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4 Tips for Meeting the Parents This Thanksgiving

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

So, you are spending Thanksgiving with your partner’s parents…and you have never met before. Talk about being thrown into the deep end of the pool! Meeting the parents is always a nerve-wracking occasion, but mixing it with a major holiday ups the ante even further.

Here are a few tips for you:

1)   Very often, things go awry when we have unspoken expectations, so talk to your partner before the visit. You can ask questions like, what does your family get-together usually look like? Do the women cook and then the men clean up? Do you want me to hang out with you, or can I ditch you to play Wii with the kids and gossip about the Kardashians with your sister? Does your mom make us say one thing we are grateful for around the dinner table? Getting answers to these questions will not only help you feel more prepared, but will also give your partner a chance to warn you about anything that you might want to know ahead of time. Like the fact that Aunt Gerta has a huge mole on her chin, and is super self-conscious about it.

2)   Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so find out what your partner’s family is passionate about. If his mom is crazy about gardening, then you might want to brush up on the basics of this hobby beforehand so you have some good questions to ask her. If her brother just had a baby, then be prepared to ask about the joys and trials of being a new parent. If his dad is a Toronto Bluejays fan? Well, that’s a tough one. Just be prepared to fake enthusiasm. In all seriousness though, ask questions. Be interested about their lives. Seize the opportunity to learn everything you can about your partner as a kid. This is all good information to have, and they will appreciate your effort.

3)   When the family asks questions about your relationship, be warm and respectful of your partner. Remember, your partner has been a part of their world a lot longer than he has been in yours. This is not the time to bring up the fact that he likes to cheat at board games or falls asleep during staff meetings at work. Emphasize the things that you appreciate about her and the reasons you enjoy spending time together. Not only will your partner appreciate the feedback, but you will be complimenting her family too. After all, they have played a role in how she has turned out.

4)   Get feedback after the holiday is over and you have returned to normal life. If you have long-term plans with your partner, you will run into his family again, so find out what his perspective was on the experience. If you royally screwed up, you can make adjustments (or apologies) when you see them again. If you knocked it out of the park, then you have a road-map for the next time you go for a visit.

Above all, relax, have fun and enjoy the turkey!

Bikinis for 7 year olds!?!?

I am the mother of a six-year-old and despite the subject matter that I speak about, write about and research for my day job, we are extremely conservative at home. Just the other day, my daughter chastised me for using the “D” word. It’s probably not what you think…I had commented that something was “dumb”.  And, for the record, the word “stupid” might as well be cussing in our household.

 

When it comes to my own profession, I also realize the prudence in speaking openly about sexual questions that come up. A few have with Riley…although not as many as I was expecting by this age. When she does broach the subject, I ask for clarity on what it is she is trying to learn and why, so that I can answer the question simply and truthfully but not answer too much. (There’s the old joke of the Dad who went into a lengthy explanation about sex to his child who asked “what’s sex”, only to find out that the child had been told by his mother that “dinner would be ready in a few “secs”.) I try to balance healthy candor about the subject of sexuality with the fact that we hold pretty conservative values as a family.

 

So, I was horrified to learn that Abercrombie & Fitch has just marketed a bikini for 7-year-old girls with a PUSH UP TOP.

Really????  Seriously!?!  Are you kidding me!!???

 

We are facing an epidemic of little girls growing up believing that their bodies are inadequate because of the ridiculous amount of media pressure to be a perpetual size 0, and yet they want to send a message to our 7-year-olds that their pre-pubescent chests are inadequate? It’s ludicrous.

 

But, as CNN’s LZ Granderson points out, companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch would not sell such items if there were not parents who buy them. Companies have increasingly pushed the boundaries on what is and what is not appropriate for teens and children for years, and have been allowed a ridiculous amount of latitude from parents. As parents, it is our duty to make sure that our children wear items that reflect a healthy amount of self-respect rather than just what is the latest fashion. As Granderson says,

 

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Thank you, LZ for making the point that is so often lost on my peers. We did not give birth to children so that we could have life-long buddies. When we chose to produce off-spring, we were making a decision to train these little beings how to love themselves and how love others. Decisions that fall within these parameters do not necessarily make us popular with our children, but they do make us good parents.

 

Because of my job, I get asked all the time how to talk to kids about sex.  There are lots of opinions on that subject – when to start, how much to share, what’s age appropriate information.  But I don’t even have to broach any of those points to get to the basic premise here: Talking to your kids about sex includes how you let them dress – or how you choose to dress them.

 

That’s my take-away for this blog post.  But in the interest of fairness, I should say that Abercrombie & Fitch have agreed to remove the term “push up” from the title in favour of the less incendiary “striped triangle”, but have continued selling the padded bikinis.

