S-e-x (The 3-letter word)

by Dr. Susan Pomeranz

Let’s talk about sex. As a culture we’re obsessed with it. Just flip through any magazine at your local bookstore or checkout stand. You’ll see: Are you hot enough? Is your penis big enough? Hard enough? Are your breasts perky or do they point downwards towards Mexico? And then they offer all these groundbreaking statistics like “81% of couples use some kind of food item as part of their lovemaking.”

Also, apparently there are now 36 G spots. Actually, that’s 35 more than I knew about. Come on, where do they get this stuff anyway? Besides fostering absurd comparisons and oodles of self-doubt, these magazines have made it all about mechanics. Have we forgotten about truly loving each other? Why do we look outside of ourselves to see what’s “normal” or how we should be, versus looking inside for what feels right? It doesn’t matter if you make love daily, only in months that start with “J,” or haven’t had sex since Melrose Place left prime time. Frequency is not the issue. What matters is what’s right for you and your partner. Are you able to fully express your hearts and share the deepest parts of yourselves with each other? Is there a reciprocity to your loving that grows and evolves as you do?

I can’t tell you how many couples come into my office with “sexual” issues. “She’s too tired.” “He’s too mired.” “He’s not exciting.” “She’s not inviting.” They’re forgetting that the real issue lies in the offering. The question they should be asking is, “What do I bring to the table? Am I loving? Interesting? Interested? Sexy? Available? Kind?” Isn’t sex just a barometer for what’s going on in a relationship, anyway?

I often tell couples to stop having sex: Just stop—game over. It’s no longer about orgasm. Instead it’s about all the ways we can be pleasuring and intimate with each other. It’s amazing the levels of connection and tenderness and playfulness people discover when they stop focusing on the Big O.

I had an interesting experience many years ago (Mom, don’t read this). You know how during sex you often start thinking that you’re too fat or too flat or too something, and you try to position yourself (no way am I getting on top!) to downplay whatever body flaws you think you have? And you become so obsessed with negative thoughts that it’s impossible for you to just BE in the moment?

Well, this happened to me, but from the other side. I had a partner who felt he was overweight and was completely self-conscious and self-absorbed—a preoccupation that made sex a total drag. I didn’t care if he was fat or thin or big or small. I just wanted him to be there, with me.

Again, it’s not about your body parts or how long you last or how bendy you are. It’s about being present and loving and listening to yourself and each other.

Optional Assignment

Think about what you bring to all your relationships, sexual or not. If you want more love in your life be more loving. Want sweet? Be sweet. Want compassion? Humor? Understanding? You get the idea. Just be what you want. The worst that could happen is you’ll be a better you.


Dr. Susan PomeranzDr. Susan Pomeranz has been in private practice for over 20 years as a marriage and family therapist. She loves her work. Helping people create joyful, sane, loving relationships is not only her gift, but her passion. Through her compassion, insight and sense of humor, she provides effective, no-nonsense therapy to individuals, couples and groups. She has taught at Antioch University, led workshops at UCLA and throughout California, and is a contributing writer to the newspaper, The Ojai Ventura Voice. She makes her home in the Hollywood Beach neighborhood of Oxnard, and is available for pre-nuptial and relationship counseling in Ventura and L.A. Counties.

Contact: 310/578-5530 ❤ 805/985 [email protected]

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