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Enjoying the Journey

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One of the truly wonderful things about living in a hotel is the sheer number of people you come in contact with…in the fitness center, in the lobby, and even over breakfast. Since we are there for 6 weeks, we have seen a lot of people come and go. There are a lot of business people, a lot of families, a lot of poorly behaved kids.

This morning, as my daughter and I were munching on English muffins, I overheard a woman talking to her colleagues about some of her phobias. For a seemingly together businesswoman, she had quite the list. Crossing bridges had evidently just joined her list of things she tried to avoid.

Recently, she had been driving across a bridge with her son and enjoying the ride until he said, “Mommy, the only thing holding this bridge up is these cables!” And bridges promptly joined her list of phobias – she now avoids them at all costs.

I found this incredibly sad. I mean, I always find it sad when people allow themselves to be held back in life because something scares them.  They can’t go visit loved ones because it requires flying on an airplane. Or they can’t leave their children for an evening because something horrible might happen. Or they can’t get near water because they were too afraid to learn to swim. And this woman had lost her ability to access very essential parts of our road system because she had become myopically focused on engineering.

She no longer has a sense of excitement that comes with soaring over vast stretches of water. She no longer has a sense of wonder at the marvels of modern architecture.She no longer has a sense of anticipation as to what lies on the other side. There is just fear.

And it struck me that many people get stuck in this place in their relationships as well. They get so focused on the structure of their relationship that they fail to enjoy the ride.

Now, if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to address the nuts and bolts of relationships – particularly sexual relationships. And, it is obviously essential to maintain the structure of your sex life. Imperative, in fact.

But sometimes we get so focused on the work that we cease to experience the pleasure. We are so busy thinking of the next 15 things that we have to do to keep this thing running that we don’t take the time to stop, look around us and enjoy where we are.

So what’s exciting, breath-taking, comfortable, beautiful, peaceful, or exhilarating about your relationship right now? It might not be perfect, but there are bound to be aspects that are good. If you need to fix some structural issues, then by all means do it. But don’t allow that to become your sole focus so that you miss the beauty of the journey along the way.

62 Day Challenge – Followup

62 Days Later…

Back in June, I issued a challenge to my readers to have sex every day for from June 15th to August 15thThe 62 Day Challenge.

Been There..Done That

Who out there took the challenge?

What did you find?

What was your favourite part?

Allow me to say that I have a general rule wherein I do not reveal the nitty-gritty’s of my sex life with Eric because it is, well, ours. However, I do think it is important to highlight some of the things we learned throughout the challenge. So here are some of my thoughts on the past two months.

  1. We figured out very soon into the challenge that with this level of consistency, there was no such thing as “a quickie”. This side effect had its pros and cons. On the pro side, it gave us the time – indeed it forced us – to be creative. Sex very simply could not be the same old routine because one of the basic elements – time – had changed. On the con side, I needed to be prepared all the time. Bottles of lubricant were omnipresent.
  2. A broken foot is very difficult to work around. Early in the challenge I fell and broke my foot. Everyone has assumed I was doing something kinky during the challenge but the true story is very dull – I tripped over Eric’s slippers. I have to be honest and admit that in the early days when the break was fresh, I chose to bond with the Extra Strength Advil rather than bonding sexually with my husband. Having said that, the pain does abate over time and it is possible to have sex with a cast on. Just for the record.
  3. Gastro-intestinal viruses and sex do not mix. There is just a “yuck” factor of having sex with all the physical manifestations of such a virus. Enough said.
  4. Skype sex is a fun concept for long distance intimacy unless you are staying at someone’s house. The mood is quickly doused when the hostess wants to talk to you as much as your husband does. Especially when he is staying in the living room on the couch.
  5. We both loved the fact that sex was a given. Instead of doing the initiation dance (who is going to initiate and when is s/he going to do it?) it was an unspoken agreement that it would just happen. Both of us were working towards the goal of getting it done. It brought a heightened sense of teamwork into this part of our relationship.
  6. Our desire to have sex grew. The more we had, the more we wanted. I was a bit surprised by this development. I thought I would be satiated the more I had, but the reverse actually took place. This made me do quite a bit of contemplation on the “use it or lose it” theory.
  7. Finally, we had fun. We laughed more, joked together more, flirted more, and enjoyed each other more. That alone was worth the price of admission.

Do you have any stories to tell? You have the advantage of being anonymous, so let us know if anything outrageous, hilarious or even sweet happened with you and your lover during the challenge.  (and even if you didn’t take the challenge, feel free to share why you didn’t or what kept you from it – we’re all friends here an nobody judges!!)

How Much is TOO MUCH Sex?

How much sex is too much sex?   That could be a poll, but there would have to be too many answers listed – everyone would have a differing opinion on that question.  But it is a question that gets asked a lot.  It gets asked so often, that Douglas Brown decided to write a book on it

Douglas Brown, the author of the book Just Do It, and his wife committed to have sex 101 days in a row. You heard that right – 101 days in a row.  Excuses were not an option – they couldn’t whine about being tired, or the kids in the next room, or not being in the mood. They very simply did it.

