Life is full of behaviors or actions that stir up feelings of guilt: eating that second piece of chocolate wedding cake, drinking that third glass of chardonnay while counting calories, or spending more than was budgeted on a new summer dress. These are examples of short-lived guilt that probably don’t have a significant impact on happiness unless there is a license check on the way home after that third glass of wine. However, there is a guilty pleasure in relationships that many of us feel, but don’t talk about. This guilt could be a “thing that makes you blush.” Women typically do not blush over eating a second piece of cake, but they might blush over admitting that they enjoy intimacy in their relationships. Sex could be one of their guilty pleasures.
Women may feel guilty about enjoying intimacy because of their upbringing. A parental or religious voice may be in their ear saying, “Remember what we taught you!” Those teachings could be specific to religious beliefs, family values, or past experiences with intimacy that influenced attitudes toward sex. Everyone has to make their own judgment call on what is appropriate sexual behavior in any type of relationship. These judgment calls can be influenced by morals, spiritual beliefs, and timing. For example, a young couple in their first serious relationship may decide to postpone intimacy until marriage, while a woman who might be divorced or widowed may view the timing of intimacy in a different light. This woman may have been a caretaker to a sick spouse for a long time, making intimacy impossible with her loved one. After that relationship has ended, she may be ready for intimacy in another loving relationship. It’s human nature to seek love and companionship regardless of where someone is on life’s journey.
As uncomfortable as this topic may be for many women, it is an extremely important discussion to have with your partner, no matter the details of one’s beliefs, timing, or generation. If women can communicate to their partners about topics surrounding intimacy, then what can’t they talk about?! Most humans, male and female, share similar sexual desires and questions, which could be resolved through effective, judgment-free communication. It goes without saying that one’s sexual health history should be shared before intimacy. Before you see the “moon and stars,” you better see the “history and physical!” But the communication should not stop there. It could include health conditions that may impact lovemaking, such as medical treatment for cervical cancer or mastectomies. This communication is nothing to feel guilty about, but rather a trusting way to educate and sensitize a partner to enhance this part of a relationship. This type of communication typically is an after-thought for one-night-stands but is crucial for more traditional slowly-developing relationships.
The fact that everyone is unique in their wants and sexual practices can be believed without the support of a researcher or a long list of references. In great relationships that involve intimacy, trusting partners communicate their unique needs without guilt and make sure that both partners feel satisfied and loved. Getting past the guilt of enjoying sex may be the biggest hurdle for some women who have carried this feeling for much of their adult life. Feeling guilty is a choice that only can be made by each person. If the “guilty hurdle” is too hard to negotiate on your own, then pray about it, or talk to a close friend about how to share this information, or seek counseling. The more you hide guilt, the more the guilt is reinforced. And intimacy is nothing to feel guilty about between caring partners.
Realizing that June is the most popular time for weddings, this is an opportune time to talk to your partner about guilty pleasures. As the old saying goes, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” This phrase could be modified to say, “Proper preparation promotes plenty of pleasure.”