By Vikas Malkani October 2000 Ancient Asian philosophers and physicians believed that sensual, controlled sex replenished and strengthened the life force of both men and women. Here are practical tips on how to achieve it When sex is good, it is taken for granted, but when it’s bad it can consume much of the consciousness of a relationship. As one of life’s exceptional pleasures, it is ironical that there are so many obstacles to sexual fulfillment. Such as the ‘aging sex life’ stereotypes—the notion that sex is no longer possible or enjoyable by age 45 or 60 or beyond. Trapped by misconceptions, few of us ever come close to realizing our potential for extraordinary sexual pleasure and deeply satisfying intimacy. There is a growing awareness that great sex is not something that just happens—like great communication, it has to be learned in a shared, sensitive and open manner. Few of life’s experiences yield greater rewards, for, as our intimate relationships become vibrant and aware, so do we. The energy of desire resides and is nourished in the mind. There are countless cases where unwarranted anxiety leads to a loss of sex drive. To a significant extent, this is brought on by misconceptions about sexual potency and intimacy. Believing these erroneous ideas leads to our becoming sexually incapacitated by our own thoughts. Follow some powerful and practical solutions: CHOOSE TO ENJOY LOVEMAKING Making a choice to enjoy your actions, sensations and experiences while making love is where you exercise your spiritual rights. Even though it is a physical act, the effects of making love to a trusted and valued partner go much deeper into your emotional, mental and spiritual self. Consciously exposing or dismantling your inner walls and defenses is another area where choice is exercised. Showing and expressing to your partner the original ‘you’—what you are beneath all the masks and armors—is essential to develop a safe, trusting and enjoyable sexual relationship. In the process, get rid of fear, doubt or hesitation. Only when you have nothing to hold back can you be totally free. Negative, unwanted thoughts thrive when the mind and mood are unavailable to the experience of the moment. Make it clear to yourself that intimacy is something you desire, that you don’t want to spoil it with worry or resentment. If you find yourself mentally distracted during lovemaking, ask yourself: ‘Does this thought or image make me feel better? Or help me behave the way I want to? Or does it do anything to improve my relationship?’ ‘No matter what your problem or situation,’ explains Dr. Zilbergeld, ‘there are always two ways to go with it. The negative way leads to discouragement, despair and self-hate. The positive way leads to useful thinking, good feelings and solutions. Just because something hasn’t been working lately doesn’t mean it will never work. You can always make changes.’ SHARE A SENSORY BODY TOUR WITH YOUR PARTNER This simple technique can help create a greater feeling of trust and a sensual and emotional bond between lovers. It also heightens sexual energy during intercourse. Choose a quiet room with lighting that is pleasing to both of you. If a certain smell arouses you, create a hint of that scent in the room. If you both enjoy soft background music, put some on. Take the phone off the hook, put your favorite sheets on the bed and definitely switch off the TV. Wearing as little or as much as you like, guide your partner’s hands with your own on a special tour over every inch of your body, showing him/her the precise ways in which you like to be touched. Move in response to whatever you find stimulating. Once you have covered every part of your body, switch places with your lover and let him/her guide you. Says Linda Perlin Alperstein, Ph.D: ‘Touch can be difficult to discuss with words. It’s much easier to demonstrate.’ Let your fingers do the talking. Of course, you can talk while conducting a body tour, but simple ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ can be just as communicative as words. Ancient Asian philosophers and physicians believed that sensual, controlled sex replenished and strengthened the life force of both men and women. The prevailing idea was that sexual vitality and potency depended primarily on sensory awareness, sensual sensitivity and expertise. CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE OF TRUST It is important for you and your partner to be honest with each other every time you make sensual or sexual contact, not just in body but in your minds and shared words, about what pleases and what displeases or hurts you. Research indicates that sex is only possible when both partners feel completely safe and trusting in letting go and deepening pleasures above and beyond orgasm, instead of holding back, feeling unsafe and being unwilling to cross boundaries in the mind or heart. This requires sharpening your skills in listening to your inner signals so that you can discriminate between times when it’s all right to feel vulnerable in lovemaking and times when it’s not. Limits can be gently set but must be firmly respected. Distractions and anxieties manifest themselves in your mood and body responses, and even when you may have the physical energy for sex, your ability to enjoy lovemaking may be hindered by thoughts that make you anxious and interfere with your arousal. TAKE ‘TRANSITION TIME’ TO LEAVE WORK STRESS BEHIND If you arrive home from work and immediately dive into domestic chores, it’s all but impossible to cultivate the kind of intimacy that promotes extraordinary sex. You go from one type of stress to another. A good idea is a 5-minute transition period for couples to release tension and simply be together—to chat, stroll, hug and hold hands. A few minutes of peace and quiet are worth four hours of foreplay. ADOPT A BEGINNER’S MIND It is essential to suspend judgment long enough to begin approaching lovemaking in original and sensitive ways so as to escape ruts and routines. Researchers have found, for example, that ‘super sexual lovers’ approach each moment with an openness to experience, referred to as a ‘beginner’s mind’ in Zen, i.e., approaching each sexual interlude as the first. All this requires is a bit of practice. Don’t jump ahead with your thoughts. Instead, just keep pace with the wonderful information you receive through your senses. Follow wherever erotic thoughts emerge, responding spontaneously and naturally to your partner’s body and touch and voice without analyzing. SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE SENSATIONS AND GIVE SUPPORT Sexual energy increases for many of us when we feel free to relate how we are feeling in the changing, evolving experience of intimacy and have our partner do the same. By describing sensations of closeness, we heighten feelings of sensuality. By using warm, sexual dialogue, complimenting how the other person looks and feels and expressing your own sensations of arousal and pleasure, you can more easily distance yourself from unwanted thoughts. If you’re having trouble focusing or concentrating on lovemaking, learn to tell this to your partner and ask for help in releasing distractions. STAY FIT To get the most out of sex, at every age, you need to be in great shape, mentally and physically. In a nine-month study of 95 previously inactive but healthy men (average age 48), researchers found that those who engaged in regular moderate to vigorous exercise reported a 30 per cent increase in frequency of intercourse, with a 25 per cent increase in the frequency of orgasms. They also reported an increase in other arousal measures, such as passionate kissing and caressing. In contrast, the control subjects who didn’t exercise experienced no improvements and actually saw slight decreases in their sexual frequency. SHARE INTIMATE ‘PILLOW TALKS’ Sex is intensely personal. We all feel vulnerable about it. Some of us may be able to have a satisfying love life without talking about it, but it is rare in a long-term relationship. Many common sexual difficulties can be eased or overcome with open, sensitive ‘pillow talks’ shared regularly between partners. Acknowledge your awkwardness, anxiety or fears: ‘This is difficult for me to say because I really love you and don’t want to threaten our relationship, but…’ Also, be specific. Don’t say: ‘I want more affection.’ Say: ‘I want you to hug me and give me a special kiss when we meet after work. I want to hold your hand when we go for a walk or sit side by side. And I want to be held for a little while each night.’ Have sexual heart-to-heart talks. Take turns sharing your innermost feelings and thoughts on the following: The best thing about our sex life is…What I find most sexually attractive about you is…What I would like to add to our sexual intimacy is…I get turned on the most when…It would be easier to express my sexual desire if…I think our experience of sexual pleasure is…A sexual delight I would like to indulge with you is…
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