Since this is Valentine’s Day, I thought we’d take a look at how we view sex — an important aspect of love relationships—by the stages. Regardless of your relationship status right now, see which of these common attitudes most resonate with you. Those in quotes are verbatim accounts:
- Stage One―“Putting out” is necessary to keep your partner happy and the relationship intact… On the other hand, Stage One is also the stage that is most identified with sexual addiction, where a partner is somewhere between difficult and impossible to satisfy sexually (as is the case with most addictions) and therefore might put all aspects of his or her relationship (and/or life) at risk. Sex addicts typically believe that sex is exclusively about their own pleasure; and that sex partners are “objects” who exist solely for that purpose.
- Stage Two―“Sex is a means by which to manipulate and control or truly humiliate the other person” … “I am entitled to be as promiscuous as I care to be”… ”I will indulge in whatever comes my way.” (Sometimes both the intention and way sexual addiction is acted out can make it a Stage Two endeavor as well as Stage One.) On the other hand, wildly uninhibited and/or kinky sex between consenting adults can also be an expression of healthy Stage Two hooks.
- Stage Three―“Sex comes with a set of rules (sometimes merely assumed), and should only be done the right way”. For example, between married people, in the bedroom, a certain number of times a week/month/year, missionary position, lights out, etc. … Strong belief usually prevails that infidelity is always—and perhaps unforgivably—wrong.
- Stage Four―“Sex is one way I feel needed and loved by my partner”… ”Having sex is sometimes necessary to avoid rejection”… In addition, Fours sometimes use sex as an anxiety reducer.
- Stage Five―“In addition to procreation, sex is a healthy, normal, and good way to have pleasurable sensations as well as an important part of any marriage or love relationship.” … “Sex is not always orgasmic, but it usually feels good, satisfies my sex drive, and is rarely a relationship issue.” Both partners generally see it as a form of “adult play,” agree on frequency, preferences regarding how to do it, and the way it is initiated.
- Stage Six―“Sex with my partner is an ecstatically pleasurable and (usually) orgasmic experience!” Now we’re getting to the spirit of Valentine’s Day!
- Stage Seven―“Sex is a way to deepen the loving connection, sometimes even in a spiritual way, between me and my partner. We love and care greatly for each other.”
There are few discussions that you and your partner might enjoy more than how to bring your default stage as sex partners to those target Stages Six and Seven. For most couples this can have positive ripple effects for every aspect of your relationship!
Start by sharing something your partner may not know (or may have forgotten) about you and what you enjoy sexually. Then reciprocate by listening to your partner’s preferences. As simple as that sounds, many couples stop enjoying sex together as they once did because each partner thinks that the other one “should know” or “doesn’t care.” This is needless, sad and most importantly, avoidable!