Sex, relationships: and the mirror

Some years ago I attended a party where the attendees were all sexworkers. The main topic of conversation was what happens ‘when the real session starts’. In the business, ‘the real session’ happens after the sex. The real session is when the client tells you why they have really booked to see you – they may be lonely, they might be in a sex-less marriage or they might have lost all their sexual confidence.

Following sex it's not unusual for individuals to become more open, vulnerable and very, very honest - this often happens to us all after climax as a biological and psycho-sexual response to orgasm. It is at this point that the individual moves from what they want(ed) to what they need. This process is both fascinating and saddening all at the same time.

Why are we all running around grabbing at what we want when all the time what we really need is bubbling underneath the surface? Why have we just spent several hours on the Internet looking for sex/pornography when all we really needed was a hug? Why did we spend hundreds of pounds on that fetish gear when actually, we needed the human feeling of an embrace?

Notice the next time you have sex (or masturbate) how you feel before you climax and how you feel afterwards. A little therapeutic trick/identifier for this could be as simple as asking yourself before you masturbate/have sex:

‘On a scale of one to ten, how relaxed am I?’ and then asking the same question afterwards.

Now do you want to take this to the next level? How about:

‘On a scale of one to ten, how lonely am I?’

I bet you your bottom dollar that you find yourself feeling lonelier afterwards. Why is this? Because we often misinterpret sex for emotion. Now do not misunderstand me – sex is emotion and emotion is sex – but only if you are aware of this and have the opportunity to try this out – either with a partner or alone. What is also going on here is that the experience of climax causes a deep relaxation. When we are truly relaxed it is much easier to access our emotions - our true emotions - so after we climax we might then feel more emotional. We might feel sad, empty, lonely. We might also feel happy, connected, joyful.

Joyful is different from euphoria. Euphoria, whilst this can be a helpful benefit from sex, could also be a symptom of addiction. This is especially true if you find yourself immediately wanting more sex just after you’ve had some. It is in this case that we become addicted to the high – ignoring those sadder feelings underneath. Is this making more sense now? One thing I will say to you – you are human. Give yourself a break and allow your behaviour to come into your awareness without judgement. It is what it is.

The ‘pillow talk’ after sex is where many people find that they can get closest to their true feelings and see them most clearly. It’s almost like what is commonly called ‘closure’. In therapeutic terms it would be the period towards the end of the counselling session known as ‘wrapping up’ ‘closing down’ or ‘end of session closure’. I’m not a great fan of the term ‘closing down’ but you get the idea – you have opened up to your therapist and now the session is coming to an end, you would quite like to leave the office without looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. It’s all about safety. It’s also about honesty too so let’s look at this honesty (transparency)...

In order to make love as opposed to having sex – you need to recognise what you need, rather than what you want. This recognition is both internal (a way of getting to know yourself) and external (a way of getting to know other people).

Now here is a spark of light, read the above paragraph again. Then come back here:

You can get to know yourself internally by many means. Here are two examples:

  • masturbation
  • meditation.

You can get to know yourself externally by many means also. Here are two examples:

  • pillow talk
  • seeing a therapist.

I’m taking a risk here comparing therapy to sexwork and sexwork to therapy and pillow talk. I am also comparing it all to meditation. I am doing this deliberately. Stay with me. I have something to tell you.

Meditation is deliberately getting to know yourself. It’s sometimes called mindfulness.

Therapy is deliberately getting to know yourself using another person.

The mirror.

Mindful sex with a partner is deliberately getting to know yourself using another person. The mirror.

Pillow talk is all of the above.

Another mirror.

Masturbation done mindfully is like meditation.

It’s all quite complex isn’t it?

Not really. It’s all about knowing what is really going on. The more aware we become, the better sex we have, the more fulfilling our relationships – professional and personal – the more likely we are to catch ourselves before we trip up. Unhealthy relationships can occur in every aspect of life. We can become addicted to therapy. Therapists can become addicted to being therapists. You could become or already be addicted to sex. People can become fixated on internet porn. There is no difference in any of these addictions.

It is simply this – we are attached to what we want, instead of what we need.

What do you need?

Ask yourself this right now. You may find that you hear a different answer.

This article is referring mainly to how you achieve a better sex life. It is about how to connect with your needs rather than your wants which will in turn help you to identify how to feel more fulfilled sexually. Be that masturbation, 1-1 making love, group making love or whatever floats your boat. However... sex is simply yet another window (or mirror!) into the rest of our lives.

It’s no wonder we sometimes blindly have sex, eager for the end so we can switch the TV back on.

Just a little something to think about...

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by a listed counsellor/therapist

Show comments

Find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with sexual issues

All therapists are verified professionals.

Related Articles

More articles