Jan 302014
 

A lesbian couple in bedGeorge Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. Never has this been more apropos than in communicating our sexual desires to our partner. Let’s face it, telling your lover that you would like him to kiss you more gently or maybe even spank you a little harder, can be a bit intimidating, to say the least. However, letting your partner know what you want and what you enjoy is part of having a healthy and fulfilling sex life. So unless you want to be pigeonholed into the same kind of sex for the rest of your relationship, take heed fearless frends! Here are a few suggestions to lead your partner in the right direction.

THE DIRECT APPROACH: You might want to begin the conversation by telling him about something you really like that he or she does (or you two do together) sexually and then suggest the new idea. For instance, “I’ve been thinking about how exciting it is when you give me a little swat on my rear during sex” then add, “I think I might like it if you wanted to tug at my hair a bit too”. During sex can also be great time to show your lover what he’s doing that gets your toes curling. A well placed “yes, just like that” or, a simple “I love how you’re moving” will guide them in the right direction. Don’t be shy to express your pleasure. I guarantee this positive reinforcement will not only turn him on but will give him a more specific map of your erogenous zones.

SHOW, DON’T TELL: Certified Sex Educator and author of How To Be A Great Lover, Lou Paget gay-men-in-bed(www.LouPaget.com) suggests you try doing unto your partner what you would have her do unto you. For example, if her kiss could use some improvement, Lou suggests you start by kissing her the way you like to be kissed, perhaps anchoring your hands seductively on her neck so you can guide her in ways that please you, then ask her “show me what it feels like to be kissed by me.” Or, maybe her touch can be too rough? Feel free to take her hand and direct it in the way that pleases you, giving her approving glances as she follows your lead. It goes without saying; your positive reinforcement when she successfully mimics your movements will be all the affirmation she needs to happily continue.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS: Think about it, when you bond with new friends you like to discover what you like to do together. Why should it be any different with your partner? People learn better by doing … so … DO! For instance, if the idea of role-playing gets you going, talking about those fantasies are much easier once you’ve done it. Almost all the couples I’ve spoken with love it when their partner shares taking the lead with sex. Start with something fun and sexy you two can laugh about later. Maybe you have a thing for firemen? Surprise him by dressing up in something red and “hot” and fireman’s hat … put on a fake fireplace DVD and coyly ask “Where’s the fire?” Cheesy? Yes. But cheesy can be fun and nothing relaxes people more than a good-natured laugh. Suggest that next time he might play the fireman and “rescue” you (wink-wink). Voila! You’ve shown him your fantasy and basically had a conversation without having a conversation!

Happy-couple-in-bed-smilingINTIMATE EDUCATION: Maybe your welled-up sexual desires have to do with being more experimental with the sex you two have? Maybe it has to do with creating more intimacy during sex? Ask him to read a book with you that explores your sexuality as a couple. Maybe it’s erotica or maybe it’s instructional … whatever floats your boat. Each night (in bed) you read one or two chapters, discuss it and how it might or might not apply to you and your sex life. This is the perfect occasion to discuss likes, dislikes and even maybe’s. It’s also a great opportunity to get you both talking about what turns you on, your fantasies and some techniques you want to try. Excellent reads to start with are: The Enlightened Sex Manual: Sexual Skills for the Superior Lover by David Deida, the aforementioned How To Be A Great Lover by Lou Paget and Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex by Nina Hartley. If erotica is more your thing, there’s a ton to choose from. I have a particular fondness for The Big Book of Orgasms:69 Sexy Stories by Rachel Kramer Bussel (I have a story in it), and anything by Kristina Wright and Anais Nin.

GO LITE: Last but not least, try the lighter version of your desire and see how he/she reacts. If you’re interested in trying a little bondage, holding his hands over his head while you’re on top to see if he likes the feeling of surrender. Maybe whip out the sleep mask before you introduce the idea of a blindfold? If she responds positively you can mention that maybe next time she’d like to feel her hands bound by a something silky? A plush paddle? Handcuffs? Interested in trying Tantra but think he might be intimidated by it’s mystical reputation? What could be more innocuous than breathing? Look up some simple tantric breathing exercises and choose one that works for you (e.g.; The Fire Breath). Suggest that the two of you do this exercise before foreplay to “get in the zone.” Just by easing a simple action into your routine, you might be surprised how happy he will be to oblige …  and how eager he’ll be to please.

If your partner is resistant to any of your ideas, let them know that your only hope is that you might make sex between you two more intense, fun and even more intimate. After all, relationships take work and this is the most fun and scintillating type of “work” your relationship will ever have do. Regardless, at the end of the day it’s important to remember that fantasies and exploring your sexual desires are an essential part of a healthy sex life. The more comfortable you are with your own sensuality and sexuality, compliments and translates how you are in the bedroom. Respecting and expressing your partner’s needs in a responsible and loving way build a persons sexual confidence. Never forget that YOU are in charge of your own sexuality and you deserve an exciting, sensual and communicative sex life!

A version of this story originally appeared on www.EvolvedWorld.com.

