I know what you long for sexually.
“I just want to feel his desire—I want him to look at me like he wants me!”
“I wish she’d just let go, I have no idea if she likes how I’m touching her.”
“He asks me if I want to have sex just like he’s asking if I want a cup of coffee—how is that supposed to turn me on?”
“She doesn’t even know what she wants. Her version of communication is to tell me where not to touch, but not what feels good.”
I hear these statements all the time. Folks in long-term relationships wanting more passionate sex, with no understanding of how to create it.
Strangely enough, it’s often easier for people to feel their more primal sexual self in affairs or short-term relationships. For many reasons, including the fact that the body releases extraordinarily powerful neurochemicals in response to a new sex partner, people can more easily access physical sensations and ignore their thinking brains.
But in long-term relationships—romances where, theoretically, we should have greater trust and comfort with our partner—the natural diminishment of these neurochemicals allows our minds, including our negative thoughts, to have much more power.
“Do I really want to do this tonight? I have a big meeting in the morning and I need my sleep”
“I ate too much for dinner. The last thing I feel like doing is getting naked.”
“I don’t feel like putting the effort in for an orgasm.”
And so it goes, as our thoughts offer their relentless and mostly unhelpful commentary about our sex lives, just as they do over all other aspects of our lives. It’s very easy to become stuck here, brainwashed, rather than inhabiting our body and the sensations there-in.
But great sex doesn’t originate in our minds. Instead, we must allow the more animalistic, instinctive aspects of our primate selves to come forward and take the lead. It’s the energy everyone wants from their partner, the energy that flows more naturally in new relationships and affairs when those neurochemicals of passion are at their peak. But raw passion in a long-term relationship without the support of those yummy neurochemicals can feel too vulnerable and risky. In fact, if it doesn’t feel vulnerable and risky, you haven’t located your primal sexual self. Frankly, when I explain to people what lusty sex in a long-term relationship really entails, they sometimes opt for the status quo.
For most couples in long-term relationships, primal sex is an essential element of a great sex life. But we dislike feeling vulnerable so much that we feel inclined to keep our most intimate thoughts and feelings safely hidden behind a veil of boredom or criticism. It becomes easier to watch movies showing other couples having the kind of sex we long for or read about it in romance novels. Vicarious experience allows us some of the sensation with none of the risk.
But let’s say you want a better sex life with your long-term, trusted partner. Here are some general points to get you started:
- This adventure will be much more comfortable and successful if you both agree to embark on it together. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel too vulnerable, and your partner may feel threatened by your increased intensity. (Sex emanating from the body can be much more intense than sex when you are reacting to your thoughts).
- To express your body’s desire, you first have to be in tune with it. It’s called embodiment, and for most of us, this involves an ongoing practice of bringing your awareness away from your thoughts and instead, focusing on physical sensation. Believe me, this takes practice and diligence, such as with regular meditation or yoga. Our thoughts are so loud and compelling that without effort to the contrary, we spend most of our time listening to them. Plus, tuning into our bodies means feeling things, including emotions like fear or embarrassment, or physical discomfort. You probably spend more time trying to dissociate from your body than you realize. We all do.
- Allow your primal sexual self to be your guide. This is challenging because most of us associate shame with our primal sexual nature. We are taught to hide this part of ourselves from public view. While this is an appropriate message, we interpret this to mean that our sexual selves are shameful. Showing this part of ourselves thus becomes way too risky. People will forfeit the possibility of great sex just to avoid the risk of shame.
- Learn to tolerate sexual intensity. Don’t giggle, make jokes, or talk baby talk in its presence. Instead, embrace your partners' raw sexual passion. Diffusing it in any way will reduce the chances that your partner will ever show you this side of themselves again. And if they aren’t willing to go there, you’ll feel that it’s too risky for you to go there alone.
Ultimately, this process is about giving yourself permission to access your deepest sexual self. Blaming your partner for an uninteresting sex life is a safe way to let yourself off the hook. Instead, I invite you to share this blog with your partner. Embark on this sexual quest together. It can feel risky, because anytime we expose more of ourselves, we fear rejection and humiliation. But if you and your long-term partner can support each other along this path, the prize is an extraordinary deepening of your sexual relationship.
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