Periodically, I hear from both men and women that they have trouble really enjoying sex. They aren’t sure why. Are they bored with the same routine? Do they have communication challenges? Is their partner insensitive or unaware of their needs? Do they talk about their desires or do they depend on sign language? There can be a long list of questions.
Then there are the usual’s—too much work, too little time, too much fatigue, and too many household responsibilities. Little kids with sleep problems and big kids who are up at all hours can dampen sexual fervor. All of these factors seem to conspire against knock your socks off sexuality.
Pick up any magazine. There are tons of articles on how to ignite ecstatic sexuality. Make love on the kitchen floor, wear sexy lingerie, go on vacation, try new positions—there is a very long list of ideas, with testimonials from satisfied customers. I am sure that all of them can be helpful.
But there are other reasons which I believe are very commonplace and won’t respond to all of the usual remedies.
It’s lack of really being in the moment and being in touch with your body.
When adults are making love with their partner are they really “present”? They won’t really experience the pleasure of sensation if they are “in their heads” thinking about tomorrow, worrying about satisfying their partner, evaluating their experience (am I having fun?), judging their or their partner’s “performance” (this isn’t as good as it was last week), or worrying if they or their partner will reach the top of the mountain. All of these thoughts and preoccupations take you away from the “here and now” and diminish awareness. So great sex requires that you are living in the present! This is easier said than done.
Some adults, without realizing it, depend on alcohol to reduce their inhibitions and preoccupations. While it may help somewhat, it can end up creating its own set of problems—dependency on a substance or impaired function. Alcohol is a common cause of erectile problems in men! It’s important to learn how to relax without using drugs or alcohol.
Also, in order to enjoy sensation, a person has to be in touch with their bodies. They have to be connected to their physical self. Being in your body requires that you are in touch with muscles and nerves, and everything else! This comes more easily when you are young—it can diminish as you grow older. This is especially true if you spend too much time on your rear end! In order to be in tune with your physical self, movement in space is required. The more sedentary you become, the more distant you can become from your sexual self.
Furthermore, good circulation is important for normal sexual function. Lack of regular exercise impairs circulation and blood flow. There are many studies which show how regular exercise enhances sexual experience. It is not necessary to run a marathon to enjoy your sexuality—150 minutes weekly will do the trick. And, it can be spread out however you wish. Exercise also improves your mood, self-esteem, and energy level—all necessary elements for having a satisfying sexual life.
So, how can adults learn how to live in their bodies in the moment?
Take your time. Rushing through life reinforces lack of awareness in the moment. Eat slowly and really taste your food. Walk slowly and look around. Be aware of sensation in your everyday life—taste, smell, touch, and sound. There is an interesting book which focuses on sexual slowness as a way of being more in touch with your body—titled “Slow sex: The art and the craft of the female orgasm” by Nicole Daedone. Very interesting—read it slowly.
Practice mind and body coordination. Yoga and tai chi emphasize body awareness, stretching, and the mind/body connection. Yoga classes are offered everywhere! Hot yoga seems to be very popular—especially during the cold winter months. Walking is great too, especially when you get outside, and breathe in the cool, fragrant Northwest air.