Did you know that healthy self-love probably needs to be a part of this mix also? Without healthy self-love couple love may not flourish. Without sufficient self and couple healthy, real love flourishing a couple’s sex life is likely to fade over time. So, to have a great, ongoing, couple’s sex life it likely will take having a good, healthy, ongoing love of self and a good, healthy, ongoing couple’s love frequently and actively demonstrated. That is what I have found and other counselors and therapists like me have concluded after many years of practice working with the sex and love lives of a great many couples.
Naturally it is important not to confuse ‘sex’ and ‘love’ as, unfortunately, so many people do (See entry “Making Love or Having Sex” and explore “The Love Definition Series” in the left column). Confusing love and sex leads many people to relational disasters. To really weave sex and love together healthfully it is important to know how extremely different they are from one another. Learning the different characteristics of healthy sexuality and healthy love can greatly assist individuals and couples to do both well, and to do a good job of weaving them together. If you confuse love and sex or suspect your beloved does I suggest you both had better work on that. If you think that your maturing children may confuse love and sex you might want to attend a bit more to their love and sex education. It also can help to talk with close friends about de-confusing love and sex.
A good, healthy sex life usually means one in which a couple has sex fairly frequently and every so often differs the style, place, time, etc. of their sexual experience. Differences in sexual behavior are not the only important kind of difference to consider. Many couples find that differences in mood or attitude can be the most important differences to consider when aiming to have lasting sex with lasting love.
To have lasting loving sex it helps if you consider all the many mood options available. Sex in which the shared moods include being romantic, naughty, daring, sweet, silly, primitive, crazy, wondrous, adventurous, passionate, nasty, lazy, wild, sacred, mysterious, kinky, base, abandoned, playful, tender and a host of other mood possibilities is highly desirable. Working to enact these various mood options is frequently far more important than simple, sexual intercourse position options or different methods by which orgasm is achieved.
Frequency of sexuality issues also is important and can vary greatly from one person to the other and from one couple to another. In addition it is important to consider the frequency of all sexual interactions, not just sexual intercourse. Erotic kissing, sexy talk, sexually flirtatious behavior and a host of other sexual interactions that do not lead to intercourse and orgasm but rather stand on their own as desirable events help spice up life and have independent value for a couple’s lasting love life. Quality is more important than quantity but there are too many couples who do not have frequent enough sexual interactions, including intercourse.
There also are a very small number of couples who have sex too often, but from a health professional’s point of view too much sex is a rarer problem than too little sex. If you have sex so often that you become very raw, bleed a lot, miss work or otherwise malfunction at regular life activities you might be having too much sex. Since sex is highly healthy in all sorts of different ways, and it gets even far more healthy when it’s mixed with love, having loving sex frequently is a very healthy thing to do biologically and psychologically. It also may help socially because there is evidence suggesting well sexed and well loved people are easier to get along with and possibly are more interested and active in constructive, social concerns.
In regard to the frequency of orgasms, having between one and three a week, depending on the individual and physical ability or disability, is often regarded as a good regimen for accessing accompanying health benefits. Perhaps you have heard “a climax a day keeps the physician away”. Oh, you thought it was an “apple” a day? Was it the Victorians or the apple industry that changed it?
In any case, the ‘climax a day’ works for quite a few people while there are others who seem do well with only once a month. Less than that is highly questionable. If each orgasm is accompanied with a dose of healthy self-love, with other love and/or love of life and the universe it is likely to be extra healthy. If orgasms are accompanied with guilt, shame, embarrassment, thoughts or actions that self-denigrate or demean another, with anger, depression, anxiety, or other negative emotions the experience is likely to result in poorer mental and emotional health and be damaging to a couple’s relational health, which also goes against having a good, lengthy love and sex relationship.
Lasting love is greatly assisted by knowing the different ways love can be conveyed and then mixing those ways into your sexuality. Research has discovered that there are eight distinct groups of behavior which convey love directly, and four others which transmit love indirectly. I egotistically will say the best thing you can read about the eight direct ways of conveying or giving love is to be found in Part Two of my book, Recovering Love, chapters 5, 6 and 7. Chapter 8 is about integrating those ways into your sex life and is titled “How Do We Get the Sex Life We Both Want”.
If you want to be a lasting, loving couple with a lasting, full sex life then it is important to study and practice the major ways love is done as you also experiment and explore sexuality together and it’s never ending variety. There are so many ways to be sexual you can never get around to them all. You will have your favorites which you can keep going back to but I suggest every once in awhile experiment with something new.
Now, let’s look at healthy self-love and some of its particulars. Healthy self-love is extremely helpful to lots of couples in lots of ways, and this is especially true when it comes to sexuality. The same ways you show love to another can provide you with the ways to show love to yourself. Healthy self-love actions of affirming, protecting, nurturing, gifting and working to lovingly interconnect and harmonize the parts of your psychological self provide examples. To know more about this you can explore this website looking at the various entries that have to do with communicating love and other entries concerning sex with love issues.
Healthy, real couple’s love usually is greatly complemented and made lasting when couples continue throughout their life together to study love and explore sexuality further. Generally speaking, the more a couple maintains a fairly high level of varying sexuality and at the same time the more a couple works at being purposefully love-active the more lasting, healthy and happy that couple will be. However, it takes some good, couple’s teamwork to accomplish that. If you have trouble with any of these ideas and suggestions you might want to seek an accomplished, love-oriented, couple’s therapists who is trained, experienced and credentialed in both couple’s and sex therapy.
For a lasting, love-filled, erotic, couple’s life together here are a dozen simple questions you and your beloved might want to consider working with.
1. Do we lovingly talk about sex together?
Lovingly means to talk with kindness, care, understanding, acceptance, and staying open to each other’s feelings and ideas, while not letting egotism, fear, inhibitions, judgmentalism or defensiveness have influence, and never talking in ways that could be interpreted as disrespectful, demeaning, degrading, making fun of, or angrily argumentative.
2. Do we lovingly ask for what we want sexually, and lovingly hear what our beloved wants?
3. Do we lovingly handle a hesitancy, reluctance, or our beloved not wanting what we want?
4. Do we lovingly handle our beloved wanting something very different from what we want sexually?
5. Do we want to lovingly share our erotic selves with one another, and lovingly participate with our beloved sharing their erotic ways with us?
6. Are we lovingly open to experimenting and exploring new and different ways to be sexual with one another?
7. If one or both of us gets erotically carried away and into intense, extreme or wild abandon sex is there still a sense of love pervading our experience?
8. Are our beloved’s sexual emotional wants, well-being and satisfaction consistently treated as lovingly important as our own?
9. When we experience sexual difficulty do we handle those difficulties with lots of self disclosure, truth and love?
10. Do we lovingly work to help each other get past restrictive sexual inhibitions, bad previous sexual experiences, anti-sexual training and subconscious programming, sexual ignorance and sexual inexperience?
11. Do we lovingly help each other share the fun, excitement, silliness, joy, playfulness, pride and ecstasy of sexuality together?
12. Do we, at least sometimes, lovingly together strive to grow and experience sexualities that are of spiritual, oceanic, metaphysical and cosmic dimensions?
Couples who can affirmatively respond to most the above questions I see as highly likely to have a lasting, growing and frequently enriched sex and love-filled life together.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Is your all over attitude about sexuality more of a loving, happy, affirmative, thankful it exists attitude, or a conflicted, contradictory and confused attitude, or an aggressive, competitive, loveless attitude, or a mostly emotionally bad feeling, negative attitude? Then, how do you think your all over attitude about sexuality affects your love relationships, including the one you have with yourself?
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