After several decades of listening to clients, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, I have learned that:
o many of us are not confident about our body and our sexuality
o most of us do not fit the media standards of male or female beauty
o marriage does not lead to loss of desire, sexual excitement, and passion
o aging does not end sexual desire, sexual attractiveness, and sexual behavior
Many, many, many people have discovered their passion, for the very first time, in the long term commitment of marriage or in the later stages of life with a new and exciting relationship. In fact, many married couples continue to have passionate and pleasurable sex with their lifetime mate into their golden years.
Sexuality is not a separate part of our life, apart from the sensations in our body, the feelings in our heart, and the thoughts in our mind. Our sexuality expresses who we are, the culmination of our life experiences and our bodily memories. Sexuality does not first appear at puberty or adolescence or adulthood, as the media often suggests. Our sexuality is with us from the moment of conception, and perhaps even earlier in our mother’s womb, until the very end of our life. Male fetuses actually have erections in the womb and little girls’ vaginas lubricate during sleep.
Popular women’s and men’s magazines would have us believe that the way to any man or woman’s heart is through sexual prowess and skill. There are even courses that teach a variety of techniques “guaranteed” to drive a man or woman wild in bed.
Rarely does the media teach us how to handle the shyness and even shame so many of us feel or the difficulty many of us have connecting with potential sexual partners. We rarely hear about the fear of rejection, isolation, insecurity, and sexual problems we often experience in our most intimate relationships. And what about so many of us who are fully capable of loving one partner intimately but somehow fall in love or lust with the one person who pushes us away, dangles a carrot of love only to disappoint us over and over again, leaving us in a mental state of self-annihilation.
The media offers little support for sensitive, kind, loving sexuality, based upon trusting our own body’s reaction and knowing a partner intimately for an extended period of time. The prevailing belief, accepted as fact by most people, is that heightened sexual desire and passion are most prominent in the early, tentative, exploratory days of any relationship.
If we truly believe that long-term commitment, especially marriage, is a prescription for the death of our sexuality, then we are a doomed society. How can we joyfully enter into a lifelong “death sentence” with the partner of our choice? If we truly believe that only young, single, beautiful and confidently aggressive people are sexual, how can our anxiety-ridden minds allow us to pursue a desired sexual partner if we believe we don’t fit the prevailing image?