Your Sexual Pleasures
We devote time to
work and making money. We devote time to the routines that maintain
our everyday life. And we devote time to recreational activities, to
sports, to movies and to our hobbies. But most of us devote too little
time to the enrichment of our erotic life and thus do not honor our
sexual selves adequately.
Many people, when thinking about enhancing their sexual pleasures, think
only in terms of achieving orgasms more intensely or more frequently.
This is a wonderful way to go, but tends to become an overly focused
preoccupation. Here, we shall offer some more general suggestions for
improving your sexual health and happiness.
Physical health is important to sexual pleasure. Cardiovascular conditioning
usually improves sexual functioning, and exercises, such as yoga and
dance, that promote spinal and pelvic flexibility, as well as facilitating
the movement of energy through the body, are helpful as much for self
pleasuring as for partnered eroticism.
Also, your enjoyment of genital pleasure, both now and through the later
years of your life, will be greatly enhanced if you regularly exercise
the musculature of your pelvic floor. This is called Kegelling.*
Find the relevant group of muscles by stopping and starting your flow
of urine while sitting on the toilet. Then, at a time when your bladder
is empty, squeeze these muscles tight and hold them for a count of three.
Repeat this until these muscles feel tired (initially, you may only
be able to squeeze these muscles a couple of times before they feel
tired, later you should be able gradually to work up to twenty repetitions.)
Do these exercises twice a day, at least three times a week, preferably
Men will benefit from Kegelling in terms of orgasmic intensity, the
potential for control over ejaculatory timing, and the general health
of the pelvic floor. Women will benefit from an empowering sense of
comfort and control over their vaginal canal, intensified orgasmic capacity,
and prevention of some of the health problems so often experienced by
the elderly (incontinence, prolapses).
Most of us have heard that alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and other recreational
drugs enhance sexual pleasure. The truth is that, at best, they disinhibit
sexual behaviors that are otherwise infused with anxiety, guilt, or
conflict and , in the long run, all these drugs have serious negative
effects on both sexual desire and sexual performance.
Great care must also be taken with prescription medication. Many drugs
that physicians use frequently have adverse effects on your sexual pleasure.
Common medications for ailments such as depression, hypertension, allergies,
and many others, will likely diminish your sexual desire or impair your
sexual performance, at least to some extent. Before you accept a prescription
for any medication, ask your physician, "How will this affect my sexual
life?" You have a right to know.
In his research on peak sexual experiences, Dr. Jack Morin discusses
how important timing is to erotic life. Too easily, we get into routines
that allocate a fixed amount of time for sexual interaction. Whether
it's ten minutes three times a week, or a half-hour three times a year,
our sexual life gets routinized, perhaps because we are all a little
afraid of the spontaneous exuberance of our sexual energies. When routinized,
the quality of the eroticism inevitably deteriorates. So breaking with
routines is usually a "turn-on"!
"Quickies" -- brief or unexpected sexual encounters and stolen moments
-- can be a wonderful form of sharing. However, scheduling special extended
periods of time for relaxed erotic sharing is usually a blessing that
invigorates your sexual life. Make time for sex, solo or partnered,
when you are entirely unhurried, and not too tired. Create special occasions
in addition to the routine pleasures.
In this culture, our ideas about sexual pleasure tend to be too focused
on genital stimulation and orgasmic release. Often, other sensual experiences
are under-emphasized, treated merely as "foreplay," a prelude to the
"real events." The individuals who are happiest with their sexuality,
especially as they grow and age, are those who adopt a different attitude.
Remember that sexual pleasure is as much mental as physical and the
sensuality of your body extends to every part of you.
Create sensual experiences that cultivate non-genital pleasures as well
as genital ones. Touch every part of the body in imaginative and varied
ways. Use variations in lighting (candles), smell (exotic scents), sound
(music), and setting (not always in the bedroom) to enhance your excitement
Experiment, and Communicate!
starts with your sexual self. So enhancing your erotic pleasure means
a commitment to yourself, a commitment to your body, mind, and spirit.
Only if you feel playful, relaxed and open-minded, will you discover
the incredible potential of your body and spirit for erotic pleasure.
While you should not do anything under conditions of stress or coercion,
you will do well to spend time exploring your own body to discover what
sensations you enjoy under what conditions. Then, under conditions of
mutuality and respect, discover what sensations your partner enjoys,
and tell him or her about what pleases you or "turns you on."
If you like to dress-up (or dress-down) and act out fantasies with your
partner, do so, but always under conditions in which expectations, rules,
and "No-Nos" are clearly communicated, preferably in advance. Your erotic
sharing should be playful, imaginative and enriched by fantasy. Take
time to make it so!
The secret of a happier sexuality lies first in your personal commitment
to create a more pleasingly erotic life for yourself. Second, honor
your sexuality in all its varied aspects by being more playful, open-minded
and respectful in exploring what you enjoy. And third, practice and
communicate. Our sexuality is one of the greatest blessings that life
has to offer: make the most of it!
Reprinted with permission
Barnaby B. Barratt, PhD, DHS
Director, Midwest Institute of Sexology
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