Our Crazy Mindset About Sex

communication couples counseling sex Feb 11, 2024

Wow, what a week. One of the things I notice about my private practice are themes that seem to come up for a good majority of people at the same time. Are the stars, planets, or tea leaves trying to shift something in the world, myself, or people? Whatever it is, I have noticed this since I started working with people 32 years ago.. did I say 32...whew.. it's true, that challenges that are similar come up.

Well the gigantic theme this week has been all about sex. The main reason I am writing about it here...is to normalize that almost everyone has had to deal with sex in some form in their lives. And if I am perfectly honest, I see in almost every single person some kind of sexual injury. I know that is a strong statement, but it happens to be true. 

We are bombarded by messages about how sex should be. How often? How "should" it be done? Is what I enjoying abnormal? Am I doing it right? My libido should be.. My sex drive should be... etc. etc. What if I don't want it? Then there is the much more subtle. 

We injure people by body messages; what it looks like, size of breasts, booty, penis, legs, hips,and then into vaginal reshaping, penis elongation, breast replacements, and so so much more...UGH.. and then how it all "SHOULD" work, which is usually a load of crap and messes with people's minds, which messes with people's intimacy, love, and sex lives. 

I hear story after story and it hurts my heart because it is loaded with indoctrination, misunderstanding, serious misinformation, and now social media adds a whole new layer that contributes to shame, pressure, and "shoulds." 

So I am going to start with one thing about sex that is crucial in this email because there are a zillion things that could be addressed. A huge problem is communication. In working with couples over all these years, the challenge we have created that hurts sex lives is communicating. I see both men and women injured, tentative, embarrassed, or clogged up around communicating about sex. 

We have centuries of shame passed down as well as feelings of it's private, dirty, "you should just know" and more. 

A client who was struggling a bit in his relationship around sex said to me that he "knows" how to have sex. But I responded to him that everytime we have sex there is a possiblity that we don't know.. that everytime can come from curiousity, everytime can be an exploration, everytime can be something different, new, a deepening, or lightening, a joy, or serious, comforting or healing, hot and heavy.. pleasureable or not.. but we don't know if we don't communicate. One tip I tell me clients "don't assume anything ever." Because as a therapist, people tell me what they are NOT telling their partners and the partner assumes they already know. 

One of the biggest breakdowns I see is that if the couple has issues communicating in general..it will translate to the bedroom also. More so than not. 

The first step to shifting this, is communicating with yourself first. 

Ask yourself...in all honesty, what am I not sharing with my spouse? Then ask with compassion to yourself, what is stopping me..how did I get here, what did I learn that is making me edit myself? What might I be afraid of?  What injuries may I have that are stopping me from saying anything? How do I feel about myself?

This is the beginning of peeling the layers off that is contributing to not only healing our sex lives but ourself as well. 

To be continued...

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