Where do we draw the line in bed?

Anything goes? Shed the last of your inhibitions. Here’s how ‘good girls’ can all quit worrying and learn to love the rich variety of pleasures to be had from a darn good, loving romp.

Jilly (30): We have been married for seven years now and have a good sex life. My worry is where to draw the line. I mean, does anything go between lovers? I’m never quite sure when Chris suggests something new whether to go along with it.

Chris (32): I’ve got a low boredom threshold in life generally and the same applies to our sex life, so I like quite a lot of change, experimentation and so on. I don’t really understand Jilly’s problem because I reckon anything goes it we both agree to it.

The Lovers’ Guide replies:

We can readily agree with you, Chris, that in a loving relationship where both people trust one another, it’s hard to see why there should be any boundaries at all. Having said that, there’ll always be some boundaries, but you’ll have to set them between you and they should, therefore, be mutually acceptable.

It’s clear that you, Jilly, have concerns in the back of your mind that certain lines should be drawn, even in a loving relationship. Perhaps your upbringing suggested, however subtly, that sex was somehow bad or naughty and that there are some things that ‘nice’ couples just don’t do.

Of course, we are not our partner and our agenda, whether conscious or unconscious, isn’t necessarily theirs. And this is where conflict can occur. Many individuals go along with things they’d rather not do simply to please their lover, but even this isn’t as saintly as it might seem. In fact, many’s the individual who has said that by doing this they are introduced to a whole new sexual thrill that they would otherwise never have experienced.

And here is the problem. Just because one person in a relationship doesn’t immediately find the prospect of a particular sexual dish exciting or even interesting doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be off the menu forever. If the activity is approached obliquely at first and perhaps in a somewhat symbolic way, it can often become a much loved favourite over the months or years.

There’s a serious lesson here for us all. Sex is a highly complex area of life that is driven almost entirely by the unconscious of the couple involved – so it is that we often say no to something that deep down we’d really love to be involved in, yet our internal policeman restricts our freedom to do it. True, a trusted lover can sometimes help overcome the problem, but there are occasions when even this doesn’t work, as  deeper, more powerful restraints stop us going for the high levels of pleasure our unconscious knows would result.

So, in a loving relationship that’s moving forward sexually, there’s a constant tension between what one or both wants to do and what either or both sets of unconscious policemen will allow. A gross imbalance between these forces can lead one or other to seek the pleasures they think they need outside the relationship. This can, of course, be highly destructive, especially if you have both been building an increasingly enriching sex life together for some years.

Everybody has their final position in sex, as in other areas of life. The problem is that in the bedroom this ‘final position’ is usually taken at face value by the partner as being absolute – when it may not be. Creating a ‘stand-off’ situation is the worst way of dealing with such issues. Playing things cool works far better as this allows our own or our partner’s policeman to go off duty rather than call for reinforcements.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that most concepts of where to draw the line have to do with unconscious prohibitions on pleasure – and not just sexual pleasure. It’s often the case that people who have such issues troubling their relationships are inhibited not so much about what they can do but rather what they can enjoy. Prohibitions and inhibitions are usually on pleasure rather than action. In fact, most such individuals discover in therapy that they have problems with pleasure generally. They are often somewhat serious within themselves, have a poor sense of self-worth, whatever external appearances seem to indicate, feel they do not deserve much in life, rarely pleasure themselves in or out of bed and seem to ration sexual pleasure generally.

If any of this applies to you, either singly or as a couple, you might like to seek professional help to talk it over – or you might just get going by listening to one another as you share things openly. But do enjoy!

Posted in Sex, Sex Q&A