Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Notes from whatever the hell today is

Well, the packages of sex toys are traveling around the country to find their forever orifices, and some are already nestled in someone's butt or whatever, happily rumbling away fulfilling their life purposes. (There are still a few things left, but not much. If you want to see, email me and ask for access to the ever- shrinking Google doc.)

A dude got a box for his wife, including a Lelo Sona (good man), one guy got the Club Vibe 3.OH Hero after he'd killed another butt toy (admirable) and another reader, M, got the Lovelife Krush Smart Kegel Trainer to strengthen her nether regions. 

The delightful M wrote: "Yay! It's like winning the vagina lottery! My current partner will be pleased/horrified when I hands-free throttle his bishop in a few weeks (or months?) and I will think of you in a high-five way."

In a series of sentences of increasing awkwardness, as is my way, I replied to M with:
"You are super hilarious (okay, so far)
and I'm already a little in love with you. (um...)
will send out tomorrow. (a step towards acceptable discourse)
so enjoy your weak-ass, lax vagina while you can." (Dear God, self. WTF?) 

Anyway, lest you think my love was displaced, M kindly ignored my boorish vaginal dis (In the future, I probably wouldn't lead with this. Probably.) and sent me an actual postcard, like they did in the olden days:  "I would love to allow you to believe that I am as amusing as you seemed to think I was in my email, but the truth is that you caught me at a particularly good time. For some reason I tend to be more charismatic when I'm ovulating--creepy evolutionary catfishing?"

(This is a real thing! We are all evolutionary catfishers. See also Ovulation = Hormonal Beer Googles)

*****

You can hear me hurriedly reading my piece Drought on Antonia Hall's wholly delightful Experiments in Pleasure podcast, recorded when I sent my family on a ten-minute walk around the block. It's at the very end, like a David Sedaris/Sarah Vowell thing, if they were less funny and talked more about having sex with a bath spigot. 

Now, you. Tell me something interesting.*

xo
jill

*Unless it's super creepy**, then keep that @%@# to yourself.
**I reserve the sole right to determine creepiness, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Toys, Toys, Toys in the Cabinet

I can show you the world
As the writer of a sex blog that lots of people still read even though I only write a new post every 87 months or so, I have amassed a metric fuckton of sex toys. So many, in fact, that despite my valiant efforts, I've been unable to have sexual relations with all of them.

That's where you come in. Everything is completely insane right now AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED. Perhaps a toy or two would cheer you up? A brief respite of hedonism is a fine way to forget about the everything for a few blessed moments.

Here's a basic idea what I have busting out of my cabinet right now. (If you want more specs--and, oh, you do--I've put together everything I have in this Google Doc. Request to get added and I'll add your ass right away.)

So, without further ado, except this sentence of ado that I just added, I currently have:

--Clit suction vibe
--Rabbit vibe
--Stretchy cock ring with extra loop for balls
--Some hand cuffs/restraints
--Cutesy butt plug, which is not an oxymoron.
--Anal beads, vibrating
--Kegel trainer, also vibrating
--Various and sundry fancy wearable vibes controlled via app for remote torturing
--Very quiet vibe for stealth self-fuckery
--Clip-on nipple hoop rings
--G-spot vibes
--Delightfully wee multipurpose vibe that's been one of my favorites, if you must know. (And not the same one. Only unused sex toys for you, doll. Unless you want my used one and that will cost you, um, $956.43.)
--Remote control anal vibrator
--Massage candles
--Vibrating strap-on dildo
--Lube.  I got it. Water-based, silicone-based, anal, watermelon flavored.  

If you're feeling it, I can send you something specific or you can tell me what you're into and I can put a box together and ship it Priority Mail.  However, you, my friend, are in charge of paying for shipping (medium boxes are $15.05 in postage, large is $21.10) and giving me a wildly generous tip for driving my ass to the post office during The Sickening. Paypal is jillhamilton001@gmail.com. You can email me for more details or if you want personalized suggestions or something.

That's all.  I wrote a post!  Sorta.  But still.

Good talking to you.
xo
jill

Thursday, March 26, 2020

On Submission to Desire

One of the sexiest things to me is the idea of being overcome by passion. Not romance novel-type emotional passion, but physical passion--being so completely turned on that you just...fucking lose it. I love seeing, hearing and inciting someone to be so overcome and I love being so overcome as well. Nothing is hotter to me than the raw desperate desire of a choked out, "Please..."

