Lets be honest. Sometimes sex feels like a chore.
Its late… the dogs watching… it feels like a lot of effort… you just want to go to sleep.
It’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of your to-do list, or as the final activity left to complete at the end of a busy day. It’s hard to find time to fit it in between juggling work, family, childcare, friends, hobbies and general life admin.
Obviously there’ll be loads of times when you say no for a good reason. But what about those days when sex just seems like effort?
How about taking a different view of sex- one that reframes it to make it an essential part of your life, well-being, relationship and health?
Seven ways to think differently about sex…
We all have different views and opinions on sex that have been instilled in us from children. Messages from our society, friends, family, religion, adverts, culture… the list goes on. Some of us will think of sex as a pleasurable, positive part of their lives. Others might dread the build up to sex, but enjoy it when it happens (*my hand is raised*). Others of us might not enjoy it at all.
For those of you in camp two or three, I’m going to share with you the tips I use to help me reframe sex as something wholly positive, and something that’s worth investing my time in. This gives me more motivation to want to indulge!
1. Sex as exercise
So I’m pretty lazy as a human specimen. I’d much rather be eating or drinking (or generally anything else) than exercise. I don’t really enjoy it and I’ve never found a sport I loved. But then one day it hit me- maybe sex is my sport! And wowsers, what a form of exercise it is!
Granted, it only burns off about half of a Starbucks latte (30mins- 100 calories average- Guardian article). But dammit that’s more than you’d have burnt off before! Here’s some great sex positions from Cosmo that’ll help you make the most of calorie burn whilst you get jiggy.
Thinking about sex as exercise means:
- Sex can become part of your daily workout
- You can reward yourself afterwards
- Its a cycle- the more you do it, the better you’ll look when you next have sex. Winning!
2. Sex as stress relief
When I’m stressed, my mind is flooded with worries about work, home, life… sometimes I’m a right headcase!
And sex feels like the last thing I need. Maybe wine. Or sleep. Or chocolate. Definitely not sex.
But infact, sex is well-known to be a great stress reliever! It can help you sleep better afterwards, give you a sense of fulfillment, and all that physical activity and concentration on pleasuring someone else can help your worries melt away.
Next time you tell yourself you are “too stressed for sex”, why not try sex as the perfect antidote- that’s the time you need it the most 🙂
3. Sex as a chance to practise mindfulness
Linked to the above point, sex can be seen as another opportunity for you to be present.
Mindful sex involves being able to observe and describe what’s happening inside your body and mind without sorting experiences into “bad” and “good” or trying to change your feelings. When we are able to do that, Silverstein says, we can “turn off the autopilot.”- www.mindful.org
For some people, sex is the time when they’re most alert and attentive to whats going on in their mind and body. They are worried about what their bum looks like, how much their cellulite is wobbling, where that finger is going… (cheeky!)
It’s great to be present and be tuned into yourself and your body and mind. But if you’re struggling with negative thoughts and self-criticism, being naked and jiggling about with another can feel like hell on earth.
However, mindfulness might be able to help.
It’s not about religion, sitting cross legged or jetting off to Tibet for a year of silence. Its simply the idea of being present with our thoughts, not judging them, and letting them go.
This means when you tune out during sex and start thinking about fixing that crack in the ceiling, you can train your brain to gently bring itself back to the task at hand without judgement or worry. And the more you do it, the easier it’ll become to stay with your positive thoughts and enjoy the sex you are having.
Being present is good for us because it’s medically proven to help women become much more aroused more quickly (read this article to find out more)- so relish the opportunity to fit this into your day!
Top tip: can’t shake your negative thoughts? Do as I do and turn the situation into a Mills and Boon-esque commentary in your head instead! Focus your thoughts on describing whats happening as sensually as you can with you and your partner as the third person… use sight, taste, touch, smell and what you can hear to enhance the scene in your mind. This will help you stay in the room and reconnect to sex and your partner.
4. Sex as fun and pleasureable
We can get so caught up on our sexual performance (pressure, expectation, worry), sometimes we forget to let go, have fun, and focus on sex solely as something pleasurable!
Sex is often thought of something quite serious- if we do it, it should be pornographic. If we don’t do it, we’re clinical, frigid or have a medical issue. But infact, sex is supposed to be fun, silly, a bit embarrassing. It’s a chance for us to open up to another, and give ourselves over fully to the pursuit of pleasure.
What stops us from doing that is control, and not allowing ourselves to let go.
By remembering sex is primarily about pleasure, we give ourselves permission to actually ENJOY it. We can focus on what’s going right, what feels good, and just allow our feelings to take over rather than our brains. Great!
5. Sex as “me time”
Up until now, I’ve only ever thought of masturbation as “me time”.
Sex instead I have always seen as a give and take scenario, a test of my ability to pleasure someone else, my ability to ‘play a sexual part’ in my own sexy play (wow, how unhealthy!). But recently I’ve started to see it more (and enjoy it more) because it’s time spent getting to know myself.
It’s about finding out what you like and don’t, the kinds of noises you make, the positions you can reach and hold. It’s a powerful and lifelong journey into your sexual health, just as you would your mental health. Its sometimes the only part of your day when you can close your eyes. rock back and forth, and concentrate solely on the physical sensations of your body getting aroused. And it’s a beautiful thing to do for yourself.
So to get sex higher up your to-do list tonight by thinking about it as the ultimate act of self care!
6. Sex as the journey, not the destination
Sex is often talked about in terms of the final goal- orgasm. But this belief can be quite damaging to our sex drive.
We constantly put pressure on ourselves to cum, and get our partners to cum, and in the end no-one is focusing on the here and now, but rather where we’re going. If we only think about orgasm, we miss the entire point of sex. It’s about bringing two people together, the weight of two bodies, the actual experience and enjoyment of the act.
There’s enough pressure on us from lots of different parts of life- take the pressure off when having sex!
This Metro article explains perfectly why we’re too goal orientated if you’d like to read more.
7. Sex as an investment in your relationship
When I’m not feeling like having sex, I try and remember that its a really important way I can connect with my partner.
While we might be physically affectionate towards each other, whatsapp a lot, and generally communicate in loads of different ways, having sex is communication on a totally different level.
You could also try thinking of your sex life as a hobby you enjoy together. It’s a unique way that you spend time together that adds to the health of your relationship. And just as stamp collectors love looking at, reading about and buying stamps, why not look at/read about/buy stuff for your lush new hobby? A trip to LoveHoney anyone?