New rules for relationships
In last week’s blog, I defined sex as the physical expression of our innate drives for love, intimacy, and pleasure. With this definition in mind, I offer a few directions, or “rules of the court” for how to improve your sex life. These rules are what I’d put in an instruction manual—if you were to get one when you enter a relationship. These rules of the court are fundamental to changing your mindset when it comes to sex and relationship, and they will be useful once you move into the action plan for improving your sex life.
And good news! While these guidelines are certainly applicable for sex itself, they can also apply outside the bedroom. These instructions can benefit your whole relationship from now on. They help build a good foundation for happiness with your partner. Let’s look at two.
You are responsible for yourself
Each of you is responsible for yourself. You are to play your own “side of the court” only. Play your side, and let your partner play theirs. It is not your job to take care of your partner, figure out what they’re thinking, or make decisions on their behalf. That is their side of the court. I’m not saying you should be cruel or a brute or insensitive, but if you play your side well—you are honest, respectful, and clear—you should be able to trust that they will do the same. Part of playing your side is to say no when you need to say no. You need to speak up about what you want and what you think and feel. You’re the one taking care of you. If you each do that, the roles and responsibilities are clear. You develop a fundamental trust in each other to speak up and take care of yourselves, and that is essential for a good relationship and a good sex life.
You are responsible for your own pleasure
You are responsible for your own pleasure and your own orgasm (if desired). You may enlist the help of your partner, of course, but no one else owns your pleasure. That means, likewise, that you are not responsible for your partner’s. You can be a willing participant, but it is not your burden to know what they want or to do it perfectly on your own.
Taking responsibility for yourself and for your own pleasure is critical to addressing issues in your sexual relationship. By playing your side of the court, and letting your partner play theirs, you free yourself to focus on the baggage you alone carry and you alone can change. Improving your relationship will be a team effort, but it starts with you.
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