That submission to pure wanting requires abandoning your logical brain, throwing yourself into the overpowering forces of all-out lust and hoping you'll come out okay on the other side. I think there's a kind of bravery in that. Maybe that's what is so intimate about sex with another person--you're both jumping into the void together.

It's that line between control and loss of control that's so interesting to me about artist Clayton Cubitt's video series "Hysterical Literature." The stark black-and-white videos each feature a woman sitting a table reading aloud from a book of her choosing. However, under the table, there is an unseen person equipped with a back massager who is assigned to distract the reader as she reads.

The women try to keep it together and keep reading, but as they continue, they begin to show signs of losing focus with a little gasp or a quick intake of breath or wiggling in their chair for a better position. They fight to keep their composure, but finally they have to give in, toss their heads back with a kind of "fuck it" and ride the orgasm.

Here, see for yourself below with Stormy reading from Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho."



In an interview in Salon, Cubitt discussed the idea for the series and his artistic vision.

"I’ve long been fascinated with the concept of control and authenticity in portraiture, especially in these modern times of personal branding, Facebook self-portraits and incessant Instagram self-documentation. What is left for the portraitist to reveal? How can we break through to something real?...These are all attempts to see something they’re not trying to show me.

On an individual level, I’m interested in the battle the sitter experiences between mind and body, and how long one retains primacy over the other, and when they reach balance, and when they switch control.  On a larger scale, I’m interested in how society draws a line between high and low art, between acceptable topics of discussion and taboo ones, between what can be worshiped and what must be hidden."

At the end, the women are instructed to re-state their names and the book they've read from. Some aren't able to do it. Cubitt said of their post-filming interviews:

"It’s quite interesting to hear about what was going through their mind as they started to lose track of what they read and surrendered to their bodies. They talk about it almost like it becomes a religious trance, and they usually have no recollection of the last half of the reading."

What do you think?

xoxox
jill

Portrait of a woman. Lina Corsino, Emilio Sommariva 1933

Thanks to Trace, who reminded me of this series on the IBWMW Facebook page.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Parker Marx and Fucking Art

photo by the unlinkable Lenore Holloway
A few months ago, I spent an entire week watching porn for a magazine article. Perhaps it was the total porn immersion and the resulting heady delirium, but when I finally emerged, bleary-eyed and shaken, I'd had a porn epiphany.

It was mostly due to the discovery of Parker Marx, a fucking genius, a genius of fucking.

Parker Marx is an English porn performer based in Prague. He is lovely to look at, but that's not what it is about him. When he performs, Parker is absolutely in the moment-- or at least does an incredible simulation of that--and clearly relishes a good fuck, completely conveying all that is sublime and intense and connected and primal and hungry about your best sexual encounters ever. Everything from the quick intake of breath when someone first touches their tongue to your flesh to the moment when your eyes meet and you share the giddy realization/mental high five of "We are fucking!"  Whether there's a plot or not in his films doesn't even matter, the sex is the plot and Parker finds the story within every encounter.

So yes, there's humanity and depth and connection and--holy hell--and the eye gazing alone could wreck you, but his work is also very sexual, primitive and animalistic. Marx, like, luxuriates in whatever bodily fluids happen--sweat, tears, a newly soaked pair of panties. In a recent, uncharacteristically conventional-seeming scene, his partner squirted what to me looked like a possibly alarming amount of whatever women squirt, and he burst out laughing, delighted. And, dear god, the man cums spectacularly.

I said something to this effect on Twitter because what better place for private thoughts on someone else's cum and @Jessie67878604, despite their bot-like name, had this insight:  "I think his genius comes from the presence and devotion he brings to each partner."  It's true--his partners emerge from their scenes together changed somehow, as though they're illuminated from within.*

Parker Marx in repose. Kind of.
If you're in public and can't click over to some of Parker's work (here or here), or you've left your porn budget money in your other pocket, see also the self-portrait on the right for a quick visual summation of the above. It's a naked man there presenting his cock, as primates do, but it's also incredibly lit, classically composed and there is more going on in the photo than Man Holds Dick. Arty, sexy, suggestion of possible existential angst. Plus, man holds dick. 

One of the gifts Parker Marx has given me--besides the odd feeling of being well-fucked remotely, simply by witnessing a really great fuck--is that he's been my portal to thinky porn/art/something else entirely.

