Reasons to be sexual: one, two, three

A friend of mine was grumbling recently about what he perceived as the difference between the genders when it comes to enjoyment of sex. “Why can’t women just enjoy sex for its own sake?”, he asked.

It got me wondering what people mean when they talk about enjoying sex for its own sake.  Does that mean for pleasure?  For fun? For release?  Sometimes people talk about “the difference between having sex and making love”.  But why stick at that, as if those were the only two options on offer?  What about making up?  Making friends? Making whoopee? Making sorrow go away for a while?

I think it’s easy to fall into narrow ideas about what sex should be for, when in fact there are many legitimate and positive reasons to choose to be sexual.  Here are some I hear in my practice:

It makes me feel good about myself

It’s a way of playing, having fun

To show my partner I love her/him

It helps me keep in shape

It’s the only thing special that’s just for my partner and I – no one else

To make babies

It helps get me out of my head and into my body

When I want to feel loved and special

It makes my partner feel good about him/herself

It gives us both a lot of pleasure

It’s a way of fulfilling the desire I have for my partner

It makes me feel less stressed – in my body, and in the relationship

When I’m feeling sad, it comforts me

It helps me sleep

It’s a place I can act out aggressive feelings in a safe and healthy way

It makes me and my partner much closer, and helps us work through difficulties

I like feeling fanciable; it gives me more confidence in the rest of my life

It gives us time out from a busy life

For me, it’s the closest I get to exercising my spiritual side, connecting with another dimension

I enjoy power play, sometimes being more dominant, sometimes less

To help us get over an argument

It feels like something that bonds my partner and I, and glues us together

It’s a way I can make myself vulnerable, and trusting, and that feels good to do

It helps me feel connected to my partner, to the world

It makes me feel younger, more vibrant, more alive

It makes me feel happy

To bring us back together when we’ve been apart, physically or emotionally.

I’m sure you can add some reasons of your own.  The main thing is, there needn’t be one “correct” reason to have sex.  It’s good when couples can allow themselves to express many facets of themselves – and their lives together – through the medium of their sexual relationship.

7 thoughts on “Reasons to be sexual: one, two, three

  1. Sex for a me (a woman) is about giving of myself and wanting to connect. If I don’t feel emotionally connected, then I don’t want to feel sexually connected. This is also what I hear a lot of in my practice.

  2. I agree that sex is not necessarily (speaking as a man) a ‘means to an end’, but rather just part of how we are, as sexual beings.

  3. Personally, I believe this could be a little bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. Do I feel sexual just like that or do I feel sexual because of one or more reasons from the list. For me as a woman, I’d say it’s the latter….

  4. That’s interesting. So sex for its own sake here is essentially sex because you are a sexual person and feel like being sexual. Do other readers feel there’s a difference between the genders here?

  5. OK, so this was me. And just to turn the grumble into a whine, while the list above is a GOOD list, an insightful, thought-provoking list – by the law of unintended consequences it seems to support my complaint. It is a list of “means” that can lead to the “end” of sex. Where is:

    “I like feeling sexual. I feel sexual a lot of the time. Expressing this with my life partner would feel safe and healthy.”

    My instinct says that female readers may say, “oh yes, me too” but my point is that they would not feel its omission from the main list as acutely as a man. Men can want to construe sex in the abstract, for women it tends to be in context. Or perhaps that’s just me.

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