 

What are you thoughts?

Talking to Men

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I would like to believe that, on the whole, I am better than average at knowing how to speak to a man. I am pretty good at explaining the differences in the genders when doing my seminars. I can carry on an easy conversation with most men because I understand what they like to talk about. And since one of my missions is to challenge women to appreciate the men in their lives, I actively try to learn more about the way men process information. In a nutshell – I get guys.

But every once in a while, I revert lock, stock and barrel to being a stereotypical girl. Recently, I had one of these moments.

The day had started out very well. Since Eric and I are new to Ontario, we called up the one friend we have out East and decided to go out for breakfast together. This is a young guy who is seriously dating a girl but very much still a bachelor. He exists in that space of wanting to learn about women because he really digs this chick, but hasn’t quite achieved bilingualism in both the guy- and girl-speak.  He’s trying to learn the language, but isn’t yet fluent.

He also introduced us to his roommate – another bachelor – who while he isn’t currently working on a relationship with a woman, he is in the midst of doing his PhD. (One could argue that this is a relationship in and of itself). You might say that he is a serious intellectual, but has not even enrolled in the girl-speak classes yet. Not that I am knocking on the guy. Heck, I felt my IQ rise just by hanging out with him.

Breakfast was fabulous. We were introduced to the amazing Cora‘s restaurant at which I promptly gorged myself on a Brie and Mushroom Eggs Benedict – delicious! The conversation was the perfect blend of intellectualism meets smart-ass. Just how I like it.

As we were leaving the restaurant, however, I noticed that there was a hair salon open right next door which carried the brand of hair product that I use. I had been out of my favourite product for a week and was desperate to track it down in Toronto. I ducked into the store (but alas, I did not find the product), and as I rejoined our friends, I launched into a detailed explanation as to why I had to track down that particular product. V-e-r-y detailed.

As I continued, both guys, who up to this point had been engaged in constant dialogue and banter with me, gave me completely blank looks. It was like the whole scene geared down into slow motion and you could see the Blink*Blink*Blink of their eyes.

To my complete and utter horror, I realized that I was talking in-depth “girl-speak” to two bachelors.  They had no idea how to respond to me. I might as well had been speaking Klingon (wait…scratch that…at least one of them is probably fluent in that).

Thankfully, my husband (who no doubt felt pity on me because I had been without female companionship for weeks) brought the conversation back onto a gender-neutral track and we finished our time together well.

As I laughed at myself later, it occurred to me that very often, we do the same thing in our relationships. We can think we are communicating with each other, but  in reality we are speaking another language.

Unfortunately, women are particularly fond of equating “talking” with “communication”. Men do not define the latter so rigidly. Communication to a man can hanging out with their buddies on a golf course, or watching a game, or sitting silently in a duck blind. That is communication. There doesn’t need to be talk.

I have a vivid memory of asking my husband how his day of golf with a friend had gone. “What did you talk about?” I asked. “Not much,” was his response. “In fact, at the end of the day, my buddy said to me – it is so great to hang out and not have to talk.” They had bonded, they had communicated, but there had not been much conversation.

For women, this seems crazy. If we have more than a 4 second lull in conversation, we feel that we aren’t “connecting” with each other.

It is not that one form of communication is superior to another…they are just different.

I think that the goal of your relationship should not be to make your partner speak your language but to become a bilingual couple. You should be able to fluidly switch back and forth from guy-speak to girl-speak. Sometimes you respect the connection found in a non-verbal golf game and sometimes you cover for your wife speaking a foreign language to two bachelors – that way you know that are always going to truly be communicating.

How about you?  Are you fluent in your lover’s preferred communication style?

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift You Can Give

The Greatest Gift You Can Give

When was the last time you told your children how much you love your spouse?

That’s right.

When was the last time you looked your kids in the eyes and said, “I am so in love with your Dad [or Mom]”?

Are you terrified that they will feel unloved? Are you nervous that they will fall over themselves and say, “Ahhhh, that’s gross!!” Would they be totally confused? What holds you back?

Recently, I had to explain the concept of divorce to my daughter. Our goddaughter is part of a blended family, and so when my daughter asked some probing questions about them, I decided to answer honestly (but with brevity since she is only five). Many of Riley’s schoolmates come from single-parent households, but this was the first time she connected the dots with someone who is really close to our family.

The sadness that Riley felt was palpable. She didn’t understand how two people could marry and then divorce. It was incomprehensible to her that you would not live with the father of your child. In fact, she was so disturbed by the concept that she had another heart-to-heart with her teacher that day at school. I wish we were all so disturbed by divorce. The impact on a family is truly nothing less than devastating.

