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Most Sexually Satisfied

Who is the most sexually satisfied in the US? Men’s Health did a survey and compiled a list of most satisfied and least satisfied cities.

Having spent a decade living in Texas, I find it very interesting that two of its cities made the Most Sexually Satisfied list.

In fact, my husband’s brother and his wife live in one of those cities. It’s good to see the family represent!

Read more here:

PsychCentral

Of course such things are interesting, but also completely arbitrary. You could just as easily pick another 5 different factors, and use that as the basis of your “most sexually satisfied” list. One set of factors isn’t more valid than another — it’s a purely subjective choice.  But it’s kinda fun!

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?

These boots are made for…

When we were down in Texas a couple weeks ago, my husband wanted to buy a new pair of cowboy boots. Now, he has been talking about it for years – since he wore his last pair out, and we decided that we would get them this trip. We walked into the boot store and it was immediately obvious that his thoughts on what constituted a good pair were vastly different than mine. All we had to do was look at the price tag and see that what I had in mind was much more, let’s put it, refined, than what he was thinking. But, I am practical too, so I quickly passed by the $450 boots made from some exotic animal that had immediately caught my eye.

It wasn’t long before I was able to find a pair (much, much cheaper) that I fell in love with. However, they looked very different from what my husband had been thinking. He had been planning on getting a pair of old-school cowboy boots – “on the ranch” type of boots. I was thinking… something a bit…sexier. He sighed a bit, but was willing to try on the boots that I showed him because he has, over the years, learned what I find attractive.

You see, when we first got married, I would get all dressed up for dates. In Texas, there is quite a tradition that a young woman follows when she goes on a date with a guy for the first time. She spends hours getting ready – trying on endless outfits, spending a lengthy amount of time in the shower, extending the process by calling friends and asking for their opinions, carefully applying makeup. And when the young man rings the doorbell, a member of her family answers. Because she is not ready. Ever. It doesn’t matter if she has actually been ready for an hour, it is custom for her to make him wait.

Usually during this time, the young man will be introduced to the young woman’s father. And his gun. A conversation will then ensue which falls along the lines of, “If you ever hurt my daughter, I will kill you.  Most likely with this gun here.  And I won’t feel bad about it.”  Make no mistake – the rules of engagement are crystal clear when the couple leaves for their date.

Of course, as the relationship develops, things become a bit more casual. The father may actually invite the young man to watch a football game with him and crack a few dirty jokes. The young lady might actually be ready on time.

And so it went with our relationship. However, even after we got married I still spent the time and effort getting dressed well for our dates. And Eric got, well, comfortable. Ratty jeans and running shoes were common. This infuriated me. I did not find this attractive at all.

After years of disappointment and knock-down drag-outs, it finally dawned on him that putting some effort into how he looked for me on our dates was important. The running shoes got tucked up on the shoe rack for things like – running. The jeans were clean and completely intact – no holes! He even ran a bit of gel through his hair. Because, while he might have thought that just being him was all it took to be attractive, I needed to see him dressed well. It was part of the whole package for me.

This learning curve is why he was so open to trying on the boots that I found. He was putting effort into listening to what I find attractive.  And listen he did, in fact, he ended up getting the boots I liked. And he loves them. Perhaps it is all the compliments he has been getting on them (from men and women alike), or perhaps it is the fact that I can’t keep my hands off him when he wears them.

Either way, it’s working for him.

Through the Eyes of Another

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Eric and I are now in Texas and just finished a weekend of activities surrounding his 20th high school reunion. We went to the football game last Friday night for the homecoming game. Now to be honest, the entire time I was in high school, the concept of “homecoming” escaped me completely. At that time, it was simply an excuse to dress up and be given a huge mum with all sorts of bells and whistles draped from it (literally). For those of you who did not have that tradition, allow me to put a picture here for you:

mum

Now that we are older, the term “homecoming” has an entirely different meaning. Scores of alumni from different years (5, 10, 20, 25, 35 years) came home to watch their old team play football and – in this particular case – lose. Eric went to a private school which has grown tremendously since he graduated. When the new campus was built, the alumni room was placed strategically in between the basketball gym and the football stadium with huge picture windows overlooking the court on one end of the room and the and field at the other end of the room. Designed to allow the alumni the privacy to catch up with each other AND watch the game, it was indeed the perfect place to visit.

