Here is where I deviate away from the book, A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex that has guided our 5 part series. Author Laurie Mintz, Ph.D. cites one example where a couple rates their sexual experience on a scale of 1-10 after each sexual encounter as a way to start conversation.
- a rating scale diminishes the deep, rich intimacy sex can offer
- sexual pleasure surpasses what a rating scale might attempt to capture
- this scoring system will emphasize performance over pleasure.
- this method will make sex a goal-oriented act with a goal attainment of “10”. Anything below 10 will lessen the sexual experience.
If sex feels dissatisfying, find gentle ways to express what you need (or what’s not working) during the act, as opposed to suffering through the experience. This seems much healthier than using a scale to convey your levels of satisfaction. If you leave the sexual experience less than satisfied, have the conversation at a neutral time and place. No ratings required. Follow the “kitchen table sex talk” if needed.
There is another important reason I de-emphasize deep conversations after sex (assuming climax has been reached). An article in Elephant Journal, The Science of Arousal: Men versus Women, explains that men release the chemical prolactin during climax. Prolactin is a hormone associated with sleepiness as well as the male “recovery’ period. The article notes that women release more oxytocin than men during climax, the chemical responsible for bonding behaviors. For heterosexual couples, guess who may want to talk/bond while the other wants to go to sleep?
If you feel a need to connect verbally after sex, focus your conversation on how you felt in your mind and body, “ I felt amazing tonight”, “I kept getting distracted”, “My body felt so relaxed”, “I really felt connected to you”, “I struggled tonight”.
By speaking more about yourself (and less about your partner), you demonstrate accountability for your own sexual experience. Remember, while technique is helpful, your partner is not responsible for your sexual pleasure.
That task rests on you.