Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Unadulterated Love: What Is Joyful Sex?


When you’ve felt the raw power of sexual joy there is never any going back to ‘blah.’

Sex is often a mixed up dance between two people. But sex begins with yourself. And ultimately, your sexual joy begins with your own relationship to something inside you. Sex, and sexual dysfunction, is 90% in your head. So when sex is off, either between you and yourself, or you and others, there is some examination that might need to take place. (I’m no doctor, and I have no understanding of E.D. or other medically related sexual issues.)

I can count on one hand the joyful sex partners I’ve had in my life. Some were even joyful with a side of obsession, and that’s not really good, but the sex was amazing.

You want joyful sex, you explore and ask for a joyful partner. And when the chemistry is ON you can imagine seeking ever deeper levels of connection with this partner.

If you agree with the idea that sex between committed partners is a critical part of a healthy relationship, you can begin your quest: first, to find the joyful sexual partner within yourself; second, to find another joyfully aware sexual partner to explore core sexual satisfaction.

I don’t mean to sound like a tantric sex practitioner, I’m not. (And when someone does claim to be, as Sting did a while back, I want to run the other way.) And I don’t really profess to understanding all the nuance of what goes into sexual chemistry (one of the great mysteries of life). But, what I do claim is my commitment to understanding my own sexual partnership goals and using those guidelines to frame part of my “nothing but 100%” commitment to finding my next relationship.

Ten tenants of my joyful sex hypothesis.

  • Much of what happens during sex is very personal (inside an individual’s mind)
  • There is a physical joy that comes from finding a connected and aware partner
  • Even the prospect of sex can awaken all kinds of wonderful chemical changes in the human body
  • Casual sex can contain elements of joy and bliss, but true joyful sex, in my definition, requires two committed partners
  • The discovery and unlocking of your partner’s sexual potential is a lifelong quest (otherwise monogamy would become boring and lead to infidelity)
  • Is is possible to get too interested and rapt in your partner’s sexual pleasure
  • When you are in the “flow” of sex you are experiencing a micro-nirvana
  • When sex deteriorates in a relationship it is an indication of deeper communication and commitment issues
  • The free play of joyful sex is as necessary as a good sleep, once you’ve experienced it, you crave it, and are somewhat restless and unsatisfied in life, without it
  • Sex is not everything, but it’s a lot

And I have a few ideas about how to discover your partner’s inner joy while having sex.

  • Always approach sex more as play than work or a goal-oriented task (the orgasm is cool, and fundamental, but it’s not always necessary for joyful sex).
  • Sex can be fast and furious (a quickie) or long an luxurious (afternoon delight: bath, massage, sex, nap).
  • One-sided sex is fine, and nice if you can get it. (This is one I’m still working on, how to just lay back and enjoy an event just for me.)
  • Sexual energy can be shut down or limited by stress, alcohol, drugs, hunger, exhaustion, worry about work, hyper-focus on the orgasm of either partner.
  • Every sexual encounter with another person is an opportunity to unlock some new pathways of sexual joy, both your partners’ and your own.
  • The more playful and unscripted sex can become, the more flexible and adaptable your relationship becomes.
  • Core sexual satisfaction soothes over all kinds of frustrations and disappointments in life and in your relationship. You still need to talk about any problems in your relationship, but when the sex is “worth it” you will be a better listener and be more committed to the necessary negotiations to keep the other aspects of your relationship healthy.

I don’t know that it is much more complicated than that. You want joyful sex, you explore and ask for a joyful partner. And when the chemistry is ON you can imagine seeking ever deeper levels of connection with this partner.

If you can find your way to playful sex you can find your way to the inner joy of sex that just might give you a longer life.

Even after 11 years of marriage and the duties of becoming parents to two lovely kids, I never lost my joyful appetite for my wife. Somewhere, she began to pull away and shut down her joyful sexual being. It was hard for both of us. But, as bad as it got, I still remembered and sought out the joyful sex I had imprinted between us. I was not willing to compromise, even if I was willing to delay and sublimate my desire while she “worked through some stuff.” When she didn’t return to our sexual bed for weeks, sometimes months at a time, I know there was more going on than sex.

What I understood even in the end of our relationship is my connection to her had been 100% strong and pure. And it did not diminish over time, until some other aspect of the relationship was failing.

As I move forward in my quest for another joyfully connected partner, I know the sexual chemistry is also a non-negotiable. And it’s really more of an attitude than a technique or prowess. If you can find your way to playful sex you can find your way to the inner joy of sex that just might give you a longer life. And a longer life with more joyful sex… well… that may be an enlightened path right there.


The Off Parent

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image: kiss, pedro ribeiro simões, creative commons usage

2 Responses

  1. Your post hits on some really good points I must recently read in a book called Daring Greatly. The book is about embracing vulnerability in life, love, work, etc., and isn’t so much a self-help book as one that helps readers gain greater self-awareness, so I hesitate in classifying it as the former.

    In the book she says the major difference for women and men is how they feel most vulnerable and she found throughout her research that men feel their most vulnerable during sex. Or rather, the whole process I guess since it’s largely left up to men to initiate sex either when single or coupled. She said throughout her research that men connect to women via sex and the act of intercourse.

    I found this intriguing and immediately asked my boyfriend who agreed with Brown. Then I started thinking back to the various sexual partners I’ve had, some with my partner at the time, others with flings, and have to agree with both you and Brown. Real honest sex with a fantastic connection is indeed joyful and that makes the sex much more desirable; you almost crave the experience which is kind of what you said.

    Most women don’t need or use sex in this way. There is so much societal influence on how our bodies are supposed to look, we get stuck on just that when dudes really don’t care because when the chips are down, that’s not what sex is for y’all. It’s simply an interesting juxtaposition.

    Your post builds on what Brown said on this very topic and I love it when the Universe does that.

    October 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    • thewriter

      THANK YOU. What a gift to be compared and added to a comment about Brené Brown. Her work and fearless self examination are such a powerful opening for all of us.

      Men connect to women via *touch* in my book. Shallow men base all touch on sexual, and that’s missing the other 90% of touch in our lives. You can’t stay in the act of intercourse all day and night, but you can maintain a level of touch, with your partner, that can be just as connective and rewarding. And I would argue that women may or may not be oriented towards touch. I really resonated with The 5 Love Languages, and have based a lot of my own growth and understanding on the principle that we all might feel and experience LOVE in fundamentally different ways. What feels like LOVE to me might feel like a chore to you.

      And I would ask you to look at yourself to understand if “women” need or don’t need sex in this same way. I think we’ve stereotyped men as the one’s who desire sex all the time and women as the one’s who want something deeper, like feelings. But I think this over-simplification short changes women’s ability to be sexual and express sexual prowess and desire. Culturally we’re wired to believe the stereotype, but as men and women in relationships we have to be open to the reality, we both desire sex. Perhaps with different frequencies and in different expressions, but we are all sexual beings. When that is turned off, for either sex, something is out of whack.

      Thank you so much for your well considered comment, please continue this discussion if you have other thoughts.

      October 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

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