5 Secrets Every Sex Therapist Wants You to Know …

The other day one of my clients came in and said, “All these years, I’ve had it all wrong! I had no idea sex could be this good – this much fun!”  I thought to myself, “I seriously have the best job in the world!! I get paid to help people be better lovers … which in America (where porn and media are our primary sex educators), isn’t rocket science!!”

Happy woman lying among yellow wildflowers

The majority of folks who come in and see me, come for differences in their sex drives, difficulties having orgasms or ejaculating too soon.  Often they just have lots and lots of inaccurate information which we can easily clear up with going over some of the basics like, “Did you know men and women’s arousal cycles can be quite different. Let me draw you a picture.”  … and off I go drawing something out.   “Therefore men need to learn to warm up slow and learn to follow her – let me give you an example of what I mean …”   Sometimes it is looking at the larger picture of a couple’s life and seeing if sleep is being squeezed out and what affect that is having on sexual desire.  Often the combination of limited information and misinformation has amounted to a narrow understanding of what fun pleasurable sex can be.  This unfortunately leads many couples into a predictable and boring sexual routine.  I have the fun job of blowing their minds by expanding their notions of erotic pleasure and their definitions of sex.  This is where the fun begins!

Learning to adjust your definition of sex can not only lead to better sex right away, but can guarantee your sex life continue to stay fun and fresh for decades to come.  Let me give you a few ideas to help you expand your experience of love-making …

Make pleasure your number one focus – both the giving of pleasure and the receiving of pleasure.

Make sure you are both having lots of pleasure!  This is more important than the specific behavior you are or are not doing.  Trust me on this!  If one of you is bored, in pain, or not into it … it will kill sexual desire.  You want to both be focusing on feeling and expanding the experience of pleasure – yours and your partners.  This is not a NASCAR performance and you are not on trial.  If you are not feeling pleasure – adjust. Sharing intimate pleasure is one of the key purposes of erotic touch. Forget the “we should do this …”, “we should do that …” bologna and just notice what feels pleasurable.


Make connection your number two focus – you want to feel more connected to each other.


This is the second key purpose in erotic touch – it needs to connect you.  It needs to be fun and/or loving and/or playful and/or intimate. Look into each others eyes and really see each other – let yourself been seen, known, loved and accepted.  It is what we all crave!!  Erotic touch needs to feel unique to your relationship – something that binds you closer. Again, it matters less what behaviors you do, as long as connection is a byproduct of what you do and/or say during erotic touch. If whatever sexual behaviors you share do not ultimately connect you more, then you have defeated the purpose and one or both of you won’t be into it as much next time.


Be more Playful – don’t take sex too seriously.  Be content with good-enough sex.


Not all dinners are gourmet dinners … not all sexual encounters will rock your world.  But if you show up, heart open, focused on pleasure and connection, ready to be playful and enjoy each other, no matter what happens it will be fun – and probably not routine or boring or the same as it was last time! Just enjoy yourself and each other. That’s the point! If you feel like you are getting stuck in a routine, talk about what the routine is, then decide to not do anything on the routine list for two weeks.  If intercourse always is in the routine, take intercourse off the table for two weeks; if its oral sex, take it off the table for two weeks; whatever it is.  Then for two weeks figure out as many different other ways to make love that don’t include those particular behaviors.  See how many other ways you can come up with.  Pretend you are in junior high again and “you can’t do IT” yet … IT is not allowed!!  You have to find all kinds of other ways to turn each other on! Make it fun and HOT!!


Toughen up your Skin – get better at Let’s GoNot Tonight

Embrace sad spouse

Learning the skills of initiation and rejection in the tender arena of sexuality are skills most of us never learn and thus are easily bruised.  This can cause all kinds of difficulty in a relationship and set up a pattern of withdrawal and hurt feelings that never get resolved.  The pattern that most often happens is the partner that most often initiates and is rejected often becomes tired of being rejected – they feel too vulnerable – and begins to stop initiating.  The person who has been ‘saying no’ begins to feel undesirable and often becomes even more rejecting through criticism or withdrawal.   This sets up a hurtful dance. If someone initiates, and you do not feel up to it, take the time to listen to their desires, hear their heart of love for you, see if there is a compromise that can be struck. If not, be compassionate to their disappointment and talk about how connection and pleasure can be shared soon. If you are the one who feels rejected, listen to the reason the other was not able to extend themselves.  Try to hear their reason and try to navigate with them a way to accommodate.  Hear their heart of love for you even if they cannot meet you through erotic touch at this time.  Find a way to connect in another way. Keep your heart turned toward each other.  Most of the time the reason we cannot participate in erotic touch is not about rejecting the other person and more about something going on with us.



Never Take Your Sex Life For Granted

Senior couple walking on the beach in fall season

You might think that for a culture that has sex constantly on its mind we would do a better job taking care of our sexual relationships inside the connections that matter most … but you and I both know this is not the case!  Why do you think this is? I think it’s because we are creatures of habit.  And as creatures of habit, we have a way of ignoring what is commonplace in our lives.  For most of us, that often becomes the people we live with.  However, relationships are organic entities … they are like a garden.  If you ignore them, relationships dry up and die or get smothered in weeds.  If you don’t invest in your sexual relationship, in pleasure and connection, ensuring that it stays vibrant and healthy, it will slowly begin to fade away.  You can ignore it for a while, but it is only a matter of time. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched this happen.  And it always breaks my heart!!  Ignoring a relationship is not sustainable without significant cost … significant!   Here is what you need to put on your bathroom mirror and read every day:

  • Share erotic pleasure and connection often – loving touch nourishes body, mind, soul and relationship
  • Turn off all electronic devices the minute you are both in bed and make time to talk, read to each other, touch each other, snuggle, even just attend to each other in silence for a minute
  • You’ve heard me say it before … One 3 minute hug (until you fully relax!) and two 10 second juicy kisses a day (unrelated to sex!)
  • Do something different at least once a month – buy lingerie, a sex toy, go into a sex shop together, read a sex book on techniques or sex ed (keep learning!), play a sexual game, schedule a date night, play with a paint brush and chocolate sauce, anything playful. Find your inner 6 year old!
  • Check in with each other – take an intimacy pulse of the relationship – how do you both feel things are going? Any adjustments you want to make over the next month?
  • Learn to ask for what you want openly and honestly and learn to hear each other’s requests with kindness and grace. Ask questions and give each other the benefit of the doubt.  Always assume the best of each other around sex. This will help you both feel safe enough to be a little daring and have a lot of fun!
Tina's Goofy Family in Santorini  Ashley Johnson Photography

Tina’s Goofy Family in Santorini
Ashley Johnson Photography

About Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD

Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers is a recognized scholar in the integration of spirituality into a multitude of areas represented in family and career life. As a behavioral scientist, licensed family therapist, medical family therapist, and certified sex therapist, she specializes in helping to craft relationships, organizations and lives that flourish. In the area of sexuality, Tina has spent a career helping people discover what culture has failed to teach them about their bodies, their hearts, their capacity for intimacy and their erotic potential.
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One Response to 5 Secrets Every Sex Therapist Wants You to Know …

  1. Pingback: 5 Secrets Every Sex Therapist Wants You to Know | Church and Sex

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