All February long, we are sharing a three-part series around sexual wellness and relationships. Part 2 address sex as play. Read Part 1 on sexual compatibility here

Sex carries various meanings in our society. It fosters romantic connections, signifies care and affection, is utilized to sell anything from trucks to perfume, and can even serve as a lever of power. Due to these diverse implications and signals, sex is often perceived as a high-pressure activity, causing anxiety and stress for many individuals, particularly concerning the need to perform well. The worry and concern surrounding sex can lead to additional anxieties, relationship stress, and a decrease in sexual satisfaction.

However, amidst these different meanings and pressures, one aspect of sex is often overlooked: it can be fun! While as children, we are encouraged to play and enjoy ourselves regularly, as we age, opportunities for play diminish as responsibilities increase. Sex can provide an excellent opportunity for adult play that is healthy for mental, emotional well-being, and relationships. Treating sex as a form of play can alleviate the pressure to perform and increase satisfaction for all parties involved.

Engaging with sex as a form of play can take various forms depending on individual preferences and comfort levels, but there are a few simple steps to begin deprioritizing performance and having fun!

  1. Be Curious: Recognize that everyone is unique, and therefore, individuals will enjoy and appreciate sex differently. Approach sex with curiosity and a willingness to try new things to discover what works for you. This might involve using toys, experimenting with new positions, or simply smiling and laughing during sex. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, you can always try something else.
  2. Relax: Acknowledge that sex can sometimes be awkward. Our bodies are unpredictable and may produce sounds, smells, or discomfort in positions that are typically enjoyable. This is a natural part of being alive, and it’s okay to laugh when things are funny. Release the pressure of perfection and go with the flow, allowing yourself to be silly if the moment calls for it.
  3. Communicate: Open communication with your partner about your thoughts and feelings during sex can significantly enhance the experience for everyone involved. If a particular position isn’t enjoyable or something feels off in your body, speak up! Just as you would communicate during other forms of play, expressing discomfort or preferences is essential during sex. This step is crucial in ensuring that everyone involved has a good time.

Sex occupies a significant portion of our collective consciousness due to societal expectations and media representations. This can create pressure and anxiety around sex, but by embracing the idea that sex can be enjoyable and continuing to explore what brings pleasure, sex can transition from a high-pressure, anxiety-inducing activity to a healthy and enjoyable form of play that benefits the mind, body, and relationships.

By: Duncan Bourdeaux, LCSWA

Duncan Bourdeaux is a LCSWA at Mathews Counseling. He currently taking new clients but space is limited. Request your appointment today! Learn more about Duncan here

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