Marriage

4 Tips On How To Change The Sexually Hungry Marriage

It can go like this: You want sex and your partner doesn't.  Or your partner wants sex and you don't.  Or it seems like neither one of you want sex and are more interested in watching NetFlicks. What's up with that? You know that you love each other and yet the idea of sex is just not that exciting and that seems somehow wrong. What then? The issues of sexual desire, unmet erotic needs, mismatched libidos, and the ravages of time in a long term relationship or marriage are among the most common rants of the sex unhappy. I know, not only because I work with hundreds of women who are living it right now, but because I have been a sex unhappy wife. I had the guts to do something about it, managed to stayed married (33 years this summer). Yes, I was a child bride.

Couples can become sex unhappy for so many reasons.  We have: mismatched time clocks, work pressures,  family pressures,  our sexual tastes can change over time including what turns us on, and married sex can fall into a boring routine. As my husband so clearly put it in an interview; "We knew exactly what was going to happen every time we had sex."  And then there is  self image; many men get concerned about their erections as they get older, and many women get sexually shut down by their relationship with their own bodies.  Illness can change our bodies and our sexual appetites: it can be a lot to deal with breast cancer or prostate cancer and face some very real shifts in how we function in our bodies erotically.  One thing is for sure, the sex unhappy marriage is a painful place to hang out in.

As a sex unhappy survivor, I think it's important to understand that it's normal for sexual desire to wane a bit in long-term relationship. I don't think people are always honest when they participate in surveys about how often they have sex and that creates a feeling that “something must be wrong with us”.  People don't want other people to know what is going on in their bedrooms. It's scary. They worry about being judged, or that they or their relationship is somehow broken.

As a sex coach, I personally think there is a lot more to marriage than sex—but that sex is still an important part of marriage. The fact is, my husband and I have a beautiful marriage. We are life partners. And we don't have sex twice a week. Sometimes a months goes by. It's true. And I have other outlets for my sexual expression. I have cultivated that - and have helped other women cultivate that as well. But that doesn't mean that we are not physically affectionate with each other every single day. We hug, hold hands, kiss, cuddle, and sleep spooning around each others bodies. We communicate openly about our desires, even the parts of our sexual desires that simply don't match up. We have figured out a solution to make room in our marriage for all of it in a way that works for us. I am no longer a sexually unhappy wife, and I have my husband to thank for that. A part of that is not what he gives me directly—but how he allows me to be in the world.

Being sexual with each other is a choice.  And you need to be willing to put aside time, and attention for each other. This is all about doing something different and breaking the pattern that you are in. If you have reached a place in your relationship where you are ready to try on making a change from sexually hungry to sexually satisfied: I have some tips!

1: What is true is that we talk a lot about sex—but rarely to the person that we are having sex with. Having the sex talk, especially if you are unhappy, is probably the most vulnerable conversation a couple can have. Often we feel shut down around the sex conversation because we worry that our partner won't accept our true desires, or worse—that they will judge us or leave us. Just do it. Sit down and open the conversation with your partner.  Have a sex inquiry with them. Ask questions such as "What would you like that you are not getting?"

2.  Talk honestly about being sexually bored. It happens! Honestly, sexual boredom is one of the biggest reason we stop having sex with each other!  Perhaps it's time to take your sexuality with your partner out of the bedroom. And let's be clear, I'm talking about way more than having sex on the kitchen counter (even though that can be fun!). It may be time for a "SexPloration Vacation".   Have you ever taken a sexuality workshop together?  Or planned a private couple's sexuality retreat with sexuality experts? Here's the thing, no one really teaches us how to touch, speak our desires, and play erotically. Most of us learned about sex being quiet and quick. It was about shame, not getting pregnant or caught or catching an STD. Even if your sexuality evolved with more sexual freedom than that - most of us never learn to play erotically.  Everyone needs to shake off the sexual cobwebs from our relationship.  Trust me, you're not going to do this by reading a book or simply wishing for something different. You actually need to take action and that could take some courage, time and money.  It's so worth it.

