Disneyland proudly touts itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” And for many, myself included, it is. I love the lights, sounds, rides, and magic of it all. I love the familiarity of knowing what to expect and being pleasantly surprised by any new offerings. I look forward to going as much as possible.
So, here’s the scenario:
A couple is about to head to Disneyland for the first time. Neither has been before, or maybe one has and the other hasn’t. They’ve talked about it, wondered about it, and asked others who’ve been before for any tips or advice. And instead of pointing out great rides to go on, or the best time to do this or that, the advice given is extremely vague and without context. Advice such as, “Just make sure to wash your hands.” Or, “ There might be something you don’t like, but just do it anyway.” While well-meaning the advice just creates more confusion and questions instead of joyful anticipation.
Well, the day finally arrives and the couple heads to the park, tickets in hand, ready to experience what everyone else seems to be enjoying and what all the movies and tv shows depicting Disneyland say will be the best time ever.
Walking through the gate, one partner grabs the hand of the other and says, “Hey, let’s go to Space Mountain first! When I was here that one time that’s the one ride I went on and it was great!” And off the couple go. They ride the ride, experiencing the lights, sounds and motion together for the first time. And maybe they enjoy it, or maybe one does and the other doesn’t, but before they have time to even talk about it, the one who did enjoy it, grabs the other’s hand and exclaims, “Let’s do it again!” And off they go.
Now, by the time anyone has ridden Space Mountain three or four times in a row, most people are ready for a break, to get something to eat, or to at least check out the other rides and fun shops in the park. And although the one who absolutely loved the ride would like to keep going, usually people who actually go to Disneyland hardly ever ride just one ride over and over. Or pout if they have to go on a different ride. Or threaten to leave the person if they dare express that perhaps they would like to do something different, or just take a break for a while.
So, why do we do this with sex?
What about this analogy can you relate to? Are you stuck on the same ride? What happens if your partner expresses their desire to try something else, needs a break, or speaks in a seemingly negative way about their sexual experience? Are you able to listen or do you become defensive and withdrawn until they go back on “Space Mountain” with you? When was the last time you asked your partner, with the desire to truly listen and understand without assumption, what they like, don’t like, want more of, want less of?
And if they’ve only experienced “Space Mountain” they may not know what else they like until they are given the space and time to explore the entire park, without pressure.
Back to Disneyland…
If you’ve ever taken someone to Disneyland for the first time it can be really fun to experience it through their eyes. There is a newness and excitement that helps to re-kindle your curiosity and energy. And, you may discover things you never knew about the park by exploring it with someone else.
Same goes for sex…
Sometimes we get really comfortable — too comfortable — with what we know and what we want. We may assume our partner likes and wants the same thing, in the same way, because we’ve been incorrectly taught they would. By creating space for yourself and your partner to discover and explore their sexuality, you will open up the possibility for newness, excitement, curiosity, passion and the intimacy and relationship you hoped for in the beginning.
And, next time you go to Disneyland, you’ll probably never experience it in the same way.