Overcoming Common Problems - Continued
How To Enjoy Good Sex Within A Monogamous, Faithful Relationship
12 Lack of communication
It is an irony that we have such a highly developed a brain, complete with linguistic ability, yet we find communication so difficult.
We often resort to indirect communication, a strategy that is usually unsuccessful in getting us what we want. How often have you or your partner wandered around the house wanting sex but not coming out with a straightforward request that might get you your wishes?
Even worse, we often turn grumpy when our partners fail to realise what it is that we want! Whatever the reason you don't ask for sex, this lack of communication often leads to confusion, irritability and joyless sex when you do make love.
Asking for what you want is not selfish. After all, your partner has the ability to say no! And asking your partner for sex is not the same as using them.
Indeed, asking for sex is respectful, honours the gifts they have to give you, and usually leaves little resentment or irritability if the request is made in a direct and clear way.
To sexually satisfy yourself with the help of your partner generates intimacy between you, and is a sign of trust and affection. Of course, this may mean you have to change long standing patterns of communication.
You may have to change the way you initiate sex, or even start initiating it yourself; you may have to stop pretending to have a headache or saying you feel ill; you may have to stop acting like a tyrant until your partner gives in and lets you have sex; and you may have to overcome your embarrassment and shyness and start asking directly for sex.
Women in particular may have trouble voicing their wishes around intimacy particularly if they have become accustomed to leaving clues for their partner so he can work out what it is that they want. In other words, clear communication means no longer playing games.
It means going for what you want, and showing your partner what it is you want and how they can give it to you!
In the exercises we shall see how it is possible for a couple to change the way they communicate by simply agreeing a strategy of asking for whatever they want whenever they want it - a way of communicating which is so outrageous in some people's minds that it breaks down the barriers and opens up a whole new road to sexual satisfaction!
The other side of asking for what you want is knowing that you can refuse your partner what they are asking for.
You do not have to give any more than you want to, which may be nothing at all.
However, in the spirit of compromise and communication you may feel you want to offer your partner an alternative to what it is that they are asking for, something that perhaps suits your mood better than what they have in mind.
So, if your partner wants full sex and you do not, you might respond to their request by saying "I'm really tired tonight, but I'd be very happy to masturbate you." (And of course you can use whatever language you feel most comfortable with -- perhaps "I'd be very happy to toss you off" might be more your style.)
13 Sexual disgust and sexual aversion
While many of us find that we can do things when we are aroused that we would never dream of doing when we are not, there are still lots of us who find aspects of sex slightly off-putting, if not indeed positively aversive. Rather a lot of men, I suspect, have some degree of version to the vagina or its secretions.
Equally, many women have a very obvious version to either the smell or taste of semen. It's a real shame, because any degree of inhibition is going to lessen the commitment that you can make to completely abandoned and openhearted sex.
So without making a big deal of this, which you can do by just getting your head around the idea that you are going to try this just for once, sample each other's semen and vaginal juices during your next session of lovemaking.
Dip your fingers into a pool of semen and see what it tastes like; then dip your fingers into her vagina and see what that tastes like... you will probably find you are pleasantly surprised.
And even if you are not, think of this: these bodily products are of fundamental aspect of your sexuality or your partner's sexuality.
To refuse to taste them, or to display aversion to them, is to reject a part of your partner -- and that, unfortunately, reduces your intimacy, and perhaps ultimately your desire to be making love to that person.
Many men feel rejected when their partner will not allow them to ejaculate into their mouths, for this is the ultimate symbol of absolute and total acceptance of their masculinity. If you really can't do it, then it's probably worth spending some time thinking through what this actually means for you and your relationship.
Within the context of a monogamous relationship, the refusal to consider oral sex a9or even to discuss it) may be a significant indicator of other issues which remain to be resolved.
14 Sexual shame
Unfortunately many of us were brought up with the idea that sex was somehow shameful, or if not shameful, at least something to keep quiet about, something that needed to be hidden from the world, something that wasn't, well, "decent".
Regrettable as this is, it's up to us to do something about this legacy. Consider masturbation, for example. What were you told about this very natural form of self pleasure as a child?
Probably something like this: it could stunt your growth, make you mad or go blind, would spoil your sex life as an adult, or even perhaps that it would cause you in some mysterious way to go to hell! The problem is that as children we tend to believe what we're told, even when that information is misguided, if not malicious.
No matter how much as an adult you might tell yourself that masturbation is a very healthy and pleasurable activity, it would be very surprising if you didn't have some inhibitions about it. There is no clearer example of this than the fact that partners who are enjoying a sexual relationship very often find it excruciatingly embarrassing to talk about masturbation with their partner, let alone to do it with them.
Far from giving up masturbation when you get into a committed sexual relationship as an adult, my suggestion is to enjoy it even more often and for longer!
It's a fantastic alternative to sexual intercourse when you don't want to go down that road, and sharing masturbation can show you how to please your partner when you yourself don't want the ins and outs of penetration; and more fundamentally, it allows you to discuss those aspects of your relationship you normally keep hidden from your partner.
Yes, of course you might have to admit that you do indeed masturbate in private from time to time: but there's no shame in that, and, particularly for men, masturbation can be a valuable way of relieving sexual tension without making the whole performance into a big deal.
So it's a serious suggestion, therefore, to incorporate lots of masturbation into your sex life. You'll find it's very helpful indeed if one of you has a high sex drive than the other. When you're masturbating your partner, you can focus entirely on their pleasure without any sense of performance anxiety yourself.
When they are masturbating you, you can just lie back and enjoy it to the full without any worries about pleasing them.
More importantly, masturbating with each other removes the worry about who's going to come first, or taking it in turns, or am I going to last long enough? It doesn't matter how long it takes to reach orgasm, and there is no need to try and synchronise your orgasms.
