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What Mila Kunis Can Teach Us about Sexy

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM today:


Esquire Magazine just came out with their proclamation of the Sexiest Woman Alive for 2012. (And by “Sexiest Woman Alive” what they actually mean is “Sexiest Woman in the American Media.”) This year’s winner, Mila Kunis, follows in the footsteps of other women who most men would readily take to bed if they were given the opportunity. Those of us who think our culture has gone insane with its obsession with the perfect body just ignore the press releases and move on with our lives. Those of us who watch celebrities from a distance inwardly sigh in resignation that we will never be sexy.

But Hollywood has no shortage of women who are half-starved, surgically altered, primped and then airbrushed so that very little of the human remains. If sexy only means a certain clothing size, or cup size, and long, luscious hair, then the decision makers at Esquire would have a very difficult time narrowing down the candidates for their yearly title. So I did a bit of research to find out what is so catching about Mila. Here are some qualities that make her stand out from the crowd.

1)     Sexy is being comfortable in your own skin. Mila moves like she knows what she is doing. That is difficult for most of us. Moving easily, feeling good about ourselves was always derided as pride or vanity. However, it is at the heart of being sexy. One of my favourite definitions of the word comes from the book Sex God, wherein the author’s wife explained the term to their five-year-old son. “Sexy is when it feels good to be in your own skin. Your own body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you.”[1] When you know who you are and like yourself, you have one of the key ingredients to sexy.

2)     Sexy is passionate. When they announced the winner of this year’s title, Esquire also released a racy video of Mila prancing around, scantily-clad, giving sultry looks. (Here is the video.) But at the end of the video, she writes on the wall, “I’d rather be scuba diving.” It is completely disarming because we often assume that sexy is all about the sex appeal. But authenticity plays a role as well. Substance is important. What you are passionate about, the core of your being, comes out when you are being sexy.

3)     Sexy is warm and expressive. During the interview for the article, the reporter noted that Mila laughs and speaks loudly. “Loud enough that any of the ten or so people in the immediate vicinity can hear every word she’s saying. Loud enough that you start whispering just to counteract it.”[2] From the context of the article, I got the distinct impression that this was not so she could draw attention to herself, but because it is intrinsically part of her being. So many times, we minimize ourselves so we will fit in with the world around us. Unfortunately, this only serves to cut us off from others rather than deepen our connection. Sexy connects.

4)     Sexy is slightly mysterious. There are certain things about Mila’s life that are simply off-limits. She does not talk about the men that she is dating. When she needs privacy, she intentionally tries to dodge the paparazzi. A little bit of mystery is good for your sexy self as well. Not the “I’m not going to tell you where I was all night” type, but the “I’ll close the door when I go to the bathroom” variety. Understanding the difference and giving mystery room to breathe cultivates sexy.

We can’t all look like Mila. We can’t have the life experience, the visibility in the media or the roles in movies that she has had. But we can all be sexy.


[1] Bell, R. (2007). Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 46.

[2] For the complete article, see McCammon, R. (2012). “Mila Kunis Is the Sexiest Woman Alive 2012.” Esquire, October 6. http://www.esquire.com/women/women-we-love/mila-kunis-video#ixzz28pFzIVFX.

So You Think You Can Dance?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to dance. We didn’t have a lot of money as a family, so I wasn’t given options about extracurricular activities. I was slotted into piano year after year after year. In fact, I don’t ever remember being asked if I wanted to do it – it was just a foregone conclusion that I would play an instrument and my brother would play sports.

But I dreamt – literally and figuratively – about dancing. I was enthralled by dance shows. I was envious of my friends who danced. My heart would start to race and I could feel a rush of adrenaline when I saw a performance. Footloose was epic for me.

However, once I passed the age of ten, I thought that it was too late for me to learn. By that age, I was already a hard-core perfectionist and consequently was terrified of doing anything poorly. As an adult, I continued to buy into the fallacy that dance lessons are just for little kids. I put Riley in dance and watched from the sidelines.

A few years ago, a friend invited me to a hip-hop class. When I observed the class, I felt that old, familiar stirring within me. I enrolled in the class, but it was a dud for me. The class was large and so I struggled to get one-on-one time with the instructor. I joined the group halfway through the year and so I had to catch up to women who had been practicing the routine for months. But the death knell came when an important conference was scheduled for the same weekend of the recital. The whole experience was kind of like a firecracker that promises to be spectacularly impressive and just fizzles out before it even starts. But the class was significant in one respect – I had finally realized that a thirty-something-year-old mom could take dance.

