Safety leads to physical intimacy

Bonding science says the biggest factor in the quality of your sex relationship is the safety of your emotional connection of the person you are making love with.

Dr. Sue Johnson
At Conexus Counselling (formerly Bergen and Associates Counselling), most of us have additional training in the research and theory of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT).  Dr. Johnson has an empirically supported approach to couples therapy that understands that both partners of a couple need to experience the relationship as a safe haven with a secure bond.  The therapists around our office seek to understand the dance of the couple–to understand how available, responsive and emotionally available each of the partners is to each other.
Dr. Johnson recently gave a TED talk that explains the role of sex within a relationship.
Dr. Johnson tells us three important scientific learnings. What does bonding science teach us about sex?
  1. Sex is not, first and foremost about pleasure about pleasure and procreation.  It is a potent bonding activity.
  2. People who have a secure sense of safety in their bond and feel closely connected with their partner have better sex. Sex is a safe adventure.  We enjoy the thrill of roller coasters because they are exciting…and because they deliver one set of thrill seekers after another to the finish area. We trust the adventure.  Sex is like that. Especially for women, this is the defining feature of sexuality.
  3. Sex is an emotional dance.  How you connect emotionally is how you connect sexually. As a couple is able to emotional attune to a broad set of emotions, a couple will be able to engage sexually for a variety of reasons…for pleasure, tension release, to make up after a disagreement, to be loving towards each other. Sex can enhance the relationship bond which enhances sex which enhances the relationship connection and so on, around and around.
So…men please understand this:
  • being sexually available is a very vulnerable position for women to be in. Women long to feel safe first.
  • Talking, therefore, for women, is an essential part of foreplay prior to engaging in sexual activity.

Mutually satisfying sexual activity occurs within a context of each partner feeling heard, understood and valued. It can mean working to increase the safety of the relationship for your partner prior to exploring sexual activity…not “in order to have sex”…but as part of having your partner feel loved and cared for in the relationship.

Take a peek at Dr. Johnson’s video:


We know now that safe emotional engagement is the key ingredient in relationships that turns us on in bed, and out of bed.

Dr. Sue Johnson

This stuff is easy to write about…and challenging to embody in a relationship.  Sex can often be a bit of a “canary in the coal mine”.

Please give us an email or a call  (204 275 1045) if you are looking to improve the emotional connection in your relationship.

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