Relationship and Intimacy Coach, Nathalie Sommer gives her expert advice on sex and the modern relationship and what it means for you…
Passion has always existed, but relationships have evolved. Back in the days, people mostly had sex with one person and that was (likely) the person they were already married to. The accepted norm was to meet someone, get married, have sex, have a family and be together with that person until death did them part, no matter how good or bad the relationship was.
Today, that’s just not going to cut it. Most people date and have several relationships until they meet the modern day equivalent of ‘the one’. Marriage is certainly not a must. We want the fairy tale – we want to feel secure, have epic sex, to experience continual mystery, to never feel bored and to feel deeply in love with the person we’re sharing our time with. We want that one person to fulfil all our wants and needs. And of course, when it comes to the sex… well, that just has to be mind-blowing!
I think it’s safe to say, that we expect much more from our relationships than we used to. Back in the day, marriage was framed within duty rather than love. Now, it’s to fall in love and stay together until we no longer love each other, or until something “better” comes along. It’s a complex world that we live in and our modern relationships reflect that. When we look at sex in the modern world, you don’t need to have a legitimate relationship to have sex. Sex is no longer quite as taboo (thankfully), and casual hookups are increasingly normalised. You can easily meet people in bars, restaurants, social gatherings and on Tinder, and we want to have our deepest desires met in our relationships and in the bedroom.
So, what does this mean when it comes to modern relationships and sex?
When two sexually experienced people start dating, sex comes with expectations. We want there to be fireworks! But as soon as you set expectations, we put pressure on things, and it can easily set us up for failure. We, not only, want to experience deep passion on the first night, but all the nights to come after. As you can see, it can easily lead to disappointment and boredom if the sex doesn’t meet (and, soon, exceed!) expectations.
It’s usually not the lack of sex that drives people away from each other. It’s bad sex and not having our needs in the bedroom fulfilled, that slowly kills, otherwise perfect, relationships, and ultimately leads to less sexual engagement.
Why does no one tell us, that as much as we need to work on our relationship, we also need to work on our sex life?
Sex doesn’t just keep on being magical unless we make an effort to make it epic. I truly believe quality over quantity is what will keep things together in the long run.
I often hear my coaching clients say; “it’s not that we don’t love each other, but the sex is no longer what it used to be. We lack passion, excitement and we feel there is a mismatch in our sexual desires.” Sadly it’s a story I hear too often. What happens is, when we first meet someone, the novelty and mystery keep things hot. It’s easy to overlook the things that may not be as fulfilling. But as time goes on, we start noticing that something is missing, and we crave more. It’s hard to communicate what we feel and what we once thought was enough, no longer is. It’s easy to build up resentment and feel rejection when the sex starts to decrease.
If this is currently you, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s important to look at what’s happened, so some healing can occur in the relationship, in the bedroom and in yourself. Communication is key to a healthy and happy sex life. If you’re looking to reengage with your sexuality, join my Sensual Salon Workshop with Raven + Rose to discover what fun things you can do to reconnect with your sensuality.
Monogamous or polyamorous?
This is one of the most searched relationship topics online, and it has only been openly talked about in recent years. If you’re questioning if one person can fulfil all of your needs, then being in a polyamorous relationship may be the answer for you. Being in a poly or open relationship allows you to have sex with other people outside your relationship, or to be in love with more than one person.
One of the reasons people go into a poly relationship is that they know they love their current partner, but they feel something is missing, either in the bedroom or emotionally. They don’t want to leave their partner, but being in an open relationship allows them to get their needs met outside their relationship. This is not for everyone. But who’s to say you can’t be in love with two people at once? Who’s setting the rules? There really is no right or wrong, as long as everyone is open and okay with it. It’s certainly a journey of personal growth because it gets you to look deeply at your insecurities and open up new ways of acceptance. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself what leaves you truly satisfied and fulfilled.
How do we keep the eroticism alive?
If you’re in a relationship and things are going downhill, fix what’s happening in the intimacy department and find ways to spark up the eroticism. The rest will follow in the relationship. Eroticism is to feel alive! Eroticism is infinite, irrational and mysterious. It has to do with the quality of aliveness, connection and playfulness we feel in ourselves and our partner. We don’t necessarily want more sex, we want better sex! Don’t you immediately feel closer to your partner after you’ve had a great lovemaking session? That delicious feeling leads to a deeper connection, more affection and care for one another. There is an unseen intimate bond that gets created after lovemaking, which flows into all other areas of the relationship. We should be having foreplay from day to night, and not just when we get into the bedroom and take our clothes off to have sex. Foreplay should be playfullness that continues after sex, and until the next time, we have sex again. Being loving, using passionate words, affectionate touch, unexpected kisses, a note that you’re thinking of them, they all build up anticipation. As nice as it is to feel comfortable and feel safe, the key to keeping the eroticism alive, is to keep breathing vitality into the relationship.
