Now that you and your partner have examined your family life and how that shaped your personality and coping mechanisms, it is time to look back at your relationship and sexual history. It’s not only your family who has put things into your baggage. You need to understand your sexual beliefs and expectations when you’re trying to improve your sex life. Again, go through these topics and questions with your partner (if they are working with you) or alone (if not). Take all the time you need and see where the prompts lead.

Thinking About Sex

Think back to the messages you received about sex—in your family, your culture, your religion, your community, and from media and other sources. Think about what you learned about sex as you reflect on the following questions:

  • What things were said to you about sex and intimacy?
  • Where did those messages come from? Family? Church? Friends? Other places?
  • What messages were unspoken?
  • How much of what you heard seemed relevant to you?
  • What parts of it were shaming?
  • How were you viewing sex by the time you entered adolescence? Did you think it was the best thing since sliced bread? Shameful, dirty, and wrong? Scary and unknown?
  • What expectations about sex have you developed?
  • How do these messages and views impact you and your sex life now?

As with the previous question sets, use these as a jumping off point and see where the conversation takes you. It may be helpful to take notes with a pen and paper as your go.