Common perceptions maintain that when lovers offer a sexual favour they should receive one in return. Whether it might be an oral pleasure, manual stimulation or even prolonged foreplay, many people expect reciprocation, usually in kind. Often though, these people become disappointed when such an expectation is not met. Hopefully, sex for most people is not about supply and demand but about an expression of passionate feelings between people. Still so often we dole out sexual gifts with such a fixed intention. And it can be justified in so many cases – “she doesn’t orgasm unless… but she never does it in return” or “he expects me to… but then doesn’t respond in kind.” What might happen if this attitude was adjusted? What might sex be like if we started to perform in such a way that articulated our feelings towards the other, rather then attempting to gain some outcome or glean compensation?

Sexually enlightened lovers often understand that sex is not a bartering system that can be manufactured to their advantage. In fact, they realise that creating a healthy sexual dynamic usually includes presence and integrity. Including these qualities in sexual expression often enhances the sexual dynamic and expands the realms of lovemaking. Allowing your lover the gift of your own self-awareness and personal embodiment can change the sexual stakes significantly. With sex being relegated to being a brisk pleasure, an itch to be scratched, and at times even a performance to be executed, then it is no wonder that almost half of the Australian population is dissatisfied sexually. Investing in your and your lover’s sexuality and sexual pleasure can transform relationships and encourage intimacy.

Cultivating mutual respect within relationship may serve to reduce the expectations which coincide with reciprocal expectation. Getting in tune with your lover’s moods or preferences can strengthen mutual understanding, while creating a more empathic environment. Once again, a key to really refining this awareness is communication. Honest discussion about what one would like to receive along with curious enquiry into what the other might prefer or desire could strengthen respect and compassion. Exploration during sex and checking in with your lover regarding how they feel about what is happening could make all the difference in patient and considerate sexual encounters. Try not to make assumptions about your partner’s sexual needs or preferences during a given sexual encounter – rather favour consideration and investigation. Perhaps you might discover that a favour returned is hardly as enjoyable as a present lover.