Being ‘good enough in bed’ is a preoccupation of many people, yet few have a definite idea of what ‘good enough’ means.
Performance is rarely what is most important about the sexual experience, and worrying about performance can spoil it. Being in the moment allows you to appreciate the closeness you feel during sex with your partner. This helps you to work together at achieving mutual sexual satisfaction. Indeed, sexual satisfaction ultimately relies on each partner’s ability to take responsibility for their own arousal and orgasm. Partners aren’t mind readers and need help to offer each other the pleasure they both seek.
Arousing womenThe difference in women’s sexual response can lead some partners to question their technique.
So many factors influence women’s responsiveness that they may be extremely quick to arouse to orgasm(s) on some occasions and very slow at other times. Stimulation of the clitoris is what usually leads to women’s orgasms, but how soon to begin clitoral touch varies. Most women like to be at least a little aroused before clitoral stimulation begins. Moreover, prolonged clitoral stimulation can become uncomfortable, and variation in pressure or position may be needed on different occasions or even from one minute to the next.
For men who have developed a reliable technique for self-stimulation, this can be bewildering – why do women keep wanting to alter pressure, have a different spot touched, use a different technique? Understandably, men can feel hurt when their partners ask them to change what they just seemed to be doing successfully.
Unlike men, women don’t experience a ‘point of inevitability’ – when orgasm is unavoidable – so stimulation may need to continue as the orgasm begins and even beyond, or the woman’s arousal can abruptly stop. Those women who like to have multiple orgasms may want stimulation to continue indefinitely or require a different kind of stimulation to climax again. As this is such an individual experience, which can vary from one occasion to the next, it is understandable that getting it right can cause anxiety.
Vaginal orgasmAnother issue affecting many couples is the idea that women should orgasm during intercourse and that their partner should be responsible for their orgasm.
Sometimes, partners feel guilty if the woman doesn’t climax and the woman feels under pressure to orgasm to make her partner feel good. Despite this, many couples don’t talk about their lovemaking or what they could do to enhance it. In particular, women are often reluctant to ask partners for more, or any, clitoral stimulation in case it makes the partner feel inadequate. Instead, they may fake orgasm to please their partner. Ironically, studies also show that many women are more interested in feeling close and connected when they make love than in attaining an orgasm every time. However, the pressure on both of the couple to achieve the climax may inhibit their feelings of closeness and connection.
Expectations and fearsIt is not only the way we behave which bothers many of us but also the way our bodies behave. It is quite usual to have some fears that our bodies will let us down or to be worried about whether our bodily functions and bodies are ‘normal’. Mild concern can become a preoccupation, however, so that we start observing our own performance during sex, a phenomenon known as ‘spectatoring’.
Spectatoring is associated with high anxiety and anticipation of failure. You may be very sensitive to your partner’s opinion and on the lookout for criticism, which you may readily perceive. Spectatoring itself causes the anticipated problems because it is impossible to relax and be in the moment when you are watching yourself or looking for hitches.
Banning sexSimply agreeing that sex is off the agenda for a period of time will allow you to relax and appreciate kisses and cuddles without worrying about what comes next. This is often so enjoyable that couples are keen to break the sex ban and resume intercourse early.
However, it is worth sticking with it, as you will probably emerge from the period of sexual embargo with a completely different, more positive attitude to touch and even to your relationship overall. Starting from scratch allows you to break bad habits, learn about your bodies and embrace strategies which enable you to deal with problems as they arise. Discovering how to be ‘in the moment’ also helps banish performance fears and helps you to relax and enjoy sexual touch so much more when you make love.