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In this post, we get right to the heart of the sexual aspect of your relationship. How you are keeping sex alive will depend on your own individuality, as well as the individuality of your partner. And of course, how you combine that individuality. Also how long you have been together. When you have understood yourself more deeply, the Insight, creating agreed meaning as a couple. will make more sense. Understanding your own sexuality will also enable to build trust as a couple. But maybe you are “too tired for sex”?
New kinds of questions about sex in a long-term committed relationship
These are the kinds of questions that you might not have had either the courage or the words to pose.
- Perhaps you believed that sex – especially good sex – should happen spontaneously, without any conversation or thought.
- Or you might have had vague or hazy notions around these subjects.
- Or maybe you thought that good sex was going to be the responsibility of your partner. So sex would not require self-knowledge.
- Maybe you thought that sex would be entirely instinctual so you would not need to think about it.
Even if you have never consciously framed the questions below, you have been unconsciously facing these issues.
A number of my Insights focus on sexuality, so I cover the subject fairly thoroughly. In this Insight, you will be invited into self-inquiry. Self-knowledge is crucial for every aspect of a relationship, and especially your sexuality.
So let’s begin.
Why sexual self-inquiry is important
These questions about your sexuality go deep, so take time and introspection to answer. This inventory directs you to examine and explore your expectations, your behaviours, motives and history. Don’t hurry yourself along. You might even discuss your new insights with your partner. This might need Courageous Conversations! In any case, you will discover new things about yourself, which will change your attitudes and behaviour.
Inevitably, you come to your relationships, including the sexual aspect of these relationships, with a whole range of fears, anticipations and expectations. You also come with your personal history, as well as your family history. For most of us, this history comes with trauma and unhealed wounds, with hang-ups and forbidden zones.
Much of your sexual behaviour is conditioned, rather than natural
Most of your behaviour around sex is actually learned but it has become so automatic that you unthinkingly accept it as your true nature. But let’s see if that is actually as true as you have believed.
As Esther Perel says, “your relational and sexual aspirations are based on what you had, what you didn’t have, what you wish to repair, and what you wish to repeat”.
Esther Perel is a sex and relationship therapist, and I recommend any of her work to you. This TED talk is a good place to begin.
So what is it that you might be wanting to repair, or wanting to repeat? What is it that you had, or, on the other hand, wish to have? Can you define your hopes and fears around sex, with clarity, so you know what changes you want to make, or areas you want to question?
Be kind and generous to yourself when you answer the questions. Take your time! My suggestion is that you read the questions through, then select one that has the most energy for you. Focus on the inner inquiry for that question for a week or so. Then move to another question. Just as I have suggested with the Insights themselves, deep questions provoke deep answers.
Inevitably you will find that you benefit most from 2 or 3 of the questions, so these will potentially create the most opportunity for change. Treasure these, and go back to them often.
Before you start on your inquiry, please note that no gender bias is intended, and this is about your sexuality and your sex life, not anyone else’s.
Self-knowledge regarding sex – the questions
1. What is a strength that you bring to relationships? How will this contribute to strong sex-life?
2. What is a personal issue that you bring to the relationship? How might this interfere with connecting sexually with your partner?
3. When do you feel most free and liberated in your relationship?
4. When do you feel most self-conscious, embarrassed or constrained around sexuality? In what way does this impact on intimacy with your partner?
5. What do you like to experience in sex? When you first think of this question do you think of physical acts, physical sensations, emotional experiences, or what?
You can extend your personal inquiry by asking yourself if any of the following experiences are important to you in sex. Or maybe you would like to learn how to experience some of these states:
tenderness, softness, yielding, closeness, merging, intensity, aggression, leading, following, transcendence, spiritual connection, rebelliousness, a release, surrender, dominance, abandon, unboundedness, freedom, letting go, connection, disconnection, ruthlessness, timelessness, giving, receiving, being taken, possessing
6. What are the dominant messages you grew up with about boys & girls? About men and women? About maleness and femaleness? What role models were available to you? So, looking back, were these role models useful for your growth and development? (If domestic violence was part of your upbringing, read “Domestic violence is not only physical.”
7. Among the 5 senses, which one is most sexual for you? (seeing / hearing /smelling / touching / tasting)
6. Of the following attitudes, which one are you most comfortable with, and which would you like to experience?
To Ask | To Take | To Give | To Receive | To Refuse| To need |
7. How do you communicate your sexual wants and dislikes? Can you say what words give you the most pleasure, which touch turns you on, what positions really don’t work for you, what you are afraid of sexually?
8. How about your emotional wants and dislikes?
9. What was the attitude towards sex in your family growing up? What messages did you receive around developing sexuality during adolescence? How might these messages still be showing up today?
Here are some suggestions to get you started: what are the feelings, experiences and memories behind these words.
- its your right
- never spoken about
- a duty
10. Do you want sexual exclusiveness/monogamy in your relationships? Or? What are your fears around infidelity and betrayal? Or fantasies around other kinds of relationships? Esther Perel’s “The State of Affairs”, available on Audible, is a wealth of information on this topic.
11. What is a difficult conversation for you to have around intimacy and sexuality? Why do you hold back from having these conversations? What feelings hold you back? Some suggestions are: shame, fear, embarrassment. What body-sensations are associated with these feelings? How is this connected with how you answered other questions, above?
Please let me know how this has been helpful for you.