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Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Creating a sexual menu together is a great way to talk openly about your sexual wishes.
Continuing with last week's culinary theme (6 Ways Food and Sex Go Together), this week we'll use the analogy of a menu to examine your sexual repertoire.
It's not unusual for couples to struggle in the bedroom. Conflicts arise over what's okay and what's not, when one or both partners feel stuck in a rut, and when opinions differ about exploring new sexual territory.
The menu concept is a helpful way to discuss these issues with your spouse in a non-confrontational and collaborative way. Let's take a look at how that might work.
Think of the various activities in your sexual repertoire as a menu. You and your spouse can discuss the various menu sections listed below in order to come to mutual agreement. My suggestion is that you actually create your sexual menu on paper or computer or phone and store it in a private and secure location that is password protected, but where you can both get to it easily.
These are the tried and true sexual activities you both enjoy. These trusty house favorites are your go to menu items when you don't feel like trying something different and you just want to connect in a deep and pleasurable way that's sure to leave you both feeling satisfied. Talk about what's on your favorites list and write them down. His favorite and hers may not be the same, and that's okay, but limit it to a maximum of about 10 items in total.
Foreplay is like the appetizers on your sexual menu. It's an often neglected yet important dimension of your sex life that should get the same level of attention and consideration as the main course. Good foreplay takes time and requires you to be intentional in pursuing and wooing your spouse. One useful way to talk about foreplay is for each of you to complete the sentence, "It really gets me turned on when you/we ______." And remember that foreplay can and should happen throughout the day and not just in the minutes immediately preceding intercourse. Your appetizer list should contain 10-15 items that get your motor running.
Last week I likened quickie sex to fast food, noting that it's okay once in a while, but it's not healthy if your diet consists of nothing but fast food. Quickies are also like the "lighter fare" section of the menu. Lighter fare choices are a great choice when your appetite for sex isn't strong but your partner desires the physical connection that sustains the emotional intimacy in your relationship. If quickies are on your lighter fare menu, talk about the how and where you would like these encounters to happen. Just because these encounters are quick, doesn't mean you can't be creative. In addition to quickies, manual or oral stimulation to orgasm of the desiring person can help sustain the sexual momentum in your relationship until you have time, energy and the desire for something from the "heavier" main course menu items.
The daily specials section of your sexual menu is where you make room for experimentation. On this list go the new ideas that either of you might want to try out sometime, assuming you are both comfortable with it. Joint willingness is essential! Keep in mind that after trying a "new dish" a time or two, you may decide to move it to the favorites menu, keep it on the daily specials menu, or remove it from the menu altogether. That's okay! It's also okay for a specials item to remain on the menu for an extended time before you finally decide to try it out.
The sexual equivalent of the dessert menu are those things that you add on top of your normal routine that make a sexual encounter extra special. This could includes things like using a sexual toy, a challenging but pleasurable intercourse position, different methods of orgasm, or sex in a new/special location. The point of this list is to have ideas at hand that you wouldn't necessarily want to include all the time, but that add just a bit of extra spice to your sex life.
The menu metaphor might be just the tool to give you and your spouse an easy way to talk about your sexual desires and wishes in a non-threatening and cooperative way. Do your best to be open to one another's menu suggestions. When you don't agree on something (and there will be things you don't agree on) keep in mind that just because you don't want something to go on the menu, it doesn't mean your spouse is a bad person for wanting it. In the same way, just because your spouse doesn't agree to put something you want on the menu, it doesn't make him or her a prude.
Approach this discussion with grace and an open mind!
And remember to revisit your menu from time to time. Just like a restaurant, you will want to make adjustments as preferences change over time.
Do you think the menu metaphor would work in your marriage? What other menu metaphors would you add to my list? Leave a comment.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Valuable culinary lessons to help your marriage grow in sexual intimacy
Rather, I've listed below six dining metaphors that are useful for considering and improving the sexual intimacy in your marriage.
1) Fast Food
Amid the chaos and demands of daily life, sometimes quickie sex is all you’ll have the time and energy for, but you can’t live on that alone. It’s unhealthy and costly in the intimacy department. Sometimes you need to set aside an hour or two just to focus on finding pleasure in one another. When it comes to sexual intimacy, there is no substitute for time.
2) Fine Dining
Upscale restaurants pay a lot of attention to the way your meal looks on the plate. Appearances do matter and can leave a lasting impression. How much effort do you put into your “presentation” at bed time? Brush your teeth, comb your hair, strategically add a dab of perfume or cologne, wear something to bed your spouse finds appealing and that makes you feel sexy. Make your bedroom appealing with candles, nice music, and luxurious sheets. Going the extra mile in preparation tells your spouse that you love them and desire them.
3) A New Cuisine
It’s fun and exciting to experience a great new restaurant. Similarly, there’s a new kind of sexual energy and focus that is available with a change of venue. If you haven’t done so recently, book a hotel room or a mountain cabin for a weekend. It will give you time to focus exclusively on each other, without the normal pressures of home, and allows you plenty of time to enjoy each other sexually. And the change of scenery can help break you out of a sexual rut, giving you the freedom to experiment and change things up a little. I don’t know exactly why, but there’s just something different about sex when there is a number on the door. (If a hotel is out of the question for budgetary or child care reasons, pick a new room of the house as a change of venue.)
While regular and frequent sex is an important part of a healthy marriage, it's possible to use prescribed periods of abstinence (5, 7, 10 days or whatever you mutually decide would not be unhealthy) to create and build sexual anticipation. The idea is to rev up non-sexual intimacy, to give all your attention to expressing love and desire without sex. Go ahead and tease and flirt. Talk about how much you miss the pleasure, and plan what you will do when it’s all over – it’s all part of the build up to breaking your fast.
In the opposite vein, I have also seen regular “sex challenges” on various marriage websites that dare couples to go for 3, 7, 10 or even 30 days of sex in a row. However long you choose to binge on each other, the goal is to make sex a priority and then to use the time to learn about your self and each other sexually. I have seen many testimonies of the positive, rejuvenating impact such a challenge have on marriages.
6) Junk Food
Face it, we are surrounded by things that are sexually unhealthy. The media and entertainment industries rarely portray married sex as fulfilling and exciting. Instead they glamorize randomly “hooking up,” sensationalize and normalize extramarital affairs, and portray marriage as an out of date and irrelevant institution. Modern technology grant easy access to things like pornography, chat rooms and a vast array of other marriage-destroying opportunities. Just don’t. Even things as “harmless” as Facebook and romance novels can do damage. When it comes to your marriage, keep the sexual junk food out!
What other dining metaphors can you come up with? Share them in a comment.
Do you want to improve your sex life further but have a hard time talking about sex with your spouse? You can get my ebook How to Have a Succ-Sex-Full Marriage for free when you sign up for my monthly newsletter and blog digest. Sign up now!
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