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Increase Sexual Enjoyment Self Help Advice

Written by Dr. Marty Klein

If your sex life is no longer satisfying, it may be because you're thinking like an adolescent. Here's how to update your sexuality and increase enjoyment.

Sexuality education starts in infancy and continues through childhood. It's in adolescence, though, that we develop conscious models of proper sexual functioning, sexual goals and sexual relationships. Many people, unfortunately, retain that adolescent model throughout their lives, even though both our relationships and our bodies have changed by adulthood.

 
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What's one thing you learned about sex as a teenager that you no longer believe?
How has your sexual functioning changed since you were 15?
What's keeping you from updating what you can realistically expect from yourself sexually?  
 
So although we may want something different from sex, and are probably using different equipment, we're making love using the same old conceptual model. And that often leads to disappointment. Perhaps we don't function as we used to, and we don't know how to create satisfaction. Or even if we function the way we used to, we don't get the satisfaction we expected.

Thus, it's crucial to update your internal models of sexuality. You wouldn't run a new computer on old software; well, all adults need an updated version of their sexual software. That might include:

New assumptions about what you need to get excited

New criteria for choosing a partner

New expectations about your sexual functioning

New ideas about what "good sex" includes

New communication skills for when sex doesn't go the way you want

Ultimately, we all need adult ideas about how our adult bodies should function sexually, and the kinds of emotional communication we want with a partner. As we age, our bodies often become less dependable, and our sexual functioning more vulnerable to disruption. It's critical to de-emphasize the role of our genitalia in sexual satisfaction.

Being stuck with the old software limits how well our sexual hardware will work - and no amount of anger, shame or regret will change that. What makes it hard to change our software?

We don't want to admit we're getting older. We're afraid we won't be sexual if we can't depend on our genitalia. We don't have exciting models of adult sexuality, so we're stuck with adolescent ones. We're afraid we'll be abandoned.

Change your software so your body's hardware can work as well as possible - and so you can get the emotional satisfaction that adult sexuality has to offer.
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 Marty Klein, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage counselor and sex therapist in Palo Alto, Calif. He has written for national magazines and appeared on many TV shows, including Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael and Jenny Jones. You can read more about his books, tapes and appearances on his Web site, SexEd.org