Sex Talk: What Sexually Excites You?

Part of understanding your sex script is knowing what turns you on, what increases your sexual desire, arousal, and response. Jot down your answers to the following statements. When you’re finished, share your answers with your partner. This is the stuff that creates a ssssssteam-heat sex life (not that new vibrator).

I am most often in the mood for sex when ________________________.

I am least often in the mood for sex when ____________________________.

The most sensitive parts of my body are _______________________________

________________________________________________________________.

The least sensitive parts of my body are ______________________________

________________________________________________________________.

When I think of my partner exploring every inch of my unclothed body, it makes me feel _____________________________________________________.

This is because _____________________________________________________.

When I think of exploring every inch of my partner’s unclothed body, it makes me feel ____________________________________________________.

This is because ____________________________________________________.

The one thing I wish my partner would do to increase my sexual desire is to _______________________________________________________________.

When my partner _____________________________________, it decreases my sexual desire.

When someone suggests that I view erotic materials to increase my sexual desire and arousal, it makes me feel _____________________________

because ____________________________________________________________.

When someone suggests that I masturbate to increase my sexual desire and arousal and to better understand my body, I feel __________________

___________________________________________________________________.

My sex drive is ___________________________________________.

I wish I knew more about ______________________________________________.


Photo Credit: “Pink List,” cogdogblog (flickr.com)

Lovin’, Touchin’, and Squeezin’: What’s Your Sexual IQ Score?

Touching him. Touching her. Licking. Biting. Tickling. Sighing. Cuddling. Fighting. Hesitating. Giving out. Giving in.

Fighting it. Faking it. Wanting it.

What is sex?

Just like love, no two people have the same idea of what “sex” is because your sexuality is continuously under construction.

And, just like your love map, every experience—from how and what your parents taught you about sex, to boyfriends and girlfriends, to hook ups, to sexual experimentations, to looking at porn mags or flicks, to lovers, to friends, to sex ed—you create an internalized sexual rule book.

You create your sexual script, or your sexual IQ. Your script literally directs every aspect of your sex life, every belief and attitude you have about sex:

  • It tells you who you can have sex with (Same-sex or opposite sex? Older than you, much older than you? Younger than you, much younger than you?)
  • It tells you how to have sex (Oral? Anal? Missionary position only?)
  • It directs how often you have sex (Six times a week? A month? A year?)
  • It determines where you have sex (Just the bedroom? In an elevator? Somewhere you can possibly be caught or seen?)
  • It tells you when you can have sex (Before marriage? Before college? Only in the mornings? Only at night?)
  • It directs why you have sex (Love? Lust? Anger? Fun? Play? Boredom? Jealousy? Revenge?)

When it comes to sex, most of us know what goes where—and why.

But sex is so. much. more. than knowing that Tab A almost always fits into Tab B.

So.

Much.

More.

So, over the next few weeks I’m going to give you the best go-down low-down sex information that’s out there…not pop-culture information. But the truth. Can you handle it?

I can promise you this: If you stick with this, your sex life—and your relationship—will be incredibly energized and invigorated. And you might even learn a new position or two.

So, let’s get started. The first thing you and your partner need to do is determine your sexual IQ score. Take the quiz here.

Be sure to come back and report your scores so I know what your base level was before you took on this truth challenge!

 

Photo Credit: EssG (flickr.com)

Mr. Happy Gets Married

The other dayI introduced you to Mr. Happy and his “Stop! Don’t use that pole anywhere near her no-no hole” sex advice.

But Mr. Happy’s “secrets of sexual intimacy” don’t end there.  It looks like a night of explosive, make-Mr.-Happy-blow-like-Mr.-Mount-Vesuvius sex starts with the wifey.

“Ladies, learn how to wrap yourself, to wrap the room in a seductive allure tailor-made to your husband.” [Observation #1: Tailor-made to my husband?? That would mean something involving snow. And ski poles. There’s no way this can end well.]

But Mr. Happy’s wife seems to be an eager beaver (oh yes I did), so let’s see what gets him going.

Meet Mrs. Headlights (I am so not kidding).

“There’s this thing we men talk about called ‘headlights.’” [Observation #2: Ummm……I think pre-pubescent boys sneaking a peak at the lingerie section of the J.C. Penny’s catalog—or Popular Mechanics—talk about ‘headlights.’ Mr. Happy: Puberty called and suggests you give it another go.]

