To those of you who landed here and are having a Sexually Fulfilling Relationship, I will just suggest: Quit reading now and return to sharing awesome love moments with your partner. Of course, if you did click on the link with the above mentioned title chances are you are to some extent experiencing sexual deprivation in your relationship. Then, by all means, stick with me for a moment. You might get some ideas on how to take steps towards a sexually healthy relationship.
Before discussing the heart of the matter, I want to emphasize that I’m focussing here on the question of sex as part of a long term bond between two people who are committed to be life partners. That is not to say it is the only context in which sexuality has a role to play. It just is the context I choose to discuss here.
While reading this article, I sure hope you come across some important questions to help you uncover what sex really means to you and how you profoundly wish to experience it in your relationship. Reading this will however not solve any problems you might face. It’s nothing more than a step. It’s nothing less than that step either. So let’s go…
First of all, we might just want to identify if we are dealing with an important question here? Is sex in a relationship just the cherry on a huge cake stuffed with lots of other interpersonal experiences? Or is it the other way around? Maybe it’s neither this nor that? What importance do you personally convey to the sexuality in your relationship? You might want to take a short break here, and write it down for yourself. What are your most important views on the subject?
Aha, you’re back… Now, was that an easy thing to do? Or wasn’t it? Observing this shows you whether the subject is at skin level or rather hidden somewhere deep inside. Circumstances often influence how easy it is to connect with your personal views on a subject and this one is no different from any other in that respect.
One more idea you might stick to for a second is this one: How does the reality of your sexual relationship reflect your inner attitude towards sex? For in this observation lies the true key towards healing your sexual relationship. How is bringing balance inside yourself the primary requirement to take any step whatsoever in healing the sex in your relationship?
Throughout my personal experience with relationships, I discovered that my views on sexuality did fit into a big bowl filled with contradictory information and feelings, which often resulted in me accepting my partner’s views on sexuality and try to make those my own. Paradoxes and contradictions I left aside.
For starters: this doesn’t work. You might as well save yourself the trouble of trying that strategy. Why doesn’t it work? Simply because of this: it alienates you from yourself. True, it saves you from the trouble of solving your own paradoxes and dilemmas. But then again it also robs you from doing so.
Believe me: You really need to go through that trouble if you ever want to experience an inner balance towards your own sexual experience. Accepting that kind of trouble isn’t a picnic, I agree, but then again: The reward is unique! Moreover, as long as you associate yourself with someone else’s views, your own sexual identity may be hidden but it is not gone. So once in a while it will pop up to come challenge you. And it has the habit of doing so at rather inconvenient times in rather inconvenient ways just like any true identity of yourself you may want to hide underneath assimilated views of others.
Now, does sex really matter?
There are two levels at which to consider this fundamental question:
- as a general question, for all of us and
- as a personal question, just for you and who you are.
Fact is, if you for yourself consider sex to matter, you will find more arguments to support this at a general level than arguments in contra, and it’s also true the other way around. As I personally consider sex to be an inherent part of me, arguments in contra do not often cross my path, even if I force myself to search for them. The Truth and the eye of the beholder, a tricky combination…
Well, you may consider this information:
- human beings are basically sexual in nature ; they originate in sex and are either male or female ; without sexual encounters, the species would disappear
- research shows that sexually active human beings are healthier, live longer, feel happier, experience less stress ; even more so when they are sexually active within a long term relationship ; research agrees on that (which is extremely rare, researchers tend to disagree, in case you didn’t notice earlier)
- (positive) sexual encounters release hormones in the body that support healthy functioning both at the physical and the emotional level
Ignoring it would thus come down to try and breed a species of tree with no roots at all. It’s part of who we are. That is why it is considered a basic need. We need food, we need water, and we also need sex. The question about sex thus becomes not whether or not we need it, but how often, and in what circumstances? Any answer ranging from “exclusively in order to procreate” to “whenever one feels like it” has been proclaimed to be the right one. What you want to discover is: What is the right answer for you? Not as much IF it matters, but HOW it matters to you.
How this general human condition of the sexual being translates into you as a person is however far less straight forward than answering the basic general question. It relates to your education, your culture, your religion and beliefs, your society, the image presented by all kinds of media, the internal images you built up from all that, your experiences as a sexual being, etc. The hardest thing you will ever do, is defining yourself, try and find out what truly belongs to you, as opposed to what you have learned and might as well unlearn. In my experience, it is a lifelong search because on the one hand it takes time and experience to unveil your true self and on the other hand you change all the time. That is just as true for your sexual identity as for any other dimension of you.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to take a picture of how you relate to yourself as a sexual being right now:
- Do you consider your sexual identity to be equally important to other dimensions of your person, such as your emotional, mental, social, spiritual identity?
