“In sex, you need to let yourself go… to the point of foolishness”- Sexology (film)
Sex is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Surrendering, and releasing control.
Being pleasured and finding pleasure.
About having tousled hair, wild eyes and an open heart.
And yet, losing ourselves within sex can be one of the hardest things to achieve.
We worry during sex.
How much our bum is jiggling. Whether the bedside table needs a dust. Whether the neighbours can hear. Anxious thoughts or distracting mental chatter can mean we’re not able to focus and tune in to the sensations of sex as we’re stuck in our own heads.
We fear being judged.
Perhaps there’s a sense of shyness and embarrassment of what the other person will think of us. Perhaps we’re worried about being laughed at- of our partner being disgusted by us, saying no, or teasing us. Maybe we’re ashamed of asking for what we want and need in the bedroom. This often comes from the idea that we should act “a certain way” in the bedroom, and/or that we’re not a “true feminist” if we do certain acts. Women are so often judged for being a slut, a hussy, a whore, frigid, beige, a starfish… it’s hard to see the bedroom as a judgement free space when all around us our behaviour is commented upon. This means being vulnerable in this space is something that isn’t a given but needs to be worked towards. But that’s TOUGH to do, because of the pressures in society on women and the roles we think we should play during sex.
We haven’t given ourselves permission to seek pleasure.
As women we’re socialised not to own our own pleasure. Our society attaches taboo and stigma to women who do let go and become sexually liberated, and historically sex has always been about a man’s pleasure and women just have to “lie back and think of England”. You might find yourself trying to “get the job done” quickly using toys or familiar methods to get turned on, rather than taking the time to explore sensation and pleasure.
Maybe sex doesn’t feel THAT great.
It’s unlikely we’ll be swept up in the moment when you’re getting friction burns because your partner is going too fast, or sex hurts or feels uncomfortable!
We are too goal-oriented.
We can get so caught up, because we live in such a “sex sells” society, in looking good and acting sexy that we forget sex is meant to be hilarious! We make funny noises, pull funny faces, slip off chairs because someone spilled the lube and fanny fart during the horniest of encounters. We’re often conditioned to think of sex as this serious, goal orientated thing when in fact it’s just two people coming together for pleasure, intimacy, fun, stress-relief etc…
We are afraid of being vulnerable with our partners.
True sexual authenticity is about seeing and being seen- and fear of rejection from the person who knows us best can leave us paralysed and closed up. Layla Martin (a brilliant US sex educator) asks whether for some of us this is more likely with a partner than a stranger- are we more afraid of being sexually wild the closer we get to a partner? In her latest video, “7 Ways to re-ignite passion in a low sex relationship” she explores the idea that the more commitment, trust and intimacy grows in your relationship, the more fear we have of intimacy. Sounds crazy, but Layla insists most people don’t even realise they’re scared of intimacy. However it makes sense- the more we connect with someone, the deeper the fear we have of sexually surrendering to them and making ourselves vulnerable. During sex we’re at our most vulnerable, and to avoid this risk of being abandoned we shut down the possibilities that could be awaiting us and instead avoid sexual authenticity. Inevitably, the stakes are higher because we have more to lose if they walk away. And so, avoiding vulnerability during sex might mean we take less risks or act less wild in order to hold onto them. This ties into archetypes like the madonna and whore or sayings like “A lady in the streets and freak in the sheets”- that women cannot both enjoy sex and be a respectable wife/girlfriend.
We can’t lose control
Claudi Melli talks about how often we struggle to lose control because we’re taught that being in control is the only way to be. She says control is the complete opposite of how we want to experience sex- as orgasm needs arousal but also relaxation. We cannot relax into sex if we’re in control. This control many times comes from past experiences- if we don’t feel safe, we don’t know how to let go- but it’s also attitude where we develop. For lots of women this centres around how they look- in a world where appearance matters, losing control means being silly, looking messy, it’s often chaotic and we abandon all sense of reality. Relinquishing control over how we look can be the ultimate barrier for many women to overcome.
The most important thing is to trust your instincts- it’s totally OK to struggle to disarm yourself during sex. All of the above have probably acted in ways to protect you during sex in the past- and we’d guess there’s been valid reasons why you’ve not fully relaxed into sex too!
Luckily however, there are some really simple techniques and tips to try to break this cycle above and take control over your sex life (if you choose to). Below are 10 tried and tested ways to help you feel more relaxed and enjoy losing yourself in the moment….
How to relax and surrender into sex:
To feel safe to let go during sex, you need to feel safe both emotionally and physically. This comes from a sense of trust, respect and understanding with your partner. If we’re even slightly worried they won’t listen to our no, pick up on subtle body cues, tease us, or feel resentment or unresolved conflict (which creates distance between the two of you), it can impact on our ability to lose ourselves in sex because we feel an innate need to stay alert.
Esther Perel talks about sex as a place you go. Do you feel comfortable for your partner to go there with you?
It’s not necessarily about having a deep connection with who you’re having sex with but rather allowing them to see you in a state of openness and vulnerability which creates great sex.