I wonder why headlights are so important? I mean, in the bedroom, not on the highway.  I’m sure Mr. Happy has an explanation. Let’s find out.

“When you’re a young boy watching the women’s Olympic diving competition, you might get together with your buddies and mention one swimmer’s ‘amazing headlights.’” [Observation #3: ‘Nuff said.]

I couldn’t understand the significance of this little how-to-make-Mr.-Happy-really-really-happy-with-your-headlights tidbit, but reading on I learned this: Apparently, a guy’s explosive volcanic eruptions are at your fingertips tonguetips nippletips, gals.

“What am I talking about? Nipples. When a man can see a woman’s nipples through the fabric she is wearing…we get weak in the knees at the right presentation.”

<things your mamma never taught you>


“I don’t know anything more alluring than a satiny top being pushed from underneath by your wife’s two nipples.” [Observation #4: Wait, what? What does Mr. Happy want with your wife’s nipples?]

Apparently, here’s all it takes to make Mr. Happy blow his top tip:

“Now, here’s how you build on your presentation, girls. Let’s say your husband hears the shower running at 10:30 PM. Just the sound of the water makes him frisky.” [Observation #5: Silly Viagra makers. All it really takes is a leaky faucet, not an erection-in-a-bottle.]

<you can’t make this stuff up, people>

“When his wife walks out sporting a new nightie that conveniently displays those headlights, he’s suddenly a little boy. [Observation #6: There's something seriously, seriously wrong with this statement!]

“A lot of men would jog five miles just to see that in their own bedroom. [Observation #7: See Observation #3]. That scenario alone could bring a good number of American men straight to orgasm!” [Observation #8:Gone in 60 Secondsmuch?]

Look, I’m all for great sex advice. No matter what studies you look at, sex problems are always pretty close to the top of the list when it comes to divorce because great sex is really important to a couple’s overall relationship satisfaction and happiness.

But folks, sex advice that reduces a woman to a sexual object—using her [nipples] as an instrument (object) towards your own sexual pleasure—almost always results in regarding her as a commodity and ignores her uniqueness as an individual.

Now, there’s no problem with a guy being attracted to a particular area (or every area, for that matter) of his gal’s body. There’s nothing wrong with her being attracted to any/every part of his body.

But when a books uses four pages—count ‘em, four pages—to talk about how excited Mr. Happy gets when he sees Mrs. Nipples Headlights…well….I have to wonder how Mrs. N-H benefits?

Stop by in a few days and we’ll talk about women’s sexual desire, arousal, and response…and why Mr. Happy needs to learn what makes Mrs. Headlights’ eyes roll back in her head.


Photo Credits: “Turn on your headlights” (Nikita Kashner, flickr.com); “Roof” (Thom Watson, flickr.com)

Come On Get "Happy," and Other Stoooopid Sex Advice

I read about sex. I read about sex a lot. I write about sex. A lot. So much so, sometimes I feel as though I need condoms on my fingers as I type out another chapter.

When you’re a professor and author of intimate relationships and sexuality, it’s kind of an occupational hazard. Reading and writing about sex cums comes with the territory.

Some of the stuff out there is pretty good…it’s accurate enough so that no one gets hurt in the process of trying the “advice.” And it’s at least somewhat based in reality. (Let’s face it—doing a striptease and a lap dance for the hubs every night may be what Reality TV is all about, but anyone who’s been married for more than 10 minutes knows that this isn’t what Reality Reality is all about. This definitely falls in the “are you freakin’ kidding me” column).

After sitting here all morning trying to write a sex advice column and answer college students’ questions about sex, I came to arrived at the conclusion that there’s a lot stuff out there that is just downright, well, ridiculous.

Ludicrous. Absurd. Outlandish. Bizarre. Nonsensical. (I know, I know. How do I really feel?)


Take for example, Cosmopolitan’s advice to try the Kama Sutra spinning position where she does a 360-degree propeller spin around him while he keeps “Mr. Happy” inside of her while she lifts her legs and swings them over his head. All while sober. And on purpose.

Or how about this little gold nugget of wisdom about anal sex?

