Sexual Intelligence for Entrepreneurs

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I’m in Portugal this weekend talking to business people about Sexual Intelligence for Entrepreneurs. One of their conference themes is “Showing up and being present,” which is a perfect fit for my talk.

They like headlines and takeaways, so here were mine:
~ Goal orientation works in business, but not in the bedroom; and
~ Presence, rather than technique, enhances a sexual relationship.

Some business skills, I said, translate well into a sexual/intimate environment:
~ Communication
What language is meaningful to the other? How do I make sure they heard what I intended? How well am I listening? How do I stay present when I don’t like what I hear?
~ Curiosity
Who is this other person? What do they want? Why? How can I stay open-minded instead of judgmental?
~ Creativity
When our original idea doesn’t go as planned, am I open to alternatives? How well do I cooperate when disappointed?

I cautioned, however, that many business skills will undermine sexuality:
• Performance orientation
• Competition
• Don’t disclose feelings or talk about yourself
• Problem-solving approach
• Orientation to facts, not feelings
• Concern with accuracy and what’s normal
• Focus on expertise and technical skill
• Thinking about the future now

When people have been highly rewarded for a skill, they naturally like to use that skill in as many venues as possible. And so when business people are rewarded for being goal-oriented, success-focused, and fact-driven most of their lives, of course they want to use those skills in their sexual relationship, consciously or not.

Which is the wrong approach to sex.


Sexual enjoyment and intimacy requires being present. That means focussing on the input from our senses, and connecting with the person we’re with–exactly as they are right now, not judging or imagining them being different.

Being present means ignoring every single thing other than the eroticism and relationship of the moment. There are no “distractions,” and there’s nothing more important. That’s how you make time stand still.

This state is:
~ meditative, not frantic
~ relaxed, not anxious
~ friendly, not grim
~ connected, not isolated

It’s the exact opposite of the way sex is portrayed in porn, movies, and romance novels. It’s sex in which no one can fail, there are no “dysfunctions,” and it doesn’t matter what activities people do or how their bodies behave.

The audience found this idea intriguing: that while some business skills can support sexual satisfaction, most undermine it. Entrepreneurs beware—don’t try to “succeed” in bed!


After my talk, several people mentioned one other idea I discussed: that sexually, men and women are far more similar than different. Or to put it another way, male and female sexual similarities are more important than their differences.

Men and women mostly want the same things from sex: pleasure and closeness, of course. And feeling attractive, desired, competent, graceful, and special. Sexually, men and women are also anxious about the same things: “performing,” being “normal,” satisfying their partner, and not looking foolish.

So to create enjoyable sex, you don’t have to understand “men” or “women.” On the one hand, these two categories are quite heterogeneous—three billion members in each one. On the other hand, since most men and women are more similar than different sexually, learning more about either group doesn’t get you much.

So unless you’re having sex with all men or all women, you’re better off learning about the unique individual(s) with whom you’re being sexual. And for that, your best strategy is to consult the world’s expert—the person themselves.


We finished up with a short question period. As occurs with many audiences, I was asked to name the most important thing required to make sex better. Regardless of the audience, I almost always name these two things: Communication & Self-Acceptance

Someone mentioned this point to me during the break after my talk: “Those are more complicated than getting erect or climaxing, aren’t they?” I smiled. “For many people, yes they are,” I said. “Fortunately, you don’t have to do it perfectly.”
If you like this article, I’ll bet you enjoy my piece at

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