Sexual Potential: Pleasure & Sexual Expression - What Comes Into Play?

In a recent conversation with a couple, I was asked about all the factors that can come into play in sexual interactions. I started rattling off a long list, such as childhood lessons about sex, religious beliefs, self-esteem, self-worth, body-image, early sexual experiences, abuse, knowledge about one's body, nutrition, exercise, where you are in your life, where you are in your menstrual cycle (for women), stress, chronic diseases, length of relationship, depth of connection, medications, sense of security, emotional intelligence, meaning of sex, hormone levels, gender beliefs, anxiety, sleep, alcohol intake, comfort with communication....As I paused for a moment, they looked at me and said, "Wow - that's a lot."

Yes, it is, and there's still much more. In every relationship, each person has their own version of these factors as well as how they interact in the relationship, where they may take on a life of their own. It can be very complicated. I think this is also very exciting when it comes to evolving our sexual potential both alone and with others, because there is always something new to learn or new avenue to explore. This is why I believe it is imperative to take a holistic approach by considering the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects, and the interplay between these.

It can be a daunting task when facing sexual and relationship concerns to realize that there are so many relevant factors. However, we can also redefine the circumstances as ripe for personal growth and exploring the depths of human pleasure.

Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D.

Sex Therapy & Relationship Counseling in San Diego