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In last week’s blog, I talked about how being selfish can help you better enjoy your sex life. Asking for what you want and accepting all the pleasure you deserve is healthy. But just as there is a time to be selfish, there is a time to be giving.

Phase 8 – Giving

Being selfish in sex needs to be balanced with allowing your partner to do the same, putting you in the role as the one who gives what the other wants or allows them to take their own pleasure. You don’t have to balance this equally every time you have sex, but there should be a good balance overall. Create the space for your partner to desire and soak in their own pleasure. Be an active participant in inviting and responding to their selfishness.

You may have a partner who isn’t able to enjoy sex fully. Perhaps they are shut down, repressed, ashamed, or self-conscious. This tones down sex, bringing the potential vibrancy of pleasure down to shades of beige. Working with your partner to explore their desires, their fullness, and their ability to abandon themselves to pleasure will pay off for both of you. This focus on them takes being able to set your needs aside and give.

You can work on giving in your day-to-day life. Make space for your partner to have their wants and needs met. Set yourself aside, sometimes, to fully get on board with them. Notice how often you shut them down to pursue your own agenda. How often do you expect to get what you want while ignoring or minimizing what would make your partner happy? How often do you expect them to cater to your wishes, but you don’t reciprocate?

Using the Giver/Receiver Exercise – Giving

You can use the Giver/Receiver Exercise to immerse yourself in the role of Giver. After taking care of the boundaries you need, you can work to open your heart to want to give the pleasure your partner is requesting. You can follow directions carefully, tuning into their body language and signals, as well as their words. Invite them into that space; let them know there is room for their pleasure and desires. See what unfolds when you try it!

Pitfall 1: Difficulty Hearing Direction

You feel like you should know what they want already. You feel like the things you’re learning now show you’ve been doing it wrong all along. You feel criticized. You feel stubborn; you struggle to do things when people tell you to. You feel an urge to withhold what’s being asked. Or you struggle to want to do it well since it’s their idea.

Breakthrough 1: Loving Direction

The pressure is off. You don’t have to know what they want. You don’t need to be an expert or impress them. You just follow directions. It’s freeing to know they are getting what they want because it’s up to them to ask for it. You feel the burden that you are responsible for their pleasure has lifted. You are a partner in it, allowing you to relax and simply put yourself into doing what they describe.

Pitfall 2: Not Liking What Your Partner Chooses

Sometimes, your partner will express a desire for something that you don’t like. You struggle with the line between needing to say no and just wanting to. You’re anxious or turned off. It’s not what you want, so it’s hard to do it, and it’s certainly hard to want to do it. It’s difficult to stay present. You’re thinking about how you feel about it instead of being present with it. You may feel like you should like it and thus get into self-criticism. Or you worry what all this means.

Breakthrough 2: Enjoyment of Pleasing Them

You want to please them. You love being able to give. You love seeing your partner happy. You’re learning things about what they like, and you’re learning to like some of the things that please them. You’re moving through any discomfort you have with certain acts and expanding the repertoire of touch and sensation.

Pitfall 3: Judging Your Partner

You may judge your partner for their choice. You may feel they should be asking for sexual touch and are hurt or annoyed that they aren’t. You feel like they aren’t doing the exercise correctly, or they aren’t pushing their boundaries. Or you think they shouldn’t ask for something sexual, and you think they’re pushing your boundaries. Judgment gets in the way of you just being in the experience, and you get annoyed or frustrated or disappointed.

Breakthrough 3: Letting Go of Judgement

You let go of the idea that your partner is supposed to want anything specific. You value what they ask for because it is exactly what they want in that moment. You let go of any ideas that their requests should be sexual—or that they shouldn’t be. You give your partner the freedom they need.

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