3. Stop thinking about intercourse and put the focus on outercourse. Buy a massage table! Learn about giving and receiving erotic massage to each other! Really! I do this with all of the couples that I work with - and it's a winner! Putting your attention on each other on a massage table is a brand new experience for many people. And with some creativity the massage table can become a brand new sex toy in your home!

4. Play sex games that involve asking each other questions! There are many sex games on the market that invite communication and playfulness. Explore them.

Have the courage to do something different. Sometimes you just have to lean into your fear and do it. I did it. And trust me, my little adventure into becoming sexually whole is not ordinary.  Still, the world didn't fall apart. My husband didn't leave me. There was a little drama and a few tears, and the conversation about our sex life is ongoing.

You can have a sex happy marriage even in a long term one. It takes a lot of vulnerability, less talk about being unhappy and more action into changing your situation! And remember, sex is like our economy. It has its ups and downs—but that doesn't mean you can't be in it for a very happy and fulfilling lifetime.

Who Mourns for Adonais?

Do you want to know a secret about power? One that no one really tells you? It's a choice and decision to give a person, an idea or a social movement power and decide to serve it.  It's not some kind of magic tonic that you drink that makes someone, something or an idea powerful, or gives you the desire to serve. It's always your choice to see someone or something as powerful and decide to worship . The offer to worship someone (or an idea) like a God can be given and then taken away. A King or a Queen needs a court in order to rule. Without a court, the crown is worthless.

If we don't believe that we all have to be thin, then we stop worshiping thin and an entire industry goes away. Are you following along? What we choose to make powerful becomes powerful and can hold all the cards. This can be wonderful and this can also run us into the ground. It's a choice.

In a 1968  second season episode of Star Trek, we can see this all played out in "Who Mourns for Adonais?"

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise are held captive by an alien who turns out to be the Greek god Apollo.  At first, there is a power exchange, and the crew wants to be held like children and cared for by Apollo. There is some kind of short lived consensual agreement of sorts...and then the crew withdraws and Apollo's power shrinks and shrinks and shrinks until he is lifted away by the other Gods - completely drained of his power. He needs people to worship him to fully express his God Powers. Without the adoration of humans, he faded away.

This can happen in human relationships too and even with ideas and emotions such as shame or guilt.

What are YOU making powerful in your life?

If we give power to the idea that we can only be seen as sexy and beautiful if we look a certain way - we have made a social idea very powerful and run around worshiping it. We give our power away to all kinds of ways - often not realizing how powerful our surrender is to the entire process!

Some of us give our power away to lovers, institutions, religions, money, fashion, family, children, parents, bosses, and even food. And giving up power, and offering surrender to any of these things may be the most incredible experience of your life. I just think it's important to take a look every once in a while and consider if your power exchange is running you somewhere that is not serving you.

That is what revolution is all about it. It's the taking back of people's personal power and reducing the others god life grip. And we can have a personal revolution even about taking back the power of who give us orgasm! Do you control it or does someone else?

Remember: People, ideas and movements  become powerful because we make them powerful. We all have that power, and it's about where we choose to give our attention.

When we remove the idea of a person's God like powers over us, their power can shrink in our eyes until they simple become mortal and sometimes even disappear (like a relationship with an abuser).

The same goes for self hatred, stories of our past, ideas and social norms.

So to whom or what idea are you giving your power to? Is it a fair energy exchange? Are you getting what you need out of surrendering to a person or an idea?

Who and what are you making powerful and "god like" in your life?  And is that power exchange supporting you?

It's a different point of view isn't it?

I invite you to take a look!

Loving you from here,

Pamela

 

 

I'm Not a Goddess

I have a confession to make. I'm not a Goddess. Honestly, I don't think I ever was. But everyone loves the idea of being a "Goddess" and calling each other "Sister Goddess". It's like "the thing". Especially among new age sex educators and their flock. So, I do it. If it makes you feel sexually empowered to be called a Goddess: then poof you are a Goddess. At Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women, we often call the women Goddesses. It's meant in a loving and playful way. We want to permission women to be in their full body expression and to feel powerful. and if calling yourself a Goddess gives you permission and empowerment, then why the fuck not? Embrace it. Be a Goddess.

