Sexual Recovery Blog

Relational Sex vs. Object Sex: The Neurological Aspect of Making Love

Posted by Patty Shirley on

Dr. Doug Weiss, CSAT, is considered to be an expert on Sex and Porn Addiction.  His goal is to promote healthy sexual relations, as does our Sexual Recovery Program at CPCC.  Dr. Weiss teaches the difference between Relational Sex, as in sex within a relationship, vs Object Sex, or sexual activity that is tied to porn, fantasy or acting out behaviors and not in the context of a relationship.  In Object Sex, it is typical that degrading language, lack of connection and self-satisfaction is often the norm.

The principles of Relational Sex include the three dimensions of body, soul and spirit, connecting emotionally with another human being, which Dr. Weiss loves to tout as “amazing and fun” sex.

Here are some tips that Dr. Weiss gives to promote Relational Sex.

Eyes open - With our eyes open we have the opportunity to “glue ourselves” neurologically to what we behold, our partner, diminishing opportunity for fantasy.

Lighting the room - When some light is present in the room while making love, we have opportunity to maintain eye contact and to optimize our neurological connection and response to our partner.  Lighting can be as simple as a candle, nightlight or the moonlight coming through a window.

Nurturing Conversation or Utterances - Having opportunity to speak positively and plant affirmative messages into our partner’s soul during love making can enhance the experience and the bond that is formed.

Communing, communicating verbally and with eye contact and touch, with intentionality reinforces Relational Sex, offering opportunity to relax, to nurture and be present for our partner.  This can be very different than Object Sex in which emotionally and mentally one can be checked out, absent in mind, even though physically present.  In many ways, we can think of the use of pornography, fantasy and visualization as psychologically bringing another party into the sexual experience, even if they are not physically there!

Dr. Weiss recommends the analogy of cooking soup to Relational Sex.  Everyone has their own idea of what they would like to have in their soup recipe.  But there are so many variables, so many different ingredients to choose from!  And our taste can change on a daily basis.  It would be tiresome to only eat split pea soup or clam chowder.  With the idea of Relational Sex in mind, remember that you and your partner are attempting to find the perfect recipe that suits both of you.  But depending upon the day, the time or the mood, the recipe may vary.  With Relational Sex, there is safety and the ability to communicate needs, desires and what is pleasurable, with opportunity to change the recipe.  Unlike Object Sex, which can be very controlling, and lack intimacy, Relational Sex gives opportunity for intentionality, experimentation, empowerment and stronger connection.

More on favorite soup recipes in another blog…  ;)

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