By now, you probably know that communicating with your partner is the key to having a great sex life. But did you know that conversations with yourself can make it even better? According to couples therapist and professor Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD, when we understand our innermost desires, “we are able to make choices that are respectful (of ourselves and others) and that feel good (physically and emotionally).” And understanding what you want in terms of sex is called sexual self-awareness.
Practicing sexual self-awareness is proven to lead to better sex because when you are curious about your sexual thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, you can take charge and create more pleasurable sexual experiences for yourself. Aside from this, getting to know yourself sexually can help you “choose a partner who is a good fit, practice healthy boundaries, and navigate the inevitable bumps in the road.”
To start deepening your sexual self-awareness, you can ask yourself these three questions:
Why am I having sex?
According to Dr. Solomon, sexual desire can be categorized into two types: spontaneous desire—the usual sudden sexual urges that we experience, and responsive desire—which are urges that are less motivated by our horniness and more by relational experiences and environmental cues.
It was found that spontaneous desire is commonly seen in new relationships—where everything still feels fresh and exciting—but it wanes over time. Since our responsive desire sparks when we are presented with situations that make us feel truly turned on, it is important to know what makes you feel good when it comes to sex. Dr. Solomon suggests thinking about responsive desire as a feedback loop—“the better it feels (physically and emotionally) for you to be in this sexual space with your partner, the more desire you have to continue the experience, and the more you continue, the more aroused you feel.”
When we categorize and recognize our sexual desires, we also realize that everyone has different motivations when it comes to sex. Understanding why you want to have sex in that certain moment can help you create a sexual experience that’s made just for you.
What turns me on?
This question is meant to “help you understand how you experience sexual desire and arousal.” Evidently, our sexual activity is highly motivated by our desires and what turns us on is a big part of these desires.
And the first step to “knowing what turns you on is knowing when you’re turned on.” It’s also worth noting that the sensation of being turned on is not limited to feeling wet?—it’s also about how you feel emotionally and psychologically.
Dr. Solomon says that practicing mindfulness—or paying attention to what you’re feeling in the present—is one way to learn about your turn ons. Notice what makes you feel great as it happens, so the next time, you can try and recreate these sexual sensations. Ultimately, knowing what turns you on is dependent on tuning into your body.
How did I learn about sex?
Some of us learn about sex early in life, but there are also those who explore it much later. The point is, all of us have varying sexual awakenings.
Dr. Solomon says that sex education that’s based on fear may lead people to feel shameful about sexual desires and when we feel shameful about these urges, “it is hard or impossible to talk about sex,” and it makes us feel that we aren’t allowed to find pleasure in sexual activities.
Given that we live in a country that still views sex as something taboo, it’s highly possible that early sexual experiences for a lot of us are shameful and frowned upon. If this is this case, give yourself what you didn’t get then. Recognize that sex is something that you’re allowed to take pleasure in. It’s time for you to explore all the things that you’ve always been curious about!
By asking yourself these questions, you are deepening your sexual self-awareness. And by understanding what you enjoy in bed, hopefully you'd be able to create better sexual experiences for you and your partner.
Source: Psychology Today
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