Taking Stock Of Your Sex Life

The following questionnaire is designed to give you a framework to review your sex life.

It isn’t a psychological questionnaire which will give you all the answers, but more a collections of questions which should get you thinking. And it isn’t an exhaustive set of questions either. There might be issues which come up in your sex life which don’t fit our format (by the way, if that’s the case feel free to write to us and tell us about them).

The questions are grouped into 3 different blocks: The Basics, which I think are really necessary to have any sex life at all. Average Stuff, what, I imagine, most of us struggle with on and off. And Dizzying Heights, where most of us want to be, but seldom get to. Here we go:

The Basics

 1 Do you find yourself sexually attractive?

If you do not find yourself sexually attractive, then this is only your perception of yourself. It does not mean you are unattractive. You need to be able to accept yourself, your body and your sexuality and feel comfortable within your own skin. If you are not at present, do something about it! Start by learning more about your psychological make up and lead a physically healthy lifestyle. You and you-in-your-body deserve it!

2 Do you find your partner sexually attractive?

If you do not find your partner sexually attractive, what’s the point of sex? Are you sure you are in the right relationship? Maybe there are issues between you that need addressing. Unaddressed issues can turn us off people. You may also want to start leading a more healthy life style together.

Sidebar:

There are many ways to overcome sexual dysfunction, and to be a good lover it is important that you apply the techniques with dedication. This is especially true in the case of premature ejaculation, where learning how to prevent premature ejaculation is a matter of great importance for female sexual pleasure.

3 Can you enjoy masturbation?

Masturbation is an important part of one’s sex life. If you can give yourself pleasure and really enjoy it you will be in a much better position to do so with a partner as well. Also, masturbation is way you can take care of your own sexual needs when your partner isn’t up for it. Your sexual needs are your own responsibility – not your partner’s.

4 Do you have sex with a partner with whom you feel safe at the time?

The singer Madonna has a line in one of her songs saying “protection is the greatest aphrodisiac.” Safety allows us to let go and get turned on. Without safety, sex can be a very threatening venture. Safety might also mean different things to different people, like safe from unwanted pregnancy or illnesses, safe from violence or being used, emotionally safe, or safe from potential shame and humiliation.

5 Are you comfortable with the frequency with which you and your partner are having sex?

Frequency of sex must be an ancient problem between couples. How often do you really find someone who has an equal amount of sex drive? The probability must be minute! Couples need to find a compromise that doesn’t leave one or both partners resentful, hassled and frustrated.

6 Do you feel like you can say “no” to your partner?

If you can’t say no, you won’t be able to give a wholehearted yes either. Saying no is essential with sex, so that you can put yourself and your needs in the picture. Without you in the picture, we might as well be talking about assisted masturbation. Sex needs to be a two-way process to work.

7 Are you comfortable with being naked?

Unfortunately, in many western cultures, nakedness is still an awkward thing. This isn’t really helped by the standardized and unrealistic pictures the media feeds us about the human body. Nakedness increases our stimulation through our skin and other senses during sex. If you are not comfortable with nakedness, think about the reasons why. Remember that for most people on this planet, nakedness is really OK.

8 Do you know about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases and do you protect yourself appropriately?

This links with the issue of safety: it is important that you aren’t dismissive of your physical protection during sex. Unwanted illnesses or pregnancies can cause major and still deadly consequences. And unwanted pregnancies are not just an issue for women: all you guys out there, think about the possibility of having fathered a child, which you may not be able to see growing up and which you might have to pay for for a very long time. It’s a very stupid risk to take!

9 Do you have sex with your partner without being under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Alcohol or other drugs can help us to relax and you may be able to enjoy sex more because of a lack of critical messages in your head about yourself and the other person. However, you should be able to get the same enjoyment out of sex without these “little helpers”. Think about what you need to change in yourself to have an equal amount of freedom when not under the influence. And imagine that plus the fact that you will be more present and able to remember more clearly! It’s worth changing!

10 Do you get something out of sex?

The commonplace view on this is that what we should be getting out of sex is an orgasm, and that’s what it’s all about. Well, I beg to differ. We can also have a great sexual experience without orgasm, where we feel loved, connected to our partners, close, sexually open and excited or playful. What’s important is that you get something good for yourself out of sex and you can enjoy it with your partner.

The Average Stuff

1 Do you feel respected and safe not only during sex, but all the time in your relationship?

What’s going on in your relationship will greatly influence your sex life, maybe not straight away, but certainly in the long run. If you two struggle around issues of power or commitment with each other it may start to be a real turn off. Sex may then become another battle zone. One of the best things you can do for your sex life is to straighten out and develop your relationship.

2 Can you talk about sex with your partner?

We tend to assume that sex is just sex, there is only one way of doing it and that it comes naturally. Well, that’s a very simplistic point of view and doesn’t do you, or the physical and psychological complexity of sex, justice. You and your partner are different people, with different desires, interests, personality make-ups and fantasies. To make sex work for both of you, you need to talk about it. Discuss what you want from each other, how you want it and when. If that seems difficult, at least try. If it seems impossible, look again at your relationship or your own background. Talking is important.

3 Are you affectionate with each other during sex and when you are not having sex?

We all have needs for physical contact and closeness, not just for sexual satisfaction. This need gets shaped differently for men and women. Women are allowed to seek affection (but often not to express lust) and men can generally express lust more easily than affection. I know these are classical stereotypes and may not be true, perhaps even for most people, in this black and white way.

