We first need
to consider the most important relationship that any of us ever
has the one we have with ourselves. Self-esteem plays
a major part in our daily lives our successes and failures,
our interactions with others, our good and bad feelings. A
lack of self-love can be destructive to all that is fine and worthwhile
about being alive. Life becomes a struggle instead of a joy.
We take our frustrations out on those around us, especially
our loved ones, and we let fear rule our choices and actions.
It's a pretty negative picture but one that many, many people live,
without even realising it.
What has this got to
do with sex, you might ask? Well, as thinking, feeling creatures,
we cannot compartmentalise our lives to the degree where one section
can be working well and everything else is awful. If you hate
your job, are fighting constantly with your partner, are unable
to pay your bills, there's not much chance of your being able to
enjoy good sex.
You may turn to sex for
comfort, and that's very common in stressed-out people, but it will
not be the sort of sex most of us dream of and desire.
Annie Sprinkle says in
the video Sacred Sex, there's junk-food sex,
home-cooking type sex and gourmet sex. The first one is of
the quickie variety, the second rather boring and ordinary, but
the third is fulfilling and exciting. As long as you're getting
gourmet sex sometimes, you're okay, but if it's always just for
quick gratification and/or you're making love out of habit or obligation,
you need to wake up and smell the coffee before you're too old to
Although our society
tries to divorce sex from human emotion and make it into a separate
entity, many of us still believe that the best sex occurs between
partners who genuinely care about each other, enjoy their own bodies
and each other's and want to experience more than just orgasm. I
would just like to touch on the subject of vulnerability here.
Sex makes us feel more
exposed (emotionally as well as physically) than almost any other
human activity. Why? It's actually a bit of a puzzle because
love should be the scariest thing, not sex and yes, a lot
of us confuse the two. I guess there's nothing more vulnerable
than lying naked in a bed with someone. Most of us are aware
of our physical imperfections the scars, the rolls of fat,
the wrinkles, the blemishes and we try to hide them from
the gaze of strangers. Then, suddenly, we find ourselves in
bed with someone we may not know very well, and they're not only
going to look at us without the security blanket of clothes, they're
going to touch our most private and personal places, they're going
to make us feel things that we prefer to keep hidden, and, worst
of all, they may judge us on how we look, feel and act. If
it's just a sex romp, okay, we can shrug it off if it's a dud, but
if we really like the person and want them to hang around, then
we have a big investment in the way the encounter turns out.
Losing control sexually
is one thing, but losing control emotionally is very threatening
for most of us and we will fight against it with all our might.
If we can't fight clean, we'll fight dirty. We'll play
whatever games we have to in order to come out unscathed.
We'll pretend we don't care, never wanted them in the first place,
don't feel anything, can't wait for them to leave, and so on, but
the saddest part of this charade is that we're only fooling ourselves.
So, you see how we've
come full circle self-love must come first, then love of
others and for others. People who truly like and love themselves
are not afraid to put themselves on the line, even with all their
flaws, not afraid to be seen with their defences down, not afraid
to say, yes, I want this and I'm going to go for it.
The opposite of this
is emotional suicide, dying by inches, and as we look at how sex
operates for the single, the married, the lonely, the addicted,
the unfaithful, and so on, we'll see how much pain is caused by
not having a healthy self-esteem and a healthy attitude to sex.