From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I am 45 years old and have been single for 8 years since my marriage ended – I’ve been so busy raising my two kids and working it wasn’t really an issue. But now I want back in the dating game. I hate the fact that if I died tomorrow my ex-husband would be my last sexual partner. Question is… how on earth do I do it? Dating sites just don't do it for me, they seem too risky. I don’t have any physical issues, but I’m aware my body isn’t what it used to be. So how do I get my confidence back? I’m not necessarily looking for a relationship - just some action!
The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!
I’m sitting in bed writing this, having just had breakfast in bed brought to me by my wonderful lover. It was just a cup of tea and toast, nothing flash, but what a difference it’s making to my day! It’s a small thing, but it’s a significant thing.
It’s the sum of these small things that set the quality of your relationship. Equally, it’s the sum of small neglects that stultify a relationship, flat-lining it. When a relationship flat-lines, there’s generally not a lot of sexual desire.
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "My husband and I don't 'make love' any more, we seem to just get it over with. We've been married for 15 years and are pretty happy, all things considered. But we both work, and we have two young kids (both under 10), so there's not really much time or energy left over for a raging sex life. I don't necessarily want 'firework-sex' all the time, but I do hope we can get back to being more tender, more connected, and yes, do more cuddling afterwards! Where do we start?" read more...
If you want to be healthy you know there are some basic things you need – like regular exercise and the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Without these, you’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s the same with relating well, there are some basic things you need every day to stay loved-up and connected. Let’s call these ‘vitamins for your relationship’. These practices will help keep your Couple Bubble strong. Without them you’re going to be pretty wobbly as a couple.
Here are the two key ‘relationship vitamins’ that I believe are vital, and that I prescribe for all my clients: one that you ‘take’ four times a day and one that you ‘take’ once a day.
1: Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups
The first type of vitamin is what I call Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups. These are focused, brief connections when you meet and part. Usually these are at four critical points of the day: when you wake up, when you part in the morning, when you greet in the evening and when you go to sleep. (Obviously those times are different if you’re both at home or are shift workers, but the same principle applies.)
At these times you need to make sure you have a quality connection, even if it’s only for a few seconds. To do this you:
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get bored and boring, in all aspects of our relationship, including sexually, we become a slave to our preconditioning.
There is so much pressure on penises. The poor things are supposed to rise to attention on command, stay hard for hours, only ejaculate when desired - and if they can’t do that, then the sex is considered poor, he has 'failed'.
A client of mine who'd done my Blackbelt in the Bedroom seminar for men said that afterwards he had the best sex ever.
He said: “I applied everything you taught us. I made every stroke count. It was unbelievable!”
I often say that all the dysfunctions we have around sex are more to do with society's dysfunctional model of sex, rather than the people doing it. I've written elsewhere how the model of 'normal' sex is based on solo masturbation rather than partnered love-making. This makes it structured and linear, with success measured by action and performance, rather than being free-flowing and non-linear, with success measured by feeling and connectedness.
Since 'sex' is seen as having key KPIs of penis-in-vagina activity (god only knows what lesbians do) with requisite orgasms, all of which happens in a set linear way, it means that out of fear/awkwardness/confusion/distaste people avoid any kind of love-making or even affection so as avoid what they see as ‘sex’ - and then feel really bad about not having sex!
It’s a bit of a catch-22 type of situation.
As I pointed out to a client caught in this dilemma on her first visit recently: you can make love with just a kiss. When she returned on her next visit she looked quite different.
“So how have the last two weeks been,” I asked, my standard first question. read more...
So many people who come to me are wanting more from their sexuality, but are at a loss as to what that ‘more’ might be.
These people might already have done their own research or seen other professional helpers. They've made sure their genitals are functioning, have given themselves permission to try different sexual activities, learned the importance of consent – and yes, these are all important parts of a healthy sex life – yet something is still missing…
The answer to the ‘more’ in sex is not a doing more, it’s a being more.
It is about moving away from sex as an ‘act’ or a ‘performance’ and engaging with another with openness and transparency. Rather than ‘doing’ each other or ‘getting each other off’, it’s about both surrendering to the experience. When two people engage in this way you are allowing yourself to explore, express and be known at the deepest levels of your being. read more...
So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love. Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.
This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’ companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going? read more...
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