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When Sex is Goal-Oriented, Does Anyone Win?

What does it mean when sex is goal-oriented?

A "goal" during sex is an expectation for something to happen that would make the experience feel rewarding, complete, or positive. When people go into a sexual encounter with an idea for what should happen, this can often lead to feeling pressure, distraction, performance anxiety, and disappointment. Focusing too much on a "goal" takes us out of the physical experience and our bodies, and keeps our heads in an unsexy space of worrying about what will happen next.

Sometimes this goal can look like maintaining an erection for a long period of time, and in many cases, the goal is about having an orgasm (or multiple orgasms).

Aren't orgasms a goal of sex?

In many cases, orgasms can be a goal of sex, but when orgasms are the goal for sex, this is where things can get complicated. Most people have sex to feel good, to experience pleasure, and the release that comes from an orgasm.

However, sex without an orgasm can still be great! When every step of the way is about "getting there," this can put pressure on one or both partner to perform, to rush, and to measure the quality of the experience by whether or not an orgasm happens. Besides, focusing too much on orgasms during sex will most likely make it more difficult for one or both partners to have one, which can be frustrating.

How can I make sex feel less like a goal?

Lover's co-founder Dr. Britney Blair recommends taking goals off the table, and intentionally removing expectations from the experience.

"If the goal is to have an orgasm, make a decision to have an erotic play session that is not going to include orgasm. Once the goal is not on the table, you can just focus on sensation and pleasure, foreplay, and enjoying your partner! You could also experiment with taking turns giving and receiving pleasure.

Make one night all about your partner’s pleasure and doing anything that they would like, anything that they enjoy, and then the next night can be your turn."


The Lover app's courses and personalized coaching can help you to have the sex you want, with long-lasting results. Download it in the App Store to get started today.


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