Conventional Society and Sexual Desire
When it comes to sex in heterosexual relationships, there’s a societal convention and some genetic wiring for men to initiate and be in charge; but, women and their bodies are the object of attention. In relationships, women expect and like their men to make the first move while also being narcissistically focused on their bodies and how they look. It is with sex, society puts women on a pedestal as goddesses and disparages them at the same time, sometimes simultaneously.
The last year brought necessary and great attention across the world to sexual harassment and sexual assault with the #MeToo campaign. This ignites an important topic: the effects of women being intensely sexualized their entire lives and it’s impact on women’s sexuality in romantic relationships and how to balance this with needs of cultivating desire in long-term relationships.
#MeToo. Why Woman Struggle to have a Positive Body-Image
By adulthood, women have a long-complicated history intra-relationally with their bodies, their sexuality and have learned that being desired can be hazardous. As teens, female bodies being to change and the comparison between themselves and others begins alongside wanted and unwanted attention from boys and men. In the early teen years, the building of self-confidence or insecurity and unworthiness has already begun and been underway. By adulthood, all most all women have experienced some form of sexual coercion and 1 in 4 have been raped. Sadly, women are physically and emotionally vulnerable solely because of their gender. The sense of vigilance and suspicion that understandably develops interferes with their relationships with their bodies, sexuality, self-esteem and within their romantic relationships. Also see our blog on MeToo, One Year Later.
A Note to Men
It is the responsibility of men to understand the aforementioned and how to balance this with needs of a relationship which include making your female partner feel desired. Woman need to feel wanted and irresistible, within their romantic relationships. No matter how long you’ve been in your relationship, this key fact will never change and it’s an essential ingredient to maintaining a hot sex life in a long-term relationship. Though, how you make your partner feel desired is largely based on what she enjoys and her history in order to determine what makes her specifically feel safe but also passionately desired.
It’s important to have intimate communication in your relationships about what feels good for your female partner and what makes her feel both respected and safe but irrevocably desired. This includes her likes with flirtation, touch and what arouses her which are central to have as on-going parts of long-term relationships as well as what she doesn’t like.
And women, it is your job to take back control by raising your self-esteem and improving your relationship with your body and sex. To begin to learn what you like, what you don’t, what your boundaries are, and to be able to assert and share this clearly with your partner.
Words of Advice for Men and Women… but mostly Men
Orgasms are not what make sex so great. Yes, they’re great, but, the goal shouldn’t be to get your partner to climax. Instead, focus on making your partner feel wanted. This is easy to do if you’re enjoying what you’re doing during sex when it comes to pleasing her. If you’re not enjoying yourself, chances are, neither is she. If you’re both having fun, feelings of desire and being wanted will naturally rise, and the intensity and passion will be there. Creating feelings of desire are truly what is needed for great sex.
Furthermore, desire can and should be cultivated outside of the bedroom.
Sex therapist and author Stephen Snyder, M.D. discusses simmering as a key ingredient in keeping sex in long-term relationships lively. Simmering is getting you and your partner excited, even when having sex isn’t an option, and then leaving them to “simmer” until later. Dr. Snyder writes, “This generally means no orgasms, no rhythmic stroking, no heavy breathing. Nothing that’s going to leave you too frustrated after you have to stop… In sex therapy we often counsel people to enjoy brief moments of arousal together for no reason at all, except that it feels good.” This can mean a long embracing hug before having to leave for work, touching each other before bed, a note leaving the mind to wander, or a deep kiss before dinner. “Simmering helps cultivate the right kind of erotic climate in a relationship. Most couples’ erotic climate is sustained more by simmering than by sex. Plus, simmering is a perfect way to make your partner feel desired.
Lastly, another way to spark desire includes words of affirmation such as “I love the sound of your laugh.”, “I’ll be daydreaming of you all day and can’t wait to see you after work.”, “Your intelligence is sexy; it turns me on”.
Desire – A Strength Based Approach
If a woman can develop a more positive relationship with her body she can begin to take back control in her sexual life increasing her ability to be more sexually aroused, independent, self-validating, have a greater ability to climax as well as feel more comfortable initiating sex. As Dr. Snyder puts it, “You don’t have to be a sex therapist to know that a woman’s sexual enjoyment strongly depends on how she things she looks…”
Men, it is your responsibility to aid in this process for your woman. She is going up against years of scrutiny by society and needs your support. Lastly, initiate conversations with your partner about what they like and don’t related to flirtation, arousal, foreplay and sex.
If you’d like support cultivating improved communication or re-igniting desire in your relationship connect with us for couples counseling.