May 2008


So I had an amazing event here last night. Tammy Nelson was here to do a talk about her new book Getting the Sex You Want and answer some questions. It was a great evening on many levels. Great turnout. Great speaker. And some validation that I somehow know what I’m talking about. But what I loved was the Q&A. I mean, of course, how could that not be fun?

Just when you thought the teenagers of my previous post had it made, this adorable youngin’ asks what happens when the sex gets dull? He’s having sex all the time but it’s not exactly, well, hot.

Ah, maintenance sex. I had this issue with a recent boyfriend. We went from hot to maintenance in about two months. And I can’t tell you how disappointing that was. Don’t get me wrong. Maintenance sex is better than no sex. Sex is mandatory in my book. It “maintains” the connection on its base level. So yes. It’s important. But I heard the kid loud and clear. And then I thought to myself, “Is maintenance sex overrated?”

The answer is NO. Not having sex is far worse than maintenance sex could ever become. But, yes, you have to shake it up — and on a regular basis. I’m not a big play out my fantasies kind of girl (can’t get that Puritanical CT thing out my system, I guess) but I talk about it all the time. I tell people to try it all the time. I sell plenty of books on it. But I realized last night that Fantasy doesn’t have to be fantastical! This is where Tammy came in and got me straight last night. A fantasy can be as small as “unbutton my blouse” or “lick my fingers.” It doesn’t have to be dress up or even role play. It can be(!), but it doesn’t have to be. And that was such a relief. Really. Trust me, given my line of work there’s a bit of pressure on this point. And you know what, it made me appreciate a good old, boring romp. But it also make me realize I am responsible for my own good sex. One man’s fantasy is one woman’s maintenance, I guess.

So keep up the good maintenance, people. And know that all those young, lusty couples may have nothing on you after all.

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So I had never heard this term before and I love it. It was used by a reader who was responding to my 13 Minutes entry. I think of it often, and it came up today with a customer who was buying herself a toy. She wanted to find just the right one to introduce to her husband to enhancing play. As she was describing what she was looking for and I gave her suggestions for ways to spice things up and then the dreaded “children” argument came up.

We started talking about sex in the time B.C. Ah the glory days. Easy access. No interruptions. It was taken for granted. But remember sex when you still lived at home with your parents. Regardless if you were having sex in the house or not, you found a way to get it done. And the adrenaline of almost getting caught was all part of the fun.

Making up excuses. Hiding behind bushes. Lying about what you were doing. Giggling behind close doors. How much fun was that? Plus, you risked getting in trouble! At least now you don’t need to worry about that. You just need to worry about explaining the whole beast with two backs thing to a three year old who will be scarred for life…

Really, what is with the melodrama here?! You were there first. Take control of your bedroom again. Don’t let your children dictate your sex life. I get the realities, what I don’t get is not even trying!

So pretend you’re a teenager again. Start dating! Have some fun. You were creative then. Nothing was going to stop you. Revel in the fun, the secrecy, the apprehension. Bring it on! And I promise, the sex will be better now than it was then! Well… it should be. But that’s a different blog.

So what is the line? When have you crossed it?

Is it the daily emails? Is it that first phone conversation? Is it the anticipation of your phone pinging you to tell you that you have a text?

Is it that first not so innocent touch at the bottom of your back? The first time you realize you shiver when you see him? Is it that first kiss? I don’t know. But my question is — whose boundary are you crossing? Yours. His. Or one that has been defined by our Puritanical history? What are you doing with the information? What does it mean?

I hear women are having affairs in record numbers these days. Is that different than before? No. I don’t think so. Women are just better at keeping those kinds of secrets, so we don’t hear about them. And in the land of anonymous Internet polling a new voice is being heard. Because our affairs (the ‘us’ of women) are coming from a place of deep wounds and healing. We’re discriminate. We’re honest with our feelings. We’re not pretending to be something we’re not. We are finding a healing. And that’s not bar talk. Our affairs aren’t bragging rights to be “understood” by our female cohort. It’s a dark hurt. That’s not a pass, it’s a truth.

To paraphrase a good friend, ‘the line of vulnerability gets thinner with each glass of wine.’ What’s a ‘girl’s night out’ after all? It’s a night to get shit out on the table. It might be shrouded in drink and revelry, but it’s all very raw. Very real. And you go home wondering.

So what is vulnerabililty for us? The need to be championed. The need to attended to. The need to feel again. The need to be appreciated. Is that different for men? On the outside yes. On the inside maybe not.

So what do I think? Men have affairs to get caught. Women have affairs to get found.

My answer — it’s your line. Cross it if you must. But make sure you like what (and who) is on the other side.

