Men & Sex II: ways forward
Updated: Mar 25
In the first blog (Men & Sex 1: what men are taught), I discussed why men can find themselves hurt, frustrated and bewildered when it comes to sex.
So, how can we move towards a way of relating to sex and our sexuality that is more at ease, more simple, more enjoyable? How might we find ways to push into a more fuller intimacy?
Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Tip 1: reconnect with yourself
You are not bad. Your penis is not bad. Your emotions, needs and desires are not bad. This will also mean reconnecting with your pain, feeling it, naming it (perhaps with someone else who can hear it). It may mean reconnecting with a sense of meaningless or frustration in your work, or your craving for connection. It may mean embracing your body as it is. It may mean embracing your sensuality, your desires for closeness, your body’s excitement when in touch with and connected to all things physical (including, and yet not limited to, sex). You can only be as intimate with another as you are with yourself.
Tip 2: reconnect with others
Spending time with friends or family, and connecting with them in a meaningful way, puts less pressure on a relationship with your partner and on sex. This doesn’t have to mean sharing all and being emotional. It may be simply doing things together. Or going for a drink and having the odd moment of being a bit more real.
Tip 3: reconnect with your partner, without sex
You are allowed to want emotional or physical connection with your partner without any sex. This is normal. It is healthy to ask for it. It’s just that many men were taught that they couldn’t do this. You might even find your penis gets aroused, enjoys it, and yet you still do not want sex: it’s simply your body responding to the intimacy it loves. So try hugging, snuggling on the sofa, stroking or massaging. Try sharing how something doesn’t feel great but you’re not sure what it is, or some of the pain you are beginning to connect with. Try telling each other something you appreciate about what they do, and explore why that might mean so much to you. The more you reconnect with your partner, the less sex will be the place for holding you (which it isn’t all that well suited to!), and the more it can be enjoyed for what it is.
Tip 4: reconnect with all the joys and delights of sex
Sex is not just penetration and ejaculation. Sex is not a performance. Sex is not a test of your manhood. Sex is not the place to release your pain. Sex is not just physical. Sex is not the place to be consoled. Rather, it is a mutually delightful giving and receiving of one another, fully as we are, naked and cherished, imperfect, oddly shaped and beloved. We can lengthen and broaden the foreplay. We can go slow, laugh at our bumbling, embrace whatever timing enfolds. We can find that we delight in the fuller, whole-being connection that we feel.