How to Be a Sexually Resilient Woman

You know, it’s easy to feel sexy all the time when you’re going out with someone who really excites you. Just getting ready for a date is a serious exercise in self-stimulation. Chances are you fantasize about it, spend hours planning and dressing for it, talking to friends about it, and imagining what happens next. But what about when that new, enticing relationship turns into a long-term predictable relationship? Just when you realize you got what you thought you wanted, the sparkle fizzles. Is that because your partner changes? Maybe partly – but more often it’s because you stop doing the very things that you did, in the beginning, to make the relationship so exciting. If your sex life has lost some of its lusters, maybe it’s because you haven’t developed your own capacity for what I call “sexual resilience.” Don’t feel bad – most women don’t do that. It’s not part of the lesson plan we get at home or school. But we’re going to add that to your education right now. Here are some tips for developing erotic awareness and sexual resilience.

The first step is to decide to make desire a key motivator in your life. This has nothing to do with a particular partner or relationship – it has everything to do with you and you alone. How do you do it? Simple. You wallow in your desires. If that sounds like a lot – try these exercises.

First, start keeping a desire journal – write down all your desires. Not only those having to do with sex but those that are sensual, practical, emotional, greedy. And act on as many of them as you can.

Second, create a menu of mental erotica that you can expose yourself to frequently. Find it on the internet, in bookstores, maybe art galleries – wherever it works for you…and look at it often.

Next, make sure you fantasize about sex. Spend 20 minutes a day – seriously! Also, talk about sex with anyone and everyone. Push your envelope of acceptable activities just because you can.

In addition to steeping in your desires, watch out for behaviors that can trip you up and cancel out your desire. That means, essentially, begin to relinquish rigid ideas about sex in relationships. Know that the rules we ask our partners to live up to – especially if your partner is a man – are the same rules that keep us removed from our own desires. For example, we tell our men, “Don’t look at other women, don’t look at porn, don’t think about sex so much.” We tell them, “Don’t ask for sex when everything else isn’t perfect.” We say, “Why are you masturbating? You have a partner.” We tell them not to desire “just” sex – somehow it has to be emotional, it has to be meaningful. “Don’t treat sex as a fact of life, for heaven’s sakes” – we tell our men. It has to be romantic, or spiritual, or transcendent, or redemptive, or something BIG.

So if those are your rules for sex for your partner, they’re probably your rules for yourself, too. And they’re bad rules if you want to feel sexy and alive, and you want your relationship to reflect that feeling. Treating desire as your right changes the way you see yourself, your relationship, and your life. It can even make you happy!

Now granted, this can be difficult for women who have experienced sexual trauma, or who feel ashamed of being sexual. If that’s the case, sex therapy is a good idea. Or do a lot of reading to boost your sense of yourself. Books like Gina Ogden’s Women who Love Sex, or my own book, Fearless Sex, can really help you embrace your sexuality.

Of course, the stresses of life can dim even the most sexually hardy person’s love light. But you can shore up against life stresses that deplete desire. You can allow your sexuality to thrive, even under pressure, if you have the attitude that is characteristic of sexual resilience. I’ve found that these are the key qualities of sexually resilient women. You can develop these, too.

First – among resilient women, sexual expression is a high moral value. It’s right up there with caring for others, doing a good job, being a good friend. Sexually resilient women honor their sexuality and respect themselves for it. In addition, they’re willing to make intimacy a priority.

They’re willing to surmount obstacles and resistances, they refuse to give in to them, and they won’t make excuses for avoiding sex. They’re also willing to find alternative pleasures if one door to pleasure closes. Things happen in our lives, and sometimes we have to adjust. They are always seeking new, novel, and experimental experiences. They ask for help if they get stuck. They’re not fault-finders, they’re not martyrs – instead, they’re accountable for themselves.

Also, a sexually resilient woman makes sure sexual situations that she’s involved in include her big turn-ons and exclude big turn-offs. She knows what both of those are, and she keeps looking for new turn-ons. She doesn’t stagnate erotically or presume that what worked for her at 20 will work at 30 or what worked at 40 will work at 50. She takes good care of her body and health, too. You can’t have a sexually vital system if you don’t exercise, or if you eat junk food, abuse alcohol, and generally dishonor your body.

In summary, feeling sexy all the time, being resilient sexually, is not so much a state of arousal as it is a state of mind – an attitude of readiness, appreciation, and continual development of the erotic side of yourself.