Community, Culture

Miami therapists on sex, sexuality, where to begin

With Valentine’s day having just past, the topic of sex is probably one many are familiar with– who’s having it, when to have it, how to have it and everything in between. And while the internet is filled with “advice” like how to “find the perfect position” and “tips to the perfect handjob,” much of it is baseless and too general to help anyone in actual need of guidance.

Plus, the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all, perfect formula to the perfect sexcapade, becoming the perfect sexual prowess or having the perfect orgasm on your first go round.

Sex takes slip-ups and embarrassing moments. It takes learning your body and that of your partners. It takes practice. And, even when you think you’ve got it all together, you probably don’t.

So, now that the pressure of the year’s sexiest holidays has (hopefully) dwindled, let’s talk about sex. And I mean real sex, with real advice from real professionals.

How important is sex in a relationship?

According to Dr. Lyndsey Motarefi– Miami-based Clinical Sexologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist– it varies on a case-by-case basis.

“Sex serves to fulfill certain needs within a partnership. Some of these needs are attachment, validation, physical intimacy, and connectedness,” she said. “While sex is a great way to satisfy these needs, it is not the only way.”

She continued, saying “what’s more important than the frequency of sex, is that the couple feel similarly in the importance of sex and how often they engage in sexual activity with their partner.”

Motarefi insists that couples should maintain an open dialogue regarding needs and how they prefer them be met. She often has her clients complete a “sexual inventory” to tackle such needs, addressing gaps or mismatch within desire, frequency, initiation and more.

On the other hand, Dr. Victoria Elf Raymond– a UM alum, Clinical Sexologist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Lotus Counseling Center– maintains that sex is an integral component of any romantic relationship.

“Research studies have shown that sexual satisfaction is linked with happiness in a relationship,” she commented. “Sex also has numerous physiological benefits (improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, contributes to better sleep) and is simply a pleasurable act to experience with your partner.”

She did, however, echo Motarefi’s sentiment that sex is much more than just the physical.

“It is important to remember that honesty, communication, respect, and consent (always!) are vital parts of a healthy sexual relationship,” she advised. “It should feel comfortable and safe.”

Where should a young adult with little to no sexual experience start?

For those lacking in sexual experience, Motarefi emphasizes the importance of getting comfortable with yourself, your body and your pleasures before involving anyone else. This, she says, will make you more confident speaking up during sexual activity as well as increase your ability to relax when the time comes, an important factor in being able to reach orgasm.

Elf Raymond agrees, encouraging young adults to “take the time to experiment with themselves” and proposing questions like “What do you like? What feels good? What makes you feel sexy and confident?”

As for how to answer these questions, Motarefi recommends two things:

“Look at your entire body (including your genitals) in the mirror, and share some affirmative words aloud about what you see,” she said. “This will help to solidify a positive self-image of you as a sexual being and increase both comfort and confidence during partnered sexual activity”

Second, she encourages the ever-so-taboo act of masturbation.

“Learning how to stimulate yourself into having an orgasm will help you to understand what that build up of sensation feels like,” Motarefi asserted. “It will also assist you in guiding your partner in terms of what type of touch, pressure, and speed they can utilize to help you achieve orgasm.”

The internet is filled with advice on everything from how to give the perfect handjob to the best sex positions for different relationship statuses. In reference to the latter, is there such a thing?

Motarefi says that there is, in fact, no such thing. Rather, she believes that sex positions “reflect certain levels of connectedness, intimacy, or rawness that, depending on the person, might elicit a threatening, vulnerable, and or aversive response.”

She continued, citing “doggy style”– or penetration from behind– as one position that allows for detachment, space or anonymity that can allow certain people to feel more relaxed. For others, she says that missionary– often involving more intimacy with eye contact and kissing– may feel more pleasurable, including those in long distance relationships looking to foster a deeper sense of connection.

Long-term relationships, she says, benefit from variation including “watching pornography with your partner, role play, costumes and or different outfits, change of or inclusion of foreplay, switch in who initiates, different positions, a new location, introduction of sex toys” and more. This stems from research that shows that, over time, we respond with less arousal to repetitive stimuli.

“For new relationships,” she finished. “It is less about positions, and more about being as honest as possible with your partner regarding what your sexual preferences are. This will help you in obtaining mutual sexual satisfaction.”

As literal sex experts, both Motarefi and Elf Raymond could give advice for days without running out of things to say. However, that is reserved for the paid patients they help day-in and day-out.

As a final thought, Motarefi clarified a few misconceptions about sex that many people truly think they understand but do not.

1. Sex and intimacy are not the same thing.

2. There is no “normal” sex life. Further, a good/healthy sex life is not defined by frequency.

3. If your male partner has difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection, or does not orgasm, that does not mean he is not attracted to you. The simple fact that there is so much pressure for a man to always be ready to perform can actually influence onset of erection/ejaculation difficulties or maintain those complications.

Dr. Mortarefi can be reached on both psychology today and her personal website, relationshipwell.org. More information on Dr. Raymond can be found on drvictoriaraymond.com.

Featured image source: Pinterest

February 18, 2020

Reporters

Jordan Lewis


Around the Web

Karin Wilkins, dean of the University of Miami School of Communication, examines the challenges faci ...

The new testing effort, announced Friday by Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, will use a finger prick to chec ...

A University of Miami scientist is awarded a Pew grant to study coral reef restoration in the Caribb ...

How the choices made by Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl during the Holocaust changed the course ...

A medical specialist with the University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine ha ...

TMH Twitter
About Us

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.