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December 17, 2016

What’s on Your Sexual Menu Du Jour?

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Have you ever thought there was something wrong with your body because you didn’t want sex?

Or felt confused because what felt good yesterday doesn’t at all excite you today?

I used to view my fluctuating libido as a big problem. I thought I was fickle, hard to please, or overly sensitive. “Or maybe it’s just hormones?” I would think. “Or maybe there’s something wrong with me…”

My partner would become frustrated because he wanted to please me and have great sex. I, too, felt confused and frustrated. I didn’t know how to explain to my partner how to touch me in a way that felt great for me—because what felt great for me each day was often different.

Some days, I felt like a ravenous animal who couldn’t get enough sex. Sometimes, I craved a slow, sensuous touch that I had no idea how to describe. Other days, I wanted nothing to do with any of it. I knew I wanted to explore and experience a deeper variety of sexual pleasure for myself—and not just from changing positions or doing it in the shower.

Yet I had no idea how to explain what I wanted to my partner because I didn’t fully understand it myself.

Eventually, I learned what many of us learn as women: how to bite the bullet and have sex with our partners even when it doesn’t feel the most exceptional for our bodies. I thought, “Maybe this is just how sex is once you’re married.” I did it because I loved my partner and wanted to give him the best. I concluded that my fluctuating libido and lack of full-out enjoyment in sex must mean there was something wrong with me or my body.

Eventually, I came to the awesome realization: there’s nothing wrong with me. In fact, changing, unpredictable desire is normal—especially for women.

I think of it now like my personal sexual menu du jour.

My “sexual menu of the day” indicates the sexual activities that feel the best for me that day. The menu specifies not just individual sex acts, but also the general pace, pressure, and rhythms of touch that will feel the best. Your menu might change often—mine does. It’s the menu “du jour,” after all.

Some days, the menu might be full of spicy food. On these days, I crave the more hot, electric, passionate lovemaking. Other days, my menu contains only tapas. On those days, the sexual contact that feels right for me might be quieter, slower, and more subtle, but still deeply nourishing—like savoring one sip of perfectly warm tea.

I used to feel frustrated by this, because I wanted sex to go well. I wanted to satisfy my partner, and feel satisfied myself. I didn’t want my sex life to be a problem.

In truth, the ever-changing menu du jour of what touch feels best isn’t the problem. The problem is the assumption that our sexual needs, desires, and longings aren’t supposed to change.

Discovering and enjoying what feels the best for your body—what’s on your personal menu each and every day—is what produces sexual fulfillment.

So how do you know what’s on the menu?

Start here:

1. Experiment.

In keeping with the menu metaphor, I have an adventurous sexual kitchen. It takes commitment and dedication to discovering how your body works and what feel best for you sexually. This is the education you never got in middle school. Become a pleasure scientist. Drop trying to “do it right” and instead, experiment and figure out what you like.

2. Don’t override that “little voice.”

Ladies: our bodies are sensitive—and they also know what’s up. When our partners touches us and we flinch, or we have that little voice in our head that says, “This doesn’t feel quite it”—don’t ignore that. These small cues indicate that you’re overriding your menu du jour, and are instead in autopilot going through the motions of sex that potentially isn’t the best for your body.

3. Get incredibly comfortable asking for sex to change often.

I remember being in middle school and finally holding hands with my crush for the first time at the movies—and then my arm fell asleep. I sat there for minutes not knowing what to do because I didn’t want to pull away and “break the spell.” Yet my arm was falling more and more asleep. Long past middle school, I continued to struggle with asking for the changes I needed. I didn’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings or break contact. I didn’t want to seem too demanding or needy.

Now I know that my partner wants me to be happy and comfortable—not sitting there with my arm falling asleep. You might not know what you want, but you can say, “This doesn’t feel quite right. Can we slow down for a minute?” or even “That voice in my head is speaking up. Can we try something different right now?”

While this might seem like an interruption of sex, it actually is a course correction. Sex should not be an act of martyrdom. It’s not about enduring anything—it’s about discovering and enjoying what’s on the menu today, together.

4. Work with what feels best for your body—rather than against it.

Some days, my sexual menu is empty because my body is naturally “closed for the day” when it comes to sex. This used to worry me, but it doesn’t anymore. Now I trust and enjoy whatever is  on the menu today, instead of worrying about what’s not. Because if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s this: that menu keeps changing. And finding out what’s on it is what makes sex more fun and rewarding for everyone.

 

Author: Bez Stone

Image: Public Doman Pictures

Editor: Callie Rushton

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