Episode 311 – Level 1 Sex

level 1 sex

In this episode, we’re diving into a topic that might resonate with many of you – Level 1 Sex. What is it? What isn’t it? And most importantly, how can we move towards a more fulfilling experience in our intimate relationships? I’ll answer these questions and more as we discuss how each partner might contribute to Level 1 Sex and why it’s hard to break out of it. There is better sex out there my friends! It starts with a willingness to change. So let’s start today!

level 1 sex

Show Notes:

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Show Summary:

Today we’re diving into a topic that might resonate with many of you – Level 1 sex. What is it? What isn’t it? And most importantly, how can we move towards a more fulfilling experience in our intimate relationships?

First off, let’s define Level 1 sex. It’s the type of sexual experience where, for women especially, there’s little to no motivation because, frankly, the sex just isn’t great. It’s low quality, often focused solely on the husband’s needs, and leaves the wife feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. In Level 1 sex, the body might be physically involved, but the heart and mind are checked out. It’s marked by a sense of duty, doing it just to meet your spouse’s “needs,” or to avoid discomfort because of the husband’s grumpiness, pouting, incessant asking or persistent nagging. It truly comes down to quantity over quality, where it doesn’t matter that it’s not great, it’s just about getting it done.  And while there might be orgasms on both sides, it’s definitely one-sided.

Both men and women can contribute to Level 1 sex through their actions, beliefs, and attitudes within the relationship. 

Here’s how each partner might contribute:


  • Lack of understanding: Men may contribute to Level 1 sex by not fully understanding or appreciating their partner’s sexual needs and desires. They may prioritize their own pleasure over their partner’s, leading to a one-sided sexual experience.
  • Performance pressure: Men may feel pressure to perform sexually or meet certain expectations, which can detract from their ability to focus on their partner’s pleasure and satisfaction. This performance pressure can contribute to a transactional approach to sex, where the goal is simply to “get the job done” rather than to connect intimately with their partner.
  • Communication barriers: Men may struggle to communicate openly about their desires, boundaries, and preferences in the bedroom. This can lead to misunderstandings or miscommunications with their partner, making it difficult to create a mutually satisfying sexual experience.
  • Ignoring emotional intimacy: Men may prioritize physical pleasure over emotional intimacy in their sexual relationships, neglecting the importance of emotional connection and intimacy. This can lead to a sense of disconnect and dissatisfaction for both partners.


  • Lack of assertiveness: Women may contribute to Level 1 sex by not advocating for their own needs and desires in the bedroom. They may prioritize their partner’s pleasure over their own or feel uncomfortable expressing their desires openly.
  • Internalized beliefs: Women may hold internalized beliefs about sex and sexuality that contribute to Level 1 sex, such as the idea that sex is primarily for men’s pleasure or that their own pleasure is secondary. These beliefs can undermine their ability to prioritize their own satisfaction and advocate for their needs in the bedroom.
  • Emotional barriers: Women may have emotional barriers that prevent them from fully engaging in Level 2 sex, such as past trauma or unresolved issues related to sex and intimacy. These barriers can make it difficult for women to fully embrace their own pleasure and connect intimately with their partner.

Now, let’s be clear about what Level 1 sex isn’t. It’s not about genuine intimacy, mutual satisfaction, or emotional connection. It’s not about exploring pleasure or deepening your bond with your partner. Instead, it’s a transactional approach to sex, lacking passion and authenticity.

Staying in Level 1 sex can happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to recognize that each individual’s situation is unique. Here are some common reasons why someone might choose to stay in Level 1 sex:

  • Familiarity: Humans are creatures of habit, and sometimes people stick with what they know, even if it’s not particularly fulfilling. If Level 1 sex is all they’ve ever known or been taught, they may not realize there’s a better alternative.
  • Fear of change: Moving from Level 1 to Level 2 sex requires vulnerability and effort. Some individuals may be hesitant to rock the boat or confront any discomfort that comes with making changes in their sexual relationship.  Often there is a history that if the status quo is challenged, they could go from Level 1 sex to no sex, so they are willing to settle for the little that is offered rather than none at all.
  • Avoidance of confrontation: Engaging in Level 1 sex might be a way to avoid difficult conversations or conflicts within the relationship. It can feel easier to go through the motions than to address underlying issues or communicate openly about desires and needs.
  • External pressure: Societal norms, cultural expectations, or religious beliefs may influence someone to prioritize their partner’s needs over their own or to view sex primarily as a duty rather than a source of pleasure and connection.
  • Lack of awareness: Some individuals may simply not realize that there’s a better way to experience sex. They might not have been exposed to alternative perspectives or resources that promote a more fulfilling sexual relationship.
  • Low self-esteem: In some cases, individuals may struggle with feelings of inadequacy or low self-worth, which can manifest in a reluctance to prioritize their own pleasure or advocate for their needs in the bedroom.

Ultimately, the decision to stay in Level 1 sex is complex and multifaceted, influenced by a combination of internal and external factors. However, it’s important for individuals to recognize that they deserve to experience sexual satisfaction and fulfillment in their relationships. And this is often why couples reach out to me for help.  One or both partners want to move from the Level 1 sex that they are having to Level 2 and beyond, which is totally possible.  Couples need to invest time and effort into improving their sexual relationship. Not because things always need to be better, but new levels of sex are often the catalyst for growth as individuals and as a couple.  It’s about mutual exploration and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zones. Better sex requires a deeper understanding of your own needs and desires. Women, in particular, need to recognize that their pleasure matters and that they deserve to experience sexual satisfaction. This might mean exploring your own body, advocating for your needs in the bedroom, and prioritizing your own pleasure without guilt or shame.

So, if you find yourself stuck in a rut of Level 1 sex, know that you’re not alone, and know that there’s hope for a more fulfilling sexual relationship. It starts with a willingness to prioritize intimacy, communicate openly, and embrace pleasure as a central part of your relationship.

Next week we will talk more about Level 2 sex and how to get there.

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