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Sometimes The Best Sex is No Sex

For all the talk about sex on this blog, its important to say – its not everything. Sometimes we have other priorities, or desires. Or lack of desire. Not wanting sex doesn’t automatically mean the relationship is broken or doomed. Human beings are not consistent like machines. And neither is your sex drive. Sometimes you or your partner may just need a break.

Just like this couple…

I’ll be married 12 years this June. We met in our naïve 20s. My husband, all goofy granola charm, hung over my cubicle my first day at my first job. I remember he was wearing Birkenstocks with socks; he swears he never wore sandals to the office. He invited me over to watch a basketball game and get to know our co-workers. When I arrived, my East Coast sensibilities primed for an evening salon of conversation and schmoozing, I discovered I was the only one there.

Those first months were hot, and not just because we were living in the unforgiving heat of California’s desert. Every night and weekend was free, for dinners out, dancing, roaming the sidewalks aimlessly, sipping cheap margaritas, making out on public benches, falling into bed, slick with sweat.

Even as we sailed forth, like moths drawn inexplicably toward an ancient, hypnotic flame — wedding, mortgage, procreation — we never grew bored with each other. Sure, we bickered over why he absolutely wouldn’t be allowed to keep that ugly bachelor armchair with the fraying fabric, and we power-struggled over the usual flashpoints — money, outside family commitments, careers. But we always returned to the comfort of each other’s embrace, and the pleasure that sex delivered.

And then came our first baby. She rocked us, and not in the I-scored-tickets-to-that-freaking-killer-band-on-Friday-night way. Pregnancy was a shock to my system — the ballooning of my body from size 8 to size whale; the constant paranoia that something, probably something I would stupidly do, would mess it all up and harm our innocent child.

Here’s the confession the social scientists, shrinks and unburdened, childless observers of the zeitgeist are waiting for: We didn’t have sex for a year.

You read that right. A year. That is not an easy thing to admit, when our culture so tightly links sexual vibrancy and exploits with youth, happiness and worth. There is no room, especially for women, to talk honestly about the ebb and flow of sex; no room for seasons of frantic lust separated by windows of quiet and pause. If you don’t have sex for a year — a year! — your marriage must be failing. Both wife and husband must be deeply unhappy, the union not long for this world. Might as well dial up the divorce lawyers or sex therapists right now. If you don’t have sex for a year, the woman must be a certain kind of evil, frigid monster and the guy must be one foot out the door.

Except we were not unhappy. My pregnancy was rough. Post-pregnancy was rougher… trouble healing physically (because, um, not all of us are Michelle Duggar) and a demise of the state formerly known as sleep. To say nothing of the mental and emotional bruising, inflicted not only by a new, baby-dictated schedule but from the very morphing of our former identities and relationship into something new and nearly unrecognizable.

Yet we still had the things that had started it all: Our yin-yang connection, our shared values, our memories of freedom-fueled fun and years of physical intimacy. And our new level of trust: We had done something that lashed us together more tightly than any expression or experience of sexual desire ever would. We had created life out of our love for each other.

Nothing is like that trust that grows when you watch the person you love blossom with new life. When you see the man you picked out when he was a free-wheeling 28-year-old with one pair of shoes and a recipe repertoire that consisted of a single dish (pineapple-broccoli burritos) mature into a steely-strong partner you can, and will, lean on.

It’s one thing to trust a guy enough to let him buy you a cheap margarita. It’s another thing to trust a person so deeply that when you are finally having great, relieving sex again with the rare condom (in a half-assed and ultimately failed attempt to stave off the next child) and the condom slips off and gets terrifyingly lost up there, you let him own the situation. And he rescues you, extracting that errant latex with the calm reassurance of a cattle farmer extracting his 200th calf.

That’s the bad-assedness of married sex, folks.

Edited: March 4th, 2014

The Formula for a Happy Sex Life

Terry and I recently attended a business seminar and heard a man named Keith Cunningham speak. If you’ve ever read or heard of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad – he’s the real rich “dad” to author Robert Kiyosaki.

Cunningham teaches business success requires 3-part formula:
1 – Find out what they want.
2 – Go and get it
3 – Give it to them.

In my experience, truth is always pretty simple.

