Someone recently asked me, can your sex life be great if your overall relationship with your partner, is so not so great?
I wanted to say NO WAY!!! right away….but then I remembered a slew of movies, TV shows and trashy romance novels. Isn’t it a well-known fact that one night stands and chance encounters can yield great sex?
One particular movie came to mind. What Women Want. Mel Gibson’s character thought he hit the jackpot with the sudden gift of being able to hear a woman’s thoughts out loud. Unbeknownst to his sexual partners he was able to hear their thoughts and their desires and was able to please them in just the right way. The women were elated, it was like someone was reading their minds, they didn’t have to say what they wanted, their partner just knew. And Mel, well he was the hero, he was the sexual master! Win, win, right? Not really. The problem was that soon Mel became overwhelmed and flooded with too much information. He understood that he was stealing information that was not his, he knew what the women wanted sexually, yet he had no idea what to do with all the emotional consequences. And the women? Well, when they found out that someone was reading their minds, they were not his biggest fans.
You see, we want to control what we share and what we don’t share with other people. That’s called dignity. But when you can willingly show someone who you really are, on the inside, with your clothes off or with your clothes on, it’s called intimacy. And intimacy is only developed within a stable, trusting and committed relationship. Intimacy involves really knowing your partner and really allowing yourself to be known. The good and the bad.
So as it turns out, you can have great sex while your relationship is not so great. Relatively great sex. It’s like thinking that the McDonald’s cheeseburger is the best burger ever, when you’ve never had a Kobe burger. . . From a five star restaurant. . . Grilled to perfection. . . By a world-renowned chef.
You could sell yourself short, have one night stands, meaningless encounters, disconnected sex with your spouse without a shared emotional connection. You can be physically stimulated and your body will respond to it….or you can wait for that Kobe burger. You can cultivate an emotional connection with your partner (this takes time and trust) and allow yourself to be truly known by him or her (this takes openness and self-knowledge). You can actually be present during your sexual connection. You can allow your emotions, your brain, your body to all connect and then you can connect that to someone else’s emotions, brain and body.
Then you’ll know what a great burger really is.