Last night I was reading the chapter on intimacy and sex in "The Wisdom of Menopause".
The author, Christiane Northrup, was talking about attitudes to sex, and the inequalities between research into the experiences of men and women. Sadly, I was not surprised to learn that there had been an enormous amount of research into men's experience of intimacy in later years and almost none into women's experience.
However, the bit that struck me most, was the discussion of our experience of intimacy as a spontaneous thing, and how many women find they need much more time and energy invested in their experience to make it a good one.
I have been pondering this and it has led me to a consider 3 questions.
1. How often do we, as women, allocate time and energy to investing in our sex lives?
We race from caring for kids and parents, to working full time, and doing the bulk of the family stuff, but how often do we take time to consciously think about our sexuality and the fulfilment of our own (very important) needs and desires?
Lack of libido in some cases, may simply be that we are just too tired to find the energy required to enter into what is a high energy experience...so maybe we need to keep some energy in reserve?
I must add that sometimes it is an issue with hormone levels too, but it's important to look at the emotional aspect as well.
2. How often do we, as women, or as a couple, actually plan and anticipate time alone with our lover?
The idea that it should be 'spontaneous' and then 'amazing' is about as realistic as suggesting a beautiful meal can be totally spontaneous! We plan and anticipate most pleasurable experiences, be that, eating a lovely meal, going on a date, going on a holiday, going to movie...but somehow we think sex should just happen at a suitable moment when both parties have the energy and inclination at the same time?
I am not suggesting that each encounter be entered in your diary, or be a particular day or time! But how about asking your partner to set aside a time for you both to be alone, just to talk, to reminisce, to cuddle and caress, and then see where it leads? What about mentioning in the morning, that you would love to make time for an early night that evening? Or make use of the technology we take for granted now. Message the person you love most with a suggestion that you are looking forward to cuddling up later?
The anticipation of a meeting of mind and body at a given time with a person you love has got to be worth a bit of investment.
3. How much do you and your partner touch casually throughout the day?
We lead busy lives, often spending a lot of time away from our partners. So when we are together, how much do we touch each other? Intimacy with someone who hasn't touched you in days or weeks, is never going to come easily, except maybe when it comes from the charge of being separated from your lover for a period of working away etc. When we build touch into our relationship daily, intimacy becomes a natural progression.
In particular, think about how your furniture is set up in the room you both relax in. If you can sit close enough to have physical contact while watching tv or reading or doing whatever you enjoy of an evening, it is becomes much more of a normal thing, that happens naturally and organically. Just holding hands or snuggling up is a really good start to improving intimacy that moves to the next level.
Just like every other aspect of our lives, our love lives need energy and attention to be invested. Nothing worth having comes for free, and the best relationships and experiences need investment of some kind or another!!
So, how can you invest today?
photos from Unsplash