Goal focus rather than consent & pleasure

If someone is talking about orgasms – having bigger or better ones, having them more quickly, or delaying them, or having more than one in a row – then they are talking about goals. Sex acts which are considered risqué (or non-normative or kinky) are often talked about in ways that implies they could be ticked off a bucket list: anal, kink, sex outside, mile high club, multiple partner sex – these are also goals.

There’s nothing inherently wrong in wanting to have lots of great sex and for this to feature great orgasms or something exciting and new. However the problem is that setting them as goals means that people who can’t or don’t want to have this kind of sex feel inadequate and that they aren’t doing it properly. Also it sets up a script of sex that we ‘should’ have rather than sex we might actually ‘want’ to have, which can be problematic if we are wanting to promote (and model) sexual consent.

Furthermore, even for people who are willing and able, setting goals often doesn’t work: in fact it can make those goals harder to achieve (see Orgasm is the goal of all sexual activity). Sexual difficulties are often borne out of people trying to achieve a goal (for instance orgasms, erections, delayed ejaculation) rather than aiming to be ‘in the moment’ and to enjoy the journey of having pleasurable sex. Seeing sex as a goal to achieve, or sex difficulties as a problem to be fixed actually makes for less enjoyable sex.

Far better would be to see, listen and read about how we can take the pressure off ourselves to succeed in sex. Advice and information on mindful breathing exercises, yoga, massage, being more aware of smell and sound as well touch and sight could be really useful and could help us all. It is more helpful to regard reaching our destination as a side effect of embarking on and enjoying our journey.

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