So despite that first false start, I found an adult hip-hop class when we moved to Toronto. Then I recruited my friend Judy to go with me so it wouldn’t be so scary. This time, though, I was in for a radically different experience. I was privileged to have two amazing instructors – Lucy and Monique – who nudged me out of my comfort zone. They demonstrated the basic moves, of course, but they did so much more. They took the time to work with each of us, drawing out and honing our unique styles. They pushed us when we didn’t have the personal courage to push ourselves. They laughed with us when we messed up and cheered when we finally got the move. They created a safe place to be less than perfect. They invested in us. Because of them, the year was transformational.

In my professional life, I encourage people to pursue the passions deep within. I teach about learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I highlight the pitfalls of perfectionism. I coach people to press through the awkward learning phase so that a new skill set has the chance to emerge. I demystify body image issues. I know all these things intellectually and I see the benefits in the lives of my clients. But I had the opportunity to practice what I preach on the dance floor all year long.

Yesterday, I did a dance recital in front of hundreds of people. I looked nothing like the competitors on So You Think You Can Dance, but that wasn’t the point. I had worked hard so I could earn a spot on that stage. I wasn’t in the audience anymore. My husband and daughter got to witness me practicing courage. I modeled “out of my comfort zone” in living colour. I faced down the gremlins that told me I was too old and too uncoordinated to perform. Best of all, I had so much fun. It was an amazing way to fulfill a life-long dream.

And next year, I’m going back for more.

My dear friend Judy and I right before we performed our dance.

 

 

 


5 Ways To Make Your Marriage Work

20 years ago, Eric and I began a very tumultuous relationship. After six years of on-again, off-again dating, we decided to pull the trigger and get married. Our friends and family were a little shocked. We were then, and still are, a very passionate couple and passion often manifests itself in a lot of fireworks. While a display of fireworks can be festive and breathtaking, handling explosives is never a completely safe endeavour.

Over the years, we have cultivated the skill to manage the passion without snuffing it out and yet sustaining as little damage as possible. I write this post on our 14th anniversary – we are pretty sure that everyone who wagered bets against us has lost by now – and I decided to share some of the ways we make it work. As I reflect on the years, there are five commitments that Eric and I make that weave strength into our marriage.

1)   We are deeply committed to each other. We have an unusual relationship because we are both public figures, out speaking to churches – but we do so as individuals and on different topics. On one hand, my husband, the Director of Philanthropy for World Relief Canada, tackles the complexities of international poverty, hunger, and education. On the other hand, I speak and preach at churches on the issues of sexual intimacy. Traditionally, the material that I handle is covered by a) a man or b) a couple, so Eric and I are keenly aware that what I do is counter-culture. Could Eric join me? Of course. He is an extremely gifted speaker and thoroughly knowledgeable about marriage. But his calling is different than mine. His work passions lie elsewhere. And I am deeply committed to seeing him grow and flourish in the area to which he is called. But he feels the same way about me. He is actively supportive of my business – from handling the website, to listening to my talking points as I write, to lending a critical eye to my forth-coming book. Truth be told, we love that we are different. We love that we are called to different areas of ministry. We laud each other’s passions and are each other’s biggest fans. We have a deep, abiding respect for the individuality that we bring to our marriage.

2)   We are deeply committed to our marriage. Marriage is not just a combination of two individuals. It is greater than the sum of its parts. It is its own entity. It lives or dies, it communicates to the world, and it can use its powers for good or for evil awesome. Just as Eric and I are deeply rooted in our understanding of ourselves as individuals, we also recognize that our marriage needs nurturing in order to remain strong. If we are not consciously investing in activities that strengthen our marriage, it will become at risk. We therefore jealously guard our date night, we practice what I preach on sexual intimacy, and we understand that we have a calling as a couple to impact the lives of people around us. Because we are people of faith, we believe that God is in the center of our lives, having a relationship with each of us but also having a relationship with our marriage. We build into each other and into our marriage. Here is a (rather crudely drawn) diagram to illustrate this:

3)   We are deeply committed to accountability. We have a circle of people who will speak into our lives and that of our marriage. Not too long ago, a friend sat with me over coffee and asked some very pointed questions. Let me tell you, vulnerability is never easy, but it is crucial. When I asked her what had given her such courage to probe (our relationship is fairly new), she told me that she had just seen another marriage fall apart while she remained quiet. “I decided that I would never be silent again.” This was extremely convicting to me because I have remained silent at times too – fearful that I would be “interfering”. We all need friends who have the courage to speak boldly into our lives, listen with empathy when we open up about our fears, doubts, hesitations and annoyances, and then guide us to greater intimacy with our spouses.