And the solution (according to Layla?) Creating honesty and space with your partner where you can explore this “resistance to sex and intimacy”. Click here to find out more about improving your relationship and how to create safety, trust and intimacy in order to help you surrender into sex.
2. Learn how to stay present
This is one of the most important skills to learn when it comes to having sex! There are so many things that can distract us in the moment (from anxious thoughts, feeling stressed, worries about body image etc) that being able to lose yourself is an art. Try reading our ultimate guide to staying present to get you started.
3. Learn about yourself and what you want and need from sex.
Having self-knowledge about who you are sexually, what you want, and how to ask for it is a really powerful way to to protect yourself against painful sex and to centre your pleasure in your experiences. Bez Stone talks about the payoff of owning your own sexuality and being able to express yourself sexually as one of the most powerful things women can do. Get a head start by taking our Art of Sexual Self-Empowerment course to discover what you want in bed, learn the skills of sexual assertiveness, and tap into your sexual power.
4. Practise alone:
If you can’t let go when you’re by yourself, how will you do so with a partner?
Practise touching yourself alone and focus on how you get comfortable and feel safe by yourself. Often we come to masturbation in a hurried fashion, or feel guilt about self-pleasuring. But here is where you connect with your body and find out what feels good for you. Learn how to spend time coming home to yourself and how to worship your body.
5. Create a safe, sensual bedroom space.
Consider what you need to do to create a bedroom in which you can fully engage with your sexuality.
Do you need a lock on the door? Are you comfortable? Do you need to adjust the temperature? What about how it’s decorated- does it inspire you to unwind?
6. Don’t be ashamed to embrace pleasure.
We can feel shy, embarassed, afraid that we’ll be judged for our enjoyment of sex, which is all bollocks! The best way of doing this I found was to surround yourself with a sex positive community. Talk with friends who are able to embody their own pleasure without fear. Follow sex positive blogs. Join the Scarlet Ladies. Do what you need to do to be around people that can inspire you to strip away any judgement you might have.
Also, sex on TV and in porn isn’t real life, so don’t get too het up with re-enacting your fave film sex scene because the farting, seal noises and flesh slapping have been heavily edited out! However so many of us often have some really core beliefs about sex, or who we have the potential to be sexually, that doing some work on these can be really helpful in order to learn how to surrender. In our Art of Sexual Self-Empowerment course we cover how to shift limiting self beliefs about sex to help you
7. The power of vulnerability.
8. Bare your neck.
So I’m sure there’s something animalistic about this, or maybe something around feeling safe to be dominated by a partner, but I discovered it accidentally whilst relaxing more into the moment the last few times I’ve had sex.
If you bare your neck (and by this I mean tilt your head back or to the side more than you would normally to expose your neck) it feels like quite a sexual pose. We’re exposing a really vulnerable part of us, and it can help you to tap into that vulnerability you need to surrender to sex.
*Only do this if you feel comfortable and safe to do so- trust your instinct*.
9. Relax and rest your arms above your head.
AKA like Kate Winslet in Titanic- the old resting arms jobby. Similar to the above and tapping into being vulnerable, when you are laying down (and your partner’s going down on you or you’re in missionary) gently rest your arms on the bed over your head.
I’m sure it’s something about the way your back is slightly bent in this position, meaning your pelvis goes down so your breasts are more on show, that can be calming. Another way to get the same effect is to wear a blindfold.
10. Visualise your perfect sexual encounter.
Close your eyes, and imagine. Visualise who you want to be in bed, what you want to move like, look like, sound like. Close your eyes and focus on your body and what it feels like. Write that shit down. Make vision boards. The clearer your vision the more likely it’ll become reality.
11. Make or listen to noise (especially during foreplay).
This links to pleasure and sensuality by grounding you into the moment. To begin with if you don’t know how, just breathe heavily, sigh, give soft moans. Or, play music- listen to something that makes you feel sexy!
12. Learn to lose control:
This is a hard one as many of us are running around like control freaks and unable to let ourselves truly be seen and give in to another. A great way of doing this is through dance- expressing yourself through your body and quieting your busy mind! Claudia Melli also recommends looking at areas in your life where you can delegate tasks and to enjoy when there is a change of plan- fight against your natural instinct to step in.
13. Give yourself enough time.
Sex and time has a really interesting relationship. If you’re always having sex late at night, and you know you’ll going for at least an hour and that means not enough sleep before a busy day tomorrow, you can begin to panic about tomorrow and how you’ll function (meaning you can’t stay present). So, making sure you get to bed with an hour to spare before your actual bed time can mean it’s so much easier to relax, enjoy sex and know you’ll get a full nights sleep still. Equally, learning more about responsive desire and why it can feel like it takes a long time to get turned on is also useful.
And if these aren’t enough, here’s two great blogs about how to relax and surrender during sex, and this article is really great at explaining how women can feel ashamed to fully let go, because we’re shy, unable to relax or unable to ask for what we want or express our fantasies.
Have you found any useful resources or have any great tips on how to let go and surrender into sex?
We would love to hear from you in the comments below- lets share our thoughts and help each other ↓↓↓