Yes, good sex is one of life's greatest pleasures. It enriches us in every way and reminds us of what we cherish in ourselves and our partners.
But satisfying sex is not automatic, although it can be effortless. And, contrary to much popular thinking, it's not a question of mechanics.
Good sex starts with a great attitude, insist psychologists Michael S. Broder and Arlene Golman, co-authors of Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy, from the Psychology Today Here to Help series.
You and your partner need to foster an environment that's conducive to ecstasy — and then let it happen.
"By giving yourself permission to experience pleasurable sensations in the moment, by connecting to your partner and by learning to openly express your desires, turn-ons and pleasures and by asking for what you want, you will be well on your way to making sexual ecstasy a scintillating new facet of your relationship," they observe.
We live in a culture that sizzles with sex—on TV, in our computers, on magazine racks. But the net effect of all the sexual information that bombards our brains can be confusing. It can fill us with false expectations, inspire shame and guilt, and block the natural flow of thoughts and feelings our minds require to become aroused.
Goldman and Broder spell out what you can do to begin your journey to sexual ecstasy. If your partner is receptive, have him or her complete the exercises alone or with you. Here are some tips:
Identify the sexual myths that are getting in the way of your sexual pleasure (common ones: that you can't have good sex until you have a perfect partner, that you have to have an orgasm every time you make love, that good sex must always be spontaneous). What are some of the likely sources of these myths? How can you remove these myths and obstacles from your sex life?
Reflect on how your upbringing may be connected to certain attitudes and beliefs you may have today about sex. Ask yourself a simple question: Do these beliefs and attitudes support me/us or not? If the answer is no, then your task is to let go of those that don't.
In private, write down your own personal definition of sexual ecstasy. Ask your partner to do the same, in private. Share what you have written. If your views of sexual ecstasy differ, begin to discuss ways in which you can reconcile any differences.
Identify at least one other source or type of information that could help you to resolve questions that you have regarding sex and your sexual potential.
If possible, identify at least one non-sex-related issue in your relationship that could possibly be hindering sexual pleasure.