What is good sex?
Does it need to require orgasm, penetration, or certain amount of time or activity?
Nope. And yet our social understanding of what sex is and looks like can prevent activity to look however it wants/needs to look, often causing shame.
“You’re having good sex when you feel good about yourself, good about your partner, and good about what you’re doing. If after the act (and reflection about the act) you’re still feeling good about all three of these components. then you know you’re having good sex.” (coercion, deception, and activity again your own values excluded). –Carol Ellison.
So about about those times that we feel less than good about the act? As in times in which we want to maintain erections or have more control over our ejaculations and they just aren’t happening? What are some ways we can help ourselves get the sex life and experience that we desire?
Incorporating a holistic approach by involving your mind, body, emotions, and partner (if you choose to have one) are all important components to involve.
So you didn’t have an erection last time, you still have a chance to help yourself in the next time. It all depends on how you incorporate your mind in the play. The biggest sex organ you own is located right between your ears and plays the most crucial part of your experience!
What if I were to tell you that it did not matter what ‘reality’ is, but more so the perspective and meaning you make of it? For instance, two men could have experienced and inability to maintain an erection in their last sexual encounter with their long-term partner. Man #1 enters into the next sexual experience focusing on the pleasures he anticipates, the look of his partner’s face as she orgasms, the enjoyment he has when she’s giving him oral sex, the arousing fantasies, and positive thoughts of “this is going to be so sexy.” Man #2 goes into his sexual experience focusing on the problem: thoughts of “What if it happens again?,” “She’s going to think I’m a failure, not a good lover, or leave me”; plays imaging in his mind of his partner getting frustrated with him or of him losing his erection again; telling his partner a preface about how he ‘may’ not be able to keep it up.
Man #1 has a greater chance of maintaining his erection and DEFINITELY greater chance of simply having an enjoyable experience than man #2 who is probably now filled with anxiety and tension in the body making it more than likely that the problem will ensue. Now check in with yourself, which man have you been lately?
Be mindful of the thoughts that you entertain. Our brain consists of neuropathways on which images, thoughts, understandings reside and connect with one another. It’s as if one thought, self-statement, or image has a magnetic quality that then attracts other thoughts, statements, images of the same kind that then build on one another. Kind of like when one friend is talking about ice cream and it triggers thoughts of that summer time with your friends at the beach or the time a hot girl vomited ice cream all over your shirt or the revolting feeling you get with the image of melted ice cream puddles or the time….
If you are having a sex problem, you are probably contributing to it’s maintenance by engaging in negative self-statements that are then attracting more negative images, thoughts, feelings to support the original and end up self-fulfilling your own prophecy. When you focus on the problem or the ‘failure to erect’, you create anxiety, release stress hormones, disconnect with the body, and reduce your experience of pleasurable feeling. Be on the look out for patterns of catastrophizing and awfulizing. These are the tendencies for creating anything less than perfect into a catastrophe. Lack of erection leads to “I’m broken”, “I’m not man enough”, or “My partner will leave me.”
Instead, let’s practice focusing on the pleasurable sensations you feel and anticipate feeling which will maximize your chances for arousal (which translates to erection potential). Or engage in the power of fantasy and pleasurable images to increase arousal. Rewrite negative stories to ones that are more positive (yet still believable to you). Express compassion for yourself by engaging in internal dialogue or a pep talk to give yourself support. Focus on the strengths that you have as a person and/or lover. And remember, it doesn’t matter if an event is true or not, what matters is your interpretation and the effect you let it have on you.
How connected are you to your body and it’s pleasure, really? For those of us who struggle with anxiety, daily grind of work, relationship struggles, and negative self-worth, our bodies may have become an uncomfortable place to be in or our mind. Practicing skills like yoga, mindfulness, sensations, deep breathing exercises, stop/start technique (for strengthening ejaculation control), awareness of self and partner positions are all helpful in building a stronger, more preferable sexual experience.
I HIGHLY recommend tuning into your own behaviors in sex and discovering what actions you take to control the length of your sexual experience. You do this whether conscious or not conscious of it. For instance: you may change your thrusting speed from faster to slower, move your hips slightly to change the angle of the trust, maybe change to circular movements, monitor your breathing. If there are actions that cause you to orgasm (like watching her face, holding her hips, or seeing her excitement that then gets you excited), maybe you avoid those until you’re feeling more ready. These adjustments help you to stay in control and enjoy sensations until you’re ready for ejaculation.
Learning the sensations that build in your body throughout sexual activity and knowing your points of coming close to the edge of ejaculation, points of no return, tension, pleasure, anxiety, arousal, or whatever else is arising in your body can help you ground back down into your physical being and gain better control over your own experience.
Nervousness, anger, resentment, depression, or guilt can contribute to erection and ejaculatory control issues. Understanding what is coming up for you emotionally, or what you are holding onto emotionally, and addressing these face-on will help to remove the barriers that are keeping you from pleasure or full functioning of your sex organs. Resentment can keep you from being generous with your partner, so no one gets pleasure! Working with a sex therapist or having intimate dialogue with your partner about what you’re experiencing can be a powerful way to move these through and get unstuck again.
Know your conditions for good sex. We all have them whether they have to do with ourselves, the enviornment, or our partner. Conditions can be that we need to feel clean or that our to-do list is done. Conditions can be that we need to feel accepted and loved by our partner. Conditions can be that we need to be in a space where no one can hear us having sex. Whatever it may be, discovering this for yourself can help you set yourself up to be able to relax into the experience and have good, enjoyable, sex.
To all my dudes who have struggled or struggle with erection or other sexual problems: stop apologizing for the problem or for yourself. Don’t feel bad because you ‘can’t deliver’. Don’t pretend that it’s not happening. Don’t feel guilty. You can say you’re disappointment because sex was something you were looking forward to with your partner. You can offer other sensual/sexual activity. You can offer a massage or holding. However, this is your body telling you to pay attention to it for SOME reason. Something is not in alignment, whether it’s something to do with the relationship, your physical health, anxiety, fear of too much closeness, depression, mental/emotional health, stress—and it needs your attention. Apologizing only brings attention to these things that you are less than happy with. Instead, acknowledge it, explain it, have a good time anyway, and get on with resolving it.
Now go play!
For more ideas on incorporating more play in the bedroom, download my FREE ebook here!