We’ve all been there — finally connecting with a person we crushed on for months — feeling the exhilaration, the desire, the ravaging. Regardless of the quality of the sex itself, in that moment we feel wanted, desired, and sought after. But then what? What happens if they ghost you, or communicate that it’s not the best fit? What if, after you date long term, they desire sex less often?
Our culture feeds us limited and antiquated ideas about sexual self-worth, often including some sort of objective concept of sex appeal, beauty, attractiveness. There’s the allure of the chase yes, yet when sexual advances stop, we perceive it as a reflection of our lack of these traits, low self-worth, desirability, or skills.
This is a common pitfall in relationships: gleaning our sense of sexual self-worth from those indications of others' desire for us. If only the person I have a crush on texts me a compliment on the sexy picture I sent, or my partner seeks to have sex with me, then I should feel wanted and valuable. This pattern sets us up for incredible pain when others don’t meet our expectations or hopes. Particularly relative to sex and desire, our inability to control or predict our partner/ lover/ crush’s availability or desire can create distress and negative self-reflections. Am I not attractive enough? Are they currently having sex or pursuing someone else? Am I bad at sex?
The answer to all these questions is no, in part because the reasons someone may not respond in the ways we want may have nothing to do with us. They may be busy, interested in other people, struggling with their own desirability or mental illness, or dealing with past relationship wounds. While we would all prefer clear communication about these reasons, a partner may not be ready to explain.
There is so much to talk about on this subject, but ultimately and truly, you are more than someone’s desire for you, your ability to access sexual expression with a partner, or the role you play as a sexual partner.
Partnered sex is a bonus, the frosting on the cake not the essential component of your sexual self-worth.
Practice being in the moment and finding glee in physical connection with others, while holding the internal belief that you are always valuable and worthy of pursuit, pleasure, and affection. Because you are.