Celeste & Danielle Offer Sex and Relationship Coaching for a Passionate, Connected and Fulfilling Life

One of our clients sent over this series of emails she wrote to her close female friends about working with us to address her low libido. We are so delighted that she is willing to open up about her journey, and we’ll be sharing it with you as a series of blog posts.

The Problem

In this first post, we will share with her absolutely on point description of what most couples experience when the woman in the relationship has lower desire and how they try to solve it. Our client writes:

“Over the course of the 19 years that I have been with my wonderful husband, we have had the great fortune to grow together in many ways. However, one thing that has been constant over the years is his sexual appetite has always been greater than my own. Sound familiar? That’s because a ridiculously huge proportion of women face similar issues in their relationships.”

Is Good the Enemy of Great?

“It wasn’t that I couldn’t have GOOD sex with my husband. Despite my self-diagnosed ‘low libido,’ we still managed to have sex on a moderately regular (albeit less than he would have liked) basis. But it was routine. I brushed my teeth, put on my pajamas, crawled into bed with him and we did the things we knew would please each other and we had sex. It was good. But GREAT sex required stars to be aligned. It required vacations, or alcohol, or a particularly perfect week at work and a kid who went to bed early or slept in late. It required me to get out of my head for a second and to not be annoyed that his loving overtures weren’t coming at a time where I was already in the mood, but to have them put me in the mood. It required a small miracle.”

Looking for the Quick Fix

Many couples try to resolve the issue with “quick fixes,” “hot tips,” and all sorts of short-cut solutions that generally don’t do much to shift people’s habits or change their sex lives and relationships. Our client continues:

“We’d had discussions over the years about this topic, and as a result of these emotional conversations, we’d stumble upon various tactics that would work for a SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. We’d decide to have sex every Wednesday, and it worked. For a month. We’d decide to be more amorous to each other outside the bedroom, and that worked. For a couple weeks. He would buy me sexy lingerie. That wouldn’t work (does that work for anyone but a guy?!?). We’d think that “Oh when the baby is older, we’ll get back in the groove” or “Oh, it’s the birth control pills, that’s it. After the vasectomy and I’m off the pills, we’ll magically want to jump each other’s bones all day long.”

Sound Familiar?

Some of you are probably nodding your heads emphatically right now, totally able to identify with our client’s situation. Society tells us that sex is easy, especially when you’re in a happy, loving relationship. In reality, many women suffer from occasional to frequent low-libido, making them frustrated with their relationships and themselves.

In our next post we’ll continue following our client on her journey as she searches for an answer to her low libido.

Here is a question we received from a reader:

Hi, I was going through your blog. I have a peculiar issue, maybe. I am 31, a mother of 2, and my husband is 34. He is very interested in sex — anywhere, anytime, — but me, I don’t know why, but I totally dislike it. He loves me a lot. And I feel bad that I discourage him, which hurts him a lot, but anytime he comes to me, even for a small kiss, I feel he is proposing sex. I have posted my problem in many blogs, but no luck till now. It’s been almost 3 years since I have let him near me. I feel sad for him. Please help.

The longer a couple goes without having sex, the more difficult and awkward it can be to start again. Your body actually forgets what it liked about sex. The good news is that a sex drought can make getting it on again even more exciting! We’ve helped many couples out of their sexless ruts, and find that the reasons they stopped having sex usually fall into three main categories.

Low sex drive – Some women naturally have a lower sex drive than they’ve been led to believe is “normal.” If your libido has always been lacking, it can be increased by simply spending more time thinking about sex! Tune in to the sensuality of the world around you, explore your turn-ons with erotic movies and books, and don’t forget to masturbate!

Emotional disconnect – For women in particular, misunderstandings and unresolved conflict in the relationship can cause a lack of connection and and make intimacy difficult. You and your partner must learn to effectively communicate your feelings and bridge the divide between you, because relationships are about repair.

Pushing the wrong buttons – Women frequently confide to us that their partner doesn’t know how they’d prefer to be approached, seduced, and pleasured, but they’ve never said anything to him! It’s crucial that you talk about your turn ons, even if you think they’re a little weird. Once your partner knows what you like, we can help him perfect his technique.

