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Sex is Like Typing

pc-and-mac

Today I converted. Mac has been proselytizing long and hard and has finally won my heart. Perhaps I fell in love the trendy guy who plays Mac in the commercials on TV. Perhaps it is because so many of my friends have Macs. Perhaps it is that every time I sit in my husband’s office, I get jealous because he has a Mac and I do not.

For the last year or so, my husband and I have had an on going discussion about a new computer. It was not a question of “if” but “when”. My laptop was far too old. And while age in and of itself was not enough reason for me to go through the pain of moving my life from one computer to another, the fact that it took 7 minutes to boot up was grating severely on my nerves. (Yes, I timed it.) So, the question turned to the type of computer I would get. I was angling for a Mac, but my husband declared that I was not “Mac Worthy”. I felt like I was stuck in an old Seinfield episode. You know the one…”sponge worthy”.

It is true that I do not do the incredibly tech-y things that Mac is designed for. I am not designing websites; I am writing copy. I am not editing graphics; I am sketching my ideas by hand. All the people who design my sites and edit my graphics have Macs. Technically, I don’t NEED one.

But Macs are sexy. And fast. And you can shut the cover without turning off the entire computer.

Finally, my husband and I came to a compromise. We have a friend who has a lightly-used Mac laptop, and we would buy it off of him. I get the benefits of a Mac without the full weight of the price tag.

So today, I am typing on a new keyboard and getting used to its nuances. I choose the smaller computer intentionally so that I can take it with me on the road. (There is nothing worse than having an idea for a blog and writing it on a scrap of paper that inevitably gets lost.) The downside to a smaller computer is that the keyboard is slightly smaller as well. And I am finding that the “Y” key is sticking a bit. I have to hit it a bit harder to get it to work. But everything else is rainbows and unicorns – just like they promise it will be on the commercials!  All of this reminds me of an illustration I use when teaching clients about sexuality.

Sex is like typing.

If your goal is to be a phenomenal lover, it takes time, practice and feedback to learn how to hit the right keys at the right time to get the desired outcome. If you are not getting feedback, you won’t be a good typist. If you don’t practice, you won’t be a good typist. Our bodies are a lot like this keyboard.

But, let’s change up the illustration a bit. In real life, our “keyboard” actually changes over time. Sometimes, only a couple keys are out of place. If they are keys that we don’t use often such a “q” or “x”, it will probably take us a while to notice. But if the “a” or the “t” suddenly moved places, we will take heed immediately. If someone switched our normal keyboard for a Dvorak keyboard on us, we would probably come unglued.

In our sex lives, we need to realize that change is inevitable. What worked in your sex life when you got married might not work after you have had kids and will most likely not work after menopause. Throw in a chronic illness or job loss or depression and you are getting calls from a completely different playbook altogether.

You can approach these changes in a couple ways:

  1. You realize that change is bound to happen and so you shore up your communication skills. That way, when change does come, you have a way to express your needs to your spouse and sort through the challenges together.
  2. You can get all pissy and pout about the drain of kids, or getting older, or whatever else is bothering you – with all that free time you’re going to have when you stop having sex altogether.

You get to choose. Do you want to be reactive or proactive?

One last thought. Think of all the new things you will get to try as you take your new “keyboard” out for a whirl over the years. The very fact that change is inevitable forces us to get out of the rut we have fallen in, look at our spouse through new lenses, and learn about each other in a deeper way. This process, when done well, builds incredible intimacy.

Me? I am embracing change today. Good-bye, PC, I will not miss thee.  I’ll learn to live with a sticky Y key.  Worst-case scenario is that I type in “sexy” and only get “sex” on the page.  And getting sex when you weren’t expecting it ain’t all bad!!

funny-mac

Awareness Regarding Sex and Menopause

In this short Q&A, Eryn-Faye, Canada’s Passion Coach, answers an audience member’s question about the major issues regarding sex and menopause.

Download this file as a .mov file for your Quick Time player OR as a .m4v file for your ipod OR as a .mp3 file to listen to the audio on itunes

The Basics of Menopause

Over the years, I have met many women who are going or have gone through menopause and are asking for help with their sex life. If you read my recent blog post, you read about some of the complaints that these women have. And yet, before we actually go through “The Change” very few of us have any idea of what to expect.

