Gratitude vs gratification (or how to have great sex)

Why do we have sex? Because we want to satisfy our longing for our object of desire? Because we’re in lurv? Because we want to feel good? Ultimately, is it because we want to experience orgasm?

I reckon by now you’re probably nodding your head.

Most of us have sex because we seek gratification in some form and that’s usually the big bang at the end, preferably with someone we are really hot for. I’m venturing to suggest that seeking gratification (or orgasm) isn’t always going to translate into great sex. Yet we are told the Big O is what counts and therefore it’s what most of us look for in our sexual experience – both physically and in our fantasy world.

I’m not discounting the power of orgasm here, but let’s be honest, orgasms come in many forms. There’s quiet little ones that sneak up, sudden spasmodic ones that surprise, whoppers that shake from the toes and every shade in between. Orgasm is the cherry on the cake, so to speak. But that cherry varies enormously in size and q1uality. And in spending all our time worrying about what kind of cherry we’re gonna get, we are forgetting to enjoy the cake.

And cake is the best bit. Yes, really.

There is a lot of useful and interesting advice available on how to have a great sex life and much of it assumes that gratification is the main aim of the game. It’s all about the orgasm. In truth, if we’re after better quality sex, aiming for gratification won’t get us there. Gratification (or aiming for the most explosive orgasm you can muster) is a primarily selfish motivation and the singularity of its one-eyed aim automatically cuts out the broader spectrum of sexual experience.

So here’s the rub. Sex is essentially a communication. It’s an exchange between two people who are expressing their desire, lust, love, longing for each other. Sex is a place where we become vulnerable and open, express our need and experiment with power. It’s so much more than a physical experience. Every sexual experience, no matter how base, contains a seed of something I’ve spoken about in previous posts – Eros.

Eros is what makes great sex. In a sense it’s the essence of Tantric practice because it combines pleasure and love, so the experience of pleasure becomes like a prayer. Sex guided by Eros is one where the couple express gratitude, rather than seeking gratification, and it doesn’t necessarily always have to end in orgasm.

This kind of sex is exploratory and curious. It’s playful and passionate. It’s about giving pleasure, appreciating your partner, showing them the joy you feel in their presence. It’s about expressing your feelings, especially gratitude and grace, without judgement or demands. In erotic sex you reveal yourself to your loved one by allowing them to witness your sexual pleasure. There are no expectations. Instead there is communication and care. It takes as long as it takes and the exchange can go on for days, both in and out of the bedroom. And when (or if) you finally do get to the big O, it’s a totally different experience. Because that orgasm was born in love and the spirit of giving, not the spirit of getting.

I think we’d be a happier culture if we embraced this notion. Instead of feeling the lack in our sex lives, we can start creating a sense of abundance by simply changing the reason we want sex. To give. And with any luck the gratitude we create might even spread to other parts of our lives.


So very well said Kate.  I'm a great believer in 'gratitude' and how it can make your life so much better.  Simply knowing your partner is giving to you means you are in fact getting something - and not just in a physical sense.  Sex isn't about 'what's in it for me?' it's about 'what's in it for us.'

KateBellex's picture

Hear, hear Andra. X

I agree with the idea of giving the gift of your pleasure to your partner. It needs both to open themselves to the other so there must also be a high degree of trust. But what a wonderful gift. 


Thanks for another thoughtful and insightful post, Kate. As always, it's a pleasure to read.

KateBellex's picture

Thanks Susanne for taking the time to read. I think the idea of giving ones pleasure as gift to a partner is a vastly underrated one. And such a bonding thing to do.

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