Even if it seems like your partner is always in the mood, he’s probably suffering from feelings of rejection and insecurity. He may fear that he won’t be able to perform well once you do start having sex. You need to make sure you keep communicating, reassuring one another, and working together to rebuild your sex life.

All this advice may be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to begin again, a kiss is always a good start.

In an earlier blog we talked about why it’s important to talk with your partner very specifically about your sexual desires. We can’t emphasize enough how essential talking about sex is if you want your sex life to last and be fulfilling. Yet, because of our society’s general shaming about sex, just talking about our most mainstream desires for romance or passion can be challenging. For those of us who have less conventional sexual desires, talking about them can feel way more risky.

You might know exactly what turns you on the most, but fear that your partner will judge your desires or even be disgusted by them. In our work with individuals and couples, we have come across people who have all sorts of interesting desires, and you can see references to the wide variety of desires out in the world like this article from the Guardian about a young, slim woman who fantasizes about sex with older, obese men. Before even talking with your partner about your more unorthodox desires, we suggest you clarify for yourself exactly what your desires are and what you want from the conversation. We think it is helpful to look at your desires in terms of three categories.

Do It To Me – Sexy Acts

You might desire a specific act with your partner. For example, as a heterosexual man you might be embarrassed to ask for anal play because you fear your partner might think it is not masculine or is dirty. As a woman, you might want your partner to be more rough with you, like wanting them to slap your face.

Say It To Me – Sexy Words

You might desire to hear specific words from your partner. Maybe you want to feel like you are in trouble: “You are such a naughty boy and I’m going to whip you.” Or you want to hear that you are the queen and receive worshipful words: “I bow at your perfect feet your majesty and am at your command.” If you are wanting your partner to talk during sex, don’t leave it up to chance, give them the exact words that you want them to say and let them try those, as well as experiment with others in the same vein. Make sure that you have an agreement that you can give feedback and update the words if they start to get boring.

Play It With Me – Sexy Fantasies

With fantasies it is important to know whether or not you want to share them outside of sex, share them verbally during more conventional sexual experiences, or play them out. You can share your fantasies simply as a way to let your partner into some of the deepest, most private, and most vulnerable parts of yourself. Even if you don’t play them out, this can be a very connecting experience.

You might desire to say your fantasies to your partner during sex or have them tell you specific fantasies. For example, you might be really turned on by the idea of an orgy, but don’t actually want to experience group sex. Instead, you want your partner to walk you through the fantasy verbally: “Now imagine that we walk into this room full of really sexual people and they are all looking at you, thinking how much they want you. And, you stand there shyly at first, but soon you start to get a little bit more brave and you start seducing them all by slowly undressing.” Finally, you may want to actually play out your fantasies. You might want to play out a rape fantasy or buy a nice flogger, a blindfold and handcuffs and go as a couple to your local dungeon, where your partner can tie you to a cross and whip you and play with you in front of other people.

Bringing Up The Conversation

Once you have a good idea of what you want, it is time to take the very brave step of bringing it up with your partner. Since society tells us that certain desires are acceptable and others are wrong or shameful, it is very vulnerable to share our deepest desires especially if they are unconventional. There are many ways, both direct and indirect, to share. We think the best way is to invite your partner to a sexy conversation where the two of you agree to take an open, non-judgmental approach to hearing all of your partner’s desires and fantasies. Make sure that you both realize how vulnerable and brave to share in these ways.

In order to be open and non-judgmental, it is also extremely important that you remember that you have a right to your boundaries – if you are uncertain about boundaries, check out our series on boundaries. If there is something that your partner desires, first you want to accept and celebrate it and then you get to decide whether you want to participate, knowing that there may be some desires that you want to explore with them and others that you don’t.

Most people judge each other’s fantasies because they are afraid that they are required to meet all of their partner’s needs, however, you will never meet all your partner’s needs. The worst things you can do in the face of your partner’s desires are judge and try to shut them down or engage in activities that are too uncomfortable for you – judging will shut your partner down and having sex in ways you don’t want to will shut you down. If you keep your boundaries, allow yourself to be open to new experiences, and allow your partner to feel disappointment if there are parts you don’t want to do, that is the very best you can do in relationship.

