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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: Three Categories of Sex

Uploaded: Sep 7, 2018
In his book Passionate Marriage, David Schnarch describes the research of Donald Mosher regarding three categories -- or styles -- of sex (pg. 244-260). I find these descriptions helpful for couples because people tend toward one style and then think their partner is doing sex wrong if s/he has a different style.

There is no right or wrong way to have sex; what works for the two of you, and can change based on your moods and desires, is healthy, normal sexuality. If your sex life or love-making only works for one or the other (or neither) of you, then each of you have the opportunity to do something about it.

I hope you will discuss and explore with curiosity what your sexual styles are and what sex means to each of you. Along with the topics of money and power, sex is one of the most difficult and sometimes embarrassing topic for couples to discuss. Go at your own pace, and acknowledge the vulnerabilities, anxiety, and excitement that you may be feeling.

Here is my condensed version of the three categories of sexuality:

Sexual Trance: This is a focus on bodily sensation. Your eyes are likely closed, and you’re noticing each and every touch and sensation that’s happening to your body. This is highly sensual and lovely. It's probably dark and quiet, and you are in your zone, and enjoying each moment. You likely take turns pleasuring and being pleased. It's also possible that you are not especially emotionally connected as you float in this trance.

Role Playing: This is playful and can involve dressing up, playing out fantasies, describing scenes and what each partner is doing/wearing, etc. For example, you may describe a scene such as, "We're on a boat in the Bahamas, the moon is full, you're wearing . . ." You may shop for sex toys, books, lingerie, and so on. You may create an actual pick up scene at a restaurant or club, and take him or her home or to a hotel. Role Play is fun and exciting, and also perhaps scary to play out the range of your ideas.

Partner Engagement: Based on emotional connection; your eyes are open, the lights are on, you are verbally and physically sharing, mutual pleasuring, playful, talking, laughing, and experimenting. You may say, "Let's try this position," or "Does this feel good?" You may notice something funny. Loving and connected; this can be truly vulnerable.

Schnarch talks about f@#king, and the need for f@#king, and not always needing to make love. You decide, from moment to moment, what you want and need -- and talk about it with each other.

Having the ability and comfort to move between these three sexual categories provides a wealth of options, passion, and love over a lifetime. Experimenting and talking about sex and love-making can be nerve-wracking, exciting, and bring about many other feelings, too.

Sex can be silly, messy, have awkward sounds and moments; make the most of it.

A couple of comments about sex in general:
1. Most women do not orgasm from intercourse alone; she needs clitoral stimulation.
2. Sex means more than intercourse (masturbation, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and sex without orgasm are all sex).
3. Foreplay is part of sex.
4. Generally, women want to feel emotionally connected in order to want to have sex while men want sex to feel emotionally connected. Work on ways to bridge this gap.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Sep 10, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Here is a typo that made me laugh:

"$. Generally, women want to feel emotionally connected in order to want to have sex while men want sex to feel emotionally connected. Work on ways to bridge this gap."

Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View,
on Sep 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

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