Dear dr jane,
I‘ma man who’s been married to a wonderful woman for over 10 years. We have a healthy sex life, but I’ve noticed that my wife isn’t very passionate when we make love. It seems like she wants me to hurry up and finish. This makes me think that she doesn’t really like what I’m doing. Can you please give me some pointers so I’m better? I want to be an amazing lover, but I worry that I’m bad.
Bath In Bed
I’m so glad that you reached out because most people approach this problem the wrong way. You want to be an amazing lover. You want your partner to be passionate and engaged when you make love. You want to feel comfortable and confident during sex. That’s an admirable goal. But sometimes trying to be a “good lover” actually makes things worse.
People often focus on their “performance” or on things like sexual positions or specific techniques. They worry about erections for themselves or for a partner. They wonder about their own or a partner’s orgasmic responsiveness. They are uncomfortable being naked together. Sex has potential to be a wonderful experience for you and your wife. But, when you focus on performance or specific skills, by definition, you’re focusing on doing instead of being.
It’s not bad to learn about different sexual things to do, but in my view, there are three “being” things that matter more than any specific sexual skill you might learn.
1. Slow down: Studies indicate that the average heterosexual couple in America spends 5-7 minutes having sex. Unfortunately, when sex is brief like this, the she/her partner doesn’t have time to fully open up. Some experts say that women need 20 minutes of what is called “foreplay” to be fully aroused; others say it’s 45 minutes. I understand that your partner encourages you to finish quickly. Because of this, you probably think she doesn’t want anything more. Talk with her about slowing down. What would make the experience more satisfying for her? Listen closely to what she says. Watch her body language as she talks. She may be speeding things up because she’s not really enjoying the sex you’ve been having. See if you can create something that’s worth her time.
2. Show Up: To have in person sex, of course you need to be in the room. Unfortunately, many people are physically present, but mentally, emotionally and energetically very far away. If you peeked into their bedroom, it would seem like they were present. They might even be acting very seductive and sexual, but in reality they’re somewhere else. They might be in their heads thinking about something, or too anxious to experience pleasure. They might be dissociating because of traumatic things that have happened in the past. Being fully present is a gift you can offer to your partner. It’s also a gift that you can give to yourself. If sexual trauma is keeping either of you from enjoying intimacy, get support from a skilled sex-positive professional. When you’re truly present, sex can be something magical.
3. Let Go: It’s great to feel relaxed and uninhibited during sex, but letting go isn’t just about getting rid of stress or nervousness. It’s also about releasing unhelpful expectations. You probably hold onto many known and unknown rules about sex. These rules might be about what’s OK to do or say when you’re making love. You might have rules about climax that make you both feel a lot of stress instead of pleasure when you’re together. These unspoken rules impact you every time you connect. Have a conversation about your expectations. Let go and release the rules that don’t serve you now. Play together—truly free and open at the deepest level.
I hope that these three small things help you talk with your partner about your intimate relationship. It might be challenging to get the conversation started at first. I understand that. But when you talk about these three things: slowing down, showing up and letting go, you’ll have the potential to change your relationship. Take it one step at a time. You got this.
—Dr. Jane Guyn (she/her) is a well-known relationship coach who received her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and is trained as a Professional Sex Coach and Core Energy Course. She’s the author of the Amazon #1 bestseller, “Too Busy to Get Busy” and has been passionately married to her best friend for over 30 years. You can find her at howtofixmysexlife.com. Send here your questions at [email protected]