Thoughts From The Edge

Multitasking Has No Place In Beautiful Sex

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

The work I do with all my clients is based on the newest research in various fields, including sexology, psychology and medicine. I enjoy seeing the results of controlled experiments. It lends a clear perspective to issues and scenarios that are often anything but clear. I am an enthusiastic supporter of research, especially about the long and continually neglected subject of sexual experience. There is one subject, however, that I feel the research has shed enough light on to warrant a consistent, specific response from sexuality helping professionals: cognitive distraction during sex.

The experience that people are thinking about things other than having sex while they are having sex is epidemic. This phenomenon is not new, but has risen to the level of ubiquity in research. Different researchers have made divergent discoveries while focusing on various age groups, genders and relationship statuses. One theme that has arisen is the idea that women tend to be more focused on body image in their cognitive distraction. While men tend to be more focused on performance.

This type of information can assist professionals in being prepared for the types of cognitive distractions people may experience. However, it is important to allow for each individual to bring their own experience to coaching or therapy and not make assumptions based on research results when considering skill-building or other interventions.

The operative theme this research illuminates for me in light of my practice is the common experience of being distracted during sex, regardless of gender. Examining that phenomenon and its impact on sexual satisfaction has become a significant area for intervention within my practice. What I have found profound is less about what a person is preoccupied with and more about the state of being preoccupied itself.

Certainly, addressing the core of the concern that leads to the preoccupation can be useful in alleviating the distraction. But simply the state of being distracted and distractible is a habit pattern strongly reinforced by the culture in which many of us live and often thrive. The singularity of focus our culture trains us to eschew is exactly the necessary condition for exceptionally satisfactory sex.

Wonderfully, that is a common goal for every client: exceptionally satisfactory sex…even life-changing sex! Beautiful sex is an experience we all deserve. On the path to beautiful sex, the first gateway is tuning into your desires and your sensual experience. I often use the term mindful sex. Mindful sex is essential in supporting a satisfactory experience.

If you aren’t even fully present in mind, body and spirit, how can you savor the nuance each of your senses bring to awareness? Indeed, affording yourself singularity of focus on your sexual experiences allows you to embrace the fullness of being. The delight, the depth, the ecstasy and even the challenges are all an integral part of reveling in beautiful sex. Only in truly tuning into your experience and response can you push your edge and continue to create satisfaction as an ever-evolving person.

In my practice, I have observed diverse and effective strategies work for many people. Of those, I have gathered applicable wisdom as first steps toward more mindful sexual experiences.

  • Breathe. Connecting with your breath is a simple and efficient method for reminding yourself that you have a body and are a part of a constant flow of energy…in and out always with consciousness. Feeling your breath. Playing with it. Experimenting with nose breathing or mouth breathing, deep breathing or shallow breathing all gives you feedback. Even that experimenting can begin your sensual experience.
  • Pause. Finding a relaxed and lovely place to stop moving sets the stage for cultivating singularity of focus on pleasure and sensation. Set yourself up for the best-case scenario for no interruptions or distractions. Turn the ringer off, hide the laundry or even spend some time before your pause to create your own sanctuary. Remember that doing the best you can is the best you can do and go with it.
  • Prepare. Gather what you wish to include for your mindful experience. Remember this may or may not include a partner. Mindful sexual experiences are first and foremost for you. If you are solo, you may wish to have your favorite pleasure objects at hand, often called sex toys. Hands alone are also well suited as pleasure objects. If you are engaging with a partner, communicate and negotiate. Share your needs and be prepared to be generous with each other. Commit to giving your undivided attention knowing that it may lapse. Also give one another permission to gently bring each other’s attention back if you become distracted or to draw things to a close at any time. Know that mindful sex is a practice and revel in the fact that the more you practice the more satisfactory the result.
  • Feel. When you engage, tune into and feel sensation from every one of your senses. Move through methodically and notice what you are feeling. Sink into that experience. Extract any judgments or expectations and only feel. Give yourself and each other permission to share authentic communication about how experiences feel. Focus on clear requests for more of what you do want. Follow your pleasure and bliss. Soak in all the sensation.
  • Notice. After the experience, ask yourself questions about every facet of what you felt. What did feel amazing? When did my mind wander? What did I do to bring my attention back to the pleasure? When did I experience judgment from within? What did it feel like to let go of expectations? What did my partner do that supported my mindfulness? When did I experience restless or resistance? Remember no judgment and no expectation. Just receive the answers to those questions as resources. All of this feedback is wisdom. Your own wisdom is surfacing and available to cultivate a more refined mindful experience during your next practice.