But I'm not a Goddess. I am a very unusual and very normal woman. I understand to you that I may not seem normal - but to me that is who I am. I am sometimes insecure about so many things. My normality and fears runs the spectrum from weight and aging to my ability to create the life I want. I have kids. I worry about them. I have friendships and an expanded sexuality that can put me through my paces. I have a marriage of 32 years.

If I think of myself in grander terms, I'm the Queen of my own life. I have the power to put into motion the kind of life that I want to live. I am magical like that. I can choose what I'm willing to show up for, and I can disappear. I can bring you into my court - or I can banish you. I have the power to live as fully as I want to. Queens can give gifts and she can surrender her kingdom. Queens can also be betrayed, lose their lands and have their hearts broken. Queens are both powerful and vulnerable. And yes, I suppose the same could be said for Goddesses.

But I am mortal. I am a woman. I take the trash out. I get that this confession may make me way too normal for you. But for me, my life is pretty sexy.

What about you?

Loving you from here,

Pamela

The Guts To Do Something Different

I know, I have talked about doing something different before. I will again. Because it is such a big, important skill set to learn. It takes guts to do something different.  In somatic sex education (through the body) we talk a lot about re-wiring neural pathways to sexual pleasure. That is what can happen when you do hands on work with a somatic sex practitioner. It is an amazing experience.
But there is also another piece to the puzzle on sex and relationship, and that is reprogramming our emotional neural pathways. What happens when you begin to feel restless, unsettled, anxious? Can you stop a minute and notice the hotness? That moment when you instantly grab for something? You know the something....that thing that you do when you are in one of those moments. Do you constantly threaten to leave your relationship? Do you withdraw? Abuse a substance? Throw things? Is it the same thing that you do repeatedly? Does it get you anywhere different? My guess, is that it doesn't. Think about doing something different ahead of time. What do you want to feel? How do you get there?

When you feel it coming on, just stop for a minute. And bring in your pre-planned new pattern of behavior or wing it! It can be really hard to do this. We want to reach for the familiar because even in it's dysfunction - it comforts us. Ask for support for this change in response from your friends, lovers, partners, therapists and coaches. It is through this constant paying attention and witnessing of our own emotional reactions that we can create the sexy, playful, beautiful experiences that we want to fill our lives.

 

The Un-Open Yet Flexible Marriage

Have you read Sex at Dawn which makes the case that we humans are at our core not monogamous creatures? That in many ways monogamy is a societal concept - imposed on us by religion and many other factors. I loved the book, but for me personally it's a big leap from there to being polyamorous or in an open marriage. And yet my memoir, Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner is all about wanting more....and staying married.  My personal ethos keeps evolving, but the same question keeps being raised: So, how do you get more - and stay monogamous?

Is there a solution outside of going from marriage to marriage in a serial monogamy routine that so many of us fall into because we need more on some level? Is there something in-between monogamy and full out polyamory or open marriage? Right now this is a hot topic in the world of sexuality and relationship.

Is polyamory the  new more accepted term for Open Marriage? We are certainly hearing that term more and more and some are saying that it is next big sexual revolution. I am living something else - which I call the Monogamish Marriage. Which is a kind of  middle ground of sorts. When I first thought of the term "expanded monogamy" I thought that I had coined a new term. But a quick search on google turned up several references to expanded monogamy with different definitions. In my version of expanded monogamy - a couple sets the rules of sexual exploration that fit with their own set of personal boundaries that in my own rule book does not include taking a traditional lover. In my take on expanded monogamy - I am not talking about what been called an "Open Marriage". My version has boundaries that may seem outside of the box for some - but for others may seem quite restrictive. What is agreeable to one couple may not be agreeable to another. In my story - Shameless - I realize that I created a form of expanded monogamy and developed with my husband a way for me to explore my sexuality that did not fit the traditional outline of monogamy but was not polygamy either.

