Category Archives: Couples
A burning question that’s been in my inbox for … about five years (I started out on my blog with a lot of really good intentions!): How do I get my shy husband to try something a little wilder with me?
I guess that might depend on your version of “wild.”
I don’t think it’s any secret that a common theme runs through all the stuff I post on here – when you want to do anything, change anything, try anything, stop anything in a sexual relationship, you need to communicate. The only way to keep a relationship healthy is by talking to each other and keeping an open mind – even if it means you’re closing the door on a specific experience.
It’s never easy trying to coax anyone into leaving their comfort zone. My husband has invested 26 years in slowly (and occasionally, quickly) helping me expand and explore my own limits. We’ve tried things I would have never imagined, and some that I never imagined would leave my imagination.
Getting me into this adventure started with a lot of small steps, all of which were great ways to gradually spice up our marriage. We didn’t take a huge leap right into many of the experiences we’ve had, but played them out in our mutual fantasies, often as post-sex conversation … sometimes mid-sex conversation. He was very encouraging for me to open up about my thoughts, and gradually let him in on some of the fantasies I never dreamed I could ever share.
He did a lot of simple things to set that stage – created fun little question and answer games, romantic dinners with a twist. For example, on one birthday, he created a sort of scavenger hunt for me: When I got to my car at work there was a set of envelopes on my seat, numbered. I had to follow each one, in order, before the final destination. He thought of everything to make it easy, a little challenging, but fun as hell. Starting at a lingerie shop for underwear, right through to an outfit and shoes; by the time I met him, I was completely made-up, dressed up and ready for a date.
At Christmas, he put together a “naughty list” stocking for me – which I would open on Christmas Eve after the kids went to bed. It was filled with fun adult gifts and naughty toys, all designed to add a little more sexual excitement to the end of a very stressful month (December is always a toughie).
Along the journey to helping me discover a new sexual side, he encouraged me to let go of the hang-ups I had. I can’t tell you how terrifying it was at first to admit to him about the flirtatious experiences I was enjoying online and at work. There were bumps along the way, more conversations, a bit of back and forth … and it was work. It took effort to not crawl back into my shell and plod along in life never testing the waters again.
Without question, it had to be a challenge for him too. It takes a certain kind of man to shed his own insecurities and let trust take over. I know he struggled at times as well … but he always told me how much more rewarding it was to see his wife developing into an exciting, confident and sexually-engaged woman than it was to remain in a relationship of mundane suburban cohabitation (his words).
My husband gradually introduced ‘new’ things to our relationship as my own comfort level and interest emerged from the depths of my mind. A touch stereotypical, it included lingerie for the bedroom, stiletto heels that would never been seen on me in public, sex toys. We played with the video camera and (pre-digital) the Polaroid camera. All that helped me see, in his eyes, how sexy he thought I was.
It’s amazing how much your sexual confidence grows when you see and hear constant reinforcement from someone you love dearly. Knowing I could be open and vulnerable allowed me to find more of that sexual confidence and my desire to blossom. Once the seal was broken, I wanted even more.
For me, it wasn’t so much about what we were doing from that point on, but more about no longer being afraid to try. I didn’t feel there would be some sort of humiliation or retribution. I had a sense of confidence and freedom to not only participate in some of his ideas for us as a couple, but introduce him to mine. What began as his efforts to get me to be more adventurous turned into a journey we shared.
As I slowly immerse myself back into blogging and trying to breathe some life into this ol’ thing, my mind has been drifting towards the “comfortable go-to” topic of sexual fantasies. I guess part of me believes it’s a subject a lot of you are interested in hearing about – plus, part of me is convinced you’re not that interested in reading about my laundry, dinner-making or Taxi-Mom attributes that truly dominate my life right now.
The other day I revisited the idea of why I think it’s important for couples to share their sexual fantasies. Some ‘experts’ in the field of relationships caution against sharing. They believe that opening up on a subject that is founded solely on imagination can poke the dragon of real jealousy. I tend to disagree, because I like to think that in order for a relationship to reach its full potential, both parties much be willing to be vulnerable – and trusting.
Again, it’s about the communication and understanding of what makes your partner “tick.” In the end, I think you’ll know if your relationship is healthy enough to explore the darkest corners of your partner’s psyche.
