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How are you doing down there?

Not exactly the question any man wants to hear is it?

Check out this article written by a man who I coached over 4 months! I am so proud to have played a part in this article by being this man's coach.

I love the shifts that occurred in his mindset around releasing performance pressure.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article if you get a chance to read it!!

Here it is...............

A question to kill the mood during a romantic moment and get you stuck in your own head. Why does it get asked and what can you do about it?

Your hands are all over each other, she’s pushing you onto the sofa and, as soon as you’re sitting, jumps on top of you. Your mind is going wild, excited by this passionate moment with such a beautiful, wonderful woman.

As you kiss, caress, tease and tempt, she reaches down, feeling around the crotch of your trousers and asks,

“How you doing down there?”

Just as you’re losing yourself in the passion of the moment, you’re wrenched out of it and, with these five words, asked to consider and report back on whether or not your dick is hard yet.

A women in lingerie sitting astride a bare-chested man in a moment of intimacy.

Even if you’re already rock hard down there, delivering this kind of sit rep to your partner doesn’t do much to add to the sensuality and eroticism you’re experiencing.

On the other hand, if your physical arousal is yet to reach its peak, being asked this question is hardly going to help get you excited. In the moment where you want to be enjoying the pleasure that your partners’ body, smell and touch brings, you’re instead focused on how your erection’s coming along and questioning why it wasn’t already there by the time she checked on it.

Whether or not you’ve been asked this question before in the middle of a passionate moment, understanding the drivers behind why the question gets asked and knowing the options for responding to it can help all of us enjoy more pleasurable and fulfilling sex.

Why does this happen? What drives a woman to ask a man this question?

The story we’ve been told by society about male sexual arousal – that men are always horny, able to get an erection at the drop of a bra, whatever the circumstances – can lead to an expectation that a man should be hard with any level of arousal (and a corresponding disappointment if he’s not).

Related to this first point, the stereotyping narrative we’ve been fed on men and women’s sexuality has also created an assumption that sex for a man unrelated to emotion. Not only is he permanently horny, but no matter how stressed, anxious, sad, isolated or insecure he’s feeling, he’ll have no problem getting aroused at the merest suggestion of sex.

Sex therapist Vanessa Marin talks about these and other unfair expectations of men when it comes to sex in her excellent blog post.

But it’s not just unrealistic expectations of men that might lead your partner to ask you how you’re doing down there. The third reason likely originates in the expectations society puts on women.

Your partner might be checking on your arousal out of her own insecurity. She’s looking for reassurance that you’re turned on by her, that she’s doing the right things for you and in the right way. If society has told men they should be unemotional machines, it’s told women they should aim to please.

Does it go the other way? What is the equivalent that men might ask women?

This absolutely works both ways. In fact, this whole article was sparked by reading about experiences of women on the groundbreaking OMGYes! website explaining how it feels when men ask “Are you close?” during sex.

The insecurities exist on both sides. Women checking that their partner is aroused by them and what they’re doing, men checking that their sexual performance is good enough to “make” their partner cum.

Women interviewed on the OMGYes! website explain what this does for them: “Thoughts take over like – ‘am I taking too long?’ ‘are they bored?’ and those thoughts totally distract me and the orgasm goes away”

So blurting out these questions, often in response to our own insecurities, can end up sowing and exacerbating insecurities for our partner. Both asking and being asked these questions is holding us back from being fully present to enjoy the sex we’re having.

How can we help ourselves not to ask these questions?

There are two main things we can do and both are about rethinking our approach to sex.

1. Understanding signs of arousal

For most of us, sexual desire and arousal are influenced by many factors. Your partner getting hard or getting wet during sex doesn’t just depend on what you are doing for them. Sometimes, it might be totally unrelated.

To varying degrees, we’re all sensitive to our surroundings, to the atmosphere of the room, our own mood, the feeling of connection, feeling safe and secure, or feeling that our particular sexual preferences are respected and acknowledged – not feeling shy or shameful about expressing what feels good to us.

We might be enjoying what our partner is doing for us, but not show any physical signs of arousal because any one or more of the factors listed above isn’t quite right. And you can’t necessarily always pin it down.

In fact, there might not even be anything to pin it down to. In her TED talk from 2018 (over 2.5 million views as of June 2020), Dr. Emily Nagoski explains the concept of arousal nonconcordance (including the sometimes dark and profound implications of it).

Arousal nonconcordance refers to the lack of predictive relationship between our physiological response and our subjective experience of pleasure and desire. In other words, in response to any given stimulus, you can show physiological signs of what is commonly interpreted as arousal without necessarily wanting or liking the stimulus.

