First, a quick update: I have spent that last 9 months pursuing professional development with a short stop in the world of physician education. It has been quite a ride but my sex education path has taken 2 direct streams as a result and this clarity affords me a renewed energy and focus that can only be beneficial to my practice (and therefore to you, dear readers!).
As a gift for your patience in not hearing from me for so long, I return to you with an especially rich article: Finding Balance in your Sexuality – Exploring Desire Disparity. My intention going forward is to write to my relationships and sexuality list seasonally but if you want to see or read more from me, please be in touch.
One of the streams of my specialization is furthering my 1-on-1 or relationship/sex coaching practice. I want to take this opportunity to offer my services (in person in Vancouver, BC, or by phone / skype from anywhere else) for a reduced price – for a limited time only. If you have been seeking some guidance or support for your journey of healthy, satisfying sexual expression, please contact me. Introductory sessions are just $50 for the hour.
Enjoy this lengthy article and I invite you to further the discussion by emailing: Julia (at) slieducation (dot) com
Finding Balance in Your Sexuality: Exploring Desire Disparity
Article written by Julia Saunders, MEd, Vancouver, BC
Desire disparity can plague many couples, creating dissonance within the relationship. Feeling rejected by your partner can be hard on your self esteem, as is being in a position of always wanting: to be intimate, sexual, connected, but not being fulfilled in the ways you desire. On the other side of the equation, partners may feel a tremendous amount of pressure to perform, feel inadequate, scared, experience harassment or feel like they never get a break from the constant requests of their lover. My intent in this article is to guide both sides of a relationship experiencing desire disparity, to see what kind of healthy balance can be found.
Allow me to begin by speaking to the ones who are left wanting. First and foremost, when we seek fulfillment in others we are destined to be forever disappointed. With this in mind, I encourage you to find ways of creating sensual and sexual experiences for yourself that don’t involve your partner. Taking pressure off your partner and putting it on yourself might also invite your partner to join you (eventually, maybe, sometimes) but this should not be your goal. Ideally, your goal is to focus on pleasuring and fulfilling yourself as much as you want, within your ‘sexual success plan’. Let me walk you through some steps towards having the sex life you always dreamed of.
Discover and be clear about what you want.
This is where you create your ‘sexual success plan’. What kind of erotic and sexual experiences are you interested in exploring? How much, how long, with whom, when, and where? How often? How do you want to be touched and pleasured? What are some feelings and emotions attached to these desires and fantasies? Take some quiet, private time to settle into yourself and search for answers to these questions. Write them down. Similar to most areas of life, the more clarity you bring to the details of what you are seeking the more likely you will be able to achieve your goals.
Distill out what you can achieve on your own, within the boundaries of your relationship.
My recommendations do not include trespassing on the mutual agreement(s) you may have with your partner. I invite you to create methods of pleasuring yourself, on your own, in ways that fulfill some of your fantasies and desires, in an ethical way. To support your path try purchasing a book on Self Love/Masturbation practice or Sacred Sexuality (ie. Daoism or Tantra). Alternatively you could explore good quality ‘sex toy’ stores (search on-line if there isn’t a good one in your part of the world). Purchasing a few things that intrigue you and spending some time pleasuring yourself is a great place to start with your sexual success plan.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The journey to feeling self satisfied and building your knowledge and experience of what you like takes time and practice. Some ideas include using a mirror and truly exploring your entire body, touching on all your erogenous zones, seeking connection to yourself and what pleasures you the most. If you don’t know your body, get some resources and spend some time discovering yourself. You might enjoy it!
If you are practicing self pleasuring on a regular basis your level of sexual happiness and fulfillment should be feeling better. Don’t just masturbate to ‘get off’ but truly tune in to your body and feelings, making love to or pleasuring your whole self. A deeper emotional level of this practice includes focusing on acceptance of how things are, exactly as they are. This is a very empowering and beautiful way to build Self Love. Work on forgiving yourself and your partner as you practice.
Revisit your success plan and distill the areas that involve other people.
No doubt some aspects of your sexual fulfillment cannot be achieved without a partner. It is time to involve them and have a discussion about your desires and how they can be satisfied. Make a list, write a letter, be very clear about the ‘what, when, and how’, and share this with your partner in some way. Encourage them to read your letter/list while in your presence if speaking these words is too challenging for you.
