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In honor of Valentine’s Day, let's talk about the art of loveplay.

People talked about foreplay, as though there was foreplay before afterplay, which sounds like a football game to me, rather than a way of two people enjoying each other. However, if we think about the "art of loveplay," we can think about what Dr. Julian Slowinski talked about with our couples when we held a couples therapy group for many years.

Dr. Slowinski, who has sometimes been called Dr. Viagra, was famous for his work in sex therapy in the Philadelphia area. He liked to speak with our couples about the "four T's" of great sex. Does this make you curious?

If I tell you several words that begin with T, which ones belong in a couple’s interchange?

  1. Teasing
  2. Time
  3. Television
  4. Trust
  5. Talk
  6. Telephone sex
  7. Travel
  8. Touch

Of course, all of these words belong in a discussion of a couple's relationship. If we move beyond what was thought of as sexual performance, we can think about the quality of the relationship. For too many years, we have thought about sexual performance as though we are going to go on a stage to do something silly for applause.

In fact, many women have decried the performance quality of what feels like sex without tenderness, rather than a close interchange between two loving adults. This has been true for generations of couples of all ages for many years.

If we think about the four T’s of great sex, we begin to think about what brings people together:

  1. The fundamental I/time is necessary for great sex. It takes time for us to know and care about each other.
  2. It takes time for us to notice how someone receives whatever it is that we are giving them.

In some of my clients' cases, the men are proud to say that they think of themselves as successful lovers when they have been able to fulfill the pleasure that their partners want. In partner centered sexuality, time and talking intimately can be important.

"How do you feel?"

"What would you like to do?”

“How does that feel to you?”

”Is this something that you enjoy?”

Lovers need to talk less about how they think, and more about how they feel, so the language of sexuality is the language of feelings. We create an intimate environment so we can enjoy and love to play with one another.

The foundation of all sexual pleasure is trust. It is almost impossible to enjoy sex with someone that you don't trust because partners need to trust each other to be able to open themselves to each other.

Criticism, exploitation and gossiping create mistrust, and building trust is, perhaps, the most important building block in sexual pleasure.

Touch is magical, and understanding the quality and gentleness of it is essential in creating an environment with your partner that will give you pleasure for the rest of your lives. Touch is as important outside of the bed as it is in the bedroom, it bonds partners together in safe harmony and allows them to feel comfortable knowing one another intimately.

Overall, we are naming four T's of great sex:

  1. Making time
  2. Being able to talk about how you feel
  3. Building trust
  4. The magic of touch

To Consider: If you are fortunate enough to have a partner that you love to touch, show them this brief video (http://bit.ly/2Od5FTi), and tell them they can improve their health if they cut loneliness and reach out to touch someone they love.

I wish for many happy loving hours together for you.

ED. NOTE: Dr. Coche practices clinical psychology in Stone Harbor and Philadelphia. She invites responses through her website, www.cochecenter.com.