Performance-focused sex vs. pleasure-focused sex

Most often when people have sex, they have what is known as goal-orientated or performance-focused sex. This sort of sex places the emphasis of the experience on the outcome, the goal or the performance. This can include wanting to have sex, arousal (erection, lubrication, mental arousal), or having an orgasm. Placing the emphasis on these elements as goals or expectations detracts from the positive experience of sex. Therefore, it is important to let go of goal-orientated sex. Try not to focus on orgasm as the end point or getting aroused at the start point. Focus instead on sensuality and pleasure. The shift of your focus needs to move from the destination to the journey.

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When one focuses on the performance or goals of sex, pressure immediately becomes a part of the sexual experience and the combination of pressure and sex generally lead to an unsatisfying experience. Instinctually, men are goal-orientated; sex is often relatively straightforward for them. They can generally enjoy sex without the distractions of self-judgement, body image concerns, and insecurities that many women experience. Of course men still bring baggage to the bedroom, but theirs is often lighter than women’s. For women, sex is far more intimacy and emotion focused and much less orgasm (performance) focused. Women crave sex not necessarily for the orgasm, but to feel close to their partners. Orgasm is desirable and important, but most women can enjoy sex regardless of whether they climax or not. For women, the pleasure of the connection is generally the most important element of sex. Most women also need to navigate numerous emotional hurdles before they can truly let go and naturally enjoy sex.

Pleasure-focused sex enables you to enjoy sex far more and not feel pressured based on expectations of what you should be doing or what should be happening during a sexual experience. Pleasure-focused sex enables you and your partner to enjoy the moment, enjoy the intimacy and enjoy each other’s attention. Often when we shift the focus from performance to pleasure, the sexual experience is heightened and far more satisfying to both partners. Once we shift our focus, the experience becomes much more a reflection of intimacy, connection, eroticism and arousal. Sex can be much more fun with much less pressure to perform. If a woman becomes anxious when a sexual experience begins, worrying that she won’t get aroused or reach orgasm, it is likely that her body will respond with anxiety, her blood vessels will constrict, and her arousal will diminish.

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Try to become aware of negative, automatic thoughts

While you are becoming sexually intimate with a partner, remember that it is important to focus on the here and now, not what on the ‘could or should be’. This is harder than it seems, but during any sexual experience, try to focus your attention on the actual sensations of what you are feeling and what you are seeing, rather than what you hope to happen. Taking this pressure off you will help shift the focus from performance to pleasure, and in order to fully enjoy a sexual experience it is important to remember that pleasure is the main purpose, not performance.

Focus on sensations in your body – things that are being done to you and what you are doing to a partner, focus on how they look and how their skin feels etc. If you find that your mind wanders to future thoughts, stop and focus on the present – what is happening, what you feel, what you like and what you see.

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