Sexual fulfillment for women usually isn’t about adding anything extra to sex. We’ve already piled heaps of "extra" on top of our raw sexuality: extra expectations and porn-inspired standards, extra makeup and lingerie that we think make us sexier, extra moaning as we try not to take too long to cum, extra smiles to assure our partner he’s doing a good job.
All that "extra" adds up to a lot of pressure. It clogs our enjoyment and weighs down our desire. It makes sex feels more like work than pleasure. And the last thing any woman on Earth needs is more work.
If you want to enjoy sex more, unleash your uninhibited desire, and be touched more satisfyingly, you need to give up these 10 things. Some of them will be obvious—they'll feel easy to relinquish. Others may shock you—and they may take time and effort to eventually release. But they are all worth the effort. Because your sexual fulfillment matters.
1. Having sex for your partner.
One of the most costly mistakes women make is having sex for our partners and their pleasure rather than for ourselves and our pleasure. Maybe, for some reason, our sex drive is lower than our partner’s. Maybe it wasn't always. Maybe, now that we have kids, we don't feel as sexy, or we just don't have the energy. Or maybe, after years together, something has shifted in the relationship and we’re not even sure what it is. Whatever the case, we know our partner needs more sex than we do. So, in order to meet those needs, we have sex for them.
Months or years later, we realize we’ve utterly lost touch with our sexuality. On the rare occasions that we do have sex, we feel relieved when it’s over because it's "out of the way." Sex feels more like work than pleasure and we don’t know why.
Except that we do.
The minute we stop having sex for our own enjoyment and start having it FOR someone else, sex turns into an obligation. It becomes another thing we must "give" to someone else in order to keep them happy.
Over time, we lose the ability to recognize autonomous desire in ourselves because sex has become something we do when it's required and not when we feel eager to do so. If you want to experience true sexual fulfillment, you’ve got to stop having sex for your partner and start having it for you.
2. Having sex "in order."
You’ll hear me talk about it over and over again: Round-the-bases sex kills women’s libidos over time.
We were all taught that sex goes in order: First, you kiss, then you grope, moving on to the erogenous zones. There's an option for oral sex that gets picked up every once in a while. Then there’s the home run, which many of us define as "successful" sex.
This order may seem logical—maybe you even have the impression that it "warms women up" for sex. It’s not, and it doesn’t. Instead, it locks our sexual experiences into a two-dimensional model that is boring at best and heartbreaking at worst.
Women over and over again ask me, "What’s wrong with me? Why don't I enjoy sex?" And I tell them, "Nothing is wrong with you! It’s simply that running around the bases in an effort to reach home plate isn’t compelling or arousing for women."
In fact, it can be exhausting. And when we reach "home," we often think to ourselves, "Is that really it? There’s got to be more to great sex than that."
There is more. And if we want it, we need to give up on sticking to any semblance of this "order" in sex and begin to approach it in a way that feels more like an uncharted adventure than a predictable baseball game.
3. Thinking our bodies work the same way men's do.
If you touch a man's genitals, more often than not, they will feel pleasure.
For many women, this isn't the case. At least, it isn’t for me, and it isn't for many of my clients.
My partner and I were recently talking about the first time someone touched us "there." Our stories started out the same way: It was awkward teenage groping and nobody really knew what was going on. I asked him, "But did it feel good?"
He broke into a smile and said, "Oh yeah! Of course it did!" with such enthusiasm that I realized our first times were, in fact, very different.
I, on the other hand, was equally excited and confused. For much of the time we spent touching, I didn’t feel anything. I think I moaned a little so that it would seem like I was enjoying myself—because it was supposed to feel good, right? I spent half the time worrying that I smelled bad. I certainly didn’t reach climax or feel immense pleasure.
Why is that?
As women, our sexual response is not what you'd call "direct." This means that having someone stimulate our sex organs does not equal instant joy or orgasm. (In fact, it can sometimes produce the opposite result—pain, confusion, and a numbing to all sensation.)
Many of us worry this means there’s something wrong with us. Let me reassure you it does not. It simply means our bodies work differently than men’s do. When we understand and embrace the fluctuating, feminine experience of arousal and desire, we can stop feeling crazy and start enjoying being touched.
4. Trying to be consistent.
Feminine desire has a mind of its own. It is not predictable, controllable, or consistent.
We can feel hot one minute and cold the next. This isn’t fickle or crazy, this is normal—for the feminine. Like the surging of the ocean or rapidly fluctuating weather patterns, women are in constant flux.
Our ever-changing nature is necessary for life itself. Give up trying to be consistent and instead allow your desires to ebb and flow. They’ll surge back in their own time.
5. Trying to do it "right."
I used to see sex as a proving ground. Every time I had sex, I thought my very worth as a woman hung in the balance. If I did it right—which meant I looked good, had an orgasm, made my partner happy, etc.—then I was verified a "good person" by the sex gods. If I didn’t do it right...well, then, I was a failure.
Sex is not a competition. It’s not something we can win or lose. It’s an exploration based in pleasure, not in proving ourselves. Forget about trying to do it right.