 

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Jan 172014
 
blue

Maggie Mayhem

This list and it’s original title “50 Things I’ve Been Meaning To Say About Sex” originally appeared on www.MissMaggieMayhem.com on November 8, 2013.  If you don’t know who Maggie Mayhem is, you should – in my opinion she is one of the great minds of the sex-positive movement. I loved this list so much I wanted to share it with you. Read them.  Print them. Memorize them. Share them with everyone you know and visit her site and her Tumblr often.  So, with permission from Miss Mayhem here is a re-print of “50 Things I’ve been Meaning to Say About Sex. by Maggie Mayhem”   xo LC

 

 

 

  1. There is no easy set of steps for giving or receiving pleasure.
  2. There is no finish line.
  3. Your triumphs and your traumas will impact your sexuality.
  4. Sex itself can be a source of triumph and trauma.
  5. Hydration really does make a difference.
  6. There will be plot twists.
  7. Your sexual preferences may not match your needs or opportunities for pleasure.
  8. Sometimes the most skillful application of touch won’t do what a single caress or glance from someone you are centered upon can do.
  9. It’s more than active or passive. You can be actively-passive and passively-active in sex.
  10. You may summon something you weren’t prepared to receive.
  11. You will experience cognitive dissonance.
  12. You are more beautiful than you know.
  13. You are not entitled to your partner’s sexual backstory. It’s their choice to share.
  14. It’s fucked up to make someone feel bad about their body and how it works.
  15. Take time to breathe.
  16. Sometimes you will be terrified.
  17. Humans have sex for reasons that include but are not limited to pleasure or procreation.
  18. Be prepared for fluids.
  19. You will shed many sexual skins over your lifetime.
  20. Blood sugar really makes a difference.
  21. Using sex as a weapon is when you unilaterally commandeer someone’s body for your use, not when you are soliciting sexual attraction.
  22. Feeling fascinated or attracted to someone does not entitle you to their time and attention.
  23. Things may not meet expectations.
  24. Orgasms are just one piece.
  25. No one else is an authority on your sexuality.
  26. Sometimes you will be confused.
  27. Sometimes you will find ecstasy in the orgiastic, sometimes in the ascetic.
  28. The power of sex to hurt and to heal demands our respect.
  29. Sex is more than what we will ever say about it.
  30. There is no default state of sexual consciousness.
  31. You will find times when words will utterly fail you.
  32. What your body does may not be congruous with your desire.
  33. Context is key.
  34. Sex can be both a source of empowerment and dis-empowerment.
  35. The experience of another may offer wisdom or perspective but it might not be applicable to your life.
  36. An orgasm does not always mean pleasure.
  37. You may run into people who treat you as an inferior version of their projection of you.
  38. There are many different motivations to have sex.
  39. Implemental sex is neither greater nor lesser than non-implemental sex.
  40. The hottest thing in the world might not turn you on anymore.
  41. The value placed upon any given sex act or object is relational rather than intrinsic.
  42. Random causes should not be confused with essential facts.
  43. Your props of sexual summoning will change over time.
  44. Sexual union on non-physical planes exists.
  45. No element of sex is compulsory.
  46. Consciously changing your breathing patterns will change your experience of sex.
  47. Sex can be an instrument of knowing.
  48. Sexual definitions will fail to contain their referents.
  49. There’s really no such thing as an expert on sex.
  50. I don’t endorse everything I’ve said or thought about sex, not even this list.

 

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Oct 162013
 

“We’re All Perverts”: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality with Christopher Ryan

Published on Oct 14, 2013 by ReasonTV on YouTube

Humanist_March_Apr11.indd“If you look at us as a species, we’re not very impressive,” says author Christopher Ryan. “What we’re good at is forming complex social networks.”

Christopher Ryan sits down with Reason contributor Thaddeus Russell to discuss his book, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. Together with Cacilda Jethá, Ryan has written about the history of human sexuality and why we should fight against “socially imposed restrictions.” By looking at archaeology, primate biology, human physiology, and anthropological studies of pre-agricultural tribes from around the world, Ryan says we aren’t meant to be in life-long monogamous unions. Watch the video above as Russel and Ryan discuss desire, jealousy and the harmful consequences of repressing healthy sexuality.  About 27 mins.

Sep 062013
 
Attractive young couple
By Lady Cheeky – Originally published on this site 9/27/2011
Dating in Los Angeles. I’m starting to realize it is the rare man who is actually a “gentleman.” Yes, I consider myself a feminist and a strong woman. But, I am also … a “lady.” I believe you can be both at the same time.  I want to believe that there are men out there who can appreciate a strong woman, who knows what she wants AND who likes to be treated like a “lady.”  By “lady” I don’t mean being treated with kid-gloves or holding back a curse word or two. I mean a gentleman who is genuine, kind, has manners and who truly feels it an honor to be spending time with his date …  and shows it.  The last couple of men I have gone out with (not including my FWB/Lover) it has been painfully obvious that they just want to hop into bed.  I think we all know that I am not opposed to that … IF the feeling/chemistry is right.  But,
 to be sitting across from someone who is trying every trick in the book to get you in the sack and then pouts when you politely redirect the conversation is disappointing, tiring, boring and frankly, disrespectful. I love heat of the moment sex,’ but I also love being treated as whole person in my sensuality and not just an evening’s  recreation. Who would? Sometimes, when I explain my philosophies on sex and what I do, I see a glazed look appear on their faces and the conversation becomes less finding out about me, but asking questions towards a goal of easy sex. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Writer, Jessica Wakeman of the

funny-male-man-gentleman-choice

website TheFrisky.com gives her view of what a “gentleman” is:

