Feeling like something is missing in sex

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thyjsil
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Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by thyjsil »

Hello, Scarleteen Team! First of all, thank you for setting up this resource - it has been really helpful to me for a very long time. However, there is something I have been struggling with that I can't find a clear answer to anywhere.

I have been in a committed relationship for 3 years, and it's so far my only sexual relationship. I love my boyfriend and have a great time with him, but a while ago I noticed that I tend to feel not quite fulfilled with our sex life. The sex is not terrible, it feels nice, but doesn't really reach the point at which I would call it amazing. There doesn't seem to be anything outright wrong physically, and my partner is attentive to my needs, but something feels missing emotionally or psychologically.

There was one time when we had sex and it felt absolutely amazing - I got really engulfed in it and couldn't stop thinking about it for several weeks afterwards. However, it's been a while since that time, I have tried to do same things with my partner that we did back then, and it just doesn't click like it did that time.

I have no clue why I have this issue and how to figure out what is causing it. I have shared my feelings with my partner, but of course we can't figure out a solution since the problem is so abstract. I would love to get some help with figuring out what we can do about this and if it's even something we can solve at all. Please let me know if I can provide any more details.
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, welcome to the boards! So glad we've been helpful to you so far. Let's see what we can do to help with this.

One thing that really got my attention here is that you talked about really being engulfed in the experience that one time: do you have any sense of if that time it was so much about what you were doing -- which it sounds like you have tried to replicate without a similar experience -- OR if it was instead about that experience really having your full attention? In other words, with other times where you're not feeling as satisfied, would you also say you were as focused and as immersed in the experience as you were that one time?

Too, if you're able, do you feel like you can give any more words to what feels like is missing your you emotionally or psychologically? Even if it's just free association, it might be helpful to try blurting a bunch of them out -- like: "warmth, closeness, intensity, spark..." stuff that might feel random and not useful, but might turn out to give us all some good clues.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
thyjsil
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by thyjsil »

Heather wrote: One thing that really got my attention here is that you talked about really being engulfed in the experience that one time: do you have any sense of if that time it was so much about what you were doing -- which it sounds like you have tried to replicate without a similar experience -- OR if it was instead about that experience really having your full attention? In other words, with other times where you're not feeling as satisfied, would you also say you were as focused and as immersed in the experience as you were that one time?


I think it's definitely the latter, but also a bit of a former too. I have noticed that during sex I tend to drift off into my own fantasies quite often (not fantasizing about someone instead of my partner or anything like that, just general fantasies or scenes from smut), but that time, although I still had some fantasies I was extremely focused on my partner, the way he moves and sounds and etc. Now I am trying to snap myself out of it and focus on reality if I feel like I am drifting off too much, but it doesn't seem to help a lot. That time we definitely did something I have been fantasizing about for ages (specifically being a top), but as I mentioned before, we have tried to do it several times again and it just never felt the same to me for some reason.


Heather wrote:Too, if you're able, do you feel like you can give any more words to what feels like is missing your you emotionally or psychologically? Even if it's just free association, it might be helpful to try blurting a bunch of them out -- like: "warmth, closeness, intensity, spark..." stuff that might feel random and not useful, but might turn out to give us all some good clues.


So I can definitely relate to "intensity" and "spark". Maybe also "passion", "energy", "enthusiasm". Sometimes I feel like it's kinda similar to masturbation, but together with another person.
Heather
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Heather »

This is all really helpful.

So, riffing back based on what I'm picking up from you here, I feel like I'm picking up on a few possibilities:
1) It might be that because you've been in this relationship for a while now, you're dealing with things just feeling...well, like you've said in your last sentence there. Comfortable. Maybe *too* comfortable. It's great that over time we can get more comfortable with a partner, but there's also often a needed balance there -- we still need to feel separate from them, and we still need it to feel different from masturbation. We usually want and need that spark that someone else brings to the picture when we're being sexual with someone else.

2) That given, I wonder if part of what trying that new thing gave you was twofold: a) it gave you a new role and dynamic to explore, separate from your existing roles and dynamics, and b) it gave you literally something new.

So, just thinking that way, I wonder where it might take you to think about ways to make your sexual time and space together different from your other space together. That can be about role-play and new things, for sure, if that's something you want, but you might also find some other things to add to that, or that can do that to, when you're not feeling that way of creating that "something new," that passion and that energy. That could be changing up your environment for sex in some way; it could be creating more separation between rest-of-life talk/life and your sex life and encounters. It could be more role-play, whether that's looking more into topping and bottoming or other kinds of role-play. You might see what new things your partner wants to try -- we can get a real buzz off of our partner's excitement for new things, too, and sometimes when we're not feeling so excited, it can be because we're picking up on them not really being all that all that either, you know?