4)   We are deeply committed to authenticity. We have decided that our marriage is not about looking good. No one can weather years of marriage flawlessly. It just doesn’t happen. But when we pretend that everything is fabulous all of the time, it simply serves to make everyone else around us feel inadequate – because they have ups and downs too. Eric and I do have a great marriage, but it is because we have fought hard for it. There have been plenty of times when we didn’t like each other, we hurt each other, we failed to trust each other and we deeply offended each other. I will, no doubt, piss Eric off in the very near future and he will do the same. But that’s ok because marriage is not always a picnic. Very often, the good stuff is on the other side of the hard stuff because you don’t learn the lessons, work on your character, and become the person you need to be without the hard stuff acting as a catalyst to get you there. Inviting people on this journey with us gives us the space to be real and enables others to be real with us.

5)   We are deeply committed to growth. It never ceases to amaze me that people will skip off to a professional development seminar at work, but never carve out the same time for their marriage. Eric and I went on our first marriage retreat a mere four months after we tied the knot. This is not because we were already regretting our decision, but because we were keenly aware that if we did not continue to grow, we would die. This pattern has continued throughout our marriage. In February, we spoke at the Good to Great conference. Because we were taking the sexual intimacy segment, we were the last to present (you have to build up to sex). As we sat and listened to the other three speaker couples, we learned and gleaned new insight.

I am grateful for the 14 years I have had with Eric. He truly is the love of my life, the husband of my youth. I would not be the woman I am today without him. He saw things in me before I ever recognized them in myself. He has called forth greatness in me. Our adventures in passion continue, but they would have exploded into flames years ago if we hadn’t built those five commitments into our foundation.

The Quickie vs. Making Love Debate

This past weekend, I was speaking to a group of pastors and their spouses on The Essential Elements of Sex. As I began to talk about the concept of making love versus having a quickie, one woman called out, “Sometimes you just need a snack!” The room dissolved into laughter and even the most shy in the room were giggling in approval.

As a coach, one of the common complaints that I hear is that the woman wants to “make love” and feels that her husband just wants to have “a quickie”. The former evokes images of a couple looking into each other’s eyes and kissing deeply while the latter conjures up the picture of getting pinned against the wall and being taken right then and there. Both can be deeply passionate, just different forms of expressing the passion.

 

Sometimes, sex will be a deep, soul-connecting intimacy with our spouse. Other times, it will just be a way to experience pleasure together quickly. Sometimes it will be a two-hour experience; sometimes it won’t last ten minutes. Sometimes it will be long and luxurious; other times it will be fast and frantic. Sometimes both spouses will walk away having experienced orgasm; other times the focus is on one person alone.

 

Difficulty arises, however, when couples fall into a rut of believing that it has to be one or the other… all the time. I have seen husbands refuse to acknowledge the need to make love and I have met wives who insist that each and every sexual encounter must be “making love”. A dogmatic adherence to one or the other undermines true intimacy. A steady diet of quickies denies the concepts of exploration, creativity, and deep communication because, amongst other reasons, there is simply no time to venture into those areas. On the other hand, if couples only have sex when they have time to make love, they might never get to it out of sheer busyness!

 

Both types of sex build intimacy if they are done in balance. Sometimes you need a gourmet meal; sometimes you need a snack.

 

Which one do you need to work into your sex life to regain balance?

Happy Birthday to Me

When one of our friends was in his twenties and his son Adam was just three, his son saw him step out of the shower.

“Dad, when I get older, will my penis get bigger?”

“Sure, son.  It will.”

“Is mine going to be as big as yours when I am your age?”

The dad felt both awkward and amused by the question.

“Well, probably yeah.”

His son thought about that for a minute, and then with eyes getting wider by the moment said, “that means that when I am forty, it’ll be HUGE!!”

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Aging is just a matter of perspective. Many people dread adding candles to their birthday cakes, but this little boy could only think of the benefits of getting older. And, in such boy-like fashion too!

Today is my birthday.

I love my birthday. Not because I look forward to the gifts, or phone calls or Facebook messages – although those are wonderful and if you are sending them to me, keep ’em coming!

