Science has long shown the abundance of benefits that comes from practicing gratitude. It’s been shown to improve upon overall health, anxiety, stress, and depression—but how does it affect our sex lives? How can sex coaches use gratitude as a tool to guide their clients?
What does science say?
Earlier this year, a study was published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science that looked at the effect of gratitude on sexual communal strength (SCS). SCS is a term researchers have used to describe the extent to which we are willing to fulfill our partner’s sexual needs, even when those needs differ from our own. SCS has been shown to improve relationship satisfaction, but before this study, not much research had been done to discover exactly what promotes or builds SCS.
It turns out one factor that was found to have a positive connection with SCS is gratitude. Based on multiple experiential methods, this study shows that receiving gratitude from a partner increases our motivation to fulfill their sexual needs and therefore increases overall relationship satisfaction.
This is a key finding because relationship satisfaction plays a huge role in our clients’ sexual pleasure and health. Relationship dissatisfaction can have a ripple effect, and is often the issue that brings clients into our “office.” Knowing gratitude improves sexual satisfaction can help sex coaches use this tool in their practice to bring their clients closer to their goals of feeling satisfied, fulfilled, and happy in their sexual experiences.
Developing a Gratitude Practice
These findings are not surprising given the previous research done on the effects of gratitude. We already know how impactful a practice of gratitude can be for individuals. Psychologists, therapists, and other mental health professionals already use gratitude in their work with clients. This new science shows that sex coaches can apply a similar perspective.
Developing a gratitude practice in order to aid in sexual relationships might look a little different from typical practices. Here are a few examples of practices to suggest to your clients:
- Both partners keep a daily log in their respective journals of gratitude for the other. This could include things like “he did the house chores,” “she listened to me talk about my day,” or “they gave me a great hug when I came home from work.” Each partner reads the other’s list each morning or evening.
- Develop a nightly ritual of spending 10 minutes together before bed to cuddle, and take turns expressing how grateful they felt toward their partner that day.
- Get into the habit of expressing appreciation in the moment. Both partners should gently “train” themselves to actively express and respond when they notice a feeling of gratitude for their partner. Even if it’s a simple “I really appreciate that,” expression in the moment can gain momentum and develop into more impactful practices.
Another piece of practicing effective gratitude is savoring. Savoring is the act of noticing and consciously leaning into the moment when something good happens. Savoring the moment helps solidify the positive feelings that come with gratitude. It can help to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and smile when you notice a feeling of gratitude. Hang on to the moment and extend it for as long as possible. The more your clients can get into this habit of savoring, the more impactful gratitude will be for their relationship.
Practicing gratitude is not just about making lists or talking to your partner. It’s about reaping the mental and physical benefits by incorporating the lens of gratitude into your daily life. Using gratitude to shift your view to a generally positive perspective on your life and relationship is what ultimately brings a positive impact. Sex coaches can help their clients by guiding them into this way of thinking and feeling.
Giving and Receiving
The study previously mentioned makes a specific point about the impacts of receiving expressions of gratitude. The receptive partner gains the most benefit, so it’s important to guide your clients into a healthy balance of giving and receiving gratitude.
Clients often come to us with specific stories about gratitude that may or may not align with each other. One might feel a sense of lack in the relationship, while the other is on the defense. Using the overarching perspective of a glass half full, you can help your clients work through any disagreements and lead them to a place where gratitude is naturally abundant.
Gratitude is a wonderful tool for us all. The research keeps reinforcing how amazing it can be for us as individuals, and now we know for our work as sex coaches, as well.
Here at Sex Coach U, we feel immense gratitude to our readers, our students, our graduates, our staff, and our guest speakers. We are thankful to this sex positive family for all the amazing work you do in the world to bring sexual health and pleasure to so many.
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