I am a firm believer in the fact that no one is ‘bad’ at sex. But sadly, I’ve had many people confess to me that they don’t think they are good lovers. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been at a cocktail party and had someone come up to me and whisper some variation of this sentiment: How can I be better at sex? How can I please my partner more? How can I be ‘good enough’ at sex so that my partner never wants to stray?
It’s perfectly natural (and even admirable) to want to please your partner and be a talented lover. I always tell people that one of the best places to start if you want to up your bedroom game is to reach for Loving Sex (Rey please insert link to her book here), because it gives you a crash course on women’s hotspots and men’s hotspots and a simple anatomy breakdown. Most of us weren’t taught these things in school, and without the correct information about where things like the G-spot or the prostate are, it can be hard to make sure you have the right technique.
Once you get the anatomy and basic skills down, I do think it’s really important to step back and examine what energy you are bringing to the bedroom. As a sex therapist, I know that the very anxiety and fear of not being worthy can rob you of so much pleasure and connection in the bedroom. It makes it impossible to be present and to be able to truly delve into the joy and magic of intimacy. And, it can also make it impossible for you to be able to reach orgasm.
When we are vibing in a fearful or anxious space, we are giving off mixed messages that can be confusing to our partner. Your partner can feel that you are going through the motions or that you are playing a part, that you have a wall around you and aren’t being authentic. It’s as if you are miles away and they cannot truly reach you. Ironically, our deep desire to want to please our partner and get an A+ at sex can actually rob us of the very ability to be the sexy, sensual people we really are. It can make things downright awkward or even unenjoyable in the bedroom.
(Side note: You can also check out my podcast “The Language of Love,” here because my latest episode is about this very topic).
So, what do I tell people who worry about being a ‘good enough’ lover? First, I often ask them a little bit about their relationship as well as what makes them tick as an individual. What I find is that the people who are most anxious to be good lovers and rock their partner’s world are the people who always put others first outside the bedroom too. They are tried-and-true people-pleasers who navigate their daily lives by putting other people first and denying their own personal needs. Often, people-pleasers are so fully committed to serving others that they may not even be able to be inside their own bodies and identify their own needs.
Yes, people-pleasers are so rarely actually inside their own bodies that they aren’t even aware of their physical selves in a way that other people are.
Wondering what I mean by that? How can you not be “in” your own body? After all, where the heck else would you be? Consider this:
· Have you ever been so busy cooking dinner or cleaning the house that you have forgotten to eat or go to the bathroom?
· Have you ever gone to the beach with your kids and left with a sunburn because the whole day you only found time to put sunscreen on your kids?
Have you ever faked enjoying something (like a meal, a roller coaster, a movie, etc.) to please your partner even if it made you physically uncomfortable or even slightly ill?
· Have you ever been pressured into drinking more than you wanted to or taking shots even though it made you sick?
· Have you ever let people smoke around you even though you hate the smell?
· Have you ever let people break your ‘house rules’ like wearing shoes in your home even if it made you cringe inside?
What I am getting at is that people-pleasers often override the messages that they are getting from their physical bodies, even feelings like fear or disgust, which are some of our most primal emotions and have an evolutionary purpose to protect us. People-pleasers don’t even necessarily realize they are doing this, as it is so ingrained in their being (often stemming from their childhood).
I also find that even when people-pleasers DO realize they are doing this, they don’t see it as a negative thing. Indeed, you will even hear groups of moms or women proudly stating that they haven’t eaten dinner because they were too busy racing their kids to baseball practice, or that they forget to drink water during the day because they are so busy at work. It’s almost as if we are celebrating being self-effacing, as if we are saying not having needs or not needing to address those needs makes you a nobler person.
But think about it: If you are never honoring your body’s needs and caring for your body, why is that noble? If you aren’t modeling how to love yourself and attend tenderly to your own needs, how can your kids get that message?
And, more importantly, if you aren’t *in* your body and taking care of your needs, how the heck can you be “good” at sex? You aren’t even really there—you’re miles away in your mind, worrying about being the perfect lover or hiding your cellulite or making sure that you’re acting like the people in erotic films, rather than acting like yourself.
Here is the secret to good sex and also the secret to good relationships: People don’t want you to live to please them. They want you…just you. They want you to be your real, authentic, vulnerable, and complete self. That is the best gift you can give to anyone, whether we are talking about your partner, your friends, your family, or your colleagues. The people who love you want you to love yourself. They want you to please yourself. They want to see you happy and thriving.
Why? Because when you live your life that way, it opens up the possibility for them to live that way too. It makes space for everyone around you to be their authentic and perfectly imperfect selves.
I want you to take this message to your heart: You are a gift. Your body is a gift. Your affection is a gift. Your sexual desire is a gift. You’re not inflicting yourself on your partner. You are giving them your whole self, and you are inviting them to share in the glory and wonder of your physical form as well as your soul.
If you want to have the mind-blowing, connective, and restorative intimacy you deserve, you need to be willing to sit with that message and work on that idea until you can fully absorb it and bring it into your being. Think of this as an invitation from the universe: You are being handed an opportunity to break down the barriers you have built to self-love and to stop trying to be good enough. You already are. You can stop trying. You can start enjoying yourself. You can start enjoying your body. Your partner’s body. The beautiful love and connection that you can make with nothing but your bodies and your hearts alone.
What is more pleasing than that? Ironically, when we stop trying to please our partners (or anyone else for that matter), we truly become the pleasurable, loving forces we so sincerely want to be in this world.
Reach out to me on social media and tell me if you have ever struggled with people-pleasing in the bedroom. Have you been able to get past that? What helped you? Let me know, I love to hear from you and to talk about sex, love, and everything beautiful in this world.