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Why do you have sex? Is it because you love and care for your partner and value the experience, or you want to use it to dump your emotional problems? Read this article before you have your next sexual encounter and learn how having the right attitude to sex can widen your horizons of pleasure and fulfillment.

Many sexual problems have their roots in the emotional barriers we place between our partners and ourselves. We bring these problems into the bedroom from different life experiences, from our adolescence, former boyfriends and girlfriends, that awful first date, from what our mothers told us about the kind of girl we should grow up to be, or what our fathers told us about how to be real men and, of course, uncensored media information on how to be super lovers.

Sex sometimes also becomes the battleground for expressing the anger, fear, guilt, and hurt we feel between our lovers and ourselves. We use it to defend ourselves against these emotions and other problems we may be experiencing. Sex usually becomes the dumping ground for the emotional problems in the relationship and this defeats the whole purpose of sharing fulfilling sex with the one we love. Sex entangled in emotional baggage can only be weighed down not lifted up.

The secret to solving most of our sexual problems lies in keeping our hearts open, honest, and loving towards our partner. That means understanding each other and freely expressing ourselves, practicing good sexual techniques that involve appreciating each others feelings, telling the truth all the time, and dissolving all emotional tension before you embark on making love. It means approaching sex with a clean heart that wants only one thing – to express and feel love for each other.

Some people often make love for the wrong reasons and don’t stop to think about why they want to make love at a particular time or why they are having sex with that particular person. If you stop to think about sex holistically before you embark on lovemaking, you may be surprised to find out that the majority of reasons why you make love have nothing at all to do with making love. Some of the biggest sexual problems occur because we are making love for all the wrong reasons.

So, ask yourself, why you made love last night or today? Were you afraid to say no? Were you feeling obligated? Did you want to get over the pestering by your partner or was it to get over boredom? Or was it because it was available or just out of lust? Was it because you had nothing else to do? Or did you both happen to be in the same room and thought it was a good idea? Were you avoiding confronting issues facing you? Did you want to make a baby? Were you making up after a fight? Did you do it to get or keep a job, or get a promotion? Were you drunk or looking to release sexual tension? Did you use sex as a sleeping pill? Were you repaying a favour or you had sex out of curiosity? Or you simply wanted to have fun? Were you afraid of losing your partner if you didn’t oblige or was it because you are in love with your partner?

If you examine this list closely, you can begin to see why most sexual experiences leave much to be desired for many people. It is because they are making love for the wrong reasons. If you go into lovemaking because you don’t want to say no, or because you want to control the other person, or because you are afraid he will leave if you don’t, you probably won’t have a wonderful, emotionally, satisfying lovemaking experience. What you put into lovemaking is what you get out of it. If you go into it with anger, fear, or out of guilt or desperation, you probably won’t come out of it with love. If you go into it expecting a job or a promotion, you will come out of it feeling used and you will live with guilt if your expectations are not fulfilled.

We often expect sex to act as a ‘cure-all’ for whatever ails us – loneliness, a fight with our partner, low-self esteem, boredom, jealousy and so on. But that is not what happens. Sex does not cure problems. It does not have the capacity to do so and never will. We confuse and pollute the intimate healing act that a sexual union can and should be with all the emotional garbage we have brought to bed with us. We expect it to cure our emotional aches, soothe our disappointments in life and bring peace to our troubled souls. And then we are surprised that it doesn’t turn out wonderfully. We shouldn’t be because if we are having sex for the wrong reasons it will not be the wonderful experience we were expecting.

Many of the reasons we have sex are actually reasons to sit down and discuss with our partner and resolve. We need to make time to express and discuss our feelings and find solutions, rather than hoping that sex will wave its magic wand and make all the bad feelings go away. Indeed, these issues should not be discussed in bed but in our living rooms, when out on a date or at a specified time we have arranged to discuss them. Of course, having sex is easier that discussing problems: you don’t have to find the right words to express your feelings, and you don’t have to take the risk of opening up. You also don’t have to risk being misunderstood or corrected. You don’t have to make yourself vulnerable by looking at your partner in the eye and accepting you have issues.

Many couples would rather expose their bodies to each other than their emotional vulnerability. You may even find yourself intensifying your sexual activity with your partner when you feel your emotional bond slipping. When you have a bad day at work you come home and all you want is sex. When your finances are not in order, you seek sex to make you forget. When you have drunk yourself silly to burry your sorrows, you look up to sex to make you forget your guilt. When the doctor tells you that you need further tests to find out what is ailing you, instead of going for the tests you have sex to forget your fears. But having sex for all these and many other reasons just covers up the real problem. And until you resolve the underlying problem your sexual life, and generally the rest of your life, will remain in turmoil.

If you make love with someone for the right reasons, the sex will probably turn out right. When we make love in order to share our loving feelings with our partner, and not just to have sex, we almost always end up making more love and enjoying it even more. We may also fulfill some of the other things on the list why people make love such as having fun, feeling pleasure, and being happy. But the main reason for having the sexual experience is solely to make love, because we know from experience that it is really making love that brings the greatest fulfillment inside and out.

So the next time you are ready to have sex, ask yourself: “why am I doing this?” If your answer is: “because if I don’t he might call his ex-girlfriend,” or “because we started, so we might as well finish,” think again. You deserve to have wonderfully fulfilling lovemaking, and you are the only one who can make sure it turns out that way. Have sex because you love your partner and it helps you connect in ways nothing else can and you will be having it for the right reason.

Published in October 2013