And guess what? Its the exact same formula for happiness in love – and sex. Whoever your partner, whatever your desires – its the same basic formula.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Edited: July 6th, 2013

How to Keep on Fucking

Its a stereotype that sex fades the longer you’re together. Sure, 20 years in it may not be explosive like the FIRST time, but relationship sex can take on a different, more enjoyable (in my opinion) quality. Why? Because the longer you’re together, the more you understand your partner, their body and their desires.

That is, if you choose to keep the passion alive. Yes, choose. Of course its easy in the beginning. Everything’s new and the sheer novelty of this super amazing person wanting to fuck YOU may be excitement enough. But a long-term happy relationship and sex life doesn’t just ‘happen.’ Its a series of choices – like how you choose to express your affection and love.

This happy couple has a great sex blog that – like mine – reveals what happens behind the scenes to keep chemistry alive and growing. They suggest every kiss should last at least 5 seconds. Not just for sake, but to take a moment to truly appreciate your partner’s company and presence in your life.

Just like it takes a regular exercise regime to run a marathon, it also takes regular expressions of love & care to have, well, marathon sex. Or orgasmically explosive sex. Or crazliy kinky sex. Or romance-movie love-making. Whatever your taste. Its not the kiss itself, its the feeling and intention behind the kiss. To share and connect – which is really at the root of ANY great sex, no matter how long (or short) you’ve been together.

Edited: July 1st, 2013

Sex Lessons From Oprah?

Most of us have some baggage… myself included! We carry around hurt from lovers past and present, times we’ve been rejected or judged – especially about sex.

Oprah has some great advice:

Forgive, so you can truly live.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong right. It just means you give yourself permission to release from your past — and step forward with the mud of resentment cleared from your wings. Fly!

When you let go of the past, you make room for more fun, love, and pleasure now and in the future.

Edited: November 27th, 2012

Re-Writing the Past: Forgiveness and Taking Responsibility

Sometimes things “happen.” Events take place. People say things, do things that hurt us.

Most of us hold onto our pain, covet anger and tears. We’re quick to point out other people’s crap, but we’re protective over ours. We’ve inscribed our name in gold on the luggage tags, screaming if anyone comes close to messing with our baggage. Because HE/SHE DID THIS and its THEIR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forgiveness doesn’t mean another person’s actions or words were acceptable or appropriate. It doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt you. Because forgiveness has nothing to do with THEM. It lets YOU go from the anger, sadness, and pain you’ve held onto.

I recently had a dream about an ex, from a relationship that ended in flames. We had some great times while it lasted, but the breakup was horrible. Though I’d long since moved on to people who were better for me (and he to partners better for him), I still held onto some resentment. Anger. Hurt feelings.

Until I had a dream. I saw him, walked up to him, and said, “Just so you know, I’m over everything that happened. I really hope you’re happy. I forgive you.” He said nothing. I had to throw in a little jab – “I still wish you’d apologize.” He said nothing. I rolled my eyes. But I felt at peace. I didn’t need him to say anything. I woke up and realized – wow, I’m finally over it. I replayed the events over in my mind, and I had no more unpleasant feelings about it. It simply…”happened.”

Why? In the weeks prior, I’d thought about that time of my life in detail, for the first time in years. I recognized that while I didn’t cause the situation to happen, I did some things that pushed it in that direction. Bottom line: I took responsibility. As much as I wanted it to be all him, I saw there was at least some me.

Taking responsibility allows forgiveness to flow naturally. If I recognize my human-ness – my mistakes – then it opens up space for him to be human too.

I’ve heard Oprah quote Maya Angelou many times – When you know better, you do better. If the people who hurt you knew better, they wouldn’t have hurt you. If you’d known better, you wouldn’t have been in the position to be hurt.

Because the forgiveness isn’t about them. Its really about you. And ultimately – forgiving yourself for being there, for taking it, for contributing to it, for getting yourself hurt.

Let go. Forgive. Life is waiting.

Edited: September 23rd, 2012

How To Have a Perfect Relationship…NOT.

Since there are no perfect people, there is no perfect relationship. But that’s part of the fun…

Edited: August 26th, 2012

Relationship Problems: Sex Sucks When You Hate Yourself

Low self-esteem causes huge relationship problems.

