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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences - Part 2

In Part 1 of this topic, I described how recalling your peak erotic experiences can help individuals and couples revive their sex life, based on the work of sex therapist, Dr. Jack Morin.  According to Dr. Morin, learning about yourself from your peak erotic experiences can help enhance your sex life (see my articles: Sexual Wellness: Overcoming Boredom in Long Term Relationships and Changing Your Sex Script).

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences

As I mentioned in my prior article, Dr. Morin's work is based on Dr. Abraham Maslow's concepts of peak performance and self actualizers.

In this article, I'm providing the clinical vignette (below) to illustrate some of the concepts in Dr. Morin's book, The Erotic Mind.

Clinical Vignette: The following clinical vignette, which is a composite of many cases, illustrates the benefits of focusing on peak sexual experiences:

Bob, who was in his mid-50s, sought help in therapy because he was concerned that he and his wife weren't having sex.  Over the years, sex dwindled down to a few times a year.  He also indicated that when they were sexual, it wasn't enjoyable for either of them.  Since his wife told him that she felt too uncomfortable to participate in couples therapy, he sought help for himself in individual psychotherapy.

According to Bob, when they got married 25 years ago, they could hardly keep their hands off each other and they enjoyed a passionate sex life.  Then, they had children and their sex life waned.  He had hoped that, once their children were on their own, he and his wife could revive their sex life, but their attempts were disappointing. After medical problems were ruled out, their doctor recommended therapy.  

When asked, Bob said he still felt sexually aroused when he saw an attractive woman and he was tempted a few times to have affairs when he was away at business conferences, but he really didn't want to cheat on his wife.  

Rather than approaching the issue as a problem, his therapist encouraged Bob to think back to peak sexual experiences with his wife from the past when they were both turned on.  Unaccustomed to thinking in this way, at first, Bob had problems remembering any sexual experiences that stood out for him, so he agreed to think about it during the week between therapy sessions.

When Bob returned to see his psychotherapist the following week, he seemed more engaged and enthusiastic than he had the week before.  He said he recalled a memory from 10 years ago: He and his wife were in their pool late at night when they began to spontaneously flirt with each other, which led to sex play and one of their most unexpected passionate sexual experiences they ever had together.

When his therapist asked him what made that sexual experience so exciting, Bob said he thought it was a combination of both of them being relaxed, the spontaneity and novelty of the situation, and the excitement over the possibility of being seen by their neighbors, although he said this wasn't likely.  He said they had never done that before and they both found it thrilling.  He also wondered aloud why they had never done it again.

After Bob recalled that memory, he also recalled other peak sexual experiences with his wife that involved being relaxed, playful and open to novelty.  Although he was excited to recall these memories, he was hesitant to bring them up to his wife because he feared she would laugh at him and then he would feel ashamed (see my article: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex).

Over time, Bob and his therapist worked on his shame, including a family history where sex was taboo, before Bob felt ready to talk to his wife about taking steps to revive their sex life.

He told his therapist that, at first, as usual, his wife got anxious when he brought up the topic of their nearly nonexistent sex life. But when he told her about his memories about when sex was exciting for them, she relaxed and became more enthusiastic.  

In fact, he said, just talking about those peak sexual experiences got them both turned on and they had passionate sex that night. Afterwards, when they were cuddling, they both agreed that they hadn't had such passionate sex in a long time and they both wanted to continue to revive their sex life.

Over time, Bob and his wife became increasingly more open and vulnerable to exploring their sexuality together, and their sex life flourished (see my article: Emotional Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Intimacy).

Getting Help in Therapy
There can be many reasons why an individual's or couple's sex life can wane.  

Once medical issues have been ruled out, working with a skilled psychotherapist can be helpful to overcoming the obstacles to a more fulfilling sex life and relationship.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed mental health practitioner.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

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