Know that this practice of cultivating mindful sexual experiences is a practice. Every time you tune in you gather more of your own wisdom. Recognize that each experience is beautiful in its own way and happens just as it will to draw attention to the areas where you can dive deep into your own resistance. Your willingness, courage and persistence are irresistible. Beautiful sex is there for you when you truly want it.

Make It Fun!

Posted by on Dec 8, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

“Make it fun!” This is a statement my clients will inevitably hear in the course of sessions about their sexual lives. And a common response I hear is, “But right now it just isn’t fun at all!” There is so much wisdom in that statement.

Indeed. Some clients land in sessions because their experience has moved so far from fun, they have simply decided it’s not worth the effort to try anymore. What they find from the feedback loop of completely shutting off their erotic energy is that particular solution is not sustainable. Just like avoidance of any other unsatisfactory experience in your life, until you address the core causes, the emotional gravity of the experience will only grow and not diminish.

It is often at that point where their experience has become so untenable they will do “anything” to get back to satisfaction with their sexual lives or relationships. As a trusted observer of this phenomenon again and again, I appreciate the motivation that this sort of rock bottom experience brings. Reaching the end of one’s ability to cope with an experience can feel intense and sometimes hopeless, but in fact is a potent opportunity to do whatever it takes to create proactive change.

What I find most moving about being a trusted guide through this process is clients’ willingness to acknowledge that they could have chosen to address the situation earlier, but they didn’t. This isn’t regret. This is ownership of their choices. And when they own the knowledge that they are focused on proactive change now, and even though it is hard they are doing it, they also own the knowledge that next time they will focus their energy on change sooner.

In that awareness, my clients’ wisdom speaks loud and clear and they’ll often say, “I hope no one else waits as long as we did. It would be so much easier if we’d faced this sooner.”

So as their ambassador, I bring you the wisdom of so many clients who have done and continue to do the challenging work of reclaiming their erotic lives and intimate relationships: Focus your energy on change RIGHT NOW. Anything that feels unsatisfactory can and will be changed through your motivation and effort into your unique awesome vision.

Embrace the message these clients have shared that addressing issues before all the fun is gone is truly easier. Notice I didn’t say easy, I said easier. There is certainly a resistance to facing up to the challenge of an unsatisfactory sexual life or relationship, but you are stronger than that resistance. You absolutely deserve all the satisfaction, fulfillment and fun you can create. Take the heartfelt guidance of so many of my clients: Make change now.

Your erotic life and relationships are fundamental facets of your life and holistically impact all other facets of your life. Moving toward a fulfillment is this area of your life is no different than any other efforts toward proactive change in other realms. The more fulfilled you are in your family life or professional life or in your relationships, recreation or health, the more fulfilled you feel overall.

This overall feeling of fulfillment includes your existence as a sexual being. Fracturing off this facet of who you are as not worthy of energy and attention will manifest as inhibiting your overall fulfillment. Just as you deserve your best self in every other facet of your life, you deserve your best self as a sexual being whatever that means for you.

Honor those who have returned from rock bottom with the wisdom: “We wish we would have talked about this years ago when it was still fun.” Talk about sex. Create solutions. Give yourself permission for pleasure. Explore your body. Laugh a lot. Learn something new all the time. Be sexy. Celebrate your body. Find your satisfaction. Overcome the resistance. Reach for your fulfillment. Allow the expansion of your comfort zone to affect every facet of your being. Most of all: Make it fun!

 

 

It’s Time for You to Go ALL IN.

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

Likely everyday you live your life browsing the news or Facebook you run across an article in mainstream media about “how to keep your marriage/relationship alive/strong/happy, et cetera.” It is clearly a question with a lot of emotional gravity and media traction or the bombardment would cease.

