It's funny: in life, when we’re wise, we learn not to expect that other people will always like what we like, or want the same things we want. Obviously, it’s great when that happens and it's the basis of how we often choose friends, or work. After all, shared values and interests are vital for compatibility.
A shared love of macrame, art or sport is wonderful for mutual understanding, dialogue and appreciation. Yet we don’t expect complete synchronicity in how and when we enjoy them. Usually we chat and agree where and when to meet and what to do or see with our shared time together. It’s obvious, isn’t it?
But not for sex.
What is it about sex, that 2 people, with different bodies, life experiences and perspectives meet in a bedroom and suddenly there appears the assumption that good sex means shared and simultaneous pleasure and orgasm. It doesn’t make sense does it? It's as if we expect magic to appear in a situation that is in reality notoriously difficult to communicate about and for which almost no-one has had any education. Yet we appear to rely on telepathy and that other nasty little f*cker, hope.
No wonder we find sex confusing and complex and can lose heart or give up or jump from partner to partner. It's not like there are sex classes at college. And, last I heard, pornography is rubbish at teaching love and intimacy. In my experience, telepathy and magic aren’t that reliable. What is, is the courage to explore and talk and connect. To learn what you like, to learn how your body responds and to understand that your pleasure is your responsibility. And to be open to the idea that there’s a liberation in that, rather than expecting another human being to miraculously understand what you need and desire at any given moment. And letting yourself off the task of guessing what they want and then by some other miracle, you wanting exactly the same thing at the same time. Crazy really.
I have actually been to sex school..and what I know is that good sex is learned. And everyone can learn it.
All it takes is courage to show up, then kindness and attentive presence for yourself and your partner. Letting go of old fashioned ideas about 'pleasing your man’ and 'driving her wild in bed’ are replaced by understanding how to feel more enjoyment..the mindfulness of sex, if you like. Moving from an attitude of ‘am I doing it right?’ to ‘am I/are we enjoying what we’re doing in this moment’, and a willingness to broaden your idea what what 'sex' can include in terms of nurturing, connecting touch.
It sounds so simple, yet there is so much transformative power in these subtle shifts. In letting go of old habits and ideas and allowing new understanding and pleasure in, this change of focus reveals dramatic side effects: increased confidence, power, choice and creativity begin to cascade into your life. Not just your sex life: your whole life.
What are you waiting for?
Alison Pilling: www.sexschoolforgrownups.com