There are a thousands reasons why sex can be a wonderful source of pleasure. One of them is because it gives you a chance to see a private, special side to another person that few other people in the world may ever get to see. The cynical among you may read “a few” and balk. But whether your lover has been known by one other person, a dozen, a hundred or ten thousand â€“ it’s still a small number in the grand scheme of things of the world.
When people have sex or are in love or lust, they often let their guard down. They use baby talk or they relax and fall asleep in your arms. Maybe they snore right after sex. Or they make a disarming “o” face. They may tell you about their ejaculatory issues or the way they need a certain type of tongue flick in order to come. She may show you her favorite position and he may bend over while you search out the infamous p-spot.
The boring office guy transforms into a passionate lover of giving oral sex. The strict school teacher turns into a total softie when you hold her in your arms. The cocky class clown shows his scared, insecure side, wondering if he’s a good enough lover to please you.
With sex, anything is possible. You get to be whoever you want â€“ it’s true. But that also means that your partner gets to be whoever they want, too, and that may not be the same as the person they masquerade as during their school or work day.
To be sexual with someone is both an honor and a responsibility. It means that you may not only have their heart in your hands, but you may also hold their sensitivities and their vulnerabilities, even their reputation. Your partner may be trusting you to not tell their buddies about their poetry-reciting side or their erectile problems or orgasmic screams. There may be secrets that just the two of you share, there in the bed or laying naked on the bathroom floor.
Having sex with another living, breathing human being is a big responsibility, but a gift too. Because whether you stay together or eventually part ways, there will always be a tiny corner of the universe that you two shared, alone in a bed, tracing each other’s freckles, naked and fragile and wanting, listening to Sam Cooke or John Legend or the pounding of each other’s hearts, and not wanting to look at the clock, lest it all have to end.
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is a sex researcher and educator at Indiana University, a widely read sex columnist, and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Follow her on Twitter @mysexprofessor