” … if I had to define it myself, this is what I’d say: A real gentleman is rare and is someone who treats everyone well—not just the chick he’s interested in. A gentleman is polite to everyone, thoughtful to everyone, considerate to everyone. Yes, a gentleman can be chivalrous, but that’s not the only qualification. Gentleman are chivalrous, but not all chivalrous guys are gentlemen. Most of all, if a guy boasts about what a gentleman he is, he probably isn’t one.- Jessica Wakeman, What Does Being A “Gentleman” Mean These Days?, TheFrisky.com – 7/20/09

It’s clear that the idea of what a “gentleman” is, is up for debate. However, one should always expect basic courtesies like table manners and certainly if he’s not polite to the valet or the dry cleaner or the waitress that’s a HUGE red flag and you should run the other way. But for me it doesn’t stop there. Where are the men that take pleasure in the art of seduction? The men that know it takes at least a week to seduce a woman (and even longer to woo her). The men that realize that a well-wooed woman is a thousand times more apt to provide reciprocal attention, than a woman whom he cajoles into bed. Men, we want to “see” you as well. Show us who you are. Let us in. We’re thirsty for it. We will, in turn, shower you with affection, passion and appreciation. Show us you are attracted to the whole woman – honor us –  and not just the pussy and tits. Take your time and you will win our hearts as well as our lustfulness. We want you as much as you want us. We want a life filled with passionate sex and intimacy that also has plenty of room for recreational fucking.
But …  Women need to feel that we are wholly yearned for. You must earn her desire. I mean, isn’t that the fun part for both of you anyway?  Isn’t it the tension-filled “dance” that precedes rich and satisfying passion?  We are sexual beings bursting with our own unique sensuality and we want to express it with you. And because of this, your restraint and (hopefully) authentic interest in us as individuals, even if we’re not relationship potential, is notice and appreciated.  Respecting our womanhood AND our personhood is truly valued. There is no set amount of time this process takes, all women are different .. but, I guarantee that after the proper “wooing,” sex with your new paramour will be more satisfying for both of you. Especially if the wooing and seduction are done thoughtfully, with pleasure and given generously.
That’s just my two cents :)  
Here are some articles/sites I enjoyed on the subject:
Jun 072013
 
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If you weren’t in Los Angeles for Bawdy Storytelling, No Holds Barred at the fabulous El Cid in April and missed my story … here it is should you want to

take a listen by clicking the link below. 

Lady Cheeky Cheeky Swings at Bawdy Storytelling LA!

BawdyLA-April-24-ElCid

Now, go buy your tickets for the next L.A. Bawdy Storytelling show which I promise will be a SEX GEEK BLOWOUT!

Get tickets HERE for ‘Bawdy’s Sex Geek Secrets’ on JUNE 27th at BUSBY’s EAST which will feature a live 100th Anniversary podcast of Nerdist’s SEX NERD SANDRA!

Performers include:
– Nerdist.com sex blogger Sex Nerd Sandra
– Sex educator & Role Model Reid Mihalko
– Physicist & Pornstar Ned Mayhem
– Music by Windows to Sky
- Way more storytellers to come!

next_event_staticThank you Dixie De La Tour for inviting me and for coaching me through the scary! Thank you Ethan Feerst for being a tech wizard and cutting my piece so I could have it for posterity!

 

Jan 082013
 

tumblr_mbs1lrASQV1qdartlo1_500Just because I am open does not mean I let everyone in

Just because I let you in doesn’t mean I do it for everyone

Just because you get a second chance doesn’t mean you’ll get a third

Just because I have some hard edges doesn’t mean I’m not soft
Just because I flirt with you does not mean we will fuck

Just because I enjoy sex does not mean I want to have it now

Just because I express my sexual self does not mean that I am taking numbers

Just because I believe every woman should enjoy her body does not mean it’s an invitation for you to

Just because I want to be wooed does not mean I am high-maintenance

Just because I sleep with you does not mean I will accept less than I should

Just because I want you to fuck me does not mean you can’t be a gentleman

Just because I take charge does not mean I don’t want you to

Just because I want to be treated as a whole person does not mean I don’t like you

Just because I want to be acknowledged for my other charms does not mean I don’t want you inside me

Just because I accept you between my legs does not mean I am “easy”

Just because I’m attracted to you does not mean you can be lazy

Just because I am a feminist does not mean I don’t appreciate chivalry

Just because I talk dirty does not mean I don’t like tenderness

Just because I call you does not mean you can come over

Just because I am pretty does not mean I don’t want to hear it from you

Just because I am confident does not mean I don’t worry you won’t like me naked

Just because I am smart does not mean I won’t say stupid things

Just because I am horny does not mean I don’t want to be held

Just because I speak freely doesn’t mean I give it freely

Just because I am a woman does not mean I don’t want it like a man
Just because I want you does not mean you don’t have to try

Just because I mean this now does not mean I won’t mean it later

Just because I stand up for myself does not mean it’s not scary

Just because I like you does not mean I’ll settle

Just because …

 

 

Jan 072013
 
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I loved this when I first read it and recently went back to it again. So smart. -LC

By Nicole Daedone  Originally published on her blog www.NicoleDaedone.com on 8/8/12

This is what I have come to understand. There is absolutely zero context for men to know how to fuck a Turned On Woman—meaning a woman who is free, who is capable of what I call Unconditional Sex; sex that is not saddled with “conditions” such as promises of wedding proposals, dishwashers, babies. A woman who owns her sex and does not need to use it for barter, who has the wealth and luxury—both energetic and emotional—to use it for her pleasure.

