16
Nov


The single most common question people ask me about sex is, “Am I normal?” Young and old, coupled and single, men and women worry that their desires, preferences, fantasies, body and curiosity are normal — that is, like everyone else’s.

I used to answer most people reassuringly, “Yes, lots of people are into that, you’re normal.” But if you define normal as what most people do, most of us aren’t normal. True, worrying about your sexual normality is normal. But most people go their own way after that. Sure, there’s an average frequency that people make love, an average position, an average penis size. But you’re not making love with the average person — you’re making love with a single, unique individual. Besides, averages aren’t always meaningful. Sampling men and women, you conclude that the average person has one testicle and one ovary — a meaningless statistic.

So what do we do that isn’t so normal?

Some of us are monogamous; many aren’t. Some of us are strictly heterosexual; many aren’t. There are about as many different sexual fantasies as there are people fantasizing. The arrangement of body parts during sex ranges from the predictable to the laughable and the improbable, and includes things you may not even consider sexual.

Some lovers wear costumes; some hide their bodies. Some people shut the door and turn off the lights; others seek high-exposure places like elevators. Some people like their sex polite; while others get nasty in language, lingerie or their fingers’ destination.

In fact, the number of ways people are sexually unconventional is so large, it can’t even be fully described. While you’re reading this, someone, someplace, is experimenting with new places to put their tongue.

That person may be worried that he or she is too kinky.

If only he or she knew what you do.

Don’t take all of this as a subtle statement that you’re a sexual freak, or that you’re isolated in your perverse eroticism. Anything sexual that you imagine, want, or do is being imagined, wanted, or done by someone somewhere.

You know, we’re each alone in this together.

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Category : Blog
27
Jul


It is a paradox: A woman who wants her own sexual needs fulfilled in a relationship focuses instead on what is good for her man.

“If a woman feels unsatisfied in the sexual relationship, she might ask her partner: `Am I satisfying you in this way?’ And the man will respond in kind,” says Joseph Dispenza, myprimetime personal trainer and director of the Parcells Center for Personal Transformation in Santa Fe. “She could also ask: `How can I be more desirable to you?’ And he will ask her the same question, and she can go from there,” he says.

Because men in our culture are not taught to express their emotions, giving your man the opportunity to discuss his feelings in this way can be a great gift to him, and to you.

“You might even be surprised to find that he is comfortable talking about it,” says Dr. Susan Chandler, a psychologist in San Francisco. “You can ask him what he would like you to do. What feels good to him? Tell him you’d like to be able to talk about it and that your physical relationship is important to you,” she says. Then use this discussion as an opportunity to talk about your needs. “But begin gently: If you are critical and judging, it shuts everything down.”

Avoid what Chandler calls “war words” that imply criticism: never, always or too much.

“It’s better if you say things like, `I’m feeling this way’ or `It works better for me when you do this,’ as opposed to `You do this wrong’ or `You don’t do this.’ If you let him know how you’re feeling, then he can respond to it,” says Chandler.

Declare your loving intentions. Write affirmations on cards and place them near your bed to remind your partner that you are looking out for him. “Written affirmations are very powerful. I suggest that partners make up affirmations that speak to their mutual satisfaction so that it tunes both of them into the beauty and power of their union,” says Dispenza.

Affirmations that a couple writes together during nonsexual times can turn into a playful sex game. An example: I am giving you everything that you need right now.

Defuse any defensiveness your man might have about sexuality by becoming comfortable asking for what you want. Don’t be tense or hesitant when discussing sex. If you like it when a man acts a particular way, reinforce it by saying, “Remember that night when you did such and such? That felt wonderful. Could you do more of that?”

Keep it light, says Edward Dreyfus, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Santa Monica. “If you can mix intimacy and playfulness together, then you have great sex.”

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Category : Blog
8
Jun


The only time sex should hurt is when you want it to hurt. Spanking, nipple pinching, and other kinds of rough play have an honorable history among consenting adults. But sometimes sex hurts when you don’t want it to.

Sexual acts themselves can be painful. Causes can be mechanical: tiny fissures around the labia or penile shaft, too much friction due to inadequate lubrication, awkward angles of insertion or containment. Active lesions from STDs such as herpes can make even light pressure painful. More serious physical causes include endometriosis, fibroids and Peyronie’s disease.

Some causes are psychological: Anxiety or anger can narrow the vaginal opening. Even simple touch can hurt when you’re grappling with strong feelings. Our gag reflex can be triggered by smell, sound, making kissing or oral sex an ordeal.

People over 40 often start noticing something new: Sex begins to hurt because it involves stretching, twisting, weight bearing, and aerobic stress. As you age you may have less tolerance, for example, for tilting your neck when performing cunnilingus, hyper-extending your lower back during traditional intercourse, or squeezing and pulling.

What can we do about this? If something aches, move it or rest it. Develop a repertoire of sexual activities that hurt less. Tell your partners what’s uncomfortable so they’ll stop expecting those things. To warm up for sex, stretch, take a hot bath and perhaps some aspirin. At 40 or 50, it’s part of sex.

Coming to terms with our sexual limitations is part of coming to terms with middle age. It’s rarely discussed; people talk freely about having to give up running or tennis, but not about how, say, tendonitis limits their masturbation.

But ignoring these changes can undermine the sex, while exacerbating the pain. Ultimately, having good sex in the shadow of our physical limitations requires that we admit what’s going on, and adapt accordingly. That means finding ways to deal with the grief of losing cherished sexual activities because of joint pain or limited range of motion.

In middle age, grief is a sexual frontier.

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Category : Blog
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