How to Optimize Your Sex Life (Part 1 of 4)
2019 is going to be the year to truly optimize your sex life! Each quarter, I am going to send a newsletter with research-based information on how to have more meaningful, satisfying, and erotic sex.
We are often misguided about what constitutes hot sex. Books and magazines are filled with tips and tricks about positions and toys that may help spice things up. The Internet doesn’t do much to help this perception; searches for “hot sex” lead many a lay person to believe the kind of sex depicted in porn is considered ideal. The truth is, when we take a closer look at the research, truly erotic sex is so much more. Make 2019 about creating more meaningful sex. Click here to read more.
I am asked for my professional opinion for sex-related interviews several times a month. This tells me that there is wide public interest on what constitutes hot sex. However, there really isn’t that much about great sex in the academic literature. Instead, most sex research has focused on sexual dysfunction and sexual satisfaction. It is interesting that despite interest from the public, more research hasn’t been dedicated to the topic of optimal sex. In order to understand optimal sexuality, it is important to understand the larger scope of sexual experiences.
Sexual dysfunction, which is what most of my clients come to see me for,is defined as the presence of one or more of the sexual difficulties classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Examples include low sexual desire/arousal disorder, erectile dysfunction, and sexual pain.
It is important to note that functional sex is not the same as satisfactory sex. In other words, an absence of sexual dysfunction does not necessarily indicate or contribute to sexual satisfaction and vice versa. In fact, I’ve worked with several clients who feel high levels of sexual satisfaction despite experiencing occasional erectile difficulty. The research lacks many clear definitions of sexual satisfaction. One helpful model of sexual satisfaction is Lawrence and Byers’ Interpersonal Exchange Model. It is defined as the individual’s subjective evaluation of the physiological and psychological balance of sexual costs and rewards, or in other words, the positive and negative aspects of one’s sexual relationship, and his/her subsequent emotional response to this evaluation (Lawrence & Byers, 1992). To get a sense of your level of sexual satisfaction, as yourself: to what degree do you feel like there is an equal give and take sexually, both physically and emotionally, and how does this compare to the give and take in your relationship outside the bedroom.
Keep an eye out of my next newsletter, in which we’ll begin to explore the meaning of optimal sexuality.