Instead, start seeing sex as an adventure. There is no "doing it right" in an adventure because the very nature of an adventure is that it's unknown and full of twists and turns. Those twists and turns don’t spoil the adventure—they ARE the adventure!
If you want to be thrilled by your sex life, take a risk: Stop trying to do it right and instead start exploring with an open mind and the willingness to awkwardly, profoundly, enthusiastically mess up.
6. Trying to fulfill someone else's idea of sexiness.
Sexual fulfilment isn’t about looking good to someone else—it’s about feeling good in our own bodies. We often confuse the two.
When we’re concerned about how we look during sex, it often suggests we’re viewing sex as a performance instead of an experience. Entering performance mode during sex suffocates our desire because we’re stuck in our heads wondering if our butt looks too big or our boobs are sagging.
Forget about looking good. I promise you, it's irrelevant to physical pleasure. Instead, focus on feeling good. (As it turns out, you feeling good is the most arousing thing for your sexual partner.)
7. Staying in control.
Women talk to me every day about what they want in sex. The one thing I hear over and over again is, "I want to let go. I want to feel uninhibited and full of desire."
The very nature of letting go is exactly that: You give up control. You stop holding on. You stop trying to steer the ship. You take your hands off the wheel and you choose to trust someone or something else.
If you want radical sexual fulfillment, you need to stop trying to control your sexual experiences, your partner’s happiness, or how big your butt looks. You won’t find fulfillment through control.
Is letting go scary? Absolutely. I’m a control freak, too. I’ve discovered the key to letting go is to create enough safety for me to feel comfortable relaxing and experimenting with relinquishing control—even just for a few minutes.
How? This is exactly what I teach couples how to do. If you want help, please reach out and we’ll talk.
8. Waiting to be in "the right mood" for sex.
Popular culture portrays "the mood" for sex as something fragile and fickle, like a baby you tiptoe around so you don’t it wake up.
"Don’t spoil the mood!" "Use these hot tips to get in the mood." This mindset perpetuates the falsehood that we’re either in "the mood" or we’re not, and if we aren’t in the mood, we can’t have sex.
This is not true. I tell my clients this: "Don’t get in the mood for sex; instead, learn to enjoy sex in exactly the mood you’re in."
Getting in "the mood" implies that there is only one way to have sex and one mood that works for sex. This relegates our vast sexual experiences to one tiny sliver that we call "the mood." I want more than one sliver, thank you very much. I want the whole spectrum!
In truth, there’s endless uncharted territory to explore sexually with ourselves and each other. And it’s in the outer reaches of this territory that we find the greatest sexual fulfillment.
9. Faking it.
I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it at some point in your life: faking pleasure, faking orgasm, faking interest, faking that you’re super-turned on when you’re thinking about your taxes and whether or not you fed the cat.
We fake it because of our misguided belief that we are sexual performers who have sex for our partner's benefit rather than ours.
As a performer, sure, faking it is part of the job description. As an empowered woman seeking sexual gratification, we sure don't. Faking it, over time, does two damaging things to your sex life:
- It encourages your partner to keep touching in ways that don't produce genuine pleasure. This leaves him in the dark, which doesn't give either of you what you want.
- It turns sex into "work" (all that faking it takes effort, after all!), which speeds up your loss of interest in sex. Over time, you may forget why you even like sex. And you might forget that your partner actually wants to give you real pleasure—and is, in fact, capable of doing so.
You know this. This is bad. And the way to avoid it is to stop faking it. Instead, start being present and asking for what you really want during sex—even if it’s not what you think you’re supposed to want or feel.
10. Being afraid to offend your partner.
The top reason women give as to why we tolerate touch we don’t actually enjoy is that we are afraid to offend our partner.
I have lived this; I understand. I used to have a partner who got offended even when I said something like, "F*ck me harder!" He would stop and huff, "Don’t tell me what to do!" Then we’d fight. Yes, that relationship ended badly.
Because of experiences like these, most of us have learned some version of "keep quiet to keep the peace" in bed. This yields very short-term gains (i.e., he’s not offended right now) but does long-term damage (i.e., you lose your sex drive, bristle when he touches you, and start thinking about having an affair).
Yes, you might offend your partner as you begin to share your needs and desires about sex. But you know what? He’s an adult. If he gets offended, I’m sure he will survive it. Keeping your feelings to yourself is going to end your relationship eventually. So you might as well be honest about your feelings while there's still a chance you can save the relationship.
If you’ve got a hard truth to tell (for example, "You always touch me too hard and I don’t enjoy it"), it can help to first affirm the value of the relationship before you begin sharing your feelings, and also express why making the change you’re asking for matters to you.
"Our marriage really matters to me, and I want to have incredible sex with you." And follow that up with, "I really want to relax and open up to you. Would you please touch me more gently? I want to show you how."
Telling the truth in love is the best thing you can do. If your partner can't accept loving, constructive criticism, that's a problem that extends outside the bedroom. It might be time to consider getting professional help in addressing the deeper issues at play.
Want more insight into your relationship? Find out the things you should always be selfish about in your partnerships and the questions that could keep your marriage from ending.