Less than half of local adults are sexually satisfied

5 August 2015

‘Just thinking differently could save our sex lives’

Less than half of adults who live in the East of England are satisfied with their sex life (45%) and 52% have not had sex in the last month, suggests new figures from a UK-wide survey by Relate, Marriage Care and Relationships Scotland.

People put so much pressure on themselves to have ‘amazing sex’ that they often end up avoiding it altogether or don’t notice what is good about their sex lives.

This is the message in the new Relate Guide to Sex and Intimacy, out now, which says just thinking differently about sex can save our sex lives.

Diane Whitmore, sex therapist at Relate Bedfordshire & Luton, says: “It’s sad that so few people are sexually satisfied. Noticing what is going well, rather than dwelling on problems, is quite difficult when we’re all bombarded with messages about how sex ‘ought’ to be.

“Sex definitely doesn’t have to be disappointing – there’s plenty that can turn your situation around so you can enjoy a sustained, fulfilling sex life.

“What constitutes a satisfying sex life can vary wildly from one person to the next, so working out what makes you tick is a great starting point. People may feel concerned if they haven’t had sex in the past month but there are plenty of other ways to be sexy that don’t involve full intercourse. The Relate Guide to Sex and Intimacy can help people get the most from their sex lives in a way that works for them.”

Ideas for thinking differently about sex

Reassess what sex is: People often mean full intercourse when they talk about sex, but sex is about so much more than just penetration. Flirting, kissing, cuddling and even just feeling you look great can be sexy.

Find your sexual balance: It’s often difficult to fit sex into busy lives, but worrying about it makes it less likely to happen. Sometimes, a reassuring or sexy cuddle may be all you have time for or need and some people are happy with very little sex. It’s what works for both of you that matters.

Bear in mind spontaneity isn’t essential: People who come to Relate often say they want to bring spontaneity back to their sex lives but sex is rarely truly spontaneous and busy people have to plan for intimacy.

Know it’s fine to fantasise: Some people feel it’s wrong to fantasise, especially if it involves somebody else or something they’re not comfortable with. But the whole point of fantasy is: it’s not real – and just thinking something doesn’t mean you want it to happen.

Feel free to cuddle in front of the kids: In the past, parents were often taught to avoid showing physical affection in front of the kids but it actually reassures them that you love one another.

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The Relate Guide to Sex and Intimacy, written by psychosexual therapist Cate Campbell and published by Vermilion, price £9.99, recommends ways to relieve the pressure while revving up the pleasure. Covering the lifespan of relationships, the book suggests a new way of thinking about sex which allows a more relaxed approach to sexual expression and improved intimacy. Packed with expert insight and exercises, quizzes and case studies, it covers every sexual eventuality. Whether you have physical issues or have just lost your sexual spark, the book is as relevant in your 80s as it is in your 20s. You can order from: relate.org.uk/sexguide

Relate Bedfordshire & Luton offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of relationships, including sex therapy to improve sexual satisfaction and increase intimacy.

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