So, I’m still reading, and rereading, and rereading the cover story in the May 28th issue of New York Magazine, The Affairs of Men. This article is Philip Weiss’ journey into why men have affairs. The drive. The desire. The fear. Is it a need sexual variety? Conquest? Evolution? Male ego? Or just stupidity?

Look, I’m not naive about affairs and why they happen. I don’t even think they need to destroy marriages in some cases. But it does beg the question about what is going on when men literally fly in the face of fidelity, often with total denial of being caught in the most obvious of circumstances.

Though I am fascinated by this article and will begin to digest pieces of it, this was written like one long excuse which I found a bit indulgent on Wiess’ part. Needless to say, if I was Mrs. Weiss, I’d be keeping a sharp eye. I’d also not let his reassurances of “don’t worry, it was written to get readers” be taken with a grain (or 100 ) of salt. He did a little too much research, and was a little too innocent in his approach.

But all that aside, I think my brother Jonathan summed it up best for all your married folk: Think, don’t act. I say, reflect on what you need to do to fulfill your fantasies with your partner. Stop thinking about what’s wrong with your marriage and what you need to fix. Rather, get in a agreement with where you are and make it better. That speaks far more to your manhood (or womanhood) than being Client #9. I mean really, how humiliating.

Watch this space. More to come.

Can we talk about dating for a minute? It’s quite pertinent to me today as I enter into the Memorial Day Weekend, the start of summer fun, single. Now, to be clear, I don’t have an issue being single. I don’t feel “alone” or “unlovable.” I’m just not seeing anyone right now. But it does make me think I need to try harder to find my mate.

This conversation is doubled by the fact that I’m being filmed this evening for a documentary about single women and dating. During the pre-shoot interview they asked about my dating regimen (my word, not theirs) and I outlined all the usual suspects. Bars, online dating, and pressuring married friends, I mean, they “must know someone.”

All have been employed with similar success, or lack thereof. And here is my POV on what’s going on out there. It’s the land of the better deal. And we single folk are ALL guilty of it. There is no male of female skew here, as far as I know.

The Bar: What I find interesting about the bar scene these days is anyone will talk to anyone. People will join your conversation regardless of invitation. And this makes for a fun evening, and, depending on the make up of the conversation clutch, can increase your chances, or — better yet — give you options. However, no matter how great the person(s) you meet at the bar is — a cuter, sexier, blonder, richer (c’mon, be honest, this is Fairfield County) prospect could walk in at any moment. And they will be immediately added to the conversation if available. It’s fascinating. I’ve watched amazing feats of “joining” and “inviting.” However, this enmasse strategy can seriously backfire as everyone is having fun as a group, but can’t necessarily support the one-on-one. I feel, gravitate towards the one your most attracted to and stick. See if you handle :30 minutes at the bar alone. Better chances for success in my book. But, hey, I’m still single.

Online Dating: Don’t get me started here. eharmony delivered me 6 “perfect matches” PER DAY for over a year. Are you kidding me? And I don’t want to be unkind, but these were far from my perfect match, trust me. And I’m pretty open. And the rigor of getting to open communication is enough to make anyone go limp. And Match.com (or sex.com as many people now call it) is pretty much in full rotation mode if you’ve been on it for more than a year. I haven’t seen anyone new for over a year. (And God help you if you are new — fresh meat is an understatement.) I finally quit. I was just done. Men whom I had already written, letting them know I’m was not interested, came back. Do they think I’ve forgotten? Or do they think I’ve just gotten more desperate?

And what is up with people getting back online within minutes of getting back from a date? I’m guilty of this as well, but I’m checking to see if the guy is online — like this is some barometer of how well our date went. And, people, I’m not exaggerating, 95% of the time they’re there –at least have the courtesy to look under a pseudo-profile (like I did).

One more question, are there any manners left in the world? Why do people find it appropriate to go on a date or three and then disappear? Not EVEN an email. Again, please, I dated a guy 3 months from Match.com who broke up with me by email. Shocking. I don’t think this is a Match.com issue per say, but the online dating medium has created a whole new communications channel to hide behind. But email is only marginally better than texting as it relates to dating etiquette in my book. Be a man for heaven’s sake. What’s the worse that can happen? Really.

Married friends: Let’s face it. They’ll set you up with anyone. I’m convinced this is either to shut you up so you wont’ ask again or because they think you’re blind. Those are really the only two excuses I can imagine for what has shown up on my doorstep. Do they honestly believe the sole criteria of being single makes you compatible?

