You know that flirty tension between you and your beloved? It makes your time together fun, burdens and stressors less burdensome and stressful, and eye contact with your lover a delight – whether you’re toting groceries or washing the dog.

Alas, you probably take that flirtiness for granted. You may assume the magical glow will continue for life without realizing that evolution has stacked the deck against you.

Lovers: Satiety is not your friend

Experts know that sexual satiety can drive lovers apart. It can lead to a decrease in sexual desire and satisfaction, which can negatively affect the relationship. But we humans have yet to take seriously, let alone investigate, a logical solution that has been around for millennia: avoid sexual satiety.

On the surface, not striving to extinguish your sexual energy when you get close to a willing partner may sound like a recipe for unrelenting sexual frustration. However, if you and your lover experiment with open minds and gentle lovemaking, you will find that contentment is perfectly possible without snuffing out your sexual desire. A man explains,

[During lovemaking in which climax is not the goal] the man and the woman choose to control the intensity of their union by remaining under a certain threshold of excitation. They alternate motionless phases with phases of rather slow movement, [avoiding] the point of “no return”.

With sufficient duration, the partners experience a drop in erotic tension until it almost completely subsides. The man does not block the ejaculation. His urethral sphincter, a striated muscle under his control, retains the seminal liquid until the need to ejaculate decreases sufficiently to conclude the encounter.

Lovers can settle into that sweet spot of contentment more easily if their partners don’t keep trying to push them toward climax. If you feel driven to urge your partner closer and closer to The Edge of orgasm, ask yourself why.

If you are honest, you may realise that you are doing it selfishly, even if you tell yourself that you are selflessly giving your partner sexual pleasure. Maybe you seek to heighten your own pleasure or meet conventional, but counterproductive, expectations. Perhaps you’re trying to bolster your insecurity as a lover.

The satiety signal

Satiety, that feeling of “No more for now. I’m done” is a potent biological signal. It is a cousin of the “I never want to eat another bite” feeling you have when you push away your plate after eating far too much holiday food. In both cases the result may leave you longing for a snooze.

Over the days following the exhaustion of your sexual desire from a surfeit of hot sex, you’ll likely find that the flirty electricity between you diminishes. Without that fairy dust little things now annoy you. Your desire to please your partner grows mechanical at best. Perhaps your partner seems needy…or insensitive. Irritability can erupt for perfectly irrational reasons.

Baffling desires may haunt you. Maybe you crave spicier food, a hot quickie without affection, mood-altering substances or activities, “space” in the form of isolation, unnecessary purchases, time alone online, or specific proofs of your partner’s affection (that are obvious to you, but would require mindreading on the part of your post-orgasmic lover to discover). Or perhaps you urgently need to “process your feelings” ad infinitum.

If you think about these examples, you’ll realise that all are indications of dissatisfaction. None of us want to believe that excessive satisfaction between the sheets can lead to dissatisfaction between mates. But once you understand the evolutionary purpose behind such post-orgasm dissatisfaction, the formula makes perfect sense.

Mammalian libido evolved to urge mates to thoroughly fertilise each other to the point of sexual exhaustion…and thereafter pursue (or be receptive to) novel mates. This is the underlying evolutionary reason that satiety nudges us toward dissatisfaction. And the more thoroughly we urge each other to extinguish our sexual desire the more likely the subsequent dissatisfaction.

Not very romantic, is it?

In pair-bonding species like ours, things are especially confusing. Temporary honeymoon neurochemicals sometimes stave off the alienation between new partners for a time, even if they are pursuing hot sex. They experience a temporary “addiction” to each other. Why? Throughout human evolution, an extended period of attachment allowed time for both parents to bond to, and therefore to subsequently support, any offspring.

Yet such bonds often prove fragile. Marriage counselling fails as often it succeeds. And speak with any experienced priest and you will hear how disturbing it is for him to watch so many new couples go from starry-eyed lovers to miserable married people within a year or two of their union. Perhaps it need not have been that way if Catholics had mastered the “avoid satiety” solution 75 years ago, when French Catholic Paul Chanson did his best to bring it to general attention.

So, what does contentment look like?

It’s easy and playful rather than hot and intense. The lovemaking tends to be gentle and less vigorous than conventional sex. Contentment relies on eye contact and being fully present rather than on fantasy. It calls for totally relaxed uro-genital muscles not tension. Deep slow breaths help lovers retain sexual self-control.

Without the goal of climax no performance is needed. Some degree of arousal is welcome but not required. Gents with sluggish members can opt for soft entry. And lovers can choose from many personal lubricants if useful. It’s perfectly all right to make a session a sexual meditation with no movement at all. One couple refers to this totally effortless approach as “plug and play”. You may want to experiment with some of these positions.

Lovers who opt for more movement find that pauses help keep them from overheating. They develop signals, such as tapping, to encourage temporary halts and deep breaths. Tap when you or your partner tenses up or seems be striving for climax.

Stay with this easy approach and you will discover something truly amazing: it eases frustration even though there is no climax on the part of either partner.

Want to find contentment without frustration?

Encourage a sceptical partner to explore the sweet spot of contentment for a few weeks. Worst case, you pass up a few orgasms. See if relationship harmony improves.

Never try to force a partner to climax. Instead encourage them to relax completely. And remind them again if you feel them tense up.

Consciously adopt the mantra, “A degree of horniness is good”. Protect your urge to merge like the flame of your last candle on a dark night. It’s the source of that sparkly energy flowing between you.