Occasionally these articles will hit the mark with useful advice, like learn new, exciting things together, or commit to focused time for the relationship. There are wonderful and diverse awesome things you can do to maximize the fulfillment you feel in your relationship. And you can do them, every single one. I encourage you to spend as much time and energy on your relationship as you can muster.

There is one component missing from these relationship how-to’s that fundamentally determines whether or not all of the ‘doing’ in the name of a healthy relationship actually gets you to your vision.

Ask yourself the question: “Am I all in?” And encourage your partner do the same.

If you are not committed with two feet firmly planted, come hell or high water wanting the best for you and your partner, the fulfillment you enjoy from your relationship will be incomplete. Your relationship is no different from any other life endeavor in that respect. You get out what you put in.

That means that if you are on date night, but wishing you were at girls’ night, it is important for you to examine what is holding you back from being all in in your relationship. There are so many different reasons for withholding your complete and total self: insecurity, doubt, lack of trust, sometimes busyness, resentment, or perceived lack of reciprocity.

The radical truth is that the only way you will experience your partner being all in is if you are all in. You must risk being truly there in the moment ready to openly receive all the love, trust and energy they have to offer and receive it at face value. Face value communication has a foundation in deep trust and requires that you hold the vision you are each other’s strongest advocate.

The most efficient strategy to be fully open to receiving that connection is to first be giving that connection as generously and honestly as you can. The more you hold back for risk of feeling vulnerable, the more you activate that instinct in your partner.

Of course, in relationships each partner must be all in for the relationship to meet its potential. Without being all in, the circular pattern of withdrawing for self-protection leads to the other doing the same, which creates distance and disconnection. The risk to be vulnerable with your partner is still just that, a risk. But the reward for sharing face value communication and constant generous energy is the possibility that your partner will respond in kind.

Waiting for your partner to take that risk first is a strategy, but the liabilities are great. We only control our own behavior and the longer we remain disconnected the more challenging it is to regain the connection.

The challenge with risk is always that the response you receive from your partner may not be the response you were hoping to receive. It is important to acknowledge that engaging the feedback loop feeds you information in the form of your partner’s responses that can guide how you wish to tweak your own behavior. Recognize that relational habit pattern changes often take longer than you’d expect, so first be patient and voice your needs. If after a stretch of communication and intentional focus on connection goes unreceived, the guidance of an objective helping professional can identify additional strategies for individual and relational proactive change.

Fundamentally, if the individuals involved truly want the relationship to be as fulfilling as it can be, with intentional focus it will be so. The most meaningful way to honor your relationship is to take the risk and go all in. Take this moment to decide your relationship is worth the risk of being vulnerable and of giving all of your self. If you find resistance in that sentiment, banish the judgment and ‘shoulds’ and move directly to solution-creation. Examine the source of the resistance, vow to tackle it and choose to honor yourself and your partner by pushing your edge and going all in. You deserve every bit of the fulfillment it will bring.

The Choice To Be Whole

Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

Take a moment while you are reading this and experience your body. Breathe deeply. Focus your mental energy on each of your body’s parts: face, shoulders, hips, legs, feet, arms, hands…

Now choose a body part. How about your right arm? Let’s go with it. Now imagine you’re your right arm just didn’t exist in your mind. Physically, it is still there, you just simply ignore it. You don’t acknowledge it. You don’t care for it. You certainly don’t use it. It simply lies dormant and neglected.

It does actually exist and function. You could choose to embrace it, but you don’t. You move about the world only using your left arm. And there hangs the other, by your own choice, unused and neglected. Untapped potential that could make your life easier, more fun and could make you more effective in almost everything you do in every moment. Still you choose to neglect it.

You could embrace the whole you, but something is holding you back. Perhaps it’s a cultural message that your right arm should only be used behind closed doors with the shades drawn. Perhaps everyone is your family never used their right arms, so that is what you were taught. That was your normal, your healthy. Perhaps when you went to church, the message you always heard was that anytime you use your right arm you are offending your higher power.

