A Love and Hate Relationship with Sexuality

Part Two


Tips to spice up your sensuality:

1.  What arouses you sexually? Keep a sexual journal. (Make sure you have privacy at your home). Make entries on what you find appealing. Tell yourself "It's important to identify what I find sexually appealing and arousing."
For example, a woman might write: ``I watched Brian Orser (the figure skater) perform. I find his sense of masculinity very arousing. I wanted to be his skating partner. I wanted our eyes to meet. I love his sense of playfulness, his confidence and his good looks." Most of us don't take the time to clearly identify, in words, what we find appealing.
Note: if you are aroused by something you think is unhealthy (e.g., a fetish such as seeing other people physically hurt), you would benefit from understanding the roots of this with a therapist.  Some fetishes are relatively harmless (e.g., a foot fetish) and other fetishes are dangerous, involving victims.

2. Privately explore your own body. What type of  touch do you like – light, rough?  Where do you most like to be touched? Discover your own sensuality. Use silky body lotions or colognes, or treat yourself to a soothing body massage. Listen to music that gets you in a romantic mood. Wear clothes that feel sexy to you.  You want to get more and more comfortable nurturing your sensuality.

3. On sexual issues: communicate, communicate, communicate! Instead of attacking each other or giving one another the silent treatment, communicate openly and assertively.    Tell your partner ``I prefer you do this"  or  ``This really feels good"  or ``I feel uncomfortable with that; I don't want to do it."  Encourage your partner to honestly communicate with you so that you both learn about each other's erotic  preferences without having to guess. Eliminate mindreading -- trying to guess what is going on in the other person's mind.  You're more likely to get what you want if you let your partner know what your wants are.  Don't ever force your partner to do anything against his or her will. It may be arousing for you, but imagine what your partner is thinking about you and what messages your partner is  silently giving himself (or herself). This poisons your relationship.

4. Communicate on wider issues: What would have to change in your overall relationship for you to feel loving toward your partner again? If you have not been speaking up on issues apart from sex then consider doing so ASAP.   For example, if you are furious with your husband for his escapes to the golf course every weekend or for his avoidance of helping you with your children, you must resolve this situation before you'll want to cuddle with him. Or say your wife spends more time with her girlfriends than with  you and you resent this. Don't silently brood, speak up assertively. 

5. When involved with your partner, focus on your own pleasure. That doesn't mean you ignore your partner. You  want to derive pleasure from your partner and give your partner pleasure, but not at the expense of your own pleasure.

6.  Psychologically ignore people who are disdainful of sex, for example, those who sneer and say they have ``outgrown it." They seem to take pride in being sexless. (It's like taking pride in being truly anorexic). Your growing sensuality will likely offend them. If they roll their eyes when you wear a shirt that exposes your tanned muscular body, or (for women) a low cut sheer dress or short skirt, pity them, don't appease them.  Don't wear a nun's habit the next time you're with them.  They are missing out. A friend of mine once criticized me for wearing sexy clothes. I returned the criticism telling her that she looked dowdy.  The next time we got together, she wore sexy clothes and I wore dowdy ones. She said that I had had an influence on her; she wanted to be more sexual. I unfortunately had let her influence me; I wore clothes that were rather  dumpy. We both had a good laugh.

7.  When making love, allow yourself to get immersed in your sensual thoughts and feelings. Don't make a common mistake. Don't imagine that you are sitting by the sidelines eating popcorn and critiquing your technique. Lovemaking is a participatory sport, not a spectator sport. ``Spectatoring" is a common problem in lovemaking. If you find yourself thinking: ``I wonder if this position looks good. I wonder if my hair is just so…" then you are bound to fizzle. Notice why. Your focus is not on your sensuality but on grading your performance. Get performance anxiety out of the bedroom… no spectatoring allowed.

8. Spend several minutes a day fantasizing about sex. Read an erotic short story or come up with your own fantasy. Let those ideas simmer throughout the day. (e.g., if you get an arousing thought about your partner, allow your mind to drift to this a few times during the day in sensual anticipation). By doing this, you are training your mind to value sensuality, to see it as important and deserving of your time and focused attention. You are developing a new habit.

9. For woman: Dress sexy (as you define it) and make sure you like what you're wearing and can wear it comfortably.  If your husband buys you the latest Victoria's  Secret skimpy see-through blouse and you like it for lounging around home when the kids aren't there, but not for a visit to your in-laws, don't force yourself to wear it there.

To avoid a love and hate relationship with sex, identify any areas in which sex or sensuality has turned into an obligation or a duty. Uproot the duty approach. Maintain sex as your own healthy value. Nurture your sensual life.  In an interview in Playboy, Rand says ``Love is not self-sacrifice, but the most profound assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love, and that is the greatest compliment, the greatest tribute you can pay to that person."

Rediscover your sensuality and get the hate relationship with sex out of your life. You don't ever have to approach sex dutifully.  It's not good for you or for your partner if true romance is your goal. Imagine yourself in the place of Katerina, proudly running through the Hawaiian wilderness, naked and in love with your life.  Imagine her ecstatic look on your  face. Enjoy becoming sexually selfish!  And have a great time with your partner.

Back to Part One