Sex is a primary biological drive. In other words, it’s not quite like breathing, which is a reflex, but at least as rewarding as eating. And although we can live without sex, we are driven by our hormones to have it.
But be warned! Wherever there are hormones, there are emotions. And as we all know, emotions can be dangerous. Following are ten tips for keeping yourself emotionally safe when engaging in sexual behaviors.
The concept of staying present is a hot topic right now in the field of mental health. All manner of psychological problems can follow when people live in the past or future, or some alternate reality!
Here are three guidelines for staying present during sexual behavior.
1. No Fantasizing
Fantasy is a great source of entertainment, but it’s not a healthy way to choose a partner or make important decisions. When we fantasize about someone, the story is all our own.
The fantasy doesn’t include not so great stuff that’s going along with the nice parts. The memories we create are not real, but instead are some gilded version of reality.
So keep your eyes open, listen carefully, and experience all and only all of what’s happening when you make love with Mr. Miss Perfect.
You might actually find that what you see, hear, and feel really is great! Or you might save yourself a lot of wasted time if it turns out he wasn’t so perfect after all.
2. No Rumination
I know that commute to work is boring, but mentally rehashing the details of every conversation and meeting can be emotionally dangerous.
When we think of a thing, anything, over and over again, we alter the importance of it. It works kind of like a google search, try googling swimsuits every day for a few days and you’ll see what I mean.
Before you know it, swimsuits are all google spits out at you. It’s the same with that nice guy or girl you’ve been seeing.
Think of Scott, Joe or Danny all the time and BAM, you’re seeing the world through a Scott, Joe, or Danny filter.
3. Take Care With Secondary Reinforcers
Alcohol and for some people drugs, tend to go along with dating and sex. I’m not here to judge! But be warned, these are very reinforcing substances.
Whenever you pair reinforce with something or someone, that thing or person takes on the reinforcing value of the primary reinforce.
I mean come on, isn’t that why men bring women candy? So, when you’re accepting that third glass of very smooth sauvignon blanc from Mr. Smooth, be sure you also take notice of his not so smooth moves.
Maintain Your Identity
A big part of falling in love, or lust, involves letting down your defense. That’s what intimacy is about. But it’s important to your mental health that you don’t let them down so far that you stop being uniquely you.
Here are four areas to defend with rigor.
4. Your Name
This one is easy. Make him call you by your name. None of this Babe or Sug stuff. First of all, you don’t want your new flame calling you what he called someone else last week! And if he can’t remember your name, he’s probably not for you!
5. Your Values
Whether it’s about money, the law, how fast you drive, religion, or politics, your values are you own, and not up for debate. Sure, you can talk politics, but if it starts to feel coercive, head for the door.
Nobody needs a bully in their bedroom. And on the topic of values, risky sex (whatever that means to you) can make you worry, and feel bad about yourself.
So, don’t compromise your values on that topic either!
6. Your Friends
You’ve worked hard to make and keep friends. But here you are hanging out with this new guy, and his friends. Ok, but ask yourself why.
If you like his friends better, if they are more interesting and fun, then sure, it might be time for a friend upgrade. But if you are just trying to go along to get along, then stop right there.
The right person for you should also be the right person for your friends. If he doesn’t like them, or they don’t like him, ask yourself where the discrepancy arises.
If it’s major, maybe he’s not your man. Research shows that the happiest people have one or two close friends and another three to five as back up.
7. Your Job
Keeping work out of the bedroom is one of the greatest struggles for my couples-clients. Most adults spend seven to nine hours a day on the job. It can be hard to let go after hours.
But letting go helps keep your relationship and your emotions safe. Relying on a partner to buffer your stress isn’t good for you, him, or the relationship. So, leave the job-drama at the bedroom door.
This area is for singles only. Once you partner, your home, car, family, and money all go into one big pot called ‘us’.
But until then, set boundaries.
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8. Your Home and Car
My second husband drove my MG-BGT once, and it was all over. Next thing I knew I was driving an eight-year-old Peugeot, and harboring deep resentment.
A client had a similar challenge when his girlfriend house-sat for him while he was in Spain, and painted his bathroom Hyacinth 590B! Whether condo, motor home, cottage, or sailboat, your home is your castle.
Decisions about your home, including when and to whom you open it, are yours and yours alone. Anything else can leave you feeling vulnerable and cranky.
If you want a taste of crazy me, just try moving the dish strainer to the right side of the sink. EEK!
9. Your Family
This is especially important when kids are involved. Boyfriends and girlfriends do not get to tell our kids or our little brothers and sisters what to do, or how to behave.
PERIOD! And if you catch your new beau asking your mother for intimate details about you, end it. To allow such behavior puts you at risk of feeling isolated in your own family.
10. Your Money
Sex and money are two things that don’t belong anywhere near one another. If money is in any way a consideration in who you have sex with, or who has sex with you, you’re headed for some very sorrow-filled days when the relationship ends.
Think about it. Money is security and sex is a hormone loaded high-speed roller coaster ride. Do you want to feel any more insecure than you already do on a high-speed roller coaster? Best to leave your money at the bedroom door with your job-stress.
No one is guaranteed mental health. And modern-living does nothing to improve the odds. Each of us is responsible to keep ourselves safe to the best of our ability. Following the above tips will help you do that when you engage in the game of love.
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