The New York Times recently published an article on kissing where researchers tried to figure out exactly what role kissing plays in relationships.

The problem with researchers is that their job is to study what is and not what can be… As sex and relationship coaches, we know that kisses are not all the same and that kissing can be much more of an arousing experience if couples learn how to give each other the most passionate, tantalizing, teasing kisses there are! Here’s what we wrote about kissing in our recent newsletter:

Kisses are the gateway drug to sex. So, don’t just dive in there, take your time. The perfect kiss isn’t born, it’s made. It starts with that look. You know, the one that melts your insides. The longing look into your eyes then down towards your lips that says, I don’t think I can wait another minute, but just looking is soooooooo good. Then, you move towards each other, savoring the moment when your lips first touch. You feel the texture, puffy, smooth, wet. You start to move your lips together in a dance, feeling the chill that goes through your body as your tongues first touch. Go slowly at first, tasting, licking then deepen into more passion and movement. Notice how deep your partner puts their tongue in your mouth, see what it’s like to match their rhythm. Don’t forget to TAKE BREAKS. No matter how good a kiss, if you just sit there, faces pressed together, even the most amazing kiss can get boring. So, don’t be lazy! Whether it is your first kiss or you’ve been kissing for a very long time, remember to pull back, tease, look in your lover’s eyes again, kiss their cheeks and the corners of their mouth, kiss down and bite their neck, and look in their eyes again (we can’t emphasize the power of the look enough)! Once you have perfected the kiss follow us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us all about it. We want to hear about YOUR PERFECT KISS!!!

We love this Huffington Post article about why it is important to talk about sex. Firestone covers many of the conversations that you might want to have with your partner, but misses what we think is the most important one- what actually turns you on about sex. We don’t blame her because it just seems so obvious! However, most people never get very explicit with their sweethearts about what they want sexually.

For example, you might complain that you want more passion or romance, or that you need to be seduced, but these words mean different things and bring up different images and fantasies for every person. You might assume that your partners has the same image in their mind as you have and are withholding those goodies because “he doesn’t love me enough” or “she isn’t that interested.”

We’ve found that people who get together usually have slightly different to vastly different ways they would most like to be seduced and made love to – we call this your Hottest Sexual Movie. If you think back on your best sexual experiences or delve into your hottest fantasies, you will have an idea about what your movie is. Until you and your partner have a conversation about what is hot for you and go through an actual learning process with one another about your movies, sex can be boring and monotonous.

We want to note that sometimes the sex that turns you on the most might be embarrassing to talk about. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog where we introduce how to have conversations about less common sexual practices. If you know what you want and aren’t embarrassed, you need to be very specific and very gentle when you talk about your desires with your partner, as they are going through the learning curve of learning how to be an amazing lover to you. You need to talk, demonstrate, give positive, loving, and gently guiding feedback.

No matter how long you’ve been together, it is never too late to learn how to really turn each other on!

Somatica Method Practitioner Keeley Rankin contributes some excellent insights into those inevitable awkward moments in intimacy:

We have all experienced the awkward moment during sex. You move to take your shirt off, or your pants, or your body makes a funny noise that no one was planning on. We don’t normally mentions these moments, we move as quickly past them almost pretending they didn’t happen. Still, they happen. At one point or another, all of us have been in a situation that has a moment where the energy slows or even stops while something “awkward” takes place. These moments do not only happen in sexual experiences, they also take place during conversations. I notice them most when I meet a person for the first time and the conversation comes to a stop for one reason or another.

What is the awkward moment and why does it make us feel so uncomfortable? I think of this moment as a change in energy. Something is shifting and we feel uneasy about it. Sexual experiences are no different. During sexual experiences, energy is consistently changing. I think of sexual energy on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being lightly aroused and 10 being the point of orgasm or “no return.” I have found most people feel they are experiencing an awkward moment when the sexual energy moves down the scale at a somewhat rapid speed.

