As the holiday season winds down, let's take one last look at the gifts we gave and receive. Of course, most therapists do not give patients holiday gifts.
Rather, we give patients gifts all year long. Here are some of the sexual gifts my patients (with names changed, of course) cherished this year:
To Maria: The realization that you’re attractive despite having an imperfect body—and that you don’t need to lose a single pound in order to be eligible for sexual pleasure.
To Huang & Sammi: The decision to keep your lubricant and condoms in the night-table, so you’re more likely to use them. And if the kids find them, and if they ask about it (the first is far more likely than the second), the nerve to tell them the truth.
To Jose: The sense of entitlement to define “heterosexual” any way you like—including same-gender fantasies.
To Marcus: The courage to to tell your wife that you like a finger in your butt when she's stroking or sucking your penis.
To the local school district bureaucrats: The information that healthy children are sexually aware, curious, and experimental; that they masturbate, know sexual words (whether they know the meanings or not), and don’t always understand school rules against consensual behavior.
To LeSean: The scientific understanding that being unable to get erect when you’ve been drinking or when you’re angry doesn’t mean you’re impotent.
To Alice: The trust in yourself to do what you and your husband want to do in bed—regardless of what you’ve been told about the “meaning” of oral sex. Remember, sexual activities have no meaning, any more than our preferences for colors have meaning.
To Dr. Swanson: The patience to ask men who want Viagra if they actually desire or enjoy sex with their partners. And the wisdom to ask these men if they’re planning to tell their partners that they’re taking Viagra—which is a good indicator of the relationship’s communication status.
To Latisha: The faith to stop believing that all men are dogs who will cheat on you sooner or later. I know your dad cheated on your mom a jillion times, as did your first two boyfriends. Plenty of men cheat. Plenty of women cheat. Plenty of people don’t cheat. Go find one who won’t.
To Sanjay: The good sense to stop comparing your penis to the penises in pornography, and to stop comparing your girlfriend’s body to the bodies in pornography. Pornography is meant to entertain, not to document reality. If watching pornography isn’t entertaining, stop watching.
To Roberta: The willingness to tell your girlfriend after 15 minutes of sex, "I'm probably not going to climax tonight, so let's just kiss some more and call it a night."
To Noor and Ali: The commitment to talk with your kids about sex now, before they ask. I know you grew up in families, and in a culture, in which this was never done. You have the opportunity to give your children something you never had. Give them this gift—and grow along with them.
And to all my patients, our legislators & judges, to all our physicians & health practitioners, and to every morality group & social activist, I wish you increased sexual Intelligence this coming year.