Yes, you read it right, we’re talking about 4 ways men can enhance their sex life! It’s information you are NOT going to see in popular magazines or websites. I interview Patrick Bryant, owner of The Peaceful Place. In this episode Patrick and I discuss the particulars around 4 mindful techniques guys can use to enhance their sex life with. Listen in as we discuss the 4 P’s and much more.
Other topics include:
- Imparts of quarantine
- The 4Ps of Sexual Prowess
- Sex and the intriguing ways it shapes men’s lives
- The Relational Man: How men experience connection, seek it out, and protect selves from it
- Importance of communication
- Stress and Realistic Expectations: How perceptions of masculinity shape our expectations and create unnecessary stress
- Mindful Techniques –The 4P’s to Mindfully Enhance Your Sex Life
As we discuss the impact of quarantine measures from COVID-19 will hit key points like being at home with same people, doing the same things, feeling some boredom, and additional stress. One factor that falls into play is sex. I’ve heard reports of and read a spectrum of experiences during the pandemic, from nothing has changed to having way more sex, to being so irritated that they’re losing interest in their partner, and noticing difficulty in being aroused by them.
What may be some contributing factors to this time having an impact on relationships?
For folks in relationships, being confined in one place around the same people, leaves little room for spontaneity and excitement, unless one becomes intentional about creating them. If there are underlying stressors within the relationship, times like these can really bring them out.
For folks who are single, it’s been very difficult to meet folks. There are still dating apps, but many people aren’t feeling safe going out with a relative stranger. Available activities are limited. I’ve seen dating apps advertising video meetings and video dating. Although that is an alternative it’s still missing a huge aspect of building a relationship.
What is sex for men? Why is it so important?
Sex is not a desire unique to men. Women report strong sexual desire, just like men. What seems to be a major difference between the genders is what sex has to do with connection. This is a mass generalization, but for women, sex tends to come as a confirmation of or result of feeling connected with someone. For men, sex can be a way to feel connection or achieve it. Time and time again, research and survey data shows us that men are interested in meaningful connection, and actually have better sex with committed partners. This brings up the contrast for all genders -sex for the sake of hit it and quit it, satisfies a momentary pleasure need, but doesn’t actually leave much of a lasting mark in the way of connection. I’ve met with countless numbers of folks over the years who notice feeling lonely after repetitious nights out with numerous sexual partners. There is often a void trying to be filled, and sex feels good, so offers a temporary relief or distraction from that void.
Within social constructs, sex has been something of a measure for masculinity for men, and a tool for shaming with women, though that seems to be changing at least a little in present times through normalizing women having sex for pleasure, and not just to bare children.
Is having sexual fantasy wrong?
Absolutely not. Fantasy is important. It keeps things fresh and exciting. We just have to be more realistic about bringing these fantasies to fruition and be more realistic about meeting needs. Shaming your partner for having needs is not helpful. Instead, be curious about what interests your partner in these fantasies, how and if these fantasies can be incorporated into sex life.
What is contributing to unhealthy or unrealistic perceptions of sex?
One of the more apparent or obvious offenders is media. Not just pornography, but mainstream media. College humor movies, streaming shows, network TV series have all set up unrealistic expectations for sex, putting an immense amount of pressure on folks -is it normal to have that many sexual partners? Is it really that easy to hook up? Is something wrong with me if I can’t get that many partners that easily? Wait, why doesn’t this feel as good as it appears to for the fictional characters on TV and movies? Then, there’s the expectations for body image. And, this is important, it’s not just targeting women. Men have this issue too.
The more extreme influence is porn, especially with it’s easy and abundant access online. Body type, penis size, stamina, positions, what women are into and what feels good to them, are all skewed for entertainment, but this idea gets lost over time with more and more consumption of content. We begin to accept all of those things as normal, and sometimes expect them. For some guys, porn becomes and easier and more accessible replacement for sex with a partner.
The 4 P’s
Pause: When we engage in sexual interaction with someone, our brains release hormones and neurotransmitters -oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine. The neural pathways engaged during leading up to and during sex decreases activity in the pre-frontal cortex associated with logical rational and organized thinking. Basically, this means we become focused on pleasure and not so much on paying attention other things like protection, long-term effects, etc. Pausing just long enough to make sure you’re taking care of yourself is crucial. For instance, are you using contraception? Is what I’m about to do going to cause some serious consequences? Do I want to have sex with this person?
Presence: Like we said earlier, many men are actually concerned with pleasing their partner, contrary to some popular beliefs and arguments. One thing that gets in the way of being present during sex is hyper-focus on finishing. This can cause anxiety which may cause a guy to go limp or to climax too early, or to completely miss what is happening for him and his partner during sex. Pay attention to what is happening and how to meet sexual needs during sex.
Prioritize: Make sex a priority. Make talking about what you like in sex a priority. Studies show a correlation between healthy sex lives and healthy connection within romantic couples. Communicating with your partner about what you both like, respectively, can improve mutual satisfaction. Oxytocin, known as the connection hormone, is released during sex, so it makes sense that partners may feel an increased sense of connection during and following sex. Dopamine is also released when building up toward sex and during sex. It’s associated with euphoria and reward. So, sex helps us feel good and connected.
Practice: There are varying beliefs about scheduling sex. Some say they prefer the concreteness of knowing sex is going to happen. Others say they prefer spontaneity. Making sex a priority may involve establishing a rhythm. It doesn’t have to be as rigid as a routine. Making it part of date night may be a helpful way to incorporate consistency of sex.
We need to normalize sex as a way to meet a need for connection. I often talk with my clients about communicating how important sex is when they state they want it and aren’t getting it. It’s not about setting an expectation that your partner gives this to you. Instead, it’s about being open and honest about the role sex plays in relationships. It’s natural for frequency to fade after the first few years. Other responsibilities and needs present themselves in adult lives (kids, career, household, etc.). This doesn’t mean sex isn’t also important. If you’re someone who needs or wants sex in your relationship, speak up and be honest about it. Have open conversations with your partner about what you want and like. Be open to hearing their wants and desire. You may find this creates a mutual buy-in, and decreases the anxiety or stress around meeting these needs. It may also reduce resentment toward not meeting these needs.
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