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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
 
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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Sexual Relationships

Sexual Relationships

The focus on self-awareness is never meant to undermine awareness of one's partner in sex. Ideally, as we grow in appreciation of our own body's responses and expressions, we become more sensitive to the responses and expressions of our partner. It is not a question of competition for getting needs met, but a recognition that energy flows, and is shared, between us, as well as within each of us. The question becomes, How can you capitalize upon the energetic exchange in ways that are enjoyable and satisfying for both your partner and yourself?

How many of us have taken the time to really get to know our partner's body - like which areas are particularly sensitive besides the sexual organs? How many of us can immediately detect a change in our partner's breathing pattern or skin tone indicating a change in the energy flow? How many of us are willing to indefinitely delay our own sexual release or gratification in order to remain focused on our partner's pleasure? Can we stay present to the person we are with rather than putting some fantasy lover in his or her place?

The subjects of timing and degree of desire are big issues in sex for couples. One partner generally wants sex more regularly than the other (high-libido versus low-libido types). One partner requires more time to be turned on. One partner wants more relaxed post-sex time. These are not easy issues to resolve. It is important to recognize that differing desire quotients are normal and natural, because it is easy to think that there is something wrong with the relationship if and when our libido varies from that of our partner. According to Michelle Davis, author of The Divorce Remedy, Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity, and divorce."

Approaching the issue as if "we have a problem" is not the most ideal method. Talking about "what's wrong with our sex life," or nagging that "I want this and you won't give it to me" can create an endless cycle of conversation that goes nowhere, or recrimination that ends in disappointment and separation. Where sex is concerned, acting differently is generally much more effective than problem solving. To speak simply about what can be a somewhat complex issue, the high-desire types can learn to be more sensitive to "courting" or nurturing behaviors, while the low-desire types can learn to "just start" even when they don't initially feel like it. In either case, each partner needs to be willing to act differently without bearing a grudge if the other doesn't change immediately. Patience is always called for, as are respect, kindness, and remembrance of the love that brought the couple together in the first place. When each partner places attention on the awareness and appreciation of the other, it is much more likely that difficulties can be successfully addressed.




<< Previous Your Mind in Sex | Back to Intimacy & Sex | Next >> Self-Responsible Sex
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