“The vagina was designed to receive the penis; it was custom-made to engage in intercourse. [Observation #1: There’s a big difference between intercourse and rumpy-pumpy sex.] The anus, quite frankly, was not.” [Observation #2: And Mr. Author knows this how???]

Continuing on… “Anal sex will hurt. [Observation #3: See Observation #2.] Yes, some women stretch out that area to gradually accommodate a husband, but there are other issues.” [Observation #4: Any adult who refers to a part of his wife’s body as “that area” has his own ish-shuuus.]

And we’re walkin’…..

“A woman’s rectal area can easily tear, resulting in painful and embarrassing maladies—and how will she explain this to her doctor?” [Observation #5: Oh, I don’t know, maybe she can try something like this: “Mr. Doctor, Mr. Happy went all Mr. Ape-Sh!t Gorilla Crazy on me.” Dood, if she tears, it’s YOUR fault.]

Mr. Author concludes with this unbiased, professional advice…

“Anal sex is kinky, and I believe it’s wrong!” [Observation #6: Mr. Author, throughout your book you repeatedly refer to your man-parts…errr, excuse me….your thrusting-device-that’s-designed-to-fit-snugly-into-her-receiving-vagina-device….

….you repeatedly refer to your apparent weapon of mass destruction (see Observation #5) as “Mr. Happy”—I’m not so sure you know the meaning of “kinky.”]

Mr. Happy

Oh. Em. Gee.

Cosmo sells millions of magazines. The no-butt-sex author has probably sold tens of thousands of books.

But that doesn’t mean that what they sell is accurate. It doesn’t mean that what they sell isn’t actually doing more harm than good (Cosmo—telling a gal to take a sharp comb to the shaft of his penis or shaking his twins like a maraca? Seriously? Let’s just think for a minute how that might end….).

I think some of the sex stuff out there today is hysterically funny. But a lot of it is just downright dangerous to relationships.

Is it tough for you to sort through relationship and sex advice—to know what’s “good” advice and what isn’t?


Photo Credit: cesarastudillo (flicr.com); Kama Sutra

Lust? Love? Or Love That Lasts?

1978. South Padre Island. Spring break. Size [much smaller than I am now]. Sun and sand and surf. Shoulder to shoulder college students. And all I could think about was, “Do I love Dave?”

Not the oh-my-gosh-he’s-so-slammin’-hawt kind of love. That kind of love gripped me the first time I saw him (1976. At a high school debate tournament. I beat him.).

The question I struggled with during that infamous spring break trip was, Did I love him with a marriage kind of love?  The kind of love that lasts? (Not that he was even considering marriage at that point….but a gal has to be prepared, right?)

On that trip, one afternoon I happened to have a pool-side conversation with an elderly woman. When I asked her how she knew her husband of 50+ years was “the one,” she said something like, “When you see his face in the clouds and hear his voice in the wind, you’ll know.”

I’ll looked up to the sky. Nope. Nothing.

I tilted my head into the wind. Zilch. Zippo. Thanks, Grandma Moses.

So, how do we know if what we’re experiencing is love—or love that lasts? For decades, researchers have studied the different experiences of love, and they’ve determined that there are basically two kinds:

  • Passionate Love: This love is a wildly powerful emotion that is fueled, in part, by chemicals in the brain and by hormones. The intense sexual attraction and the all-consuming desire for the other person are the hallmarks of this bow-chicka-bow-bow kind of love.
  • Companionate Love: This love is a deep, tender, mature, affection for a love partner. Unfolding gradually over time, this love develops between partners who have known each other long enough to have acknowledged and accepted all of the failings, faults, shortcomings, oddities, and quirks of each partner—and still like them.

Hang out this week, and you’ll learn the differences between lust and the I-forever-I-do kinds of love.

Have you ever wondered if your partner was “the one?”  How did you determine if she/he was or wasn’t? Or was?
Photo Credit: flickr.com

The Elusive G-Spot: The Holy Grail or [Holy] Crap?

You can’t pick up a women’s magazine (or even a men’s magazine, for that matter!) without finding tips on how to locate and stimulate a woman’s G-spot.

Reporting that the G-spot is the Holy Grail of sexual experiences, and reporting that finding the G-spot will give a woman the most powerful and explosive orgasms (evah!), pop culture continues to claim that every woman has a G-spot, and that it’s just a matter of practice, practice, practice to find it.

