Women are both perfectionists and preoccupied – not the best combination for explosive sex.
If we are not punishing ourselves for daring to live inside an imperfect body, we are worrying about the orgasms we are or are not experiencing and feeling guilty for not wanting to lustfully rip the clothes off the partner we have been with. for a decade.
It’s time for a long-awaited reality check for these three common female fears.
“She hates sex next to each other because it makes her tummy look fat. She won’t climb on top of her because she’s worried that her breasts will sag. She won’t even get out of bed to go to the bathroom unless she promises not to look at her ass. Why isn’t she going to believe that I love her body just the way she is? I don’t see these alleged flaws.
Study after study yields the same result, year after year: Feeling sexually attractive means you’re much more likely to enjoy sex, have more orgasms, initiate sex more, and feel more comfortable talking about sex with your partner (stock image)
Feeling desirable is extremely important because this alone can dictate how happy you are with your sex life.
Study after study yields the same result, year after year: Feeling sexually attractive means you’re much more likely to enjoy sex, have more orgasms, initiate sex more, and feel more comfortable talking about sex with your partner.
A 2012 landmark review of 57 studies, spanning two decades of research, found significant links between body image and nearly every factor associated with sex: arousal, desire, orgasm, sexual frequency, and sexual self-esteem.
It’s not rocket science: if you’re ashamed of your body and think it’s ugly, why would you want anyone to look at or touch it?
This disgust for our own flesh and blood is very much a female thing. Does anyone reading this know a man who thinks, ‘I’m not having sex today because my beer belly is huge’?
Research from the UK found that one in 10 women never feel confident in their bodies during sex, compared to three per cent of men.
PASS IT ON:
Distraction is a great place to start.
Focus on how you feel during sex. Sex is about what happens on the inside, not the outside. Focus inward, not outward.
Look at your partner, not at your body. Look into their eyes, look at their body, not yours.
Talk. You don’t have to talk dirty (unless you want to). Just say ‘I like that’, ‘That feels great’, ‘God you look sexy’. Groan, groan, compliment. Talking helps you have mindful sex: you are in the moment you are talking and you don’t care about how you look.
Stay active. Move. Take the control. Do something to them, don’t just sit back and let them do things. The more active and involved you are in sex, the less time your brain has to become paranoid.
Fantasize. If looking at your partner doesn’t work, close your eyes and escape into a fantasy that places you in a positive role. Lose yourself in it.
Have sex more often: Having sex improves body image. Pleasant sexual experiences make us feel better about our bodies. If our partner clearly enjoys making love to her, it can’t be that bad!
It’s a win-win-win scenario: the better you feel about your body, the better the sex will be. Which makes us want more sex, which in turn helps fuel a better body image.
Tracey Cox (pictured) explains how to overcome the three hang-ups that keep women from enjoying sex
‘I feel so much pressure to orgasm with him. He works very hard to make it happen and he always asks me: ‘Does it feel good?’, ‘Should I do it like this or like this?’. We’re both so desperate for him to climax that sex has become something I dread. It is stressful, not pleasant.
Women worry a lot about orgasms: not having one, taking too long to have one, orgasms that feel like a sneeze and not satisfying, and the list goes on.
All senseless anxiety, say sex therapists.
In really good sex, says renowned American sex therapist Stephen Snyder, orgasm should be like dessert at the end of a good meal. Memorable perhaps. But not the reason you went out to dinner.
He says the couples who have the best sex are the ones who don’t set orgasm as their goal. They just enjoy it, when and if it comes.
Orgasm distress is the second most common reason people seek treatment for sexual problems (loss of desire being the first).
We need to change the way we think about sex: orgasm is not the goal, pleasure is.
Is it taking you longer to orgasm than before? So what? Enjoy the longest ride. Wasn’t the orgasm you just had half as intense as the one you experienced last week? Who cares? You are a human being, not a machine that produces exact replicas.
Orgasms happen when we are happy, relaxed, in the right space, and not feeling pressured.
These perfect circumstances don’t happen that often, yet we still beat ourselves up for not having explosive orgasms, regularly, on cue.
PASS IT ON:
Lose the orgasm obsession by adopting the following mantras.