Kids live with the fear that their mom and dad will split up. This is understandable. They see it on TV (in one of Riley’s favourite shows, the dad is conspicuously absent). It is happening to their friends all around them. Why wouldn’t they wonder if they are next?

I believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is love for your spouse. Your marital happiness is the foundation of your family unit. And your kids need to hear about it. They need to know that you go on dates because your relationship with each other is precious. They need to see you flirt and cuddle and laugh. They need to hear that you love each other.

I don’t care if you are on your first, second or third marriage…if you are committed to making it work, then talk about how much you love your spouse around your kids.

“Riley, I love your Daddy.”

“Yeah, I know Mom. You tell me that all the time.”

Perhaps she will appreciate it more when she marries. Until then, I will have to keep modeling it for her.

Sex is Like Typing

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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!!

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You are now free to move about the country

Last month, my mother-in-law (who has never been in the military) pulled the most brilliant of sneak attacks on us. As she was chatting away with my five-year old on Skype video, she said very casually asked, “Are you coming to Texas to spend your summer with me? You are old enough to fly by yourself now.” My daughter was instantly bouncing off the walls, announcing to everyone in sight that she was flying to Texas for the whole summer. To her, it was a done deal.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled.  I gave my mother-in-law big props for using all the leverage she could manage in the situation because, while it annoyed me, I probably would have done the exact same thing if I had been in her shoes. However, I was a little ticked that my daughter would be so quick to be ecstatic about leaving me for such a long time, although Eric and I have worked long and hard to encourage her sense of independence.  Most of all though, I felt fear.  A lot of fear.

What if the plane crashed? What if she got lost??? What if something happened during the flight and Riley needed help? What if….??? What if…???

As I tend to tackle problems analytically, I worked through each level of fear logically. I reminded myself that statistically, Riley is in more danger in my car than an airplane. It just has the illusion of safety because we do it all the time. I called the airlines and was assured that a child is never without the company of a responsible adult at every point of the trip. As for my other fears, they were addressed by the fact that Riley is incredibly good at verbalizing her requests and needs and superb at entertaining herself. (I do feel sorry for the person who gets seated next to her, because she does like to have lengthy conversations with adults.)

But all that logic didn’t make me feel any better. I wasn’t any closer to making a decision about whether I could let her go. All the answers to my own questions just sounded like excuses, contrived to trick me into letting my daughter do a very foolish thing. But something was niggling in me to keep thinking about the issue.

So when logic couldn’t help me, I went to my values. What do I really value for Riley? What type of woman do I want to raise her to be? The answers came easily.

  • A sense of adventure.
  • Independence.
  • A deep bond with her grandmother.

How does a child learn to value adventure? She has to experience it. How does a child become independent? She has to practice being on her own and realizing that she is capable. And how does a child form a deep bond with her grandmother who lives over 3,000 miles away? She has to actually spend time with her. And time without Mom and Dad hovering close by.

It was at that point in my thought process that I realized that my values must be reflected in my actions not just in my words. If I say these values are important to me, but I refuse – out of my own fear – to allow Riley to take the necessary steps to ingrain these values in her life, I am just spouting off verbiage to make myself look good. After all, what parent ever proudly boasts, “I want my daughter to be completely dependent on others her whole life” or “I want my daughter to live her life bound up in fear of the unknown” or “I don’t want my daughter to bond with her grandmother” (unless, of course, grandma is unhealthy for her)???  No one says these things – yet it is so easy to do the things that lead to them if we aren’t careful.

The concept of values and actions comes into play in our sex lives as well. If what we say we value is different that what we actually do, then we need to pay heed to that disconnect.

Let’s say that we profess that a frequent sex life is important, but sex just never seems to happen. We get really busy during the day with the kids and so we are too tired at night. It looks really good on the surface – makes us appear to be phenomenal parents because we give so much to our kids. But is pouring into our kids an excuse to avoid intimacy?

Here’s another one. Perhaps our dirty little secret is that Lost, or The Bachelor or Leno is more important to us that bonding with our spouses. It’s just so easy to leave that TV on instead of interacting together. Ultimately, TV demands a lot less of us.

Here’s an exercise for you. Sometime this week, take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Label one side as “values” and the other as “actions”. Values reflect what you believe to be important and actions are what you actually do. If there is a disconnect between the two, then write down two new actions that you can take this week to support your values. If your actions and values are way out of alignment, then pick two actions to do each week until you find the situation rectified.

Just so you know, Riley is booked to visit her grandmother in Texas this summer. Since this is the first year of travel alone, we are starting out with three weeks. I am still fearful. I do, however, wholeheartedly believe that my responsibility as a parent is to confront my own fears for the growth of my child. It is not easy, but the values I hold are too precious to be held hostage by fear.