I love my birthday for two reasons. The first is out of sheer competitiveness. I am trying to beat my parents. You see, my mom died when she was 46 and my father died when he was 51. Neither of them lived for very long. I very simply want to outlast them. (I am hearing Billy Joel’s song Only the Good Die Young as I type this. What that says about my desire to be “good”, I will refrain from commenting on.)

But the second reason that I love my birthday is that every year, I have accumulated more knowledge, more understanding and hopefully more wisdom. The person who I am today is happier, has a deeper sense of self, has helped more people, is more comfortable with the body God gave me, has grown in courage, has learned more from mistakes and has had more adventures than the “me” of last year. I know “me” better. I like “me” better. I can’t wait to see who “me” is at the end of each year. I have to admit that, looking forward, the idea of turning 50 just thrills me to no end!

Why do I blog about turning older on a website which is devoted to passion, love and intimacy? Because I know – from personal experience as well watching the lives of the my clients – that when you are excited about getting better with each year, your sex life gets better too. There is a direct correlation between becoming more comfortable in your own skin and getting better at sex. Why? Because sex is one of the ways we express who we are on the deepest of levels. Our wants, our desires, our proclivities – they all emanate from a place of who we are. And the more we know and understand that, the better we will be able to express it in a truly authentic way. Trust me, when you get there, it is an amazing place to be.

I find that most people who are afraid of turning older feel that they have something missing in their lives. There is something that they want to do which has not yet materialized. Perhaps it is a relationship that they are seeking. Perhaps it is career they have always wanted which has not turned out as planned. Perhaps they don’t even know – they just wander around with a vague sense of aimlessness in life. For those people, the thought of years rolling by is terrifying.

But if you are actively searching for the very best you that you can find, when you are taking the time to listen to that inner voice that acts as your compass to direct you to the reason you were put on this earth and then go after it, the years merely become a companion as you pursue what you were destined to do.

We have another friend who is 62. He was recently asked what he was going to do with his “last 18 summers”. The question was so jarring to him that he spent hours thinking of his answer. And then he made some radical changes in his life.

Can you say that every year you get better? Do you like yourself more? How many summers do you have left? Are you doing what you were meant to do in this life?

If not, you have some work to do. But it will be worth it.

Today, I am going to begin my year by having a ridiculous amount of fun with family and friends.

And, my husband turns forty this year. So, thanks to Adam’s perspective, I have that to look forward to too!

The Flat Tire

flat-tire_590x300

Last week, when I was driving Riley to school, I heard a weird noise coming from the wheel well that even I, who is not in any way mechanically inclined, knew was not a good sign.

I pulled over at the next safe place and got out of the car to inspect the damage. Sure enough, the wheel was flat. Making a quick phone call to the school to tell them that Riley would be late was easy. Figuring out how to proceed was more difficult. Eric was out of town, and (to be brutally honest) I forgot in the panic of the moment that we had Roadstar Assistance because I have never used it before.

I did briefly consider changing it myself. To my father’s defense, he had taught me how to change a tire as one of the rites of passage that every teenage girl should undergo. But that was back in high school (eons ago) and I knew for a fact that my tires had been put on with pneumatic tools. Even if I could remember what to do, I seriously doubted that I had the strength to do it.

Even though he was far away, Eric did prove to be extraordinarily helpful. He hopped on the internet and got me the name and number of our tire shop and recommended I call them. When the man picked up the phone, I threw myself on his mercy. I played the “husband out of town” and “five-year-old in the backseat” cards like a champ.

“Where are you?”, he asked after he had explained that he probably couldn’t help because he had a guy out sick and another out of the shop. When I told him, he said, “Hang on, I think my guy is two blocks from you!” Sure enough, my knight in shining armor (or at least a ball cap and big truck) showed up five minutes later.

Within moments, he had the spare on my car and was heading back to the shop to start fixing my tire. The problem? It had gotten screwed. Literally. Evidently, I had run over the screw at one of the many construction sites around our house. What a humorous way to start the day.

You might be wondering how this story has anything to do with passion. Here’s the deal: I had rushed out of the house that morning without any makeup on. To you, that might not be a big deal. In fact, that might be how you start every morning (especially if you are a reader of the male persuasion). But I grew up in Texas. And Texan women of my generation don’t go to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk without putting on makeup. It’s just what we do.

As a result of this upbringing, there are at most 3 times a year that I will venture out without a full complement of makeup. This was one of those times…and I got caught with a flat tire. I felt decidedly unattractive.

