A lot of sexual advice out there urges us to be very mindful of the needs of our lovers, to be empathic, selfless and attuned. If we can only satisfy all of partner’s needs, good sex will take care of itself. It’s all nonsense. Sexuality actually requires a high degree of selfishness and ruthlessness to make it work. This is an issue that confuses many because it so goes against the grain of what we are taught about human relationships.

Yes, making a relationship work requires attunement. It requires selflessness. If we want to make our partner feel special, we may wake up early in the morning before them to make breakfast.  To make them feel understood, we will listen with an empathic ear, ask questions, provide comfort. We make them feel valued when we remember important dates and anniversaries. We make sure to compromise in some ways and give in in other areas that are more important to the other person.

All of that needs to disappear in the bedroom.

People who struggle with sexual difficulties often find themselves preoccupied with the needs and thoughts of others. That is wonderful in most relationships. It’s a killer in the bedroom. There is probably nothing less arousing than having a partner who is constantly wondering if they are “doing things right.” There is equally nothing less arousing than a partner who is too afraid of asserting his or her sexual needs for fear of offending or hurting the other person. Sex is not for the timid.

Good sex occurs when both partners are focused on getting their needs met. Their needs. Not the needs of the partner. But by focusing on their own needs, an amazing and counterintuitive thing happens. The other person gets more of their needs met as well. Yes, when each person is selfishly and ruthlessly pursuing their sexual needs, fireworks happen. Often the other person gets more aroused by seeing their partner totally caught up in the moment, and that is a motivator for getting their own sexual needs met as well. It becomes a virtuous cycle, in that each person feeds off of each other’s sexual intensity, each collaborating to selfishly pursue their sexual pleasure.

I often have to teach and nudge my clients to learn to be a little bit more sexually selfish in the bedroom. They have often been taught to be mindful and respectful of the needs of others. They have been taught that it is wrong to be selfish and self-serving. They may have grown up worrying about hurting others or how their actions may effect those around them. And that is all great. Outside of the bedroom. Worrying about the needs of others kills sexual desire. Sex is the one area of life where I encourage my clients to become ruthless. And they find that rather than hurting their partners, they are actually helping them by showing them that they too can get their needs met in the bedroom.