Get the facts. Between 17 and 25 percent of women reliably reach orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. If you are one of the many women who has always felt that something is wrong with you for not being able to orgasm during intercourse, that should make you feel a lot better. You are the majority, not the exception! Focus on clitoral stimulation (internal and external) and your orgasms will be more reliable.
Think practically, not emotionally. There are many reasons why you may find it harder and/or longer to reach orgasm. Our state of mind, the time of the month, how close we feel to our partner, how aroused we are, hormonal changes—all of these things affect how easily we climax. Almost all women orgasm quickly and easily with a vibrator. If it’s taking too long, speed up by grabbing one.
Change the goalposts: If you make orgasm the goal of sex, you miss the point. The orgasm itself lasts between 20 seconds and two minutes. It is the accumulation of erotic tension that is the intimate and pleasurable part of sex. You can still have a completely pleasurable sex session without either of you reaching actual orgasm.
NOT WANTING TO HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE WE LOVE
‘My husband feels unwanted because I don’t want to have sex with him. But I’m more in love with him than ever. He must not feel rejected. I just can’t get turned on like I used to.
A high proportion of people in long-term relationships love their partners desperately but have no interest in having sex with them.
And they have no idea why.
It’s bewildering (‘The only person I tell everything to and do everything with is the one person I can’t talk honestly with about how I feel right now about sex’) and upsetting (‘I worry that everyone else are having all this great sex and we’re the only ones who aren’t’).
There are many reasons why love thrives and sex dies over time. We all need to adjust our expectations of what monogamous sex can achieve in the long term.
You’re probably not with the wrong person to begin with.
How many good, solid couples have broken up because they no longer lusted for their partner? Most enjoy a temporary trip with someone new, then find themselves back in the same place, often wishing they had stayed with their first choice.
The sad reality is that we are not wired for long-term passionate sex. Lust and love are awkward bedfellows, not best friends. The hormones of sex and love battle it out in our brains, instead of happily sharing space because what pleases one kills the other. Love loves predictability and security; lust wants the forbidden and the new.
Losing desire for our partner is more ‘natural’ in long-term relationships than continuing to want sex.
Is it a heterosexual couple problem? No. Gay men, gay women, bisexuals, trans…this affects us all, regardless of our sexual orientation.
PASS IT ON:
Ignore what you’ve been force-fed with rom-coms: love and sex in real life don’t look alike.
Feeling like having sex is not the only motivation to have it.
Making your partner happy, feeling connected, reaping the many health benefits, bringing pleasure – these are just a few good reasons to have sex. We need to get away from thinking that desire is the only motivation.
Have an honest conversation about what still works and what doesn’t. Make sure that the sex you are having together is working for you. Our bodies change with each age and stage we go through. Techniques that used to work before sometimes don’t after. Say: ‘I know I used to love sex, but now I prefer oral sex. My body is different.’ You might say ‘I used to not want you to touch me for fear of cumming too soon. Now all is the opposite’.
Stop being sex robots. This could have more to do with sexual stagnation (giving up on sex because it’s such an overwhelming routine) than losing desire for your partner. We all have a tried and true path to orgasm that our partner knows about. Excellent! However, if they use it every time, that well-trodden path feels just as exciting as your commute you’ve done hundreds of times. You don’t notice anything because you’ve seen it all before, countless times.
Don’t make tradeoffs. If you both prefer different styles of sex (lustful, loving, wild, mindful), having sex ‘your way’ one time and your partner’s way the next seems like a good solution. It’s not. They both resent when it’s not their turn and fear sessions that aren’t ‘theirs’. Instead, mix a bit of both in the same sitting. Better yet, create something new that appeals to both of you equally.
Develop fantasies and stop worrying about what or who stars in them. You don’t like your partner but you sure like your boss? Your partner can’t read minds. Let your imagination fly as much as you want, with whoever you want. Yes, even that person. It works in your partner’s favor in the end. If that fantasy makes you enjoy sex with them more, your brain associates good sex with your partner, making you more open to doing it in the future.
Add external stimulation. Watch a sexy movie or something erotic together, listen to porn audio, try some sex toys. They are all highly effective and effortless ways to inject desire into long-term relationships when you’re tired of looking at the same old scenario.
- You’ll find more of Tracey’s advice on sex and love at traceycox.com, along with details of her weekly podcast, books and product ranges.