Marital happiness, especially sexual satisfaction in a relationship, carries with it the recognition that a partner’s needs and desires are as necessary as honoring one’s own healthy self-interest. Deep, satisfying, erotic flow between partners requires individuation, an honoring of one’s sense of self-efficacy and individualization as well as that of one’s partner.
Understanding and fostering our sexual desire for another is really complex. Desire is an expression of our freedom and sovereignty. It’s the energy that focuses our attention, gets our blood flowing and makes us feel alive. Desire is what leads us to experience vibrancy and playfulness and is an expression of hope and energy. It is one of the most enjoyable human experiences there is: wanting something and anticipating getting it.
Perhaps no other time in our history have erotic desires and attraction been more of the driving force for our sexual connections to another. Economic, social and practical needs have given way to the need for a sexual ideal driven by commercial and mass marketing.
Because of these Hollywood caricatures, it is important as a therapist to teach couples realistic expectations about sex.
The therapeutic goals regarding sex and intimacy with couples to improve their sex life requires us to both understand and regenerate that “spark” of erotic flow between partners that may have dimmed, but must be reignited in order for them to lead to healthy, satisfying, natural sexual attraction.
As a therapist, facilitating honest communication about sexual needs and preferences is an important avenue for renewed sexual engagement between partners. Sometimes discussing treatment options openly for common problems that inhibit sexual satisfaction becomes an essential part of Dr. Paul Standal’s work with couples for enhanced sexual satisfaction.
Both men and women are told that, to have satisfying sex, they need to be more proactive in communicating to their partners what they really need and want and their erotic preferences. This is easier said than done due to the deeply held, cultural norms and mores, even in this age of egalitarian sex roles. It is helpful to complete the Relationship Self-Analysis to examine your own attitudes around sex and intimacy that may be challenging for you, particularly when in the early stages of a relationship or in finding a compatible partner.
Dr. Standal believes that, as a therapist, part of his job is to help his clients incorporate and gain back a “sexual voice.” He finds that to remain passive, settling for the stereotypical male agenda of “foreplay-intercourse-orgasm” can, for both men and women, engender a kind of counterfeit engagement that ultimately lacks the deep intimacy required for sex to be such a wonderful avenue of pleasurable, deeply satisfying, engaging love.
Though old messages that sex outside of marriage is a sin or that getting pregnant outside of marriage is shameful or humiliating to the family continues to lose its power in our culture, there are real conditions for a satisfying, stable and sexual marriage that seem to predict a successful union. For some couples, the pendulum may swing too far in the other direction where male and female roles have become interchangeable, leading to a power and control differential that is toxic to some relationships. Because of both partners’ busy work lives, Dr. Standal has found that learning to transition from work-self to erotic-self consistently comes up in the therapy setting as a key skill to be integrated for a healthy sex life at home. The egalitarianism one experiences in relationships here creates wonderful parental teams. However, it also eliminates the space for desire and eroticism in the couple, resulting in a lack of polarity, boredom, and a high divorce rate.
Dr. Standal finds that just providing a safe, non-judgmental space where couples can communicate freely and transparently about sexual challenges in their relationship is, in itself, liberating for the couple.
Crucial Points for Satisfying Sex
No products in the cart.