The gentlemen at the tire store didn’t seem to notice. I suppose the fact that I live in British Columbia, wherein makeup is definitely optional, made me blend in better.

The next day, I went back to the tire shop to get my winter tires removed (which technically was before the official start of summer, so I felt okay about that). Since I had clients to meet and things to do, I looked, well, normal. When I eneterd the store, the guy at the front desk looked somewhat surprised and said, “You look different today.” I responded, “You caught me on a bad day yesterday.” And then he said something that amazed me, “Funny, I thought I caught you on a great day.”

Now, he could have been being kind. After all, they do give superb customer service at this shop (as evidenced by my rescue the day before) and so maybe it is second nature to assuage the embarrassment of female patrons.

Or maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe how I see myself isn’t how others see me. Maybe what I personally find “attractive” doesn’t register as necessary or even as “attractive” for others.

When I am teaching clients on the importance of attractiveness, I always stress how important it is to ask your spouse what s/he finds attractive. Taking care of yourself and putting effort into how you appear is important to keep the passion alive in your relationship but how this looks is different to everyone. You could spend hours of time on something that you think makes you look hot but your spouse doesn’t give a rip. In that process, you might be overlooking what really matters to him/her. So, how do you know for sure? Ask.

All things considered, I am glad that I had a flat that day. I was able to experience, with fresh eyes, things that I tell my clients.  And if you’re going to be wrong about something, being seen as attractive when you don’t think you are is a pretty decent thing to be wrong on.  Maybe I don’t always have to be right!!

What about you?   Are you sure you know what your lover finds attractive?

Three Steps to Cultivating the Erotic

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I know I left you with a bit of a cliff-hanger last week. But I wanted you to have some time to truly ponder the weight of what I was suggesting. Allow me to now fill in some of the blanks for you. The very elements of mystery – the unknown, the uncertain, the ill-defined – are the places in which eroticism flourishes. The self-help guru Anthony Robbins says that the amount of passion in your relationship is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty you can tolerate. Most of us like to play it safe, so once the first blush of love has subsided, we experience very little eroticism.  Often we feel a bit like the folks in this comic my husband found me – written and drawn by Jeph Jacques.

mystery-comic

Here are a few things that eroticism needs in order to survive in your relationship:

1. Eroticism needs separateness.

Never before in history has there been so much pressure on relationships as there is in North America today. My husband and I saw how deeply engrained our own cultural biases were when we lived in Kathmandu, Nepal. We quickly came to realize that marriages such as our own were termed “love marriages” and they were actually looked down upon! This was quite a shock to us until we learned the rationale behind the distain.

Many of the older generation had the foresight to realize that the young couple, acting on a rush of hormones and endorphins, would not have sufficient wisdom to make a life-long choice of a spouse. The older generation expected that love would grow over the years of participating together in the daily duties of life. Financial stability, genetic compatibility, the support of a wider community, etc. rather than love were the hallmarks of a good match.

Now, before we get too critical of the pitfalls of that culture, let’s take a look at our own. Today, we put tremendous pressure on our spouses. We expect romance, deep understanding of our wants and needs, spiritual alignment, friendship (indeed the closest of friendship), passion, and agreement in parenting styles. This list goes on and on. We have, in essence, taken the admonition that “the two will become one” and interpreted it as complete and total enmeshment. I personally believe that our divorce rates are a reflection of the fact that our marriages are buckling under the strain of these ludicrously high expectations.

And yet, if we are to experience the erotic in our relationships, we have to give room to the fact that our spouse is indeed a separate person, whose fantasies and sexual tastes and desires might be very different than our own. When we embrace this separateness and allow it room in our relationship, the erotic has space to breathe.

I recently had a client tell me a story about her husband. One day, while away on a business trip, he had confessed to her that he had a secret fetish. On the surface, this was completely outside of her paradigm, but she realized that it wasn’t anything which violated her core values in the marriage. So instead of feeling threatened and responding with ridicule (such as “That is so strange and I really don’t want to have anything to do with it.”), she embraced the concept that her husband was a separate person, unique in his tastes and proclivities, and she told him she would be delighted to explore this avenue with him. The irony was that when she acknowledged and affirmed his individuality within the context of their relationship, their intimacy flourished.

Why do many people push back from the concept of separateness in marriage? I believe it has a lot to do with fear. If I accept that you are a separate individual, you might ask me to do something that is outside my own personal comfort zone, you might not want me, or you might define yourself differently than I do. Which leads me to my second point.

