I recently saw an article whose premise was that good sex is not rocket science. It made me think about how often people talk to me about their sex lives; usually the conversations are about what’s not working for them. While it’s true that people and situations are different, some things remain the same.
When I do speak with people who are happy with their sex life, they almost always have certain things in common; they feel safe, they take ownership for their sexual pleasure, they communicate their desires, they hold positive views regarding their sexuality, they are open and they have a sense of humor about sex.
While this list is not exhaustive, it does give some good enough guidelines as to what could be missing from your sex life if you are unhappy with it. Still, let us have a brief discussion about some of the things that can interfere with sexual satisfaction.
I am yet to meet someone who enjoys sex when they have been violated. Sex is one of the most vulnerable experiences; you’re (usually) physically and emotionally naked…exposed.
This is why physical and emotional safety is crucial for both partners. Why? So they can let loose and allow themselves to enjoy the experience.
Violence gets in the way of both physical and emotional safety. Sex with a violent partner becomes about keeping yourself safe, being careful about not letting yourself go too much because they might become violent again, being careful about not letting yourself go too much because you’re hurt and angry that they saw it fit to hit you, and/or being careful about not letting yourself go too much as a way of keeping some pleasure for yourself instead of giving it all to them.
Many partners emotionally and mentally check out of the sexual experience as a way of giving themselves some form of safety.
This kind of disengagement is also not uncommon with other kinds of violence e.g. emotional, psychological and even financial violence. Any time your partner feels violated by you, they will withhold some part of themselves just to feel that they are in control of something and/or that they can deny you some of what you need. If you are abusive – verbally, physically, emotionally, mentally, financially or in any other way – stop it! Get help if you are unable to stop it on your own, but stop it!
Not only is it harmful to your partner but even though you feel like a winner in the moment when your abusive behavior gets you what you want, it also traps you in a situation where you can never really feel safe enough to live and enjoy life, let alone sex.
Laziness is a turn off. If you’re the sort of partner who just lays there while your partner does all the work, I’m willing to bet that your partner is one of those who would say that they are sexually unsatisfied.
No one wants a partner who plays the role of the dead — lovingly nicknamed “kifo cha mende” i.e. “dead cockroach” by Kenyans — during sexual intercourse. It makes you look disengaged and uncaring while possibly causing your partner to feel alone in a game for two, annoyed and even resentful at having the responsibility of sexual pleasure for two dumped at their feet.
If you have chosen to have sex, then you must also choose to step up to the plate and contribute to your desired outcome.
At the very least, participate! Don’t just lay there making mental shopping lists, prayer requests, work invoices, worrying about whether school fees was paid or whether the electricity bill will be affordable this month. Sex time is sex time; all those other things can and will be handled at the right time.
Before I forget, the romantically lazy fall in this category too. People are different so maybe your partner does not like flowers, ‘maneno matamu’ (‘sweet words’) or spending a lot of time watching sports but you must take the time to get to know your partner and what they like.
If you know that your partner likes flowers or road trips or nyama choma and you can’t even remember the last time you did any of those things, then you sir/ma’am are romantically lazy! Let me say this for those who say that romance is not their strong suit; romance isn’t about the ‘thing’ so much as it is about the effort made.
Today, right now, ask yourself this; “have I been romantically lazy and does my sexual satisfaction reflect the quality of my sex life?”
Another question to ask yourself is this; “if my sexual satisfaction was tied to the effort I make with my partner, what kind of sex do I deserve?” Rate yourself before you rate your partner.
It is quite easy to point a finger at someone and blame them for all the sex you’re not enjoying but my policy is personal responsibility is key! What are you prepared to do/change for the benefit of your sexual satisfaction? Now, that is the question! Here’s to good sex, great sex, better sex as you explore.
Maggie Gitu holds an MA in Marriage & Family Therapy. She practices as a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist. Reach her at [email protected] or via her Facebook page: Maggie Gitu