Small Steps and Giant Leaps: Creating Your Own Proactive Sexual Ethic

Posted on Oct 26, 2012

It’s part of my job that people share thoughts about their intimate lives with me. I’m always humbled and honored. One of the perks of my job is having access to a cross section of thoughts and behaviors beyond my own. I can then, in turn, offer that broader perspective to others. Simply getting beyond the egocentric perspective of one’s own sexuality and behavior is a profound experience for many of my clients.

When it comes to sexual exploration, I am reminded of a quotation from Neil Armstrong…yes, the astronaut. Of course, as he stepped down onto the foreign landscape of the moon, he gave us the famous words: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It often elicits a chuckle from people when I use a mash up of his famous quotation as perspective for clients who are looking to explore and expand their sexual repertoire: “It may be one small step for them, but one giant leap for you.”  Allow me to elaborate.

As mentioned above, our personal manifestations of our sexuality come from a deeply egocentric perspective that stems from familial and cultural influences and constructs. Our personal sexual ethic has developed throughout our lifespan and continues to evolve, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Some people are adrift in the current of these influences and some choose to proactively deconstruct and reconstruct their personal sexual ethic, especially when they find that they are unsatisfied with the results of their current sexual ethic, an ethic that is actually someone else’s (parent’s? Church’s? culture’s?) that simply may have been handed to them or that they believed wholesale from a younger age without exploring how they themselves believe.

As people begin the process of questioning and deconstructing their current ethic, they begin to explore outside of what has become their own. They begin to reach outside of the egocentric perspective. They begin to try behaviors on for size and experience the thoughts and feelings that accompany evolution; some are comfortable, some less so.  They proactively are constructing their own sexual ethic.

Often what happens during this process is people judge and determine what they ‘should and shouldn’t’ feel. They often compare themselves to others. Hence the ever-present question, “Am I normal?”

As a much more useful framework, I support matrix of ‘satisfactory and unsatisfactory’ and encourage a reframing from the matrix of ‘normal and abnormal’ and ‘should and shouldn’t’. Judgment of sexual explorations is never useful and keeps people who do judge from a great deal of bliss and pleasure.

While you are moving through explorations it is important to recognize the difference between your small steps and giant leaps, and if you’re partnered keep up direct, honest communication about your experience of such. Leave judgment out and simply chase your pleasure. If something is a giant leap, well, then let it just be for exploration later or explore little by little. If something is a small step for you and a giant leap for your partner that can certainly be tricky, but remember that evolution is constant. How your explorations look today will be different from how your explorations look in a year as long as you explore and evolve with intention. Let the ‘shoulds’ and judgment fade away. Develop a sense of satisfactory and unsatisfactory and follow your pleasure.

Evolving intentionally by developing your own proactive sexual ethic without judgment allows you to become acquainted with your authentic sexual self. Authentic sexual expression leads to greater pleasure and deeper connections with our partners as we bring them along on the journey. Both small steps and giant leaps of intentional evolution lead toward your bliss. Go for it…you deserve it!