How does any or all of that sound as some places to start?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
thyjsil
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by thyjsil »

Thank you for the response! I do think that indeed, trying out something very different could have something to do with this...There is one thing I wanted to ask about though:

Heather wrote:It might be that because you've been in this relationship for a while now, you're dealing with things just feeling...well, like you've said in your last sentence there. Comfortable. Maybe *too* comfortable.


I was wondering about this part - because it's not like when we just started to have sex it felt great and exciting, but over time the spark faded away. Reflecting back, I think this feeling of missing something has always been present, it's just that at the start I dismissed at as us not yet being very experienced yet, or as me having unrealistic expectations from the experience. It's also not like we are always doing the same routine every time, we do try out different things and experiment from time to time, it's just that that particular time for some reason really clicked. So in this case would you still suggest to try separating sex life from normal life and trying something new, or does that change things?
Thea Kat
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Thea Kat »

Hey!
I hope you don't mind my jumping in - I feel like I've been in a similar situation recently, and I've been doing a lot of work to try and figure it out... As you said, it can be tricky to figure out how to recreate that "something" when the problem is so abstract and you don't know what it is you're missing. One thing that I found helpful for this, as a jumping-off point, was sex therapist Vanessa Marin's idea of "sex personality types". If you Google "Vanessa Marin 11 Sex Personality Types" you will find a quiz. I think that you have to take the quiz, and you might as well, but by far the most useful thing is reading the guide that you get after!

I definitely don't mean to suggest that people necessarily have ONE sex personality type in a rigid way. What I found helpful, though, was seeing a list of some DIFFERENT things that people can value in sex. "Spark" and "passion" can be really important feelings for some folks, but even those words are quite vague - not everyone is looking for the same kind of feelings! As I read through the guide, I found some things where I was like "huh, that sounds like me"... and interestingly, the things that resonated for my partner were quite different! There's sort of a narrative that sex is "supposed" to be passionate, connective, intimate etc... all of those things are great (and of course consent and respect are an absolute MUST)! But there are so many subtleties in terms of the exact emotions you want to feel during sex. For example, I realized that playfulness, fun and literally just being super weird and creative are very important to me - maybe even more important than feeling "romance", "spark" or "passion". For me, those are definitely part of the "something" that can make sex extra special - maybe because they give me a way to escape from the stresses of trying to adult? My partner, on the other hand, really values emotional closeness, safety, and feeling like it's a space where he can express love.

I'm not sure if it will be helpful for you, but if you're feeling a bit stuck and looking for some inspiration to help you zero in on the exact feelings you're craving/missing, this (or similar exercises) could be a starting point!
Last edited by Thea Kat on Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
Heather
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Heather »

I was wondering about this part - because it's not like when we just started to have sex it felt great and exciting, but over time the spark faded away. Reflecting back, I think this feeling of missing something has always been present, it's just that at the start I dismissed at as us not yet being very experienced yet, or as me having unrealistic expectations from the experience. It's also not like we are always doing the same routine every time, we do try out different things and experiment from time to time, it's just that that particular time for some reason really clicked. So in this case would you still suggest to try separating sex life from normal life and trying something new, or does that change things?


All relationships are obviously different in terms of what kind of sexual chemistry we feel with them. In some, that part of them is really intense: in others, not so much. I'm going to assume that you've felt at least some sexual interest and attraction since the start since this was a relationship you chose to have as one with a sexual component. Am I right there, or is this something that felt more like a default than a choice?

You also talk about a lack of experience: can you tell me a little bit about how sex has gone historically in this relationship when it comes to how you both decide what you want to do? Has it been something where it's been pretty mutual as far as initiating sexual activity has gone, and pretty mutual about whose ideas are followed with what to do or try? Or has it been more one-sided?

I just took a quick peek at what Thea Kat suggested you look at, and while I feel like that framework would oversimplify who we are as people and how complex this can be, I think that if you didn't look at it with the idea you had to just be ONE of those, something like that might be helpful to you in thinking about some of this (thanks, Thea!). One of the things I was going to ask you was if you had any thoughts about what feels missing -- what are you looking for in your sexual life? What do you want from it most?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
thyjsil
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by thyjsil »

Thea Kat wrote:I'm not sure if it will be helpful for you, but if you're feeling a bit stuck and looking for some inspiration to help you zero in on the exact feelings you're craving/missing, this (or similar exercises) could be a starting point!


