Sexual Modes

We also have different sexual modes, three primary ways in which we like to engage in sex. The first is trance. With this mode, we tend to get lost in our experience and go inward, inducing a meditative state in the throes of pleasure. We might lose our capacity to speak or experience the dissolution of our sense of self. The second is partner connection. Through sexual play, we feel intimately connected with and attuned to another. Usually, this means a lot of eye contact, words of affirmation, and verbal communication as we interact. The last is role play. In this mode, we take on a character and play out a scenario. We become someone other than ourselves, stepping outside of our usual identity and sense of self and trying on another way of being. Ironically, this can help us reveal and play with parts of ourselves we have pushed into the shadows or denied. We may prefer one of these modes, or we might like them all equally. All of them are equally valid–none are better or healthier than the others, they are simply different.

It is important to understand these different modes, as sometimes we might find ourselves with a partner who defaults to a mode we are unfamiliar with, or one we don’t like, and this can cause conflict. For example, I tend to go into trance mode and love losing myself in sensation. I spent many years with a partner with a strong preference for partner connection. He was frustrated that I would “slip away” from connection while we were making love, and I would get frustrated with his requests for eye contact. Neither of us had the language at the time to understand that we were playing in different modes. Just because we have different preferences of sexual mode doesn’t mean we are inherently incompatible, we just might need to take these differences into account and reach a deeper level of understanding and intimacy with our partners.