And so we did just that. While a pitiful few showed up for Eric’s reunion, it was nevertheless enjoyable to meet with these people who had known my husband two decades ago and hear the stories from their perspective. For years, I have been besieged with reminiscings of the “good old years” and to hear the stories retold through the eyes of others was nothing short of hilarious.

This got me to thinking about Schmuly Boteach and his book The Kosher Sutra. His perspective on eroticism is that when we begin to see our lover in the same old way, the passion fizzles. We stop looking for the new things that are blossoming in our lover and we fall back on the assumption that we just know them. And after a while, that knowledge actually contributes to a certain boredom which sets the tempo of our relationship. Is there comfort in the knowledge that you have built years of history with this certain person and they understand you? Absolutely. But when all the mystery of who they are becoming as a person is removed and replaced with an arrogant assumption of knowledge and understanding, then your relationship gets in trouble.

This weekend, I had the privilege of seeing my husband through the eyes of people who had not seen him for years. I was able to watch their expressions and hear their comments. Some reflected the man I know. I heard stories of mischief and sacrifice and how rarely he got “caught”. Some described a man foreign to me. One lady talked about how nice and sweet my husband was in high school. Now, I think my husband is the most incredible man alive, but “nice” and “sweet” wouldn’t even crack the top ten list of words which spring to mind when I describe him. But that again is because I have a certain perception of who he is as a person. And her perception was radically different. And she gave me new insight into how people perceive him to be – at least twenty years ago. And that is good information to have too.

Being open to seeing another perspective is important. Because we can often get blinders on about our spouse and we neglect to see what is right in front of us. When his co-worker raves about something he did that was amazing, do you think of all the things he has failed to do around the house or do you catch a new glimpse of how he succeeds? When a man’s gaze lingers a little bit too long on your wife, do you label him a “creep” or do you have a renewed appreciation for what it is that he is looking at? Do you even notice at all?

You don’t have to be at a twenty-year reunion to pay attention to how people react to your spouse. Next time the two of you are out in public, pay attention to how others treat him/her. How do the people around you behave? Do they appreciate things that you have missed? Have you assumed too much for too long? How can that change your perception of your relationship?

High School Reunion: Glory Days

So tomorrow night I am going to my huband’s 20th high school reunion.  He went to high school in Texas, and so by state law (I assume) reunions are held on homecoming, which again by law, must coincide with a football game.  So, I am going to get all dressed up and go watch a high school football game with my husband while at the same time meeting everyone from his graduating class.

Now, just so we are all clear on the background here, I did not know Eric in high school.  We lived in different parts of the state (or different parts of the continent depending on what years of high school we are talking about).  I moved from Canada to Texas when I was a freshman (9th grade).  Eric lived his entire life in Texas.  So, aside from a few dear friends that I made and still keep in contact with, high school was not that great a time in my life.  I am very glad it is over.  Eric, on the other hand, loved every minute of high school.  High school was like a 4 year party for him.  He fully embraced the whole high school experience – played sports, did well in academics, had HUGE number of friends (and evidently a whole load of girlfriends too).  So going back to visit his old stomping grounds holds great attraction for him.  Going back to high school, any high school really, is a far less attractive concept for me.  Add to this the fact that we don’t even live in the country (much less the state or city) and I know NO ONE ELSE that will be attending, and well, I am freely admitting that I am going only because I love my husband and it will make him happy.

But this whole 20 year reunion thing has been making me think lately.  When we graduate from high school (whether we loved it or loathed it) we are always looking forward.  It is a new chapter in our life.  In many ways high school graduation is a rite of passage.  Some people go to college, some go into the working world, some get married – the possibilities are endless.  And that is what has gotten me thinking.  Endless possibilities faced us.  We could do anything we wanted.  We could chase our dreams.  Do you remember what your dreams were coming out of high school?  Did you have your future planned out?  Where did you see yourself in 10, 20, 30, 40 years?

Now fast forward.  How long has it been since you finished high school?  Have you accomplished everything that you thought you would?  Have you gone everywhere you wanted to go?  Did you marry the person you dreamed you would (or at least the kind of person you thought you would)?

Why or why not?  Were you dreaming the wrong dreams, or have you just not gotten around to chasing them yet?  Has life gotten in the way of what you wanted, or have your desires changed as you matured and grown?

