Every sexual encounter involves some emotional connection. Casual sex is an emotional connection which may lead to more involvement. Long-term lovers can go through emotional and sexual connects and disconnects. Pigeonholing the meaning of sex into neat categories does not help lovers understand how sex works or does not work in their relationships.

Our society emphasizes generalizations and black and white thinking, but this does no one any good. It confuses people about what is emotionally and sexually healthy. There are many nuances surrounding sexual encounters and relationships. To fully understand the complexities of human sexual expression we must have intimate discussions and clarifications with our lovers.

The Importance of Pre-Sex Discussions

In our Covid era, it is especially relevant to have discussions—including pre-sex discussions with those we are attracted to and emotionally interested in. It does not help to dichotomize sex into casual and intimate because casual sex can be intimate and intense, and so-called intimate relationships may be anything but intimate.

Some fall in love during a passionate night with a new lover. This is not beyond the pale. Others relish lust and some caring but do not fall in love on night one. As I said in my TED Talk on my homepage, it is healthier to make a new friend at the least during a night of new sex, than to view it as a one-night stand.

Our society is full of one night stands (though probably less so with Covid), complete with an immediate emotional connection followed by a quick disconnection. Quick disconnections are not healthy emotionally. We are left with a loneliness that need not be the case. If we discuss what we expect in pre-sex discussions, there will be fewer hurt feelings and more joy.

The same can be said for marriages. We often have ups and downs emotionally and sexually over time. Some of this is normal, but if the ups and downs are severe and often, there is a lot to attend to in the relationship, which is best accomplished with a certified sex therapist who is also a couples’ counselor.

Choose a Certified Sex Therapist

Marriage counselors and general counselors often lack the training in sexual behavior to fully solve sexual connects and disconnects. Sometimes simple problems do not require therapy, but if a problem persists, it is appropriate to see a certified sex therapist.

A series of quick connects and disconnects can cause emotional distress. Our emotions are based on our thoughts, so CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is the most appropriate and the quickest way to solve connection problems.

Whether a person is monogamous or in some kind of open relationship, it is important to address how emotions are affected by sexual expression, and how sexual expression affects emotions. Sex is the main conduit for love, but sex can also be a caring experience with plenty of pleasure. It helps to have some relationship with those we enjoy sex with. A friend with benefits is healthier than a series of one-night stands.

In the end, sex is a language with an array of meanings and motives. In order to be emotionally healthy, we need to decipher all of this together!

For more information on sex therapy click here.