A little slap and tickle

When one thinks of S&M, invariably the image conjured up includes black leather, a flogger, and someone looking incredibly pissed off.  The truth of it is, if you’ve ever played with food products during sex or tied a lover up, you’ve indulged in, *gasp* kinky sex.

There is nothing wrong with a bit of slap and tickle, as long as it’s consensual.  (If it’s not consensual – get out immediately.)  So how do you start?

  1. Talk to your partner ahead of time.  While some guys may think it’s cool to come home to find you in skin-tight leather with a mad hankering to paddle him, there’s a good chance that he may not.  Communication is key.  Talk to him about what you want to do (or what you want done to you) and exactly how far you want it to go.  Remember, it’s better to leave a bit more to be discovered than to go too far.  You can’t unring a bell.
  2. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, make an outline (no seriously – who wants to be naked, tied up, and their partner is standing there wondering what to do next).   Figure out what you want to wear and what you want to do when (first tease, then spank, last sex).  If there is a technique that you are unfamiliar with – learn it.  There are books and seminars to teach you what you want to know.  Then practice, practice, practice.
  3. Consider safety!  Use a safeword (safeword = word the submissive partner uses to stop the action).  Get trained in CPR/First Aid.  Keep safety gear within easy reach (i.e., if you’re tying someone up, make sure you have scissors to cut the rope quickly).  Be realistic about your plans (like if your partner has a history of heart/lung ailments, perhaps the hog tie is not the best option).
  4. Expect reality to be different from your plan.  You may think, one thousand lashes, but can your partner really handle it?  can your arm handle it?  Mistakes will happen.  Bruises will happen.  Some things won’t be nearly as cool as you had intended.  You need to forgive, be forgiven, and move forward.
  5. Mostly, have fun because if it isn’t fun, why are you doing it?
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Direct from my desk – week 39

Earlier this week I was having dinner with some friends and the conversation turned to my blog, specifically the Spank the monkey post.  After a brief discussion where I assured one specific friend that I was not writing an x-rated blog, I mentioned that some women feel that masturbation is cheating on the relationship.  His response was an incredulous, “They do??”

Ladies – we must have the courage to start some uncomfortable conversations.  Maybe we’re shy or can’t find the right time.  Many times we prefer to not rock the boat.  Or we believe that our significant other will magically be able to read our minds.  None of these excuses are going to get you and your partner where you need to be.

Part of the bedrock of a solid relationship is active communication.  Learning to communicate is not easy but marshal your resources – read books, take classes, practice with your loved ones.  You can do this, I have faith in you.

Me Tarzan, You Jane

When you start a conversation on your sex life with your partner, don’t be surprised if he has a few ideas of his own.  A common suggestion may be role play.  Before you reject it out-of-hand, give him a moment to explain what he’s thinking.  He’s probably thinking of something far less complicated than a three-act Broadway show.

If you feel yourself resisting it, ask yourself why.  Yes, it may seem a little silly or even a bit corny but hey, if it works, why not?  Try to suspend your inhibitions – no one is seeing this but you and him and I can guarantee you that he’s not going to be at the watercooler the next morning with a story that starts with, “So I’m in a loincloth, role playing with my wife…”

Start small.  Take those fantasies that you discussed and try to make one come true.  Start with words, each of you pick a role and stay in character.  If you’re comfortable with that, amp it up a bit with some costuming (Halloween is coming up -now is the time to get inexpensive costumes on every street corner).  If and when that starts feeling okay, take it outside – but do not involve innocent by-standers (don’t hit on strangers in bars, don’t stage a mock kidnapping, etc.).  Keep in mind that if it can go wrong, it probably will – so play safe kids.

Talk slightly politically incorrect to me

Happily, we’re no longer in a society where it’s okay to club your wife over the head and drag her back to your cave but have we gone too far in the opposite direction?  Consider it, as females, we’ve always had that nagging little voice in the back of head that says, “don’t swear it’s not ladylike,” or “if you speak like that men will think you’re easy.”  However now we have men too afraid to say anything remotely politically incorrect, even in the bedroom.

All this politically correctness makes it difficult to talk dirty.  “I’d love to touch your ladyparts, if you’re okay with that.”  Uhm, no, not sexy.

So make a rule with your partner that it’s okay to be a little blue in the bedroom. Despite giving him permission, you may have to help him a bit by starting first.  Remember, a lot of guys have been so caught up in “never say x, y, or z,” that it may take a little bit of effort to shake them loose.

