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What is Magnificent sex?

Updated: 6 days ago

Our clinical book club, composed of sex therapists and couples therapists with a range of specialties, recently read the incredible book, Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers. Magnificent Sex was written by Peggy J Kleinplatz , Ph.D. and A. Dana Menard, Ph.D. Since its release in 2020, it’s become a favorite among sex therapists and couples therapists, so we were eager to dive in. What makes this book so special is that it is a phenomenological study that includes interviews with straight and LGBTQIA+ folks, kinky and “vanilla” folks, chronically ill people, monogamous and consensually non-monogamous people, and people of all ages. 

Components of Magnificent Sex

Movies and television often portray great sex as being between two able-bodied, heterosexual, attractive individuals and ending with perfectly timed mutual orgasms. There are cliches about clothes ripping off, roses, candlelight, and lingerie. If we let go of these myths and cliches, what are the actual pieces that come together to make great sex? What are great lovers doing that makes sex magnificent? The authors found that through all the different groups they interviewed, the components of great sex were consistent. Below are the 8 components they found that lead to magnificent sex:

1) Being completely present

The first thing that Kleinplatz and Manard found as a major contributing factor to having great sex, is being present. While this may sound like a given, it’s important to be present with yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re not mentally present during sex then you are not allowing yourself to be immersed in the experience.

2) Connection

They also found connection to be a factor that sets magnificent sex apart from sex that’s just okay. Being present and open with your sexual partner allows you to forge a deeper connection and can increase the pleasure you both receive. Sex is all about being in alignment with your partner and that happens when you can work together and communicate with one another.

3) Deep sexual and erotic intimacy

Creating a sense of trust, mutual respect, and care for your partner helps deepen intimacy and creates a safe environment for sexual exploration. Knowing your partner intimately can contribute to a more enjoyable sex life.

4) Extraordinary communication and deep empathy

Communication can be both verbal and nonverbal. Be open to what your partner is communicating with you across the sexual experience, even if you think you already know everything about them, their desires, and their needs. The ability to communicate freely and not fear judgment comes from a deep sense of trust and the belief that your partner has your best interest in mind. 

5) Being genuine, authentic, and transparent

A huge part of building a bond and creating trust is being honest and vulnerable with your partner. To create a good flow of communication, you need to be truthful about what you desire and what you are comfortable with. Being able to feel free, uninhibited, and having the permission to “revel in pleasure” is another component of amazing sex.

6) Vulnerability and surrender

The feeling of letting go and giving in to the experience is part of what makes for a pleasurable experience. Open yourself up to new sensations and be willing to lose control. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is one of the sexiest things you can do.

7) Exploration, interpersonal risk-taking, and fun

Let go of perfectionism in sex, and instead be willing to be clunky, explore, have fun, and not take it too seriously. Being open to trying new things and learning more about you and your partner’s sexuality can help to keep things interesting and fresh. Sex shouldn’t just be routine, it should be something that you and your partner(s) both enjoy.

8) Transcendence and transformation

Lastly, they listed transcendence and transformation. Experiencing a high, an altered state, or any form of transformative experience is an indicator of magnificent sex.

Magnificent sex isn’t about perfect sexual skills, how you look, or what tricks you read in a magazine. It's not about antiquated cliches or what we grew up seeing in movies. Magnificent sex is about connection, vulnerability, communication, and presence. How exciting!

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