How satisfied are you with your sex life?
Rate your answers on a scale of 1 to 5, based on how strongly you identify with each of the statements below – 5 being the highest
1. I feel positive about my body when I am in the moment
2. I have a vivid imagination and can easily engage in sexual fantasies
3. I was raised with positive messages about sex
4. My sex life reflects my values and innermost desires
5. I find it easy to ask for intimacy from my partner
6. Masturbation is an important part of my sex life
7. I am comfortable initiating sexual activities
8. I don’t put pressure on myself to orgasm, or to perform for others
9. I’m comfortable with the size, shape and smell of my genitals
10. I think about sex on a daily basis
11. My mood is generally positive, and I have sexual energy and appetite
12. I can talk openly about any sexual anxieties I might have
13. I am more open-minded about sex as I get older
14. I have worked through difficult sexual experiences from my past
15. I don’t feel constrained sexually by my daily roles, such as being a parent
16. I take pleasure in the sensual side of life
17. I know my body well and what satisfies me
18. I don’t take myself too seriously, and can have fun sexually
19. I am clear about my personal boundaries with my partner
20. I’m happy with the amount of sex I have
75 AND ABOVE
Congratulations, you are well versed in the language of sex and sexual expression!
You have a healthy attitude towards sex and intimacy and understand that sex starts from knowing your sexual self first; sex is important to you and you are highly aware of your body and its responses. You view your body as a source of pleasure and are happy to release your sexual energy on a regular basis.
You may not realise it, but your deep understanding of your sexual self is a valuable life skill, too. As you pass through the different phases of your life, change can bring unpredictability in your feelings and behaviour.
There will be challenges to face as you potentially encounter relationships, break-ups, marriages, children, illnesses, and old age – and so your ability to work through your emotional past and have an open attitude to the future will allow you to rebalance your sexual self as you navigate the trials and tribulations of life.
TRY: Talk more with others about sex and sexual attitudes. Many people are too embarrassed to ask questions about sexuality, but are very keen to find out answers. Your positive attitude towards your body and sex might be helpful to other people around you.
BETWEEN 50 AND 75
Your early sexual experiences have helped you develop a positive attitude but there’s room to loosen up.
Sometimes sex can bring up some doubts and messages from the past you thought you had long forgotten. ‘Good girls don’t do things like that’, or, ‘Men know how to please themselves and their partners sexually’ are common myths that might guide your behaviour occasionally.
You have the right emotional tools to hand, but further exploration might help you reach another level of sexual satisfaction! Life is a major factor when it comes to sexual expression, from puberty to early adulthood, first serious relationships, living together, getting married, having children and adjusting to new dynamics in family life, work/life balance, and ageing. It is important to consider how life affects your sexual functioning.
TRY: Start by exploring how you feel about your body, your sexual likes and dislikes. Consider how you might share your feelings with your partner – if you know what turns you on, or off, that’s half the job done. It’s equally important that you can communicate this in a positive way so that your partner become part of the learning process. Then you can begin to explore new sexual heights – and have fun with it – together.
You may have found some of the questions quite challenging – and that’s OK…
Childhood experiences, role models, sexual encounters, and longer-term relationships can all contribute towards sexual anxiety. Depression, sex and some medication can also have a significant impact on your sexuality.
Knowledge is power and that applies to sex, too. Regardless of gender, age or persuasion, anyone can have great sex and learn sexual skills. Ask yourself: ‘Do I know what I like or need sexually?’, ‘What turns me on, or off?’, ‘What do I need more, or less, of?’.
If you don’t know about yourself, how can you expect anybody else to know how to turn you on? Ultimately, you are responsible for your own sexual needs and responsibilities, so get exploring.
TRY: Think about how your body can give you pleasure. Have a long bath with fragrant oils or a warm, soothing shower to reflect on your desires. Start by touching your skin and exploring its texture; you can do this as regularly as feels comfortable, then build up to masturbation at a pace that suits you.
Read more: Are you having conscious sex?
MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
IT’S A BASIC INSTINCT
Professor Robert Winston, a leader in the field of fertility studies and reproductive medicine, says: ‘Sex is one of our most basic instincts’.
Part of our sex drive can be explained by the biological need to reproduce, but our attitude to sex is influenced by much more than that.
Our sexual attitude is a melting pot of our backgrounds – including our family’s attitudes to sex and our past experiences.
AM I NORMAL?
Despite potentially being the most fantastic, pleasurable and freeing experience, sex makes many people feel insecure. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual, which can leave you wondering whether the things you think, or do, on your own or with a partner, are ‘normal’ behaviour.
But, while you may have things in common with others, we are all different as sexual beings; your sexual relationships are as unique as you are and therefore cannot be normalised.
SEX AND SATISFACTION
Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes ‘good sex’. Orgasm and pleasure can
play a big part in the equation, but sexual satisfaction is not just about physical pleasure or the absence of a problem. It’s a feeling you are left with after considering the positives and negatives of sexual relationships.
LOVE YOUR GENITALS
Men’s genitals are ‘front and centre’ and guys make size comparisons from a young age – so size can become an issue early on.
Women’s genitals are concealed (and often under-explored), so sight and smell can also become an issue.
Taking the time to accept the size, shape and smell of your genitals will stand you in good stead when it comes to your comfort levels with partners.
FIND YOUR BALANCE
A little homework can work wonders
1. BE MINDFUL
Being aware and mindful of your own body is a good way of increasing sensuality and building sexual awareness.
Touching and caressing your skin while in the bath or shower, or by applying a body lotion can form a sensual connection with yourself. Also, pay attention to the tensing and releasing of your muscles during physical activity, such as yoga or pilates.
2. GET INFORMED
Reading books such as Becoming Orgasmic by Julia Heiman or The New Male Sexuality by Bernie Zilbergeld might be useful for both men and women in learning more about yourself and the opposite sex.
3. LOVE YOUR BODY
It’s important you accept your body and learn to love all its lumps and bumps. When you cherish it, you’ll feel more sexually confident.
Introducing food between the sheets can be a highly erotic experience. Whether it’s a squirt of whipped cream or feeding each other succulent strawberries, there’s no sweeter way to get frisky during foreplay – so try experimenting.
5. GOOD TO TALK
Brits are famous for being bashful about sex. But talking honestly about it helps you understand your needs. Open up dialogue with friends – it will be eye-opening.
We ask Londoners how they feel about their sex lives