To Connect Deeply, We Need Sexual Authenticity

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Our true erotic selves hold the key to long-term passion.

The strongest relationship foundations are built between people who are true to themselves.

When you see your partner for who they really are, and allow them to see you the same way, the love you share comes from a place of profound depth and authenticity.

The same thing goes for sex.

Authenticity is unshakeable. It’s the truth of who you are, who your partner is, and the composition of your relationship.

When people come together in sexual authenticity, the erotic possibilities are endless. You engage in a potentially life-long journey of pleasure exploration and shared growth.

Yet many people don’t truly know their authentic sexual selves.

Understandably, these people become erotically exhausted. They strain to come up with new ideas to “keep things fresh” in the bedroom. They worry about what will happen the day the ideas run out.

By contrast, knowing and acting from a place of sexual authenticity ensures all your deepest desires become reality and provides endless erotic inspiration.

In this post, I’ll talk about how to:

  • find your authentic sexual self
  • embody and express your sexual authenticity
  • build deeper relationships through erotic intimacy

Let’s dive in.

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Meeting your authentic sexual self

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Few of us are ever encouraged to explore our sexual selves with intention. Many, especially women, are even actively discouraged from doing so.

As a result, most of us first start to learn about our sexual selves passively.

We’re pulled along by hormones and emotions, steered by whatever stimuli land in front of us through media, education, or experience.

In some cases, our true sexual desires happen to match up with the things we see and learn about.

For example, if penis-in-vagina sex is the only form of sexual intimacy you desire, popular media is likely very affirming for you.

For the rest of us, intentional sexual self-exploration is a must. It’s the only way to meet and step into our sexual authenticity.

This is doubly true for those of us who had negative experiences during earlier sexual explorations. These experiences have a way of overshadowing even the most radiant expressions of sexual authenticity.

The good news is, it’s never too late to begin or restart a sexual self-exploration journey. In fact, it’s one of the most fun and satisfying journeys of life.

I like to break the experience of embracing one’s sexual authenticity into 3 co-occuring elements:

  • embodiment
  • discovery
  • expression

Here’s an explanation of each.

Part 1: Embodiment

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Partners are incredible sources of erotic inspiration and exploration opportunities. Turns out, two (or more) heads are better than one in the bedroom, too.

If you’re not embodying your authentic sexual self, however, your partner(s) aren’t having sex with you. They’re having sex with the mask you’ve created for your sexual self. That’s a disconnect.

Removing that mask and meeting your authentic sexual self requires embodying that self in the bedroom.

How do you do that? Here are two popular options:

1. Spend time with your body.

Take a moment right now to do a quick mental scan of your body. Ask yourself:

  • Which muscles are tense, and which are relaxed?
  • What parts of my body, if any, are in pain or discomfort?
  • What, if anything, can be done to relieve any pain or discomfort?
  • What parts of my body are comfortable, or are even sources of pleasure right now?
  • Can anything be done to incorporate more comfort or pleasure into this moment?

After you’ve done this exercise, try applying it to an intentional daily practice.

Take time to notice how your body reacts to different stimuli and thoughts. Name specific body parts and what they are doing.

A popular approach here is to set fifteen minutes aside each day for intentional embodiment work. This could mean spending fifteen minutes each day doing progressive muscle relaxation, kegels, pleasure mapping, sensate focus, or other exercises.

(You can find instructions for all these exercises for free in my community.)

2. Masturbate.

Some people choose to practice embodiment by masturbating.

This is a great option, with a caveat: if you already masturbate daily, set aside these fifteen minutes to masturbate differently.

Ideally, make it your goal not to orgasm during this practice. Instead, your goal should be to detect and name your body’s responses to your explorative masturbation techniques.

Experiment with different stimulation methods or toys, and change up your fantasies or any erotic content you consume.

Whether your embodiment practice includes erotic self-touch or not, commit to doing it daily for three weeks for at least fifteen minutes a day. This type of commitment is proven to enhance arousal, orgasm, and sexual desire.

Part 2: Discovery

two person carrying black inflatable pool float on brown wooden bridge near waterfalls

In addition to embodying our authentic sexual selves, we need to find erotic ideas that are mentally arousing.

