People base their self esteem on many different things including their job, material possessions and interpersonal relationships. If their job is going well, they feel good about themselves. If their relationships with friends are going well, they feel good about themselves. For many of us, including myself, sex is an enormous indicator of how I feel about myself.
In psychological circles, this is called Sexual CSW or SCSW. For people that exhibit this trait, sexual relationships are the underlying basis for their sense of perceived well being. I started thinking about this after our guest contributor’s post about painful sex and some thought about others with various sexual dysfunctions.
Sexual self worth is prevalent in both women and men. Women often see sex as a representation of their womanhood and many see a prolific sex life as an indication of a successful marriage or relationship. Men on the other hand frequently link sexual success to their identity as a man. Many men see a man who is unable to procreate as not a man at all. Impotence can be one of the most psychologically impactful things that a man can go through.
Men don’t care if women have an orgasm.
There couldn’t be a bigger myth. Most men care deeply about the sexual satisfaction of their mate whether his partner is a one night stand or twenty year marriage. When a woman has an orgasm during a sexual experience with a man, he feels like he is a complete stud. A woman’s orgasm gives him a greater sense of masculinity and self esteem. When a woman has an orgasm, the man feels responsible even though it is true, that nobody ever “gives” someone an orgasm. If a woman has an orgasm, it does mean that her affection and comfort with the man is genuine and she feels comfortable with him. I for one, have never experienced an orgasm in a scenario where I felt uncomfortable. I would venture to say that I am not alone. Comedian Amy Schumer has a message for men who don’t give their women orgasms.
On the flip side, many women find male ejaculation and sexual satisfaction core to their worth as a woman. While this isn’t to say that women are to be used for their sexuality, male orgasm does help validate sexual worth for many women. Many women It is something they experience together.
What about men and women who inorgasmic or simply unable to reach orgasm with a partner? How does that impact the happiness and long term viability of a relationship? In many cases an inorgasmic partner (male or female) may be just fine with the way things are. The other, orgasmic partner may feel like they left their partner unsatisfied or that they aren’t good enough. Although men and women with inorgasmia may experience difficulty reaching orgasm, they still enjoy the psychological benefits of intimacy with with their partner. They still experience the deep connection that sex brings.
So how does this all come back to Sexual Contingent Self Worth? Many women and men who have SCSW have come to equate their sexual contact whether accompanied by an orgasm or not with their worth – not only as a lover but to their self image and self esteem. Promiscuous females looking to satisfy their self worth in the arms of man after man. Men looking to bed as many women as possible to “score” or increase their body count. We all go through phases, I know I have.
At this point in time, I do love satisfying the opposite sex. I’ve always seen myself as a giver in a relationship. My self worth and relationship quality is tied directly to the sexual satisfaction that I bring my partner. Deep in my heart, I know that a sexually unsatisfied man is an emotionally unsatisfied man. Inversely, I know that I must be sexually satisfied to be fully emotionally satisfied. I must also be emotionally satisfied to want to be sexually satisfied. In a loving and partnered relationship, sex and emotions have a very direct correlation.
Let’s talk about some of the alternate sexual play that I promote on this blog and absolutely love to experience with my partner. If I gather such a deep emotional satisfaction from my partner experiencing orgasm, how can denying my partner’s orgasm provide satisfaction for either of us? Let’s begin with him. A man who is withholding his orgasm for his partner is doing so to build the emotional connection that she holds so key to intimacy. A man who is willing to do this for his partner, is almost always a giver. Almost always willing to forego his orgasm for her sake and for the betterment of the relationship. This man derives his own sexual self worth from her orgasms and from her emotional and sexual self image. He can see her sexual energy and empowerment and derives his own compersion from her empowerment. Another benefit of male orgasm denial is the increased sexual value placed on the male orgasm and the penis. As women, our bodies are often put on a pedestal. The female form is oft the modicum of beauty. Although women find men beautiful and attractive, society does not portray men as beautiful. Women struggle with keeping up to society’s image of what a woman should be and men do as well. While both are problematic, men are not seen as sexually valuable. A locked chastity device adds sexual value. The key, the shiny metal cage clacking as he walks. These things add something that men do not often receive. Sexual value.
What about pegging? How does that play into this complex emotional concept? From my perspective, pegging is the ultimate giving act. There is very little direct clitoral stimulation even if you slip a vibrating bullet vibrator into the harness. If I am not getting stimulation, how can pegging be enjoyable and how can it heighten the sexual bond? The answer is also compersion. I enjoy seeing my partner receive pleasure from me. I enjoy seeing him arch his back and moan. I enjoy watching his body tense up and I enjoy seeing his body twitch. I derive sexual energy and sexual self worth by satisfying my partner. As with orgasm denial, I feel a tremendous amount of sexual energy when I wield my sexuality through pegging. As the penetrator in sex, I experience an entirely different set of emotions than I do when I am penetrated.