The one that got me the most was Bright Desire, where filmmaker Ms. Naughty totally mucks around with the genre itself -- it's porn about ideas. Like, what if the performers moved incredibly slowly, almost excruciatingly so? (Linger with Parker and Kali Sudhra) What if you wandered far, far away from a typical "straight" porn script, with no cum shot, no female penetration plus a little pegging and afternoon tea? (Since You Asked So Nicely with Parker and Pandora Blake). "Pandora’s orgasms are intense but they take a while," writes Ms. Naughty of the film. "There’s also a lot of laughter and discussion and guidance. In short, this scene totally queers straight sex and shows that pleasure can be attained in multiple ways, no matter how you identify." Right the fuck on.

On about Day 3 of my private Porn Fest, I wrote something on the IBWMW Facebook page like "Back to the porn salt mines" and most people assumed I was excessively jilling off (a real term and oddly prescient name choice by my parents.) But in this case, it wasn't even true, what was going down was more of a mind fuck, the good kind, if there is one. It was more that arty fuckery lent a background hum of sexual charge to everything and left me with the lingering afterglow from a major mind-blowing.

My week-long porn fever dream, which I am desperately trying not to call a pornucopia, was incredibly empowering. I absolutely loved seeing a woman on top with a belly hanging over a pair of panties (Porn performers: They're Just Like US!). I loved that Lina Bembe spontaneously burst into tears after an orgasm in Trinity, (with Parker and the multi-talented Rooster X-Ray) because weeping means you've tapped into something so deep, metaphorically as well as physically. I loved that some women had to rub the living hell out of their clits before they came or twisted their faces up unprettily (that is, raw and beautifully) or that weird awkward moments happened or that it took a really long time to find an orgasm and some straining was involved or that couches were stained.

I loved that all of it was not only completely fine, but even better, porn-worthy. Representation matters, not just in the way we look, but the way(s) we fuck. We contain multitudes, my friends, and this, this is the real stuff, the very stuff that makes sex so deep and rich and personal and good.

So thank you, brave and honest porn makers, performers and Parker Marx, thank you from the bottom of my whatever.

xoxo
jill
#PayForPorn

* Not ruling out possible infusion of magic via cock.

PS Do the blog a solid and go vote for In Bed With Married Women at Kinkly for favorite sex blog.  Just click the link, click “vote for this blog” and you're done.

(2nd photo:  Self Portrait by Parker Marx)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sex Toy Fairy Godmother

As I've mentioned here--and okay here too--I get a lot of sex toys and there are only so many I personally can have sex with. (I'm JUST ONE WOMAN, man.)

I'd like to share the wealth with your ass, or whatever.

Here's what I've got going on:

--lubes and toy cleaners
--vibrating cock ring
--some vibrators for the wimmens
--bondage equipment to hogtie your loved one
--butt plug
--nipple/clit clamps that could possibly be hurty (this is their asset)
--a stroker that looks like a pussy (secret hiding place not included)
--flavored lubes
--truly huge wand vibrator
--not quite as huge but still pretty fucking huge wand vibrator
--new agey game you can play with your partner about chakras and junk
--couples dice and card games

I can send you something specific or you can tell me what you're into and I can put a box together and ship it Priority Mail.  However, you are in charge of paying for shipping and giving me a wildly generous tip for driving my ass to the post office so I don't silently resent you, as is my way. You can email me for more details, if you want butt plug specs or something in private.

Also, and this is entirely off topic, the photo above is from the Cottingley Fairy Hoax, when two girls in England took pictures of themselves supposedly with fairies in 1917. Despite (or perhaps because of) the weight of popular attention and very serious photographic analysis by grown-ups of the time, the girls stuck with their story until 1983.

xoxo
jill

Friday, February 7, 2020

Where Do Sex Toys Go to Die?

Before:  Love, exciting and new.
I recently tested a truly heinous “oral sex simulator” sex toy for a magazine. The contraption involved 10 chihuahua-sized plastic tongues that swirled furiously, pinwheel-fashion, slapping at your most delicate bits while whirring furiously, like a peeved lover who wished you would just have a damn orgasm already. I can only imagine what it would do to an errant pubic hair.

I used the thing, because I am a serious journalist, but what was I supposed to do with it, after? It seemed wasteful to just throw it away, not to mention the embarrassing tarting up of my weekly garbage. And right now there are no blue recycling bins where you can toss your toys after they've put in their time.

How is it that old sex toys have no dignified resting place? It's for a variety of reasons, the top being that they're sex toys, ewwww. 