Three tactics to get her to share her fantasies
You’ll need to really put some serious thought into this initial tactic – and it doesn’t need to be a secluded table for two in that hoity-toity restaurant you drive by on the way to grab a burger and fries. The idea is the seclusion – but lots of couples can accomplish that at home too. In fact, making a nice meal for her and hiding your cell phone in the cutlery drawer for a whole night may be the kind of connection she’s looking for.
Showing her that you’re serious about listening to her will help her begin to open up. Once a woman has confidence that she won’t be judged for her imagination, she might just make the leap towards letting you inside for a look around. Any hint of jealousy – or worse, mockery – will make her close up even more and chances are you’ll never get the opportunity again.
Time away from real life
An extended long weekend at a resort can be an amazing way to restart those sexual fires. When you remove the reminders of real life – the laundry piles, the dirty dishes – it’s amazing how the mind can be free to explore. There’s been a lot of different studies on how a new environment can fan the flames of sexual excitement – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a hot and sweaty fuck in a hotel room every now and then.
Another big part to squirreling her away for a weekend – it puts both of you into a new setting, level ground so to speak. Stepping away from the distractions will help you rediscover the fun and intimacy. Again, just make sure you’re demonstrating a commitment to hearing her – leave the cellular gadgets out of reach and connect on a human level with your partner for 48 hours. You’ll be amazed at how much that can influence what she shares with you.
No, this isn’t a ridiculous suggestion. Let’s be honest, women do carry a big responsibility for the household. That’s not me throwing out gender stereotypes – because I know there are guys who do help around the house – but there are a lot of women out there who feel the need to not only shatter the glass ceiling in the corporate world, but make sure it’s free of smudges and fingerprints at home. For a lot of us in a certain generation, we grew up with mothers who were of that first generation mutlitasker career woman/housewife. And we were exposed to the household inbalance, which can be a bit of a struggle to shed.
This one isn’t just meant as a one-off, either. Consistent help, and consistent surprises of discovering those most-hated chores have been done without you being asked to do them will go a long way in helping her put her mind at ease. Which gives her more time to allow her imagination to wander. A stress-free mind can be a delightfully dangerous thing … not to mention, naughty.
And one suggestion – that in my opinion – won’t help…
It’s pretty simple, really. Your fantasy may be to get her to dress up a little more sexy; whereas she is struggling with her own sense of self and body image. You need to have a good understanding of how her imagination fires, and what gets her libido going. What you think is a fairly standard sexual fantasy may be far-removed from what she really desires.
The only way you’ll gain that understanding is by relying on the one tactic that never fails – especially when combined with patience: communication.
There’s always that nagging little voice in the back of a lot of people’s heads that says “you probably shouldn’t…”
I first wrote about this very idea some five years ago … and at a time when it seems my imagination was much more on fire. Ah, how time and life conspire against us to quell the naughtiness. That and a house full of inquisitive teenage boys.
Actually, I don’t think that my opinion on sharing fantasies has changed – and I’m not even sure my own fantasies have changed…much. Maybe some have become tainted with a bit too much reality, but that isn’t to say I’ve given up on them.
More of what I think these days is around the opportunity to share those thoughts and ideas. For me, it’s easy to be more open minded and sexually astute when my libido is high. But when life turns and you struggle to even find brief moments of intimacy in a spinning schedule, it can be a challenge to “feel” the fantasy, never mind talk about it. When your days are murky with work stresses and the routine of raising a family, etc., it’s hard to get in the creative mood.
I think that’s also why things slowed down with this blog…it’s hard to keep the focus on those sexually intriguing aspects of life when your mind is bogged down with the mundane.
So, in a way, it becomes even more important to make the most of the opportunities when they do arise – and keeping the commitment to “life-long, marriage-strong” communication.
Communication is what will keep things on track for when those doors open again. And, by understanding what continues to inspire each others’ imagination is key to keeping the marriage alive during these busy, mind-numbing real-life slumps.
The caution, of course, is in how those fantasies may be interpreted. If life is so busy you can’t connect as a couple, will the other person see you sexual distractions as a sign of infidelity/boredom/need to break away? How do you achieve that balance? That’s a really good question – and I’d love to hear your ideas.
Of course, I’m not the most perfect example of following my own advice. I think if you asked my husband today about my sexual fantasies he would, at least, be able to give Version 1.0. The updates, maybe not so much at the moment.