You know that saying, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself?” Well, its true. If you’re having relationship problems, look at yourself before blaming your partner.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Edited: August 17th, 2012

Sex Problems: 3 Reasons You AREN’T Getting What You Want in Bed

I’m pleased to announce my new sex podcast to help you overcome to sex problems that keep you from fully enjoying your sexuality and relationships.

Titled Love, Lust & Life, this free podcast will feature sex and relationship advice. Taking a “holistic” approach, I cover not only the physical aspects of sex and love but the mental, emotional, and spiritual sides that really shape our experiences. I share my own stories and sex problems, reader questions, and interviews with fellow educators, researchers, coaches, sex workers, and even “regular people” like you. :)

Check out the first episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes!

Edited: August 10th, 2012

Help! My Wife Doesn’t Want Sex Anymore… Addressing Typical Relationship Problems

A dwindling sex life is one of the most common relationship problems, especially among parents and business owners.

Dear Kelsey,

I am a little nervous to email you… I am a 43 yr. old married father of two. Our daughter is almost 4 and our son just turned 2 (so we have had sex ha ha) although our sex life has tanked in the last few years.  My wife and I also have a family business.

I was recently diagnosed with extremely low testosterone. My Dr. has been treating it with weekly T injections (so much because it hasn’t been rising). Along with week erections, (I need to use Cialis or Levitra to masturbate or have intercourse), difficult orgasm, sore body, exhausted all the time, I still have the need to have sex with my wife. It makes me feel closer to her and strengthens our relationship.

She has been supportive, but has her own issues and often does not want to have sex. I then feel rejected and that causes friction. I love my wife and family and just want to feel normal.  She  says that she is tired and not into it (or is she not into me any more?).

What do you think?

Your situation is VERY common.  I’m not a medical doctor, but low testosterone combined with stress and relationship issues is probably what’s up (well, down) with your dick.

Are you on cholesterol medication, by chance?  I’ve read that chlorine in tap water (whether you drink or shower in it) causes high cholesterol, and those medications kill your testosterone.  If so, I know there are natural ways to reduce cholesterol and switching to bottled water may help.

Men who take testosterone also tend to become more aggressive and often don’t realize. You could be acting like an asshole and putting off your wife, without being aware. Pay attention to how you’re acting, especially when she rejects you. You may notice ways to change your behavior that could elicit a more positive response from her.

Regarding your wife – if she’s busy raising 2 kids and doing the business with you, she’s probably exhausted.  And may have her own issues with sex she hasn’t ever addressed (most of us do, especially women).

Whereas men (stereotypically) want to do it at a moment’s notice, women generally need more time to relax before feeling sexual whatsoever.  I don’t just mean foreplay, I mean time for herself in everyday life.  Many moms put all their energy into their kids, without saving any for themselves.  Same with business women too, so combine them and its a recipe for little to no sex.

If this sounds like your situation, if you want more sex you’ll have to help her take the time she needs.  My friend and business coach, Taylore Ashlie, wrote a book for couples in business. Its written for men to help their women be more happy (and sexual) at home, thus making YOU happier in the process.  Its written in flowery language, but even if that doesn’t appeal to you, the concepts are still very useful.

Her book, and working with her directly, helped me calm down and focus on myself, allowing myself to be more sexual.  It really helped my relationship, and I’m sure it could help you and your wife too.

Edited: July 18th, 2012

Relationship Advice: Dealing With Sexual Incompatibility

Relationship advice: Its unlikely you’ll find someone with the EXACT same sexual interests as you, but sometimes couples are working off completely different books.

Its bullshit that if you love each other the sex will work itself out. Considering its how we physically share intimacy, sexual compatibility is an important factor – in my opinion, as central to a relationship as spirituality and finances. So what happens when partners want – or need – different things?

A reader question:

I love anal sex, but my girlfriend does not. My ex-wife and a number of girlfriends have liked or loved anal sex.

I don\’t think I\’ll ever get my girlfriend to try it, and so this has me wanting to find someone else who will allow me to have anal sex with her.

What are your thoughts? I love my girlfriend, but I love anal sex.

