"How often does the average couple have sex?" Regardless of what a quick Google search will tell you, the amount of times you are sexually intimate with your partner has no bearing on the sexual health of your relationship. Rather than indicating closeness and connection, sometimes more frequent sexual activity reflects guilt or shame in the relationship, manipulation, coercion, or numbing. There are much clearer gages of sexual health than the number of sexual encounters in a week, month, or year.
Enthusiastic Consent: One of the biggest indicators of a safe sexual environment is for a "No," to be respected. If a partner is hesitant to experience something different sexually or to engage sexually, it must be respected. Not pressured or pushed, or repeatedly revisited. Couples who offer true consent (not consent out of guilt or obligation) have a much safer, healthier, and happier sex life. Check in with your partner and yourself to ensure you are both giving and receiving enthusiastic consent.
Foreplay begins at the end of the last orgasm: What happens outside of the bedroom impacts what happens inside of the bedroom. Be mindful of how you are connecting outside of sexually intimate experiences. How are you treating your partner on a daily basis? Are you engaging in meaningful conversation? Are you attentive to their emotional needs? Are you snappy, reactive or withdrawn? In the busyness of life we may forget to prioritize our people who matter most. Sometimes one person will feel rejected based on their partner's lack of desire for sexual contact. Understand there are many variables ultimately impacting desire, and MOST of them happen outside of the sexual experience itself.
Mind, Heart and Body Check In: For our sexual experiences to be the best possible, our mind, heart, and body need to be on the same page. Slow down, check in with each of these areas, and recognize a red or yellow light means it's time to stop and do some digging around what's really going on. Several women over the years have asked, "What if my mind, heart and body are never on the same page, or giving me the green light, during my sexual experiences?" This could mean any number of unmet individual or relational needs. Ultimately it's time to do a deep dive and really consider what and why things are misaligned. It is NOT because there is something wrong with you.
Questions to consider:
How responsive am I to my partner's "No," or to their hesitation? Am I pressuring or pushing for more? Do I feel safe to say, "No" in my relationship?
Am I pressuring my partner to feel responsible for making me feel emotionally and sexually wanted or loved? How much pressure am I putting on my partner to be responsible for my feelings?
Are my boundaries respected within the relationship? Do I feel safe sharing my boundaries? Am I responsive to my partner's boundaries and needs?
How safe do I feel saying, "No" to my partner? Am I fearful I will be made to feel like there is something wrong with me if I don't engage sexually in the way they want me to or when they want me to?
What does our time look like outside of intimate experiences? Are we making time to connect emotionally or recreationally?
Mind: Am I physically and emotionally safe with this person?
Heart: Am I emotionally connected to this person? How do I feel towards and about them? Being intimate with someone when I'm feeling resentful towards them or hurt by them is not doing the relationship any favors.
Body: Does my body want to connect sexually? What am I doing outside of sexual experiences to give myself the green light? Am I getting adequate sleep? Am I exercising/moving my body? Am I giving myself the nutrients I need? All of these factors impact out desire.
If you or a loved one need additional support either processing through messages around intimacy, creating safety for yourself or your partner, or just want to increase closeness within your relationship, please reach out. We would love to be a support to you and your most important people.