A man I’ve been seeing said, “Yeah, we (men) don’t know what to do because that kind of woman is like a unicorn”.

Sex has been the purview of men, and as such its uses have mostly been masculine. Not a problem in and of itself, but in my opinion a woman’s touch is needed in the arena of what it “means.” I see a polarization of sorts, where, running from sex-as-gravely-significant or sex-for-procreation, the masculine veers way to the other end of the scale: devoid of any emotion, connection or caring; wanton, gluttonous. The only reasons for a woman to engage would be (a) desperation, (b) the “god-given” woman’s agenda (to snag a man in her snare) or, worst of all, (c) that she approaches sex “like a man.” In the present context it is absolutely impossible that a woman could maintain her femininity; still like to yield and surrender; want deep connection and love sex… with—gasp!—more than one person. (Oh, and not be salacious and therefore open to anything from BDSM and gang bangs.) Within the game as it exists, this is a total non-sequitur.

We lack gradients, we live in an either/or perspective. Either a woman’s legs are locked and closed and safe and healthy or else they are open to just about anything flying in there. In the present context it is unthinkable that a woman could both practice discernment and feed her beast. I suppose that it is assumed that she is too fragile to tame the thing. And I suppose this is because we underestimate the power of love as the most powerful trainer.

One of the responses I get most often is that it is intimidating to be with a woman who is facile in the arena of sex. Not “thank god,” not “finally we can see what this thing can do,” but “how do I compare to other guys?” Which leads me to believe that men are not liberated sexually either. Their prowess only goes so far, it is in the hunt, but the having, the devouring is beyond both sexes. There is a hungry ghost rattling around the male psyche that rarely gets exposed. When it does, it goes something like this: I am good at wanting, craving, reaching, begging, but when the food is placed on my table, for some reason I am incapable of eating it. Part of the conditioning of the male psyche is that for a man to admit that he didn’t pounce, it would mean that he was of all things a “pussy,” the worst thing for a man to be, and her sexual appetite makes her a harlot, too man-like—put your negative connotation here—the worst thing she could be.

What I am getting is that we are in one of those Chinese finger locks, both are stuck, each hoping the other has the solution. Yes, the solution is to stop pulling away from each other. It is to stand in the face of this orgasm and brave our various sets of conditioning in order to enter and meet inside of it.

As far as I can tell the biggest challenge for women is a sense of hopelessness that it will ever be “any good”, that it will ever be sex from her native land, the kind where her body can open and she can lose herself. Time and again I hear, he’s too rough, he’s too fast, he doesn’t have enough attention. When I ask these women if they show these men what to do or slow them down, they sink into the paralysis of learned helplessness with an underlying preemptive anger. (And the unconscious fear of being the deer who suddenly turns and tells the lion how to take this meal to the next level.) The assumption is that a man doesn’t want to learn. And I would say, yes, learning occurs in the brain as physical pain. Yes learning is hard. No one likes it. And ultimately it is the only thing that brings us gratification. And I sincerely have never met a man who was not open to suggestion—sometimes they feel clumsy and stupid and try to hide it with bravado (like we all do), but with care and communication, they do have a deep desire.

The biggest challenge I see that men face is the “what is in it for me” mentality, which is devastating in the arena of sexuality. Great for business, bad for orgasm. The daemon which is a fundamental sexual energy, the necessary element of self-seeking that takes her, has run a bit rampant in the conditioned psyche of man such that no matter how much he grabs, he never gets his. That is the real nature of a hungry ghost. The conditioned psyche of men in this culture is that they can grab and grab but they cannot ingest. The daemon has got a hold of them and they are doing its bidding and it will never be gratified. This is why we see masculine driven sex in this culture as empty calories; that devoid of emotion, it is based solely on consumption but not nourishment. And it is a catch-22 in that the constant craving for more that in turn leads toward self seeking prevents the actual nourishment that would bring gratification.

Women hold the counter-pose or the antidote. But dammit, we won’t administer it. We won’t administer it because to do so we would need a place to plug the IV into and that would be straight into the vein of sex. And all the things that would signify about us that we are unwilling to claim. But this isn’t mere weakness or petulance. It lies in the fact that one’s capacity to stand in truth, to not lose oneself in a sea of opinions, to live essentially in an autonomous mind, a room of one’s own, is a result of contacting one’s own daemon as one does through… you got it… orgasm. Again, catch 22— she does not have the muscle to steer sex into the arena of what she likes and wants because she is not having the sex she wants which would develop that muscle. In other words, women do not have the power surging thorough them to withstand judgment about their sex and so do not bring the “other half” of sex, that would nourish both, into the equation.

579178_10152237903185494_755372263_nBut someone’s gotta give. You can’t go to the gym to look good enough to go to the gym. At some point you just gotta face the fact that it is going to hurt. Guys, it is going to screw with your masculinity but you are going to have to be with a woman who is facile enough in the sexual arena, free of all of the signifiers that make you a man, like the agreement to play chaste and subservient. And you are going to have to reward these women for giving you an education that hurts in the receiving. And that will require you to postpone the “getting yours” because in this case “yours” is the receiving of this education which is more a marathon than a sprint and will result in you shifting into a mindset that goes from mere quantity to quality, which ultimately nourishes you and quells the craving or converts it into depth.