2. Eroticism needs fresh eyes.

Many of the couples I meet take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that they “know” each other. This is a wonderful sentiment when it creates warmth and fondness and a sense of shared history in the relationship.

It can backfire on us though. When we become so secure in our belief that we “know” our spouse, we can stop looking for different perspectives on them. We get locked into our point of view, and even worse, we think that our opinions of our spouse are the “right” ones. In essence, we get so used to seeing what is in front of us that we no longer look for it any more. Psychologists call this problem habituation. As we become acclimated to the new stimuli, we begin to take it for granted. This can be an incredibly dangerous to the relationship.

The only group in which the divorce rate is going up in right now is empty-nesters. Everyone else’s divorce rate is remaining stable or going down. Theirs is going up. Why? I believe it is because theses couples took each other for granted for years but the cracks in the foundation of their relationship didn’t come to light until the kids left home. After years of “knowing” each other, we wake up and realize we don’t know each other at all!

To combat habituation, we need to be on the lookout for fresh perspectives on our spouse. My dear friend Sarah has the pleasure (or burden, depending on how you look at it) of seeing her husband through the eyes of another almost every time they go out for dinner. Sherman is a very attractive and gregarious guy who manages, without doing anything inappropriate I must stress, to make the waitresses swoon when he enters the restaurant. Many wives I know would respond to this situation by getting jealous or annoyed. Instead, Sarah has deliberately chosen to use these times as reminders of how sexy her husband is to other women. By making this choice, she allows these experiences ensure that her perception of Sherman never stales.

Couples would be wise to heed Sarah’s learnings when they think of their own sex lives. Men in particular, often pigeon-hole their wives as disinterested in sex and less sexual in general than men. Shmuly Boteach, the “Love Rabbi”, puts a lot of the weight of responsibility for this principle on the shoulders of men. He asserts that women are much more deeply sexual than men. They have layers to their sexuality which can be peeled back and discovered.

Here is what he says:

“The Talmud, written two thousand years ago, goes so far as to say that a man of leisure, that is a man whose occupation does not involve strenuous exertion is obligated to make love to his wife every single night. And that’s because his wife wants it every night. The rabbis of the Talmud understood women to be much more sexual than men. And to the extent that today so many married women claim instead to have a headache is because their husbands are having such bad sex with them that they’ve killed off their libidos.”

That’s an incredibly different perspective that what we culturally believe. Women actually have a deeper sense of sexuality but their libidos have been killed off by bad sex!

When we actively seek new perspectives on our spouses, when we are constantly on the lookout for change and growth in them, when we refuse to be fearful or dismissive of the perspectives of others, our own eroticism grows.

3. Eroticism needs delayed gratification.

We are, without a doubt, a culture of instant gratification. It is ingrained even in our children. Numerous studies have been run over the years asking children to choose between getting the object of their desire immediately or waiting a bit and getting even more. In one study done at Stanford, 70% of the children simply could not wait. They settled for less so that they could get it faster.

We cart this mentality right into our sex lives. We are besieged with images of couples having sex on first dates (sometimes the second if the couple is extra cautious). When we hop into the sack, it is all about the sprint to orgasm. Slam, bam, thank you ma’am.

And yet, instant gratification numbs eroticism. Eroticism thrives in being put off and delayed. Think back to the first kiss with your lover. Did you spend time thinking about when it was going to happen? How was it going to unfold? Where were you going to be? The delight of anticipation accelerated the desire.

We find the antithesis of this in most modern marriages. Couples zone out in front of the TV all evening and then will turn to each other and intone the words of Big John McCarthy, “let’s get it on!”  It’s no wonder that we have so many couples who are bored silly with their sex lives.

If you want to have eroticism in your sex life, you are going to have to be deliberate about cultivating it. The anticipation for sex should not begin when Leno goes off. It should begin in the morning or even the day before. You should be flirting, teasing, and touching hours before you ever take your clothes off. Only a small percentage of “sex” should take place when you are naked. The rest takes place when intercourse is not logistically possible but you are building up to the experience.

Think all of that takes too much energy? A boring, sexless marriage takes a whole lot more and it will cost you in the long run. So turn off the TV an hour earlier. Don’t panic – you can DVR it or wait until the series comes out on DVD. Flirt with each other leading up to the actual act. Look for chances to see your lover in a new light. If someone eyes up your lover don’t get jealous, get intrigued. And spend time exploring those layers of your sexuality.

