How to Have Great Sex in a Committed Relationship

How to Have Great Sex in a Committed Relationship

Summary:
– interview with Dr Steven Snyder, Sex & Relationship therapist, School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, NYC
– as a sex therapist, he has worked with people who:
– cannot climax
– struggle with impotence
– struggle with intimacy
– & increasingly in the 21st century – that the sex they are having is “just not doing anything for them” – that it is “just not good sex” – & as a consequence they do not desire it
– he identifies the following “biggest obstacle” to having good sex as:
– being obsessed with climax/orgasm
– he likens good sex to a four course restaurant meal – you don’t rush everything else to get to the main course – you take your time through all the courses, including dessert after the main course.
– good sex, he says, should involve: foreplay, intercourse & after play
– sex isn’t just about intercourse/orgasm then go to sleep (at least not as a habit) – it is about being in the moment & enjoying all aspects of sex/sexual experience
– good sex is about noticing/paying attention & not rushing
– Masters & Johnston in the 1950s/60s talked about the physiology of arousal – hardness/wetness
– Snyder argues the psychology of arousal is much more important – that is – what it feels like to be aroused:
– people liken sexual arousal to being hypnotised
– losing track of time
– “losing IQ points” – almost like feeling “dumb & happy” – as if experiencing a psychological regression to a more infantile state of mind where we care about our partner, but where we also don’t wish to hear about all the problems of the day
– Snyder notes that physiological arousal only needs the attentional/arousal resources of approx 20 out of 100 to be hard/wet & that this accounts for why so much sex that couples have could be best-described as “meh”
– arousal should start at 40 out of 100 minimum he says & then progressively build
– for women, the environment distractions should also be minimised (tech, phones, children if applicable)
– he says couples need to pay attention to psychological as well as physiological arousal – just physiological arousal is not enough medium to longer-term in a relationship
– he notes too that the culture/popular media is obsessed with physiological arousal – hence the multitude of articles focused upon techniques/goals which are: a) a lot of work b) mechanical & c) ultimately boring too (& strangely disconnecting/alienating because its focus is upon whether something works or not) & d) about “giving pleasure” when the infantile sexual self just wants to take pleasure (we just want to be enjoyed)
– psychological arousal is more about being (being present) than doing despite the prevailing popular (misguided) obsession with “performance”
– Snyder argues such “commodification” of sex is driven more by the market (than human sexual/psychological forces) & being able to sell something to another person – passion he says cannot be sold – good sex he says is “about looking for passion”
– he also says most sex therapists recommend “date nights” &/or “scheduling sex” – Snyder believes such approaches are misguided & lead to a lot of “bad sex” – instead he recommends what he calls:
– the “two-step” – instead make a date to both take off your clothes, go to bed & do absolutely nothing
[he notes that this borrows from the mindfulness movement – paying attention, in the moment without judgment – or, more realistically – with as little judgment as possible & where you experience judgmental thoughts – just notice them – I am aware I am thinking… Or as the Buddhists says – “let the thoughts come into your home, but don’t serve the, tea”
– then notice your breathing – how the breath is inhaled & exhaled
– then notice your body – like a body scan (you are no longer in a doing state, but rather a state of being)
– then go ahead & let yourself notice/experience a state of arousal – however, it comes to you
– the sight of your partner
– a touch from your partner
– the sound of their voice (not d&m)
– mindful sex follows (like the raisin test in most mindfulness courses)
– the idea: mindfulness leads to better quality arousal which leads to better desire/sex (remember: what is often remembered is the arousal rather than the climax)
– Picasso said: Inspiration is nice, but when it comes to me it finds me working. Similarly, Snyder says: Desire is nice, but when it comes to me it finds me in bed with my partner.

– Snyder says desire can also be stoked outside the bedroom
– he talks about “simmering” – for e.g. When partners are going to work – instead of kissing goodbye, hugging around waist, inhaling each other’s scent, kissing on neck etc., & enjoying a moment of arousal – there is no demand made on either person to do or experience anything more than what they do experience (a little bit “buzzed” feeling – why is it just confined to sexual intercourse) – again the approach is mutual selfishness – erections do not have to be managed by giving a climax

Source: Savvy Psychologist podcast | 9 November 2018

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