We have all experienced the awkward moment during sex. You move to take your shirt off, or your pants or your body makes a funny noise that no one was planning on. We don’t normally mention these moments, we move as quickly past them almost pretending they didn’t happen. Still, they happen. At one point or another, all of us have been in a situation that has a moment where the energy slows or even stops while something “awkward” takes place. These moments do not only happen in sexual experiences, they also take place during conversations. I notice them most when I meet a person for the first time and the conversation comes to a stop for one reason or another.
What is the awkward moment and why does it make us feel so uncomfortable? I think of this moment as a change in energy. Something is shifting and we feel uneasy about it. Sexual experiences are no different. During sexual experiences, energy is constantly changing. I think of sexual energy on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being lightly aroused and 10 being the point of orgasm or “no return.” I have found most people feel they are experiencing an awkward moment when the sexual energy moves down the scale at a somewhat rapid speed.
Let’s take, for example, undressing. Sometimes it works great to have your partner rip your clothes off in the heat of passion, and other times you take your own clothes off. Either way, people often rush this experience. Instead of enjoying the sensation of clothes moving off your skin and exposing yourself to your partner, the experience is rushed and under-appreciated. The hurry stems from the fear that the moment will be lost if the arousal level lowers. It is true that, as we move back from embracing our partner to undress them or undress ourselves, the energy shifts and can slow down, moving down the arousal curve. Feeling the slowing down creates the fear of loss and aha, the awkward moment. Many people are rushing through sexual experiences in fear of the awkward moment.
Instead of avoiding them, I would love for people to begin embracing these awkward moments. You can do this by seeing the situation for what it is. You are about to feel a drop in sexual tension between you are your partner and what a great moment to slow down, connect with yourself and allow for space on the arousal curve to shift. Sex does not need to have a straight-line trajectory. There is no prize if you ride the arousal curve from 1 to 10 without ups and downs. In fact, you are actually inviting boredom into the bedroom by skipping over all of the connection and playfulness that can happen as the arousal curve moves up and down. Some of the best sexual experiences I have had move from hot passion, to laughter, to orgasms, to holding, and sweet talk and back to orgasms again, with plenty of ups and downs. I invite you to take a look at your past sexual experiences and see if you are racing your arousal curve.
Next time you are about to get intimate with your partner, and you realize your shirt is not coming off as fast as you imagined, take a deep breath and recognize what is happening. You are most likely rushing through the awkward experience. Bring yourself into the present moment and notice what you are experiencing. Feel your shirt as it brushes against your skin on the way to the floor. Notice how the air feels on your skin as it becomes newly exposed. Maybe your partner is watching you and patiently waiting for you to fall back into their arms shirtless and confidently moved past the potential awkward moment. See if you can find ways to enjoy all that is happening in the moment and allow all of the beautiful fluctuations that make sex and intimacy truly interesting.