If your partner is anti-anal, there’s probably little chance of changing that.  Its possible she could change her mind, or there’s something about your approach that’s off-putting to her, so look at that first.  But we do each have our preferences, and even with the best approach, and pain-free techniques some people simply don’t enjoy the sensation of anal.

That being said, its frustrating to not be able to express your full sexuality with your partner.  I know from experience :)

Consider how important it is to you to have a sexually compatible partner.  Are you a great match in all other areas?  Is anal sex essential to you, or is it something you could live without if you’re otherwise a good pair?  You have three options –

(1) End the relationship and find someone who is compatible.  If its a new or casual relationship, and especially if there are other ways you’re incompatible, this may be the best option if anal sex is that important to you.  If its a more serious relationship, this would obviously be a more difficult decision.  Its a quality-of-life matter: Will your life be better with a woman who can help you meet your needs, or does THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN make you want to get out of bed in the morning?  i.e., is the trade off (no anal for life) worth it?

(2) Discuss your needs with her, and try to find a way you can both express your sexualities.  She might have un-met needs too, so having a conversation about what you BOTH want is important.  This might include using erotica or porn on your own (though I assume you’re probably watching porn) or involving third parties into the relationship – be it with a casual ‘fuck buddy,’ a secondary relationship, or sex workers (prostitutes, webcam models, phone sex).  It might be a difficult conversation – or series of conversations – but honesty is usually the best policy.  If you’re holding back in one area, it makes intimacy difficult in other (non-sexual) parts of life.

(3) Cheat – involve a third party but don’t tell her.  Its an option, though I don’t recommend it.  You’ll have to deal with hiding, guilt, and a good chance she’ll be devastated if she finds out, creating self-esteem and future relationship problems.  Is it worth doing that sort of damage to you both?  

I recommend trying #2 first, and if that doesn’t work out – well, you’ve got options #1 and #3.

Edited: April 23rd, 2012

Relationship Advice: Mix It Up In the Bedroom (Or Wherever You Have Sex)

Relationship advice: In a long-term relationship, sex won’t usually be fireworks every time.

And that’s okay. Whatever you and your partner(s) prefer, changing it up will keep your interest. The names below are a bit dorky, but they get the point across:

The Standard or “meat and potatoes” variety (or “tofu and sprouts” for those who favor the vegetarianism) is also known as “maintenance sex.” It’s the old standby: in the bedroom, in the bed, with the old tried and true positions and techniques that work. Not particularly exciting, but it gets the job done.

Next is what we call “Junk food Sex,” also known as the “quickie.” The inclusion of this practice in one’s overall sexual repertoire can produce short but very pleasurable experiences. This variety tends to be more popular with those of the male persuasion, but there are also quite a few women who enjoy sex in this form. A steady diet of it, however, tends to be low on nutrients. If practiced on an occasional basis, especially if it is balanced by the practice of “Gourmet Dining Sex” or GDS, junk food sex can be quite delightful.

GDS, also known as “romantic sex,” is designed to produce delicious, relaxed, extended periods of deeply pleasurable experiences of emotional and physical intimacy characterized by full-body stimulation, lots of eye contact, and uninterrupted shared presence. Enhancements to GDS can include soothing music, bathing together, candlelight, and any other elements that enrich the experience.

Hot chili pepper sex is definitely for the more adventurous of us who enjoy the exploration into the further reaches of sexual experimentation in the territory between discomfort and pleasure. It is not for the faint of heart. The rule is that there are no rules here, other than the requirement that both partners be in agreement with whatever is being done at any given time and that either one has the power to stop things at any moment without resistance from the other. Changing the location or setting of our sexual encounter can also serve to enhance the nature of this experience. All manner of costumes and sexual accessories are welcome and you are limited only by your imagination.

And last, but certainly not least is Ambrosia or sacred sex. This has to do with the practice of devotion to the divine through the expression of shared sensory bliss. Ambrosia is food and nectar for the gods, which ensured their immortality. Sacred sex takes us into the realm of the timelessness of full presence. It involves anything that tastes and smells delicious, and can include items that awaken the senses such as meditative music, sweet smelling oils in bath water, essential oils in glass dishes over a flame, scented candles, massage oils, incense, and silks. The practice often focuses on the holding back of orgasm to prolong the experience and plentiful time for heightened stimulation. It may also include chanting, breathing techniques, sounding mantras, paired yoga poses, and the maintaining of eye contact throughout the entire length of the experience.