Lets take, for example, undressing. Sometimes it works great to have your partner rip your clothes off in the heat of passion, and other times you take your own clothes off. Either way, people often rush this experience. Instead of enjoying the sensation of clothes moving off your skin and exposing yourself to your partner, the experience is rushed and under-appreciated. The hurry stems from the fear that the moment will be lost if the arousal level lowers. It is true that, as we move back from embracing our partner to undress them or undress ourselves, the energy shifts and can slow down, moving down the arousal curve. Feeling the slowing down creates the fear of loss and aha, the awkward moment. Many people are rushing through sexual experiences in fear of the awkward moment.

Instead of avoiding them, I would love for people to begin embracing these awkward moments. You can do this by seeing the situation for what it is. You are about to feel a drop in sexual tension between you are your partner and what a great moment to slow down, connect with yourself and allow for space on the arousal curve to shift. Sex does not need to have a straight-line trajectory. There is no prize if you ride the arousal curve from 1 to 10 without ups and downs. In fact, you are actually inviting boredom into the bedroom by skipping over all of the connection and playfulness that can happen as the arousal curve moves up and down. Some of the best sexual experiences I have had move from hot passion, to laughter, to orgasms, to holding, and sweet talk and back to orgasms again, with plenty of ups and downs. I invite you to take a look at your past sexual experiences and see if you are racing your arousal curve.

Next time you are about to get intimate with your partner, and you realize your shirt is not coming off as fast as you imagined, take a deep breath and recognize what is happening. You are most likely rushing through the awkward experience. Bring yourself into the present moment and notice what you are experiencing. Feel your shirt as it brushes against your skin on the way to the floor. Notice how the air feels on your skin as it becomes newly exposed. Maybe your partner is watching you and patiently waiting for you to fall back into their arms shirtless and confidently moved past the potential awkward moment. See if you can find ways to enjoy all that is happening in the moment and allow all of the beautiful fluctuations that make sex and intimacy truly interesting.

We recently sat down with radio talk show host Tony Stiles to discuss Sexual Contracts and the book 50 Shade of Grey and wanted to share our thoughts on sexual contracts:

Open, negotiated sexual contracts are not common in relationships. Most people have many unspoken agreements about their sexual and intimate relationships, and never feel comfortable talking about sex. Thanks to 50 shades of grey, BDSM classes and other kinds of outreach, the mainstream – or “vanilla” community as it is called by those who practice BDSM – is incorporating the idea that we can openly and honestly ask for what we want sexually and be clear about our boundaries (what we won’t do) as well. Making a sexual contract can be very healthy if people are honest about their desires and their boundaries and don’t try to go beyond or push each other beyond what is comfortable for them. Also, a good sexual contract should always be up for renegotiation as our needs and desires change throughout our life and relationships. You do not need to be practicing BDSM to have one.

A good contract negotiation begins with accepting and celebrating ALL of your and your partners desires without judgement while still knowing that you and your partner have a choice whether or not you want to participate in those desires. Also, an attitude of creativity, curiosity, playfulness and openness are really helpful.

A sexual contract can be very helpful to reigniting the spark in sexless or low sex marriages. This is because many people think that sex is supposed to continue to happen spontaneously and without any communication throughout an entire relationships which is crazy, especially as we begin to have children or our responsibilities grow. The truth is, once the honeymoon period is over, sex is something that needs to be cultivated and both partners need to be willing to take the lead, ask for what they want, initiate sex and bring in new ideas. It takes real commitment for a sexual relationship to stay hot over time. Willingness to be open and try new things and to take the risk to be really honest and specific about sex is so helpful. Each person has deep and important fantasies that they want to experience, but not everyone feels comfortable or safe to communicate then. Women often don’t even count what turns them on as a fantasy because their fantasies are not always overtly sexual. Sitting down and openly discussing a sexual contract can be a wonderful way to spark communication. It is less important that folks sign on the dotted line then that they actually have a forum in which they can share their desires – a contract creates this forum.

If you’d like help renegotiating your sexual contract, give us a call.