I explored the concept of polyamory by reading a wonderful book on the subject by Deborah Anapol - but the concept was quite right for me. I need something else - new language! And if I have learned anything in my years as a fertility advocate and sex educator - if we don't have language for something - we get very confused. We are also not so good at finding middle places in our society.  It feels like every day  people  ask me questions like "How did your husband feel about you going to a Tantra workshop?" or ""Did you husband get jealous of you working with hands on sexual healers?" What about your explorations of Bd/Sm? How does he feel about that? No matter where I am in the country - I am asked the same questions over and over again about my adventures into the underground world of sacred sexuality. In my search for language - I am embracing the term expanded monogamy or being monogamISH and I would like to introduce it to you if you are unfamiliar with it. In my own expanded monogamous marriage - I have had  room to go to sexuality workshops that include me exploring my own sexuality with myself and with others within boundaries and usually in a supervised workshop setting. I am able to be playful in my sexuality - which keeps my own inner fire alive and my marriage sexually interesting. It has become essential to me to be able to explore who I am as an individual as well as in my marriage.

In my own expanded monogamous marriage - both my husband and I have the space to work with sexological body workers who are there to support us on our own individual paths. We attended sexuality workshops - which may include us working with sexual energy techniques like moving our breath with other people - or eye gazing.

In my own expanded monogamish relationship, I explore Bd/Sm (think Fifty Shades of Grey) without my husband because he isn't interested in it, and it is a very important form of erotic expression for me.

Having the space to explore and experiment with my sexuality within the boundaries of an expanded monogamy has supported my 30 year marriage into a place where both my husband and I are happy and has helped us keep the light burning in our own marriage bed. Having room to expand your sexuality and explore over time may turn a once sexless marriage into something else.

Creating some room in our relationships for turning up the heat on our sexuality does not have to mean leaving the marriage or sneaking around.  We simply have to bring this possibility out into the world.

If we have the room to experiment and expand our own sexuality without shame - I believe that more people wouldn't leave their primary relationships. We just  more room to breathe. It's about creating sexual agreements that work for each partnership - and allowing each other the room to grow without ditching your lives.

 

Looking Into The Sea

Dear Readers: Here is another hidden blog for you....from my private  Shameless archives.  I hope that you enjoy it....it is a scene from my marriage in the days of sorting it all out.

Love,

Pamela

Looking Into The Sea

I don't know what to do with myself. I tell myself to focus to pay attention to my family. I don't mean the obvious things. This week I went to the supermarket two times. I cooked dinners and I packed lunches as well as driving to the mall to get my youngest new clothes...made appointments for him to get his braces tightened, talked to his teacher about how very smart he was. Yes sir - he had the highest test grades - but he is still not handing in his homework.

I drove to NYC in the pouring rain because the oldest wanted me to buy him groceries as a part of his birthday present at "Trader Joes"....kind of a free for all of bagged pasta and endless bags of chips for his dorm. He used to want Ninja Turtles for his birthday and to go wild in Toys -R-Us. Now he wants groceries. My boy has grown up. Nineteen. He is nineteen. At that age I had met his Father - a year later I would be married. I am stunned briefly by the age of my kid and my youth at the time that I choose my husband. I did the shopping with him, yet I didn't want to have lunch with him. I knew that I couldn't concentrate. How could THAT be? Time with my oldest son away at school and I was letting that go? Yes. I was. I had no patience.  And then there was Gavin who has been texting me about our sex life...yes....I said texting. I was driving home and up on my Treo comes this message.

"I am craving your body." He writes. Okay. Good to know. He hasn't touched my body in a sexual way in weeks. I text him back.

"So....take my body"

"Hmmmm" He writes, "guess that leaves all my fantasies waiting to be fulfilled."

I feel impatience with the conversation. I know that I should be thrilled that he is reaching out....trying. It occurs to me that I am a mean bitch. What the hell is wrong with me? This poor guy is trying!!!

"Just a thought. Perhaps I am too focused on your fantasies and I am impatient in my ability to fulfill them.  No one can compete with fantasies and perhaps I should be more focused on fulfilling my own."

Now we are talking! I want him to be greedy about his pleasure. I want to be used for that. I want him to just  take me.....but perhaps his fantasies have nothing to do with me? I can't believe we are having this conversation through instant messaging.  Truly the modern couple.

"Yes - I would love you to focus on your fantasies and to share them with me. I would love it if you would just make love to  and stopped worrying my fantasies and how I fulfill them. Just be you and make love to me. That is all I need."

