Trust and Sexual Pleasure
There are so many factors that impact the amount of sexual pleasure you can experience, especially when another person is involved. Your mood, stress levels, where you are in your menstrual cycle, and of course – your relationship with your sexual partner, all come together to help set the stage for your sex life.
Whether you’re having sex with a committed partner, a fun fling, or somewhere in between, there’s no doubt that the dynamic between you two plays a huge role in how much you’re getting from your sex life. A lot of things go into that dynamic: your expectations for each other and the relationship, how much you enjoy each other’s company, and a huge one – trust.
Trust and sexual pleasure go hand in hand. This may seem obvious, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface when it comes to the word “trust”. So how exactly does trust play out in our sex lives, and how can you build more within a relationship? Let’s find out!
Understanding Trust and Sex
When you think of the word “trust” in the context of relationships, what comes to mind? Honoring commitments? Being able to rely on someone? Physical and emotional safety? All of these are fundamental parts of trust in a relationship, but there’s a lot more to the story.
Trust isn’t just about being able to rely on someone. On a deeper level, trust is a nuanced ability to be able to be totally present with someone. When you have a deep level of trust with someone, you’re able to bring all of you to the table. Trust allows you to be at ease with your partner, there’s a different level of relaxation that also adds to pleasure and enjoyment.
Have you heard of the pleasure gap? It’s a term that describes the phenomenon in heterosexual relationships that women are a lot less likely to orgasm regularly than men. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, a big one being how women are treated in society and historically.
The female body usually needs a feeling of fundamental trust and safety to fully open and relax. And while sex isn’t all about orgasms, they sure are nice. Not only do they feel great, but it’s a lot easier to get there when you have a large amount of trust in the person that you’re having sex with.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
If you don’t totally trust your sexual partner, it doesn’t necessarily mean this person is “untrustworthy”, but that on some level, you don’t feel comfortable completely opening up to them. That doesn’t mean that either of you is at fault, but that something in the dynamic is a little off.
It’s easy to blame your partner or yourself when your sex life is meeting your expectations, but it’s no one’s fault. Sometimes if you have trouble building deep trust with a sexual or romantic partner, it could be because of unresolved traumas that occurred at any age. These events create a sort of disruption in your ability to connect with people on the level that you’d like to, especially sexual or romantic relationships. A lack of trust often has to do with things that are going on with you internally that are then being reflected in your relationship, and of course – your sex life.
Trust Takes Time
Even if you’re feeling steady and secure in yourself, trust isn’t an instant thing. It takes time to build the level of trust that is often necessary for you to experience the kind of pleasure that you’d like to. When you take the time to nurture this part of your relationship, it starts to build a sense of safety and security. This in turn allows you to fully open up with this person, in every sense of the word.
Sexual pleasure takes time to build with foreplay, kissing, and sensual touch. But it also has to do with the bigger picture of building trust and pleasure in the relationship overall. It might feel like you want to rush through and experience it all, right now, but some things are worth the wait. That being said, there are things you can do to help build the kind of trust that allows for deeper intimacy and pleasure.
How to Build Trust in Relationships
A lot of trust in relationships builds organically, but it can also be cultivated through conscious action.
Here are some ways you can build trust in your relationship:
- Honesty: Honesty isn’t just about not lying. Honesty is being clear with what your expectations, needs, and desires are in the relationship. It’s saying what’s on your mind, and what’s on your heart.
- Joy: Pleasure and joy go hand in hand. Positive experiences help build trust. Think of ways that you can bring more joy to the relationship like sharing common hobbies, dancing or cooking together, anything!
- Self Healing: Because trust often comes down to you, it may be necessary to do some self-healing work on yourself, that will then ripple out into your relationship. This could be therapy or EMDR, meditation, or even masturbating!
Trust is a complicated topic, especially when you think about how it plays out in our sex lives. If this feels like a tricky area for you, pat yourself on the back for starting to reflect on it. Learning how to trust someone, as well as yourself, can take time. So be gentle with yourself, and enjoy the process!
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.