Sexual Intelligence by Marty Klein

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Summary

Sexual intelligence is emotional intelligence applied to sex. What people want from sex is a combination of pleasure and closeness. However, sometimes people need to fulfill other needs first, such as validation, reassurance and relief. In the sexual act people want to feel attractive and competent.

Most people learn that there is a things such as ‘normal sex’ and so they approach it as something that should be done in a certain way, trying to fit their experience into that narrative. When sex is approached this way it can be quite stressful: you might worry about how the performance is going, if you are making weird sounds, if there are smells, if you are messing up the bed etc.

In the standard narrative, orgasm is the end goal. Everything else is mostly about getting there. Many people ask at the end of sex: “Did you come?” as if it’s the only thing that matters. As if, if you climaxed, than the sex was good. But even if climaxing is nice, it doesn’t necessarily make sex a great experience.

Sex should be approached as a sacred space for connection, playfulness, and fun. A non-judgemental space of exploration which requires our full attention and participation. Some elements of great sexual connection are a sense of ease, laughter and eye contact. Orgasm is the dessert, not the main course. You don’t go to the restaurant to eat the dessert. First you sit at the table, choose from the menu, enjoy all the different courses, have a good conversation and then eventually you also get dessert. When approached this way, it doesn’t matter that much if you climax or not. Pleasure and closeness can be achieved regardless.

The only requisites of sex is that both partners feel safe that the pleasure is appropriate, that you can safely ‘lose control’ and that the partner is honest with you.

Sexuality is in general a vehicle for personal growth, a place to get to know ourselves and others better.

Masturbation should be included as an integral part of your sexual life. Either by simply telling the partner without shame or guilt how you do it, how you like it etc. or even better including it in your sexual intercourses. Doing so has many benefits: you know how to give yourself pleasure, you can show your partner how you like to receive pleasure, and you enable them to do the same. Through the lens of ‘having to perform’ many men think that if the woman masturbates during sex is because they are not good enough. This is a negative approach, masturbation during intercourse should be encouraged.

Finally, sex in itself has no meaning. It’s what we make of it. Our society advertises sex as a source of happiness. Just by having sex, you will be fulfilled. This is delusional, and leaves lots of people unsatisfied. Sex’s meaning is what we make of it. So we should learn to frame sexual experiences based on our intentions and needs.

Book notes

→ What is usually considered to be "normal sex" is quite limiting. Most people learn that there is a things such as ‘normal sex’ and so they approach it as something that should be done in a certain way, trying to fit their experience into that narrative.

Vigilance disrupts erotic feelings, self expression and satisfaction. Many people are watching themselves during sex more than they are experiencing sex, which typically undermines sexual enjoyment.

When sex is approached this way it can be quite stressful: you might worry about how the performance is going, if you are making weird sounds, if there are smells, if you are messing up the bed etc.

→ In the standard narrative, orgasm is the end goal. Everything else is mostly about getting there. Many people ask at the end of sex: “Did you come?” as if it’s the only thing that matters. As if, if you climaxed, than the sex was good. But even if climaxing is nice, it doesn’t necessarily make sex a great experience.

Sex should be approached as a sacred space for connection, playfulness, and fun. A non-judgemental space of exploration which requires our full attention and participation. Some elements of great sexual connection are a sense of ease, laughter and eye contact.

→ Orgasm is the dessert, not the main course. You don’t go to the restaurant to eat the dessert. First you sit at the table, choose from the menu, enjoy all the different courses, have a good conversation and then eventually you also get dessert. When approached this way, it doesn’t matter that much if you climax or not. Pleasure and closeness can be achieved regardless.

→ The only requisites of sex is that both partners feel safe that the pleasure is appropriate, that you can safely ‘lose control’ and that the partner is honest with you.

→ Sexuality is in general a vehicle for personal growth, a place to get to know ourselves and others better.

→ Masturbation should be included as an integral part of your sexual life. Either by simply telling the partner without shame or guilt how you do it, how you like it etc. or even better including it in your sexual intercourses. Doing so has many benefits: you know how to give yourself pleasure, you can show your partner how you like to receive pleasure, and you enable them to do the same.

Sex in itself has no meaning. It’s what we make of it. Our society advertises sex as a source of happiness. Just by having sex, your will be fulfilled. This is delusional, and leaves lots of people unsatisfied. Sex’s meaning is what we make of it. So we should learn to frame sexual experiences based on our intentions and needs.

→ Sexual intelligence is going from “sex has to validate me” to “I validate my sexuality.”

→ Sexual Intelligence is the set of internal resources that allows you to relax, be present, communicate, respond to stimulation, and create physical and emotional connection with a partner. When you can do that, you’ll have enjoyable sexual experiences, regardless of what your body does.

→ There are many things you need to trust during sex: that pleasure is safe and appropriate; that eroticism won’t get out of control in a destructive way; that you can connect with someone without being exploited; that your partner is telling the truth when he or she expresses desire, arousal, or satisfaction with you.

→ The next logical step of sexual agency is openly touching yourself during sex with a partner. Reasons why this is good: pleasure, in primis. It’s the best way to show your partner what you like. The option of touching yourself during partner sex multiplies your possibilities. Four hands, not two. Finally, it encourages your partner to do the same.

→ Many people don't realize that to enjoy sex, you have to pay attention. You have to be present.

→ Sex has no inherent meaning. We can say that sex is meaningful to us, but sex is meaningless until and unless we give it meaning.

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