“Human sexual desire is the most complex form of sexual motivation among all living things. It’s a combination of genetic programming and variables of life experience, producing the utmost sophisticated nuance and variety of sex on the face of the planet” -Dr. David Schnarch
I want to start by saying that I believe sex and intimacy within a committed, covenant, and monogamous relationship are two of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. Sexual intimacy with another person is what makes us truly unique and human. It differentiates us from all other creatures. In profoundly spiritual acts of bonding, your commitment to your partner is conveyed through actions, not just words. Together, you enter a capsule of sexual space and time stops. You come alive by every heightened sensation, not just in your body but in your mind. And with increasing intimacy over time, this communion grows stronger, even outside the bedroom as you begin to relate to each other in new ways.
You can experience exciting, new adventures while laughing and playing together like carefree children running through a beautiful meadow.
Some of you may be frustrated at this point, rolling you eyes and saying, “Okay, okay Dr. Ski, you are obviously a hopeless romantic and have no idea what the reality of marriage and commitment is like. This mountain-top, novel type sex is completely unrealistic.”
I hear you! And I want to encourage you that however lifeless or passionate your sex life may be right now, it can be rekindled.
There are 3 conditions to starting this process:
- You are in a relationship with someone you trust, who loves you, and will not hurt or manipulate you.
- You and you partner have the capacity to form a common alliance.
- You both have a desire to increase your connection as a couple
If you have these characteristics, you can experience powerful and transformative intimacy and sexual desire. Just as exciting, this journey can also be a catalyst for tremendous personal and emotional growth and refurbishment.
I want to start by giving credit to Dr. David Schnarch and his landmark books The Passionate Marriage and Intimacy and Desire for helping me begin to understand on this vital topic.
So how do we begin?
First there are several primary misconceptions that statistics say are wrong:
- Sex and intimacy should come completely natural and easy. All this talk of complexity is for people who don’t know what they are doing. With all the baggage (from culture to past experiences, attachment and trauma) we bring to sex and intimacy, nothing could be further from the truth.
- Men want sex more than women. The statistics show that when the sex is good, women are typically more eager and knowledgeable than men.
- Sex is for the young. Most studies actually show that as individual move through life, they become much more experienced and proficient at sex and sexual variety.
- Relationships and sex should always feel as it did in the “falling in love” stage. Much of the early relationship sex is a product of powerful lust and romance which, at the time, can be as powerful and real as anything we experience in life. Our brains are packed full of neurotransmitters that makes us believe that this is the best thing anyone has ever experienced and no one has experienced it like you. It typically fades over time and develops into something else. As couples move through the falling in love stage, they begin to know their partner well—the good, the bad, and the ugly. All of a sudden, Mr. Prince Charming becomes Mr. “why did you leave you underwear in the floor for the millionth time”.
We also learn the sexual habits and limits of our partner. According to Dr. Schnarch, sex between two people consists of the “leftovers” they each bring to the relationship. The leftovers are the repertoire of acceptable sexual practices that each partner has decided they are willing to do according to their own sexual development. These leftovers almost always create a barrier to sexual variety within a relationship. This is a very important concept because if you as a couple are to move beyond the leftovers, you must know what they are.
Given all that, the real question is how do we have and keep a passionate sex life in a long term relationship and how does that process develop us emotionally?
Interestingly, the first and most important step to sex and intimacy has nothing to do with your partner. It is to establish (know who we are) and be comfortable with our individual Selves. We must have dealt with past traumas and attachments and not allow our past to be transferred into our current relationship. Your current husband (wife) is not the man (woman) that hurt you as a child. We also must realize that we are an independent and separate entity from our partner free to express our needs, wants and desires and not be afraid of rejection. If we are rejected and this is important, we must have the capacity to Self sooth and not take it personally.
As we develop our Self, becoming more aware of and remedying our insecurities, hang-ups, and other issues with sex and intimacy, we are then ready to begin a journey in partnership to co-develop both sexually and emotionally.
I believe sex is one of the most powerful ways to rewire our minds. Here we are most vulnerable and as we move through the journey, we experience powerful encounters that fundamentally alter our brain circuitry, replenish our spirits, and invigorate our relationships. Sex in this manner has the characteristics of being loving, adoring, hot, erotic, and even carnal all at the same time. This will keep boredom at bay.
Okay, I’m at 1000 words and just getting started. In the next blog, I will cover HOW YOU START AND MOVE THROUGH THIS EXCITING, BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY!