It turns out, there is a magic key to a better sex life and a better sexual relationship. But it flies in the face of almost everything we’ve been taught about sex. In this episode, you’ll learn what that magic key is, and you’ll learn three profound questions for deepening and enriching your sex life. So stay tuned to The Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m really excited about what we’re going to be talking about today. It’s about sex, and sexuality, and healing. I’m Ken Page, and every week, I’m going to be giving you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know for everyone who wants to find love and keep it flourishing, and heal their lives in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the most important skills of all for a happy life.
You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com/e15 and if you go there, you’ll also get to hear about my courses, and classes, and intensives. Some new ones are coming up now. I’m also going to be talking about some research in this episode, and if you go to the transcript you’ll get all of the links.
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For all of you research nerds there are fabulous links in the transcript. And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a tremendous gift to me if you subscribe to iTunes, and leave me a review, so thanks so much for that.
I also want to say, last piece of housekeeping before we begin, that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s to support you in your intimacy journey, and it’s not medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any emotional, physical or psychological condition. If you’re experiencing any psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help, and if it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right away. Your life is too precious to put at risk.
Before we continue, one last thing. I just want to let you know that if you’re interested in applying these ideas, and the deeper dating approach, to your own intimacy journey, you can just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and press work with Ken to learn more about working privately with me.
The Magic Key to Better Sex Life
Okay, so let’s begin. As I said, there’s a research-based magic key to better sex and better sexual relationships, enhance better relationships, but it flies in the face of almost everything we’ve been taught about sex, so a great sex life between two people who love each other is like a shared secret, in some kind of amazing way, it cements your bond.
It’s like a private, quiet sense of joy that you have when you know that you and your partner have a really better sex life, and in some essential way it has sent … It just enhances your sense of well-being, and it enhances sense of well-being in the relationship.
It’s an I love you, and there’s a growing body of research that shows how important sexual satisfaction is for relationship satisfaction and stability, but unfortunately for most couples, that satisfaction diminishes over time, and I want to say something here.
Sex is not just for married people
This is not just for people who are married. This is not just for people who are currently in a relationship. This is for any human being who has a connection to their own sexuality, and particularly for people who hope at some point to be in a sexual relationship, but whatever, what you will learn in this podcast will be, I believe, inspiring in many arenas of your life.
Diving back in. In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, sex is usually more frequent, and it’s maybe more desired too, and there’s this sense of sexual success at that time that just leads to this feeling for a couple. Jessica Maxwell, who’s a social psychology researcher at the University of Toronto, I’m going to be quoting some of her research, says that that honeymoon period usually lasts between two and three years. At that point, that’s when sexual incompatibilities and difficulties start to kind of tear at or erode the sexual bond between partners.
Where the “magic key” comes into place
Then this critical bond of shared sexual joy, that secret of shared sexual connection, begins a kind of downward spiral, an erosion that in many cases is never reversed. This is where, when I talked about this, the magic key, this is where that magic key comes into place, and not surprisingly, it’s the same key that leads to growth, and mastery, and the possibility of greatness in just about every arena of our lives. Drum roll, it’s work.
In her study, Maxwell and her crew of researchers show that people who believe in the power of consciously working on their sex lives are the ones who have a happier sexual future and the stronger, more resilient bond overall with their partner. Here’s where it gets really interesting. What she does, she distinguishes between, and you’ll see how this applies to kind of every arena of intimacy, she distinguishes between people who have sexual growth beliefs and people who have sexual destiny beliefs.
Sexual Destiny Beliefs
She reports that across all of the studies, the results show, the results suggest that people who are higher in sexual growth beliefs, which means who think sex takes work and are willing to do it, are more satisfied in their sex lives and their overall relationships. It’s so simple, right? It’s so obvious. It’s so common sense, but there’s this sexual destiny feeling that also is super compelling, and a lot of couples, and a lot of us, to some degree or another, are stuck in, so let me talk about that a little bit.
The people who are stronger in sexual destiny beliefs, those are people who saw sexual problems as a sign in their partner, we’re not really so meant to be, that they weren’t really soul mates, and those people were more likely to lose faith in their relationship when sexual difficulties arose.
The thing you need most is the hardest for your partner to give
I want to now relate this to every other area of intimacy. Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt, two wonderful, amazing teachers around sexuality, and relationships, and intimacy teach that it reaches a certain point in almost every relationship where the thing you most need from your partner is the thing that it’s hardest for them to give you, and the reverse, and they say that is not the end of their relationship. That’s the beginning.
That’s when the growth takes place, but that’s where, in sex and in relationships, and in everything we say “Oopss, it just wasn’t meant to be,” and we give up. Intimacy, like sex, which is a process of rupture and repair, rupture and repair, ends then with rupture, and this destiny belief that, well, if there was this rupture, it’s not worth it. When in fact the greatest, most amazing healing happens when you reach out across that bond. Of course, that chasm of hurt, of vulnerability, of feeling not seen, and you share your needs, your wants with your partner and your partner’s able to listen, and you do the same for them.
Sexual Attraction Could Be Developed
That’s when, just like when bones break and are placed together to heal, they heal stronger than before they were broken. The same is true in sex, and the same is true in relationships. Interestingly, there’s actually some preliminary evidence that same sex couples might be more apt to be high in sexual growth beliefs, so in another study, it was shown that participants who believe that sexual attraction could be developed, and cultivated, and strengthened, were more likely to handle their sexual problems in a better way.
Those people who felt like sexual attraction was just what it was, you’re either attracted or you’re not, and that’s not going to change, which I’m going to try to prove to you in a minute is not true, those people would handle sexual problems in more destructive ways, like leaving the relationship, or neglect in response to that kind of sexual dilemma, or cheating, or fleeing to non-monogamy, and I’m going to talk about monogamy and non-monogamy in just a moment.
Sexual Desire Grows
But first, let me just say that if you take a minute and think about it, have you ever had the experience of knowing somebody and you weren’t really attracted to them, and they did something or said something, and it just seemed so sexy to you that all of a sudden. You developed sexual desire for them? Have you ever had that happen, where sexual desire grows? Sexual desire is more plastic than we’re ever taught.
It can grow, and it can shrink, and proof of that is the fact that in most cases, if you’ve seen, if you feel unseen and unmet by your partner, you will begin, including in nonsexual arenas, you’ll begin to shut down in most cases sexually, and your sexual attraction will dissipate. Okay. I want to talk about monogamy a little bit. This is like a leap, it’s jumping into something else, but I think it’s really important, and I want to say that these are my biases, but I think what I have to share is very, very rich.
The Cauldron Concept of Monogamy
There is the cauldron concept of monogamy. And let me share what it is. It’s really interesting. If you want to bend steel, you need a breathtaking amount of heat, and a cauldron holds that kind of heat, because it doesn’t leak. It holds a tremendous amount of molten heat, so that when you place iron in that cauldron, you can then bend it, because of the contained heat.
Our characters are like iron, and our character defects are like iron, and they don’t bend,
But when … unless there’s deep ongoing work and those of us that have sexual and relationship growth beliefs are willing to do the work. In the presence of monogamy, the cauldron does not leak. If you’re not sexually satisfied with your partner, you can, and spiritually and emotionally satisfied in a monogamous relationship, you can’t escape. You can’t get your needs met somewhere else, which basically then sculpts a giving up and the possibility of growth and change in most relationships.
People who don’t want to choose non-monogamy go numb
These are my biases folks, but it’s what I’ve seen as a therapist, and as a couples therapist, and what I’ve felt to be true from what I’ve seen in the relationships that I know in most people’s lives. When you can’t flee, because you’re only going to get sex in one place, when you can’t flee because you’re only gonna have like one lover, one husband, one wife, one partner, you’re faced with a difficult situation. Do I try to bend steel or do I just go numb?
A lot of people who don’t want to choose non-monogamy go numb, but those folks who are doing the work choose to bend steel, and it’s mutual. It’s usually your steel, and your partner’s steel, so in the context of a monogamous relationship that’s growth-oriented, where you keep sharing your needs and your desires with your partner, and you keep talking in a good and healthy way about what you need and what’s not working.
Because folks, the things you most need from your partner emotionally are usually the very things that they need to change to become a better human being, and vice versa toward you.
The commitment to embrace your growth beliefs will make the difference
Sexually, it’s a little bit different, but the things that you sexually need from your partner need to be heard, and appreciated, and honored by your partner, and then there needs to be discussion, because people have different sexual tastes and that’s a really true thing. But in the conversation, and being mutually heard and doing the best that you can to meet your partner’s needs, that’s where the steel begins to bend. That’s where deep, deep intimacy takes place. That’s where your partner finally begins to feel when that happens, like you’re home in the world, and your lasting home in the world.
I just wanted to share this concept, and so for all of you who are in a relationship where you’re not satisfied, which is, raise your hand, everybody, there are ways that we’re not satisfied, and where you’re not sexually satisfied, and I would say pretty much raise your hand everybody there, too. Making the commitment to embrace your growth beliefs will make all the difference in the world. It’s like hope for the beauty and the preciousness that you once had in your relationship. It’s saying, “I commit, baby. I commit.”
Sexual attractiveness is plastic
I just want to share one interesting insight about sexual attraction and it’s an image, it’s about models. It’s about fashion models. It turns out that fashion models were usually picked as very, very skinny, but skinny to the point of unattractiveness, so that the wives who went to the fashion shows would see the dresses hanging beautifully and perfectly, but wouldn’t get too jealous, wouldn’t get too intimidated, wouldn’t get too annoyed, wouldn’t feel too insecure because these women were so thin that it was considered not really that attractive.
But then, with these models being so thin, over time, the aesthetic of beauty began to change to thinner, and thinner, and thinner. The same thing takes place in fashion things, which just looks so ugly when you look back at them, were the height of sexy, and things that now are the height of sexy are going to look really, really silly in a while, because sexual attractiveness is plastic.
Media is not helping
It depends on many things other than some true, objective fact. The media is not of a lot of help in strengthening our confidence in sexual growth beliefs. Look at the media, glutted with images of these dizzyingly perfect bodies, and these airbrushed romances, and these fabulous white hot depictions of sex in the couples who are the happy ones.
When we’re faced with these larger than life depictions of soulmate love and attraction, it just gets so easy to make this crushing mistake of comparing our insides to another person’s outsides. If we don’t know what sexual growth means, or how to achieve it, it’s going to be incredibly harder to be strong in our sexual growth beliefs. And that’s where sexual incompatibilities could seem like this total hopeless referendum on the whole relationship.
Sexual growth is possible, and we’re going to talk about that in about two minutes. I’m going to give you three questions, three powerful questions, and we’re gonna talk about this a lot more in a future episode, but three questions that are the heart and soul of sexual growth work.
Three Questions: The Guide to Great Sex
I also just want to say sexual passion can be reclaimed with time and with work. What is the work of creating great sex? In my experience as a therapist specializing in intimacy issues, I found that there are three gorgeous, gorgeous questions that can guide the way to truly great sex.
Ask yourself these questions, and think about how your partner could answer them as well, and then have a conversation, or better yet an ongoing series of conversations, with each other. Don’t do this process. Don’t begin it during sex, and definitely don’t begin it in the middle of any kind of argument or conflict.
Discuss it together, discuss these fabulous questions as a shared project of nurturing, and just deepening your bonds with each other. Okay, here they are. Here are the three questions. What makes you feel emotionally safe in sex? That’s one, and you might want to take a minute now and answer that question for yourself. You could even pause this podcast and think about that, or write down your answers.
Next, what touches you? What moves you? What makes you feel closer and more loving with your partner during sex? Another fabulous question, so take a few minutes to think about that, and finally in your sex together, what really, truly turns you on? What really excites you? Take a minute to think about that.
Having sex from the soul
If you’re in a relationship, that’s for you to think about with, to talk about with your partner. If you’re single, this is, these are rich and fabulous questions that you need to think about now, and they’re gonna make a huge difference in your having a better sex life in the future. This is like sex from the soul. This is having sex from the soul.
This is the place where love and turn on meet, and that’s just the most amazing thing in the world.
Assuming you are with a partner, the more you and your partner, create a kind of shared language over time around each other’s answers, and the more you’re willing to give your partner what it is that he or she wants, assuming it’s not harmful, assuming it doesn’t go against your values, or just feel not right to you, the more you can do that, the better sex life you’ll have.
The lesson for relationships is the lesson for sex
Most of us are afraid in sex to reveal our sexual wild side, and even more afraid to reveal those deep, deep places of tenderness and vulnerability in sex. When we do both of those, it opens the door to deeper intimacy, and greater passion, and a lot of happiness, and the opportunity to recover and even surpass the kind of sexual magic that we had earlier in our relationships.
The lesson for relationships is the lesson for sex, and that is where we do the work, we do the work of compassion, of love, and of finding out our own core gifts and who we are. As I mentioned, a later episode is going to teach you how to discover your own sexual core gifts. This kind of research represents a kind of democratization of sexuality.
In other words, having a better sex life is not just for the young and the fabulous, the gorgeous, or people who are sexually gifted, or people who are in some kind of a relationship where they never have to do sexual work, and it’s definitely not just for new couples in a honeymoon phase.
It’s for anyone who loves their partner, and is willing to do the work. It’s not about magic, or maybe it is about magic, the magic of effort, and the magic of deciding to treat something as precious as our sex life with their respect, and the care, and the love that it deserves. Thanks for listening to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I look forward to seeing you next week.
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