Feeling more physical sensation and emotion in sex increases fulfillment—especially for women.
Yet we often shy away from the most intense sensations in sex, or shy away from saying and doing things that will cause us and our partners to feel more.
Why do we do this?
I remember a personal growth teacher of mine decades ago teaching me about relationship experts Gay and Katie Hendrick’s concept of “the unarguable truth.” Being a fiery woman prone to both passion and arguments, this communication concept changed my life because it provided me with a way to talk about my experiences that was far less confusing and infuriating for everyone.
Here’s how it works: the unarguable truth involves speaking about our personal experiences in a way which can not be argued—the literal thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations we feel in our bodies in real time.
The arguable truth, in contrast, consists predominantly of our interpretation of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Arguable vs. unarguable is the difference between, “You really screwed that project up,” and, “After I heard the results, I felt a clenching in my chest.”
In one case, I’m making a value judgement and an interpretation. My interpretation could very well be wrong. Who can say for certain that you screwed the project up? Perhaps that was, in fact, the best possible result. Some of our most important innovations have come from horrendous mistakes, after all. My limited perception can only see so far. My perception and interpretation is also often vasty different than yours.
Speaking arguably adds value judgements that may or may not be true. For example: “This relationship is never going to work because you keep screwing it up,” is not the best opener for a meaningful relationship dialogue—unless I’m looking for a fight, in which case it has a high chance of being effective. Speaking arguably tends to produce conflict and reduce connection by applying blame, assumption, and judgement. It also keeps us in our heads.
When I speak unarguably, I’m simply reporting the facts of my physical experience:
>> “Every time you look at me, I feel furious.”
>> “My chest feels tight and is burning.”
>> “My mind is racing with thoughts.”
Can you hear the difference? Can you feel the difference?
The benefit of speaking unarguably is that it stops arguments in their tracks, and instead promotes creativity, connection, and collaboration. It leaves space for all of us to have our own experience—the one that is actually occurring inside our bodies in real time.
Getting back to that teacher of mine, one day we were taking this concept of inarguability all the way with a couple who had been fighting. My teacher said, “The most unarguable thing I can say is some noises and puffs of air came out of your mouth, and then some noises and puffs of air came out of yours. And now you are feeling scared, angry, and hurt.”
Puffs of air. That’s truly what our language is, when we view it at the most basic, physical level.
Of course, we apply near-infinite meaning to those sounds and puffs, and often this meaning brings deeper joy and enrichment to our lives. Shared language is wonderfully useful when we use it accurately to describe our experiences. And when language is misunderstood or misinterpreted, it can cause disastrous conflicts and incite blame and disconnection.
When it comes down to it, on an unarguable level, spoken words are simply puffs of air and noises.
I apply this same idea to sex and sensation.
One of the mindsets my clients struggle with most around sex—and that I used to struggle with myself—is wanting to “do it right” or wanting to make sure sex goes “well.”
While this good-hearted desire might seem beneficial initially, it backfires in the long run because trying to make sex “go well” keeps us in the mindset of the arguable.
What does sex “going well” mean for you? Does it mean the same thing as it does for me? How can we truly know that sex “went well” if each of us has a different interpretation? In addition, when we’re focused on “doing it right” in sex, we tend to spend more time in our heads evaluating our experience—and less time in our bodies feeling our experience.
In my years of sexual exploration and teaching, there is one thing of which I’m sure: pleasure and sexual fulfillment live in our bodies, not in our heads.
Pleasure and sex, when it comes down to it, are a series of physical sensations in our bodies.
Sex is a series of tingling, jolting, buttery, smooth, wiggling, hot, pulsing, pulling, clenching, vibrating, tickling, expanding, soft, shimmering, flat, dull, aching, numb, or throbbing sensations inside of our bodies.
Through paying attention to our physical sensations, instead of our interpretation or evaluation, we get to feel much more in sex.
Forget about making sex “go well.” Sexual fulfillment exists far beyond right and wrong, beyond our judging minds and evaluative concepts of what is supposed to feel good.
Instead, focus on what you are feeling in your body—your physical sensations. What do your physical sensations feel like? Are they hot or cold, fast or slow? Are they moving throughout your body or staying mostly in one place? How do you experience getting turned on? Is it a quick tightening in your genitals? Or is it as subtle yet all-pervading as an uncontrollable blush?
Getting unarguable with my sexual experiences has been the most radically rewarding practice I have ever taken up—one that has taken my sexual experiences far beyond “right” or “wrong,” and into deeper intimacy, creativity, collaboration, and fulfillment.
Author: Bez Stone
Image: Flickr/Cristina Souza
Editor: Callie Rushton