Posted on Leave a comment

Reclaiming Desire

Reclaiming Desire

One key to reclaiming desire in your relationship is to harness some sexual curiosity. Take a look at this graph from the collection as an inspiration. It was made by a 47 year old straight guy, married 20 years. There’s the “stuff we do” (red). Then there’s the “stuff we don’t do that we know about” — that’s blue.

What’s all those other colors? It’s “the stuff we don’t do that we don’t know about”  The unknown unknowns, as the psychologists Luft and Ingham put it. What are the sexual activities that you have never even heard of or thought of, that might be a new source of excitement for you?

Many people struggle with loss of desire in a long-term relationship.  You WANT to want to have sex, but you don’t really want to. Maybe you turn to the internet for help — ideas to kickstart your stalled sex life. There are so many pages all too happy to give you advice – the suggestions are endless. What do you choose?  (You should probably check with a doctor first to see if there there is some medical reason – especially it your libido dropped off suddenly).

I’m here to say that you don’t have to worry too much about which new sexy new idea you try — they could ALL work to help you reclaim desire!  Let me explain.

There was a study done once on the effectiveness of various treatments for warts (stick with me here!). They found that all the treatments were very similar in their effectiveness and that all the treatments were better than doing nothing at all.  In other words, swinging a dead cat in a graveyard at midnight on the full moon (Tom Sawyer-style) will cure warts as well as Compound W, and both those things will cure them better than doing nothing. (Disclaimer: that research might be bullshit. I couldn’t find it again to cite. Colorful though, isn’t it?) The conclusion? The placebo effect is a powerful thing, and that’s absolutely true.

Sexual desire can be like that. If your sex life is lacking in excitement or passion, or if desire has waned — and face it: it is bound to in any long term relationship — then just the intention to search for a solution and trying new things could have some effect, regardless of what the solution is. And it’s not just the placebo effect, though that’s certainly a powerful part of it. 

It’s also a due to a little thing called attention. Focusing your attention on what you want to change can cause movement toward that change. Think of it like riding a bicycle. You aren’t consciously thinking “I want to go right, so now I need to turn the handle bars right.” You have the desire for going right, and your body makes it happen. If you decide you want more desire and spend time, energy, and head space seeking out things that will help, your body can respond to that.  

If you incorporate your partner into the project, all the better. Make an adventure of it. Together, seek out new ways to improve your sex life and try new things. Anything you discover together will have a positive effect, and the search just adds to the fun. Need some ideas for new things to look into?  Check out the next post for a quick 50 new things to try.


Posted on Leave a comment

Fifty Things to Spice Things Up

Fifty Things to Spice Things Up

In my last post I wrote about how using the power of the placebo effect, plus attention and intention, can help you jump start flagging desire.  Notice “wild card” in pink in the graph above? It’s the wild card that always keeps things interesting!

Trying new things together with the intention to make your sex life better, is the point – it doesn’t even matter so much WHAT you try. It’s the trying that can work the magic.

So you want to try some stuff but need ideas?  Here’s a list!

1 .  Shop for sex toys together online

2 .  Be excited about their arrival, and then play with them

3 .  Watch porn together – explore the wide variety of ethically-produced porn (porn tip: if it’s free it’s terrible)

4 .  If you usually have sex with the lights on or off, switch it up

5 .  Set a timer for 10 minutes and agree to stop when it goes off, even if no one has climaxed

6 .  Share fantasies

7 .  Listen to audio porn during sex

8 .  Smoke pot

9 .  Make a sex video

10 . Get tied up

11 . Tie up your partner

12 . Try a 30 day masturbation challenge – no sex, but daily masturbation

13 . If you usually fantasize during sex, try not fantasizing 

14 . If you never fantasize during sex, try it

15 . Make a date to have sex

16 . Invent a pre-sex ritual together

17 . Set a goal to have sex in every room of your house

18 . Have a totally selfish session – all pleasure for just one person. The other only gives. Take turns

19 . Watch a video about Orgasmic Meditation and try it

20 . Try to make the other person climax while they read aloud from their favorite book

21 . Find a place to have sex outside

22 . Read erotica to each other

23 . Find a marriage counselor to talk about your sex life

24 . Go to a sex tips workshop

25 . Comparison shop for better lube

26 . Explore more anal stimulation

27 . Try using gloves for a new sensation

28 . Explore goingn to a sex club

29 . Write a profile together on a swinger website, just for fun. Or for reals

30 . Play with the Magnetic Graphic Sex Project and set up some scenarios to follow

31 . Sext 

32 . Buy a remote controlled bullet, and wear it on a night out

33 . Commit to thinking about sex and being aware of your genitals at least 3x a day

34 . Read a book together on improving your sex life and compare notes

35 . Hire a boudoir photographer to take sexy pictures of you together

36 . Commit to only having sex with your eyes open

37 . Get the Kama Sutra and try each position

38 . Buy a flogger and use it

39 . Sign up for a rope typing course

40 . Make out in the car

41 . Explore some herbal remedies

42 . Do more Kegels, and think specifically about sex when you do them (people of all genitalia type can benefit from kegels)

43 . Try to find someone for a threesome – just the looking is fun

44 . Have a threesome

45 . Watch each other masturbate

46 . Pretend to pick each other up in a bar

47 . Go away for a weekend and make no plans except sex

48 . Block out a chunk of time for super slow sex

49 . Get a strap-on, whatever your current equipment

50.  Sign up for a tantric yoga course together

All of these things involve 7 important steps that create attention and intention, to improve your sex life:

  1. Thinking about it
  2. Suggesting it to your partner
  3. Talking about it with your partner
  4. Deciding to together to try it
  5. Preparing to try it
  6. Trying it
  7. Talking about what it was like.

