Though often talked about as though it was a sport, sex is not a sport. Perhaps if it were a sport, just like with any other sport, people would be open to receive coaching, would talk about it at the dinner table, they could take lessons; in fact, there might even be classes in high school devoted to the sport of sex.
But as it is, even sex education is banned in most schools. Sex and sex conversation is often kept hidden. Most people discover their sexuality on their own and keep it under cover, figuratively and literally. Many religions regard sex as sinful. Others say that sex is only for procreation and only should be engaged in within the context of marriage. Many cultures and religions frown upon various sexual activities thereby limiting exploration.
Few religions ever talk about sex as fun, pleasurable, and as integral to a relationship as a way of deepening the emotional bond between two people. Anxiety, guilt, and shame are often associated with sex.
When it comes to sex we are left on own to learn and discover, and we often have to it in a clandestine manner. Sexual behavior is the only human activity that is treated in this manner. The other biological act in which humans engage is eating; yet here we are trained in how prepare, cook, and eat a meal. Therefore, people are left to learn about sex on their own through trial and error, feeling guilty, with no one to teach them, no one to show them, and no one with whom to talk about it.
Is it no wonder that so many people have problems with their sexuality and so many more are having poor quality sex? From childhood onward boys, and subsequently men, evaluate themselves on the basis of performance. They operate by the numbers: These questions apply to height, speed, school, work, sports, and finally to sex. Not having any other context in which to think about sex, sex has become yet another activity to be evaluated by the numbers. Men think about sex as a sport; getting to first base, second base…a home run!
When are men going to wake up and realize that sex is more like dancing or playing a musical instrument. In order to be good at it, one has to feel the music, develop a rhythm, feel connected to the instrument. Merely learning the notes in music or learning the steps in dancing will not make for a good musician or dancer. One must feel connected. There has to be relationship between the player and the instrument or between the two dancing partners in order to achieve the best results.
Similarly in sexual relationships. It is not about the activity itself; it is about the connection. Women know this intuitively. They want to feel connected to their partner. However, women have learned to accommodate their men. They have learned to make due with what they get. Just as in dancing, women have learned many steps, many styles, and many variations of each type of dance.
She has know how to dance with any man and how to make him look good; she has to do what he does and do it all backwards in high heels and a tight dress.
A man only has to know one step and he does it with all women. Ergo, many women have learned to tolerate unconnected, unpleasurable, inadequate sex. And when it does not work for them, they often question themselves rather than telling their partner that he is a lousy lover. Men rarely think of themselves as lovers. They think of themselves as performers and they call being a good performer being a good lover.
They think that the only thing that is important is lasting long enough to achieve orgasm for himself and his partner. To the extent that he has accomplished his goal, he thinks he is doing a good job. It seldom occurs to him that how he engages his partner, how he connects with her, is the most important part of the experience. Hence, when a man cannot perform he feels like a failure. The end result is more important than the process.
Most of the people who visit my office each week experiencing some form of sexual dysfunction have problems in understanding that sex is not a sport. They have to be taught how to be lovers. They have to be taught how to connect with their partners. They have to learn how to connect with another person emotionally and physically. Undoing inappropriate attitudes, values, behaviors, and habits take up a lot of the time in the beginning of sex therapy.
Once this occurs and new behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs are developed, where they become more concerned with developing an emotional rhythm than with the outcome, the journey toward fulfilling sexual intimacy has begun.
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