"That is the central act of all my fantasies." He writes....

"So?"

"Do you find it more difficult to get aroused from interactions that do not fulfill your fantasies?" "No..sweetie...I do not. I love it when you make love with me. No one can do that as wonderfully as you. You always give me pleasure."

This is not a lie. My husband knows how to give me pleasure.

"Do we need milk?" He writes. This conversation is over....

I was available on all the levels that a good Mother needs to be available. I was available as a Wife....on all levels....Yet I was at a new level of distraction from my family. I trying to get a grip of my own desire - and it is hard. There is too much shame wrapped around all of it for me.

I am reading this book written in 1899...."The Awakening" by Kate Chopin - it is about the sexual and personal awakening of a wife and mother in New Orleans during the turn of the 18th Century.

So many of her thoughts are mine. I recognize her distraction....her disinterest in her social norm responsibilities. I get it and this story takes place over a 100 years later - yet women are still on this journey. Why is that? Why do we have to go on this journey? Why aren't we just as we are? Why aren't we born awakened? Or are we...and then just put to sleep by a world of social norms and the "have to's" of our world.

I am going through my days right now and my mind is wandering. It is like I am always looking far off into the distance. Perhaps even into the sea of another time in my life whether it be the past or the future. And I know that I need to be in the present. I fight to pull myself here. I find myself lost in erotic fantasy....wondering if I should if I should start going to go to the "One Taste" meetings in NYC. I find myself thinking about going to a Tantra Workshop or retreat.

I need to concentrate. I need to focus - there is a husband here who is struggling to find me. There are kids here – although mostly grown....but there are kids here. There is my more than full time job.

And there is me.

There is tragedy at the end of "The Awakening". Edna walks into the sea for she cannot live in her present. Her choice is not my choice. But I can see her walking into the ocean as she feels that there is no breath in her lungs that is hers and on the last page as she is sinking into the ocean she is thinking of her husband - of her children. "They are a part of her life. But they need not have thought that could possess her, body and soul."

Feeling Sexually Bored? Maybe a Little Numb?

Once upon a time, I felt sexually discarded - almost numb. I didn't feel like anyone noticed me anymore as a sexual being. I was a lot of things, a wife, mother, worker-bee, daughter, sister and general good doer! But a sexually being? A hottie? A Head turner? Not so much! And I once was! What happened? Maybe it was the baby weight - or my life obligations, or monogamy. I didn't know - but I had stopped looking in the mirror and I didn't see myself reflected back in the eyes of men anymore. I felt like nobody saw me as a sexual being anymore - and I think that perhaps that is because I stopped seeing myself as a sexual being. The fact is that I was not unattractive. I was perhaps a little too plump by societies standards, but I was not un-kempt or unattractive. But I had lost the swing to my hips.

The good news? I got it back - in spades in my forties and even wrote a book about it! And now at fifty, I am now owning my sexuality in ways that I don't think that I had a clue about in my 20's and 30's. For me - my forties were a time of reawakening and reclaiming my sexually discarded self. And you can do it too, even if you think it is not possible. There are lots of ways to get your sexual mojo back and reclaim your sexuality. I don't mean to sound like a twisted soccer mom here - but I believe that your pleasure is not only important - but it is a vital life force that deserves to be nutured. And the reclaiming of your sexual pleasure will not only bring joy back to your life - but to those around you! You know that old saying - "If mama isn't happy - nobody is happy!"

So - take a few steps to help reclaim your sexuality from the trash bin!

1. Make time for pleasure. If you don't put the oxygen mask over your face first - you can't help others. So make time for yourself. Put yourself at the top of the totem pole. It's not selfish - it is necessary.

2. Reach for some help! There are some fabulous products on the market that can give your sexuality a reboot! I love Zestra for women! It's an arousal gel. And there have been times when it has really helped me shake things up at home.

3. Be compassionate to yourself. Know that you are not alone. Other people are searching for answers too. Talk to your friends. What are they doing to help themselves recharge their batteries? You might be surprised if you open up the conversation! Sharing tips with friends will make you laugh and open your eyes to new possibilities.

