How owning your sexuality makes your relationship with your self and your partner stronger?
Sexual self-awareness is the key to enjoying intimacy with a partner.
When people come into couple’s therapy, they are usually very willing to talk about most subjects. Whether communication problems, unexpected losses, financial disputes, or other issues, they are open to sharing those kinds of concerns.
The one issue that is often the least likely to emerge without deeper prompting is the way they feel about themselves or the other person sexually. They can talk about surface problems like differences in appetite or loss of desire, but not about how they actually feel about themselves as sexual beings.
When I more deeply inquire, it becomes very clear how many intimate partners have withheld much of their sexual histories, traumas, fantasies, insecurities, and discomforts with one another. Or even from themselves.
Being a trained sexual therapist as well as a psychologist, I know how important it is for every person to both understand his or her core sexuality as well as to be comfortable enough to share it with a trusted partner.
In hopes of making the process easier for my patients, I share with them the following 10 most important components of sexual self-awareness. As they explore these concepts both individually and together, they are often able to achieve a stronger and more satisfying sexual relationship.
Owning your sexuality: The 10 Areas of Sexual Self-Knowledge
Taboos are forbidden behaviors that can be proscribed by society, religion, or families of origin teachings. They are often passed down from generation to generation, unchallenged in their original form.
Because they are transmitted when people are young, they are often deeply ingrained. When sexual desires overrule their suppression, the people participating are likely to feel guilty, humiliated, and remorseful.
Taboos more than likely would not exist if people would suppress those behaviors without them. Societies that are uncomfortable without those restraints, therefore, super-impose them to ensure they will not happen, no matter whether they might be harmful or helpful.
“I used to be told if I talked about my sexuality in any way that we wouldn’t have a tennis tour.” – Billie Jean King
Most every person suffers some anxiety around their sexuality and its manifestations.
My patients often tell me that they are concerned about body image, timing, touch, sharing their desires, being rejected, or being seen as not measuring up to their partner’s expectations.
Most sexual partners are uncomfortable sharing those anxieties with a new partner and may even have withheld them from their long-term committed ones. Instead, they rely on just watching, noting, assuming, and adapting to what they think their partners will want and enjoy, rather than just asking them directly.
3) Hidden Desires and Fantasies
Sexual desires are formed and often set in the early years of sexual awakening when masturbation is often the most achievable outlet. There are no outside people to observe, so those desires can develop privately.
As they mature, the internal sexual world expands from exposure to media, friends, education, and actual partner experiences. Even with all of that cumulative knowledge, many adult partners still feel too uncomfortable to talk about those original private fantasies and how they have developed over time.
If people take the risk of sharing what internally arouses them but are sadly rejected or humiliated, they may bury them even more deeply and strive to get those needs met in more indirect or strategic ways.
“Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.” – Alice Walker
4) Access to Accurate Information in Childhood
Families accept or reject children’s inquiries about sex from total acceptance and support to complete suppression. Much depends on how comfortable they are with their own sexuality, and children pick up those feelings.
The level of openness and the willingness to give accurate information sets the foundation for a child-turned-adult to be more able to openly communicate their sexual feelings to their partners.