In ‘The Full Monty’, the hapless character, played by Tom Wilkinson, has a row with his exasperated wife. He’s been buying her garden gnomes for decades, because when he gave her the first one, he thought that she liked them, when she was just being polite. Eventually she just snaps, and, enraged, tells him that she’s never liked them.
Bad sex is like that, but worse.
My female clients will often say things like
–he thinks it’s my problem that I don’t orgasm during sex, that there’s something wrong with me, and I need to get myself fixed
–I tell him that I’d like touch which is slower and softer, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference, he just keeps doing what works for him
Their partners aren’t psychopaths. They are not indifferent to their partners lack of pleasure, but they often seem to behave as if they are.
Why is that?
For one, we’re all fed an idea of sex that is quite male: it’s like running up the orgasm hill. And if your sexuality seems like that, then there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you. And if your partner doesn’t like that as much as you, then she must have a low libido, or be inhibited, or not like sex. Nothing to do with you. It’s all to do with female sexual dysfunction. But I say that’s a myth.
One of the most heartbreaking things to hear is how, for some women, they have had so few joyful sexual experiences, and they cling onto these in their memory, like jewels.
It’s totally false that women don’t like sex, or that they don’t like sex as much as men. They just don’t like bad sex.
How do you get out of the trap?
The most important thing you can do is to discover your own sexual identity and have confidence in it, particularly when that identity diverges from what you’re told it should be. I have devised a way of working where through attention to the breath and body, it gradually becomes clear what your own unique sexual landscape is. And often, what characterises that landscape isn’t the rocket whoosh of sex [which might well blow up on the launchpad], but something else: something which is of the whole body and has depth, delicious slowness and relaxing into pleasure. It’s as if time slows right down, and everything becomes vivid and alive.
If you know what your sexual landscape is, you have the possibility of communicating that, and so are more likely to get what you need. You might need some help with the art of communication. I can help with that.
The next thing we can do is increase confidence. Often a major obstacle to that is the fear of sexual inexperience. I can help with that too.
Next, we can start to think of male and female bodies in a different way. I talk about this with regard to male bodies here
That opens up the possibility of having a much wider range of sexual practices, and hence a much wider range of feelings. Boredom and repetition is such a large part of most people’s experience of sex. It needn’t be.
And lastly, we can get a sense of the various dimensions of sex. I formulate that as the ‘Compass of Sexuality’, where I stake out 8 dimensions: Agreement, Play, Body, Risk, Innocence, Love, Tantra and Energetic Practices. In my work with Couples, I will take them through each of these areas, to address the imbalances and limitations that might be there, but they are of tremendous value to anyone, whether in a relationship or not.
To fix bad sex, we need to understand that it isn’t you that needs to be fixed, it’s an idea of sex that doesn’t work for you.
If you’d like to explore this further, please contact me.