While there are more and more treatments, out there for dealing with issues around intimacy, many of which are of dubious origin, the solution is closer than you think: it is within each of us as a couple.
Rosa Guevara Quintero, Psychologist and Sexologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
All couples come to that exhaustive desert where there seems to be no oasis on the horizon and where desire seems to drown in routine, in bills to be paid, work, or in responsibilities. For some, this desert can be devastating and after passing through it there is nothing left except for routine. Others dare to face it, to survive, to seek that flourishing land of desire of being happy as a couple.
This issue is as old as the earth is, and so is the image of the man running around to try and solve this problem. There are a variety of remedies used in Colombia for this: borojó juice (Alibertia patinoi), chontaduro (peach palm), malt beer with eggs or a good-size portion of seafood. But as the famous song of Ricardo Arjona goes, the best aphrodisiac is love.
According to psychologist and sexologist Rosa Guevara Quintero, it is natural for couples to not look elsewhere, but to what they have, to what once sparked that excitement in the relationship. “The first thing you can try to do is to use your imagination, use fantasy, and to be honest and genuine. One challenge among couples is that they believe that speaking openly in front of their partner, exposing themselves or sharing their private intimacies is beneficial; when actually, this is the worst thing you can do. Share what you feel here and now.”
The key is here and now. The past is too far away to change and it has already made us who we are; we have no control over our future, so we are left with the present. In order to solve these issues in a relationship, in order to recover that desire that is in “off mode,” work on the now: How am I doing? What worries me? What do I want? How do I feel today?
“It’s not helpful to tell your partner what made you feel good in the past. At this moment, there is only the love that you feel now. During these encounters it is good to let the creativity of the present help you because one plus one is never two with your partner. First come parents, family and then previous partners, which weigh down on the relationship and you have to know how to break away from that.”
Reflecting on the past and remembering a time when you were happy can be a mistake because sometimes you fall into promises that are founded on something that will not work, “‘Maybe my partner wants to have anal sex because they tried it before it and liked it. I’m not comfortable with it, but in order to please them I’ll do it.’ This can be a bad situation because I’m infringing upon what I want just to please what someone else wants. Sincerity should come first,” Guevara Quintero says.
Before exploring other sexual practices, which should be agreed upon before doing so, a trust-based, ongoing conversation should be held. The same applies for when external support is sought, such as the help of the psychologist or expert; there should be an agreement established beforehand. The same goes for watching pornography together or using sex toys, which in the end are accessories and dependency on them should be avoided. Help should be temporary, whatever kind it is, as everything should come from within.
“Some people use sex toys when they are intimate because it is the only way for them to be aroused. They should only be used while learning how to touch each other or while telling the other how they like to be touched or stimulated, but the toy should not become part of our lives, almost as if using Viagra. Before it existed, what happened with erections? One had confidence with what they had and that’s what they worked with,” Guevara Quintero explains.
When you are not in sync with your partner, respect them and their desires carefully. Problems in bed can turn into criticisms and many times, into unhealthy relationships with a hint of paternalism. “If I want to, it’s not a requirement that my partner wants to. If I brought you these apples, this dress, if I take you to a party than the minimum I can expect is for you to want to be with me; but surprise, she doesn’t want to, who said that she was asking for that,” Guevara Quintero shares, painting this picture of when the partner does not want what the other prepares themselves to expect. This is how a history of revenge, anger and covert chastisement begins.
Remember, these are adult relationships. Understand the spaces and needs of the other, and live in the present. People change and so do their preferences. Talk, engage in conversation with each other. Look within, the spark can come back and be revived, and you are the one that can light it. If you believe that expert help is needed, talk first with your partner, listen to them, there is always a solution.
- Get to the root of things: If you fight about the little things, stop this pattern and find out what is behind it. It can be the beginning of a conversation that leads to new territory, such as sex.
- Have empathy: With sensitive issues it is important to stay away from incriminating each other. It is best to ask and to understand. Perhaps by putting yourself in another’s shoes, you will have a better understanding and come to an agreement.
- Be careful not to judge: Having a preconceived idea is to be biased, and reinforces behaviors that are not always constructive. Make an effort to see the other in the true reality and context that surrounds them.
90% of the sexual practices of Colombians include kissing and caressing, according to the National Sexual Health Survey.