Sex Esteem

How to confidently navigate relationship boundaries

Sex Esteem, Valentine’s Day Style

Five tips for sexual rejuvenation with your partner

What do most Americans think of on Valentine’s Day? Is it the chocolates, or dinner out, is it an expensive gift like jewelry, or a cute pair of cufflinks? In fact, Americans will shell out an average of $130.97 on candy, cards, flowers, etc. according to the National Retail Federation.

How about a new way of celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Instead of thinking about what to buy your lover/spouse, why not think of a new experience to share? Stepping out of the box of familiar dates, stereotypical conversation, and well-worn sexual routines allow people to experience themselves and their partners in a whole new way. I invite you to make a list of 3 things you have never done before and would be open to trying and ask your spouse or partner to do the same thing. It should be an activity that raises the stakes in the erotic department and may even make you a bit nervous? Why?

 

Because it’s only through pushing against the envelope of what you already know that you can transform yourself and your relationship. The combination of RISK + CREATIVITY brings out innovation and renewal in oneself, one’s relationships and one’s work. Think about the actor on a Broadway stage who performs 8 shows a week for years. That actor works on discovering some new emotional or physical nuance to their character to try out each performance, which is why the performance sparkles. In other words, they’re not dialing it in.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

The things most long-term monogamous couples complain of when they come into my office for sex therapy include a weary boredom, frustration with a lackluster sex life and low libido. What I find though is that people think they know their partner inside and out and have gotten lethargic about making attempts to discover something new about them.

 

Couples tend to stick to the tried and true (both in and out of the bedroom) out of a desire to create a nest for children, reinforce the security of the relationship or a lack of self-esteem to go out on a limb and try something new. Stephen Mitchell wrote that our need for security and constancy can overtake our willingness to keep getting to know new aspects about our partner in his book “Can Love Last? The Fate of Romance Over Time” . It is only through trying something new that one can explore the creative side of their brains. Hence the name Sex Esteem™, which I’ve coined to express a combination of self-confidence and curiosity people need to increase the erotic quality in a sexual relationship.

So if you really want to transform the erotic and romantic quality of your relationship, try these ideas or create your own:

 Find a burlesque club in your city and go see a performance that’s a combination of erotic dance and performance art. Talk to one another about which acts raise your erotic temperature.

 Check out the Erotic Salon for free erotica, sign up for the monthly newsletter or plan for a night away in Philadelphia and attend one of their live events.

 Order in dinner and explore the erotic stories of Adultfanfiction.net, a world of collected erotic stories based on popular characters in books, television or films.

 Stop by a local sex toy shop (in New York we have Eve’s Garden, Babeland and Shag) pick up a DVD with sexual moves or situations you have never tried before to stimulate your curiosity muscles. This is not a commitment to doing them but just an opening to explore what you and your lover find titillating. Pick up some innovative toys to add to your Valentine’s Day celebration.

 Listen to some storytelling about love, sex and seduction at a Moth event this week. The Moth is a performance series featuring people telling real stories of their lives that range from the frisky, nostalgic to the outright raunchy. They have performance series running in 12 cities throughout the U.S.

 

Sari Cooper, L.C.S.W., is a licensed couples and sex therapist and writer in New York City.

more...

Subscribe to Sex Esteem

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.