Edited: April 19th, 2012

Relationship Advice: Let Go of Judgment to Create More Fun and Intimacy

Dr. Dain Heer’s relationship advice doesn’t just apply to sex, but to ALL areas of life. When we judge ourselves and our partners, we block the very things we may be yearning for.

This chiropractor-turned-“consciousness teacher” considers how judgment limits our sex and financial lives, and the magic that happens when we let go:

Dain Heer: See what most people need to do is actually be willing to be more outrageous. And when I say that it means be willing to be whoever you want to be in that moment, not caring who else is going to judge you. Because what most of us do is we limit ourselves based on the judgments we thing we’ll receive. “Oh my god, I couldn’t have sex with that many people, I’d be a slut.” “Oh my god, I couldn’t have that much money, my family would hate me or my family would want to take it all or they’d expect me to give it to them.” See we have all these reasons and justifications for the things we don’t allow ourselves to have, like the copulation and the orgasm and the money. So the other thing that you can do is you can make a list of every reason and justification you have for not having ten orgasms a day, or ten sexual partners and for not having triple the income, what are all the reasons and justifications? And then take it and say, “You know what, I destroy and uncreate all this stuff”, and let it go, burn it, shred it, step on it, whatever you have to do so you know, “You know what, I’m starting anew here.”

Dr. Patti Taylor: And you teach this stuff, huh?

Dain Heer: Yes, yes, and we teach it and we also show people, and we go through, we do these clearings with them on this and all kinds of other weird ways in which we lock ourselves up so that you can actually be there with somebody, look in their eyes and have no judgment of them or their body, you have no judgment of you or your body because how many people are actually comfortable being seen naked? Okay, and you have this willingness to explore that is such a gift, and when you’re in that willingness to explore together it’s hot…it’s not just, “Okay, I  had one orgasm and got off”, it’s like why would you stop at one? It’s like you have one and then you play and do something else and then you have another one and you play and do something else and, you know, more and more and more, and it starts to become this orgasmic creation between the two of you, when you come out of judgment and out of all of your points of view of the past.

More on Creating More Sex, Orgasm, Fun and Money in Your Life here.

Edited: January 27th, 2012

Relationship Problems? Be Grateful!

The best thing to do when you’re having relationship problems is to practice gratitude.

Yeah, right.

No, seriously. I don’t mean gratitude for your relationship problems. Those suck. I mean gratitude for your partner.

I know, its probably the last thing on your mind. You may feel more like FUCK YOU than THANK YOU, but its the latter that’ll get you through.

How you do anything is how you do everything. Get an extra tall glass of water, because it can be a tough pill to swallow. If you turn into a bitch or an asshole the moment a discussion turns into a heated debate, it communicates to your partner that they’re not worthy of your respect or consideration. Remember what it is you like or love about your partner – that’s why you’re together, and what will motivate you to stay present with them when relationship problems arise.

It doesn’t mean you ignore your problems. Address them, but from a place of clarity rather than anger or frustration.

The better you are at your worst means you’ll have an even better best.

Edited: January 26th, 2012

Relationship Advice: How to NOT Have Sex

Let me sum up Dr. Paul’s relationship advice in a positive frame:

To have more sex appreciate yourself and your partner, pay attention to both your needs, be open and available, and take care of your body. Agreed.

Relationship Advice: 7 Ways to Never Have Sex in Your Relationship

Edited: January 16th, 2012

Relationship Advice: More Sex = Happier Relationship

Relationship Advice: Fuck each other’s brains out.

Relationship Advice: Fuck Each Other's Brains Out

Relationship Advice: Fuck a Lot

Studying married couples over 65, researcher Adrienne Jackson finds that more frequent sex is associated with a happier marriage. Chances are you won’t just start having sex in old age if you didn’t before, so make sex a priority NOW and you’ll likely have a happier present AND future.

Now, does more SEX cause happiness, or does more HAPPINESS cause more sex?

Does it matter?

Edited: January 4th, 2012