I can’t say there’s an awful lot about me that would be considered “kinky.” I enjoy sex, and many variations of it, but I’m not a role-player type, definitely not a frequent dabbler in BDSM … and I’ve never been one for spanking, humiliation or degradation.
No, my sexual kinks may be more easily defined in the pursuit of vanilla sex in a less than conventional manner. I like it missionary, I like it doggy-style … I just want to explore with outside of the contemporary view of marriage and monogamy. Kink to me implies lots of leather and kitchen utensils; cosplay and characters – things I’m basically not turned on by.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have an open mind when it comes to whatever turns other people on. On the contrary, I’m rather intrigued by it all. And so, with this week’s TMI Tuesday, we have a few random kinks to work on … along with other thoughts.
1. You have been asked to organize a sex & kink weekend. Will you be more of a “hands-on” person or more of an “ideas” person?
I’m an idea person. I think my creativity far out-distances my willingness to be hands on.
2. Assuming you are the hands-on type at this weekend sex romp, and you’ve entered a tent to ‘play’ with a male/female couple. Would you like to be given clear instructions before you begin to ‘play’ or do you prefer to be given the general idea of the task and work it out your own way.
In situations where the “hands on” aspect is important, I still like to let the moment develop on its own. I’ve found if you stick to the “script” too closely, you’re more libel to miss out on what could have been because you were so focused on trying to ensure the moment followed the plan you laid out in the first place. You miss those little nuances that could take it in a whole different direction. The best things in life – especially when it comes to sex – come from those unexpected left turns.
3. True or False. “During sex, I like to hear and accept feedback.”
False. During sex I like to hear a little dirty talk, lots of moaning, groaning, heavy breathing and the occasional “Oh fuck yes!” However, AFTER sex, I’m all for a little post-mortem of the moment. Let’s find out what worked, what was hot … what was too much and what was “yeah, let’s never speak of that again.”
4. What are you wearing right now?
Seriously? What female blogger worth her weight in chiffon is NOT sitting at her computer answering these questions in an amazingly sexy lace teddy from (insert your favourite lingerie company) with garters, black stockings with the seam that runs all the way up the back and her favourite pair of patent-leather 5-inch stiletto heels? And while I’m pondering the answer to each question, I’m flirtatiously playing with my rhinestone necklace and wondering if I could get that unbelievable hot delivery guy to flirt with me tomorrow if I left my wedding rings at home.
But while you mull that over, I’ll just cuddle up with my laptop on the couch while wearing my comfy yoga pants and t-shirt. And yes, I have underwear on underneath, but I honestly can’t remember if it matches my bra.
5. I show loyalty to my lover by ________ .
Never hiding a thing from him when it comes to our sex life, my desires and my fantasies (mostly). I show loyalty by being unwaveringly open with him, sharing the responsibility of initiating conversation around our sexual (and non-sexual) life together.
But mostly by honouring the commitment we made to each other over 20 years ago; and working on our relationship in good times and even harder in bad times – and NEVER diminishing what we have worked so hard to create together.
Plus, he’s never once complained about the occasional blowjob …
6. Do you always have to argue?
If you argue fair, it can be productive and progressive … HOWEVER … if you communicate on an adult level all the time, and recognize that relationships are not scripted perfection, the arguments are actually more healthy discussions with less vocal volume. A healthy relationship, if you ask me, also includes a willingness to allow a difference of opinion without judgement AND an agreement to occasionally disagree.
BONUS: Pick up the closest book to you, open it to page 55. The first line on that page reads:
Document collaboration means working with others to create, review, and revise a document to achieve the best end result.
Sorry folks, just finished a computer course at college and my textbook was just that much closer than the collection of erotic fiction for women by women. But if it’s any consolation, I’ll probably read a bit of that tonight before bed and then masturbate to the thoughts swirling around in my imagination.
I saw a headline today that stated “Why swinging has become so popular” and, as a good headline should, it made me stop for a moment and think.
Now, full disclosure, I read the article and learned almost nothing from it. No statistical data to support the position – and worse, the photos used were of women, all under 25, in a party atmosphere. No men, no diversity; if it wasn’t for the champagne glasses the same images could have been used to promote a Sweet 16 party. In fact, the whole piece (other than being click-bait for a swingers’ organization and their subscription-based profile directories) contained no information on the lifestyle than anyone who has a reasonable sense of what “swinging” is could explain in a five-minute conversation.