So it only makes sense that you accept the fact that using your right arm is just not okay, even though when no one is looking, you actually do tasks with both arms. And it feels so good, and right and balanced. Using your right arm makes you feel whole and complete and powerful. You know why? Because it is good and right and balanced…and embracing that part of you along with all of the rest of your amazingness does in fact make you whole and complete and powerful.

The mind blowing part of all of this is that despite all the pressure to the contrary, you can ALWAYS CHOOSE anytime you want to throw off all of those other influences and believe in the power of your holistic self, embracing of every facet of your being. That feeling of wholeness and power is available to you whenever you choose.

Is it a challenge to make a different choice than your family, your community and your culture? Yes, absolutely. Sometimes it is exhausting to constantly have to swim against the current. But I have something to offer you. You are not alone.

There are others in the world who have embraced their wholeness and power and believe that every facet of our being deserves to be honored and integrated. You have the power to surround yourself with the support of sex positive community. Those who are sex positive believe neglecting your erotic self is as absurd and random as neglecting your right arm.

You deserve to exist as the amazing, powerful whole person that you are, including integrating your erotic self into your existence every moment. If you don’t, you are not embracing your truest self and your greatest potential.

If, as you read this you are experiencing resistance or discomfort…excellent. Embrace that. Examine that resistance. Swim in that discomfort. Gather the wisdom in it. You know in your core that randomly choosing a facet of yourself to neglect makes no sense. In fact, it creates dissonance and saps your energy.

You can look that resistance, discomfort or fear in the eye and realize by allowing your erotic self to remain splintered from the rest, you are not whole. By going to that edge and taking on your fear, you can embrace your wholeness, reach your potential and live your richest, juiciest, most fun life!

Surround yourself with those who look that fear in the eye everyday, those who have experienced the freedom in embracing their erotic selves in all their diverse and delicious glory! There is a place for you. You deserve to be whole.

Vines Intertwined

Posted by on Sep 20, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

A number of friends and clients recently shared with me that, after learning that my partner and I go out on regular date nights, they began making date night part of their schedules as well. What a happy occurrence! It makes me smile to know that these couples are out chatting over dinner and enjoying each other instigated by my partner and I enjoying a regular date night.

With that said, I thought it worthy of taking this opportunity to share some food for thought about why fun habits like date night are not an indulgence, but a necessity.

Before we hone in on our personal experience as partners, a broad sociological perspective sheds some light on the state of committed partnerships as a whole. We regularly hear such phrases as the “decline of marriage” or “soaring divorce rates” on the news and in popular culture. As a coach, I am less interested in the institutional or political concerns and more interested in the individual’s experience of happiness and fulfillment in her or his chosen partnership. However, some studies do bear sharing.

According to a study published in 1998, only one-third of marriages were rated “happy” by the partners and intact after 16 years. Other longitudinal studies demonstrate that generally the longer we are married, the less happy we are in our marriage. Research on other types of committed partnerships beyond heterosexual marriage is sparse, but other sociological research, including that of Dr. Helen Fisher, points to a phenomenon of waning attraction between partners as time goes on. With the research about the happiness of individuals in long-term committed partnerships indicating a bleak future for those of us who are partnered or looking to be partnered long-term, what is a happiness-seeking, fun-loving dyad to do!?

At least part of the answer may be as simple as a regular date night. I can’t avoid saying it: “Couples who play together, stay together.” Who hasn’t yet heard this pop culture mantra? After a collective eye roll in response to the painful word crafting of said cliché, let’s take some time and explore why the phenomenon exists, the truth of the concept, and, if it does indeed exist, what keeps us from employing this ultimately fun strategy for keeping our relationship fresh?

For the factual foundation to this phenomenon and proposed solution, I again highlight Dr. Helen Fisher’s research. In her book, Why We Love, Dr. Fisher demonstrates the phenomenon that early in relationships we produce increased neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. This happy biochemical occurrence leads us to feel increased motivation along with a boost to our mood and libido. Over time, the level of production decreases and lends to the phenomenon of “settling down” comfortably into a rut.

Research shows, and continues to show, that couples that engage in active and new experiences together are happier over the long-term. It seems as though combating the urge to settle down and resisting falling into that rut are wise moves on the part of the motivated couple.

