If you're frustrated about sex, you're not alone. In a 2009 study, over 80 percent of sexually active Americans said they sometimes avoided sex in the last year. And every day people find our site by searching for help with the intimacy in their marriage.
Recently, sex therapist Marty Klein presented at the Rocky Mountain Sex Summit teaching other therapists how to help their patients who are frustrated by sex. Hopefully these five suggestions can help you heal your sexual frustrations as well:
Sex is not a performance, but many of the frustrations we have regarding sex are because our bodies aren't performing the way we want them to. Klein says to let go of that expectation.
"There is no reason to think that any body parts HAVE to do anything," he said. "You just have to enjoy it. It's not getting these little body parts to do the exact thing you want at the time and length that you want it. You can't control these body parts."
What are your purposes for having sex? For most married couples it is to feel closer to each other and to have fun, but Klein points out that both of those goals can happen even if your body isn't doing what you think it "should."
People want to know they are an OK person or that they're a "normal" person, and sex is definitely a place where it's easy to NOT feel like you're OK or normal.
And if you're constantly worrying about being normal, then it's going to be hard to ever really enjoy being intimate. Klein compares it to a computer trying to do a backup and a virus scan at the same time. How can you feel intimate while your brain is overloaded with worry?
"Western culture is so rigid about their ideas on how you do sex," Klein said.
But sex is for you and your spouse. See your sexuality as just another way of expressing your love, and it will help you let go of the expectations you put on yourself and your partner.
Feeling sexy is critical to really being intimate, but one of the difficulties about feeling sexy is our personal definition of sexy.
"Most of us develop our view of sexuality when we are young and our bodies are young," Klein said. "We don't have those bodies for very long. You can't put the same things into them. As your body changes your ideas about sexuality need to change. If you're trying to be sexual in your 55-year-old body with the sexual ideas of a 22-year-old body, you're going to be very frustrated."
So, figure out why you are sexy — because you are. What makes you, you, and why is that a wonderful thing? How do you use your sexuality to make you glad you're alive? Figuring out those answers is easier said than done, but it will help you open up and be more vulnerable in a wonderful way.
When you were dating, didn't you make plans to grab dinner on Friday? Or see a movie? You scheduled those dates, and it didn't make them unromantic just because they were planned. Klein said he doesn't understand why we tell ourselves that scheduling intimacy means we're in a rut in our relationship.
"The problem with that story is that it tells couples that if they can't have spontaneous sex, then they aren't having good sex," he said. "You get to decide what sex looks like."
Could it be possible that the story you're telling yourself is the true killer of romance? Control the story, and you'll probably have a lot more romance in your life.
"We're not taught that sexuality requires attention moment after moment after moment," Klein said. "In real life you've got to pay attention during sex moment after moment after moment."
This means that when a car alarm goes off on the street, you don't think about the car. You think about being with your spouse. You also keep your mind off your to-do list or your workload. It's surprising that being intimate can require so much mental effort at times, but that focusing gets easier as you train your brain to focus on those moments of being together.