Shhh …Between The Sheets

When it comes to romantic relationships, there are so many rights and wrongs that it’s tough to keep track of what’s working and what’s not. We try to break down a few things that can make or break a good relationship when it comes to love, sex and communication.
Text by Cristina Zuazua | May 28, 2018 | Lifestyle

Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote: “Sex is more than an act of pleasure; it’s the ability to be able to feel so close to a person, so connected, so comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking to the point you feel you can’t take it. And at that moment you’re a part of them.”
While it may be hard to imagine the veritable Da Vinci talking about sex in any capacity, it’s clear that doing the deed — and how to sustainably do it with one person for a long time — has been a question for the ages. We all know the fireworks that go off the first time we kiss someone. The suspense of whether you will click. The tension when you do click. That infatuation-based period when you can’t get enough of each other, physically or mentally. But once you get to know each other, settle into a routine and let the rose-colored glasses return to their normal hue, how do you make a relationship last? How do couples keep it interesting, passionate and exciting?
One of the best ways to keep variety in the bedroom, experts say, is to keep the lines of communication open about fantasies, desires and experimentation. Author & Sex Advice Columnist Dan Savage has emphasized this to his readers so much that he coined the term GGG, which stands for “Good, Giving & Game.” Savage has written extensively about the concept in the past, and he says individuals should all strive to be the best for their sex partners. He believes that being good in bed includes giving equal time and equal pleasure and being game for anything — within reason. This includes being open to listening to each other’s fantasies without judgment, even if the initial reaction is filled with hesitation.
Often, one partner might not want to realize specific desires or be willing to even talk about changing desires through the duration of a relationship. Sometimes, they have to learn to be open to discovering new aspects of themselves sexually on their own terms in order for real change to happen. Fortunately, people, as well as popular media, have begun to open up about previously taboo subjects like BDSM, role-playing, pornography, the use of toys and masturbation. Alternate lifestyle choices have also come to light as helping some couples keep it interesting for the long haul.
What’s more, the rise of online dating and the spawning of sites like OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Zoosk and a host of others, as well as newly segmented services like (for individuals looking to complement their kinky side), (based on industry and georgraphy) and (perfect for faith-based matches) have connected people through more specific subjects. By giving users the opportunity to define their dating criteria in a way that can be filtered at a glance, we’re able to narrow down the playing field by compatibility like never before. Additional industries, such as sex toy manufacturers, have also become increasingly prevalent, adding to the list of options for couples to use when experimenting.
As titillating as the variety of options undeniably is, most would agree that the best sex comes from paying attention to your partner’s wants and needs, and working together to keep things spicy — in and out of the bedroom. As a Clinical Psychologist & Researcher for over 25 years, as well as the Author of Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science Of Romantic Relationships, Dr. Susan Johnson has written extensively on the topic. In one of her latest articles, she notes: “It’s become clear that two things make or break relationships: The ability to respond emotionally and being able to offer support when it’s needed.”
Her research has focused on a concept called Emotionally Focused Therapy, which centers around analyzing the ways in which partners send signals to each other and teaching couples how to read them, developing a common vocabulary and a foundation for interactions that are based in logic and clear definition. In other words, if one partner is feeling confused, scared or threatened, they will know how to effectively communicate that and together they can find a solution to the conflict.
If couples are stuck in a rut — sexual or otherwise — therapy is always a viable option. According to Dr. Marilyn Volker, a leading Sexologist/Gender Specialist who trains counselors to become sex therapists through the Florida Post-Graduate Sex Therapy Training Institute and The Joint Doctoral Program In Clinical Sexology For Sex Therapists, dealing with differences in the bedroom is crucial to developing a successfully sustainable relationship. “People hire me because there’s so much confusion about the difference between what they see in porn and how different it is in reality,” she says. “Still, in 2015, people need to see that our genitals are connected to the brain with a heart in between.”
All in all, it’s about remembering how to have fun and enjoy another person’s mind and body. And because sex wouldn’t be complete without a bit of rock ‘n’ roll mixed in, it would be wise this Valentine’s Day to remember the words of the immortal rocker Jim Morrison, when he said: “When sex involves all the senses intensely, it can be like a mystical experience.” Well said.