- Do you value your personal sexual identity?
- Do you share it with your partner?
- Do you consider it relevant to your present relationship?
The last of these questions leads immediately to the next top question I want to share with you:
Is a relationship healthy without sex?
As pointed out earlier, with the term “relationship” I here refer to a long term bond between two people who are committed to be life partners. So can that kind of a relationship be healthy without sex?
Given the high levels of sexless relationships that surveys mention, one is inclined to hope it does. As relationships are parties with two guests, it is possible to consider a situation where neither one of the guests wishes to experience the sexual part of a relationship, yet both agree that their level of intimacy at the emotional, spiritual and practical level still does make their bond a relationship. Their commitment towards each other as well as their personal comfort with the situation can then provide for the nurturing and wellbeing both need. It also prevents both partners from failing to that commitment.
However, in most cases a sexless relationship is the result of the wish of only one of both partners, which is a high challenge. Now we are at a party of two where one guest wants to share a glass of water with the other, but the latter does not wish to.
Such a situation cannot but lead to a growing apart of the partners, unless it is honestly addressed by both partners as an important issue. This is the first challenge to take within a relationship where one of both partners does not consider sex to be important, or acts like it is not: to honestly address it as an important issue.
Chances are the thirsty guest will bring up that glass of water earlier than the guest who does not wish to drink. This leads us to the next question:
Who controls the sexuality within the relationship?
No need to tell it out loud, but ask yourself this question: In your relationship, who controls the sexuality?
Did you come up with an answer? Then this one might be very interesting to you…
To be honest, the question as to who controls sexuality in a relationship should be the dumbest question ever. When both partners have a balanced inner experience of their own sexuality and understand each other at that level, they are likely to not even understand the question.
So I wonder: Did you answer the question right away? Who does control that aspect of your relationship in your experience? You? Or your partner? And why do you have that feeling? And more importantly: Can you imagine a relationship where neither one of you has the feeling one of you controls the whole thing?
For that is your ultimate goal: A sexual relationship embedded within your partnership where both of you experience a balanced conversation held in the language of your bodies, equally speaking and listening, equally beautiful and fragile, equally present and honoured.
So here is your first challenge: Observe the balance in terms of your sexual relationship.
- Observe if you are balanced with your partner in terms of your impact on the sexual relationship to each other: Do you have the feeling one of you decides if and when and where? Do you have the feeling one of you overrules the other?
- If unbalanced, observe if you feel you are the one in control, or your partner is.
- From that observation, observe if you should let go of some of the control or rather take some control again in order to regain balance.
Note that this aspect of ‘control’ is merely a tool to recreate balance in your relationship. Once the unbalance solved, control as a concept is free to disappear. Aah, relax….and enjoy.
It is like observing a conversation, only this one is the conversation of your bodies in the most intimate language you know (and it is only known by you two). Who talks? Who’s silent? Who asks? Who decides? Who yells? Who cries? Is there any conversation –at—all?
Now in this observation lies another huge challenge. The thirsty person is more likely to bring the subject of that glass of water to the table. Yet the very fact that person does bring the subject to the table is also often the major obstacle the other partner experiences: Why-o-why does it have to be ‘that subject’ again. In the conference Mark Grungor gives on the Keys to Experiencing Great Sex – Yo Mama (full), he explicitly urges the partner who withdrew from the sexual relationship or keeps it at a minimum level to respect the other partner in his/her need for a sexual relationship. And yes, if the ‘colder’ partner comes to the understanding that the sexuality in the relationship is really important and should not be neglected, than it is possible to start the conversation. That is the easy way to heal the sexual relationship, because it frees the thirsty partner from initiating the change process. Yet the thirsty partner is probably in the worst position to ever originate that aha-moment in his or her not so thirsty partner…
So if you are the thirsty one and there is no aha-moment for your partner that the sex might be important after all, you face the challenge of taking the subject to the table without appearing totally dried out and thirsty in the first place. For if you are, that is often the first answer you will get: Thirsty again? And that can hurt, until you don’t bring the subject to the table any more. Sex lies dead under the rug…
Apart from that fatal outcome, an unbalance in sex drive most often results in a very poor conversation, which is in fact often merely a misinterpretation of the importance of the amount of sex drive. See why:
Does a healthy sexual relationship require equal sex-drive in both partners?
If it where that simple… well, you wouldn’t still be reading this article, would you? You would just find yourself someone who has the same sex rhythm and bingo! The amount of sex drive is often misused as an argument to have a poor sex-conversation going on in a relationship. “We are so different”… The mere fact that one person is more thirsty than the other, results in not drinking any water anymore. What a fine solution!
