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.