun stuff. Time together having fun, is mostly not about sex. There’s only so much time you can spend in the bedroom together. But happiness and a mutually agreed upon set point of optimism is a powerful starting point towards growing your relationship and your sexual connection.

Good Sex < Connected Sex

When you’ve experienced fully-connected sex, you’re never going to be satisfied with plain old “let’s get off” sex.

Let’s look at that statement. Is it true? Are we always aspiring for connected sex? What does the sex have to do with mindfulness or connection? What does sex have to do with long-term compatibility?

In the 11-years since my unhappy divorce, I’ve been seeking both a lifetime partner, different from my ex-wife and a sexually compatible partner. I’ve had 5 long-term relationship attempts. And only in the last one, that carried us through the pandemic and shutdown, was connected as I now understand it. I’ve been writing about happy sex and good sex for more than 9 years, as I went questing for something better than I had in my previous experience.

And that’s the goal, right? Keep getting better at 1. knowing what you want; 2. knowing what turns you on and gets you off; and 3. finding deeper ways to connect with your partner. I didn’t know what “connected sex” was until I’d experienced it. I had the best sex of my life, and I was still unable to convert that relationship into a sustainable partnership. There was some level, outside of our intentions and our individual goals, that didn’t allow us to continue as a couple. Bummer.

But the gift that I was given:

happy sex >> leads to >> good sex >> leads to >> connected sex

What Connected Sex Feels Like

  • you are more interested in your partner’s pleasure than your own
  • delaying and even missing your orgasm to focus on your partner’s orgasm is never an issue
  • the orgasm is great, and orgasming together is really great, and the orgasm is not the goal of great sex
  • sex is a way to crack open your souls together to celebrate and praise your spiritual connection
  • sex is a spiritual event at every single point in your life, you just don’t realize it until you gain more wisdom and experience
  • the eyes of your enflamed lover are the most erotic view
  • meta-focus on the couple’s sexual experience rather than your own, is one of the stages of mindfulness during sex
  • sex is important, but it’s not the most important aspect of a relationship. That’s HONESTY.

If you are lucky enough to have experienced connected sex you’ll be seeking that same ecstasy for the rest of your life. Again, sex is not the most important part of a relationship, but it’s pretty damn important. If sex begins to go off the rails in your marriage (relationship) you need to start investigating what else in your partnership is not working.

Let’s love better by being more present during sex and during the more mundane aspects of life and living together. And, remember, there’s no rush to live together. Once your kids are out of the house, learning to find yourself and what makes you happy, is much more important than seeking your next sexual partner. In fact, I believe the first step to divorce or breakup recovery is finding your own inner joy again. Let’s start with a happy YOU and then move on to happy sex with someone else.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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