How to determine what is right/wrong in the bedroom

In this short Q&A, Eryn-Faye, Canada’s Passion Coach, answers an audience member’s question about how to determine what is “right” or “wrong” in the marriage bed. As this clip is a short cut-in from a longer segment, we do want to emphasize that obvious physical health concerns play an important role regarding any decision a person makes.

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

Anal Sex in Marriage – A Guest Post

It’s a beautiful evening and the kids are gone to grandma’s house.  There is a fire in the fireplace, the candles are lit, and the music is low and sultry.  You are kissing and fondling and things are quickly moving to the next level when you feel your husband’s fingers at the entrance of the forbidden zone!  Oh no, wait, that isn’t his finger at all!  As this realization hits your face, your wonderful soul-mate husband of many years leans over and whispers in your ear…”feeling adventurous?”

Ever happened to you?  Well, this scenario (with various different changes) is played out in marital beds all over.  I’ve had women to ask me why in the world their husband seems so infatuated with their bottom.  To me the answer is pretty simple.  Men get sexual gratification from sticking their member into small damp holes.  Once a man and woman are married, their bodies belong to each other.  Of course it’s only natural for a husband to think of all the places he can go with it.  The three holes that are large enough to accommodate a penis are the mouth, vagina, and anus.  A simple, mildly blunt explanation as to why a husband may be intrigued or interested in anal sex.

It would be unfair though; to say that husbands are the only ones interested in back door play.  Many women are also curious about this ‘taboo’ subject.  In my own marriage, I have always been the aggressor when it comes to anal play/sex.  I had experimented myself during some alone time and found that there really are some nerve endings at the entrance of the anus that feel so pleasurable when stimulated!  I told my husband about it and asked if he minded using a finger there from time to time during intercourse.  The results were mind-blowing orgasms that made me melt and made him feel pretty good too!

So… how does a couple know if it’s really okay to try anal sex?  I firmly believe that a married couple should feel free to try almost anything they want to in their own marriage bed.  I draw the line at involving a third party, which includes other people physically and also pornography (this could be a whole other article in itself).  A healthy marriage is between the husband, wife, and God.  I also draw the line with sex acts that will hurt or demean one of you.  If you are involved in an act that makes you feel humiliated or degraded, then that act is unhealthy for your marriage.  That is a gateway for resentment to set in.

Anal sex can be very pleasurable for some women.  (Notice I said some and not all.)  We hear about orgasms that start from the clitoris or from the G-spot, but there are many women out there who swear that they have had orgasms originating from their anus.  I believe them because it’s happened to me as well.  But for all the women who claim to love anal sex, there seem to be just as many who don’t like it at all.  For some women it seems degrading and for others it’s uncomfortable or just down right painful.  Communication is so important here.  If you are curious about it, then TALK to your spouse!  Ask them how they feel about trying some anal play.  Find out if he/she is uncomfortable with the idea.  Discuss any concerns openly with each other.  There are some possible medical issues that could result from participating in anal sex, including infection and damage to the rectum, so it would be wise to research this together before deciding on trying it. If you find that your concerns and uneasiness outweigh the curiosity and eagerness, then you probably need to stop and back up a bit.  If you and your spouse have researched this topic and feel like it is something you’d like to try together, then here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You need to start small with a pinky finger or similar sized toy and gradually work your way up to the size of the husband’s penis.  You may find that you can’t accommodate your husband’s penis but you do like the feel of his index finger.
  • STOP if you get to something that hurts. DO NOT try to “push past the pain.”  If there is pain it’s there for a reason and should be taken as a warning.  You are looking for sexual pleasure, not something that hurts you.
  • There is no such thing as too much lube. Use copious amounts of it, all over you and your husband.  Use the amount you think you’ll need, and then add some more.
  • Go slow and let her be in charge. Let her choose the position that she likes and allow her to set the pace.  It may take several minutes for her to be able to handle the full monty, so be patient and wait until she is ready for more.  Short, slow strokes are best to start off with.

You may wonder how in the world anal sex can deepen intimacy in marriage.  Over the last few years I’ve heard many stories of this, including one woman who wrote to me explaining how she had been sexually active with several other men before marrying her husband.  In her marriage, anal sex was a very intimate and bonding act for the simple reason that she had never had anal sex with any other man.  Her promiscuous past included vaginal sex with other men, but they both knew that the only man she had ever had anal intercourse with was her husband.  Thus, it became a very intimate act between them.

Like all other sex acts, this is a decision that is left up to each individual couple.  Anal sex isn’t for everyone.  It’s not the be-all end-all sex act.  It’s simply one out of hundreds of things that a married couple should feel free to try, if they both want to.  If both of you aren’t on the same page about it, then choose another book.  It shouldn’t be a divisive issue.  So communicate, research, and make a decision together.  And above all, have fun!

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!