When interviewed at the end of the their experiment, they said they were closer as a couple. They had deeper intimacy, better communication and more romance. Furthermore (and this is the part of the story that I find particularly interesting), they started paying more attention to their bodies.  They began to exercise and eat better.

I suppose this makes sense. If you are spending that much time naked, it would be natural to look at your body more often. The less covered up you are, the more you have to acknowledge yourself “au naturale”. And it got me thinking…summer has begun and we have turned our attention to all those bits that are bigger or flabbier or less toned than we want. What if we could get rid of those parts AND build intimacy with our spouse?

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Here’s my challenge: Make a Sexy Summer Pact with your spouse.

Commit to having sex everyday until mid-August. If you start June 15th and go until August 15th, that is 62 days – far less that Douglas Brown and his wife, but long enough to give you a feel for what it is like to connect every day in a sexual way. How knows? Maybe you will like it so much you will go for the full 101 days!!

Now, I want to be clear about this challenge.  There are quite a few logistics to take into consideration (Mr. Brown had a prescription for Viagra filled as a “just in case” measure – I am not advocating that!!)

If you are going to take up the challenge, here are some considerations and logistics to think about:

  • Define “sex” – Vaginal penetration is not necessary to count as “sex”. In fact, I would encourage you to learn to you satisfy each other in other creative ways too. Need suggestions to get started?

o    Hand jobs – use your hands to help each other reach climax
o    Oral Sex
o    Bedroom toys and vibrators can be used to reach orgasm
o    Mutual masturbation while looking into each other’s eyes
o    Skin Time – just get naked with each other and lay up against one another (Just don’t fall into the trap of only doing this one!!  You both really ought to orgasm – mutual satisfaction is always the goal.)

  • Try different times of the day and locations to add variety and spice
  • Load up on lubricant so that you can take advantage of a quick moment or for hand jobs or toys
  • Use the challenge as an excuse to try new things in the bedroom and talk to each other about your secret fantasies
  • If you are out of town and away from each other, substitute a sexy phone call…and see where that leads!
  • NO EXCUSES!!!

I realize that there are those of us out there who have issues reaching orgasm – physically or psychologically.  This exercise is not intended to single you out or make you feel badly about yourselves or your situation, rather I would hope that this would be an opportunity for you to really explore your sexual relationship with your lover.  Talk, look, explore and learn about each other’s bodies in ways you never have.  The goal is building a whole new level of intimacy, so make sure that is your focus.

Regardless of whether you are motivated to take the pact because of the caloric burn, or the increase in intimacy, or merely because it sounds interesting, have fun!

One more thing…go make a reservation for a nice restaurant right now for August 15th. Book the babysitter too. The two of you can toast your Sexy Summer and discuss what you have both discovered about your relationship during your pact. Maybe you can take your measurements too and see how many inches you have burned off!!

How about it? Are you in? Let me know your feedback. I would love hear from the people who are taking up the challenge!

Changing the Oil

This past weekend, it was time to change the oil in the car. (Which, truth be told, is what made me think that lubricants should be the subject of the week) We had to take our daughter to get her ballet photos taken, and her dance school is right next to our favourite 15 minute oil change place. So, being that it was a Saturday (and Saturdays are really for taking care of menial and yet necessary tasks), we swung into the place after the makeup had been applied, fancy costume had been donned and photos had finally been taken.

Now, I am not known for my deep and abiding love of things automotive.  I like my car to start when I turn the key, to run when I press the gas and to stop when I hit the brakes.  How this all works, while fascinating to some I am sure, does not interest me in the least.  I even ask my husband to fill the car with gas so I don’t have to do that!  But all that aside, I love where we get our oil changed because it is full service. You roll into the bay, and a very courteous service guy comes up and offers everyone in the car a cup of coffee or bottled water. We usually choose the latter since we are coffee snobs and cannot bring ourselves to drink “oil change coffee”.  (No matter how deep my appreciation for the stellar service runs, I do have my limits!)

After the guy gets all the details on what type of oil we want, he offers us a newspaper or to turn on the TV which is hanging right above our front window. When my daughter is feeling cranky, it is very helpful to be able to turn on the cartoon channel and keep her entertained throughout the service.  (And again, deep appreciation for a bunch of working men who are willing to have little girl cartoons playing on the TV in their shop.)

The whole experience was quick and pleasant, and soon we were back on the road to tackle other items on our Saturday to-do list. Our car will now run smoothly for the next 3,000 kilometers without needing a top up on fluids – at least that is what the man told me and I have nothing but trust for the oil change man in regards to my car.

But it got me thinking. Even I know that a car engine needs oil.  The work that the engine does creates friction and if we don’t keep the parts lubricated, then there will be damage to the parts and the whole car won’t run.  And that is bad.