Hint #34

If your passion meter is dwindling a little lower that normal, take a break.  Go cold turkey for a week, or two.  Establish an agreed upon timeline and ground rules (i.e kissing ok, but no direct genital contact)  When it’s “off limits” it’s amazing how much you suddenly want it.  Don’t cave before your agreed time limit though, holding off will make your love making session all the wilder!

NEW – Guest Writers for erynfaye.com

Guest Writer Announcement

Socrates said that “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I couldn’t agree more. If we are not looking at what makes us think and behave the way we do, then we get mired down in patterns that are utterly predictable and, well, incredibly boring and tedious.

If I do nothing else on this website, I hope that I spark your interest in looking to see your lover in new ways and deepening your love and respect for each other.

One of the best ways to examine our own lives is by listening to the thoughts and perspectives of others. For nearly a year now, you have listened to what I have to say. Do not fear – I have no intentions of being quiet anytime soon. However, I have decided to invite guest writers to share their own ruminations on passion, love and intimacy. These guests come from various walks of life and all have thoroughly different perspectives, opinions and insights to share with you.

Some of these people are professional writers; others are not. Some of them will provide their own articles; others prefer an interview style. Some approach the subject with a clinical eye; others will share deeply personal stories.

Whatever format or voice they choose, remember this: it is through thoughtful discussion and discourse that we learn and grow.

Having said that, here is a suggestion for a “blogger date” with your spouse: When the guest posts come out, sit down and read the article together and then talk about the implications in your own love life. What strikes you as funny or odd or truly fantastic? Does the article seem out in left field or does it hit amazingly close to home? What can you incorporate in your own love life? What do you want to blush and laugh about?

Get ready to have your first blogger date on January 12th.

I am delighted to announce that my first guest writer will be Cumingirl from Christian Nymphos.

Cumingirl will be writing on Anal Sex in Marriage.

cumingirl

Cumingirl is a devoted wife and full time mom of two living in the USA.  She is one of the co-creators of www.christiannymphos.org.  Their website is considered by many to be groundbreaking in its ability to intertwine sex and the Christian faith.  The site was launched as a way to teach married women to walk in sexual freedom with their husbands.

Top Ten Technology Flirts

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Yesterday was a crazy day. You know the type where you have to carry a colour-coded schedule just to make it through the day without doing something foolish like, well, forgetting your kid at school??? (Don’t laugh too hard. We did that earlier this week) It was bonkers. Eric and I were flying in different directions, Riley had places to be and needs to be met. We ended the day flopped on the bed together, eating pizza and watching a kid’s movie about enchanted princesses and undying love.

After we put Riley to bed, Eric and I ventured downstairs with ambitious plans to work some more. This is one of the significant pitfalls of working from home. The lines between work and home life get completely blurred and it becomes exceedingly easy to work all the time. There is no such thing as a 9-5 work schedule. That could be a blog post in and of its own!

But on this occasion, we were just too tired to work. Instead, we ended up sitting right next to each other with our computers out. Then we found each other on Facebook. And we starting flirting. Outrageously. Which led to hearty laughter. Then our friends and family started to chime in on the discussion and we giggled even more. At last count, we were up to 32 comments and one “like”. I’m not sure what the record for comments on Facebook is – I am sure that we fell far short of that record – but that was a lot for us!

This interaction led me to think: who is your spouse flirting with on Facebook today? If it’s not you, there is a problem. This is a skill set you might want to pick up.

Realizing that this is a significant issue, I consulted one of my techy guru friends for his hottest tips on ways to use technology to flirt with your spouse.  Around here we call him JDog.  I think you’ll find him to be as refreshing and enlightening as we do.

J-Dog’s Top Ten List:

J-Dog’s Note: Ok, so Eryn-Faye asked me to come up with ten ways to flirt using technology, and I thought, “Oh, that’s easy!” Turns out that with the steady march of this thing we call ‘convergence’, the lines between various technologies are becoming less and less clear. Some of these suggestions will obviously cross over to others, and some won’t as much. The one commonality should be creativity – as long as you can think of something fun and creative to say to your lover, the technology can help you convey that message. I managed to come up with ten, although the last one is illegal, so don’t do it, ok?

Also, I’ll add the standard disclaimer that I’m a guy, and in spite my attempt to balance this with tips for both sexes, my own biases will show. Whatever.

1. Texting. Most people have mobile phones these days, and many couples each have their own. Texting is usually free, especially between family members (check your rate plan before going crazy with the texts, though!). Send your spouse a short, badly-spelled note informing them of just how hot you think they are. If you’re female, include details about your underwear. While this is quite effective if they are at work, it can be even more fun to do when you’re in the same room as each other. It’s a very good way to build the sexual tension between you when you’re at a party, for example.

