in: Dating & Relationships

How to Upgrade Your Sexual Operating System for Maximum Fulfillment

Maximum intimacy ranks high on the list of relationship goals for many couples; but, how do we get there? By continuing our discussion of the S.O.S.

—See the author’s TEDx Talk on Creating Extraordinary Intimacy in a Shut Down World

Last week I wrote an article about how nearly every adult on the planet is deeply influenced by what I call the human Sexual Operating System (S.O.S.). This is a system so powerful it affects who we choose as a mate, how we interact with them, and whether or not the relationship will last. And why most people’s current S.O.S. will doom them to eventual relationship failure, or at best, an unfulfilling life together if left unchecked.

This week is all about how to upgrade your Sexual Operating System so your intimate relationship is the source of lifelong fulfillment and satisfaction, for you and your partner.

The Immense Power of Awareness

Most people’s S.O.S. has such a strong hold over them because they are simply not aware of its influence. This means that at some level, most relationship behavior is unconsciously reactive. This is thanks to our built-in instinctive procreative imperative which is driven by base survival needs within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

So the first step to upgrading your S.O.S. is to simply become aware of its influence over your relationship behavior. The details of which are covered extensively in the previous article. Think of awareness as the “interrupt” to the unconscious programming of the S.O.S. that allows you to insert new, more empowering, “code.”

The next step is being very clear about what you really want out of your intimate relationship and why.

The Drive for Self-Actualization & Transcendence

Being in a great intimate relationship can be one of the most profound experiences that a human being can have. Think about that for a moment. You are authentically and vulnerably sharing your most intimate thoughts, feelings and experiences with a partner who is doing the same with you. And in that space you may briefly glimpse what it means to be fully self-actualized and transcend your day to day experience.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I am proposing that when intimacy becomes the gateway to this highest form of human experience, this is what most people seek from their life partner relationship—whether they are fully conscious of this need or not. And they want it as much and frequently as possible. Yet here’s the rub: most couple’s current S.O.S. actually prevents this from happening and that is the fundamental source of relationship breakdown.

So if you are with me so far and would like to explore what it takes to achieve this highest state within your relationship and have it continue to grow and blossom over time, read on.

General Upgrades to the Sexual Operating System

What I’m about to share with you is what it took for my partner and I to upgrade our respective S.O.S. And in so doing helped us and I achieve levels of emotional, physical and even spiritual intimacy beyond what is conventionally (within the context of a typical S.O.S.) considered possible.

Here’s what we did:

  • Truly Listen – I am fortunate to have a female partner that is not shy about telling me what she wants intimately speaking—and thankfully, I learned to listen and provide accordingly. And likewise, she does the same. For our particular situation it meant me as the man learning to slow way, way down to give her plenty of time to become fully aroused and ready. Note this is diametrically opposed to the common male S.O.S. response of “I’ve got a hard-on, let’s go!”
  • Vulnerability – this means removing the barriers to one’s heart. And this one goes so against the grain of the typical S.O.S. that it can be difficult at first to adopt; yet, it is crucial to the success of your S.O.S. upgrade and frankly, the longevity of your relationship.
  • Authenticity – this means sharing, when appropriate, our true thoughts and feelings in a vulnerable way without using deflectors like sarcasm, or dissimulation.
  • Choosing Presence Over Performance – my partner and I no longer allow the word “performance” to enter our bedroom. We instead insist on being fully present for both giving and receiving during our intimate sessions. This means no goals or agendas other than being in the moment without distraction. And ironically, this upgrade alone results in experiences that exceed any “performance” either of us have ever had before.
  • Embrace Uncertainty – we view our relationship as a great adventure, one filled with unexpected surprises and gifts. Any real adventure, by definition, includes uncertainty which we’ve learned to embrace as the gateway to the real gold in our relationship. The other option of course is stultifying routine in which so many couples seem to stuck and unable to escape.

The above represent the non-gender-specific, S.O.S. upgrades. Now let’s look at recommended upgrades for men and women respectively.