Funny how even the mundane things in my life eventually bring me back to passion, intimacy and sex in relationships…but as I drove out of the garage, I really did start thinking about lubricants and how quick we are to think about them in relation to our car, and how rarely most people consider them in their sex life.  We (and I mean both men and women) often assume that our bodies will produce all the natural lubricants we need for sexual intercourse because, well, that’s what they do.  When it comes to sex the general population treats their bodies like I do my car –  “how it all works, while fascinating to some I am sure, does not interest me in the least”.  We just want our bodies to rev when we turn the key and go when we hit the gas.  (I could do a whole different post on why sex is NOT like driving a car – for those who need someone to explain to them that sex is not a race and the goal is not necessarily to get to the end as fast as possible, except in those instances where time is a factor of course… J)  Nonetheless, we should take a moment and think about how we take care of our bodies in relation to sex.  Without enough lubricant, the parts will get damaged and the whole thing won’t run.  I have met with too many women whose aversion to sex centered around the fact that it hurt.  They had continued to try having sex in the hopes that “this time I would get wet enough”, but it simply did not happen for them.  To be pointed, a lack of lubrication in sex can lead to damage like vaginal tears and infections.  We wouldn’t let our car run low on oil, why on earth would we be less vigilant with our vaginas?

I love my car, but I love my sex life more.  I would hazard a guess that I am not the only one who feels that way, but many of us put more effort and thought into keeping the car lubed than we do ourselves!

So think about your sex life?  Are you in need of a “lube job”?  Maybe you have been using the wrong product and it is time for an “oil change”!  Make sure you check out the Product of the Week – 15% off my personal favourite and best selling personal lubricant RevelationTM.

Doctor Prescribed Sex

My husband and I have been trying to have a second child now for three years. It took us a year and a half to conceive our daughter, and we figured that since we had obviously figured out how to do it, it would be easy the second time. WRONG! Although all our tests are clean, we have not been able to “get one past the goalie” as my husband so eloquently puts it.

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Not too long ago, we decided that we would take our trying to the next level and follow our doctor’s advice to go on Clomid, the fertility drug that is prescribed to a lot of women in my situation. As we were chatting with the doctor, I decided to be frank and asked, “So, doc, is this the drug that will turn me into a raving lunatic?” She laughed and diplomatically said, “Well, there can be some side effects with the increase of hormones in your system.” She then proceeded to give us the instructions on how to take the drugs. “Take them from days 3-7 and then have sex on days 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18.” Turning to my husband, she then said, “If you have any business trips to take, schedule them for the rest of her cycle.” And then she gave him a very sympathetic smile. Humm. I suppose this was her way of being more direct to my earlier question. We got a good giggle and left the office to follow her instructions.

Now, for all of you out there who are thinking “I wish I could have sex that often!” let me say that doctor prescribed sex is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it is awful. It turns something that is supposed to be fun, pleasurable and even spiritual into a chore that needs to be ticked off your “to-do” list. You have to do it (or else you feel guilty for not doing your best to get pregnant), you can’t use lubricant (it kills the sperm), and there is no cuddling afterwards (your bum is stuck up in the air on a pillow). Add that to the hormonal changes you go through if you are on the fertility drugs, and ups and downs you feel as you hope, hope, hope and then are disappointed, and the whole experience can really make your sex life take a nose-dive.

In my business as a Passion Coach, many women have come to me to discuss the ramifications of infertility on their sex lives. Their stories are remarkably similar. They speak about the fact that their minds are constantly on getting pregnant, which makes it very difficult to be romantic and stay in the mood because their mind keeps wandering to whether or not this will be the time that they conceive. They are constantly thinking about what day it is, and whether their period is going to come this month or not. Some husbands feel so much pressure that they cannot get and maintain an erection (which, of course, frustrates both them and their wives!). And underling all of their experiences – the waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.

So, how do we maintain good sex lives in the midst of all of this? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add variety to love-making (change rooms or the time of day that you have sex, add candles or music, play strip poker, etc.)
  • Make sure to have sex even on days which are not “doctor prescribed” so that your sexual relationship isn’t completely tied to the task of procreation
  • Find some friends or a support group to talk to so that you don’t feel isolated during this time
  • Try to find the humor in the midst of attempts to conceive (ie: read a funny yet honest blog, allow yourself to laugh)
  • Take steps to reduce stress in your life (ie: physical exercise, learn stress reduction techniques such as yoga, choose to try to conceive during times of lower stress in your career, and laugh (see point above)
  • Explore other options like adoption, IVF, or acupuncture
  • Set a time period of “trying” interspersed with a period of taking a break (and really take the break – toss out the charts, put away the thermometer, stop tracking your cycle)
  • As best as possible, make peace with the concept of not having a biological child

But at the end of the day, the thing to remember through this is what originally drove this whole thing – a desire to come together as a couple in the deepest of ways. I say that we need to remember that because in the midst of “baby making sex” it is easy to forget to make love. And that is what this is all about really. The intent of the exercise is to fall deeper in love with your spouse, so don’t let it become a wedge that drives you apart.