Sexpectations 2012

Are you stuck in unrealistic sexpectations? Or ready to create a new language of love?

Is your marriage or relationship bogged down in unrealistic sexpectations? Do your attitudes about your body, frequency of intercourse, sexual preferences, and assumptions about orgasm create distance and frustration in the physical relationship with your partner? If so, are you ready to ditch the expectations and create a new language of love that only you and your partner speak? Here are some thoughts that can help you shed some of the unnecessary expectations you may have developed.

  • Body. We all have different bodies. And we all have different attitudes toward our bodies. Sometimes the attitudes are more important, since how we feel about our bodies can affect how we relate in bed. This is true for both men and women. Women are flooded with magazine, TV, and Internet images of “perfect” women, and if you don\’t have a solid foundation of self-esteem, you can be seduced into thinking you have to meet those standards. The same goes for guys. The chiseled body, penis size, the athletic image—you name it—guys can be seduced into measuring up too. In addition, you might find you have idealized the physical characteristics of previous lovers and are looking for something unrealistic in the person in front of you.
  • Change the paradigm. If these thoughts resonate with you, I suggest a personal paradigm change. Forget about image and start focusing on health. How do you feel in your body? How is your energy, vitality, agility, posture? Forget how your partner or others perceive you. How bright do you glow when you look at yourself in the mirror? How bright is your physical sense of well being as you move around in life. Do you suffer from small ailments that keep you on the sidelines, such as headaches, joint aches, or shortness of breath? If you don\’t have positive answers for these questions, adopt an exercise program that will increase your energy, improve your posture, and enhance your sense of well-being. You might want to start this process on your own—to own your body and establish your personal space. At some point, you can invite your partner into a co-exercise program.
  • Frequency. What\’s your idea of regular sex? Whether it\’s daily, once or twice a week, or less frequent, it could be different from your partner\’s idea. And one of you may be taking on the expectations of the other and suffering silently for it, feeling unloved or that something is wrong with you. When that happens, it\’s critical to communicate before resentment sets in too firmly. You may find that once communication begins, your partner will assure you again and again how much you are loved, desired, and needed. The first step is to get on the same page and know clearly what the other\’s expectations are. Once you do that, you can begin looking for answers.
  • Getting on the same frequency. Solutions can include putting more variety into your sexual interactions. You don\’t have to have regular intercourse every time, and both of you don\’t have to have orgasms every time. Be creative. Come home for “lunch” once in a while when the kids are in school. Or take an afternoon off together and book a nice hotel room. The keys to finding common ground, like so many things in life, are flexibility and creativity. If you find communication difficult at any point is this process, Orange County couples and marriage counseling can help you move through it successfully.
  • Sexual preferences. The “what to do?” can be as big a roadblock as “how often?” You like wet kisses and your partner does not? You like missionary and your partner likes to explore new territory? You like oral and your partner is not there yet? Again, these are common frustrations in many marriages.
  • Communicate what you want—and don\’t want. The area of sexual practices is also one that can improve significantly with clear, honest communication. There are so many small steps that can be taken to bridge the gaps between preferences. Start with an honest communication, such as “I\’d like to try something a little different.” Or “I don\’t feel comfortable yet with what you\’re doing.” These small communications can open up a dialog that puts both of you in a creative space where you can begin expanding your preferences slowly and comfortably and bridging the gap between you. If you need help communicating in this area, a discreet, sensitive, and experienced third party, such as Orange County couples and marriage counseling, can help you feel more comfortable establishing a shared, loving dialog to facilitate open communication.
  • Orgasm. Do you expect to have an orgasm every time you have sex? Does your partner? More specifically, do you expect to reach orgasm from intercourse and feel like you, your partner—or both of you—have failed if it doesn\’t happen. A little like running a race and dropping out before the finish line? Or going fishing and not catching anything? Be aware that these expectations can be different between you and your partner. As a guy, you may think your partner should climax every time, while she doesn\’t care as long as intimacy and pleasure are being shared. Or vice versa. These differences can result in frustration and guilt.
  • Explore new ways. If these feelings sound familiar, keep in mind that you share them with many couples. This expectation is programmed in by our culture at the beginning of our sexual awareness, and we do little to find alternatives in how to relate more realistically. But this is an area that can be successfully addressed in a healthy relationship. I suggest you plan time to relate physically without expectations of intercourse or orgasm. Begin exploring new ways, such as caressing without sex, massage (amateur massage can be a great way to begin communicating how you like to be touched!), co-exercising, shoulder rubs while your partner is working. Learn to enjoy a broader sense of physical pleasure and you\’ll find that the focus on orgasm does not have to be so rigid. Also, be aware some researchers have found that not all women reach orgasm readily without direct clitoral stimulation.

Here\’s a suggestion that I have found works for many couples. Think of your sex life as if you are creating an original work of art together—a novel or poem, a painting or sculpture. The language you use is the language of touch and words that are completely unique to your relationship—your private love language. You two are the creators and you can make it anything you want, regardless of the media, social, or other expectations that are out there. And you can establish your own norms and practices. The only requirement is that you do it together and do it with love.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.

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