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.