We all know that great sex is always spontaneous or at least that is what I am always told when I ask people to describe what they desire from sex, the answer is always “spontaneity”.
Not passion, not connection, not a transcendent experience, not incredible, earth shattering orgasm….no….the one thing, it seems, that everyone wants from sex is that it “just happens” and they don’t have to think about it.
I think our desire for spontaneous sex is, I’m sorry to say, a tad childish!
You know I want a spontaneously clean and beautiful home…..and I would LOVE a spontaneously full and well cared for veg patch - in fact in the first lockdown of 2020 I allowed myself to think that I could have one and then I realised - quelle horreur that a neat veg patch filled with nutritious organic veg took A LOT of work!
In the early days of a new sexual relationship our bodies are flooded with dopamine. This feel good neuro-transmitter rewards us for trying new things (like a new sexual partner).
New feels very good to us because of dopamine.
The problem is, when something is no longer new to us, we no longer get big shots of dopamine into our systems. Reflect on how the first time you cooked a new dish it tasted absolutely AMAZING but sadly when it became your Wednesday night regular it quickly lost its incredible deliciousness and eventually even became boring.
Humans crave NEWNESS, dopamine rewards newness.
The problem when we come to sex is that newness is most often experienced in the arms of a new lover. NRE (or new relationship energy) is a REAL chemical thing. It’s the chemicals that flood our systems that drive us to jump on our new lover and desire to spend all day in bed with them. The spontaneous sex we all yearn for is essentially new sex, NRE sex, new lover sex.
And I do not think spontaneous sex is at all compatible with long term relationships. I think the sooner we understand this and widen our sexual palette and knowledge, the happier we will be.
So why do I think continuing to yearn for spontaneous sex beyond the NRE phase is damaging our sex lives? Well it’s unrealistic for starters, but it also keeps us stuck in a model of sexulality that does not work long term for the female half of humanity (and therefore for the male half either) for three reasons:
Male sexual energy is both urgent and impatient, it is quick to activate and without mastery demands quick satisfaction.
Once a man’s penis is at stage 4 of arousal which can take just a matter of minutes, it wants to penetrate and ejaculate (which is why so many men find themselves thinking of the cricket score to slow down the process).
Spontaneous sex, ie sex that occurs following spontaneous arousal, becomes about meeting HIS urgent needs and because there has been no time (or precious little time) to honour HER sexual needs it will very likely end up in climax for him but not for her.
In the early NRE stages of sex the power of dopamine makes the sex feel amazing for both parties, but as the dopamine wears off this sex is quickly unrewarding, for many, if not most women because we have not had time to get properly aroused (it takes us 20 minutes not a couple) so we have generally had a non-orgasmic experience.
Female sexual energy thrives in a long, slow build up. The VERY OPPOSITE to spontaneity! We LOVE to be courted and if you like danced to bed. We actually want an extended effort to be made to please us.
The female body and nervous system needs to be highly relaxed to become fully aroused. The smash and grab of spontaneous sex whilst flattering our need to feel desired, does little for our need to feel honoured, worshipped, cherished and adored.
We want to feel good and look good for sex. Sex is the space
in which we turn from Cinderella in the kitchen to CInderella at the ball! Our experience of sex transforms when we have had the time to pamper and prepare our bodies (and yes to put on the sexy lingerie that is hideously uncomfortable but makes
us take up space at Queens in our own bedrooms).
And worst of all, from my perspective, our obsession with spontaneous sex has made making any kind of effort is seen as some kind of failure rather than as beautiful, respectful and loving.
Because we expect sexual arousal to spontaneously happen (in two people at the same time - no matter what else is happening in their lives - like it did with NRE) we are completely unfamiliar and even frightened of engaging in sex with the person we love from a place of cool energy.
But this is where the potential for incredible intimacy and connection lies. To learn to enjoy each other’s bodies in all stages of energy, to take our time, to get curious, to be playful, to be open and trusting and, actually deeply loving. To ask each other questions and to TAKE OUR TIME.
When we lose the need for sex to be all about performance and outcome it becomes easier to enjoy our bodies and each other’s bodies to bring consider how we can stimulate all the senses in the build up to feeling deeply relaxed and pleasured together.