Sex-Related Anxieties Abound
Real Life Sex is what I have dubbed sex as it happens in the real world versus what happens on-screen. In real life, there are no chiffon dresses, violins, panning away with the camera, “perfect” bodies, or other notions about what “perfect” sex might look like. Nor is it always “smokin’ hot,” spontaneous or even satisfying.
Real Life Sex is also filled with real life worries: We worry about being too big or small; too wrinkled or saggy. We worry about getting and staying aroused, about being able to satisfy our partner. We worry that the kids might intrude. We worry that our anxious thoughts might get in the way, and now, of course, they have already intruded.
Nearly all of us have anxieties and fears about sex, whether we are present to them or not. The list of sex-related anxieties goes on and on, so I will only touch on the most common fears I have come across in my years of work around sexuality.
When we begin an erotic alliance with someone, the sex is often frequent and intense, but anxiety may appear right from the start. It may show up as the fear of jumping into having sex, as well as the fear of not jumping into sex. There’s the fear of contracting an STI coupled with the sometimes greater fear of discussing our sexual health with a new lover.
We may be able to have sex, but feel awkward having conversations about sex. If the alliance turns into a long-lasting relationship, a sense of aliveness and spontaneity often dwindles or disappears altogether. Issues previously hidden in the shadows of high-intensity sex become more apparent, leading to even more anxiety.
Despite the years together, many couples continue to feel uncomfortable discussing sex openly with each other. They may silently wonder if the frequency and kind of sex they are having is “normal.” Anxious about their performance, many people are afraid to hear feedback or feel angry if their partner asks for something new or different. As a result, many couples start limiting sex to a few “safe” moves, while hiding their deeper longings.
If sex get really stale, a lot of people fear that they will never recover desire for their partner and that things are truly hopeless.
Real Life Sex is Beyond Perfection
Although we know it isn’t real, we tend to match the sex we are having in real life against the sex we see in the movies (or read or hear about). Since Real Life Sex is far from perfect, we usually see ourselves as falling short. We can instead view life (and sex) as “beyond perfection” as Jack Kornfield suggests. This approach can dispell the notion of “perfect” and “imperfect” and curb the many anxieties associated with what I call the “Performance Trance.”
With mindfulness, we can drop the distinction between perfect and imperfect, a distinction that only causes suffering. Real life certainly adds levels of complexity–which we can also see as a sense of fullness, richness, or diversity–to every intimate relationship. It does not mean that something is wrong with yours.
When we listen to the innate wisdom of our hearts and bodies through cultivating mindfulness, we can compassionately deal with the feelings of fear and anxiety that we all carry around sex. We can choose to see fears and anxieties as calls to mindfulness. Our anxieties are like old friends, friends that we don’t have to ignore, or argue with. Nor do we have to buy into their narrow world view. We can choose instead to be present to our anxieties in a non-judgmental way, and share them with our partner. We don’t have to be in the grip of our anxieties, or be alone with them either.
Real Life Sex is Full of Complications
Real Life Sex, with all its complications, is what real people in committed relationships have. Mindfulness, however, can move us beyond viewing complications as “imperfections” and allow the experience to be whatever it is. We can use mindfulness to bring receptivity, responsiveness, and relaxation to Real Life Sex.
At our couples retreats we don’t fix Real Life Sex, make it wrong, or set new goals for it. We do support a sense of unfolding and deepening as a couple in which your Pure Erotic Potential—innate erotic flow—begins to emerge.
How Can our Passion & Presence Retreats Help?
Couples who enroll in our programs learn to dance between using mindfulness to find their erotic flow and using mindfulness to study how they lose their erotic flow — again and again. They practice using mindfulness to let go of the images of what they think sex should be and befriend the experience as it unfolds moment by moment.
Again and again we see couples enter into a more passionate and heart-full love relationship when they find ways to let themselves be perfectly imperfect. The sex is still Real Life Sex, but hotter and richer because both partners are truly present and open to the fullness and freshness of each experience.
Are you ready to create more a passionate, engaged, and heart-full love relationship with your partner? If so, check out our upcoming retreats.
© Maci Daye