But, are the claims about the G-spot myth… or reality? (It just dawned on me—how funny of an episode would this be on Myth Busters?!? Something along the lines of “Do ‘Fainting’ Goats Really Exist?”)

Myth? Reality? Does it even matter?

Scientific evidence is beginning to emerge.  To produce the types of intense orgasms said to originate from the G-spot, there must also be nerve endings in the vaginal area where the G-spot is said to be located.

A number of recent studies suggest that there is no area in the vagina that contains increased and/or concentrated nerve endings.  In short, the pop culture claims about the existence of the G-spot go well beyond the available scientific evidence.

But why does the “realness” of the G-spot even matter?

One researcher summed it up best when he said, “The G-spot is not just a point of minor anatomic interest. The G-spot seems to be widely accepted as being real…if the G-spot doesn’t exist, then many women have been seriously misinformed about their bodies and their sexuality.

Women who fail to ‘find’ their G-spot, because they fail to respond to stimulation as the G-spot myth suggests they should, may end up feeling sexually inadequate—and abnormal.”

Do you think that women do have a G-spot, and that science just hasn’t found the evidence of its existence yet? Have you ever felt sexually inadequate or that something is “wrong” with you because you (or your partner) couldn’t “find” your G-spot?

REAL Sex!

Real sex isn’t about explosive, perfectly timed orgasms (every time, no less). It’s not about two beautiful, perfect bodies performing in perfect, rhythmic sync.

Real sex isn’t about lingerie and striptease and lap dances and stripper poles and blow jobs and perfect hair and makeup (every night?!?). Real sex isn’t even always about pleasing your partner or him/her pleasing you.

Real sex is so. much. more. than our sex-saturated society and these well-intended books that my friend talked about portray.

Real sex means that sometimes you don’t feel like sex, and your partner understands. It means telling your partner what you want and what you need and your partner respecting those wants and needs.

Real sex means the “hot spots” are there because you put them there: Your partner is beautiful and sexy and sensual and delicious and hawt because that’s how you see him or her—and you treat him/her that way every day.

Real sex means being interrupted, perhaps even at the moment of orgasm, because your child just threw up in the bedroom next to yours or the UPS guy just pulled up in the driveway. And sometimes it means that you can’t get aroused because there are just too many bills to pay or there’s just too much work to do.

Real sex means reaching out to your partner out of anger or disappointment, exhilaration or desperation, loneliness or celebration. It means clinging helplessly to your partner because you just received word of your mother’s terminal illness, or because you just buried your child.

And with breast cancer, real sex means navigating around the tubes and innumerable stitches in her chest because the cancer wouldn’t let go. It means longing for, aching for, and memorizing your very ill wife’s body….because you just don’t know what will happen next.

Real sex—the hottest sex you’ll ever have in your life—isn’t about whatever secrets Victoria has to offer this season. No, no, no. Victoria herself doesn’t even know the secret to keep-you-up-all-night sex!

But breast cancer survivors and their co-survivors know…..They know that the emotional and spiritual connections to a lover is what makes it impossible to keep their hands off of each other.

They know what real sex is.

And maybe that’s just about the greatest gift that breast cancer gave me….and that I give to each of you.

Photo Credit: enchanteurs (flickr.com)

Boxers or Briefs? Keeping Da Boyz Happy, Healthy, and Strong

The scrotum (or scrotal sac), an extension of a guy’s lower abdomen, is a pouch of skin that is rich in nerve endings and blood vessels (keep that in mind, gals, when you’re making love to him—the scrotum needs lovin’, too!).

The scrotum has two separate compartments that house a single testis, or testicle. Each testicle is suspended within the sac by a spermatic ford, which can be felt through the skin.

The spermatic cord consists of the vas deferens (the duct through which mature sperm travel), the cremasteric muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. One spermatic cord is almost always longer than the other, which is why one testicle (most often, the left) hangs lower than the other.

The cremasteric muscles play a huge role in men’s fertility. They ensure and maintain sperm production by moving the testicles closer to the body when it’s cold, and further away from the body when it’s hot—these muscles are the climate control center for the testicles.

If the body temperature is cold, the cremasteric muscles tighten and draw the testicles closer to the body, to keep them warm. When the body is warm, the cremasteric muscles relax to bring the testicles further away from the already warm body.