A sub-genre of this is known as ‘sexting’, and is generally more risqué (and risky!) and involves sending sexy photos of yourself to your spouse’s cellphone or email. A couple things to keep in mind if you want to try this are that you shouldn’t be stupid and include pictures of your face, because it’s pretty much guaranteed these pictures will not remain entirely private (especially if the recipient is a guy!). Also, be very careful when selecting the recipient from your address book, as a slip of the finger on that tiny keypad means the wrong person gets to see your naughty bits! Again, check your rate plan to make sure it’s not going to bankrupt you to send that picture.

If you don’t have a mobile to send text from, most carriers allow you to send texts from their website, or via email. For example, for Telus Mobility customers, you’d send an email to tendigitmobilenumber@msg.telus.com. Check your carrier’s website for details on how to do this.

2. Skype. This would include other kinds of real-time text chat as well, such as MSN, Yahoo! Chat, or Google Chat. Whatever network you both use, put it to good use by turning up the heat now and then. If you are apart from each other during the day, try to get online at the same time now and then, and just talk about how much you love each other, or how much you miss them. Tell him about your underwear. If your network of choice supports video, use it! It’s amazing what a turn on it is just to see your lover’s face while you talk to them. And if you have the opportunity, live video can spice things up in other ways too!

3. Music. It’s long been known that music is a great way to romance a woman. Dudes, fire up iTunes and buy her a gift card or use the Gift This function to send a specific song directly to her inbox. Browse the Latin and Jazz genres, or find a new mix of one of your old favourites. Girls, just send him a song about underwear. There’s lots on there, trust me.

4. Twitter. You can say a lot in 140 characters or less. Tweet about your lover. Let your followers know how much you appreciate them. Just for fun, start a hashtag with their name, and use it lots. And use the private message capabilities to add some spice!

5. Facebook. Eryn-Faye mentioned this one in her post, and I have to say it was a lot of fun watching that conversation go on! Facebook is a great way to publicly flirt with your lover, and letting your friends inject their own humour into the process can result in some hilarious moments. Use your status updates to brag about how great your spouse is – making oblique references to their sexual prowess not only tells them you think they are ‘all that’, but it is a great self esteem booster to have one’s praises sung in public. Doesn’t hurt the libido, either – which is what we’re going for here!

6. Telephone. Sure, it’s old-school, but sometimes, it’s just what the doctor ordered. The ability to hear your lover in real-time, with no delays, jitter, or dropped packets can be very refreshing. Call her up and let them know exactly what you’d like to do with her when you get home. Or, call him up and tell him about your underwear.

7. Voicemail. If your lover works in an office, you can call the switchboard and ask the receptionist to transfer you directly to their voicemail, rather than ringing their extension. This way, you can leave them a surprise message – be sure to preface it with “Darling, please make sure your speakerphone is off”!

8. Email. Even those of us without mobile phones have access to email, and this can be put to great use in the flirting game. Guidelines involve not using corporate email accounts for naughty exchanges (get a gmail account – it’s free, already!), and remembering to be careful about sending incriminating photos. Underwear shots are great, as long as your face isn’t visible.

9. Video. The availability of video recording technology such as camcorders, cell phones, and webcams means that it’s easier than ever to create a visual delight for your lover. This can be a lot of fun, especially because it’s so very ‘naughty’. You know what makes your lover tick, so include those things in your video. As with other forms of electronic flirting, it’s very important that you ensure the privacy of your material: no faces or identifiable markings such as tattoos; don’t use workplace networks to send private files (most log everything, and copies can be made for auditors or investigators upon request); and make sure that your personal computer is secure, both from outside penetration (hur, hur) as well as from family members (especially children, for heaven’s sake!). I would suggest getting PGP encryption keys and using them to lock all your private files.

10. Hack one of those roadside construction signs with the big digital displays. Replace the warning message about the bridge washing out or whatever with something that tells passersby how amazing awesome your lover is. You have fewer characters than Twitter, here – so use shorthand! And wear gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints, ok? I’m just sayin’…

As with all types of flirting, it’s important to remember that the most effective methods will employ your lover’s Love Language. Once you have that figured out, technology and gadgets can really help you push those buttons!

Eryn-Faye’s note: Ladies, for what it’s worth, underwear seems to be a consistent theme!