When it comes to sexual satisfaction, are you being honest about what you really want?
Ask most any sex therapist what the first question is that comes out of the mouth of a new client and it is most always this- “Am I normal? Is my partner normal? Is this desire, behavior, longing….normal?” These normal questions weigh heavily on our sexuality, partly because we mistake the endless fictional depictions of sex in pornography as a true point of reference, but even more so because we often suffer with our sexual doubts and fears in isolation, even within couples. It’s a weird question to associate with our sexuality because the idea of normal, which generally refers to the average or middle of the bell curve, is antithetical to the extreme responses that passionate orgasmic sex generates.
Questioning our normalcy about what we desire or what we experience in the unique space of sexual satisfaction is less about the behaviors we engage with than it is the trouble we have reconciling our rational everyday mindset with the free-fall abandon that our sexual impulses demand if we are going to achieve the passionate release and connection they offer. The truth is, as the Kinsey study so clearly demonstrated, that there is no normal in our sexual preferences and behaviors. If the idea of normal applies anywhere, it is in the context of how we relate to ourselves as erotic sexual beings, whether we are open to exploring and understanding our desire or repressing and judging ourselves and others for their sexual impulses.
A powerful cure for moving beyond the normal issue starts by developing the curiosity and willingness to learn how to express our sexual desires out loud. It is empowering to claim our erotic self with our words. I remember a man who shared with me despairingly that he couldn’t even say the word “masturbation” out loud to his wife. When we give up our own expression to appease anyone, not only does the relationship get frozen in the narrow window of the permissible, but we betray ourselves in a way that makes us doubt ourselves and our desire. Not expressing creates the dynamic of continuously wondering if we are normal. It is tricky at first, emerging from our self-imposed silence.
I remember the initial awkwardness and discomfort I felt when I began to speak out loud during sex. For a very long time, I believed that my voice would somehow break a spell or interrupt some natural flow. But in fact, as I started using words to say what I liked or wanted, it wasn’t a distraction at all. The more that I trusted myself to really engage and communicate in intimate encounters, the more exciting it got. It took a while, but this became particularly true about finding the freedom to share bits of the strange fantasy life that I had silenced for so long with my fears of being abnormal; it turned out to be rocket fuel for passionate intimacy.
If you are breaking a long term sexual silence, words might feel like too big a leap, so start small with allowing yourself to make the sounds that are held in the erotic spaces. Moans, laughter, screams, and sighs are a hearty soundtrack that will expand the texture of lovemaking in surprising ways. For one thing, it is through sound of any kind that we communicate our intimate intentions and experience. Even shared guttural noises diminishes our sense of isolation to our sexual selves and our partner. Getting over the inhibition of making noise and the imposed silence of our early days of making out in our parent’s den is a powerfully liberating step to get beyond the normal.
Wendy Strgar is the founder of GoodCleanLove – a website that sells organic and natural sexual intimacy products, and also a source of medical research for women and men’s sexual health. She is the author of “Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy“. Her blog www.makinglovesustainable.com was named as the best sex/relationship blog by Intent.com for 2011 and has been listed many times as one of the best 100 relationship blogs on the web.
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