One of the dilemmas of our modern way of living is the silencing of our emotions. Seeing them as inconvenient – we are encouraged to clamp down on our feelings, or even encouraged to see them as a problem.  What if I were to tell you that our emotions and our felt sense in the body was in fact a valuable resource which works to inform us, not in words but in a language of feelings and sensations?

This language is our timeless inheritance which we cannot forget and can all access, especially when it comes to pleasure. Like any language, it is one that when shared with another can lead to profound and intimate communication. I am of course talking about the intimacy, closeness and communication that comes from sex.

Language is about connection, and there is nothing more connecting than sharing your body with another person. The book Magnificent Sex by Peggy Kleinplatz and Dana Ménard – two highly respected researchers, therapists and educators – throws a revealing light upon what makes sex magnificent. They investigated sex in the great tradition of Abraham Maslow and the humanistic tradition, as well as using positive psychology to shift the focus from human dysfunction to human flourishing – a flourishing that we can all choose for ourselves.

Kleinplatz and Ménard set out to answer the question, what is great sex by undertaking an in-depth study of people who reported having magnificent sex. They interviewed people who were forced to explore new ways of creating intimacy, such as those who’s “normal” sexual function was curtailed due to illness or disability. People who had to think “outside of the box” when it came to understanding their sexuality, such as people in the LGBTQI+ and BDSM communities. And drew on the maturity of older people who, contrary to popular misconceptions of being nonsexual as they age, continue to pursue optimal sexual experiences well into their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond. They also called on the knowledge and experience of sex therapists and researchers. Through the wisdom of these people who were having or talking about having great sex, Kleinplatz and Ménard revealed the personal and relationship qualities and attitudes necessary for magnificent sex. Unlike books promising results in a few simple steps, Magnificent Sex intends to shift our paradigm of great sex – and help guide our way there.

One key is to learn to see sex as a relational dance, not an issue of one person’s bodily function. Rather than seeing sex as genital play, Kleinplatz and Ménard’s research showed the true home for great sex is in your heart. Let me explain.

Great intimacy and desire is something many people only fantasise about and crave but don’t actually believe they can have. Nor do many people have the courage to share intimacy and desire with their intimate partners. But sharing what goes on for you before, during and after sex only deepens your intimacy and reinforces the bond between yourself and your partner. This sharing shifts the focus of desire away from self-pleasure and more towards the mutual pleasure of both giving and receiving. One of the problems perpetuating the lack of communication when it comes to sex, is that many of us have grown up in communities that don’t talk about sex, so we find it difficult to talk about our deepest longings and desires with our intimate partners.

The biggest killers of good sex are silence and lack of engagement. Loneliness and shame during sex is all too common. The better we are at communicating the better our sex will be. Our inability to talk to each other about this is one of the greatest limitations to our not having great sex. The good news is that we can learn to repair our communication with our partners, helping to rekindle our desire which leads to better sex. As Kleinplatz and Ménard revealed: this can be at any age. In fact the maturity of those over fifty may be the super power that can be unlocked to discover the best sex of your life.

One way to achieve better sex is by coming to understand why we don’t make sex and pleasure a priority in our life. If this is the case in your life, ask yourself why you are not prioritising this most delicious and wonderful part of yourself? Of course, if you‘re having bad sex it’s totally understandable that you may not be prioritising this desire for intimacy, after all, who wants to have more bad sex?

The other hurdle is of course how do you begin to talk about this delicate and possibly shame ridden place with your partner in order to create more connection, intimacy and hopefully good sex, or even great sex. This is where curiosity and playfulness can lead you into learning. Knowing and communicating what turns you on and off is key and likewise what turns your partner on and off. If you can begin to have these conversations with your partner, it can only lead to higher and higher levels of connectivity and sharing of your inner world, your heart and the joys of pleasure in your body.

If you would like to discuss anything that came up for you in this article, why not book an appointment with me. If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about sex and desire let’s lean into this space together.

Lee Beaton psychotherapist couples counsellorLee Beaton is a Emotion Focused Couples Therapist and a Gestalt Psychotherapist specialising in healing relationships. Her style is person-centred, warm, effective, and compassionate, enabling Lee to help clients to experience somatic and deep relational healing. She believes how you handle emotions, influenced by the many aspects of your life’s circumstances, is what makes the difference.  She understands that relationships are challenging and what we all long for. With help they can be a pathway to forming secure, loving bonds that nurture a healthy vulnerability leading to greater intimacy with self and others. Lee sees clients at in person at Kundalini House and in Thornbury as well as online. To contact Lee, call 0491 638 124 or email:
Read more about Lee here.