Ten ways couples can update their sexuality awareness

Funmi Akingbade

Despite the fact that we live in the post-Victorian, post-human potential movement, post-free love movement, we are still uncomfortable with our own sexuality. One would think that with all of the talk about sex, all of the books written about sex, and all of the movies depicting sexuality, we would finally have reached a point in our evolution where we would be as comfortable talking about and experimenting with sex as we are talking about food; sharing sexual information as readily as we share recipes. But this is not the case.

One … Let’s ask questions from resourceful persons, we are uncomfortable talking to our friends about sex; we are uncomfortable asking for help with our sexuality, and we certainly would not take lessons in how to increase our enjoyment of sex. We will take cooking classes to learn how to prepare a gourmet meal. We will take dancing lessons to better be able to trip the lights fantastic.

Two … Let’s take lesson from sex therapist or sexology if need be, we will take golf lessons, tennis lessons and any number of other lessons to increase our expertise and enhance our abilities. However, when it comes to sex, we assume that we should be able to function optimally without help. Furthermore, if we should want to increase our sexual pleasure or should we feel uncomfortable with some aspect of our sexual life, we feel embarrassed in seeking counsel.

Three … Never believe that sex is only a basic instinct; it should be learnt and acquired also. Generally, we carry the belief that we should know everything there is to know about sex as if sexual behaviour was encoded in our DNA. Most of us carry attitudes about sexuality that we learned when we were adolescents. We seldom take the time to update that information. As adults, we operate based on adolescent notions of sexuality. Ignorance is one of the most effective deterrents to effective sexual functioning.

Five … understand that human sexuality is enormous, versatile and multidimensional. There are no rules for the human sexual response. We can respond to the same sex or the opposite sex. We can have a sexual response when we are alone or with someone. We respond to living beings and inanimate objects. Human sexuality includes all of the senses — smell, touch, sound, sight, and taste. Sexuality involves imagination, fantasy and imagery.

Boys tend to learn about their sexuality through locker-room talk, erotic magazines and movies and trial and error.

Girls gain their sexual knowledge through conversations with other girls and women, love stories and movies and experience. For men, the sexual act is often a combination of pleasure, sexual release and power. For women, sexuality is often intimacy, affection and pleasure. Just think about the terms men and women use when referring to sex. Male terms tend to be aggressive, even hostile, while female terms are gentle, loving and even spiritual. Women make love, men get laid.

These attitudes and values affect the manner in which the genders approach sexuality and, in large measure, contribute to their appreciation of the sex act. Furthermore, these values affect how men and women perceive themselves and how they view each other.

Six … the differences are very obvious, generally, men establish their identity through performance. From childhood through adulthood, they measure themselves by such things as how far they can spit, how fast they can run, how far they can throw a football, grade point average, penis size, salary size, staying power in bed and the number of women they can “conquer.”

One way or another, performance matters. Women generally measure themselves by how attractive they are to men, the power held by the men that are attracted to them and by how they are treated by these men. If men treat them kindly, then they are good, if men treat them poorly, they perceive themselves bad.

Men and women bring these attitudes into the bedroom, playing out their roles as performer and seductress. During lovemaking, the male is concerned with whether he will perform well enough or whether he will fail. Rather than focusing on his loved one, he is concerned whether she will be pleased with his performance. She, on the other hand, is concerned with whether he will think she is attractive enough. Are her buttocks too big or are her breasts too small?

Seven … Sex has different languages of expression, lovemaking is similar to ballroom dancing. Each person may or may not be a good dancer. One person may be a great dancer and the other may not be terrific.

However, it is how they dance together that matters. Some people can dance well alone, but not with a partner. To be beautiful and satisfying, ballroom dancing demands cooperation, communication and consideration. One partner must not go on his or her own without communicating to the partner; and the partners must cooperate.

No couple expects to dance well together, no matter how well either one may dance alone, without practising together. It does not matter how easy it might be to dance with other partners, one’s current partner is the one that matters if you wish to become a good ballroom dance team.

All of this is true for lovemaking as well. Yet we often believe that good lovemaking should “come naturally,” without education.

Eight … We can make up our mind to update on sex, we covet beliefs that somehow people should know how to make love together and should not have to talk about it or practise with the intent of improving our style so that it is mutually satisfying. Clearly, if your dance partner continuously stepped on your toes and was unwilling to discuss the matter, it would not take long before you either stop dancing or find a different partner. Yet majority of couples do not communicate about their lovemaking and are not open to exploring their sexuality with one another. Even the most experienced lovers often practise poor lovemaking strategies. People, especially men, become defensive when their partner wants to discuss their sex life as if they were about to be criticised.

Nine … Communication is a vital key, communication between dance partners and lovers is essential for having a satisfying experience. The partners must frequently communicate verbally and non-verbally with one another in order to learn to anticipate each other’s moves. With sufficient practice, the dance of love seems effortless.

Lovemaking should be fun, playful, affectionate, intimate and fulfilling. When something goes awry, either because of faulty communication, inappropriate attitudes, or antiquated beliefs, a sexual dysfunction may emerge.

Ten … Couples must remember that most sex goes on between your ears, not between your legs! Good sex starts with a healthy attitude about sex.

The cardinal rules for good sex are: respect your married partner

-adopt a healthy attitude towards your partner and sex

-share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse

-talk about what you like and don’t like

-be honest

-experiment

-have fun and relax

-practise and keep practising because practise makes perfect

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