Sexuality, so advanced in mammals, is necessary for the perpetuation of their kind and clearly coexists with pleasure to a lesser or greater extent.
From childhood, one fantasizes about moments of sexual content, mainly with the opposite sex, and begins to know his/her body and its needs. This is part of human nature and is directly related to the child’s emotional contact mainly with the mother and with the father to a lesser degree.
Sexual expectations are formed in this way and they vary from individual to individual just like men’s characters and personalities differ. For better or for worse, sexuality is directly influenced by one’s social environment, by preconceptions and beliefs as well as through movies, magazines, and the internet, all of which encourage certain behavioral patterns aiming at a self-centered pleasure. Today, about 1 % of the population among young people don’t feel erotic while they may very well love and care for each other as a couple and many may be in perfect physical health. That does not mean that they abstain completely but rather that auto eroticism is the prevailing feature in their relationships.
In order for sexuality to be satisfactorily expressed the following conditions are a prerequisite:
- 1. Everyone must know his/her needs and must be able to express that precisely while the other should be able to hear his /her partner’s needs in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance, appreciation, and attachment.
- 2. There must have preceded the marriage a period of getting to know each other and genuine communication, that is, not saying one thing but meaning or doing another.
- 3. There should be no power games or control games using sexuality to achieve other ends.
- 4. Sexuality must be a source of joy and an exchange of intense feelings, where two people become one in an incredibly unique experience rather than producing only a self-serving orgasm.
- 5. The necessary precautions must be taken with the necessary responsibility of both parties regarding an unwanted pregnancy or the possible transmittance of STDs.
Sexuality that’s connected with love is very good for both the mind and body. Those who are loved and love back enjoy a familiar relationship to such a degree that they are relieved from stress and tension and they decrease the stress on the cardiovascular system. Whereas those who have extramarital affairs increase the chances of cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular problems.
On the other hand, when sexuality is improved for a considerable amount of time, the lifeforce is channeled elsewhere in alternative ways like the emergence of neuroticism, narcissism, perfectionism, and the appearance of migraines, colitis, and muscle spasms.
Many people tend to develop a relationship of dependence and attachment rather than serve a relationship of love from a conscious sense of their freedom. In this case, they must work on their self-esteem through self-analysis.
In other cases, the life force of a relationship may have exhausted itself and that feeling of being in love may be lost. In those cases, it’s not the partner that has to be won all over again, but those facets of the self that used to exist but for some reason no longer do. The reasons for this are usually related to priorities of raising children, professional development, etc. It is sheer illusion to think that one can reclaim that magic of the relationship without searching oneself.
Often, there are thought processes that “imprison” people and avert them from living certain experiences with their partner. For example, they might say, “it would be nice to do this but I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t feel capable of it,” “ I don’t want to feel bad about myself if I fail, “ “I am not worthy of it,” etc.
However, there are also feelings like stress, impatience, and irritability, all instant byproducts of modern life, which act as brake to the experience of sexuality.
There have to be the right conditions and the right atmosphere for sexuality to emerge and the care for that belongs to both sides. It is very important for people to focus on the here and now and let themselves go with the positive feelings that emerge at that moment allowing for no negative influences.
There are two mistakes that should be avoided when it comes to our partner: pressuring them into the intimate act or making them feel guilty if that fails to transpire.
In Greece, 1 in 3 women is not sexually active for long stretches of time while 1 man in 4 substitutes sexuality with his career development or sports.
While sexuality is a “heavenly gift,” in human nature, it is at the same time a challenge as to whether we may use its full potential in the best possible way for the joy of life and that of our relationships.
Spyros Metaxas, Psychiatrist/Psychotherapist