Male-Specific S.O.S. Upgrades

As a fully impotent male (yep, can’t get it up to save my life), my S.O.S. upgrade was given a head start since I am not affected by some of the same base influences that are in play for fully-functioning men. For example, I no longer have a sense of urgency that comes over most men when they have an erection. This made it easier for me to focus on, and be fully present for, my partner and to slow way down so she has adequate time to warm up.

So if you are the kind of guy that can get hard just thinking about a pretty woman, this can be a bit of a hurdle to overcome. What I recommend to other men on this is very straightforward: get rid of the baby-batter before you have your intimate sessions. This is just for the first few times you explore being intimate with the intention of fully incorporating your upgraded S.O.S. Once you experience the extraordinary difference in outcome, you can go back to allowing yourself to be hard at the get go, only now with the requisite restraint necessary to consistently achieve these heightened results.

Also, really listen to what she wants and how she wants it. For example, many men think that when they sense their woman is about to climax she wants you to go harder and faster (primarily because that’s how we guys respond to sexual stimulation). Chances are however (and there are always exceptions), your woman wants you to keep it slow and steady as she builds to orgasm. Just ask her, and be prepared to follow.

One last note. The typical male S.O.S. makes us think and feel that our ultimate sexual experience is release through climax and ejaculation (remember the procreative imperative). However, it has been my personal experience that the ultimate experience is creating a “space” for my partner that is most conducive to releasing her full sensual potential. I find this as a man to be substantially more fulfilling and pleasurable than any orgasm I could have. And I say that in the context of where my orgasms are now many times more powerful and long lasting than they ever were.

Female-Specific S.O.S. Upgrades

I am very fortunate to have a female partner who is very comfortable with and fully understands her own body and sensuality. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the majority of women in our culture where female sexual pleasure has been looked down upon at best, thanks primarily to various religious and cultural influences.

So for many women, the first step to upgrading their S.O.S. is to learn as much about and become comfortable with their own body and sexuality as possible, without shame or inhibition. Based upon my admittedly limited observations, I feel most women are capable of literally unlimited sensual potential at any adult age. However, for this to be fully realized they must become friends with and fully embrace their own bodies and sexual energy.

Another thing I’ve noticed about a lot of women is their reluctance to share with their partner what they really want. I believe this is an artifact of the old S.O.S. Just know that if you don’t authentically share what you want, don’t be disappointed in what you get. Men are not mind readers, you need to explicitly tell them. And, if they are the right guy, they will welcome your efforts to do so and listen.

LGBTQ & the S.O.S.

A very interesting aspect of members with LGBTQ orientation is that they, on the face of it, don’t fit the standard S.O.S. model because procreation is not the driving imperative. Because of this, I think that many within these communities are a bit ahead of the rest of us in terms of using sensual energy to achieve self-actualization and transcendence.

Now I don’t pretend to be an expert or even very knowledgeable about LGBTQ orientations. However, I suspect that many of the principles given above still do apply. That’s because every human being has both female and male energies and I suspect (again, no direct experience here) that they manifest within LGBTQ relationships predominantly in one partner or the other.

Where to Go From Here

As you probably have gathered by now, the human Sexual Operating System is a big subject that these first two articles have only begun to explore. Next week I’m going to cover “Making Love with an Upgraded Sexual Operating System” that will share some of the methods my partner and I have to achieve extraordinary levels of intimacy.

So once again, see you next week…



This article was originally published with the Good Men Project; republished with the kindest permission. 

About the Author:

Michael Russer

Michael J. Russer is a prostate cancer survivor who was left completely impotent as a result of his treatments. Yet, it was because of his impotence that he and his partner discovered an entirely new approach to emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy that far exceeds anything either experienced prior to when things were working "correctly." His mission is to help men, women and couples everywhere to achieve extraordinary intimacy on all levels. He is an international speaker, author and thought leader on the issues of human connection and intimacy. He also speaks pro-bono to Cancer Support Centers and Gilda’s Clubs around the U.S. for cancer survivors and their partners about regaining intimacy in the face of cancer. Go to to explore the possibility of having Michael speak at your next event.Michael is also a champion of the nonprofit men's work being done by the ManKind Project. He completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 2012. To learn more about Michael's work you can visit his website, tune in to his podcast, or watch his TEDx Talk.