Some recycling facilities won't take them because they consider them bio-hazards. Recycling is also tricky because toys can contain problematic and/or toxic materials like batteries, motors, and weird-ass “jelly” materials. Money is also an issue. It's just not profitable (yet) to deal in used Fleshlights. “The biggest issue is the mixed polymers. This is an export only item, mostly to China. The market for mixed plastics has been quickly eroding since 2008,” said a recycling industry expert, who wished to speak anonymously because...sex toys. “But if there were large quantities available on a consistent basis, I'm confident that there would be a home available for recycling.”

Even though I have, perhaps, “a lot” of sex toys hidden under my bed (the world's #1 hiding place for sex toys, followed by the nightstand drawer), it's not the kind of large quantities I would need to set up an in-home export business. What are the options, then?

Throw them away.
Sure, you can take out the batteries and recycle them, but the rest will end up in a landfill, stubbornly not biodegrading, so our descendants will be well aware of what big pervs we were. This is not ideal.

Buy from a place that recycles toys.
Right now that's exactly two places: UK-based sex toy company Lovehoney and Come As You Are (CAYA), an “anti-capitalist, co-operative sex shop” in Toronto, Canada. Lovehoney's Rabbit Amnesty Programme is the most successful, running for 10 years in the UK, and now offers recycling to U.S. customers (click here for info).

“Everything we receive gets checked to make sure it qualifies for the recycling scheme. The toys are then sorted into containers and sent to our nearest WEEE Recycling Plant. They’re pretty used to receiving mountains of colourful phalluses from us now, “ explains Richard Longhurst, co-owner of Lovehoney. “The unwanted toys get crushed and separated into their different materials. You can see a video of the whole process on Youtube. It’s quite entertaining to see a bulldozer with a shovel-load of sex toys and see rabbit vibrators whizzing round conveyor belts and crushed into little pieces.” Metals might be made into new gadgets and plastics be made into a new container or coffee mug, perhaps one just like the one you're drinking out of right now! Pause for spit take.

At CAYA, things aren't quite as advanced, but they are doing their sincere Canadian best. “We encourage folks to drop off their busted sex toys and give them a 15% discount for their efforts,” says Jack Lamon, Worker-Owner at CAYA Co-operative. “While we can't recycle all sex toy materials, we can deal with abs plastics, silicone, and the electronics contained within. The silicone we're hanging onto for a top-secret in-house re-purposing project. The biggest issue for us is the vinyl, rubber, and mystery plastics. None of these materials should have ever been in sex toys in the first place, and they certainly shouldn't be in landfills! Anything we get that is an antique, we sterilize and keep for our collection. We've found some original Fun Factory pieces in the recycling, not to mention Wahl Vibrators from the 1960s.” Although you are welcome to send your box of worn out butt plugs to CAYA, Lamon doesn't actually recommend it. “The shipping cost is probably too prohibitive for most folks, and honestly, we feel weird about people shipping stuff to us from too far away - I suspect that the gas/oil and emissions undo the good work of recycling - from an environmental perspective,” he said. Instead he encourages...

Sex Toy Swaps
“Sex toy swaps are amazing and I would love to see more happen in local communities,” says Lamon. “Folks have tons of amazing stainless steel, glass, and leather toys that would be better re-used than recycled--and that stuff is so expensive to buy new.”

The thing is, most people have a huge issue with used sex toys, despite the fact that we happily re-use penises and other real body parts all the time. We're so squeamish about it that it's difficult to have a serious discussion about used toys without everyone giggling like a bunch of 5th graders. When I asked readers of my sex blog—a pretty progressive group--if they'd consider a swap, only one person would admit to it.

Still, a few determinedly green and/or thrifty souls are willing to give it a go. “I have a small group of friends I trust and am very comfortable sharing intimate things with, and every once in awhile we do a toy-swap. I know it sounds like a terrible and kinda creepy idea in general, but really, if it's sterilizable and comes from someone I trust, why not exchange that glass g-spotter that I never actually use for an awesome purple silicone dildo that doesn't quite work for my best friend?” posted rhiannonstone on Metafilter.

Re-using sex toys most likely has some historical precedence. As one of my readers pointed out after a post on the early 1900s vibrator hysteria treatments, “I would hazard a guess that the doctors did not purchase a new device for every patient.” (Even if you have no qualms about unknown things in your orifices, you should avoid porous toys and ones made with toxic materials--a decent general rule for new toys as well.)

Go rogue.
Some people use them as artistic inspiration. Subtle Dildo, an instillation art project, ponders the presence of plastic in our lives with a photo series, each featuring a Where's Waldo-like hidden dildo. Lovehoney offers a cheeky list of sex toys hacks including a butt plug light pull, dildo book ends, and a sex doll turned scarecrow. And, according to a discovery by this dude on YouTube, some folks just toss their used dildos into the empty lot behind the Peddlers Inn, in Ulysses, Kansas (not recommended).

