Sex as a path to higher consciousness
Dear Conscious Community,
Talking about sexual issues in counseling is as normal as talking about solving a math problem with a math tutor. This is why we seek specialists.
A common problem between long term couples is the lack of interest or sexual desire in their partner. Dr. Goss, et al. did a study in the August issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationsips to find out what creates an increased sex drive in couples.
Here’s the drum roll….The gist of the study is that your romantic relationships can become a pathway to personal and interpersonal growth, and that in turn continues or even increases an interest in sexual connection: a marvelous example of alchemy between two people.
Dr. Goss studied a few hundred sexually active individuals and found out the following:
* Sexual desire requires high levels of “otherness” – the psychological distance that allows one to see their partner in a new way and learn novel and interesting things about them. So basically, in order to remain sexually interested in your partner, you have to continue learning from them and about them.
* Closeness without otherness results in the “fusion” of partners, which diminishes interest in sex. People need not only to feel closeness – that is, connection and intimacy – but also otherness, seeing themselves and each other as distinct, autonomous, and competent individuals. Yes, if you want your partner to remain interested in you, you have to continue growing and changing over time.
* Creating both closeness and otherness creates self-expansion, and that is important for increasing sexual desire.
In my work with couples, I help pave the way for this new direction to start happening naturally and organically between the couple. I begin the process of deep inquiry with the couple, addressing each individual while the other listens to their partner go deep within himself or herself.
It’s fascinating to see the couple learn things about each other that they didn’t know before. Over time, the couple become more and more comfortable engaging in deep inquiry with one another, and are gradually able to take the process further, outside of the counseling room.
Inquiry involves asking questions about private thoughts, wishes, fantasies, past experiences, and anything else that may seem too “scary,” or even taboo, to delve into. But it never fails: once we begin the process of deep inquiry, everyone in the room is pretty quickly engaged and interested. It’s a powerful way to awaken the senses and remind the couple why they were initially attracted to each other.
So give it a try and see if you can sit down with your partner and engage in a meaningful and deep way that you haven’t before. But if you find yourself at a loss, or feel too scared to try on your own, come in for a few sessions and see if sitting with a specialist can help untangle some of these difficult alchemical problems.