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December 8, 2014

Ask Me Anything: Is Great Sex a Myth? {Weekly Advice Column}

sandy foreplay

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here. 

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Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected] or private message me on Facebook.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Dear Erica,

My problem is, when it comes to sex, I’d rather not. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

I hate knowing that men are thinking about sex all the time; it makes me really uncomfortable. Like, no matter what is going on, there is always a sexual undertone. As a fairly attractive woman, I feel like I always have to be on the defensive and I really resent that.

I haven’t always been this way. When I was younger I was totally boy crazy, but after a bunch of long term relationships where sex was mainly a thing I did to please my partner while I got nothing out of it, I’m over it.

I feel like I’m missing something. What is this big obsession with sex? I don’t get it. And why should I have to constantly be expected to do something that isn’t that important to me?

Is there something wrong with me? What should I do?

Not Sexual

Dear Not,

You don’t say how old you are, but you are old enough to have once been “boy crazy” and to have had several long term relationships.

That means you’re also old enough to have become jaded, which I’d say at this point, you are. This is not your fault—you simply haven’t found the right person (yet) to make sex “worth it” for you.

I sympathize. Nothing is quite as lame as lame sex.

Because your sex life has been less than satisfactory, it is annoying to you to have to contend with the inferred sexual lives of everyone around you. It’s like you’re at a birthday party and everyone but you is eating cake—not because you don’t want any, but because it’s a flavor you hate and there are no other flavors there. After the umpteenth birthday party you attend with said hated cake, you decide you hate birthday parties too. Who wouldn’t?

This quickly erodes your self esteem, and your conclusion is—not that the cake is bad—but there is something wrong with you because you don’t enjoy it.

Well, I’m here to tell you there is nothing wrong with you and somewhere out there is a piece of cake you’re going to love.

You have the difficult task of believing in something for which you have no evidence; that sex can be good—even great. The way you go about finding it, ironically, is not to look.

Attend to all the other facets of your life joyfully; strive to learn, evolve, be present and compassionate toward others and yourself. Someday when it’s the last thing on your mind someone will throw some dessert down on your plate that you can’t get enough of—and you’ll finally understand why everyone was partying in the first place.

feet scale socks weight

Dear Erica,

I can’t lose weight.

I have tried literally everything. I’ll do a diet like Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem and I’ll lose a few pounds, but then I just give up and go back to normal.

Everyone around me seems so effortlessly thin. I eat the same things as my friends but I weigh twice what they do. I hate exercise because I don’t want people watching me at the gym and there’s nothing I like to do anyway.

Should I just accept myself the way I am?

Never Going To be Skinny

Dear Never,

Yes, you should accept yourself the way you are!

But that doesn’t mean staying at a weight that makes you feel uncomfortable—it means acknowledging that your body and your needs are unique and not measuring yourself in any way against your friends.

You’ve tried “diets” and have concluded that they don’t work. You are right—so put the idea of dieting to rest right now. There are easier, more sustainable ways to gain optimal personal health without dieting or going to the gym—in fact, I recommend them.

Step one: decide your body deserves whole, unprocessed foods.

Eat food with minimal or no packaging; anything raw is great. Strive to eat “mostly plants” (for a great book on practical, good-for-you and good-for-the-the planet food read Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”). Eat mindfully until you are almost full, chew slowly, and taste what you are eating.

Step two: acknowledge that bodies are designed to move and honor yours with movement.

People make this unnecessarily complicated. You don’t need a gym membership—just go outside and walk for a half an hour, or better yet, an hour, every day. Walk at a comfortable pace, try to do it in nature, mindfully observe all that is around you. If you want to try cycling, swimming, yoga or anything else—great—if not, walking alone done consistently is enough.

Step three: forgive yourself when you stumble.

Note, I said “when,” not “if.” There will be times when you find yourself at the bottom of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and wonder what the hell just happened. Don’t waste time beating yourself up about it, just get back to the program asap.

Achieving true health is a long process, done in small increments. It’s kind of like writing a book—it doesn’t happen in a day, but if you write one page most days for a solid year, suddenly you’ve written a whole novel.

 

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Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Mark/Flickr, Axel Buhrmann/Flickr

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