I’ve just received final approval for my research project – hooray- and now I need couples to be my research participants.
The fancy, academic title for my research is:
The transformative potential of optimal sexuality within a relational context.
What this means in everyday language is:
Does having a great sex life develop you as a couple and as individuals, and if so, how? read more...
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I am really interested in human sexual potential. What is truly great sex? And why should we aim for it?
Well, most sexological research seems to have been focused more on quantity than quality. There’s a big focus on functioning genitals, with the assumption that if he’s erect and she’s lubricating, well, off you go then, that’s all you need for sex.
More recently there is more attention placed on pleasure, which is great, but again, it tends to focus on quantity rather than quality. How many orgasms are we having and how big are they?
But I work a lot with people who do have functioning genitals and satisfactory orgasms, yet they still say there’s something missing, that there’s got to be more. And yes, there is! I believe our human sexual potential has a lot more to do with depth and transcendence than in functioning genitals and quantifiable orgasms. read more...
I’m sitting in bed writing this, having just had breakfast in bed brought to me by my wonderful lover. It was just a cup of tea and toast, nothing flash, but what a difference it’s making to my day! It’s a small thing, but it’s a significant thing.
It’s the sum of these small things that set the quality of your relationship. Equally, it’s the sum of small neglects that stultify a relationship, flat-lining it. When a relationship flat-lines, there’s generally not a lot of sexual desire.
If you want to be healthy you know there are some basic things you need – like regular exercise and the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Without these, you’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s the same with relating well, there are some basic things you need every day to stay loved-up and connected. Let’s call these ‘vitamins for your relationship’. These practices will help keep your Couple Bubble strong. Without them you’re going to be pretty wobbly as a couple.
Here are the two key ‘relationship vitamins’ that I believe are vital, and that I prescribe for all my clients: one that you ‘take’ four times a day and one that you ‘take’ once a day.
1: Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups
The first type of vitamin is what I call Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups. These are focused, brief connections when you meet and part. Usually these are at four critical points of the day: when you wake up, when you part in the morning, when you greet in the evening and when you go to sleep. (Obviously those times are different if you’re both at home or are shift workers, but the same principle applies.)
At these times you need to make sure you have a quality connection, even if it’s only for a few seconds. To do this you:
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and exciting – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get bored and boring, in all aspects of our relationship, including sexually, we become a slave to our preconditioning.
I often say that all the dysfunctions we have around sex are more to do with society's dysfunctional model of sex, rather than the people doing it. I've written elsewhere how the model of 'normal' sex is based on solo masturbation rather than partnered love-making. This makes it structured and linear, with success measured by action and performance, rather than being free-flowing and non-linear, with success measured by feeling and connectedness.
Since 'sex' is seen as having key KPIs of penis-in-vagina activity (god only knows what lesbians do) with requisite orgasms, all of which happens in a set linear way, it means that out of fear/awkwardness/confusion/distaste people avoid any kind of love-making or even affection so as avoid what they see as ‘sex’ - and then feel really bad about not having sex!
It’s a bit of a catch-22 type of situation.
As I pointed out to a client caught in this dilemma on her first visit recently: you can make love with just a kiss. When she returned on her next visit she looked quite different.
“So how have the last two weeks been,” I asked, my standard first question. read more...
So many people who come to me are wanting more from their sexuality, but are at a loss as to what that ‘more’ might be.
These people might already have done their own research or seen other professional helpers. They've made sure their genitals are functioning, have given themselves permission to try different sexual activities, learned the importance of consent – and yes, these are all important parts of a healthy sex life – yet something is still missing…
The answer to the ‘more’ in sex is not a doing more, it’s a being more.
It is about moving away from sex as an ‘act’ or a ‘performance’ and engaging with another with openness and transparency. Rather than ‘doing’ each other or ‘getting each other off’, it’s about both surrendering to the experience. When two people engage in this way you are allowing yourself to explore, express and be known at the deepest levels of your being. read more...
So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love. Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.
This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’ companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going? read more...
There are two fundamental parts to expanding your sexual play: read more...
There’s a veritable smorgasbord of sexual possibilities, so why limit yourself to meat and three vegetables (with vanilla ice-cream as a special treat!)? Well, if that's all you want, that's absolutely fine. There are no ‘shoulds’ in sex, the important thing is to find out what is real for you and honour that. So if you really like chops and potatoes, that’s fine. But if you’re curious about sushi or ravioli, then give it a go! And if you like it, then make it a regular part of you life.
Now, some people are firmly in the meat and three veg camp, and others have already have a good look at the whole menu and sampled widely. I’m talking to all of you in-between. Some of you might not even know what’s on the menu! Or where to find a menu! So this is particularly for you.
In this article I’m going to look at what’s on the menu. In the next one we’ll be looking at how you and your partner decide what you’d like - unlike food, with sexual play you both need to be trying the same thing, so you need to agree about what you're tasting...
When you read through this list, please keep in mind that it's a brief overview, not in depth. You'll find other articles on this blog that go into more detail on most of them.
So, let's begin:
- How Has Sex Helped You Grow - Research Participants Wanted!
- Optimal Sexuality - Reaching Your Sexual Potential
- It's the Sum of the Small Things
- Relationship Vitamins
- I See You as Lover - the importance of attention in loving well
- You Can Make Love With Just a Kiss
- Finding the 'More' - the Spiritual Dimensions of Sex
- How to Stay In Love
- Expanding Your Sexual Play Pt 2: How
- Expanding Your Sexual Play Pt 1: What
- Simple Sex is Good Sex
- Solo Sex: Mindful Masturbation
- Own the Crone
- Porn Star versus Prude
- “When One is Pretending, the Whole Body Revolts”
to LOVELIFE News for regular inspiration on sex, love and intimacy!