As an expert in treating intimacy disorders including teaching healthy* sexuality (*a relative term) to those in intimate relationships, I am often asked questions regarding how to improve people's sex lives.
Many folks come to me with stories and myths about sex, intimacy, and sexuality, and most have some element of shame surrounding sex. Along with this, if there is infidelity or an intimacy disorder involved, that adds a whole other layer to the sex-equation.
This blog is about improving your sex life with the one you love (or ones if you are poly) from the space you are in today. So, if you are in the eye of the storm with a recent betrayal or new to recovery from an intimacy disorder, you may feel this blog doesn't relate right now. That is ok.
My staple when I am working with couples or partnerships surrounding sex is Emily Nagoski's book Come As You Are. I will reference this book as I share 5 helpful tips for better sex. Note: I discuss many of these tips and more in my 12-Session Art of Ecstasy Webinar.
Tip #1- Know Your Sexy vs. Not-So-Sexy Contexts: Dr. Nagoski discusses the importance of context as related to having better sex. For example, while you may not like it when your spouse playfully spanks you while you are doing the dishes, you may find it hot, sexy, and really arousing during foreplay and even sex. Same with tickling, kinky play, and/or certain fantasies. Know what contexts you find sexy and which ones you don't. Talk about your sexy vs. not-so-sexy contexts with your partner.
Tip #2-Sweat together: Believe it or not, if your body is aroused via exercise, your brain says, "Huh, this person is sexy. I am attracted to him/her/them." This is because your genitalia experiences a mere reflex and expectation to what your brain determines is arousing--that is right-arousal and desire do not occur in your genitalia but rather, in your brain.
Tip #3-If you experience arousal non-concordance- Use Lube! Most women and some men experience arousal non-concordance. This means that there is a significant mismatch between the physical reflex of sex via getting an erection or being naturally lubricated vs. the brain saying "I am aroused." At times, you may feel sexually aroused (again, that happens in the brain) and nothave an erection or experience natural lubrication. This is normal! There is nothing wrong with you. Add store-bought lubrication and take your time figuring out your sexy context. Along with this, many women experience responsive desire,not spontaneous desire, so this may also play a part in the sex-equation. Responsive desire is discussed in tip #4.
Tip #4- Respond to your Responsive Desire: Many women and some men experience desire based on a sexy context, not spontaneousdesire from simply looking at someone. If you experience responsive desire, this is normal! Reassure your partner that in a context you find sexy you will experience desire (remembering that arousal and desire happen in the brain; our genitals experience a reflex based on the expectation of sex).
5-Turn off your "Offs" and on your "Ons": Dr. Nagoski addresses this concept a lot in her book since it plays a significant role in people's sex lives. Offs (or brakes) include anything stressful. Only a small percentage of individuals actually feel aroused when stressed out. However, even if someone feels aroused when stressed, they will not feel desire. According to research (see Dr. Nagoski's book), this is actually the case for everyone when stress is involved (e.g. desire is not experienced). Feeling tired is another "off." Note: you cannot turn on your ons (your sexual accelerator) if your brakes are on. So, you must work to turn off your offs, while turning on your ons. When your brakes are off, you are more likely to be able to explore sexy contexts, responsive desire, and arousal.
I want to make one last point that there is no such thing as a "sex drive" (which I will discuss in a future blog)-that is a complete myth. This is not about increasing your "drive" for sex. This is about naturally creating an incentive motivation systemwhere your brain says "I feel aroused and have desire" that matches your sexy contexts so that your body can experience the physical response of sex, pleasure, and perhaps even orgasm.
If you have any concern that there may be a medical condition impacting your desire for sex, please seek medical attention to rule out a medical condition.
You deserve to enjoy sex and have a beautiful fulfilling sex life that is healthy and consensual dear ones.
For more information on how my team and I support couples in having better sex, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Candice and her husband Chris at the end of October for a weekend retreat in beautiful Midway, Utah! We teach couples tasteful tips for better intimacy and sex. Email me to inquire or stay tuned for our upcoming flier!