Picture it. Things are heating up with your partner. The stars have aligned, everyone is in the mood, and there is a little time to spare. Finally! They look at you with anticipation, making you feel all the more desired. With eager eyes, they excitedly ask… “what do you want?” (or maybe “how do you want it?”). All of a sudden, you realize…you have no idea. Your mind goes blank. The simplest question yet you cannot answer. In an attempt to keep things moving you respond with an “I don’t care” or “Whatever you want”. And maybe the show goes on (well done, you all!), or maybe things sizzle out. But imagine if you had been able to respond with a clearly stated wish or provide your partner directions to what feels best for you at this moment. If you had known what you wanted…what kind of experience could you have had?
Now, let’s be very clear about our goal here. It is not to have an answer to please our partner. Nor are we motivated by anything that is performance driven. This is about maximizing your own pleasure, and being in tune with your own needs. In turn, everyone involved will have a better experience.
Knowing what we want sexually can be a tough for many folks, for many reasons.
Maybe you know exactly what you want but not how to ask (more on that later!), maybe the perceived pressure sends your brain into a spiral of anxious thoughts, or maybe you simply do not know. If you find yourself in the latter camp, unsure of what you want amid a sexual experience, you are not alone. Many people struggle with feeling unsure of what they need or desire. This uncertainty can also coexist with sexual satisfaction, a fulfilling partnership, or the capacity to provide or receive pleasure. And there are a myriad of reasons we may be unsure of our pleasure checklist at any given time. Erotic uncertainty is common, ever-changing, and nothing to be ashamed of (louder for the people in the back!).
So how do we figure out what brings us physical pleasure? Here are a few key tips to guide you on your exploration…
The best way to understand your own needs and to stay attune to yourself is consistent solo exploration. We recommend two different tactics… The first is called Self Sensate Focus. This practice is rooted in physical exploration through a mindful way of listening to your body, noticing how it feels or responds to non-genital touch. Set aside some down time during the week, ideally in a relaxed environment, and give it a try. Secondly, you guessed it, masturbate! Self created pleasure is a great way to learn your body, understand what feels good to you, relieve stress and feel empowered.
Utilizing mindfulness in your sexual experience, both with others and alone, is essenital to pleasure. It allows you to be present and to get out of your head and into your body. Try engaging each of your five senses and identifying at least one experience each sense is having in real time. Remember, a certain sexual tactic may be a slam dunk sometimes, but not always. Our bodies are always in flux and therefore what feels good fluctuates as well. By listening to your body, you may discover or simply be more in touch with the nuances of your needs in any given moment.
Practice Positive Self-Talk!
It may sound simple, but engaging in positive self-reflection is a powerful tool in helping yourself remember you deserve pleasure. Try writing out or speaking daily affirmations. Avoid rigid thinking around your sensuality, keeping in mind that your body, stress levels and environment are ever changing and therefore adaptability is essential. Remind yourself that sex and pleasure are unique to each person, that you are on a journey, and that you *deserve* to be fulfilled. Plus, when it comes to good sex, mental flexibility is way more important than being able to do the splits.
Mindfulness, improving self-esteem, and general support are all valuable tools that we can help you strengthen here at Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy. If you are seeking to improve any of these areas of your life, or others, please reach out to us to set up an appointment!