If you did absolutely everything you wanted to do coming out of high school, then what did you do after it was all accomplished?  How did your ideas change?

Now, since I am a passion coach, think about your relationship.  Is it everything you wanted it to be?  Is the intimacy at the level you thought it would be?  Is the communication as strong as you wanted it to be?  Is your sex life as fulfilling as you dreamed it would be?

Have you ever sat down with your lover and talked about what your dreams and goals for each of these areas are?  Do you know what his/hers are?   Maybe the two of you should have your own intimate “reunion”.  Get a sitter, go out some place – like where you met – and talk about what your dreams were for the relationship when it started.  See where you are now compared with then.  And talk about how things have changed.  Talk about how time and maturity have changed you.  Talk about what your goals and dreams are now, and how you can reach them together.  Get back to that place of infinite possibility and re-create your future together.

Trust me, it will be WAY more fun than reliving your spouse’s glory days with a bunch of people you don’t know.  I kid, I kid.  I love you husband and I can’t wait to find out more about the man I love and who he was a teenager!  Though, I am pretty sure that I am more impressed with who you are today than who you were then!!

The Body Song

This past week, I had the privilege of introducing my family to Paddy and Carole Ducklow.  Back in the 60’s, when my parents left Texas to move up to Canada, Dad met Paddy in graduate school and they began a life-long friendship. My father wrote his first book in the basement of their home. He logged countless hours sitting out on their deck drinking beer and debating life, the universe and everything. Paddy flew to Texas to attend his funeral.

As a child, I have many memories of the Ducklow’s being a part of our lives. Even when the two men were living in different parts of the Lower Mainland, they always stayed connected. And then, several years before our family returned to Texas, they worked together at Burnaby Christian Fellowship. Dad was senior pastor, and Paddy was on staff as the church psychologist who ran a practice in the church.

One of the programs that they collaborated on during this time was a seminar to teach kids and their parents about the concept of “appropriate touch”. The kids and parents were split into different rooms and taught about issues surrounding personal boundaries, safety and communication. I was one of those kids, and my favourite part of the whole seminar was learning the song, My Body by Peter Alsop (which was thereinafter referred to by us simply as “the body song”).

Fast-forward 20+ years. My family is driving to the Ducklow’s house for the first time and I am explaining to my daughter about the importance of this family in my life. Having a vague memory of the body song, I decided that it would be spectacularly impressive if I could teach it to my daughter to sing for Paddy over dinner. Riley was very much into this idea (life is, after all, a musical for her) and enthusiastically embraced the task. The more we sang it, the more furrowed my husband’s brow became. He finally cleared his throat and said, “Uh, honey? I think you are not remembering that song right. I am pretty sure that’s not how it goes.” I pooh-poohed his concerns and, undaunted, Riley and I sang the song a few more times – to ensure that she really knew it.

When we arrived at Ducklow’s, the conversation inevitably turned to the body song. Actually, Eric brought it up because he was so smug in his assumption that I had the words wrong and thought it would be hilarious to see Paddy’s reaction. I was hesitant because I had an ever-growing suspicion that Eric was, unfortunately, right. Eventually, he coaxed Riley and me into singing it together.  So, in a vain attempt to prove that I was correct (or more that he was wrong) I belted out with great gusto:

My body’s nobody’s body but mine.

You touch your own body,

Let me touch mine.

There was an eerie silence that fell over the room for what was only a moment but felt like eternity.  Then the room erupted!  I thought Paddy was going to fall off the couch laughing. He fell to the side and buried his face in a pillow as he howled in laughter.  It was suddenly inherently obvious to me that I had turned a song on appropriate touch into one on mutual masturbation.

***Epic FAIL***

Later in the evening, Paddy and Riley went to the computer and drudged up the words to this 1980’s song. Thank goodness for Google!

The true version of the body song can be found here and goes like this:

My body’s nobody’s body but mine.

You run your own body,

Let me run mine.

I will admit that the correct one is a much better version for Riley to be singing out in public.  But as I am not one to be easily dismayed, I will brazenly confess that personally prefer my version…even if you’ll never hear me sing it aloud ever again.

So inn the midst of all of this personal humiliation, I figured that I should try to redeem myself by unabashedly sharing the story with everyone and using it as a teaching tool to help parents talk with their children.

Eric, however, is still laughing.