And women friends, you are just going to have to withstand the throwing of tomatoes. What is the alternative? Keep your orgasm tamped down for another thousand years because you were unwilling to be called a few names or forego the illusion of there ever being a savior. Yes, there is a savior and guess what— you are it. You are here to save sex from the devastating state it’s in, unless porn, and weird sex where you have to use foreign words like yoni, or medicalized sex replete with medication, is your thing.

Here’s where you start. You admit you want it. Then you determine that are going to make it good. Not that you are going to hope and pray beyond all hope that this guy will be the one to magically “get it.” You are going to insure beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is brilliant and successful. You are going to make it through the dip. The dip is where everyone quits. It’s what Organic Chemistry is to medical school: the class that filters out about 80 per cent of students because it is so challenging. And the dip in terms of your orgasm is your willingness to withstand judgment about being a Turned On Woman. If you can make it through that dip, you have earned your stripes and deserve to have access to the power that orgasm can bring. But you’ve got to earn your chops and withstand the presumptions and assumptions about what it means for a woman to be sexual and then even worse, right when you want to konk them on the head and say “are your out of your friggin’ mind?”—you are going to educate. You are going to educate people into a new way— a way where sex without conditions does not mean sex without consciousness. In the same way it is not weakness that has one able to love unconditionally, it actually stems from strength, it is not desperation that has a woman sex unconditionally, it actually stems from power.

With this in mind, I thought I would give a little guide for the guys as to how to prepare to meet with a Turned on Woman. Sort of like when you are going to camp and they tell you how to prepare—this is How to Prepare to Fuck a Turned On Woman. Mind you, this is just how to prepare to fuck this turned on woman, but in holding up my end of the deal, the one where I make sure that you are brilliant and successful with me—here goes.

We can make this very easy. Set a time and show up on time. Both of us will be feeling a certain anticipation. We will be riding that edge of turn on and irritation. The more we can both stay inside the parameters we agree on in terms of logistics, the more we will develop trust and the more powerfully we can let go. I know how to manage sexual tension in my body, how to allow it to build and build. To a point. Often you hear about a woman being dramatic. Its not drama—it’s screech level anticipation. I want it to be that you show up and I am in the sweet spot—that line where I am having you and wanting you both. I cannot tell you how many guys “got lost on my way” coming over to have sex.

A context needs to be set because this is neither a bootie call nor a marriage ceremony. Alan Watts once said that life is far too serious to be taken seriously. This is as well. Again we are looking for a sweet spot where, on the one hand, we acknowledge that we are exploring together in the most charged, intense, potential that exists on the planet; and on the other, in the same way Suzuki Roshi says that enlightenment is just sitting—this is just sex. The experience begins when we agree to meet, and from that moment everything from wondering what I should wear for you to feeling a throb in my pussy when I imagine you being here, is part of it. I include everything, which makes it that much richer. It is like going to the symphony and being attuned to every note. Somehow doing this creates an experience of losing oneself. That is the ultimate experience that I am looking for with you—for each of us to lose ourselves and discover what is there when we do. =

For this reason I like it when you text or email me your thoughts, desires …… Read the rest on Nicole’s blog:  ORIGINAL POSTING FROM NICOLE DAEDONE’S WEBSITE HERE

 

 

Nicole Daedone is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and author who has spent her groundbreaking career redefining orgasm from a woman’s point of view. Starting with her fundamental belief that a woman’s sex is her power, she treats supposedly taboo subjects with unparalleled humor, intelligence, and insight.

Nicole is the author of Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm (Grand Central/Hachette, May 2011) and is the founder of OneTaste, a company that offers training in orgasm, communication, and man-woman relationships through online media and in-person coaching and courses. The practice at the heart of her work is called OM or Orgasmic Meditation. OM uniquely combines the tradition of extended orgasm with Nicole’s own interest in Zen Buddhism, mystical Judaism and semantics. Helping to foster a new conversation about orgasm—one that’s relevant and real—she has inspired thousands of students to make OM a part of their everyday lives.

Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and 7×7 Magazine, among others, and her writing has appeared in Tricycle magazine. She is also a featured speaker at the 2011 TEDxSF conference.

For more about OneTaste and OM, visit www.onetaste.us. Nicole’s blog appears at www.nicoledaedone.com.

Dec 092012
 
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Originally published on www.CyndiDarnell.com on 5/30/12

In fragile times, it’s often our most intimate and close relationships that suffer. Intimacy is the glue, the enhancer that gives us the drive to connect, and in many situations, also the factor that can be a passion killer for some and the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I have been reflecting a lot recently on what it means to be intimate with someone, what vulnerability is and how honesty plays a role in all of this. This of course in turn affects the way we can approach sex, but of course not all of our relationships are sexual or erotic, but that doesn’t have to mean they lack intimacy. Intimacy has many faces which can be misunderstood or worse still, ignored when we only relate to intimacy as something sexual or erotic. Intimacy is the essence, the determining factor that decides how close someone gets to us and what we’re prepared to do or share to maintain it.

Intimacy comes from sharing and bonding. People share and bond in hundreds of ways; from a drink at the pub, to a long, lazy dinner , to a friendship that has been cultivated over years, a cry on a shoulder, a rewarding hug, a sporting win  or a love of the same activities, revealing a truth about yourself that you trust another person to take care of, asking for help , asking for attention or allowing yourself to be seen as you really are, flaws and all, in the hope that you won’t be judged for it.

