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Top 3 Conditions Needed for a Good Sexual Experience

Sex Ed

Top 3 Conditions Needed for a Good Sexual Experience

Necessary conditions for a good sexual experience. Promising title, no?

Well, as things often go, you might just end up getting something else than what you were expecting, but not always for the worse.

So what are the necessary conditions for a good sexual experience? Adequate levels of sexual desire for both participants? Being really aroused & wet? Having a (partner with) a larger than average penis? Orgasm(s)? Mood and lighting? Scented candles? Or perhaps Barry White?

Taking this approach to such a general question would lead us nowhere. Why? Because there is no such thing as ‘the right way to sexually stimulate women or men’, just the right way to stimulate that particular woman or that single man. If we were to ask a 100 people what they would need to have a good sexual experience, we would wind up with a 100 personal sexual guide books. To make matters worse, each of them would almost be completely useless as a guide to a good sexual experience for any other person. At best, one could read each other’s guide as a source of inspiration. If you’re in a committed partner relationship, this might be an enlightening exercise for the both of you!

So how then can we say something useful about the necessary conditions for having a pleasant sexual experience? This is done so by taking a broad approach. In sexological literature, you will find three conditions that have to be met to be able to have a good, pleasant, or satisfying sexual experience.

1. An intact & functioning sexual system

Sex, more specifically sexual arousability, requires certain areas of your brain sending signals traveling through several nerve bundles to various parts of your body and vice versa. If one of the links in this chain of information-sharing is malfunctioning, the entire system is put under stress, sometimes even making certain aspects of sexual experiences impossible. One’s nervous system, one’s endocrine system, one’s genitalia, one’s hands, lips, tongue, and also, one’s eyes, one’s nose, ears, and skin need to be intact and functioning, at least up to a certain level.

In other words: one needs to be able to register internal and external sexual stimuli—fantasies or desires, seeing a beautiful man or woman, feeling someone lightly brush by your neck—and all internal systems and organs that play a part in the elicited sexual response need to be intact.

 2. Good sexual stimuli

Ok. Let’s assume you have an intact & functioning sexual system.
So you’re at home, sitting in your comfy chair attentively waiting for your sexual system to switch on.

I hope your chair is really, really comfy …

Every system has its start-up requirements. Our sexual system is no different. It needs an input of sexual stimuli to get going and keep going. As said, these stimuli can be both internal (like thoughts or fantasies) & external (like speech, touch, scents or just seeing someone you find attractive, hot, sexy). Both can do the trick equally well. Most people have a general idea of which stimuli are the most gratifying for themselves.

For most of us happy enough to be in a partner relationship, we have the luck of having a large source of different types of stimuli at hand each day; our partner. He or she can be a source of sensual thoughts or fantasies, look really sexy dressing in the right way (or not at all) or he/she can simply light those scented candles you like so much.

For most of us, with or without partner, potential stimuli are in abundance. Potential stimuli, because, even when you’re exposed to a potentially good sexual stimulus, you still have to see it in a sexual way. One has to allow oneself to interpret a stimulus sexually and to give sexual meaning and thus sexual value to a stimulus. For instance, let’s say for the sake of argument that seeing a woman naked serves as a good stimulus: So, it’s Sunday morning, you’ve slept in, you’re relaxed with nothing on your mind, you walk into the bathroom and there she is, naked, breasts in full sight, sitting on the water closet. This could still be a stimulating situation but that entirely depends on the meaning ascribed to what is seen. Do you see her as sitting there doing her business or do you see her as sitting there, naked? The latter could jumpstart one’s sexual system whereas the former would probably do just about the opposite.

Hence, we need stimuli to get our sexual system going, but we have to see them as sexual stimuli first in order for them to have the desired effect.

3. The right context

So there you are. Stimuli in abundance. You’re really taking them up in a sexual way. You feel your sexual system warming up, creating a feeling that could develop into full blown sexual desire & arousal and …. you’re standing in the middle of a crowded town square / the baby just woke up and is wailing to be / there’s still loads of household work that need to be done/ you can’t help but think it wasn’t really good the last time.

Even when all other conditions are just right and a pleasant sexual experience is a real possibility, you still need the right context for the situation to go forward in the desired way.

When you feel your system’s started up and desire and arousal are building, the time and place have to be just right for you to be able to actually do something with those feelings. And again, not only do the time and place have to be right in a practical sense, you also have to feel that it’s a good time and place for sex. When your mind is elsewhere or occupied with non-sexual thoughts, even a potentially good context to act upon your desire could feel like it’s not really the ideal time or place for for some sexy time.

As such, what’s the use of thinking about sex in this way? Well, knowing about these three conditions: a functioning sexual system, sexual stimuli, and the right context can help you to understand why your sexual partner sometimes doesn’t feel like having sex while you’re ready to go or vice versa. In addition, understanding why you or your partner behave in a certain way can help you to deal with certain tense and tricky situations, and most importantly, prevent frustration from building up.

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Sam Geuens

Sam is a European clinical sexologist (MSc), hailing from Belgium. After working in the Netherlands as a clinical sexologist & couples therapist, he returned to Belgium where he now works at the General Hospital St. Elisabeth – Herentals. There he co-founded the Policlinic for Sexology in cooperation with the resident departments for Gynecology & Obstetrics and Urology where he counsels people on a variety of sexual problems. Also ethicist (MA) by training, Sam sits on the hospital’s ethics board and in his work with clients focuses on normalizing sexuality as a part of life, viewing different sexual practices and preferences as ‘natural variations’ in turn on’s. To further expand the care he can provide his clients, Sam is currently working towards a certification as solution focused Psychotherapist. Fascinated by the new field of E-healthcare he actively explores what the internet can offer to bring sexual & couple therapy to the next level. At the moment Sam functions as online clinical supervisor & sexologist for the Student Sex Work Project, both supervising interns providing an online, chat based netreach service for students across the UK active in the adult industry and diverse sex work markets and providing online therapy for the Project’s student sex worker-members. A big believer in sharing his views about sexuality, Sam has been active as a trainer for Sensoa – the Flemish Expertise Centre for Sexual Health & HIV for years, providing training to diverse professional groups such as federal police, medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, secondary school teachers & principals, policy makers, etc on topics such as sexually boundary crossing behavior, sexual abuse, sexual & relational education methods, sexuality policies in social & health care organizations, ... Sam sits on the boards of the Professional Society for Flemish Sexologists (VVS) and the European Federation of Sexology’s Youth Group (EFS), and is a member of the International Society for Sexuality and Cancer (ISSC) and Centre for Ethics & Value Inquiry (CEVI) based at Ghent university Belgium.

Get in touch with Sam via email at


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