Receive Pleasure With Confidence
Discover Your Inner Feline
Most cats are slow to approach someone new- to ensure that the human in question is safe and has good intentions. So too we should be cautious in approaching a new partner to assess our physical and emotional safety. But once we determine that we can let down our guard, this is where our cat tendencies often end.
Seeking and Accepting Pleasure
Once cats feel safe, they usually unabashedly seek pleasure and attention for themselves (unless they are the rare aloof type). Most cats I know will approach a familiar human when they desire attention, demanding physical touch. In fact many will lay across papers, keyboards or anything that the human is working on in order to focus the human's attention on themselves and their desires. And once they receive a little scratch behind their ears, they will move their bodies to get the physical attention in just the right way and in just the right spot. They don't settle for or endure touch that is only tolerable. They go after what they want.
I am not suggesting that we should become demanding like cats and insist on pleasure that focuses solely on our own needs. However I find that many of us have a hard time accepting physical pleasure focused on ourselves and/ or asking for something different if a partner’s touch is not quite our ideal. We feel shy, self-conscious, selfish and/or fear offending our partner by making requests for something new or different. So many of us endure mediocre and/or unpleasant sex while our partners are sometimes begging for feedback (or have given up waiting for it) in order to figure out what will bring us ecstatic pleasure. And then we wonder why our libidos wane, our interest in sex depleted. We wouldn't be surprised at a lack of interest in returning to a restaurant that we didn’t like. But we expect that somehow we should still be interested in sex when we're not getting the pleasure that works for us.
I have much respect for those who express their desires and communicate their wishes for the pleasure that they enjoy. For those who don't speak up, I recommend discovering your inner cat rather than feeling shy about asking for what you want. You likely don't feel bad admitting how you like your pasta or scallops or steak. So why hold back on stating what kinds of sexual pleasure you enjoy? How are our sexual preferences different than our food choices? Of course it is usually more effective and kinder to express ourselves respectfully using "please” and "thank-you" rather than orders (for more ideas see my article on effective sexual communication here http://www.tonictoronto.com/June-2014/Make-Your-Desires-Heard/). But somehow we get shy around expressing our sexual preferences even politely. And when I teach workshops to individuals and couples about giving pleasure, many partners (especially men) complain that their partner does not speak up despite many genuine requests for guidance.
Get to Know What You Want
Taking a step back, it is hard to know what to ask for when we don't know what we want. We need to make our pleasure a priority - we are worth it as individuals and so is the vitality of any relationship we may have. We need to take time to discern what each of us really loves, as we are all different. It may take some trial and error, a little playful exploration and maybe even some helpful resources to understand our sexual preferences. There are plenty of excellent books, DVDs and online videos, workshops and educators who can open our eyes to a range of pleasure options many of us have likely never tried. Sex is a skill and most people, after trying out these resources state that they are surprised at how much they didn't know that they didn't know!
If you begin feeling self-conscious about being on the receiving end of pleasure, take it in as a gift and enjoy it fully. Your partner doesn't want their attention to your pleasure wasted if you are too busy feeling badly about it to actually take it in. There will be time (and I am sure already have been many times) where you can selflessly focus on your partner’s physical needs. In the meantime, your job is to discover your inner cat and embrace the pleasure generously offered.
The classic example is when receiving oral pleasure. Many people, especially women, feel self-conscious in having all of the attention on ourselves. And often we can't possibly fathom that our partner actually enjoys performing that style of pleasure on us (the many fish references to cunnilingus are hard to forget). So the activity is often stopped by the receiver before it has a chance to build to a crescendo or even begin to feel pleasurable. For some of us, receiving this kind of attention feels too selfish. If this is you, it is time to embrace your inner cat, to accept your partner's attention and desire to bring you pleasure just as they might enjoy making you dinner, buying you a present or fixing something you treasure. You likely would accept these non-sexual indulgences with gratitude. It is time to accept in the same gracious way the physical attention your partner offers and ask for what you want in ways that enhance your pleasure and deepen the intimacy of your partnership. You'd be surprised at how much you can increase your libido, intensify your pleasure and deepen your connection by starting even with a small polite request. Starting small and building gradually on positive successes, you will likely soon find yourself purring with added pleasure.