Whilst most of us have these requirements at different stages in our lives, very few are able to acknowledge this need within ourselves, let alone share it with others. It can often be the core of a nagging internal voice that manifests as only a hum or faint murmur rather than bolt of clarity. It can also be the trigger that releases aggressive outbursts, where words said, are later regretted because it’s easier to cast the uncomfortable sensation / feeling out and onto another, than to claim it as our own. It’s easier to blame others than to take a little agency, and while at times this is effective; what is the long-term cost? When this is the perpetual default setting, there is no recourse.Your default setting is powerlessness.

The rise of anxiety among not only Australians, but Westerners in general as a primary emotional default saddens me, but does not surprise me as we become less and less intimate, less and less able to acknowledge our own feelings and thus less able to share with others or learn how to listen to others without judging, being judged or feeling attacked.

While I generally tend to avoid binaries of any kind as a measure for looking at the world, it seems when it comes to emotions, we have only two options. We either allow them to be there, accept them, in all their discomfort and learn to work with them rather than against them; (thus having control over them or even better still, a relationship with them); or we can ignore them. (The latter in my experience can only last for so long before manifestations of ill health become apparent; excessive anxiety, delusion, sleeplessness, depression and a general corrosion of relationships as a result of any one or all of these things.) Shakespeare grasped the ultimate quandary: To Be or Not To Be, that IS in fact the ultimate question, the question that hundreds of years later we still philosophically ponder, but most of us avoid for the sheer terror of facing our internal truth, our shadow, that which makes us vulnerable.

So what is this vulnerability that can make even the most mighty a quivering wreck, or the mostfeeble a guilt-ridden avoider, keen to maintain the facade or status quo at any price, even their own well-being?

Vulnerability for many may be the shadow, the hidden that which dare not be revealed, OR it may also be the default, wherein manipulation and carelessness can take centre stage to avoid speaking a truth that is more confronting, potentially freeing but also downright terrifying to the inexperienced.

The vulnerability I am talking about here is the genuine kind, not the ‘’tantrum’’ or ‘’drama’’ kind where the protagonist is actually quite capable of helping themselves, but prefers instead to use manipulation or passive/ aggressive tactics to get their needs met consciously or unconsciously. True vulnerability here is acknowledging what is actually going on in the relationship in question, whether the relationship is with the Self or another. Vulnerability is a resource to actually achieve a mutually beneficial outcome rather than as a tool to wage messy, dirty conflict.

Vulnerability needn’t equate to meekness Being vulnerable is actually one of the most assertive things I for one have ever done. Having the gumption to tell someone I love them, to tell them I miss them to tell them I am angry with them is absolutely fucking terrifying when I don’t know whether or not I will be heard or acknowledged. (This of course requires that such statements are made as declarations rather than ultimatums or any kind of manipulation.) Acknowledgement of another person’s feelings is a vital part of communication and creating intimacy through vulnerability. If / when you acknowledge that you are actually valuable in another person’s life, you are then compelled to be responsible for your own responses and behaviour toward them. Acknowledging responsibility is an act of both vulnerability and power. Pretending it doesn’t matter that someone you’re close to just told you how they feel is not only inharmonious it’s also a form of rejection and an inhibitor to intimacy. They wouldn’t have been close to you in the first place if you didn’t actually care about them.

For example, we can all think of situations where for one reason or another we have wanted, or even needed to be taken care of in some way, shape or form, to be soothed if you like, or just supported and appreciated for a day, a night, a month, a life time. Where a need to be understood was crucial, but where the ability to recognise that need was impossible because the mere thought of allowing such a realisation was too much to bear. It was only with hindsight that we realised what we needed, but were too fearful to acknowledge it; instead judging our own feeling for example as ‘’weak’’ or ‘’inappropriate’’, rather than seeing it for what it is, a basic human desire to be understood and acknowledged. Somehow to admit our humanness is weak, is animalistic, is dangerous. My belief is that not acknowledging our feelings is far, far, far more dangerous. As my dear friend Cath says: What you resist; persists! I can think of few cases where this is not a universal truth. When your strongest motivator is actually also your blind spot, communication can get very very messy.

So where do we go from here? The concept of acceptance has been around for ages, thousands of years in fact. Buddhists cottoned-on to it yonks ago, and have been its greatest advocates ever since. Recently psychologists have decided it’s OK too, even beyond OK; downright effective! Good stuff! So we finally have science and spirit intersecting. (For the atheists who walk among us, substitute the word ‘spirit ‘for ‘feeling’ instead). So, what does this mean for us lay-people? It means two things that I can see so far. One is, we have one of the most powerful tools available to us to give ourselves the leverage to get a bit real with ourselves and stop pissing-about on the edges, and Two, it enables us to understand that being honest with ourselves first, and then with others (whilst being a bit scary at times), is actually a very assertive practice, and at times, a whole lot harder than running in on the defensive, but ultimately more fulfilling and anxiety reducing!

Are you more powerful when you act or re-act? Who is more powerful,  the initiator or the reactor? When it comes to relationships (not just sexual ones, remember?) the most effective work can be achieved when we take action, rather than just re-action. When our default is thoughtful, emotive and inspired rather than an act of defence strategy and one-upping, we are operating from a place of creativity and agency.

