LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX, VOL. 2
Most of us think sexual attraction is something that just happens to us.
We think we’re either attracted to someone or not attracted to them, and if our attraction waxes or wanes, it’s because of mysterious biological forces outside of our control.
But even though biology plays a role in attraction (like determining your sexual orientation, for example), your thoughts about yourself and the object of your attraction can have a huge impact.
That’s why I’m going to walk you through how you can shift your relationship to your sexuality on three levels:
- by understanding (and shifting, if you choose) your thoughts about yourself and your own sexuality,
- by exploring the role your thoughts play in who you are attracted to in the early stages of dating, and
- by exploring how your thoughts impact your attraction to a partner in a long term relationship.
Your Thoughts About Yourself
Your thoughts about yourself are at the foundation of your experience of desire.
If you were socialized as a woman, chances are you’ve been taught to ignore your body, ignore your desires, and focus on pleasing your partner.
This may translate to you feeling awkward or uncomfortable when it comes to being on the receiving end of pleasure. You may not actually know what feels good to you.
It can feel scary or uncomfortable to communicate your desires with a partner – or even to explore them on your own. But thought work can help with all of this.
Even if you don’t know what you want, even if you struggle to ask for it, even if you worry about what your partner thinks of you or think you’re taking too long to orgasm.
Discomfort, awkwardness, anxiety – these are feelings that are caused by your thoughts.
Thoughts like “I’m taking too long” or “I may smell weird” or “they don’t like doing this” or any number of similar sentences in your mind.
Part of the process of being more comfortable is choosing new thoughts on purpose.
Thoughts like “it’s possible that if I enjoy giving them pleasure, they enjoy giving me pleasure too” or “it’s possible there is no right or wrong amount of time for this to take.”
Whatever your challenge, thought work can help.
Even if you’ve experienced sexual trauma.
Of course, there’s a lot of great work you can do to work through some of your somatic responses with a trauma therapist.
But choosing thoughts that help create feelings of safety can also help you connect to your sexuality after trauma. Try reassuring yourself that you are safe, giving yourself permission to engage only as much as you want to, and giving yourself permission to stop at any time.
Attraction in Early Dating
Once you’ve explored your thoughts about your own sexuality, you may want to explore how your thoughts impact who you are attracted to.
Many of us prioritize “chemistry” in the early stages of dating, which we assume is a mysterious force entirely out of our control.
But our thoughts impact how we experience attraction in the early stages of dating, just as they impact our relationship to our own sexuality.
Just think of a time when you’ve found someone attractive, only to discover something about them that made them unappealing to you.
Or maybe you’ve experienced the opposite of that, when you got to know someone you didn’t initially find attractive and experienced that your attraction to them grew the more you learned about them.
Their appearance didn’t change, your hormones didn’t change.
You know what changed?
Your thoughts about them.
This is great to observe, and it gets even better when you think about the implications.
If your thoughts influence your attraction, that means you have some power over who you’re attracted to, and whether you stay attracted to them.
So if you find yourself frequently attracted to partners who are hot and cold, who give inconsistent affection and validation to you, you aren’t just doomed to a lifetime of unstable relationships. You can instead use thought work to rewire your brain and create more attraction to someone you may otherwise find a little boring or unexciting.
(This is some of the most important work you can do in dating – and I’m offering a course on rewiring your dating brain in the Clutch later this summer, so keep an eye out if this sounds like you!)
Attraction in Relationships
Not only can you use thought work to shift your early relationship patterns, but you can also use it to revitalize a long term relationship.
It’s important to note here that I always recommend examining your motivations for doing this work.
I don’t recommend using thought work to make yourself attracted to someone you don’t WANT to be attracted to. To understand your motivations, you can always ask yourself “why do I want to grow my attraction to this person?”
Is it because you have scarcity thoughts about relationships and believe that this is your only option? Is it because you think SHOULD want to be attracted to them? Or is it because you value your emotional connection and want to create a stronger sexual one?
If you decide that you like your reasons and are ready to create more desire, the solution is simple.
First, unpack your current thoughts about your partner and your sex life.
If things are feeling a little “stale,” you simply have to explore your current thoughts about your sex life.
For instance, if you are thinking “our sex life is boring” all the time, chances are YOU ARE CREATING your boring sex life by holding back, showing up without passion, and looking for evidence that the sex is boring. You may even be avoiding sex with your partner, or at the very least disincentivizing your brain from coming up with ways to spice up your sex life.
Once you pin down your current thoughts, then things can get really fun.
Because then, you can decide how you want to feel and practice alternate thoughts like “we can explore new things together” or “I can’t wait to touch them.” Think back to when you enjoyed sex with your partner – what were you thinking then? Those thoughts are available to you now.
When you do that, you are likely to create a more connected, exciting sex life.
Remember that your new thoughts don’t have to be extreme, like “my partner is the sexiest human who ever walked the earth.” Even neutral thoughts like “sex feels good once we get going” or “I’m willing to give this a try and see if I can get into it” can help.
The key here in all three phases of relationships is that you recognize that sexual attraction is not some mystical force outside of your understanding.
Whatever your current relationship to your sex life, your thoughts about sex (with other people or yourself!) can give you a huge amount of control over how you show up for the experience and what results you get.
Don’t believe the lie that it’s all biology and that you can’t do anything about it. Yes, there’s biology involved – but biology involves your brain, and vice versa.
Take control of your brain, and you’ll be amazed at how much power you have to improve the experience you have in your body too.