Sex is everywhere. It’s on TV; it's coming to a theater near you; it’s in books, blogs, and is the most popular way to entice people into buying something. You would think that with sex oozing out of every possible media outlet these days, our society would be gum flapping about sex like we gum flap about America’s Got Talent! However, we don’t.
Our sexuality ebbs and flows throughout our life and is never going to be constant. Many aspects of life can affect our desire and function. Getting older is the most common cause of change, however it is not the only one. Side effects of medication and some diseases can alter our desire and function. Our levels of stress and daily demands have a way of dampening our desire as well. We're not talking about any changes in reference to your sexual relationship either despite what most people tend to think. Ignoring or not addressing a problem does not make it go away. Our problems do not like to be ignored!
Many people do not talk about what they are feeling or experiencing with their partner, a trusted friend, or even their doctor out of fear, judgment, or shame. The only way to gain understanding of an issue and let go of harsh self-judgments is to educate yourself about what is going on with your body.
In addition to physical changes, people of all ages face an onslaught of psychological influences that can negatively impact their sexual desire and function. The worst influence that we face is from our inner critic. We all have one. Our inner critic is critiquing every single change in our sexual relationship and turning it around as something to be ashamed of.
If we are feeling out of shape, then automatically our partner’s lack of response is because we are out of shape. Our inner critic is like the paparazzi. The paparazzi stalk celebrities to get one compromising photo and then sell it to all the magazines to make a ton of money. Our inner critic is just waiting to take anything our partner might do or not do as the truth and then we accept that without any proof that it is not true. So if we feel out of shape and think our partner views it negatively, we might want the lights out the next time our partner makes advances towards us. Or, we might be so stuck in our head trying to avoid them seeing how out of shape we feel that we are unable to enjoy ourselves.
Our partner will notice this change and think it has something to do with them. Then quite possibly, their inner critic will pop up and start coming up with all types of reasons why they are not desirable to us anymore. This inner critic will start to create distance where there was none before. Through this distance and an unwillingness to talk about what is going on, a lack of intimacy and closeness will begin to eat away at the loving relationship.
This inner critic, negative self-talk, and an unwillingness to openly talk about sexual happenings, good or bad, has the ability to pull two people apart that are deeply in love. I experienced this myself and it is a wound that still hurts. My inner critic destroyed a 15 year marriage because I listened to it and not my spouse’s words and actions. Of course there was other reasons, however they all stemmed from a lack of communication.
Please do not be afraid to share what is going on with your body and how it might be affecting your relationship. Reach out to your partner when you are both happy and relaxed. If you are experiencing a concern or dealing with your inner critic way too much, express this in a way that doesn’t put blame on your partner. If your partner happens to reach out to you about a problem they might be dealing with sexually, listen without feeling blamed, and respond out of love and compassion, not out of defense or deflection. A healthy sexual relationship, one that incorporates open communication, enhances intimacy and closeness. Respect that relationship and give it room to grow. Healthy sexual relations involve communication so start talking!
Here's to a sexier, happier you and firing your inner critic!