VIDEO: Susan Johnson on the Link Between Sex and Safety

How a "Secure Base" Promotes Sexual Exploration

Susan Johnson

If you were zip-lining through the forest, but weren't sure your harness was properly attached, would you be feeling as much freedom and exhilaration as if you knew you were securely fastened? According to renowned couples therapist Susan Johnson, bestselling author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, good sex operates in the same way: partners need to feel safe in order to fully enjoy sex.

"In a loving relationship, we use a feeling of safety to go out into the world and explore, and that includes sex," Susan says. "Sex is a safe adventure."

In the video below, Susan explains how fostering strong emotional connections---or a "secure base"---allows partners to enjoy sex openly, honestly, and without judgment. What's more, Susan adds, waning sexual desire between partners usually isn't due to overfamiliarity, but emotional disengagement.


Susan Johnson, EdD, the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Families, is the director of ICEEFT – The International Center for Excellence in EFT. She’s also the author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love and Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.

"In today's world, we're surrounded by impersonal sex," says Susan. "We're regularly told that sex in long-term relationships is almost always 'vanilla,' bland. But hundreds of attachment studies show that thrilling sex is about being secure enough to surrender to the moment---to let go and see what happens."

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Did you enjoy this video? You might also want to check out Susan's Networker article "The Dance of Sex," in which she explains how helping partners experience bonding moments can open them to becoming emotionally accessible to each other, and as a result, often lead to improved sexual connection.

Topic: Couples | Sex & Sexuality

Tags: attachment | Attachment Theory | Couples & Family | failing marriage | healthy relationships | love | love and relationships | marriage and family therapist | Networker Symposium | relationship problems | secure attachment | Sue Johnson | Susan Johnson

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1 Comment

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 10:11:05 AM | posted by John
This a useful presentation and one that both therapist and clients can benefit from. Safety is most important in all relationships especially in an intimate one. IN TO ME YOU SEE so people and trust and agree.