iStock_000016355728SmallStart the New Year Right by Thinking About Sex!

If you could improve your sex life this year, how would it be different? Would your lovemaking make you feel closer to your partner? Would you feel morerelaxed and free to be yourself in bed? Or maybe you would be more daring and try something new?

With the New Year, we often re-evaluate the different dimensions of our lives. This year, why not include our sexuality?

Here are a few questions to reflect upon and help you set some sex resolutions for 2013!

Why am I having sex? Am I having sex for the reasons I want to have sex?

These questions may sound a little strange but, contrary to what we believe, people often have sex for other reasons than procreation, pleasure, closeness or tension relief. A study conducted at the University of Texas in 2005 proves it. Researchers Meston and Buss identified 237 reasons why men and women engaged in sexual intercourse. These reasons ranged from “I wanted the person to feel good about himself/herself” to “I wanted to get back at my partner for cheating on me” or “I hadn’t had sex for a while”.

Keep in mind that your motivation for sex at any given moment will influence how you experience sex. If you’re having sex to keep the peace with your partner, you’ll most likely to go through the motions without really feeling much of anything. Plus, you might end up feeling more resentful than satisfied! Or, if you’re having sex mostly to feel normal, your focus during sex will be on whatever you’ve decided is part of “normal sex” (A hard erection? Reaching orgasm?) and not necessarily on what might truly matter to you (Creativity? Affection? Closeness?). So before you engage in sex, take a moment to think about why you’re having sex and make sure you’re about to do it for your right reasons.

What rules dictate my sex life?

We all have rules that we apply to our sex life, whether it’s about when to have sex (“Never during my period”), where sex should take place (“The bedroom, lights off”) or how sex should be initiated (“He must always make the first move”). Having requirements in order for us to enjoy sex and function sexually is normal. Problems arise when the rules we apply are too restrictive, promote unrealistic expectations about sex or become barriers to sexual pleasure and satisfaction instead of facilitating them. Such conditions often come disguised as “musts”: we must both reach orgasm for sex to be a satisfying experience. I must lose weight in order to be able to enjoy sex. Imust stay hard throughout sex or I’m not a good lover.

Each of us can benefit from identifying and questioning our sex rules to make sure that they’re in sync with what we want to experience during sex. If you value mostly pleasure, playfulness and connection in sex but meanwhile you’re focusing on how you look and whether or not your body is responding “as it should”, what you care about the most is not reflected in your lovemaking. If that’s the case, it may be time to revise your sex rules and come up with new ones that fit your true values and allow you to focus on what truly matters to you.