However, think about it for yourself: how much affection do you give and take in in your relationship? If the two of you are physically close and affectionate with each other without having sex it will probably increase your sense of pleasure and security in the relationship, which is a great basis for an intense sex life. If you find it hard to give or receive affection, read the pages on psychology and personality.

4 Can you tell your partner what you want sexually?

When you ask, you have a chance of receiving! Your partner can’t read your mind, so telling him or her what you want and how you want it is essential. Again, if you think telling your partner about your wishes is not an option, look at your relationship or your own psychology. It’s worth working on this one. After all, it’s great when your partner takes you up on your desires.

5 Can you orgasm on your own or with your partner?

I would guess, despite all the myths to the contrary, that the reality for lots of people is being able to orgasm on your own through masturbation with or without your partner present, or for you and/or your partner to reach orgasm during sex, though not necessarily simultaneously. And it’s a pretty good one. Enjoy it, and relinquish ideas about having to have earth-shattering, simultaneously timed orgasms!

6 Do you both make time for sex?

Good sex takes time and energy. If you are trying to have a good sex life on a shoe-string budget of time or energy, think again. It’s not going to work. Talk with your partner about your sexual wishes and discuss how you can make enough time for spontaneity and sex.

7 Can you identify with your own sexual energy? Do you see yourself as an attractive and sexy person?

I guess the old assumption that if you find yourself sexy, others will too, still holds true. To feel attractive and sexy you need to allow your own sexual energy into your awareness and feel comfortable with it – as well as being comfortable with your body and your desires. I am sure a lot of us struggle with this since, despite all the sexuality we see on TV and in popular culture, we are still a very repressed society. Pleasure is often not allowed to us when we grow up, and we need to find our sexual energy and sensuality again. I can’t think of many things more worthwhile than this! Have a look at the psychology pages for some ideas.

8 Do you feel OK about initiating sex?

Initiating sex can be quite difficult, just like accepting another’s advances may be. This touches on issues about control, being able to reach out and risk rejection or humiliation, and intimacy. Think about why initiating sex or accepting it may be difficult for you. You may need to look at your relationship or your own psychology to feel free to initiate and receive.

The Dizzying Heights

1 Do you talk during sex or show your partner what you want “hands-on”?

Being able to tell your partner during sex – there and then – what you want is obviously best. Once you can be spontaneous, playful and go for what you want in the moment – and it’s OK with your partner – you’ll probably have done a lot of work on yourself and your relationship.

2 Do you know about your partner’s sexual fantasies?

Sexual fantasies may be an important part of your sex life, or your partner’s sex life. However, fantasies are just that, fantasies, and they may not be any fun at all if you try really living them. But to share your sexual fantasies and maybe share the same sexual fantasy space in your minds can be an exciting experience.

3 Do you have a range of sexual experiences with your partner from the romantic to the passionate or spiritual?

This is a variation on the “sex isn’t just one thing” theme. Sex can be a lot of different things, and encompass a lot of different experiences. Sex can be a very drawn out cuddly and romantic affair which may or may not involve orgasms. It can also be a passionate and primal act that feels overpowering or even aggressive on both sides (remember that feeling aggressive is a different thing from being aggressive).

Sex can also be a tender and intense meeting of two bodies and two spirits. I think it’s important that you and your partner allow for flexibility and have a range of different sexual experiences with each other. It’s easy to get into the same old groove. Keeping out of it is an achievement, especially in long-term relationships.

4 Are you able to really let yourself go?

Our society values self-control and restraint. For a lot of things that’s good, but for sex such self-control tends to be in the way. On the other hand, a lot of advanced sexual techniques require self-control, especially from the man. Are you able to control your sexual responses or let go completely at will?

5 Do you feel comfortable and open to strong emotions during sex?

Sex is at its best when you feel intense feelings: the passion within you, the desire for your partner, the love between you, the closeness and intimacy you are sharing. If you can allow those feelings fully into your awareness and open your heart to your partner and your experience, well, I’ll let you imagine the power of the sexual experience that opens up to you!

6 Do you have a strong sense of connection with yourself and your partner during sex?

Sexual energy is an energy which requires us to reach out. It pushes us out into the world, towards other people. It leads us to connect with someone on a deep level, possibly to the extent of establishing a spiritual or transpersonal connection.

7 Are you able to time your orgasms or do you know quite well when you are coming?

This is the self-control issue in another form. Sex is a delicate dance which requires good timing on both parts. To get the most out of it you need to know your level of arousal and how to control it so you can calm down and prolong sex, or increase it to bring you into your orgasm. If you are interested in learning more, look at the physiological pages and the exercises for premature ejaculation.

8 Have you heard about or tried Tantric sex techniques?

Tantra is an ancient spiritual path from India. Its premise is that sex and sexuality can be a way to spiritual growth and enlightenment. Sex can be a way to reach ecstasy and connect with the transpersonal. The Tantric tradition teaches people how to increase and raise their sexual energy, how to match it to their partner’s and how to achieve long multiple orgasms. It places a lot of emphasis on breathing, connection with your partner, and control of ejaculation in men. It may sound esoteric, but the Tantric tradition holds many wonderful techniques and wisdom about sex and sexual fulfillment. If you enjoy sex and you want to make the most of it, this is the one to look into!

I hope these points have stimulated your thinking about sex in general and your sex life in particular. Remember, a good sex life takes effort. It takes knowledge, practice, relationship skills, a degree of personal openness and a sense of fun. But if your sex life isn’t all it could be at the moment, you can work at it by learning more about yourself, your partner, and sex in general. There isn’t any reason why your sex life can’t be fulfilling and fun.