Good sex within relationship demands a balance between connectedness and separateness. For some couples, the struggle to find the right balance is played out in the bedroom through their sexual contact or lack of it.
Too Much Connectedness. Some people seem to create a sort of over-closeness in their relationship which can be a turn-off for sex. This often happens when there is an over awareness of the other’s needs and a tendency to take too much responsibility for each other. In the “honeymoon” period of the relationship, getting to know each other’s bodies and responses is compelling and thrilling; but this is in the context of both still feeling partly separate. So in the longer term when you are very familiar with each other, you may default to the cosiness of over-concern for each other within your sexual world. “Is s/he moving towards orgasm? – Could I be doing something better?” “Could this be a turn-off for him/her?” etc. In time, this over-focus on the other is the opposite of sexy.
Too Much Separateness. On the other hand some couples’ sex lives thrive at the cost of connectedness and companionship. Sex may be the only way in which they are able to feel connected. So it becomes disappointing and hollow. This mirrors people who prefer repeated casual sexual encounters for fear of being trapped by connectedness; they may end up feeling dissatisfied if companionship and intimacy are missing from their lives.
Some relationships resolve the problem of connectedness versus separateness with a repeated cycle of closeness, conflict, sex, and back to closeness. Cosy closeness begins to feel constricting, so conflict arises, conflict generates sex and closeness but it is soon followed by over-closeness again. In this case sex can get merged with conflict and become fierce or even forceful, sometimes with damaging consequences.
Good relationship involves excitement through free expression of sexual preferences, consensual fulfilment, AND a sense of connection and companionship.
With thanks to: Arousal by M Bader”
Staying Together by S Quilliam,
Mating in Captivity by E Perel,
Sex in Loving Relationships by S Litvinoff
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