Emotional Freedom

How to liberate yourself from negative emotions and create a positive life.

Are You a Good Lover?

10 Qualities of a Good Lover

In my new book, The Ecstasy of Surrender, I discuss how to manifest your full sexual power, even if you are out of touch with it now. First, you must learn to completely inhabit your body and the moment. If not now, when? Holding back, fixating on performance, or letting your mind chatter and drift is the end of passion. It’s vital to get out of your head and into your bliss.

What is true sexual power? I define it as proudly claiming your erotic self and mindfully channeling sexual energy. You never use it to hurt, manipulate, smother, make conquests or get addicted to the ego-trip of sensual pleasure at the expense of others. This is bad karma. Nor do you allow others to harm or disrespect you. Sexual power is not just who you are in bed, though that’s an aspect of it. You also make electric linkages to your body, to spirit, to a lover, to the universe. It’s a turn on when sexual power is blended with spiritual power. Too many of us in our heady, frantic world lack the rich experience of having a primal connection with someone. Sexuality can offer us this, a satisfaction you can never get from your intellect alone. As you open to both sex and spirit, whether you’re single or part of a couple, you’ll be a vessel for erotic flow, enjoying pleasure without insecurities or inhibitions.

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A key aspect of sexual power is emotional intimacy, an instinctive desire to bond to a lover, to feel comfort, to be known. This makes the difference between pure physical sex and lovemaking. Emotional intimacy comes from affection, from sharing feelings, from being vulnerable. By caring you reinforce each other’s attractiveness and make each other feel special. As friends and lovers, you are fundamentally there for each other which creates trust. You see each other as real people, the good and the bad, not some idealized version. When conflict, anger, or hurt feelings arise, you’re committed to working through them.

What makes a good lover? There’s an electric chemistry between couples that is unique to them. Smell, voice, touch, and kissing style all figure in. Technical skills and good hygiene are also important. But beyond these, here are some characteristics to look for. 

10 Qualities of a Good Lover from The Ecstasy of Surrender

1. You’re a willing learner

2. You’re playful and passionate

3. You make your partner feel sexy

4. You’re confident, not afraid to be vulnerable

5. You’re adventurous and willing to experiment

6. You communicate your needs and listen to your partner

7. You make time and don’t rush

8. You enjoy giving pleasure as much as you enjoy receiving it

9. You’re supportive, not judgmental

10. You’re fully present in the moment with good eye contact and can let go

What stops us from being good lovers? Frequently it’s time constraints, self-centeredness, inhibitions, and lack of technique. Also, our minds won’t shut off which keeps us from being in the moment. Further, many of us resist surrendering to how sexy we really are. Why? We haven’t learned to see ourselves as sexy. We’ve been brainwashed by the “skinny ideal.” Also, sex is frequently viewed more as a performance feat than a holy exchange. Growing up, most of us haven’t been given the right kind of education about what true sexiness is. If only we’d been taught that sexuality is a healthy, natural part of us that we must embody in a mindful, loving way—not something “dirty” or something to be ashamed of. Early on we learn that the words vagina and penis embarrass people. Except between lovers, they are rarely ever part of our vocabulary. We are a culture that embraces shame, only there is nothing to be ashamed of!

Sexual responsiveness is a sensitive barometer. Intimacy requires self-awareness and a willingness to remove obstacles. Taking action can help you achieve a loving, erotic relationship. On a daily basis, train yourself to be more mindful about getting rest and pacing yourself. It’s not sexy to rush around and be constantly stressed out. Especially when you’re busy, it’s important to remember to breathe, a quick way to reconnect with your body! Though family, work, and other demands can intrude on making time sexuality, being dedicated to self-care can help you prioritize it in your relationship.

To cure self-doubts, you need to be solution-oriented. For instance, if you wonder, “Is my technique right?” honestly talk with your partner how you can meet each other’s needs. If you’re bored with the same positions, playfully brainstorm together about exciting ways to experiment. Also, with respect, keep discussing the anger or hurt you may feel towards each other so that your resentments don’t numb passion. For more complex issues such as fear of intimacy reach out to a therapist or a friend for insight. While exploring your fears, be kind to yourself. Such sweetness allows you to mend wounds and reclaim your sexual power.

Judith Orloff, M.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Emotional Freedom.

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