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relationships overview


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 care.

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.

 

 


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