Here’s why I don’t think “swinging is becoming so popular” …
My husband and I fall into a bit of awkward generation; combined with the nearly nine years difference in our ages. That, in itself, has made our lifestyle exploration a challenge. We both grew up in a time when the kind of youthful sexual openness generations below us seem to enjoy today did not exist. Our demographic had guilt-plagued one-night stands, while younger generations now have no-strings “hook-ups.” Our sexual discovery during our youth was halted by the discovery of AIDS, and a sudden realization that sex could now be dangerous. Condoms weren’t sexy, they were awkwardly necessary.
And these days I also suspect that our mindset is probably one shared by many couples – “are we attractive enough to be doing this?” If you consider the promotion material for the swinging lifestyle, then no, we don’t fit into the target demographic. Which may be one of its biggest downfalls – from the breast-implanted gorgeous blonde in the Jamaican resort pool flirting with the 0% body-fat bodybuilder dude through to the night club images of 20-somethings grinding on the dance floor – the perception of the lifestyle may scare many people away. It would take me a year of hardcore fitness training before I’d consider an island vacation at such a place, if that’s the expectation of what swingers are.
Our first foray into the lifestyle began – after a few years of healthy sexual conversation – with what I would believe to be a fairly common method of introduction: a visit to a “swingers club.” Far from what we expected, but not necessarily a bad thing.
In all honesty, the clubs we have attended – and it has been a little while since our last visit to one – I can’t say that there was wildly open atmosphere. What a lot of people who write about swinging don’t tell you is that it’s an exceptionally difficult lifestyle to become involved with … and I don’t mean the concept of physical intimacy. Our experience, spread out over a six-year period, really just revealed that swinging is a massively cliquey lifestyle. And even when you try to take the initiative to immerse yourself in the experience, it’s a challenge to find a degree of comfort.
What we did experience was that, if and when you find another couple with whom you can experiment and explore, the lifestyle clubs provide a space to turn up the heat. And truth be told, I never got the impression that the clubs in our area were anything more than that: a meeting place to go and feel sexually free for an evening. Just don’t go expecting to be welcomed into the fold with open arms. The responsibility to mingle falls solely on your own shoulders – which brings things full circle back to trying to crack the clique.
Some will say these clubs offer a sexual freedom that traditional night clubs don’t; that women are free and safe from the boorish behaviour some men can exhibit in other establishments. And, for the most part, that is true. However, our experience in the clubs also showed that while the “scenery” is more interesting, the socialization isn’t on the same level.
Adding to challenge of the atmosphere is that the majority of clubs we attended employed DJs who somehow thought “retro” meant early-2000s hip hop. On many nights the dance floor would offer more space than a bulldozer needed because only a few women and almost no men would attempt to groove to the temple-pounding “thump” of songs no one knew. Conversation was made even more difficult because of the volume, with the exception of the occasional ice-breaking line of “What the fuck is this? Music?”
And there’s a persistent skepticism about the lifestyle outside of the night clubs. We’ve met couples online – again, not a horrible experience, but as I have said in my blog many times: it’s hard enough when dating to find the chemistry between two people, never mind four. Most of the couples we met were lovely people – just not sexually compatible.
But, the online experience requires even more diligence than the in-person social events. Many times we have encountered couples where when “push comes to shove” you learn that the wife in the arrangement hasn’t exactly been apprised of all the details. Makes for an awkward “first date.”
Keep in mind that this is only my personal experience, based on a somewhat “brief” tenure in exploring a sexual interest. I can’t say we’ve given up on the idea, but certainly have put it on the back burner while we focus on other aspects of life.
Which brings me to the question the headline should really answer: Is swinging becoming more popular? I certainly can’t say for sure – but what I have discovered over the past year is that from a statistical point of view, the number of people willing to openly admit they are in the lifestyle hasn’t really peaked past four per cent of those surveyed. I can say this much, swinging is a commitment – and a commitment beyond your relationship with your partner. It’s not a lifestyle that I think most people just “fall into.” From what I’ve seen and experienced, it takes a very healthy and determined amount of extrovertism to make it work; and an understanding that many “swingers” you encounter along the way may harbour a slight reluctance to open themselves up to you on a social level long before they’ll consider things on a sexual level.
Maybe the lifestyle is evolving in these modern times; as the sexually-free youth grow into adults and take their college habits with them. I only see it as a lifestyle that remains a mystery to a small town girl with big city sexual ambitions.