Here’s the thing; a wise teacher once asked me and I will ask you; Do you want to be rightOR Do you want to be close? Depending of your values, you may struggle with choosing between what may seem to be opposing alternatives. Sometimes (but not always) you can’t be both. Sometimes you just have to accept what is there, without judging it. Your answer to that question may actually be a cause of vulnerability for you…………… and so the cycle starts again.

The old adage we teach what we most need to learn rings absolutely true. I have spent years working through issues of accepting and embracing my vulnerability. It’s still a challenge for me, but I’ve been practicing for years and it gets better and easier. Believe me. I spent years feeling nervous, anxious and profoundly deranged trying to keep all the plates spinning, while trying to look cool as a cucumber. Will I ever have it totally mastered? Probably not! But then again, I don’t know that mastering emotions is the kind of goal I am looking to achieve anyway. Emotions by their very nature are erratic and arousing. Some are pleasant, others are not. But emotions in their essence are a necessary part of life, as necessary and water, air, food and sleep, yet these things are not judged as invalid, in the way that emotions often are. Feelings add value, colour and texture to what would otherwise be rather rudimentary and cardboard lives. Why would anyone want to dominate the one thing that gives their life its authenticity, its spark and its vigour. Conversely, being a slave to one’s emotions is also unsavoury and potentially deadly. Common Sense is calledcommonsense for a reason. It’s everywhere and everyone has access to it………. in theory at least! Learning to allow access to feelings, process them and foster acceptance is where the magic lies. Find the edge, find the distance you’re prepared to get to, wait and see. Don’t judge it, don’t push it. Just wait and see. …………………. What CAN you see? Let me know.

Cyndi Darnell: I have always been a pleasure enthusiast. For as far back as I can remember, my fascination with pleasure and sexuality has been part of my identity. Having travelled the world extensively in my 20s in the pursuit of self-knowledge and then my 30s exploring more introspective wonders and delights, I have come to embrace the understanding that sexuality and pleasure is not something separate from our lives, but part of our lives as a pathway to genuine wholeness, contentment and wellbeing.

My pursuit of quality sex-knowledge has led me down a variety of avenues to get the expert and diverse know-how I have today. From the dedicated hands on approach I took during the 1990s through workshops, seminars (including Sexological Bodywork and contemporary tantra) and good old fashioned trial and error; through to the academic and clinical studies I have completed in the 2000s in both general counselling and specialist clinical sex therapy, I am thrilled to be able to bridge the world of sexology from a variety of perspectives and approaches that embrace, understand and challenge the diversity of human sexuality.

I am also the founder and creator of Pleasure Forum Australia , a monthy  adult to adult sex education program where the emphasis is on pleasure and practical education, not sleaze and clinical theory. More recently my educational and therapeutic skills have been heard on Australia’s Triple J radio program The Hack for Sex Week, as well as working with Australia’s most outspoken darling,Catherine Deveny, on a series of free-to-air educational podcasts about sex, pleasure and the human condition. I am a mentor for the Minus 18 Sex Gurus, a queer  sex and health project for young queer identifying and gender questioning people. I work predominantly in Melbourne, but also offer my workshops and therapeutic sessions across Australia and globally via Skype.

 

Dec 072012
 
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From Intentblog 12/6/12

After speaking out against critics of her daughter Willow’s new haircut, the mega-articulate actress and activist Jada Pinkett-Smith earlier this week used her Facebook platform to bring awareness to a much larger issue: how the degradation of women in the media negatively affects both men and women.

Talk about a woman who knows how to use her words as a weapon for justice and equality. We’re with you, Jada.

“How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

 

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.”    ~ Jada Pinkett-Smith, via Sinuous Magazine

Nov 302012
 
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A new — and almost entirely unreported — study about anal sex and pain shows how little we really know about it

That anal sex remains taboo may explain why a study about anodyspareunia – that is, pain during anal penetration – received little attention when it was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. The study should have turned heads: It was the first research on anodyspareunia among women; it was conducted by a well-respected scientist (Dr. Aleksander Stulhofer from the University of Zagreb); and it was centered on young women and sex. That’s often the kind of research that attracts media attention (Young women sex! They get pregnant! They give oral sex! You get the picture …). However, anal sex remains such a strong taboo that this otherwise important study barely turned a head.

Except it did turn mine. Here’s why. In an incredibly short period of time, anal sex has become a common part of Americans’ sex lives. As of the 1990s, only about one-quarter to one-third of young women and men in the U.S. had tried anal sex at least once. Less than 20 years later, my research team’s 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45 percent of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex. With its rising prevalence, I felt it was important to devote a chapter of my first book, “Because It Feels Good,” to anal health and pleasure — only to find that a magazine editor wouldn’t review it because the topic of anal sex was “not in the best interest of our readership.” Even though nearly half of American women in some age groups have done it! She added, “In the correct circles, I personally will be suggesting the book to those with whom I can share such a resource.”

Hmm. The correct circles. Which ones would those be? The ones where scores and scores of women openly sit around talking about anal sex between glasses of wine?

