Monogamy

When it Comes To Sex: Don't Yuck my Yum

I think that there is a new snobbery a foot. It's "sex snobbery".  It is showing up everywhere and in the most subtle ways. I listen to sex educators and friends talk about "other people's" sexual expression with a tone of judgement and superiority which is frankly tone deaf.

It can look like this: Poly or people who have "Open Marriage" or "Open Relationships" can talk negatively about Monogamous people. They can say speak about the boredom and normalcy of monogamy.  That folks who are monogamous are not "enlightened" or hoard love or have not mastered their "attachment or abandonment issues".

And now reverse that.  People who live in monogamy talk about Poly folks as lacking commitment and being oversexed.  They speak of Poly as "legalized" cheating.  And it goes on Heterosexuals are judged by people who enjoy same sex partners.  Now reverse it.

Vanilla judges Kinky and Kinky judges Vanilla. How about we agree not to "YUCK each others YUM?" No one's sexual or gender expression is superior to someone anyone's else. Sexuality is unique.

Everybody's relationship with sexuality, gender, and romance is unique. Just because we share the knowledge that we both  enjoy a particular sex toy doesn't mean that we will experience it the same way.

No one can feel an erotic feeling or emotion tied to sexuality just the way you. All of our feelings and how we process experiences are uniquely our own. And all of this "Sex Snobbery" can be really hard when people want others to "give them an experience" and "get it right".

Let's take it to the bedroom!

So, if we can agree that all of our relationships to sexuality is unique - how do we go about creating a better relationship with sex leaving all of that sex snobbery behind?

1. Prepare for change.  Decide that you are ready to change your relationship with your own sexuality. Acknowledge that you feel like there is something missing, a problem a disconnect. Acknowledge that you want to feel more than you are currently feeling.

2. Choose to make a change with your relationship with your own sexuality. If you are in a partnered relationship you may choose to speak with your partner about your desires for change. If you are not in a partnered sexual relationship you may begin by opening the conversation with yourself about what you feel you are missing and wanting. You may choose to seek the help of a sexuality coach or sign up for a program created to support people explore their sexuality.

3.  Keep the yuck out of the yum and lower your sexually enlightened nose a notch or two. It will be more becoming.

 

Fifty Shades of Relationship: 8 Tips on Keeping it Hot and Together

I'm not just a sex expert, I've been"happily enough" married for 30 years. That's no small achievement and I'm happy to wear the merit badge. I also live an out of the box life erotically  and support others to evolve their own sexuality on their own and in their long term romantic relationships.  Recently, someone called me a "Marriage Whisperer" but we don't have to whisper. Let's face it, after you say "I do", you evolve.  If you don't evolve in your own life, you dry up and emotionally deaden. A sexual numbness can creep in like the fog on a San Francisco morning.  How can a person who is living an evolutionarily life expect their relationship to stay the same? Marriages, romantic relationships and live in partnerships need to shift and transform too other wise they fracture and die. I think that's the biggest reason for the  high split up rate in the United States.  Somehow, we think that if our relationship can't stay as it was when we agreed to "Happily ever after" that it's broken and it's time to move on.  Here's the thing, most likely you will confront the same issues again and again.

So how do you evolve and keep it hot and sexy in a relationship, marriage or long term partnership?

1. Commit to owning your own sexuality.  Have you really thought about what you want erotically in your own life? Do you have it? What has changed for you since you entered your relationship? It's crucial to do your own work. I have worked with countless women who have told me that they have never had an orgasm alone or with their partner.  Believe it or not, learning to access your shifting sexuality is often work best done at first without your partner!  Our sexual persona can sometimes get trapped in our relationship dynamics. Separating who you are sexually from how you engage with your partner is often the first crucial step.

2. Practice being sexual.  That's right, go flaunt yourself.  Wear clothing that makes you feel sexy.  Walk like you mean it. Go dancing. Read sexy books.  Touch your own body.  Change your look.

3.  Confront the fact that you might be sexually bored.  Honestly, sexual boredom is one of the biggest reason's relationships fail. 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.

4. Compliment your partner.  When was the last time you told your partner that they did a great job giving you pleasure? Kindness and encouragement go a long way.

5.  When was the last time you brought something new to bed? That's right; I am talking sex toys. Take your partner on a desire tour. Plan a date around inviting something new and sexy into your relationship. There are so many new and exciting sex toys on the market. Grown ups like new toys too; buy one!

6.  Get real. When was the last time you and your partner actually talked about your sex life? Do it.

7.  It's only kinky the first time! What about sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner? This tip goes well with tip number 6.  And don't get discouraged if your first "kinky" experiment doesn't go well. Try again. We need to practice being sexual and trying new things! And consider doing something different that is just for your partner. Maybe you are not "into" being tied up but it doesn't freak you out and it really turns on your partner.  Maybe be willing to try it on for your partner if it is "neutral" for you.  Sometimes our kinks don't line up but they don't repulse us either.  Being able to offer your partner their sexual fantasy can be a great big turn on and can create an opening in your sexual relationship.