Agree on a Sexual Culture
Come up with an agreement about what they are willing to do with you or allow you to do without them. If they want to have sex once a month, and you want to have it once a week, come to a compromise. If the frequency is ok but the kind of sex you are having is unfulfilling, encourage your partner to explore what they really want (how to be touched, what positions, where, when) and see if you can create a good sexual culture together. Exchange nights of passion where one gets to receive and have the kind of sex they really like one night and the next time you agree to engage, it’s the others turn to have it the way they want. There are many creative ways to build your pleasure and satisfaction with each other – the possibilities are endless!
Touch is Life Giving
On a final note, if it is touch you are longing for I recommend going for a full body massage as often as you need and can afford. If you are single, this is especially important to do on a regular basis. Ask a friend to hold you, hug you, or massage you, if this option is available to you. There are also Sacred Sexuality practitioners who can work with you, if being with others is an important part of your ‘sexual success plan’ but your partner is not willing to meet you where you are.
Speaking from the Other Side
Let’s visit the other side of the desire disparity equation by exploring what might be going on for the partner who is less sexually interested. The reasons a person might have for not wanting to have sex are usually complex and often quite personal. There might be emotional and/or physical pain associated with sex. You might feel intimidated, unattractive, inadequate, or generally have a low sex drive. Whatever the reasons, feeling pressured to perform is a buzz kill.
Let’s start at the top and explore any experience of pain you may be having. If physical pain or limitation is stopping you from enjoying sex, see a health professional who can assess you. Men often have erectile function or early ejaculation issues, especially within the realm of performance anxiety. In my practice there are many women who share that they experience vaginal pain, especially during intercourse, and being afraid of sex is a stark reality. Don’t try to work through these physical issues alone. Seek professional help and leave any shame you may have about this at the door.
If your emotions are preventing your enjoyment of pleasure or scaring you away from connecting with your partner, finding ways to build your sexual self esteem is important. Aspects of what I have recommended can help with this – self exploration, self love, and forgiveness. There are great books and resources available to help with this process but, above all else, acceptance of yourself and where you are at is the key to your journey to Self Love and a satisfying sex life. Asking for support and understanding from your partner as you explore this process is also essential. Encourage your partner to take the steps suggested above (“for those left wanting”) to help relieve some of the pressure you might be experiencing from them.
Perhaps you feel you have a low sex drive in general, or you aren’t that attracted to your partner overall. Again, the reasons for this can be very complex and personal only to you. Reading books, exploring ideas, seeking professional help and/or doing healing work with seasoned practitioners may help you find answers for yourself.
Sexual expression and pleasure is an important piece of overall health and happiness so finding ways to feel sexually empowered and satisfied are crucial to a good long life – YOUR life. Whatever side of the desire disparity equation you might be on, your happiness is important, so finding your conditions of satisfaction and fulfilling them as best you can will help you find the balance you are seeking.
Above all, have compassion for yourself and enjoy the journey~!
Julia Saunders, MEd
Sexual Health is holistic and complex. It includes emotional, mental, physical, societal, relational and spiritual elements and can take a lifetime of learning. You can build your pleasure and empower your sexual experiences through communication, connection and focus.
Find out more at http://www.slieducation.com
Julia Saunders, MEd, Sexual Health Educator, Vancouver, BC, Canada
“I believe in empowering people of all ages and stages to be sexually holistic and healthy.”
Bio: Along with a sex coaching practice, Julia teaching parents how to talk to their children about sexuality and sexual health. Holding a Masters in Sex Education from UBC, Julia also trains professionals to do this important work in their fields.
Copyright for Sex Love Intelligence Education Inc., 2012
I offer my sex coaching services in person in Vancouver, BC, Canada, or by phone / skype from anywhere else. For a limited time only I am offering a gift of $50 for your first, introductory session of 1 hour. You can safely explore some of your burning questions or concerns that you may have regarding yours or others’ sexuality. Together we can create a path to your sexual healing and empowerment.
If you are a returning client I would be happy to offer the same reduced price for an hour of coaching.
If you have been seeking some guidance or support for your journey of healthy, satisfying sexual expression, please contact me.