When we are operating from our healthiest and best sexual selves, sex enriches our lives and relationships. Sex is both an individual phenomenon (we can have great sex with ourselves) and a relational phenomenon – we bring our sexual selves to our partner and co-create a new sexual reality together. In this co-created space, sexual health is embedded within a context of emotional, physical and psychological safety and is rooted in the present rather than being haunted by the past.
Sex is a form of play, where we give our bodies the freedom to express eroticism in all its many forms and permutations. Sex can be fun, rowdy, serious, romantic, playful, intense, sad, joyful etc. When sex is rooted in the present moment, the present moment guides sexual expression which leads to varied and diverse sexual experiences as the present moment changes day by day and hour by hour within the relationship. When sex is haunted by the past or limited by a lack of safety and trust, it often becomes rigid, scripted and constrained.
As author and sex therapist Alex Katehakis says so beautifully in her book Erotic Intelligence, “Healthy sex is an aspiration.” Sexual health is not a destination we arrive at but an ever changing, evolving process that is part of our developmental voyage. We are all on a sexual journey whether we are aware of it and consciously tending our growth or we are avoiding it or holding it outside of our awareness. Sexuality invites us to grow both in our self-identity and in our ability to enter our relationships and share our erotic selves with our partner.
Our sexuality changes over the life span. We do not have sex in our 50s the same way we did in our 20s. (Most of us are just not that bendy anymore.) As a result, sex is a growth edge for us as humans. It is not an area of life that is meant to stay stagnant but is designed to change, adapt, and evolve as we mature and grow in our human journey.
As our understanding of ourselves deepens, and our comfortability with who we are expands, our ability to use our sexual voice, communicate well with our partner, and share our authentic selves also enlarges. The less we know ourselves sexually and are clear about who we are, how we best function, what turns us on and what turns us off, the more it will compromise our sexual and relational intimacy with our partner. Unconscious, repressed, walled off or dissociated sexuality derails our growth process and turns sex into something that robs us of joy rather than helping us flourish.
In this blog series, we are going to explore the way sex and attachment impact one another and our relationships. Next week we will focus on what happens when sex goes awry and then we will dive into looking at our attachment systems.