The fine tuning of lovemaking has always been a most intricate matter. It is certainly a minefield at the best of times, but it seems those who seek perfection between the sheets may be the ones who cause themselves, and others, the most grief.
A study has found that men who put pressure on women to be flawless in bed will cause their lover stress, anxiety and sexual problems. Similarly, when a woman expects her man to be perfect, the chances are he will fail to perform and she will be left disappointed.
Researchers claim this ‘sexual perfectionism’ is ruining the lovemaking experience for many women. The phenomenon is thought to be more prevalent in younger women – possibly as a result of glamorous images on the internet that are a world away from the average person’s experience of sex, as well as the rise of online pornography.
Those women who look for bedroom perfection from their men tended to be ‘less satisfied with the sex they are having compared to women who do not have these expectations’. The study by scientists at the University of Kent looked at a variety of different types of perfectionism between the sheets. It found that perfectionism is a common personality characteristic in many walks of life and that it has been studied often in music and sport. In these two cases, it has been found that people who are conscientious tend to get better results than those who are perfectionists. But little research has been carried out on the connection between such perfectionism and sex lives, until now.
The research led by Joachim Stoeber from the university’s psychology department looked at the responses of 366 women aged between 17 and 69 who completed surveys between December 2013 and February 2014. Of the original sample, 164 were asked to respond six months later to see how their responses changed over time.
To measure sexual perfectionism the researchers used a questionnaire which looked at different aspects of sexual expectations. It asked women to rate on a scale of 0 – 5 how much they agreed with a variety of statements, such as: ‘I expected nothing less than perfection from my sexual partner’ or: ‘I have very high perfectionist goals as a sexual partner.’
They were also asked how much they agreed with statements such as: ‘I feel anxious when I think about the sexual aspects of my life’ or: ‘I would be to blame if the sexual aspects of my life were not going very well.’
Participants also answered detailed questions on their sexual experience, such as how often they felt aroused. It found that the expectation to be perfect in bed had ‘a negative effect on sexual function’.
But the silver lining, it seems, is that as women get older they become less worried about living up to their partner’s idea of sexual perfection and simply enjoy the experience. Becoming more mature, the researchers suggest, will lead to an ‘experience involving shared pleasures or relationship building’.
Still, perfectionism was not always associated with problems. Women who impose perfectionist standards on themselves reported having higher levels of desire, though they were also more likely to be single. The author of the study said the research was likely to be of use to sex therapists and counsellors.
As I said at the beginning, the fine tuning of lovemaking has always been intricate but when achieved it is truly the elixir of one’s being. However, it requires a formula where the two partners work in unison to produce the magical pleasures which explode simultaneously and reach what I would call the horizon of perfectionism. This can only happen when the flame of love reaches its ultimate supremacy.