Here is a run down on the basics of menopause:

During our lifetime, we have a limited number of eggs that are in our ovaries. Each month, the primary sex hormone in our body, estrogen, regulates the release of these eggs so that we can get pregnant (or get a visit from Aunt Flo if we do not). Contrary to commonly held beliefs, menopause is not an event, but rather a series of phases.

As we come to the end of our eggs, the estrogen in our bodies begins to decrease. This phase is called perimenopause because we will still have our periods, but they will not come consistently each month. This is due to the fact that our ovaries are not releasing an egg each month. This phase can start as early as a woman’s late thirties, but it more commonly begins sometime during her forties. During this phase, she might notice that she has “fuzzy” brain (where she cannot think as clearly as she once could), hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia, irregular periods, emotional ups and downs, depression, vaginal dryness, decreased libido and other such fun symptoms. One man, whose wife was going through this phase, said to me, “She feels like an alien has taken over her body!” As this phase can last for a few years and has health implications (for example: increased risk of osteoporosis and higher cholesterol counts), it is important to recognize the symptoms and talk to your doctor about them.

The second phase is menopause which is technically defined as having gone a full year without a period. At this point, the symptoms of perimenopause tend to ease off because the levels of estrogen (although significantly less that prior to perimenopause) have leveled off and are more consistent.

The good news is that women eventually transition into post-menopause. Gail Sheehy, author of Menopause: The Silent Passage writes that women in this phase experience a “post-menopausal zest” in which they have a heightened sense of focus, clarity and even energy. They have a deeper and more accepting sense of self which enables them to live their later years out with less self-criticism.

But for those of you who are waiting to get to the “zest” stage, here are some recommendations:

  • Get a good doctor who will listen seriously to the things that you are feeling in your body.
  • Discuss the latest research on the pros/cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
  • Do your research. Gail Sheehy’s book is an excellent place to start.
  • Increase your intake of: calcium, antioxidants, B-vitamins.
  • Decrease your intake of fatty foods (Of course. We go through hell, why not take away our Doritos too???!)

At the end of the day, the very best way to prepare for menopause is by educating yourself of what is to come and what your options are in dealing with it. Consider this article a start. Now go do some more research. I would recommend starting with some of these sites:

http://www.menopausecanada.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/

http://peri-freakin-menopause.blogspot.com/

Is that menopause or global warming?

When I first started my business, I went around to all the female relatives in my family and asked them about the state of their sex lives. Perhaps this seems a bit voyeuristic, but I called it “market research” at the time. In fact, if you were a woman within 100 yards of me, the chances were very high that I would ask you about sex too. As I met with women in coffee shops, around dinner tables and on living room coaches, we dished about this typically taboo topic. The relief that these women felt to actually be invited into this type of dialogue was palpable. In the South (where all my family lives), people don’t just talk about this stuff with the candor that I encouraged. In some instances, their responses came with such eagerness that it felt like these women had  been waiting their whole lives to be asked.

During one of these conversations in which I was seeking to expand my knowledge on all things sex, I asked one relative about menopause. I soft-peddled my question and said, “I hear that lubrication is a bit erratic during menopause.” She looked at me and laughed,

“Erratic? It’s non-existent!”

This deeply religious woman then went on to say the following:

“When we first got married, I thought sex would get better after we got the hang of it; then I thought sex would get better when the kids got to be teenagers and I wasn’t so tired from chasing little ones around all day; then I thought sex would get better when the kids left home and we were free to do whatever – whenever.  But about the time that happened, menopause hit. That’s when I realized that the best sex must be when you are 16 in the back of a car!!”

While she did not morally agree with her own statement, it reflected the frustration that many women have about the path that their sex life takes. The years that they look forward to…especially those once the kids have left the home…are not filled with passionate sex on the kitchen floor like they had envisioned. (Ok, so maybe kitchen floor is stretching it a little bit – especially cold, hard tile.) Instead, they are dealing with hormonal fluctuations (one lady described menopause as “an alien has landed in my body”) which can be annoying at best and frightening at worst , vaginal dryness which makes sex incredibly uncomfortable if you are not prepared, hot flashes which are embarrassing because they are so public, and so forth and so on.

I believe that there are two main skill sets that will help ward off this frustration: getting educated about what actually happens in menopause so that you can be prepared; and keeping those lines of communication open with your spouse so that the two of you are not caught off guard.