It often relates to concepts that we have about sex and sex-drive, such as:
- Men tend to have a higher sex-drive than women
- Men can’t think about anything else
- Women don’t like sex
- Women use sex as a weapon to get what they want from men
- Men just want to release their sexual tension, that’s it
- If I don’t feel sexy or even horny, well I don’t even try, why should I
Many concepts about how men and women relate to sexuality are burnt into the very fabric of how we view our own sexuality and they are hard foes to fight. Yet the question is: Can the two of you find a way to honour both the desire of the one and the wish for distance of the other? There are at least a hundred ways to answer that question. The challenge is: Which one fits you two?
In order to be able to have that conversation with your partner, again, the most important step you can take is observe your own sex drive, but mostly: How do you perceive it? Do you judge it? Can you just accept it as part of who you are?
Embracing your sexual personality is a requirement to be able to have any conversation whatsoever on sex that is not fuelled with emotions as guilt, shame, anger, envy… but one that is fuelled with Love. Fuel your own inner conversation on who you are sexually with Love and you will be able to develop a conversation with another person that is already fuelled with Love from your side. That sure helps to have a conversation. It seems to me far better than a discussion, a fight, an argument… Just let me warn you: It does not make the conversation easy, it just makes it possible.
Yet, despite all the efforts you can make to improve your own inner image of you as a sexual being, to honour yourself as such, to take the subject to your table-for-two with Love, you still might come across deep issues and high burdens. Some might seem impossible to overcome. What do you do then? In other words:
How many risks will you take to heal the sex-part of a relationship?
The answer to that question naturally derives from the inner attitude you have towards your own sexual personality. If you can value yourself as a Lover, if you can consider that dimension of you to be of importance, to be inherent to who you are, you will be willing to take risks to heal your sexual relationship. Otherwise, why bother? It’s not that important anyway.
Taking risks involves showing both your full potential and your fragile self. And bottom line, if you truly value yourself in the dimension of your sexual identity, it will prevent you from dwelling in a sexless relationship that can only damage you. For this I have learned from failed relationships: There are basic values for which I stand that I will not abandon to stay connected to a specific person. If my sexual personality is a basic value, I will not accept a relationship where sex lies dead under the rug, at best. In that respect, I recently came across a finely put difference between desire and willingness in the context of risk-taking in relationships. There can be at a certain time the desire to leave the relationship. This is profoundly different from the willingness to do so.
The willingness to leave the relationship brings us a beautiful paradox: The willingness to leave the relationship if true basic values are not met or not eligible for at least a good conversation is the true guarantee that the relationship can be strong and healthy. Without that willingness, one is trapped into a relationship and will abandon basic values. Alienate from one self. And how can a relationship ever come to its most fulfilling version if at least one of the partners is not who he or she truly is? Thus the willingness to leave the relationship is the very guarantee that you yourself, your true you, is in that relationship as long as it lasts. What better can your partner dream of?
I am quite idealistic in that respect, I know. On the other hand, in absence of the willingness to leave and given that the pressure runs high enough, the partner thirsty for a sexual encounter might decide to take the sexuality out of the relationship. You don’t leave, you are not willing to leave, yet the pressure on your sexual identity runs high so you take it to another place and/or person. Would that be a good solution? Let’s see…
What about other ways to deal with your not responded sex-drive?
Basically, if one decides to take the sexuality out of the relationship, this reflects kind of a ‘stuck-in-the-middle’ attitude towards his or her own sexuality. On the one hand, it is too important to lie dead under the rug, on the other hand it is not important enough to be anywhere else than dead under the rug.
The way in which you choose to experience sex outside your relationship, is an indicator of your inner image about yourself as a sexual being. Let me show you how:
- If you choose selfish or degrading ways to experience sex, this reveals a rather negative image of your sexual dimension.
- If you choose exhilarating ways to experience sex, this reveals a rather positive image of your sexual dimension.
So that’s a good point where to start and communicate with yourself in the first place, and discover just how you relate to your own sexual being.
True, whatever the way, chances are that it creates chaos inside you at some level. Not a funny place to be. However, it is a promising place to be, because out of that chaos you may arise more truthfully to yourself and hence to others. It is a chance to be more of you, and that is the only person you were meant to be. Everyone else already been taken, you noticed?
So you read the whole article, yes? I hope some of the questions suggested here will help you in your process towards defining yourself as a balanced sexual being, and hence enable you to experience a balanced sexual relationship now or in the future.
Being who you truly are brings peace to your mind, enables you to reach your full potential and hence to share the whole present you are with others. Leaving part of who you are dead under the rug is a missed opportunity. That’s true for ever dimension of you. For your sexual identity it is too.
Wish you an amazing journey towards your balanced self.
Mark Gungor – Yo Mama
Mark Gungor – Laugh your way to a better marriage – the two brains
Hope Springs – movie