Sex & Sociability

Question and commentary on connections, both sexual and social

The Making of A Memorable Sexual Experience

What are the ingredients for a "magic moment?"

Many sexually inexperienced people imagined that their most memorable sexual experience would happen as the culmination of a lifetime of longing, on the traditional wedding night for example. That, of course, was the theoretical first night of one’s (usually her) sexual life. As you probably know, first time sexual intercourse is often anything but magical except for a lucky few. Awkwardness, pain, embarrassment, fatigue, uncertainty, less than optimal circumstances most often get in the way of “magic”. But for many a memorable sexual experience is the first time they have sexual intercourse even if the sex itself wasn’t the greatest. That’s particularly true for young males for whom the first time “real sex” finally occurs it will become memorable no matter how perfunctory.

For others a truly memorable sexual experience is when a number of various factors are present and the stars are in alignment. The site of the event is usually someplace out of the ordinary so that the sense of novelty and passion is heightened by where it takes place. The person, the place, the arousal magnified by passionate feelings, an exotic locale, perhaps even an element of risk of being discovered are key ingredients. This is why so many long coupled people praise “vacation sex”, that which is out of their ordinary routine.

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In an ideal sexual experience love is often a necessary component. What makes the sex memorable is not who did what to whom but the enormous amount of passionate feeling being exchanged with the one you love. Ask an intimate about her or his most memorable sexual experience and you are likely to get a scenario right out of a romance novel with rapturous descriptions of the other person rather than the acts or the location.

Love, limerence or locale do not enter into the most memorable sexual experience for those who on one special occasion stepped outside their usual boundaries. It might be the one breach in a monogamous contract, or an adventurous 3way, a same/opposite sex experience that is a rare event. Often I hear about a serendipitous happenstance with a stranger or with someone who will never be encountered again. It’s the one time only-ness of the experience that makes it memorable rather than the person or place or feelings.

As an experiment think of your own most memorable sexual experience. Does one come immediately to mind? Does it fit into any of the categories I mentioned above? How would you classify what exactly made it memorable for you? Ask a few friends for their own most memorable sexual experience. Is there any common thread among the responses? I particularly like one of my friends’ answer to this question: “Gee, I was kind of hoping that my most memorable experience hasn’t happened yet.”

I do not think there is a recipe for creating a memorable sexual experience. Usually one is only recognized in retrospect because …well, memorable stays in the memory when all other sexual events blur together. Here's to yours.

Isadora AlmanM.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."

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