Sell them online.
Ebay doesn't allow it, but sites like Craigslist, which technically also doesn't allow it, has a small black market, especially for generally unaffordable high-end toys. And the year-old used sex toys subreddit currently has almost a dozen items up for grabs, including the WeVibe 4. New, they'll run you about $150, but the seller is accepting offers. “Just doesn't work as expected for the wife,” he explains. So far, there's one offer. For 40 bucks.

Postscript: If the idea of buying used sex toys online skeevs you out, you should definitely not read the National Association for the Advancement of Science and Art in Sexuality's (NAASAS) investigation that found that “many” online sex toy retailers were selling used toys. To determine that the toys were used, these investigators weren't using some sort high tech DNA analysis—they were just looking at the stuff!

Reads the NAASAS report in a particularly hideous string of words. “Indicators noted in the study to determine if a sex toy had been previously purchased were physical evidence found on the actual sex toys inside their packaging such as human body hair (including pubic hair), vaginal and anal secretions (including fecal matter), saliva, finger prints, lubricant residue, animal fur, lint from clothing and more.”

I told you not to read it.  

xoxo
jill

(This first ran in AlterNet. Photo courtesy Doc Johnson who gave it to me after my fabulous tour of their magical sex toy factory wonderland.)

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Death of Passion and What the Hell to Do About It, According to People Who Think About Such Things

They have not worked on their Love Maps
Note: this article ran first on AlterNet then on Salon. Only the (third) best for you, my friend! (update: 1/10/20.  It's come to my attention that Shumley Boteach is pretty much a huge asshole and bigot. I left his thing in though bc I think his thoughts on this, and this alone, are interesting. The shitty bigotry, homophobia, etc...not so much.)

 *****

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it,” said Oscar Wilde.

Passion is a tricky, elusive thing. Once captured, it flounders. But why does it wither when domesticated? Why do sexy intense beginnings so often lead to boring, sexless or otherwise meh middles and ending? Why aren't we having sex with our dear, highly-available partner, like, all the time?

Our senses crave novelty. Any change alerts them, and they send a signal into the brain. If there's no change, no novelty, they doze and register little or nothing. A constant state—even of excitement—in time becomes tedious, fades in the background because our senses have evolved to report only changes,” writes Diane Ackerman in A Natural History of the Senses.*

Or, says my friend Matthew, who thinks deeply on such things: “Once you're with someone, they become your family. And you don't want to have sex with people in your family.” Which is true enough, especially that last bit.

But these Big Thinkers in the field say you can re-find passion, though they offer differing--sometimes wildly so—theories on how to do it. With the right philosophical constructs guiding your behavior, perhaps you'll soon be happily fucking your beloved family member again. Though you'll probably want to phrase that differently in your head.

Corporate lawyer turned writer and speaker on sex, relationships and porn. Co-hosts Your Brain on Porn website with husband Gary Wilson.
The Big Idea: 'Karezza” sex can help hack your neurochemicals, which thanks to the cruel cruel Coolidge Effect, make you feel less satisfied with your partner over time. Even if, actually especially if, they are really great at pleasing you.
The Fix: The neurochemicals that make us so giddy with the first flush of love only last two years, tops. After that, the buzz wears off and couples get habituated (the nicer, more sciencey term for bored). Instead of trying to jack things up with new positions or sexy clown costumes which can further numb response to pleasure, slow things down with karezza sex, a form of affectionate, sensual sex that generally doesn't result in orgasm. This sex, according to Robinson, strengthens lovers' bonds and results in more frequent and satisfying sex. “It's like learning to diet by eating smarter, rather than struggling to eat less,” writes Robinson. “As my husband says, 'My limbic brain stays enchanted because I don't attempt to fertilize you.'” (Her husband, it will not surprise you to learn, is a science professor.)
Test drive: Practice a “bonding behavior” like gazing into each other's eyes for several minutes or lying with your head on your partner's chest and listening to their heartbeat or synchronized breathing.

