2900 Camino Diablo, Suite 100, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Ellen Walters MFT
It's hard to talk about sex. For some people it’s hard to even think about sex. Our family stories, our spoken and unspoken family rules, and our sexual histories can have a significant impact on our comfort level with our own beliefs, expectations, hopes, fantasies and needs.
Our feelings can run the gamut from anxiety to fear,
from awkwardness, embarrassment, to shame,
from sadness to resentment and even anger.
In the early days and nights of a new relationship, sex just seems to happen, driven by excitement and surging with hopes.
Or it can happen without those excitements and hopes, but simply because it feels like one “should” have sex.
Or it can be a way of releasing anxiety, trying to prove ones worth, or trying to assert control - when for the most part you’re feeling out of control, insecure, or that maybe you’re being evaluated and judged.
When trying to talk with someone about sex and intimacy, there can be many obstacles:
"I couldn’t say that, that would hurt his feelings.
"I couldn’t ask for that, she’ll think I’m weird.
"I’m too embarrassed to talk about what I like, how I like it. Shouldn’t he/she just know?
"I’ve never even thought about what I want, I’m usually just trying to please my partner.
"If I talk about my feelings and needs, she might wonder if I’m not the man she thought I was.
"I just shut down, or fake it, when we have sex; it’s just what I’ve always done.
"Having sex used to be so easy, but now my body’s changing and I don’t know how to talk about it – or face it myself.
"We’ve been together for so long, he’s my best friend, but I just don’t feel desire anymore.
"She doesn’t get it. I need sex to feel close to her.
"He doesn’t understand: I need to feel like I matter in more ways than sex in order for me to want him."
As both a sex educator and psychotherapist, my ease in talking about sex and intimacy has helped people access and share things they’ve struggled with for years. Something that has the potential to give so much pleasure needn’t be the source of so much pain.