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Aligning our pleasure wants and needs (with words, not magic)

Words by: Lauren French, MSexol (Curtin) Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine


I was listening to the always insightful Esther Perel recently when she said something

that’s stuck with me, ‘people used to leave (each other) because they were unhappy, now they leave because they could be happier’. I’ve heard this idea countless times from

clients and friends that there might be someone out there who’s better and just ‘gets me’.


When I push them on what ‘getting’ me actually means, they describe a sexual wizard with a multitude of gifts.

1. They can always make me orgasm!

2. They always know exactly what I like without having to ask!

3. Our sex drives just match!


Now that IS magic! And by magic, we mean something that's seen in movies, TV shows and books, yet never actually experienced in real life.


This idea just goes against something so fundamental within relationships, which is that

there are multiple people involved in them. The idea that two (or more) different people

would be able to achieve all three of those wizard spells without any form of

communication is wild! I don’t know why it's the ultimate fantasy for people, but maybe it

has something to do with our society not being very good at talking about sex, not being able to communicate what we like and want from another person and not being open and vulnerable about our innermost thoughts? And that’s not even getting to giving our partners feedback or direction!


While the fantasy is lovely, having it as our expectation may be setting us up for

continued sexual disappointment. So while it’s never fun to start, we’re going to try and

make the magic ourselves.


So point one. The always guaranteed orgasm. I’ve talked and written about this often, but

I’ll never stop shouting it. An orgasm is not the goal of sex. An orgasm is not the only way

to have good sex. And having an orgasm doesn’t guarantee we had great sex, either! Orgasms are amazing, but if we become so goal-orientated that they’re all that matters to

us, sex becomes pretty one-dimensional. We also need to move away from the idea that

our partners ‘give’ us an orgasm because we’re not passive objects. Orgasms are

something our partners can assist us with and work with us towards, not give out like

Halloween chocolate.


Point two. Reading our sexual wants without having to talk about them. Now consent is my bread and butter, and there’s something that doesn’t sit right around this idea. If someone is doing something during sex that we haven’t discussed, it might be something I like and feel amazing, but what about when it's not? The best case scenario it's an awkward moment, the worst case, I don’t want to describe. So let’s move away from mind reading and dive head first into sex chats! Communication is hot. It's erotic. It's sensual. And, importantly, it's safe. Great sexual experiences need to be safe. We need to feel safe talking about what’s going well and what’s not!


Point three. We always want sex at exactly the same time! To be crystal clear, a mismatch

of desires is normal in a relationship. Some people love a morning glory moment, others an afternoon delight, and some need a nightcap of erotic bliss. If you differ from your partner, it doesn’t mean it can’t work, but it does mean it might not happen spontaneously. So firstly, work out where you and your partner/s sit. Is there any crossover? What makes it easier for someone to feel desire outside of their go-to moment? What makes it harder? Then do some (less sexy) planning! So maybe we’re not waiting for a random lightning strike of horniness, but rather finding times that can work and spending the time turning each other on.


Aligning our pleasure with our partner takes work. There’s no magic spell to make it easier, but when we put the time and effort in, we can get some pretty magic sensations.


Happy talking. x


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