While some easily identify their own erotic desires without much external input, most of us benefit greatly from exposure to the ideas of others.

Reading romantic novels, listening to audio erotica, or watching porn can provide inspiration.

If it feels right, you can also try yes-no-maybe lists and adult dice or card games. If you’re partnered, a number of couples apps and retreats are available to aid the discovery process.

Some of the best ways to discover your deepest desires involve incorporating other passions. If you’re a writer, for example, you could try your hand at writing erotica and see what comes up.

A visual artist could create erotic art. An interior designer could design their dream sex room. An event planner could plan a hypothetical sex party.

Think outside the box. Get creative and even playful with these works of art, fiction, or hypotheticals. You’ll likely be delighted at what you discover.

Of course, if you already do these things—branch out! Explore new genres of romance, erotica, or porn. Try new forms of creative expression you’ve been meaning to get into.

There’s always something new for your authentic sexual self to discover and be excited by.

100 New Sex Ideas for Experienced Lovers

Part 3: Expression

photo of a couple dancing barefoot at a festival

Rounding out the sexual self-exploration journey is expression.

Expressing your desires isn’t just about sharing them with others. In fact, you don’t even need a partner.

I often encourage clients to engage in both solo and partnered forms of expression once they’ve discovered authentic sexual desires and are ready to embody them.

Solo expression

The most common expression of sexual desire among humans is fantasizing. This is followed closely by masturbation. Often, these two things happen together in an act of authentic solo sexual expression.

It’s important to note that fantasizing about a particular sex act while masturbating doesn’t necessarily mean you want it to happen outside of the fantasy. Solo expression is complete expression, no partner necessary.

Solo expression and embodiment often happen at the same time. By expressing your inner desires with your body, you embody them. This is a great demonstration of how these elements are all important parts of exploration, rather than “steps”.

Another great thing about expressing your authentic desires on your own is that you can completely personalize the experience. There are no one else’s needs and desires to consider, just you and your favorite fantasies moving at exactly the pace and intensity you prefer.

You can incorporate bodily desires as well, of course.

Set the thermostat where you want it. Lie on a decadently soft blanket. Play music that makes you writhe gently. Splurge on a fancy toy, robe, or other item that makes you feel sexy.

When done right, solo expression can feel selfish, even indulgent. That’s kind of the point! Treat yourself to time spent with your authentic sexual expression, and it’ll be that much easier with a partner.

Partnered expression

There’s a universe of solo expression options out there. Yet, most of us crave the experience of expressing our authentic sexual selves with one or more partners during our lifetime.

If you’re lucky enough to come across someone genuinely interested in exchanging authentic sexual expression with you, congrats! It is truly one of life’s greatest gifts.

For some people, speaking their genuine desires out loud with partners comes easily.

For others, tools like yes-no-maybe lists or opting for written notes rather than verbal conversations can be a huge help.

Resources on communication and negotiation can also be invaluable here.

Ultimately, if you really want to get better at verbally expressing your desires with partners before, during, and/or after sex, you’re going to have to practice.

Whether you do that with your reflection in the mirror, with your partner, or with the help of a coach or counselor, practice is the key to more confident partnered expression.

Your endless well of sexual authenticity awaits

elderly couple facing each other and smiling in bed

The most powerful thing about sexual authenticity is that it isn’t something you discover once.

This exploration is a lifelong journey, with new discoveries and forms of embodiment and expression revealing themselves with the passage of time.

The more time you spend with your sexual self, the more desires you’ll discover, and the more ideas you’ll have for expressing them on your own or with partners.

There is no cap on the possibilities when you are your own source of erotic inspiration. You really can enjoy lifelong passion—as long as you’re willing to embrace your authentic sexual self.

What drives your sexual authenticity?

Sexuality starts with sensuality, and we each have a Sensual Source.

Snag your copy of my guide to finding and activating yours:

Sensual Activation Guide

Meet sexploration expert: Shannon Burton, SXI

Shannon Burton, SXI

Hi there! I’m Sex Coach Shannon. I offer private coaching and classes both virtually and in my New Orleans studio.

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Published by Shannon Burton

Erotic Ignition Coach by day, poet and flash fiction author by night, I occasionally manage to get out of the house and enjoy New Orleans as it's meant to be.

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