Sex sells. That fact’s not lost on the advertisers intent on getting us all speaking the ‘language of love’ (and parting with nearly £2bn) each Valentines. But when you get to the bedroom are you and your partner actually even speaking the same language?
We’ve all experienced sex that feels like you’re both on different pages: your eyes are closed, lost in sensation, when all your partner wants you to do is gaze at them adoringly; Or they want to dress up and play sexy games, while you just want to make love tenderly, and be real.
What’s your script?
In the 1980s psychologist Donald Mosher introduced the idea of 3 basic partner ‘scripts’ of sexual experience: Trance State, Role Play and Partner Engagement. And it’s likely that when sex has misfired for you, it’s been because you and your partner really have been on different pages – of different scripts.
So what do these scripts look and feel like?
Here the focus is on the kinaesthetic experience of sex. People in this state tend to be preoccupied with their own pleasure. They prefer sex in private, non-distracting settings. They like their partner to be non-intrusive and use slower, repetitive touches to help them focus inward on their sensuality. Talking can feel like a distraction from the immersion. Sometimes they can even experience a hallucinatory or ‘out of body’ sensation.
Role Players enjoy acting out their fantasies with a collaborator. But it’s not about being a good actor (a role might be as simple as being dominant, or submissive) – rather, they’re comfortable and secure in themselves, and can feel authentic when playing a role different from their everyday life. It’s a great example of the way in which sexuality and psychology can be fused: for some, the experience is profoundly healing as they can use it to rewrite outdated or painful “scripts” from their past.
This is all about interactive engagement: a unique, loving bond between two people. It has emotional meaning as its cornerstone, and usually involves the kind of sensual love-making, pillow-talking and eye-gazing that people think of when they refer to intimacy. For some this synergy can actually become so powerful that it taps into an archetypal mystical union that celebrates life itself.
Are you getting it right?
There’s really no one ‘right’ or ‘better’ way to have sex. Most of us engage in all of these styles at various times in our lives and often move fluidly from one state to another and back again – sometimes with the same partner, or within the same sexual encounter – often without even being aware of it.
So bringing some consciousness to your sex style is probably a good starting point if you want to maximise your connection with your partner in the bedroom this Valentine’s Day.
- Start by taking a clear, unbiased look at the sex you have – with these three styles in mind. Are you stuck in your rut? Do any styles make you feel insecure? Are you intrigued by any but held back by fear or shame?
- Then look at how you might broaden and deepen what you’re already doing. Try experimenting with the style you’re least familiar or comfortable with. Or find new depths with your ‘go-to’ style. Decide on some practical next steps: this could be as simple as trying to maintain eye contact with your partner for a few minutes longer than you normally would; it could be as elaborate as discussing costume or settings for a role play; Or it could even just be as basic as not judging your partner for their preferred sexual style but becoming an expert at it instead!
- Finally, pay attention to your partner! Notice what gets them off. Find out what they’d like to explore. Be willing to learn a new language…it’s amazing what can happen when you’re both speaking in the same tongue!
Get in touch if you’d like more help with learning your love language!
Get tips for better relating, plus all my latest updates and opportunities