The analogy Dr. Nagoski gives is biting into a wormy apple and salivating despite realising the fruit is no good. “If my mouth waters when I bite into a wormy apple, does anybody say to me ‘You said no, but your body said yes’?”

This works the other way round too. A woman might want to rip off her partner’s clothes and jump on top of him without being at all wet. Likewise, a man might be lost in the pleasure of exploring his partner’s body or enjoying her touch, but show no sign of an erection.

A meta-analysis1 of studies from between 1969 and 2007 looking at the correlation between physical signs of arousal and self-reported feelings of arousal found the r-value (measure of correlation) for men to be r=0.66 and for women r=0.26. When a perfect positive correlation is represented by r=1.0, even an r-value of r=0.66 leave a lot of room for “disagreement” between a person’s own perception of whether or not they’re aroused and what their genitals are doing.

“If my mouth waters when I bite into a wormy apple, does anybody say to me ‘You said no, but your body said yes’?”

Dr. Emily Nagoski

So the most effective way of knowing if your partner is enjoying what you’re doing is through the cues they choose to give you – the sounds they make or, quite simply, the words they say. And if they’re not volunteering this, you can gently or even seductively ask them, “does that feel good?”

2. Broadening our definition of what sex is

We can all enjoy more fun and pleasure if we broaden our view of sex to include forms of intimacy that don’t require an erect penis.

If a man doesn’t have an erection, it doesn’t mean he isn’t sexually excited or turned on by the person he’s with, nor that he can’t enjoy many other forms of intimacy and sexual interaction with his partner.

Our sex education (or lack of it) has led to a common view that the primary aim of sex must always be orgasm (and that orgasm=ejaculation, but that’s a story for another day). Ejaculatory orgasm is the end, everything leading up to it is just the means.

This compels us to get to orgasm as fast as we can – or at least to keep our eyes trained on the orgasm prize – when there is so much pleasure, eroticism and intimacy in what comes before orgasm – and certainly before the momentary pleasure of ejaculation – for us to enjoy and to lose ourselves in.

This does two things:

Takes the pressure off everyone involved. No longer grading yourself based on achieving certain results for yourself or your partner, but allowing yourself to enjoy the moment.

Turn sex from a linear process with a specific end point you’re aiming for, into a potentially never-ending swirling mix of whatever feels good to you and your partner in the moment

Regardless of any concerns about getting asked awkward questions or previous experiences of not getting an erection when you wanted or expected to, moving towards this more exploratory, intimate and exciting approach is worth doing simply for the pleasure it could bring.

How can we handle the situation when these questions do get asked, and bring ourselves and our partner back to the relaxed and erotic state of mind?

If you get asked either of these questions (“How you doing down there?” / “Are you close?”), understand that this almost certainly isn’t about your partner checking on your “performance”, but them checking if they are “doing it right”. They’re seeking reassurance.

Whatever physiological response you’ve got going on, you can offer your partner the reassurance they’re seeking. Tell them how turned on you are by them, how much you desire them and want to enjoy their body, how much you want to pleasure them.

Or, if what your partner is doing honestly doesn’t feel so great, tell them what would feel good. You don’t need to correct or point out any mistake, but rather suggest what you’d like them to do – or what you’d like to do to them – next.

You can also explain to your partner – at a time when you’re not in the middle of sex – that being asked the question takes you out of the moment and that you just want to enjoy the pleasure you’re experiencing without worrying about “performance” or achieving any particular results.

Before the question even arises, you can show your partner how much you are enjoying what they are doing for you through the sounds you make, or simply by telling them how good it feels.

If or when you’re asked this question and it brings you out of the moment and introduces distracting thoughts into your mind, you want to find a way back to a more relaxed state with a focus on the physical sensations you’re experiencing.

Ask your partner to do something for you that you know feels good to you, relaxes you and takes your (and his/her/their) focus away from your genitals and back to other parts of the body. You might move to deep, passionate kissing, or feel hands running through my hair, rubbing and even slightly scratching your chest or shoulders, bringing you back to feeling these sensations in your body.

So what’s the point?

Getting asked “How you doing down there?” can take you out of the moment and introduce distracting and unhelpful thoughts about your “performance” during sex. Understand that this question is probably coming from a place of insecurity and isn’t a test you’re being required to pass. You can work on yourself and with your partner to adjust your approach to sex and communicate what feels good so that this question doesn’t come up. If it does, you can give the reassurance your partner is seeking before taking a moment to ask for what you know feels good and get back into that sensual, sexual mood.

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