Are Sexual Expectations Getting in the Way of A Good Time?
So you know what you want in bed and you know who you want to do it with.
Great. At least it should be great.
But somehow, what you want sexually never really seems to happen the way you think it should happen. And your partner just won’t cooperate the way you imagine they will.
Are you wrong to set personal expectations for a good time in bed?
Is it too much to ask that the one you’ve committed to simply get on board?
On one hand, it’s good that you are in touch with your own needs and desires. But on the other hand, if the expectations connected to those needs keep you from connecting well with your partner, you will probably not have the good time you imagined.
And you could be missing out on something truly great and deeply enjoyable.
So let’s consider how your sexual expectations might be interfering with good sex and a more intimate relationship:
Sexual Expectation #1: Perpetual Beauty
Do you set high expectations regarding sexiness, body image, or attractiveness as a prerequisite for great sex?
It would be wonderful if we could all stay as handsome or beautiful as we were the day we met our partners. But time marches on and bodies change. Babies, long days at the office, stresses, and age take their toll. Sexy lingerie and rock hard abs may no longer be priorities. Is that a sexual let down for you?
While self-care is important for both health and mental well-being, demanding, expecting or pressuring each other to physically remain the same as the early days of your relationship or meet an unrealistic standard could effectively stall things in the bedroom.
The last thing you want to do is kill intimacy with self-consciousness, body image issues or a sense that, after all you’ve invested in your relationship, superficial concerns ruin sexual fulfillment.
If physical appearance is truly a major distraction, it’s crucial you find ways to work through the matter positively. Workout together, buy each other sexy bed clothes, and actively focus on the physical attributes you like the most. Put TV images and photo shopped comparisons aside and learn to appreciate your own physique as well as the body of the lover you’re with.
Sexual Expectation #2: Constant Availability
Do you feel it’s your partner’s responsibility to be ready and willing when you’re ready for sex?
No one likes to be rejected when the mood strikes. But nobody likes to be manipulated, guilted, or shamed into sex either. Sex has to be a mutual act. Without a doubt.
Now having said that, most couples experience something call sexual discrepancy, or a mismatch in desire, at one point or another. If you often want sex more than your spouse, the expectation that he/ she should be available for meeting your needs can cause conflict and resentment if you’re not careful about communication and compromise.
In this situation, a constant dance of your pressure and your partner’s resistance, or vice versa, can do real damage to a healthy sex life. Instead, it is worth having real conversations about how much or little sex matters to you both and try to iron out a compassionate and responsive plan that speaks to your unique desires.
The intimacy created by tailoring sex to your specific union may actually end up fostering more physical intimacy, as you’ll both feel seen and heard, deepening your bond. That kind of connection does not occur when one person demands that the other be available because they are “supposed to be.”
If you can’t come to some agreement regarding the amount and types of sexual engagement you’re both willing to embrace, try sex therapy sessions for the sake of mutual satisfaction.
Sexual Expectation #3: Psychic Ability
Do you believe that your partner should know you well enough to know what you want sexually?
A mind-reading partner is harder to come by than you may think. Too often we assume that if our partners really loved us, we would never have to ask for what we want or provide any direction.
Does it seem unromantic and unspontaneous to actually say where you want to be touched or bring up a desire that makes you feel particularly vulnerable?
It’s important to recognize that to withhold yourself or your sexual hopes and needs from each other is unfair to both of you. Mind reading leaves one partner alone to figure things out and the other alone and sexually unfulfilled.
It’s better to share openly rather than silently hold unspoken and unfulfilled expectations over each other’s heads.
Sexual Expectation #4: Gender Role Play
Are you boxed in by gender roles regarding sexual desire, initiation and, expression?
Commonly held gender stereotypes regarding gender roles and sex can significantly limit intimacy, authenticity, and freedom in bed.
Why confine yourselves to the idea that men are always sexually voracious initiators? This will just feed inadequacy or shame if you are a man who isn’t as enthusiastic or experiences a declining interest due to stress, illness, or age. Why should the idea that women are not sexual pursuers hinder you if you’re a woman who’d like to try new things without being labeled a nymphomaniac?
Stereotypes squelch honest conversation and flexibility. Allowing for more variation in your sexual interaction can lessen pressure and increase pleasure.
Sexual Expectation # 5: Effortless Compatibility
Do you believe that real passion doesn’t take work?
Here again, pop culture sets us up. Media and romance novels make chemistry and fate the barometer of sexual compatibility. If it’s right it’s right. Except that assessment is usually wrong.
And too many good relationships go down the drain on such a flimsy sexual expectation.
Sex, long-term, is good because you keep it good, improve it, or renew it.
In truth, if you are together for a significant length of time, life will start to affect your relationship. It stands to reason that sex will need to evolve too. The work entailed in maintaining a good sex life isn’t a problem necessarily. In fact, it can result in big payoffs.
Try to see sexual effort as simply the next phase of sexual experience you and your partner share. This isn’t a chore but a chance to incorporate fun, fantasy, and novelty in your sexual adventures. Your partner is worth the work.
To break free of sexual expectations, you and your partner may find sex therapy provides a springboard to a better time in bed.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist, clinical sexologist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as sexuality, infidelity, careers, and intimacy. He also specializes in treating addictions, anger, anxiety, stress, depression and work-life balance.
Call or email for a cost-free telephone consultation. Services are rendered either at the office located at 2999 NE 191 St. Suite 703, Miami, Florida 33180 or through video conference via Skype or FaceTime. Serving all of the greater Miami, Florida area or, through video conference, anywhere that there is a broadband internet connection.