What is Sex?
How do you define it? If you ask ten people to define sex, you’ll assuredly get ten different answers. Some may answer that sex is the act of intercourse, no more and no less. Others may consider other sexual behaviors tied to arousal. Still others may include the feelings and emotions that are sometimes associated with sex.
Sexual education is a concept that we frequently connect with adolescence—and awkward health class presentations. But sexual education doesn’t end once we earn that high-school diploma. As adults it is important to reflect on our life path and how it affects our sexuality. Our sexuality encompasses our sexual identity and past sexual experiences as well as our values. Sexuality is complex, individual, and rich with information. Understanding your sexuality is vital to experiencing a healthy sex life.
In therapy, all too frequently, clients explore many facets of their life stories—except for sexuality. Understandably, sex isn’t always an easy subject to discuss, especially when it gets personal. However, I believe that it is especially significant for women to be aware of the interplay between sexuality and other aspects of self. Historically female sexuality has been minimized, misunderstood, and marginalized. Freud once said, “The sexual life of adult women is a ‘dark continent’ for psychology.” More importantly, for many adult women their personal sexuality is mysterious territory, and this prevents them from fully knowing themselves.