So taboos persist and anal sex remains hush-hush even though more people are doing it. What changed to make it more common, anyway? It’s not entirely clear – after all, rates of masturbation, vaginal sex, oral sex and other sexual practices don’t seem to have changed too much. However,  it’s commonly thought that the widespread access to porn played a role. Some research has found that anal sex was shown in 56 percent of sex scenes studied even though national data of real people’s sex lives show that fewer than 5 percent of Americans had anal sex during their most recent sexual experience.

Honest, evidence-based answers to questions about anal sex are difficult to come by. You’d think we would know more about a behavior that’s become a common part of Americans’ sex lives – one that, for all its potential pleasures, remains among the riskiest sex acts when it comes to spreading sexually transmissible infections (STI) including HIV. Yet there is strikingly little scientific research on anal sex. The list of what we don’t know about anal sex is far longer than the list of what we do. This makes it difficult for sex educators to feel truly confident in answering people’s very real and important questions.

This is also what made the recent University of Zagreb study so valuable. They surveyed more than 2,000 women ages 18 to 30 about their experiences with anal sex. Building on limited early research about anal pain among men who have sex with men, the researchers asked about women’s experiences with pain. This was critical because, as much as we often talk about anal sex possibly hurting, and lubricant possibly minimizing pain or discomfort during anal sex, there is almost no research on women’s experiences of anal sex. One exception is a study that I conducted with my research team at Indiana University in which we gave six different lubricants to more than 2,400 women and asked them to use them during their masturbation, vaginal sex and/or anal sex activities. Among our interests was whether using a lubricant helped to make sex – including anal sex – more pleasurable, more satisfying and less painful (it did).

The Zagreb team found that about half of women (49 percent) stopped their first experience of anal intercourse because it was too painful to continue – not surprising considering 52 percent of women report not even using lubricant when they first had anal sex! An additional 17 percent of women also experienced pain or discomfort during their first anal sex, but didn’t stop their partner. Only about one-quarter of women said their first experience with anal sex was pleasant.

That said, nearly two-thirds tried anal sex again (hopefully this time with lubricant), continuing on another occasion. Those women who found it positive, pleasurable and pain-free were more likely to try it again. About 9 percent of women who had anal sex at least twice in the past year said that they experienced pain every single time. Based on what I know about women who experience pain during vaginal intercourse, my guess is that chronic pain during anal sex is even more common – perhaps hovering in the 10-15 percent range – once the women who actively avoid it because it always hurts are taken into account.

This 9 percent figure is important. It tells us that a similar proportion of women experience pain consistently during anal sex as experience pain consistently during vaginal penetration. That’s right: Somewhere around 10 percent of women experience pain during vaginal intercourse or even during daily activities like sitting down or riding in the car. The 9 percent number is also close to the 10-14 percent range that’s been identified as the proportion of men who have sex with men who experience pain during anal sex. And though the Zagreb study asked women what sense they made of their pain (most blamed themselves or their sexual practices, suggesting their pain was linked to not feeling fully relaxed, inadequate anal foreplay, or not using sufficient lubricant), the fact is that we still don’t know clinically what’s causing their pain.

It may be that, like the vagina and vulva, the anuses of some women and men respond to touch or penetration in painful ways and for unknown reasons. It may be that some of these women and men have skin disorders, such as lichen sclerosus, which can affect genital skin (including anal skin), increasing the likelihood of discomfort, pain or tearing. Certainly lack of information and education is at the root of some people’s pain, but it’s probably not the primary cause for everyone. Some women and men do everything “right” – they use gobs of lubricant, they start out slowly, relax, communicate well with their partner, avoid desensitizing or numbing gels/creams – and yet it still hurts. Do they have an underlying medical condition that’s contributing to the pain? Wonky nerve receptors that scream in pain rather than perceive penetration as neutral or pleasurable? We don’t know.

In case you’re wondering, we also don’t know much about the long-term effects of anal intercourse. Certainly enough people have been having anal sex over enough generations that if anything were seriously dangerous about anal sex, we would know it by now. But as for questions about how regular anal sex, rough anal sex or insufficiently lubricated anal sex might ultimately affect the likelihood of a woman experiencing rectal prolapse or of a woman or man experiencing various anal or rectal health issues, we don’t know because no one has studied these kinds of things. It’s 2012 and pretty much all we know about anal sex is that lots of people have tried it, there’s a higher degree of risk for STI/HIV transmission (compared to vaginal sex or oral sex), many people have found it painful on occasion, many people also find it pleasurable sometimes, and about one in 10 women and men experience pain during anal sex on a regular basis. Much of the research involving HPV and anal cancer is focused on men who have sex with men – which is needed — even though more women in the U.S. have received anal sex than the number of men who have received anal sex. That’s not to say that anal cancer isn’t important to study among men – it very much is the case – but women get anal cancer, too, and we need to know more about risk and protective factors (related: check out this I Have Butt What? blog by a brave anal cancer survivor named Michelle).

Knowledge gap, anyone?

Even though most people who have had anal sex engage in it only occasionally, anal sex is a fairly common practice. And if people are going to engage in sexual behavior, then they deserve enough information to help make that behavior as safe, pleasurable and satisfying as possible. To do so, science has to catch up and taboos have to dissipate enough so that more people feel comfortable talking about it and sharing their experiences.

Debby-HerbenickDebby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is co-Director of The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, and author of five books about sex and love. Her most recent is Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered for Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex (Running Press, 2012).

Check out this TEDx Talk by Debby Herbenick  “Why Your Bed is the Ultimate Treehouse”

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