Now, let me be clear, that doesn’t mean that date night should be at the same restaurant, at the same time every week, ordering the same things and talking about the same subjects. The research suggests that we schedule time to enjoy activities as a couple that are new, novel, active and fun. This includes activities that you may each deem a bit risky. Risky in the sense that they land you out of your comfort zone into the place of growth. Activities that push your edge. Now I am not suggesting that you run right out and schedule your first skydiving tour, but you should explore some activities that broaden each of your horizons.

I propose the concept of collaborative evolution. Collaborative evolution has many facets and playing together addresses a number of them. As I have shared before, we are all constantly changing and evolving personally. With clients, I enjoy regularly singing the praises of curiosity and the importance of regularly looking within.

Collaborative evolution is the idea that we take each other along on our journeys of personal evolution. This doesn’t mean you have to do all the same things and love all of the same activities, but it does mean you are open to different experiences, especially the ones your partner is passionate about! As we remain curious about one another, we maximize the opportunity to grow together, to evolve collaboratively, like vines each growing separately yet intertwined.

You don’t have to call it anything special. You just have to do it! The reality is most of us don’t do it for the most avoidable reasons: lack of planning, the excuse of being overscheduled, simply not making your relationship a priority. Well, research has shown us a fun solution to increasing our happiness as couples, now it is up to you to make it happen!

Here are some practical tips:

  • Agree with your partner that regular dates are a priority.
  • Set at least three dates immediately.
  • Keep up with scheduling. Always have a date to anticipate!
  • Vary your activities. Perhaps you alternate between each other’s suggested activities.
  • Keep in mind there is no need to break the bank! Be creative. There are many activities that don’t cost a cent.
  • Be open-minded and have fun with it!

Some suggestions:

  • Bike together.
  • Cook something new together and feed each other spicy bites over dinner.
  • Learn a new language together.
  • Play a new game together.
  • Hike and explore together.
  • Plan a vacation together to a new destination for both of you.
  • Go dancing.
  • See a comedy show.

Whether you call it collaborative evolution or “date night,” the most important thing is to make it happen! Enjoy each other. Prioritize fun. Enjoy your next date night. Your relationship deserves it!

The Delicious Irony of Denying Our Culture of Self-Denial

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

There’s this scene from the movie “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” where the two lead characters, played by Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo, are sitting in a café having coffee and dessert. Janeane inquires whether Uma is going to eat the dessert still sitting in front of her. Uma replies, “ Oh no! I just order. I loooove ordering, but I don’t actually get to eat it.” As a model, Uma’s character lives this constant self-denial to keep her figure.

This humorous and superficial example is an illustration of a greater thread of self-denial that weaves through American culture. Finding its roots in the Protestant or Puritan work ethic, the concept of self-denial in American culture has escaped the contemporary counter current of the need for instant gratification. We live so steeped in this all-work, no-play, abstinence-only, rationed-pleasure culture, it is hard to recognize its effects on our behavior.

One way I perceive myself, and women as a whole if I may generalize, internalizing this culture of self-denial is through the compromised ability to experience pleasure.

We spend so much time pursuing “bikini bodies” by saying no to dessert or that glass of wine pursuing a false ideal female image. (A topic for a number of later blogs, I guarantee!) We are accustomed to sacrificing for our families happily willing to be the last in line to get what we need – whether that is sleep, time for our personal priorities or just a moment to be still for a while.

The effect of these accumulated life experiences creates a tainted ability to enjoy pleasure: “Good evening, ma’am. Tonight we are serving a gorgeous death by chocolate flourless cake with a heaping side of guilt. We hope you sort of enjoy it now and mentally flog yourself mercilessly later. Bon appetit!”

Reflect on your own experience: even when you have been offered a break, a decadent dessert, a play date for your kiddos, the chance to get a workout or head to the spa with friends or someone else to cook dinner for the night, are you able to graciously accept and revel in the pleasure of the experience? If you are, fantastic! If not, then we should practice reveling in pleasure. Don’t you think?

Before we dive into some practical ways to revel, let’s explore the concept of pleasure simply for the enjoyment of it.