Thanks a lot! It was an interesting read - I think it can definitely give me some insight into the issue

Heather wrote:I'm going to assume that you've felt at least some sexual interest and attraction since the start since this was a relationship you chose to have as one with a sexual component. Am I right there, or is this something that felt more like a default than a choice?


Yes, you are correct to assume that! I chose it rather than going with the flow.

Heather wrote:can you tell me a little bit about how sex has gone historically in this relationship when it comes to how you both decide what you want to do? Has it been something where it's been pretty mutual as far as initiating sexual activity has gone, and pretty mutual about whose ideas are followed with what to do or try? Or has it been more one-sided?


I think I usually tend to be the one suggesting things to try and attempting to initiate sex as my partner has lower sex drive and less interest in sex overall. I try to hold back though as I don't want to make him feel pressured + I know that if he is not taking action himself he is most likely just not in the mood.

Heather wrote:One of the things I was going to ask you was if you had any thoughts about what feels missing -- what are you looking for in your sexual life? What do you want from it most?


I had a couple of guesses why I might feel this way, but I don't really want to jump to conclusions yet. First one is about our sexual preferences not really combining that well (both of us are leaning more towards top-y or dominant roles and preferences), second one was about what I mentioned above, our discrepancies in attitudes towards sex. I am not entirely sure about either of them though. In the first case, well, it's not like I am never in the mood for going a bit more submissive, as well as not even always in the mood for the opposite, and he has expressed that he is open to taking on a submissive role too from time to time. As for the second case, I am not sure if a general attitude towards sex from one partner can affect experience that much. It's not like he is switched off or unenthusiastic during sex, so I assume that the attitude shouldn't be the case (?)

Overall I tend to change my mind a lot on what I think could be the cause of this issue.

If we are going back to TheaKat's suggestion to look into 11 sex personality types, one type's description is somewhat fitting for what I feel like is missing:

You like sex to feel all-encompassing, intense, and passionate. Maybe even animalistic. You're very in tune with the energy between you and your partner during sex. You love the idea of letting go and losing yourself in the moment. For you, the best sex is when time seems to stand still.


So I guess something closer to this, really getting into the flow, maybe losing track of time even. I am not sure if this is very helpful though
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi thyjsil,

I want to focus in on those last few points about what you're wanting from your sex life. Since the idea of really being in the moment and letting go appeals to you, are there things you think the two of you could do to generate that kind of space or experience? Does it feel like there's something in the way of creating an intense experience?

I also wonder if it's be helpful for you two to experiment with the dynamics and roles you take on during sex, or even play around with the idea of how might look between you. I think terms like "top" or "dominant" are useful, but sometimes we can get a very narrow ideas about what being that way in a sexual situation looks like. You could spend some time talking about what elements of those roles appeal to you and which ones appeal to him, and look for ways to combine or play with the dynamics you each like to create something new, rather than starting from a point of assuming that in order for one of you to take your preferred role, the other has to lean towards a role that they don't feel as excited about.
thyjsil
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by thyjsil »

Since the idea of really being in the moment and letting go appeals to you, are there things you think the two of you could do to generate that kind of space or experience? Does it feel like there's something in the way of creating an intense experience?


That's, unfortunately, where I hit a brick wall - I don't really know how exactly I could get into this kind of mindset/experience, and why it doesn't seem to happen for me. Sometimes something seems to be working a bit, but when I try it again it doesn't for some reason... I struggle to figure out why that happens exactly, and not sure how to approach that.

I also wonder if it's be helpful for you two to experiment with the dynamics and roles you take on during sex, or even play around with the idea of how might look between you. I think terms like "top" or "dominant" are useful, but sometimes we can get a very narrow ideas about what being that way in a sexual situation looks like. You could spend some time talking about what elements of those roles appeal to you and which ones appeal to him, and look for ways to combine or play with the dynamics you each like to create something new, rather than starting from a point of assuming that in order for one of you to take your preferred role, the other has to lean towards a role that they don't feel as excited about.


That's a very fair point! I haven't really thought of approaching it from this direction but constricted myself with these definitions. I'll try to discuss that with him, and hopefully if we find a dynamic we both enjoy this issue will be gone. Thank you!
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Re: Feeling like something is missing in sex

Unread post by Sam W »

You're welcome, I hope that discussion goes well!

In terms of creating that space, what if you started out with a broader question: if you could snap your fingers and it would happen, what would your ideal environment (both in terms of the space itself and interactions between the two of you) look like?

I do want to say, it's pretty common for people to find that something that creates a very intense sexual experience for them one day doesn't have the same effect on another day; our brains and bodies are influenced by so many things that the exact same experience can feel very different from instance to instance.
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