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What Sex Is and Is Not About

Sex is about pleasure and connection. It is about feeling good and feeling close. Yet, what many people think about when they think about sex has little to do with either of these two things. Instead people worry about how they look, how their body functions, and how they compare to others. These concerns, rather than enhancing sexual experience, lead to feelings of inadequacy. This prevents people from getting what they want out of sex.

The medicalization of sex hasn’t helped, as sexual experience has been reduced to how our bodies “perform.” Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and anorgasmia are a few ways in which sex is reduced to how our bodies’ function. Yet, we don’t have much control over what our bodies do and don’t do. And there are many ways in which two people can enjoy each other sexually—many ways to give and receive pleasure. For most people, how quickly they or their partner ejaculates is trivial, unless it becomes a measure of manliness. Feeling manly is not about pleasure or closeness, but about self-esteem.

Sex, at its heart, is adult play. Play is not about performance. Can we imagine rating a child’s “performance” at playing? The only way to fail at playing is not being able play.

So, what can you do to improve your sexual experiences? For starters, be present with yourself and your partner. Focus on what the experience is not what it should be. How does your body feel? How does your partner’s body feel? Some sex experts have likened good sex to meditation. Try to check your judgments at the bedroom door. This may take time, patience and practice.

Please check back for future article on sex and intimacy.