#12DaysOfXmas Day 6: Not getting any or enough good (SEX)?

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We realised we haven't really touched on this subject at all since we began writing, but hey, when's a better time to review a regular part of our lives that is part of our intimacy rituals, than Christmas.  As the new year turns a page in our lives, we can always turn to our partners or pleasure ourselves - but we know that it's not always about the sex itself that makes it fulfilling, but good old interpersonal intimacy between two consensual individuals.

Day 6: When good sex turns into "bad sex" - Tips on avoiding the undesirable choices in your sex life

Dr Becky Spelman, of the Harley Street Practice of the UK, wrote an article in the UK Huffington Post that speaks about the common themes of sexual issues that arise as part other practice.  

In her article, Dr Becky spoke about us being complicated creatures and that our need for sex and intimacy opens up new challenges and consequences.  Many of our clients may find themselves making the same mistakes again and again.  Whether it's a BSC (Bad Sex Choice) or being emotionally blackmailed, it's not just an occasional occurrence but a lifetime of repetition.  This is reminiscent of negative re-occuring patterns that are enacted over and over again in our lives.  Whether it's attachment style or schema triggers, these interpersonal chemistry dynamics would cause us to commit a "bad sexual" mistake at one point in our lives, and as she put it, some are "graduating with honours" daily.

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She points out ways in which we can adapt to better support our self-esteem and happiness.  

Here are some tips she recommends for us folks who'd like some help in this area.  

Let's turn up the heat in the sack this Christmas, as you reflect on what your intimacy needs are.

If you're a single female

Sex and the emotional roller coaster

Ask yourself can I really separate love from sex, and do I really want to keep facing the feelings of rejection each time a sexual encounter doesn't lead to anything. For many women no matter how logical they try to be they still have feelings for the person they have sex for at least a short period of time no matter how unsuitable a partner the person may be. Remember if you're having sex regularly with various partners that's a lot of ups and downs of emotions to deal with. Can you cope with this? If not, understand when you are in this cycle and make decisive action to remove yourself from this.

50 shades of danger

If anyone is suggesting you engage in anything you feel uncomfortable with, in a sexual or emotional sense, ensure you've taken a decent amount of time to get to know the person and you feel you can predict their behaviour in almost every situation, and ask yourself is this person warm, caring and respectful. Saying no to this person a few times will give you a good idea of how considerate they are of your feelings. The bottomline is that anyone you have just met suggesting some form of BDSM behaviour very early on is a massive red flag, and my advice would be to run while you can, as this person is most likely bad news for your self esteem.

If you're a single male

Sex as self medication

You have to be honest with yourself and ask questions truthfully. Ask if you are using sex as a form of escapism in order not to feel? You've developed a form of addiction towards sex as a temporary coping strategy, which will only ever give you short term relief. Remember, addictive behaviours are not something you need to be engaging in every day for it to be considered an addiction. Try to avoid using sex as a way to suppress difficult emotions such as boredom, emptiness, loneliness, stress and other negative feelings, and practice sitting through these emotions and accepting them for what they are before choosing to have sex again.

Honesty will get you everywhere

Simple! Be honest with the partner from the get go. If you're not looking for a relationship tell them this, but explain that you are extremely attracted to them and you'd like to explore this, if this is in fact true. You might be surprised with how many partners still say yes to this situation. If the person chooses to have sex with you after this then the person knows what they're getting themselves into, and will have no chance to be angry with you if this encounter doesn't amount to something. To expand on this, you should screen out the insecure partners as much as possible in the first place, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

If you're in a relationship

Reducing negative emotions to promote sex

Make time for regular chats where you can openly share your thoughts and feelings with your partner about every aspect of your relationship. Make sure you do this in an environment where there won't be distractions. It's also good to risk being more honest with your partner than you normally would be, as this can help you release built up anger in a relationship and promote feelings of trust. When things start to get better in your relationship the habit of frequent sex may not return to what it was before the problems started so you may need to start scheduling time for love making in order to get things going again.

The spark has gone out in the bedroom

It's time to get creative. Start talking to your partner about their fantasies, and ask them if there is anything in particular that would turn them on and exchange your own preferences for trying new things. If you're both completely comfortable with the ideas you've bounced off each other then schedule a time where you can live out your fantasies. Good sex does take work and, remember, what really turned your partner on yesterday might not do it for them today. Keep asking them questions and for feedback. Together you are the creative team behind your wonderful, innovative and ever changing sex lives.

We all want a high self-esteem sex life

What's the point of all this?  Look, let's not get all militaristic about this process...it's really a tender and sensitive part of our lives.  Sex is a great part of our lives, it's a way we feel gratified, appreciated, express our deep love and give for each others' intimacy needs.  These can give us benefits such as relieving stress, and regulating ourselves physiological and psychologically - we cannot separate these two as they go hand in hand.  So it's important to make good sex choices in order to live a fulfilling life.

Whether you're a single male/female, or in a relationship with someone, there will be times when you would hit a BSC, or get hurt in the process.  Remember, honesty is the best policy and could well be one of the best relationship advice for all of us so we may keep each others' needs in mind, and not be overly selfish or selfless in the process.  

Dr Becky reminds us that having good sex with the person we're committed to takes work.  If we're lucky enough to have found a wonderful partner, she encourages us to take the time to work on the communication and behaviours that can contribute to the continuous success of a satisfying love life.