So often when I talk with clients about their so-called “mismatched libidos” it has nothing to do with the quantity of desire and everything to do with the pace.
They are simply going too fast.
And so often I find that they are letting the one with faster arousal lead the way, with the other feeling or being labelled as inadequate because they’re not aroused quickly enough. Seriously, the stories I hear – no wonder so many people are not enjoying sex, often with one obliging even though they are not ready and the other feeling bad because they can tell their partner isn’t into it.
I often say to these couples, if you were going for a walk together, would you expect the slower walker to race along at the speed of the faster, or would the faster slow down to accommodate the slower so that you could enjoy the walk together? Or if you were enjoying a good meal, would you wolf it down and think that it was better because you ate so quickly – or would you take the time to savour the experience?
Of course we know that taking our time to enjoy activities together makes the experience more enjoyable. Yet when it comes to sex we often think faster is better, both in the lead-up to and during the encounter.
The fact that in movies we see so much fast intensity and passion, and of course in porn you never see the ‘getting in the mood’ part of things, reinforces the idea that lust should just descend out of nowhere and we should be able to get straight into genital engagement with minimal if any preliminaries.
But our bodies and minds don’t generally work that way. We need to get in the mood. We need to destress, calm our nervous systems, sink in to ourselves and sync in with our partner. We need to take our time for a chilled build. It’s not just women - even though it’s generally considered that women need more time to warm up, I have to say in my clinical experience of thousands of clients (not to mention my personal experience), plenty of men do too. It’s not a gendered thing. And, importantly, it’s an ever-changing thing.
You have two people coming together, in different states of mind, with different physical states, so the pathway towards sexual intimacy is going to be different for each of them. To make it good for both of you it has to suit both of you. So, you need to pay attention to where you are within yourself and what you are wanting and needing, and communicate that with your partner so that you can co-create in the moment.
If your partner is going too fast, slow them down! But make sure you do it kindly. Even better, do it in a playful flirty way. Make the negotiation of the pacing part of the experience, part of the dance.
Similarly, if you want to speed things up a little, you’re going to have to do it in a way that your partner responds positively to, otherwise it’s not going to work. Again, doing that kindly and positively, is more likely to engage your partner in an arousing way.
For both of you, the art of seduction is the art of getting your partner to do what you want, for your mutual benefit. You both want to have a mutually enjoyable sexual encounter, so the art is in how you can both contribute to how that comes into being and how it evolves. The pace is a hugely important part of that.
Just like slow cooking, sex is better when you’ve taken your time to ‘cook’ the encounter. Sex starts way before the bedroom. Let the connection flow between you all through life – sometimes more kind, sometimes more romantic, sometimes more flirty, sometimes overtly sexual – and learn how to pace it just right so that you both can sink into a rich erotic state for quality, deep satisfying sex…