4. Create intimacy with yourself. What can you do to remove the barriers to pleasure in your life? I think that learning to see ourselves with new eyes can change how the world sees us.

I believe that our sexuality is self renewing with no expiration dates. You can recharge, reboot and recycle! It's there - waiting for you.

Home Grown Sex

My husband took the day off today. He just forgot to tell me that he was doing this, and I had made plans with a girl friend to go walking - and it was a girlfriend that I have trouble holding onto a date with. Gavin said go take your walk and then we will spend the rest of the day together, and then he told me that he was taking the next day off too.

There was the initial feeling of joy and then panic. What would we do together? We are so used to being passing ships...or docked ships. Do we know how to be ships that are actively in port together anymore?

I decided to do something that I rarely do in my marriage, on a mid week morning. I just got naked. I did what I often have trouble doing in my own marriage - and talk to people about doing in their own lives all the time. I reached for sex. I actually did more than that, I asked for sex!

I asked for sex that I wasn’t even sure that I wanted, but I asked any way. I didn’t give my husband a script. I didn’t tell him what turned me on. I just asked him to make love with me.

Gavin said - "You will be late for your walk."

I said, "No I won’t"

He looked at my nakedness and he came over and ran his hands over my unadorned body. "You know - your body is changing. I see you everyday so I don’t always notice, but you feel so different to my hands....your waist...oh....your ass.." He was positively purring. Well - this was a good start.

"There is a naked woman in my living room" He laughed. I left his arms and walked over to the bed.

"There is a naked woman in your bed....."

Gavin climbed in after me and simply enjoyed touching my body. The man has good hands.

I wanted to do something a little different. I didn’t know what - just something....in retrospect just having sex in the middle of the morning on a weekday was a little bit different!!!

I climbed into his lap and just started to "run energy" with him. Running energy is breathing into each other bellies, and feeling your pelvis's connect. It is very "Tantra". My husband is not very Tantra!

He was very unsure. We had to adjusted our bodies. I tried to do what I have often done in workshops with my husband - I tried to focus on root chakra energy and breath. I could feel him becoming aroused. Well, I guess his his root chakra was awake....I was feeling encouraged.

I laid back in the bed, And left my legs and bottom just where they were in his lap. I was completely relaxed...soft. He had complete access to my body....and he took advantage of that....

You know - My husband is fine lover after 29 years or so...the fact that we can even get a buzz on from each other is something worth celebrating! I am not going into the details, but with my husband - I simply don't worry "taking too long" or anything else. One of the joy of marriage is there is no self consciousness with him at all - there is just pleasure.

I return to consciousness, and began to love his body. This was not a day for rushing and I took my time with his pleasure. I think a lot about married monogamous long term sex. I was even thinking about it a little bit until his sounds of pleasure turned into softer breath, and a peaceful holding.

Was our love making this hot, frenzied place of passion? Well - No. But it was lovely....

I don’t know how long it has been in the space between our love making. Sometimes, life gets in the way of finding time for each other in this way. But perhaps the space doesn’t matter I don’t know. Perhaps what matters is that we can still come together, when we do come together and find pleasure with each other.

Our love making feeds me in the way that it feeds me. When we join together it is solid, without frills and deeply satisfying...

I had long ago stopped trying to create it into being something that it is not. I seem to only get into trouble when I want my marriage bed to something different than it is - when my expectations of my husband out strip where he wants to go....

But if I simply present myself - offer my body in a very simple way - this man reaches for me....and loves me so beautifully.

It is home made sex. Simple, satisfying and after almost three decades often without frills...but the kind of meal that you don’t have to worry about. You know if you bother to cook it....it will be just what you need. It will be enough.

Later that day - with the sun shining....Mr and Mrs took a walk in our neighborhood. We haven't done this in a very long time. We held hands the way that we have held hands since I was seventeen years old. It is all so familiar and it is all so home grown. It is a big piece of who I still am....this man....our family.....our little home. Gavin doesn't hold all the parts of me. But he does love, hold and know my heart like no one else.

Authors Note: This writing is from my private journals - and was written months ago. I hope you enjoyed it. It's Valentines Day and I am on the road without my honey - I was missing "Home Grown Sex"!