American Orthodox rabbi, author and TV host.
The Big Idea: Women are deep and endless sources of sexuality. Exploring that eroticism leads to richer, more profound sexual/spiritual connection.
The Fix: A woman's sexuality is “much deeper and longer lasting than a man's. In the face of such intensity, most husbands fear they can't measure up,” writes Boteach in The Kosher Sutra: 8 Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life. But for the husband who's brave enough to jump in there and explore, there are sublime pleasures to be uncovered. “There is a part of us, a passionate part that is raw, instinctive, animal, visceral, and not attuned to social norms. It's incredibly erotic to witness this side of a person become revealed. A man who can arouse a woman to this level of abandonment witnesses something incredible,” writes Boteach, in perhaps the hottest collection of sentences you'll ever read by a rabbi. This deep sensuality flows into the rest of life, giving everything an “erotic pulse.”
To get to that place, Boteach recommends “Kosher Tantric” sex, including delayed orgasm to prolong sex, making it into “a worship of the divine spark in each other.” He's also against going to the bathroom in front of each other—ruins the mystery.
Test drive: Try the Jewish custom of abstaining from sex for two weeks when the woman starts her period. “Every month, there must be two weeks devoted to physical love, and two weeks devoted to intellectual communication and emotional intimacy," Boteach writes in Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy. It may sound a bit old school and rigid, but the forbiddenness fostered by abstinence can build lust, plus the on/off plan happens to correspond nicely with most women's monthly swings of desire.
Writer, speaker, couples and family therapist.
The Big Idea: We need safety and security in a relationship, yet we also need adventure and excitement. The problem is that satisfying either of these needs sort of negates the other. The trick is riding the wave between security and excitement, figuring out ways to introduce novelty, risk and mystery into the familiar and comfortable.
The Fix: The erotic thrives on power plays, thwarted desire, threats of rivals and other non-safe and lovey ideas. Tap into these rich sources of desire by questioning your ideas about what's “acceptable” to you—for a lot of people their greatest sources of excitement and pleasure have to do with childhood hurts. Being willing to poke around in these dark areas of your erotic brain is a potent natural fuel for pleasure.
Test drive: Embrace the “shadow of the third.” In every relationship, there are other players, whether actual infidelities, flirtations or agreed upon partners. Accepting this and working with it--whether by actually introducing others into your marital sex, negotiating monogamy or just feeling the arousal of a threat (perceived or real) of a romantic rival—beats complacency back and helps you see your mate as the desirable creature that they are.

Husband and wife psychologists who run the Gottman Institute and the Relationship Research Institute.
The Big Idea: Married people do best when they behave like good friends and handle conflicts in gentle positive ways.
The Fix: The Gottmans are known their Love Labs in which they observed couples and found that future divorcees tended to handle conflict via what the Gottmans call “The 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse”: stonewalling, contempt, defensiveness and withdrawal. So don't do those.
Good behaviors, which lack a catchy 4 Horseman-like name: Respond positively to your partner's “bids” (bids are requests for emotional connections via a question, quick hug and such). Create a love map--a mental list of your partner's preferences, dreams, and sexual proclivities. Create rituals for initiating and refusing sex to minimize miscommunication and feelings of rejection. The resulting atmosphere of kindness and communication is conducive to “personal sex” that's focused on intimacy instead of intercourse.
Test Drive: “Plan time for activities like hot baths, back rubs, touching, holding and simply making each other feel good physically and emotionally. If sex happens, that's fine. But if it doesn't, you'll still have met your expectation of enjoying time together,” advise the Gottmans.
 
Psychologist, sex therapist and director of the Marriage and Family Health Institute.
The Big Idea: Passion (as well as a healthy relationship) depends on “differentiation,” that is, each partner cultivating a strong sense of self, despite their partner's (very normal) efforts to thwart that growth.
The Fix: When partners work on becoming differentiated, it creates tension and gridlock. This coupled, with what Schnarch delightfully calls “normal marital sadism,” can lead to marital breakdown, but it's actually an opportunity. Gridlock and tension create a dynamic environment for growth and helps passion thrive. Anxiety is also good. Instead of working on anxiety reduction, couples should work on ways to tolerate anxiety via self-soothing. “Anxiety is often part of the best sex we ever have. It's part of growing sexually. Anxiety makes us pay attention to what's going on,” writes Schnarch.
During sex, couples should focus on the connection, working on truly feeling their partner as they touch them. Also good is “hugging til relaxed” which is pretty much what it sounds like.
Test drive: Try for “eyes-open orgasm.” Looking deep into each other's eyes adds intimacy and meaning to sex. The more you do it, the longer you can do it and the deeper the connection.

Let me know if any of this works for you.
xoxo
jill

*This, however, does not explain why there are so many strip clubs called Deja Vu. "That? Again?"
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