Modern relationship dynamics: erotic language and patterns
We tend to give the other person what we want them to give to us. That goes for inside and outside the bedroom. Which can easily lead to feeling your needs are not being met, whilst you’re giving all you can. But understanding what some one’s love or sex language is, allows you to give the other person what they need and desire. It will help them to feel understood, heard and loved.
Not everyone wants to be loved in the same way.
Maybe you like to hear how the other person feels about you, as it makes you feel loved and provides reassurance. Or maybe you feel loved and cared for if they do things for you, like cooking, organisation, or do things that you don’t enjoy doing as much. The Languages of Love Quiz may help you and your partner start to have more conversations about what makes you feel loved and appreciated. Understanding how the other person feels loved, cared for and appreciated, will allow you to give and receive what you both need.
The same goes for the bedroom, your pathways to arousal may not be the same as your partners. Especially in modern days, we can deeply explore our sexual desires, and there is less taboo around it. It’s normal and healthy to have a natural desire to feel sexually fulfilled. Take my Sex Language Quiz to help you discover your unique sex language and learn what it’s like to finally touch and be touched in a way that honours your particular body and its desires, to feed and be fed in such a profound way that your body feels like it’s being deeply seen and understood.
When we move into a relationship, we establish roles. Roles are often patterns rather than habits. It’s easy to feel annoyed when these patterns get established, as its hard to change them. What tends to happen is that blame starts to appear along the lines of: ‘”you never take out the trash”, or “I always have to do the dishes”. If you want these patterns to change, start by taking ‘never’ and ‘always’ out of your vocabulary. And instead of using blame, you have to be able to spend two weeks not doing it. For example, you don’t do the dishes for two weeks or don’t take out the trash. You don’t say anything and wait until the other person finally notices it, or you take the step towards having an open conversations. Remember, when you’re not there, or before you got into the relationship, the other person sorted the bin. They can do it. It’s just that when you’re there, they’d prefer not to, as you have been taking over that role.
The woman of today and sensuality:
Women of today are no less interested in sex than men, but they can be less interested in the sex readily available to them. So what makes women lose interest? It can be anything from routine, house chores, not feeling heard about her needs, motherhood, to a lack of feeling truly in tune with herself.
As a woman, maternal tendencies may come naturally to you. You may find yourself wanting to nurture and take care of everyone. It’s easy to feel that you’re overextending yourself. That there aren’t enough hours in the day to have to yourself to be able to nurture your needs and give yourself the space to do so. This leads to losing focus on yourself, and not feeling sensual.
To feel sensual, you have to focus on yourself in the most basic way. My experience has been, that a woman’s path to greater wellbeing and empowerment leads through bringing awareness and kindness back to yourself and your female form. To feel heard about your needs creates safety and empathy, which in return will lead to feeling sensual and wanting to be intimate with your partner. I know it’s easy to lose touch with your most inner being when you’re constantly chasing your tail by making sure everything around you is in flow. I want you to know that you’re magnificent, powerful and wise. This is something that’s within all of us, but it’s often the parts of us that are most true to our being that we connect with the least.
Why not do something for yourself and to help you remember? There’s a wonderful training happening on beautiful Lantau Island called, HERspace. It’s a 3-day Feminine Awareness Training, offering you a journey to support your greatest expression as a woman.
Modern relationships are a journey!
I’d like to remind you, that relationships and sex are a continuous journey. You don’t just find one person to go through life with, and expect no struggle or the need to course correct. In reality, we need to course correct continuously. It’s how we evolve and grow in ourselves and the relationship we are in. If it were all rainbows and sunshine, we would get easily bored, and never improve or challenge ourselves.
Relationships are like a mirror to yourself. It’s an opportunity to look deep into yourself to evolve, heal and grow. We have to allow for hiccups in relationships, and sometimes they create crashes. Mostly, relationships are an opportunity to rebuild, and to come out wiser and stronger on the other side. Acceptance and compassion are the two main aphrodisiacs in any successful relationship!
Thanks to the talented Tina Maria Elena for her beautiful images! You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.