Merriam-Webster.com tells us that pleasure is: 1. desire or inclination, 2. a state of gratification, 3. sensual gratification, 4. frivolous amusement, and 5. a source of delight or joy. Wow! It all sounds fabulous to me!

Of course, Freud gave us the pleasure principle as did Janet Jackson. Although Freud juxtaposed his pleasure principle with the reality principle making it clear that those of us who have matured should be able to delay our gratification in deference to reason and reality. Even given the reality principle, Freud’s pleasure principle advances the notion that we humans all seek pleasure and avoid pain.

A number philosophical theories, including utilitarianism and hedonism, take up pleasure as a measured end by which our means are tested as right or moral. In other words, maximizing pleasure is a good thing. Of course, philosophers over time have quibbled over what pleasure is better pleasure and what are the consequences on others of maximizing one’s own pleasure. To maximize my pleasure right now, I leave the quibbling to the philosophers.

So etymologically and philosophically, we have a handle on pleasure. How about physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually? The reality is experiencing pleasure is an integral part of our life balance. With the challenges comes pleasure, with the 1’s come the 10’s. After enduring the challenges that are a part of life’s balance, you deserve wholehearted, untainted pleasure! Herein lies your mission if you choose to accept it.

Practice being mindful of seeking, or at least simply accepting pleasure, this weekend (. . . or this week or month. Hopefully, it becomes a trend and a habit!) Here are some suggestions:

  • Order dessert with abandon and eat every bite.
  • Get an extra long workout doing something you love to do.
  • Enjoy an uninterrupted shower or bath and be mindful of the glorious feeling of the water.
  • Sit quietly outside and experience the sacredness of nature and your place in it.
  • Read a stimulating book or article and ponder and discuss its meaning.
  • Head to bed early or spend extra time in the morning in bed with your partner and revel in each other.
  • Make or listen to spectacular music.
  • Your pleasure-filled experience of choice here.

After each and every pleasure-filled experience, reflect upon your ability to receive and experience pleasure. Cultivate and foster that ability by receiving pleasure and denying guilt. This is not a weekend-warrior type of mission. Attempt to be mindful in the moment of the little pleasures and fully accept the big pleasures that come your way. Remind yourself that you deserve it. Revel in the irony of denying our culture of self-denial! I raise my wine glass to you. Cheers!

The Beautiful Gift of Touch

Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

Looking at the calendar to do some planning is always bittersweet for me. My partner travels regularly for work and so we often spend time apart. So when I am trying to look ahead to schedule clients, plan childcare for work and arrange our social time I always see the next time my partner will be away. Fortunately, he is passionate about his profession. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to be apart.

Some Jetsons-like modern conveniences such as FaceTime, texting and Skype have made his time away much more tolerable for me. I’m able to see him while I talk to him (as are our kiddos) as well as text him little snippets while he is away so when he returns we don’t have to spend time catching up. For these opportunities, I am grateful.

There is most certainly one crucial element missing from these interactions however: touch. Over the last few months I have been reminded randomly yet regularly about the importance of touch.

Despite the enhanced ways to stay connected while he’s away and despite the fact that we don’t have to catch up on life details upon his return, I still experience a profound void during his absence. Of course touch includes sexual and erotic touch, but the touch deficit I experience most deeply is the casual, affectionate touch that we share without thinking while together. I’ve reflected upon why I experience loneliness despite all the connection while he’s away and I have come to the conclusion the reason is the absence of his touch.

There is a significant amount of research and focus about the effects of touch on wellness. It does speak to me, but what opens my eyes more is personal mindfulness about my own touch deficit. I realize now that often my general unease or specific crankiness can be diffused with some loving touch. Knowing this about myself, I have applied it to my partner and children. We make a conscious effort to cuddle and hug and hold hands within the context of our family life.

Through that mindfulness, I have also observed the general touch-phobia within our culture. I have always been a ‘hugger’ and have been mildly surprised by friends who are not ‘huggers’. I certainly do not judge them for their desire for the integrity of their personal space. I am respectful and recognize the need to tread lightly and give people space. We all react differently to touch, especially from casual friends.