8.  Let the other person win the fight!  You don't always have to be right.  You know the expression: "Do you want to be happy or right?" Sometimes, it's worth it to let go of being right in favor of being sexy together.

 

The Gift of Long Term Relationship: And 7 Tips

I have slept for most of 30 years with my husband spooned around my body. Like two swans. Anaïs Nin say this: “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” And this is true. All relationships change. It's an evolution. They will never be the same from one month to the next or one year to the following decade. When I was 17, I didn't need a "Fifty Shades of Gray" to get excited or turned on.That was not in my consciousness yet. I was who I was at 17 and I was whole and complete.

It was enough for my then boyfriend, now husband, to kiss me. I swear to all that is holy that I had an orgasm with that first kiss. All that I needed was his lips to touch mine.

That same kiss to me today, from my beloved of 33 years has a completely different delicious flavor today. And it's a kiss of the deepest love I think I have ever experienced. The kiss is not a climax or toes don't curl anymore.  The kiss is not the taste of a long desperate yearning or the thrill many of the erotic games and rituals that I so deeply enjoy and love in this place in my life.

I don't share that with this man 33 years later. I share something evolutionary. It is the kiss of a man with an incredible big heart that opens to me and sees me with incredible beauty. It's the gift of trust and of allowing me to always evolve without leaving me. That's the kiss. The kiss of extraordinary relationship loyalty. The gift of loving someone so completely that you can see them as 17, or holding your baby on an operating table near death, or the kiss of our empty nest. Or holding you while your grieve the losses in your life. Or dancing with you and cheering at each small victory that life brings. It is the kiss of comfort when your "outside relationship" is stretching you and you want to cry and kick and scream. And he says to be patient, and quiet and not to make a mess. How about some popcorn instead?

Not everyone will get to taste this unique, rare kiss of extended loving over a life time. It's take's a certain willingness to stay.  It takes a willingness to be looking at what used to work, and shifting to what works now. It takes a willingness to learn how to replenish love's source, as it's source is always changing. It takes a willingness to kiss the wounds and the tarnishing that all relationships experience. It takes a willingness to love through change without judgement.

Today as I opened my eyes, my husband reached over me and held me in his arms. His mouth reached down and offered me his kiss.  Again.

So how did we become marriage or long term relationship "survivors" and "thrivers"? 1.  Be willing to look at the need for connectedness and space to create a balance.  Fires need air.  Don't do everything together.

2.  Practice  erotic privacy not secrecy.  If one of you wants to watch porn, or has a sexual desire that you want to explore without your partner talk about it and do not hide it.  Secrets corrupt a relationship and everyone needs some erotic privacy. Privacy is different than lying and sneaking around. How do you have what you need and do not want to share with your partner without having a secret?

3. Being willing to be uncomfortable with the idea of allowing each person in the relationship to have experiences outside of the relationship. Whether it is a bicycle trip across the county or going to sexuality retreat for women.

4. Being willing to stay when you are bored, not turned on and totally restless and realizing that no matter who you choose to be with in life, "New Relationship Energy" fades and eventually you will get to this place again. So how do you work with it?

5. Do something unexpected in the relationship like work with a "Marriage Whisperer" and go on a private retreat for couples or attend a sexuality workshop for couples. Doing something spicy and edge pushing is sometimes exactly what a couple needs. We get stuck in routine and we think that "these kinds of experiences" are not for us.  Yes they are.

6. Being willing to be truthful when needs and desires change.

7. Look at yourself. How are you doing? Do you need to do something for you and your relationship with your body and your sexuality? Usually this is work that each person has to do on their own too.  We all need to evolve too. What are you doing to keep evolving? When was the last time you spoke to someone about sex, relationships, and your changing body? Do you have your own "Pleasure Plan"?

7.  Pay attention.  The biggest gift that long term couples can give each other is attention and presence. Are you holding hands? Saying "I love you" or noticing each other? Notice. Compliment and cheer each other on.

The "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 fully 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? Or how do you expand on monogamous but stay out of OKCupid?

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 polyarmory 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.

Sexuality and relationship is all about taking what works for you and your partner and leaving the rest. I love the idea of creating a sexuality and relationship that is all your own. But we can learn from what others are doing. And I do. All the time. 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".

Now, you may ask me what what taking a "Traditional Lover" means.  I might answer. I might not!

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.

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? How does your husband feel about you work at Back to The Body: Sensuous Retreats For Women?   Does he approve? 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 intact. 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 had 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. This is what inspired me to create Back to The Body. I wanted a safe place for all women no matter their marital status to have a place to come to explore their sexuality.

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.  That is "Untraditional" love that I speak about, in case you were wondering.

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.  I do not hide.  There is no shame.

If we have the room to experiment and expand our own sexuality without shame - I believe that more people would not feel like they have to leave their primary relationships. We just may need 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.

 

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.

 

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"!