Elevated scrotal temperature affects a guy’s testicular function and fertility! Several factors can contribute to these elevated temperatures:
  • Fever
  • Hot tub/sauna use
  • Tight underwear
  • Laptop computers

Wait, what? Laptop computers?!?

New research has determined that men’s use of a laptop computer in the “laptop” position is linked to significant elevated scrotal temperatures (I know, I know….who participates in studies like this?). Scrotal temperatures increase because of the heat from the laptop computer and because of the sitting position necessary to balance the laptop—the position traps the scrotum tightly between the thighs.

For your best fertility and sexual response, keep da boyz happy: Keep ‘em cozy, but not too cozy!

What do you think of the research about laptop computers? Have you ever linked using your laptop to testicular health?!

“No Matter What” Kind of Sex

 

Remember earlier I told you that research shows us that nearly 3 out of 4 marriages end in divorce when a woman becomes seriously ill? Other research might also help to explain why some marriages can’t survive the “worse” in those for-better-or-worse marriage vows.

I spent the better part of two years studying what happens to a woman’s body image and sexual response following a breast cancer diagnosis and/or a mastectomy. Like many other researchers before me, I found that breast cancer is intricately linked to body image in some way for most women (in 93 of the 110 women I studied).

When I did my PhD internship at a breast cancer center, I discovered that the breasts-are-sexuality-femininity connection for women is so significant that many women who needed a mastectomy yesterday to save their lives, refused to do so—primarily because they were so afraid that losing a breast (or breasts) meant that they would also lose their sexuality and femininity. Or their husband.

I vividly recall when one woman in her 30s looked at her husband in desperation and said, “Will you still love me if I’m not pretty?”

But losing a breast isn’t just about appearance and sex to women—it’s about a sense of being whole, about self-esteem, about body image….essentially, it’s about losing their identity.

(WARNING: You are about to see photographs of post-mastectomy women. Please do not read further if you believe these images will disturb you or cause uneasiness.

I include these images so that you can see the reality of breast cancer, and why recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally can be a very, very long process. I also include the images so that you can see why it’s so tough for marriages and sex to survive after an illness like this—and why teaching women to be sexual objects for their husbands can be potentially dangerous to their marriages.) [Read more...]

Lingerie and the Head Hunter

A few years ago, a friend was excited to tell us that he and his wife started educating young couples in their church about sex and sexuality. The front-porch conversation went something like this….

Friend: Yeah, I gotta tell ya, [my wife] and I are pretty popular in church since we started this program for young couples. Guys come up to me in church and give me that you-lucky-dog look. <chuckle, chuckle, wink, wink>

Me: Oh yeah? What program are you teaching?

Friend: There’s a new book out for Christian wives about being more sexual for their husbands. You know, like how to entice them and turn them on.

My husband: You need a book for that?

Me: What’s the [insert air quotes] program?

Friend: It’s really, really cool. Basically, these authors tell women that they should never, ever go to bed in a T-shirt, or anything that’s not sexy. Women should put on make up and do their hair every night.

Me: Every night?

Friend: Yeah, for sure. And she should never, ever go to bed until her husband does. She’s supposed to wait for him to come to bed, and then she’s supposed to undress in front of him, you know, do a strip show for him, and then get into her sexy lingerie. And then do her little sexy show for him. And then get into bed and give him a BJ. And then, you know, have a great time.

Me & Hubby (in near unison): EVery night?

Friend: <peacockish with feathers fanned out> See why I’m so popular in church now?

Me: Where did these ideas come from?

Friend: Don’t you remember the story of the missionaries and they were both chased into the jungle by the tribal people and they caught him and killed him, and she hid in the jungle and survived the attack?

Me: Yeah, but what does this have to do with stripper poles in the bedroom?

Friend: These were her original ideas.

Me (trying to picture a stripper pole in a hut in the jungle): So let me get this straight. Was she running through the jungle in her lingerie? Cuz that would be crazy stuff right there. Was the jungle-running-escaping-from-head-hunters before or after her nightly strip tease?

My Husband: For his sake, I hope before, so he could stand up straight and make a run for it.

Me: Given the outcome…I’m guessing no on that one.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story!

Kelly J