- Keep it real
Men like porn, just in case you hadn’t noticed. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that up to 99 per cent of us use it! Is this a problem? Look, I’m not here to hate on porn: at times I’ve even recommended it to couples as a way of deepening their intimacy and broadening their sexual horizons. However, in some regards, porn use can be very problematic. Why? Porn is not sex – it’s a performance. Often, men try to replicate that performance with their own partner; and that’s going to be unfulfilling for both people.
As soon as you start trying to “perform” in the bedroom, this introduces an element of anxiety, disconnection and falseness between the two of you. Emotional intimacy and authenticity are vital when it comes to having satisfying sex. What’s the takeaway message? Stop performing. Keep it real. Connect with your partner. This is what many people crave but aren’t entirely sure how to express: they want sexual intimacy that feels authentic.
- If you can’t hold on anymore, stop fighting the inevitable.
You’re having sex and you can feel the ecstasy building rapidly. Too rapidly. A part of you knows what’s coming – pun intended. There’s also a part of you that realises there’s nothing you can do to stop the impending orgasm. But you really want her (or him) to be able to enjoy the experience as well, so you do everything you can to stop it from happening.
But it never works, right? What’s more, by trying so hard to not come, you inadvertently introduce tension and awkwardness into the sexual encounter. Apart from distracting you and stopping you from enjoying the sex, your partner is going to pick up on this tension. They may feel confused and uneasy as a result. In turn, your partner might become more inhibited in the bedroom. They may avoid doing anything that really turns you on, for fear that things might become tense and uncomfortable again.
So, what’s a man to do? Once again, just relax. If you’re less anxious, you’re likely to have a more fulfilling sexual experience. If you feel the inevitable coming (I feel like I’m on a role here), don’t hold on endlessly – just let go! Beyond the bedroom, however, there are things that you can do to avoid finding yourself in such situations in the first place. For starters, take a look at a more comprehensive article that we wrote on the topic of lasting longer in bed.
- Share your fantasies
We all have sexual fantasies. Well, 97% of us, according to survey research. Ask a psychoanalytically oriented therapist such as myself, however, and you’d learn that the other 3% are either lying or using the defence mechanism of repression. But that’s a topic for another day.
Although sexual fantasies are normal and natural, we hesitate to share them for fear of rejection. This is unfortunate: a recent study showed that couples who share sexual fantasies tend to have better sex. Does this mean that speaking about your fantasy will lead to better sex?
Not necessarily. Couples who feel safe enough to share their fantasies have better sex because their relationships are usually built on a foundation of honesty and trust. Is your partner secretly hoping that you’ll open up about your own sexual fantasies? Is she harbouring fantasies of her own that she’s wishing she could share and live out with you?
Possibly – not everyone is comfortable enough to acknowledge and discuss this sort of thing. I am willing to bet, however, that your partner wants a relationship in which there’s enough trust for anything – including sexual fantasies – to be discussed when the time is right.
- Desire her
Ok, this one isn’t rocket science: we all want to be wanted. However, a recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour suggests that for women in particular, the sense of being desired is incredibly important when it comes to sexual arousal.
Psychology professor Dr. Meana and her colleagues got a group of men and women together and showed them a series of heterosexual pornographic images. While viewing the naughty pictures, the participants had their eye movements tracked so that the researchers could work out who was focusing on what.
The eyes of the male participants landed most frequently on the bodies of the women in the images. No surprises there. What about the women? The researchers noticed that the female participants spent an equal amount of time looking at a) female bodies; and b) male faces. Why the focus on male faces in particular?
The researchers suggested that for the female participants, they were turned on by seeing a man staring longingly at another women. What can we take from this? The implication is straightforward. Your partner wants to be wanted. Stare at her as if you mean business; and if you want to, why not add in a few words to express your desire?
When in doubt, ask!
What does your partner really want in bed? The fact that you want to know the answer to this question is a good sign for your relationship. You may well discover that your partner is wanting you to be a bit more real in the bedroom; or perhaps they’re dying to live out their deepest and darkest sexual fantasies. Perhaps they’re completely happy with the way things are – or maybe they wish you would stop worrying so much about your own performance! Whatever the case, remember that if you don’t ask, you won’t find out. The key to a happy and healthy sex life is emotional intimacy, trust and communication.
Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist. He serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which provides sex-therapy online programs for men and couples experiencing premature ejaculation.