An easy way to start?  Share your fantasies.  Obviously this isn’t something that you do over dinner, this is pillow talk.  So turn off the lights, get comfortable, and bravely put yourself out there.

Take it out of the bedroom – send him a spicy text message (on his private account, not his work account) or whisper a little something in his ear on the walk into the restaurant.  No, your life shouldn’t revolve around your sex life but your sex life shouldn’t revolve around your life.

Now, the caveats:  Give him a list of words that should never ever pass his lips under any circumstances.  Don’t involve others (colleagues, waiters, passers-by), keep it private.  Make it fun – working on your sex life should feel like anything but work.

Pornography – the good, the bad, and the indifferent

Love it or hate it, pornography exists.  Side-stepping the legal and moral arguments surrounding pornography, men, on the whole, seem to have a use for it.  (Face it, if there wasn’t a market for it, it wouldn’t exist.)

Men and women physically view pornography differently.  For women, the viewpoints range from disgust to interest to indifference because women tend to want a story.  Men, as we’ve already discussed, tend to think in images (at least on this particular topic) so pornography fills a McSex need.

So what should you do if you wake up in the middle of the night to find your significant other watching porn?  You have the right to be angry that he’s withholding something from you, however, reacting with anger or shame will not get you to your goal.  Use this as an opportunity to open up a discussion on pornography, what he’s been watching, what he likes, why he likes it (this one may not be easy for him to answer), etc.  You will probably hear some things that don’t thrill you however try to keep an open mind.  It may help to have this conversation in front of a counselor who can help mediate a potentially volatile discussion.

While I would normally counsel people to try to incorporate their partner’s interests into their sex life, I understand that this may be a difficult one.  Do the best you can with it without moving so far out of your comfort zone that you’re actually damaging the relationship.  Be as understanding as you can be.

Of course you should be aware of potential red flags – illegal pornography (children, animals, etc.), pornography addiction (hard for a lay person to diagnose, take it to a counselor), pornography interfering with “normal” life (unable to perform with it, affecting work, family, etc.), and an interest in anti-female pornography (BDSM pornography is one thing, anti-female pornography is quite another).

Spank the monkey

Okay ladies, I’m going to share a secret with you:  guys masturbate.

No matter your personal feelings on the issue, you’re just going to have to accept this little fact of life and move forward. It’s not dirty.  It’s not personal.  It’s not contrary to being in a relationship.  It simply is and unless it’s impeding your sex life, it’s nothing to be concerned about.  (If it is hurting your sex life, please seek counseling as a couple.)

So let me explain how guys masturbate, at least how it was explained to me.  They’re not giving themselves a storyline surrounding a specific person.  It’s a bit more like ADD – pictures frantically flitting through their heads, not really able to attach to one image for any measurable amount of time.  The action (both mental and physical) is rapid and to the point.  It’s over within a few minutes.  The whole process is efficient and unemotional.

Why do guys masturbate if there’s a woman around?  Honestly, it’s McSex.  It’s a form of quick relief without having to consider the feelings of someone else.  (Think about it – would you really want a guy to go from start to finish with you in under two minutes?)

Why do guys lie about it or hide it?  Generally because they’ve been told that they need to hide it/lie about it from the moment they discovered it.  Those guys that say that they don’t masturbate?  They’re lying.  With few exceptions, men masturbate.  A wise woman will make this work for her.

What should I do about it? At the very least, let your partner know that you are okay with his masturbation.  If you want to go a step further, incorporate it into your sex life.  Whatever you do, do not make him feel bad about it or you’ll push it underground and this will cause a fissure in the bedrock of your relationship.

Do not fake it til you make it

It’s tempting to fake an orgasm.  After all, it suits a need and who is going to know?  You will and you’re cheating yourself!

First, find out if the problem is you.  Do you know what you like?  Do you know how to bring yourself to orgasm?  Do you know how to articulate it in a way that’s comfortable for you?  If you answered “no” then you have a bit of research to do.  Don’t feel awkward about it, the latest research indicates that orgasms can increase your life span.  Even if they can’t, they will make for more satisfying life.

Men, contrary to what we’ve heard, do not need to be coddled into thinking they’re a sexgod.  They’re big boys (they better be if you’re having sex with them!) and they can handle the truth.  I wouldn’t hold up a score-card or give feedback like, “well that isn’t going to work,” but you can address it honestly and kindly.