It is inevitable that our bodies will change over time. What works in the bedroom tonight may not work as well in five or ten year’s time. The very best defense against a stale love life or one that is constantly fails to meet up with your hopes and drams is education and communication. And this is no different when it comes to menopause.

And, conveniently enough, this weeks article will be “resource rich” to help you get better educated!  I’ll give you the info…you do the talking!  You are your lover will both be glad y’all did.

Lubricating Your Relationship

 

Early on in my practice, one of my clients told me that I had “saved her marriage“.  Since I always love to hear people’s stories, I asked her to explain how this happened.

“You recommended a good lubricant to me”, she said rather matter-of-factly.

I was a bit slow on the uptake and wasn’t sure how something this simple could have such a dramatic effect on her relationship, but she continued on.

“I was allergic to [insert name of the most popular over the counter brand], but it was the only stuff I knew to buy. So, when I would use it, I would have to have sex quickly and then immediately hop into the shower because it would burn. It was killing our sex life! But when I got a good lubricant from you, it didn’t burn. Now I actually enjoy having sex with my husband again!”

Lubricating Your Relationship

Let’s face it ladies, if we don’t have sufficient lubrication, sex is going to be at best uncomfortable and at worst excessively painful! There are all sorts of reasons why a woman might not have enough lubrication:

  • She might not be aroused enough
  • She might be on a medication that hinders lubrication (allergy & cold relief medications, antidepressants and even the birth control pill are notorious for having this side effect)
  • She might be headed into menopause, and the drop in our estrogen levels is causing changes in the way our body produces lubrication
  • She might be nervous or stressed out or exhausted
  • She might have just had a child or are still breastfeeding
  • She might be a smoker

There is nothing worse than wanting to be intimate with your husband but then being betrayed by your body when it refuses to lubricate properly! It creates a vicious cycle because next time you are considering having sex, you might hesitate because you are worried about it. Not only are you dealing with something physiological, but now it is psychological too!

A great lubricant will take this pressure off of you. You will no longer have to worry about getting wet enough so that sex doesn’t hurt. It allows you to relax and focus on enjoying yourself and him. And this makes for a much more satisfying sex life for both of you.

Thankfully, we live in a day in age when good lubricants are readily available. You can have one on your bedside table drawer, another in your travel bag, another in the shower. A lady once said to me that lubricants were like lipstick – no woman should have only one!

Here’s a run-down on the different types of lubricants:

Type

Pro’s

Con’s

Water-based

Easy and safe to use almost anywhere. They do not stain, are simple to wash off, and are safe for use with condoms or diaphragms.

Cannot use in water (as it will wash off) and are not long-lasting. Some brands can be sticky.

Silicone-based

Great for water play. They are long-lasting, non-sticky, and usually have a silky texture

Harder to wash off (as they are designed to last in water). Cannot be used with silicone-based toys

Petroleum-based

Good for anal play.

Cannot be used with condoms, diaphragms or cervical caps. Can be irritating vaginally. They are difficult to wash off and can stain the sheets.

Oil-based

Made from vegetable or nut oils.

Can feel greasy and stain the sheets. They are not recommended for use with condoms.

.

It might seem obvious from my pro’s and con’s table that I prefer water- and silicone-based lubricants; however, the point is that you have lots of options out there beyond [popular over the counter brand].

 


Rediscovering Passion

There is not one particular thing that I can point at and say that’s the one, that’s the one that turned my sex life around.

It is such a complicated journey from the first years of marriage and the lust and laughter that surrounds it, to child birth and motherhood, to the loss of your libido then your self esteem and finally your self worth.

I have tried many things to recapture, recreate, reactivate and rejuvenate my sex life in my marriage and all of them had failed miserably before I met Eryn-Faye. She has helped me open my heart and my head to new possibilities.

Eryn Faye’s guidance and ability to listen and relate makes you feel that you are not alone. There is no lonelier place for a women then her side of the bed when the lights go out and she knows her husband is once again disappointed with her lack of wanting.

Think passion for this man, feel passion even if it is forced at first, and get excited, that’s where a Passion Coach came in for me. Get excited, motivated and act and if you follow through, your sex life will be renewed.

I can still see my husband face when I walked in the door after one meeting with Eryn-Faye. It was like we were 25 again!

~ Post-Menopausal Woman