Within a more intimate context with partners, I believe it does take a focused effort to establish robust habits for healthy, affectionate touch. We should be touching for touch’s sake, not load it with expectations or withhold it only for erotic play. Touch facilitates intimacy and closeness and cultivates connection. We shouldn’t wait until the perfect time for a hug or to hold hands. Every moment you are together is the perfect time to connect with your partner through touch.

I always do my best to find the silver lining in challenge. I won’t say that regularly spending a significant amount of time away from my partner is easy. It is a challenge. I will say that the silver lining is the fact that when we are together, I don’t miss an opportunity to hug him, hold his hand and cuddle close on the couch. I have to get my fill of touch before he is off on another adventure.

I heartily encourage you to cultivate habits of mindful, affection touch with your partners. Discover for yourselves the connectedness and other beautiful benefits of touch.

 

First published at magazine.goodvibes.com

Laughter in the Bedroom: Creating an “Us” Experience

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

This weekend I enjoyed the chance to introduce what I do professionally to some friends I haven’t seen in awhile. As we all were catching up about what keeps us busy these days my answer of “couple’s coaching” elicited the question, “You mean you talk about sex with people?” My answer? Not always, but pretty regularly, sex is a focus. That touched off the usual curious response including questions like what are the typical concerns of clients and the many ways of asking: “What is normal?”

One thing did strike me as particularly interesting as we bobbed and weaved through the many different conversation tangents. As we were discussing my recommendations to the typical couple, I mentioned that I encourage couples to do a lot of laughing in the bedroom. My friends balked. Laughing they got…in the bedroom? Not so much.

My statement of “if you aren’t laughing together occasionally, you need to branch out” resulted in quizzical looks and even more questions. After sharing my perspective with friends, it dawned on me that perhaps this is a perspective I should share a bit wider; if only to result in even more quizzical looks, but hopefully to inspire a bit of laugh-inducing mischief in your bedroom.

Culturally, we all suffer from the perception that sex is a goal-oriented activity, for some simply a task. Some people have arrived at that perception through experiencing shame around their sexuality. It is difficult, or perhaps impossible, to truly find joy while experiencing shame.

Even when people have moved away from or banished shame, they still hold on to the perception that sex is an activity that doesn’t require practice. It is a natural act that should, well, come naturally. In fact, nothing is farther from the truth. Becoming a skilled lover requires time, patience, sensitivity, focused attention and a willing partner.

As we have all experienced when we are learning new skills, like perhaps roller skating, the first attempts often end with a fall. To learn, we get up again and keep trying. And during the process, the best way to maintain our momentum for learning is to have a sense of humor. Furrowing our brow and brooding about setbacks makes the learning more serious and challenging than it should be. The same goes for becoming acquainted with the nuanced tastes of your partners during sex.

Skating forward in a straight line is fun, but isn’t skating backward or learning to spin just that much more exciting? To learn those things you have to take some risks. And doing that learning with a partner adds another element of variation and complexity. Often it feels uncomfortable to not quite hit the mark when someone else is involved. It is still totally worth the risk. You have to just go for it and know you might fall. It is a natural part of all learning. When that happens, having a sense of humor and sharing a giggle or full out laughing fit together cultivates trust and intimacy in a way that shy brooding never will.

Leaving room for humor when exploring together lets you off the hook. It diffuses tension and seriousness where neither is useful or necessary. Building trust and intimacy through sharing levity allows you to create an “us” experience. It isn’t laughing at or about what one partner may be doing or trying, it is about the shared experience and the emotions and opinions about that experience. A bedroom-based esprit de corps, if you will. Cultivating that sentiment of an “us” experience through laughing together is powerful and transforming.

Expanding your erotic repertoire has its risks, but when paired with the allowance for laughter in the bedroom it becomes a joyful and mischievous adventure. Lace up your skates, grab your partner’s hand and give that spin a try. When it doesn’t go as planned the first time, your partner is there to catch you and your shared laughter will cushion you both.

Originally published at magazine.goodvibes.com (http://s.tt/13usj)

Own your power!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2013 in Thoughts From The Edge | 0 comments

own your power