Regardless of whether the thing itself was subjectively good for you (maybe you start doing it all the time, maybe now you know you NEVER want that again), all that attention and connection and communication with your partner is highly likely to positively effect your sex life and level of desire, for both of you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Sticking up for Gloves

Sticking up for Gloves 

Gloves get a bad rap. They are the butt of every safe sex joke (yes, pun intended). A doctor putting on a glove is always good for a laugh in movies. (Ahhh! They’re gonna put their finger up the butt! hahhahahah!).

I’m not going to talk about safe sex. You can read about how great they are for that here

I’m going to write about how much fun they are. They are a great sex toy! They can morph into a thousand different shapes to stimulate all your parts in thousand different ways (hand not included).  Here are a few of the great things about gloves:

  1. Super soft and silky. I like the nitrile ones – smooth like an expensive vibrator. It’s a really nice contrast with bare skin.
  2. Smooths over rough skin and nails so nothing touching your tender parts is sharp.
  3. Really adaptable for all body parts – great on the outsides and the insides
  4. Makes anal play easy if you feel a little squicked out. When you finish with that part the gloves comes right off – hand is all clean! To be really rocking it, have another glove ready underneath the first.
  5. The anticipation of watching someone put a glove on is delicious.
  6. The added fun of NOT having to worry about cuts on hands, cross-orifice infection, and other STI risks.
  7. They don’t absorb lubrication like hands do, so everything stays nice and slippery.
  8. They are super cheap – a box of hundred for $8

So get over all the butt and body shame inherent in all the proctologist jokes and glove snickering, and get a box of gloves for a new fun thing to play with.

Posted on Leave a comment

Going with a Gay Flow

Going with a Gay Flow

Homosexual people have a lot to teach heterosexual culture about sexual flow. Take for instance, “foreplay.” I have a real pet peeve about this word. What exactly is it before

Calling an activity FOREplay implies that intercourse is a necessary component of sex, and that anything that happens before it is just the warm-up band for the headline act.

Penis and vagina intercourse is over-valued in heterosexual culture, even though only 20% of women reliably climax that way.

Take a look at this graph where kissing (green) leads to foreplay (yellow) leads to oral (purple) leads to sex (blue). What exactly are those activities labeled “foreplay”? Could they maybe also happen after that activity labeled “sex”?  

Heterosexuals use the words “sex” and “intercourse” often synonymously. In the Graphic Sex Project collection, I’ll see a graphs that include a whole smorgasbord of sexual activity, and then one cube labeled just “sex.” Or maybe “actual sex.” I want to break it to those people – all that other stuff is sex. And the order of them isn’t set in stone. 

Sixty percent of college students surveyed do not feel sex has happened if it doesn’t include intercourse. 

Where do they get this idea? Movies for one – straight sex in movies is practically all intercourse (and when the guy comes, it’s over). Two, the emphasis on “virginity.” The perennial question “have you had sex yet?” Never mind that you’ve been doing oral and manual and orgasming together, and being naked together and everything else, but in the minds of many you haven’t had sex yet unless a penis has entered a vagina. Some misguided young people think they are still a virgin if they’ve only done anal sex.

Queer Culture and Sexual Flow

Queer culture has a much broader conception of sex, encompassing all sexual activity, not just intercourse, of course. From the graphs I’ve collected in the Graphic Sex Project, I’m starting to see some interesting trends in the words people use. Very few LGBTQA people use the word foreplay compared to straight people, who use it a lot.

Mutual manual stimulation may be classified as “just making out,” among heterosexuals, whereas mutual manual stimulation is the most common activity among homosexuals and is certainly defined by the participants as sex. As one homosexual man stated in the informal survey I did on Reddit, “It actually helps quite a lot there isn’t as rigid a structure in mind and the end goal isn’t necessarily mutual orgasm.”  I love that. Hetero people take note.

Why does it matter?

Because when you prioritize PIVI in your language, it becomes prioritized in your head. And PIVI is the activity most likely to lead to orgasm for men, and the least likely to lead to orgasm for women. And that, my friends, is a good way to end up with an orgasm gap. 

When your concept of the sexual story arc is do some foreplay leading up to the big moment when intercourse happens, culminating in the man’s climax, the implication is, ok, now sex is over. Take a look at the graph at the top of this post and see if you think that’s what’s going on there.

In 700 graphs in the Graphic Sex Project I’ve only seen the word “afterplay” once. The man’s march to orgasm has framed the sexual experience.

If you drop the word foreplay, then it opens up the possibility that some of that stuff could happen AFTER intercourse. Or hey, maybe intercourse doesn’t have to happen this time at all. Maybe we could just play with each other junk back and forth for hours! 

It’s not all just about getting the penis into the vagina, straight people!