Making Space for All Emotions During Sex
Sex is powerful and stirs up a lot of emotions – all types of emotions that cover the whole spectrum of what humans can experience. The “nice” ones like arousal, curiosity, playfulness, joy, love, feeling hot and turned on and desirable. The “nasty” ones – anger, fear, grief and shame. And the more “neutral” ones like boredom, distraction and confusion. They all arise during sex. And there in absolutely not a problem with any of them.
I think we do have a problem in that the cultural representations of sex, in all types of media, portray sex overwhelmingly as evoking the nice emotions. As if the nice emotions are the “right” and appropriate ones to be having during sex.
Given this ongoing media assault on our minds of what sex should be like – consequently in real life sex, if we aren’t feeling those nice emotions, we often try to stuff them down, or we make ourselves wrong for having them or we might even put on a performance of the “nice” right and appropriate emotions so as not to scare or offend our partner.
I’m not saying that doing any of that is wrong either. In many cases, given our often oppressive culture, doing that “performance” is a survival adaptation. Like we don’t want our partner to get mad, leave us, hurt us or shame us – so we pretend we’re feeling the nice emotions during sex when we’re actually not.
What I am saying and advocating is that ideally we should learn as a culture and individually that all emotions that arise during sex – the nice, the neutral and the nasty should be welcomed, allowed, permitted, felt and expressed. That’s what I teach and do in my sessions.
When we do that there is a greater potential for real intimacy and connection with yourself and your partner. When we do that we can use that emotional information to guide what is happening in our sexual encounters. For example if you are distracted and bored it might be a very good sign that whatever you are doing or whatever is being done to you is not actually pleasurable for you. With that new information you can take a pause in the action, breath, notice what you really need and communicate that to your partner.
This whole process can be one of immense healing. And when it’s allowed to happen can make sex exponentially more satisfying.
A good reason for coming to see me as a professional is that I’m practiced and skilled with that whole process of holding space for the full range of emotions that arise during sex so that healing process can unfold and you can have the experience of really having your emotions attended to in connection with another human being. Because as a culture we don’t get education around this, many people go a whole lifetime experiencing sex as very unsatisfying. I’m hoping to change that.