You know those couples. The ones who can’t keep their hands off each other. The ones unabashedly affectionate and playful toward each other. You see and feel their love radiating when you’re around them. And they somehow manage to have it all—great careers, a family, hobbies outside of work, and a passion for one another that’s undeniable. They sure know how to make the rest of us nauseous at times!
Most couples who come to me don’t just want more sex, they want better sex. Intimacy, closeness, pleasure, and connection are all important ingredients. But contrary to popular belief, sexual function and orgasm don’t necessarily equate to sexual satisfaction. So, what makes for an erotic couple?
First, we must dismantle the current widespread perception of the erotic. Modern society has reduced it to ideas of kink, BDSM, porn, or obscenity. But the ancient mystics and religious leaders had a much broader perspective on what constituted the erotic: transcendence. In my TEDx talk, I define eroticism as the interplay of desire and arousal with the daily challenges of living and loving. And because humans are permanently arousable, it’s easy to see how eroticism crosses over into other aspects of life, be it food, fashion, art, or nature. It really boils down to desire; how we understand it, own it, cultivate it, and honor it. A world without desire, after all, is a world without hope.
Let’s Talk About Sex. For erotic couples, the conversation surrounding sex and sexuality is no big deal. They can discuss it openly and comfortably without it being a tension-filled, anxiety-ridden major production. They accept the inevitable changes that can happen to sexuality throughout life, such as age and body chemistry, and they address them with love, empathy, creativity, and humor. Essentially, they know how to put the cum in CUMmunication!
Self-care. Erotic couples know how to nurture their individual connection with their erotic self. Do you believe you’re worthy of pleasure? What do you do to take care of yourself, to feel good about yourself? How do you pamper yourself and experience pleasure for pleasure’s sake? What makes you feel alive and energized? Everyone is different. Some people love going into nature, doing yoga, painting, meditating, going shopping, or going to the spa. Some might enjoy writing music or gardening. Knowing how to turn on and nurture your sense of well-being is a key component to being a fulfilled half of an erotic couple. If we are numb and disconnected from ourselves, how do we expect to connect to our partner?
Focused Attention. Erotic couples prioritize making time for each other. They set aside things like date nights, a midday coffee where they’re not allowed to discuss work or home, or a fun activity where they’re sharing a new experience. They’re not buried in their phones, but simply focused on quality time, conversation, and attention.
Play. They know how to play with each other, even in the most stressful scenarios. It could be a glance, a smile, the way they touch each other, or that special laugh. They flirt with their words, their body language, and they make an intentional effort to chase each other. They understand that foreplay isn’t the thing you do five or ten minutes before sex to get ready for the “real thing”, but that foreplay is a continuous dance, beginning again at the moment the last orgasm ends.
Mindfulness. When you’re worried about money, the grocery list, the kids, or work, you’re not presently in the moment. Erotic couples understand that mindfulness and staying present is key to deeply connecting with one another. They have the mental fortitude to get out of their own heads and truly focus on sensations—be they touch, tastes, sights, smells, or sounds. Breath and touch are usually the first sensations I ask couples to focus on when they’re trying to cultivate mindfulness during sex.
Willingness. I’ve never met anybody who regretted going to the gym, but I’ve met plenty of people who put it off because they just don’t feel like it, they’re too tired, too busy, or too [fill in the blank]. An erotic couple knows that being in the mood isn’t a prerequisite to great sex. They are open to seeing if they can get in the mood. They understand arousal isn’t typically spontaneous, like a star that falls from the sky. They know how to choose thoughts that will open them up to possibility and curiosity, rather than thoughts that will shut them down.
Creativity. Erotic couples are creative and push their boundaries in a myriad of ways. When sex is just thought of as an act revolving around performance, frequency, and function, it becomes a boring repetition of order–kissing, foreplay, intercourse, orgasm. But when you ignite your erotic imagination, you embark upon an erotic voyage with your partner, thereby transcending reality, and adventuring to new heights and peak experiences together. It’s the sweet spot, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Have a question? Email me: AskM@centerforeroticintelligence.org