Sex sells … in advertising. In reality, however, many, especially married millennials, lack knowledge in this area and need guidance. They don’t know how to “satisfy” their spouse. Humans, similar to numerous other terrestrial life forms, are subject to instinctive sexual desires, triggered by certain criteria.
Although the need for sex is mostly physical, the desire for sex typically begins in the mind and travels to the body. When the mind is stimulated by the object of its desire, it arouses the body. Sex is a basic element of a happy marriage, but it is more than just a pleasurable calorie-burning activity.
“When it comes to sexuality, it involves five dimensions: physical or biological, cognitive or intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual,” says Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, and medical education (clinical teaching), at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Medicine.
“However, in our society, people tend to talk only about the physical dimension – the climax, G-spot, masturbation, etc.”
Sexuality is a lifelong learning process and there is no standard formula that can be applied. “When we talk about the cognitive dimension, we refer to the brain as the most important sexual organ,” Dr Harlina adds.
“It makes the decision and the sexual organs (genitalia) will just follow. The sexual organs won’t do anything without the brain commanding them.
“Next, sexuality is intensely connected to emotions – that is why if you want to have a sexual relationship with someone, that person must be consenting, must have the same benefits of satisfaction, respect and love. If you force yourself on another person, it will give rise to disrespect, humiliation, hurt feelings, etc.
“In the social dimension – we don’t have to talk about sexuality if you want to live like a hermit in the middle of an island or deep forest without interacting with other human beings. Because humans are social animals, we have to interact with people, but those who feel they are ‘good’ and ‘morally correct’ shy away from the subject.
“Lastly, some people interpret sex as spiritual, but actually, it is your significance of existing in this world – how do you define yourself, do you have people who love and respect you?
“In a marital institution, these are all things that give you identity. We can only promote sexual and reproductive health when we give positive input to all these dimensions.”
Communication Is Key
Good sex is due to a combination of factors. “It is not just one person feeling good. Sex must end up with good outcomes,” Dr Harlina offers.
“For example, if there is going to be pregnancy, it must be planned, intended and wanted. If there is a commitment, there should be trust and respect. If the woman is menstruating, the man must give her space. If not, it is not good sex.
“In the beginning, the physical component is important in a marriage and you tend to enjoy the act. With time, the physical pleasure goes up and down. Towards the end of your marriage, you won’t have sex as frequently as compared to the first few months.
“But you realise that you can connect with that person in other ways.”
Due to the stressors of a high-pressured life these days, many young couples return home late and fatigued. There are traffic jams to battle, household chores to complete, children to attend to, meals to prepare, etc. They fail to communicate effectively or have no time for intimacy.
However, Dr Harlina reckons the mood can be “set up” during the day. “Nowadays, foreplay can happen during the day via Whatsapp!” she points out.
“Sending your husband a message to say ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you’ is good enough. Then he remembers you. You don’t have to ‘talk dirty’. Imagine how exciting it would be to finally see each other after work.
“And once everyone is settled in the house, you can have the whole night for yourselves. That to me is the manifestation of how good the quality of communication has been throughout the day.
“This can only happen when you can be totally frank with each other. If one person is not feeling up to it that night, then the other party may feel frustrated. Remember that the ‘me’ becomes ‘we’ when you get married, so there are a lot of adjustments to make. Sharing is about giving and taking.”
It is definitely no fun when one person is giving or taking all the time. Finding that equilibrium is tough. We all have to live with each other’s idiosyncrasies and imperfections, so every couple has to find their own secret recipe.
Prioritise your sex life, and have it at least once a week. Some couples don’t enjoy sex because one partner has expectations, a sort of blueprint. When that blueprint is not followed, one party feels let down. This is where frankness comes in.
“Women are always at the receiving end. Men will have successful ejaculation if they have an erection. But women don’t need to have an orgasm. We can fake it,” Dr Harlina says.
“I know of women who fake it all the time because they feel obliged to do so. They think if the husband knew they didn’t have an orgasm, he might be frustrated. But those are issues we need to be more open about and this can only happen when you are in a stable relationship.
“We all have sexual fantasies – there is nothing wrong with talking about them. Knowledge is important – you must know which part of your body is sensitive to sexual arousal. Tell your partner where you’d like to be touched – if you can’t even tell that to your sexual partner, then you’re in trouble!”
Women, Take Control!
Women always assume men don’t care about their sexual needs, but the professor asserted that they do.
“It’s just that they don’t know! They think by doing a certain act, they can fulfil a woman. If you tell a man you’re not happy, he will try to please you. Don’t assume they know everything. Men are sensitive and reasonable, but you must know how to talk to them. Telling them will prevent a lot of ‘inconveniences’.”
With plenty of singles currently preferring the no-strings-attached concept, Dr Harlina believes it is a trend. Men are satisfied with physical pleasure without intimacy, but what is more worrying is that women are also following suit.
“Ironically, you need a little bit of attachment for your self-worth. You need an anchor while you’re flying high or else you’ll be like a loose flying kite,” she says.
“I feel the sexiest part of the woman’s body is her brain because men are actually very intrigued with a clever woman – one who can challenge him, but in a subtle way. He doesn’t want another aggressive person in the relationship, though there are some men who don’t like clever women.
“This is where a woman has to shine. If she is pretty, but has no opinion, then he would be bored. He may start looking around for mentally stimulating women and she may not be attractive.
“Also, you get bored with marriage when things are too routine, that’s why people who are meticulous and perfectionists tend to be more moody. At the same time, you cannot be too spontaneous and reckless either.”
The stereotypical woman of the past will never make the first move, but times are slowly changing.
“Culturally, it has been ingrained in us not to say no, but a woman has wants too, so take charge! Men can force themselves on us because they’re bigger and can push themselves in.
“If you want it the other way round and your husband is not having an erection, there is nothing much you can do. So, perhaps this circumstance is what makes men always have their way. If they cannot get an erection, they can have pathological jealousy and think the wife is sleeping with another man.”
On the recent spate of sex parties that take place in high-end condominiums, she said it was also a phase as young people find it thrilling to take part in unlawful activities. “We want to belong, to see somebody who looks like us. Give these people time and they’ll get tired of their ‘no-strings-attached’ concept.”