Written by: Dr. Stephanie Bathurst, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Sex is often a microcosm of a romantic partnership. That is to say, the experience and expression of sex very often symbolize the health and status of the overall dynamic. What do you do when sexual equity is oﬀ-balance and creating havoc in your relationship?
As a Clinical Sexologist, I ﬁnd that in the majority of cases, sexual intimacy barriers are a secondary problem to an underlying primary issue in the relationship. When the primary problem is tended, the sexual manifestations of the blockage naturally alleviate.
Here are 5 key relationship tools that you can use to dramatically improve your sexual experience with a partner.
Good sex starts and ends with good communication.
The outcome of a sexual experience is often compatible with one's intention beforehand. The important piece that makes this intention so impactful is good communication. What if you embrace an intimate scene with a partner assuming "this is a bonding opportunity to feel seen and be loved" while your partner steps into the same experience thinking, "what a great opportunity to have a quickie before catching up on some sleep"?
Without good communication, you could both leave that sexual experience feeling a bit disappointed and out of sync with one another. With the transparency of intention or desires beforehand, each partner can verbalize their wants, needs, and limitations clearly to increase the chances of fulﬁllment for everyone. While staying in your connected emotional space, it can be helpful to debrief afterward on what you liked or would like to do diﬀerently next time. Keeping the line of communication open provides the opportunity for growth and creativity as you evolve your sexual expression in the relationship.
2. Understand Why
There are many reasons why someone may seek sexual connection. Most reasons for wanting sex have healthy and appropriate bearings. Disruption of synchrony (moments of awkwardness or physical disconnection) is often because of a miscommunication in the intention setting BEFORE sex starts. What seems to frequently drive your desire?
Have fun and be playful.
Get exercise and increase stamina.
Enhance spiritual connection with self or other(s).
Deepen emotional bonds with a partner.
Maintain or improve sex hormone levels.
Studies show: Having sex regularly prolongs the onset of menopause and andropause.
Pain alleviation through endorphin release.
Studies show: Sex and orgasm can be as eﬀective as prescription migraine medication in relieving pain associated with migraines.
Fulﬁll creative intimacy through new types of play.
Desire to help yourself or your partner(s) feel pleasure/joy in seeing them joyful.
Mood-boosting and anti-depressant properties of orgasm.
Conceive a child
Boosting your immune system.
Studies Show: Saliva tests show signiﬁcantly higher antibodies in those who engage in sex 2x/a week.
To induce more restful sleep.
It's important to exchange appreciation and gratitude with one another after a sexual experience. For all of the reasons listed above, sex has the means to dramatically enhance one's quality of life. Validating the important role that your partner plays in this practice can enclose an already fulﬁlling space into a bonded bubble of love.
Before you can wholly connect with another person, it's important to know yourself and understand your body. When we feel desire, we receive impulses to initiate interest and aﬀection exchange toward our signiﬁcant other(s). In order to respond to those impulses, we have to be aware of them. This awareness requires our mind-body connection to be intact. An easy and eﬀective way to develop your mind-body connection is through mindful breathing. This practice will help you recognize when impulses of desire are present in your body to cue you when it's an appropriate time to initiate intimacy.
Here's what you need to know about yourself before you are able to articulate to a partner:
What are your somatic cues of desire? Know when your body is communicating interest in sex.
What types of touch do you like? Think about pressure, temperature, sensations, and fabrics.
What touch points on your body tend to elevate arousal?
Are there natural rhythms or patterns that your body responds best to during play? Are there times of day when you are most in tune with your sexual self? Do you ﬁnd your ﬂow state best with instrumental music playing in the background?
4. Sexual Equity
I deﬁne sexual equity as the eﬀortful balance in giving and receiving sexual contributions within a partnership as deﬁned by each partner's deﬁnition and preference of pleasure. Balance, fairness, and equality can be present in many diﬀerent expressions. It’s up to each romantic dynamic to negotiate what reciprocity of love and aﬀection means to each individual.
With age, our bodies change and may require diﬀerent stimuli to meet the threshold of pleasure. In response to life responsibilities or other life domains that we manage, our preferred role in the bedroom may shift. The natural evolution from a honeymoon phase into the romantic phase of a relationship may bring way to more nuanced sexual styles. These are all examples of how sexual equity is a ﬂuid concept in relationships and why it necessitates continual conversation for adaptation.
5. Have Fun With It
It’s called adult-play for a reason!
Get out of your head and be in the moment. The sexual space can become a ﬁgurative bubble that gives you a reprieve from the chaos and noise of the rest of the world.
Let loose and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Social etiquette demands a level of composure and demeanor that can feel exhausting having to manifest all day long. Vulnerability means letting yourself be seen, without the facades, masks, or pleasantries. Being seen for our authentic, raw selves can be refreshing and cleansing.
Use this safe space as a form of creative expression that allows you to tap into your adventurous side (whatever that means for you). Explore diﬀerent versions of yourself, and try out new and novel things to feel reinvigorated without the risk associated with major life changes you may otherwise choose to shake things up, so to speak.
Sex can tell us so much about how a relationship is ﬂowing and functioning. By prioritizing the maintenance of healthy relationship skills like communication, self-reﬂection, emotional awareness and articulation, sexual equity, mutual respect, and intentional playfulness, we can ensure deeply fulﬁlling sexual experiences.
What energy type do YOU exchange in romantic relationships? Take your free quiz or share MyFlowTypes.com with your friends for some fun!
A note of thanks to line editor Kellie Supplee.
Dr. Stephanie Bathurst, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Stephanie Bathurst is an expert Clinical Sexologist, Relationship Therapist, and Holistic Healer who applies evidence-based techniques that blend holistic and traditional therapies. As a provider, she aims to energize relationships, unblock barriers in the 8 forms of intimacy, and treat the whole system for clients to see long-lasting effects. Acknowledging the heaviness in our world, Dr. Bathurst strives to lead unhappy partners toward better sex, effective communication, and release of resentment so that together we can create a more loving, more stable connection. With her primary office in Oahu, HI, Dr. Bathurst offers coaching to clients across the globe, couples retreats, and hybrid relationship programs for immersive healing. Dr. Bathurst is the CEO of Bathurst Family Therapy, LLC., and has won numerous awards of excellence in her fields. Her integration of degrees in counseling and sexology combined with certifications as an Integrative Medicine Specialist for Mental Health and Pelvic Floor PFilates instructor makes Dr. Bathurst a truly unparalleled provider.
Horstman, A. M., Dillon, E. L., Urban, R. J., & Sheﬃeld-Moore, M. (2012). The role of androgens and estrogens on healthy aging and longevity. The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 67(11), 1140–1152. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/gls06
Ramadhan, M. A., & Hashim, H. T. (2021). The Eﬀects of Sexual Frequency and Immune Boosting Mineral Intake on Immune Status in COVID-19 Susceptible Individuals. Fertility and Sterility, 116(3), e113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.07.316
Santhakumar, S. (2022, April 28). Does sex relieve or trigger migraines? Medical News Today. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/sex-and-migraine
Smith, D. J. (2020, January 16). Sexual Activity May Help Delay Menopause: Study. ABC News. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/sexual-activity-delay-menopause-study/.