  1. Reassure him that you like your sex life just fine and that it’s not a problem with him.  Men, rightly or wrongly, feel it’s their duty to make you orgasm.
  2. If you’ve faked it in the past, apologize for your dishonesty and be prepared for him to feel betrayed – that’s something that you’ll have to make up to him.
  3. Tell him that you want to experiment (men seem to love this word just don’t get freaked out if he has a few suggestions of his own – deal with them as kindly as you can).
  4. Gently coach him on how to bring you to orgasm.  Do NOT get frustrated and give up – this won’t help either of you.
  5. You may need to enlist the help of a sex therapist (it’s surprisingly more common than you’d think).

Not tonight dear, I have a headache

“Never turn your husband down for sex or he’ll look elsewhere.”  “Lie back and think of England.”  “Never criticize his performance.”  For years women were fed ridiculous lines like this when it came to dealing with their husbands and sex.  While I’m sure the advisers had the advisee’s best interests at heart, it encourages women not to be authentic in their relationship with their husband.

Feel free to disregard all the bad advice you’ve ever been given about sex and start fresh.  Take a good long look at your attitude toward sex and how it impacts your relationships.  A healthy sex life is essential for a healthy relationship.  Now, I’m not saying that you have to have Olympic-level sex on a nightly basis – just a sexual relationship that is satisfying to both you and your partner.

Short dry spells are more common than you might think but a longer dry spell may have more serious effects on your relationships.  Men (insert sweeping generalization here) tend to associate the status of the sexual health of the relationship with the health of the relationship in total.  If you find yourself in a long dry spell, you may want to take a moment to check in with your partner to acknowledge the issue and embark on a discussion of the potential issues causing it.

You might find that you and your partner have differing libidos at various points in your life.  In fact, this would be entirely normal and is generally associated with hormones levels and/or the state of your mental health.  For both issues, I would encourage you to seek professional help in resolving the issue.  In all cases I would encourage some serious self-reflection regarding how you approach your sexuality as the knowledge can only enhance your life.

Direct from my desk – week 38

With any purchase, large or small, it’s tempting to keep up with the Joneses.  Do not fall into this trap!

You may find that you have one or more persons in your life that will be less-than-supportive about your purchases.  Your phone isn’t the newest model, your car isn’t big enough, your house is in the wrong neighborhood.  Pay no attention to them.  Invariably their disdain is masking their insecurities and they’re looking to put you down to make themselves feel better. Resist the temptation to strike back, merely remove them from your life.  If you can not remove them, insulate your life against them as much as possible.

More stuff will only complicate your life.  Buy only what you can comfortably afford.  There will always be a next best something but honestly, you don’t need it.  Advertising is based on creating a need and they create that need by convincing you that you’re not good enough just as you are. Figure out what you truly need (hint: it’s less than you think) and buy no more or no less.  No thing is ever worth your peace-of-mind.

Major purchases – house

For the vast majority of people, purchasing a home is a largest investment you’ll ever make so it’s important to do it right.

First you should do is figure out how much you can afford.  Hopefully you’ve been saving since you started working in anticipation of this day but don’t panic if you haven’t, look into alternate sources of funding such as monetary gifts and using a portion of your retirement fund (warning – you’ll have to pay it back).  Then figure out how much of a mortgage you can afford. It will probably be in the ballpark of 3x your annual salary however the sum of your mortgage plus related expenses (insurance, taxes, etc.) should really be no more than about 25% of your income.  This is realistic.  If you ask a bank, loan agent, etc they will give you a much higher number because, shocker, they get a percentage of the loan, the higher the loan = the higher their commission.  Never buy more home than you can afford.  It’s not sexy but you will be able to sleep at night.

Determine what your priorities are in a house and what you’re willing to compromise on.  Are you willing to have a longer daily commute in exchange for a larger house?  Can you put a little sweat equity into a property that perhaps isn’t perfect yet?  Trying to have it all will only lead to frustration.  Your first home will probably not be your last home.  The important thing is to get your foot onto the property ladder.  You can always start climbing later.

Hire professionals to worry for you.  Assemble a good team – real estate agent, accountant, banker, insurance agent, etc. and let them handle the details for you.  Keep a savings fund specifically for your house because emergencies will crop up and you’ll need to have the money to deal with them.  Finally, bloom where you’re planted and enjoy the peaks and valleys of home ownership.