Sexually contingent self worth is different than sexual self esteem. Your sexual self esteem is related to your ability to successfully perform a sexual act with your partner. You might be surprised to hear that married individuals frequently have lower levels of sexual self esteem. There could be many reasons for this but the most likely is that they lack the sexual conquest. They are comfortable with their partners and have not recently experienced a sexual relationship from first date to intercourse. Something is to be said for the emotional reward of a new partner. I’ve discussed the emotional benefits of newness several times. Sexually contingent self worth isn’t directly tied to sexual self esteem. It is very possible for someone with a low sexual self esteem to have a very high level of sexual self worth.
Teasing is a great builder of sexual self worth. Like male orgasm denial, teasing adds desirability and sexual value. Desirability and sexual value are key to sexual self image and a wonderful for supporting sexual self worth.
Sexually contingent self worth is not something that all of us have. For many people, self worth is derived from work, family or achievement of goals. I would argue that a lifetime of attributing sex to my own self worth is detrimental and has resulted in some mistakes and regretful experiences. If you find an alignment between your sexual happiness and self worth, I would advise you follow your heart but be cautious in both love and lust and give decisions time to marinate. We can be carried by a whimsical heart and make hasty decisions sometimes.
Sex is a complex subject and I’ve built this blog around sexuality as I continue to learn about what makes us (me) tick. I enjoy this quest for emotional fulfillment and must acknowledge how closely it is tied to sexual fulfillment. Without each, I truly believe that the other is not possible.
As much as sex is an important part of my life, if it lacks a fulfilling emotional connection that I need, it leaves me very unsatisfied and empty. The compersion we feel when pleasing one another is the fuel that feeds our Wife Led Marriage. Yet for each of us, it (compersion) is measured in totally different ways. My hubwife knows that my orgasms are very important to me and she derives great pleasure from providing them in her own unique ways. On the other hand her orgasms are a rare, and becoming an even rarer, event. When I make love to her (pegging) orgasms are not my goal at all, yet I know it’s a very fulfilling (pardon the pun) experience for her. Good to see you posting again. The post was worth the wait.
“On the other hand her orgasms are a rare, and becoming an even rarer, event. When I make love to her (pegging) orgasms are not my goal at all, yet I know it’s a very fulfilling (pardon the pun) experience for her.”
I love this. You really are a benevolent Mistress @DianeJ.
This is a really interesting and I think dense blog. It’s given me much to think about. Thank you also Diane for your comments.
Sexual contingent self worth… I do feel that it’s a trait I’ve come to know in myself though till today I didn’t have a set of words to describe it. I’d be really interested to know how many readers here identify this trait in themselves and whether readers think they or their partners have greater amounts of self worth contingent on their sexuality and sexual relationship. Perhaps people feel like this trait is shared equally in their relationships though obviously it may manifest differently.
Finally I think that the use of the term compersion by both Diane and Emma, in the context of pegging their partners is quite illuminating for me (?). Insofar as I’ve seen it used here and elsewhere I’ve only seen it used as a term to describe The pleasure that a submissive man takes in a woman’s pleasure. Of course there is no reason compersion couldn’t be experienced by a woman looking at her man. I’ve just not had occasion to see it this way or to understand the pleasure a woman may take in pegging in this way. It seems different from but not necessarily in conflict with the assertion of dominance that ive perceived to be an obvious part of the pleasure of pegging.
Ok, enough from me. Thanks to you both.
I completely agree @jd. Until now, the compersion narrative really has only been discussed in the context of the submissive husband’s point of view. Those conversations as they were happening was helpful to me to be able to explain to myself (and to my Wife) the joy that comes from seeing her wallowing in pleasure and joy, in whatever form that happens to be.
When you stop and think about it, in the end it would seem logical that the compersion felt by the Dominant Woman is as essential to happiness for a couple going forward as the other way around. Tip of the cap in your direction Emma and Diane for your thoughts.
-Splitting hairs, mending split ends, venturing out onto thin ice.⛸-
Ok, I lied when I said earlier “enough from me.”
I just reGoogled compersion. I can’t really say I looked it up because I think, though useful as a term, it isn’t an accepted dictionary word. Not yet at least (keep this in mind mid you find yourself Scrabbling with a polyamorous crowd and someone tries to pull a fast one and claim a triple word score). In any case it’s been popularized by the polyamorous community to refer to one person’s experience of happiness or joy at the experience of another’s happiness or joy which comes as a result of their relations with yet another person. They seemed to have staked the most substantial claim to the word. Obviously, we can use it however we please and we don’t have to stick this limited definition. But if we do, it may not true to the term, and specifically not true to what challenging about it. I am happy for my partner when she receives a gift from another that makes her very happy as opposed to I’m happy when my partners is happy to receive a gift from me. Emma refers to compersion as the positive and compelling feeling she enjoys or experiences watching Kevin’s pleasure as she’s pegging him. I think it would be compersion by polyamorist’s definition if she were having that experience witnessing his pleasure as he was being pegged by another. Likewise, Diane assuming that your hubwife doesn’t have another significant other In the mix, something similar might apply to your use of the term. I don’t mean to be rude or contradictory but rather than compersion I wonder if the feeling you each are alluding to, that is so compelling, is simply “love”, good old-fashioned generous, protective and caring and life enriching Love. Please forgive me for splitting these hairs, or telling others what they are feeling. That’s rude and I don’t mean to be. I’ve just been thinking about this stuff all day (get a job JD). I still think these are really interesting posts.