September 13, 2014

Your Brain on Sex.


“It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover.”
~ Marge Piercy

Oh, what a wonderful thing the mind is! So many thoughts, ideas and fantasies all firing away in there. Our minds offer limitless ideas about how to give and receive love.

After all, our brain is the thing that is most readily and constantly engaged when we make love. (Sometimes it’s over-stimulated and distracted, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Let’s explore some of the ways you can learn to harness your own brain’s potential toward becoming a better lover.

Want Better Sex? Use Your Brain!

When someone refers to a sex organ we generally think genitals. However the most important sex organ we have is our brain. After all, our impulses, desires and physical feelings are all generated from this complex nerve center. That’s why on the road to better sex we must engage our brains as a first step.

Sex on the Brain.

Here’s a classic scenario we’ve seen played out in countless films and television shows—someone, the man or woman, is lying next to his/her partner, in a state of what should be post-coital dreaminess but his/her gaze seems far away. The other partner looks over snuggles up and asks, “What are you thinking about?”

It’s a question many of us dread.

Rarely is the answer, “I was basking in the glow of your wonderfulness, darling.” Typically we are thinking about some decidedly non-romantic thought like a task that has yet to be done, what the world might be like without Velcro, or worse, how unsatisfied we were by the sex we just had. It happens. The important thing is how to deal with the thoughts we have before, during and after sex.

Minding Your Mind.

When we make love to our partners it helps to take note of what is going on in our mind as we begin. We might ask ourselves: Am I opening myself to pleasure? Am I stressed about performing well? Am I thinking about my partner’s motivation? During sex, where does our mind wander if it does at all?

Am I present in the giving and receiving of pleasure?

It’s an enlightening process to take an in-depth look at how our thoughts surface while making love. We may find ourselves fantasizing we’re with someone else or even alone. Perhaps we imagine that we’re with our partner but s/he is doing, saying or wearing something else. Afterwards what is our very first thought? To get up, clean up and resume our day? To sleep? To talk? To do a play-by-play with your partner about the quality of the lovemaking?

At any given point we may think about some or all of these things. Once we have a fair idea of how our mind is working we can ask ourselves the following question: Which thoughts are thoughts that support and improve the love I share with my partner? Which do not? Once we’ve narrowed them down we can begin to clear out the weaker parts of our sexual relationship by addressing what needs to be fixed.

Below, is the Braingames for Better Sex exercise to help work on the issues that arise. Be sure to do the exercise with your partner in a neutral and positive environment. Remember that any steps we take toward a better sex life are for the benefit of both people.

Creative Love.

As the song goes, “Love’s what you make it.” Well that’s certainly true but how do we know where to begin if we’re not aware of what our partner’s needs are?

When we enter a relationship we bring to it all our past experiences with others as well as our personal wants and desires. It’s a good place to start—and necessarily the only place to start—but it is merely a launching point. We’re not in this thing alone.

Imagine reading a short story by an author who simply assumed everyone understood the inner workings of her mind. You’d probably be confused, right? Who is this character? Why does he do what he does? If the author doesn’t fill you in on backstory—in other words, make the world of her story part of your world—she’s going to lose you as a reader.

The same goes for our love life.

Expressions of love come in many forms. What’s important is making the effort. There are a few differences between men and women, generally speaking, that may help to fill in some of the backstory toward creating love.

Men are visual creatures.

They respond most acutely to stimulation they can see. Granted not every man wants to see his partner dressed in sexy underwear every night in order to feel loved but do consider that variety is the spice of life. As women we might try changing up our routine once in a while. If I sleep in a comfy T-shirt and boxers more often than not, I might choose to shift into silk once in awhile. Or better yet nothing at all. (The important thing here is visual variety. I’ve also known men who get bored to tears seeing their partner climb into bed naked every night. Truth.)

Women tend to react more positively to words and actions.

The combination of the two should not be overlooked. Telling a woman you love her during a Grey’s Anatomy commercial break doesn’t hold the same weight as leaving a love note for her in her gym bag. By the same token buying her endless bouquets of flowers and gifts but never giving her the opportunity to hear your voice say the words I love you will not necessarily achieve positive or lasting results.

There are certainly similarities between men and women as well. Everyone loves to be shown and told they are loved and appreciated. What really matters is that we are expressing our love. A little bit really does go a long way.

Exercise: Braingames for Better Sex.

Working out regularly makes your muscles stronger, right? The brain is like a muscle that can benefit from routine work-outs. Here are a few brain exercises geared toward strengthening our mind’s attitudes toward sex.

Consider the sex you’ve been having with your partner lately. With that in mind answer the following questions as honestly and thoroughly as you can. Ideally you should take this quiz with your partner but you both can take it separately. However be sure to schedule time shortly thereafter and discuss your results with each other.

As always find a quiet and neutral place to take the quiz and discuss your results afterwards.

Before Sex

  1. What initiates sexual activity between you?
  2. Who generally makes the first move?
  3. What is the first indicator that lets you and/or you partner know we are now going to have sex? Is it a word? An action? Just a look?
  4. As you begin to make love what are your first thoughts?
  5. Does one or the other of you take on the role of the giver and the other the receiver of pleasure? Is it balanced?
  6. Do you think about your satisfaction more, less or as much as your partner’s?
  7. Do you consider what is going on in your partner’s mind during this stage of sex?

During Sex

  1. Would you consider yourself to be open to receiving pleasure from your partner or do you prefer to be the one giving pleasure?
  2. Are you present and focused on your partner during sex?
  3. Does you mind begin to wander during sex?
  4. Do you fantasize?
  5. Do you think about your satisfaction more, less or as much as your partner’s?
  6. Do you consider what is going on in your partner’s mind during this stage of sex?

After Sex

  1. How do you know when sex is over?
  2. What is the very first thing you do after sex?
  3. What is the very first thing you lover does after sex?
  4. What is your very first thought after sex?
  5. Do you and your partner talk about the sex you just had?
  6. Do you and your partner treat each other differently after sex (either later that day or the next morning if it takes place at night)? If so, how?

Discussion Topics

Now that you’ve given your brain a good workout it’s time to cool down. Sit with your partner and share your answers. As you do try to address the following:

  1. Which thoughts are thoughts that support and improve the love we share with each other?
  2. Which do not?
  3. If one partner tends to dominate, how would you feel about switching these roles?
  4. If switching roles seems awkward, why?
  5. If one partner’s mind—or both partners’ minds—have a habit of wandering during sex, to what are they wandering to?
  6. How can you help each other to stay mentally and emotionally present in your lovemaking?

Bonus Round

For couples who are inspired enough and who have the time go make love right now.

Don’t try to apply everything you’ve learned from each other; that information will be carried with you unconsciously.

Do focus on any areas of improvement you both have agreed on. Where applicable try out a new fantasy or thought process that inspired you from the exercise. For example if your partner has fantasized about a new position s/he would like to try give it a go. Or if you’ve spent a lot of time concerned about your own pleasure during various phases of sex make an effort to switch it up and concentrate on your partner (or vice versa).

Understand that you may be trying new things and they may not work the first time. Be patient with each other. Remember that any work you do toward improving your sex lives together is a positive step.

Journal Topic Suggestion

How important is it to have an orgasm every time you make love? Why?



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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photos: geopraph.org

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