Maybe the rules of dating haven’t changed, maybe they’ve just become more transparent in the digital age. Maybe bars have become over crowded with singles and divorcees and the marrieds simply don’t have the time or energy to find you a perfect mate. But I guess all I’m asking for are some manners. Some common courtesy. Don’t look over my shoulder at every woman that passes, maybe just half. And at least email me a ‘thanks but not sure we’re a match.’ I can take rejection. I can’t take rudeness. And it’s not because the other person is a bad person, he’s just forgotten the rules of proper dating etiquette. Because people think they’re no longer required. God knows it’s easier to disappear, but be a stand up person. Who knows, even though we didn’t work out, I might know the perfect girl for you!

Cindy with her driverSo I played my first game of golf this weekend. Ever. Well, I played 9 holes. My good friend Cindy has been trying to get me out and I finally caved. Not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t want to be humiliated. However, Cindy and her friend were amazingly gentle and fun to play with. No pressure. Lots of swearing. And I got to play with a hot pink golf ball. (Mama Gena would be so proud.)

I’m not going to bore you with all the sexual innuendo. I could rail off on this sport. The grip, the stroke, the ball, the hole. I mean really, it’s endless. Clearly this entire sport was thought up by men. But I did want to talk about one rule you may not have heard about. It’s called the “Circle of Love.”

This nifty little rule allows you to get “close enough” and still get the stroke. I loved this rule. Not just because it was just a nice thing, and that it moves the game along, but it was such a great metaphor for life. You know what? Sometimes close enough is just as good as getting in the hole. What if we’d had that that rule when you had your first sexual experience? I remember thinking, somewhere around age 6, that sex happened in your belly button. I’m not even sure I knew I had a vagina, for goodness sake. And trust me, given the pain of my first sexuaThe Circle of Lovel experience, I would have preferred the belly button. But had I known about the Circle of Love, I probably would have been more ready to give the guy a Mulligan. Instead of being an uncomfortable situation, he would have been embraced in the Circle of Love. It would have been good enough, given the circumstances. What about now? We’re adults. We know it all. We’re supposed to expert lovers. But you know what? There are absolutely instances where the Circle of Love should apply.

  • You can’t get aroused. You know what? Cuddling is good enough.
  • Didn’t last as long as you wanted? You know what? You showed up. Good enough.
  • Didn’t get the foreplay you wanted? At least you were intimate. Good enough.
  • You didn’t lose the ten pounds before he saw you naked? Guess what, he thought you were hot anyway. Your body is good enough

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT talking about settling. I’m talking about realizing that getting it in the hole is not always the most important thing. It’s that you tried hard and got really, really close. And that definitely counts. So embrace the Circle of Love and give yourself a mulligan. Trust me, if you try really hard, it’s always good enough.

Truth time people. Going to bed in your man’s college t-shirt is not as sexy as you think. I’m sorry. I know he said you looked sexy in it. But think about it. What were the circumstances of that compliment? And how often have you heard it since? In my non-scientific poll of customers, they admitted to only hearing this once. And my gueNice t-shirt...ss is, they were probably in the kitchen, the man coming up from behind, all hot and bothered, when she heard those magic words, “Honey, you look so hot in my college t-shirt.” And then he promptly removed it. That, or you were 21.

Yes, in the right circumstance, it can be pretty damn sexy. Like, when you’re not wearing anything underneath it and doing a sexy little dance. But you and I both know you are wearing it with oversized flannels, socks and an oversized hoodie. I’m sorry. It’s not sexy. (And, yes, this applies to men as well.)

I get that it makes you feel young. It’s a throw back to your days of endless sex and fun in college. It’s a reminder of freedom and lack of responsibility. Fine. But, you know it says now? I’m old. I’m living off my glory days. Maybe he won’t notice my breasts have dropped. But worst of all it says, I don’t care.

I mean come on. Your average college t-shirt pajama ensemble basically says, “Don’t even think of having sex with me. I couldn’t be less interested.”

Am I exaggerating? Maybe (probably not). But you get my point. And here is my real question — how do you feel in this outfit? Honestly. And no, comfortable is not an acceptable answer. Do you see yourself as beautiful and desirable? Do you feel sexy? How do YOU feel? Do you feel like Keira Knightly? Not look like her, feel like her. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I’m not saying you need to dress up like a Victoria Secret model every night, but think about what you are saying to yourself and to the person who is in bed with you. To be sexy you have to feel sexy. You have to feel confident. And you have to want to look as beautiful as you feel. Make sure it’s soft to the touch. That it skims your body. That it shows your clavical and your shoulders. Show some skin ladies. Stop apologizing for your body and embrace.

Use the girlfriend litmus test. Stand in front of the mirror and say, “What would my girlfriend’s say?” If they say fine for a pajama party with your best friend or a night with Ben & Jerry on the couch — time to rethink your wardrobe. Love your body. Love your sensuality. Love your partner. And for God’s sake, look in the bloody mirror.

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