But how do you overcome the embarrassment that stopped you masturbating together in the first place?
I think the answer to this is very simple indeed -- just do it! By now you will have read lots of ideas for opening up communication between you and your partner, and you may already be able to bring this up comfortably.
For example: "I thought it might be fun if we just snuggled together for a while and then perhaps we could bring each other off with our hands -- or maybe even our mouths!" Of course -- as you know -- every couple has its own code to these matters, and no doubt you can find a way of saying it that you feel comfortable with.
We'll come back to the subject of mutual masturbation and shared masturbation in the exercises for a great sex life.
14a Delayed ejaculation refers to the condition where a man cannot ejaculate during sex. To get good (i.e. effective) delayed ejaculation treatments, check this out. And above all, don't forget to put the treatment plans into operation! They will, it is hardly necessary to say, only work if you actually put the work in.
15 Overcoming sexual trauma
Don't believe for a moment that if you were traumatized by abuse of one kind or another that you're stuck with the consequences. Yes, it is certainly true that your relationships will be impacted by the history of abuse that you experienced.
And yet at the same time, recovery takes place readily in a long-term relationship with a partner who you trust at a very deep level.
(If you don't feel that level of trust with your partner, then you may need to examine if you are in the right relationship, or perhaps see if there is somewhere else you can take support to help your recovery.)
Having said that, you may need professional help to get to point where you're able to open up. In a way, healing from sexual trauma is a subject beyond the scope of this website and so we would like to recommend a starting point for you which you can find here.
Not only is it a very perceptive article on the subject of sexual and other forms of abuse, but there are number of links to other resources which may be helpful for you in exploring how you can overcome a traumatic past.
16 Lack of romance
It's all too easy in a monogamous relationship to take your partner for granted. The days when the intensity of your love or passion motivated you to be romantic, affectionate, and enjoy exciting sex may have passed.
Instead, it now requires a conscious effort on your part to be romantic. The problem is that many other things get in the way of thinking about romance. Life can be stressful; there's no doubt about that: the demands of family, work, home, and especially these days, financial matters, all conspire to take our minds off romance and diminish the intimacy we feel with our partners.
Often, after romance has dwindled away, we feel foolish at the prospect of trying to behave romantically. And we may begin to justify our inactivity: sex, you may say, should be spontaneous! Or, it's so childish to play at romance: that's what teenagers do.
And so on. And yet, the ironic thing is that romance is is appreciated by everyone - both those giving it, and those receiving it.
Romance is a way of creating a relaxed and inviting situation in which sex can happen -- maybe even spontaneous sex!
Playing at romance can help you to overcome the seriousness with which we sometimes treat sex in a long-term relationship.
And deciding as a partnership to take time for sex, or deciding individually to treat your partner to a romantic experience -- whether that means a walk under the stars, or a weekend away in a spa hotel -- is essential for your sex life to be passionate and exciting.
Even if trying to be romantic makes you feel self-conscious and silly, at least you have the consolation of knowing that taking the first step is the hardest part.
Once you start, once you've made the initial effort, matters tend to take on a momentum of their own. You can reconnect with your romantic impulses in many different ways: some suggestions about rekindling romance are included in the exercises which you can find in another section of the site.
17 Anger and resentment
What do you do if you feel angry or resentful towards your long-term partner? Do you suppress these emotions, and wait until you're in a good enough mood that lets you tolerate sex with them?
Do you experience the frustration of not speaking out about the issues that are on your mind? Do you end up feeling frustrated and angry that your partner seems to take you for granted, misses your wishes, needs and desires, and doesn't pick up on the subtleties and nuances of how you feel?
Well, I have some surprising news for you! This is probably your fault. If you're not communicating how you feel it's unreasonable for you to expect your partner to know. Very often anger is just a build-up of frustration about unexpressed thoughts and feelings.
Of course, there are many things that seem too trivial to express in a long-term relationship; but when they're not expressed they become a source of resentment which undermines the relationship.
This is why we've included some potentially challenging exercises (which may scare you) for expressing what you think and how you feel. Why not try them? You've nothing to lose, as the saying has it, and everything to gain.
18 Turning yourself off
We've already covered the question of turning yourself off and turning yourself on. At this point all I wish to reiterate is the fact that you do have much more control over the way you feel and your emotional responses than you probably believe right now - even if it doesn't seem that way much of the time!
In practical terms what this means is that you need to take a decision to change things: to turn yourself on, to start on the exercises that will bring you into closer connection with your partner, to increase the intimacy you feel for each other, and thereby increase your motivation to enjoy a better sex life.
19 The mid life crisis
Ah yes, the midlife crisis! How many men have ruined their happiness by running off with a much younger woman, leaving their family, perhaps even their job, the things that made their life what it was?
Yet I don't want you to think that I am denying the reality of the male midlife crisis, or belittling the men who experience it.
Far from it, because I have absolutely no doubt at all that there is a time in almost every man's life when he goes through significant psychological and physical changes. Happily, this can be dealt with fairly easily. You can find all the information on the midlife crisis and what to do about it here.
20 Anything else you can think of
We could go on, but I think you've probably now got the idea. No matter what you think and feel about the long term sexual relationship you have with your partner, the truth is that you have the power in your hands to change it for the better.
That might mean getting professional help, or it might just mean following some of the suggestions on this website that are designed to help you establish a more passionate sex life.
It certainly means - at some level - taking a decision to stay faithful to your partner and change the quality of your sex with each other so that you get more arousal, passion and reward (fun and orgasm). And with that, we move into the exercises which can make this your reality!
21 Of course, if you stay faithful for ever, then you will need to have a program for sex after you reach middle age. This is all about having great sex after 50 years of age and still enjoying the most powerful orgasms you ever had.