We’re getting sexual chemistry and lust confused these days. One is about energy and compatibility (at least in the bedroom) and the other is about impulse and sexual need.
What Turns You On?
Learning your sexual DNA is important to have a healthy and fulfilling love relationship. If I don’t know myself, what I like, don’t like, and don’t know yet, I’m not able to step fully into my sexual partnership. Here are several truths about sex with another person.
- what turns me on today may not work tomorrow
- if my mind is cluttered I will struggle to stay present
- anxiety and sex do not mix
- masturbation is not only “sex with someone I love” (Annie Hall) it’s self-soothing
- we learn with self-love
- we explore and perfect with a partner
- be curious about your partner’s sexual appetites
- my pleasure is up to me (ask for what I want, communicate where I am)
- conscious and present sex is addictive
- casual sex is more like porn
- porn is not a good teacher
- just because something turns you on, doesn’t mean you want to do it
- patience and openness are the signs of a comfortable partner
- laughing during sex is powerful and bonding
- sex can be driven by attachment insecurity
- sex together holds more opportunities for appreciation
- self-awareness is the key to heightened sexual compatibility
- talking during sex can be hard
- reviewing or prewiring (outside the bedroom) leads to a better understanding
- I can’t turn off what turns me on (St. Vincent)
- sex is spiritual
Where Have We Lost Our Sexual Selves?
Porn seems to have made us all more primed for sex and yet less willing to work for good sex. Relationships in porn are just about the hookup. Casual sex is just about the gratification and fulfillment of the animal needs of our bodies. Building a healthy sexual relationship with a long-term partner requires patience, optimism, openness, curiosity, and energy.
We cannot be good lovers if we’re
The hyper-sexualization of our daily lives leads to unwanted sexual advances, and in my experience, a lot of defensive people. Men tend to wear their beast mode openly and flirt with little or no expectation that there will be an encounter. Women, on the other hand, tend to get propositioned repeatedly, awkwardly, obnoxiously, and even dangerously, all the time. A flirt can feel fun to a guy and threatening to a woman. Even in a loving relationship, sensuality can feel like a threat.
I want sensual communication to be a part of my everyday life. I want my woman to know I desire her. I’m learning to give little teasers to my partner, just to let her know I WANT HER. Outside of my monogamous relationship, sensuality is available in different ways. And this is the part I’d like to expand on just a bit.
First point: I can be sensually aroused by a young woman running past. I don’t want her sexually. I am not going to take any action toward pursuing her. In that spirit, I am also not going to deny that she’s hot and I’m aroused. The pivot is to mute that impulse toward the young woman and send a spark of communication to my partner. I get something and my partner gets something. The young woman is left beautiful and unmolested.
Second point: I can be sensual in my partnership without expecting or even asking for sex. In a past relationship, I would often deliver a shot of tequila to them as they showered for the evening. For me it was a highly sensual moment. I got to see my beloved naked and lathered. I got to experience a wet kiss or two, breathe in the steam and fragrances, and share a mouthful of firewater. Until we had a revealing conversation, my partner assumed I was trying to initiate sex. Every single night.
After having a clarifying discussion about it, she was able to loosen up with her sensuality. Flirting didn’t mean I wanted sex. The tequila kiss in the shower did not mean I would be waiting in bed with a hard-on and demands. What I needed to express was my sensual desire, my adoration, my curiosity, and my care. Once she learned to lean in with me, we could exchange more playful banter during the day, more casual touches, hugs, and kisses.
Finding A Sexual Balance
Both partners in a healthy sexual relationship need to have drive and energy. It’s not enough to say, “I’m always ready and open for sex.” It sounds cool, powerful, and inviting, but it’s a bit lazy. I don’t want you to be always ready, I want you to find your drive, your motivation, your energy for sex. Don’t say, “I want to have sex this weekend.” Just take off your damn clothes in front of me and see what happens. We are sensual beasts. I respond to a picture, an image, a smell, a feeling. I want you to entice me a bit.
But I want you to entice me out of your desire and your motivation. Often for sex to be fruitful, at least one partner has to be motivated. Willing is different. Motivated means, I’ll initiate, I’ll lead, and I’ll find my pleasure in being with you. Motivated is essential. It’s obvious that we can have two willing partners while binge-watching a show. But the motivator will start making the moves, the motivator has intention. And as the sensual connection between you becomes more robust, your desires will ebb and flow without many words being exchanged.
Let’s find a new balance between sensuality (flirt, touch, tease, text) and sexual motivation. I was always sensually motivated when I would jump up and get the single shot of tequila that we would share. I was not asking for sex. Once we got that idea clear between us the playful sensuality could bloom into a more integrated part of our courtship and relationship-building.
Sex is a Language
It’s like a third language. I may have English and Spanish (college and high school) in my educational background, but Sex is one I’m still trying to understand the first handful of vocabulary words.
- sensual play
The most powerful conversations I have learned around sex are just to check-in on Motivation, Energy, and Openness.
The dialogue goes like this.
Q: “How is your energy tonight? What are you into?”
A: “I’m not very motivated, but I’m open.”
A2: “I’m a bit tired but I could help you.”
A3: “I’m ready for downtime, but I appreciate you.”
A4: “I have an idea, let’s…”
All four of them are correct answers. Sex is a dance. Sensuality is the energy to learn the steps and reinspire your partner on a consistent basis. I want you to want me. I also want to want you. And if seeing a college student in a tennis skirt is exciting to me, that’s great. I can use that inspiration to make a move on my partner. It’s a dance.
In the dance of sex, both partners take turns in the lead. The key is good contact and good communication. Communication that happens before, during, and after. Keeping your sensual chemistry high will encourage sexual chemistry to follow.
More articles from The Whole Parent:
- Unquenchable Optimism of the Heart: 12-Years of Dating Lessons
- Don’t Wait and Don’t Settle: Dating Goals
- Searching for The Last Date: Seeking the ONE
Please seek out my books on Amazon, including: