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Imagine another way to experience sexuality, one that merges body, mind and spirit when we make love.  At its most sublime, sex is an expression of physical and spiritual connection.  In our lover’s embrace and in our mutual satisfaction, we are momentarily transcendent. That is because sensuality resonates in the essence of who we are – and not in the act of intercourse. In truth, sex is as sacred as we make it” (Sanctifying sex and our sexual identities).
 
At the time I wrote those words, I had not yet heard the term ecstatic sex. Delving into the realm of sacred sexuality occurred shortly after I intuited on my own that there could more to sex than just bodies exchanging heat and sweat, that pleasure was actually a Blessing. After all, we don’t call it lovemaking for nothing, but the path to authentic intimacy - which encompasses physical, emotional and mental connection, but is not limited to these by any means - is not well lit in our current relationship paradigm.

Promiscuity vs. Prudishness
We live in a world heavy on smut (on one hand) and denial and shame (on the other); sexuality is particularly stretched between the polarized ends of promiscuity and prudishness. Sex is either viewed as junk food, something to gorge on, consume and imbibe in random abundance. It is devoid of intimacy and full of f**cking. 

But we all know the consequences of a binge. A booty call may scratch a momentary itch, however, it is not enough to feed your soul, calm your brain, or connect you to something more meaningful in the person literally entering into your space.
 
Prudishness is equally reactive. The messages of ‘don’t have sex!’ (unless very specific conditions are met, defined by someone other than you) because it is dirty/shameful/sinful are rooted in fear and misinformation, leftovers from a puritanical past mixed in with good old fashion sexual subjugation, particularly of women.  We see evidence of these extremes everyday, and I could go on and on to make this case, but my suspicion is that readers already understand the point.
 
We Need Each Other
Humans are wired for companionship. Whatever relationship paradigm suits each person or couple, from monogamy to polyamory, heterosexuality, homosexuality, and everything in between, we share the common yearning to connect with others. Once we’ve found our ‘Soul Mate’ and get down to the nitty gritty of our love – i.e., growing vis-à-vis and through the dynamics of our relationship – you will, through trial, error and conflict, discover that you want to create a 'softer' space that allows for deeper bonding.
 
Viewed from this paradigm, ecstatic sex is the idea that making love involves more than just physical pleasure and procreation, that it is also a sacred expression of our soul and spiritual life force. 

Ancient Lovers
Interestingly enough, our ancestors may have already had a better understanding of how to do this. In a column in Huffington Post, Linda Savage wrote “This perspective was the norm in many cultures pre-dating Greek and Roman times and these societies date back 30,000 years...the fact is that sexuality and spirituality were never split until well into the first millennium of the Common Era when denial of the body became the popular theology of the day.”

How did this split come about? One possible answer arrived serendipitously, in a book about food (food and sex are related from the perspectives of pleasure and procreation).  Samuel. H. Dresner of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Commission on Jewish Education, 2000 discusses the notions of holiness, escapism and exploitation from the perspectives of the world’s major spiritual movements - paganism, Judaism, and Buddhism/Early Christianity. 

He writes, “Exploitation says nature is holy and thereby unleashes the beast within us.  Escape says nature is unholy and thereby frustrates our natural desires.  Sanctification says nature is neither holy or unholy, but is waiting to be made holy and it thereby sublimates our natural desires to the service of God…”
 
If we see the connection between holiness, escapism and exploitation, we can also see how we view basic human drives. Or, in the case of sex, create an unnatural dichotomy between escapism (prudishness) and exploitation (promiscuity), leaving no room for sanctification (ecstatic) lovemaking.
 
Ecstatic sex introduces a deeper consciousness into lovemaking between partners. This translates into a stronger sense of connectedness and commitment. The sexual act becomes transcendental, blissful, and inspiring.
 
As Ms. Savage writes, “sexual experiences produce a sense of merging with the source of energy and losing physical boundaries during orgasm...It is cosmic orgasm, the direct experience of the self as pure energy, in union with a divine source.”
 
Why Do Women Orgasm?
Speaking of orgasm, we all know why men do.  It’s the start of the sperm's journey to the egg. But what about women? It isn’t necessary for her to conceive. Furthermore, intercourse is quite enjoyable without an orgasm, but we like having them nonetheless (and so do some of our primate cousins, it appears, based on scientific research).
 
Why do we have a clitoris, in fact? The female fun button serves no other purpose than to provide sexual satisfaction; not only that, it doesn’t age. From birth to death, baring any injury, it is at her service.
 
The point of all these unanswered questions is to suggest that, as science decodes the mystery of our sexuality, we are led to conclude that the very nature of orgasm suggests that making love is the ultimate Blessing of Pleasure. And ecstatic sex is just one of many concepts helping couples discover what their own personal bliss really is.
 
Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.

To read more columns by Tinamarie, click here.

©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC.

“America has traditionally frowned on touching, an inverse twist on the overt sexuality of our culture. Reading about America's "skin hunger", I [wonder if] the sexes are in some kind of topsy-turvy tumble where men are doing more touching and women just want to be left alone? Do men end up with erotic online material sometimes because women just can't be bothered anymore?” L. Anne Enke

It’s the ivillage.com sex survey that has everyone clicking their tongues, trying to decipher the underlying secrets of our private lives. Who is the most satisfied with their sex lives, has it more often, and is most likely to get their kink on? Do kids make or break your fun in the bedroom, and how many fantasize about another lover while wrapped in the arms of their spouse?

The ivillage.com poll of 2000 married couples, split 60/40 when it comes to children, tells a conflicting story. For example, women with children say they ‘married the best sex of their lives,’ but women ages 40-49 (in the thick of child-rearing or cougarville, depending on perspective and life choices) are also the least satisfied with their sex lives. Most of us are having ‘predictable sex’ with only 1/7 couples going out on an erotic limb to sample a forbidden fruit (i.e., something new), but 58% of those who answered the survey were recently in the mood.

But what for? Collecting and massaging data on sex scratches a funny itch, the conformist in many of us who find security in the familiar. Knowing where your sex life falls on the bell curve misses the intimate point. The average American couple isn’t getting enough affectionate, nonsexual touch, the kind that keeps us bonded, satisfied, sexually active, and healthier in the long run. 

Health benefits
There are plenty of physical and emotional health benefits of tender touch that comes with no sexual strings attached. Couples who are more affectionate – they hold hands, give hugs, or cuddle up without having sex – have higher levels of nature’s love drug, oxytocin.
 
Women generally have more oxytocin than men, but recent studies show that men respond with increased empathy when given intranasal oxytocin. Warm partner contact offers more than warm fuzzies; it may also be cardio-protective for men, and reduce stress in both partners.
 
Sexy non-sexy touch
We come into this world instinctively knowing that tenderness is as important to living as food, air or water. When children need a hug, the go get one, and they give affection without pretense or calculation. So why the dearth of affection when we are all grown up? And do American women really prefer to read books or extra sleep over sex, as the ivillage.com suggests?
 
Your Sex Whisperer believes that the answer to both those questions is connected to one another and the mystery of oxytocin. Sensual touch without a goal in mind keeps those embers glowing, like a soft reminder of the possibilities between lovers who know each other’s intimate secrets. At the risk of trumpeting the traditional horn, women are aroused by partners who woo us with affection that sometimes lead nowhere but to a promise.
 
(Memo to men: Play with her hair)
 
We know you have alternative motives, and we really don’t care in the long run. We just want to feel your hands in our hair, tugging ever so suggestively; see you wink at us across the room at a party; subtly press up against us when we kiss; close our eyes when you wash our hair while bath; warm our cold hands against your chest, just because, well, they are cold and your are hot.
 
These gestures work in courtship (there’s that old-fashioned horn blowing again) and long-term relationships, and science is showing us why. By increasing oxytocin levels, non-sexual affection goes to the reciprocal heart of bonding, intimacy, health and, ironically, sexual satisfaction. 
 
Follow Tinamarie Bernard at @ModernLoveMuse and on Facebook, Tinamarie Bernard, Modern Love Muse.
 
Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.

 
©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

I don’t think I’m the only one who’s noticed the tide of stories about the unnatural state of monogamy. As a married mom of two, it’s the system of love that I am most familiar with, and yet I found myself unusually mute. Who are we to assume our current paradigm is the most authentic, when history, modern and current, tells us that pair bonding has taken many delicious, unusual and successful forms?

From a procreative point of view, there’s absolutely no reason why women should orgasm; At least, that is the conclusion of the author of a book making mental and genital waves. The Case for the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution by Elizabeth Lloyd evaluated years of research on female orgasm, and determined that women have orgasms for the same reason men have nipples, as an evolutionary bi-product of shared fetal tissue. 

It’s certainly an intriguing hypothesis subject to critique and even outrage. “Human orgasm evolved because men need it to reproduce, and women got it as a developmental byproduct. How women use that gift is ours to determine,” wrote one reviewer of the book. Not having read it myself, I can only concur with the latter, and report what others have said: Lloyd’s science is sound, and her voice a feminist one.
 
That's critical piece in this from a Sex Whisperer perspective. Too often, when we consider female sexuality, we do so from the view of a male paradigm.
 
For example, years ago, as a graduate student in a rat lab, we used male controls for a study on females. When I brought it to my adviser's attention that this seemed somehow inherently biased, I was gently but firmly informed that male rats were always the control group, regardless of design. I was stupefied and not yet confident enough to push the point, and that is why books like Female Orgasm are encouraging.
 
Such advances in our understanding indicate that the times are changing; that we are reconsidering our faulty narratives, and replacing them with more authentic and open deliberations about human sexuality.  So, maybe women have orgasms because men need them to propagate the species, and our genitals are derived from common fetal tissue. Or, maybe, we have them for esoteric reasons still elusive to modern science. Say, for transcendent and spiritual reasons, or even for pain management during pregnancy.
 
Beyond that, we can debate why we orgasm from our favorite (philosophical of course) position, but ultimately, your Sex Whisperer thinks this may be missing the most important point. Don’t ask why we orgasm, ask how can we make them better.

The Enigmatic Clitoris
Women have amazing apparatus geared specifically for sexual pleasure, and recent (can we say fun!) research is uncovering the mystery behind female sexual arousal. In fact, the science is so striking, I have to point out that, biological accident or not, orgasm is divinely inspired. 

For starters, we know that the clitoris never ages and is always at a women's service. For more on this topic, read: Good Vibrations: The Sex Organ that Never Ages and the History of the Vibrator. However, whether she reaches sexual climax via heterosexual penile-vaginal intercourse may depend on the ‘rule of thumb.’ Basically, women whose clitoris is further than a thumbs length away from the opening of the vagina have a harder time reaching orgasm this way.

Called the C-V distance, this concept was first suggested by a contemporary of Freud’s, Princess Marie Bonaparte, in 1924. Growing fed up with her own lack of orgasmic response, she noted that many women clients reported ‘frigidity,’ but rather than blaming their psychological frame of mind, she suspected that physiology played a part. 

The Los Angeles Times reported on follow up research by Dr. Kim Wallen of Emory University who said that “Clitoris-vagina distances less than 2.5 cm -- that's roughly from the tip of your thumb to your first knuckle -- tend to yield reliable orgasms during sex.” 

Dr. Wallen reviewed the images Bonaparte had gathered of patients and based on an initial review, agreed that there’s a correlation between C-V distance and the ability to have sex, but additional research needs to be done to better understand the relationship between genital topography and getting over the top.

In the meantime, it’s important for women to not get hung up on their C-V measurements, explained Dr. Wallen in a 2008 interview. (Unless of course, those letters are referring to your curriculum vitae, in which case, I suggest you announce your arrival either way, no pun intended)

His research isn’t the only exciting stuff to bring us closer to understanding female sexual arousal and desire. New Advances in Clitoral Anatomy and the G-Spot hint at what sexologists have long suspected. The clitoris is not just a female fun button, but has tissue that extends internally on both sides of the genitalia, and may actually be connected to the area known as the g-spot. This is very intriguing for many reasons, not the least of which is the possibility that orgasm may provide the obvious pleasure, but also modify pain. Why? This brings us back to the idea of orgasmic birth. Objects going in stimulate and woman’s body as much as objects going out, and it just happens that babies in the birth canal press against the area known as the g-spot.
 
Which brings us full circle: We many not yet fully know why women orgasm, and it could be, among other things, simply a form of natural analgesia, or a biological accident with a happy ending. But as long as science and spirituality combine efforts to understand our most transcendent selves, we are on the right path towards understanding the blessings of pleasure.
 
Related reading: Four Levels of Orgasm
Follow The Sex Whisperer on Twitter and Facebook. All articles ©2010; PARTIAL reposts only permitted with link back to original article. All other rights reserved.

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist. 
 
©ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 2010

From the world of science a few months back came data that suggested males who share are more likely to copulate, and with greater frequently, than their stingier counterparts. Granted, the males in this study were of the chimp variety, and what they were sharing was raw meat.  However, the researchers pointed out this study lays the foundation for future human studies. 


Your Sex Whisperer wants to point that before any homo sapiens dismiss these results as monkey business, remember that 99% of our genetic code is identical with our lower primate cousins. Sexual behaviors are subject to the same forces of nature vs. nurture as just about every aspect of the human condition.

In this case, perhaps the ‘meat for sex’ hypothesis is further support that lovers who are generous in the ways that matter often find themselves on the receiving end of female adoration.

“Meat for sex?
First, it’s important to know that chimp chicks like meat. It’s a high protein food, and they rarely go hunting, so anytime a male shares it, she and her offspring benefit. This exchange, called 'meat for sex' benefits the males and females, according to the lead researcher of the study referenced above, Cristina Gomes of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

In the
source article, she explains that the ‘meat for sex’ hypothesis “had already been proposed to explain why male chimps might share with females to begin with. Previous attempts to record the phenomenon failed, because researchers looked for direct exchanges, where a male shared meat with a fertile female and copulated with her right away.”

However, researchers in this study took a new approach; they considered that sexual favors might also be stretched out over time, not dissimilar to human sexual courtship behaviors (aka, dating), if you think about it.

"We looked at [female] chimps when they were not in estrus, this means they don't have sexual swellings and aren't copulating. The males still share with them - they might share meat with a female one day, and only copulate with her a day or two later."

In other words, the most sexually active male chimps were the ones willing to ‘pay’ upfront, do a little wooing, and find themselves the happy recipients of female affection when said gals were in the mood. Oh dear, so people-like, eh?

Where does this all lead? Since your Sex Whisperer is an advocate of courtship, generous lovers and great sex, the answer seems obvious.

 

Monkey see, monkey do.


A version of this article first appeared in Examiner.com.

 

 

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com


She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist. 

 

More Tinamarie articles, click here


 

©ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 2010

 


 


Blessed with thousands of nerve endings, your skin is a gateway to pleasure, a virtual buffet of erogenous zones. I'm not talking about the obvious places like the breasts, lips and genitals; I'm suggesting we pay some loving attention to the many other curves and crevices that are finely tuned to intimate touch that often get overlooked.

Not to sound like a cliche - making love is an art, and our are bodies the canvas upon which we learn to explore sexual creativity. This isn't something I really understood when I was young, when my body was still firm and perky, and even so, I was self-consciousness. For me, and I imagine this goes for many others as well, age and experience give us the perspective to appreciate long-term commitment. It is through those relationships that we learn to succumb, become vulnerable, and develop our abilities to give and receive pleasure. 

This became most clear to me when I first explored the notion of sacred sexuality; Quickly, I figured out that this was a view of pleasure wholly different from the Western idea I'd grown up with, i.e., heavy on sin and shame. Could it be that sexuality and spirituality grew from the same divine spark?! What a delicious, exciting and dangerous position... and how soon could I sign up to learn more.

I love the that tantric sex, Kama Sutra, and sensual massage, to name a few, are are ancient modalities for modern lovers who want to explore ways of creating physical and emotional intimacy. Their wisdom lies in the elevation of sexuality beyond the assumptions. One of those is that sex was between the genitals and it isn’t complete unless we orgasm. This sort of thinking gets lovers stuck on the goal rather than the journey of exploring what excites them beyond intercourse.
 
That is why, as your Sex Whisperer, I hope to encourage you to put aside attitudes and myths you might have about pleasure and love that no longer serve your sensual interests. Do away with shame, and replace it with curiousity and a desire to give and receive pleasure with your beloved (isn't that a wonderful word?). And instead of focusing on the home stretch, I'd like to encourage you to enjoy the journey; stimulate all your senses by exploring equally sensitive and less traveled pleasure spots on your bodies. In other words, map out your personal pleasure zones. Here are some ideas to get you going.

Lesser Known Erogenous Zones
For starters, the tip of your nose is an erogenous zone; it is composed of erectile tissue (surprise, surprise!). For proof, gently brush your lover’s face with your fingertips and make circles around his or her nostrils next time you are up close and personal (don’t do this while driving, drinking coffee, that sort of thing as the impact could be something else all together!).  And that little crevice just below your nose and upper lip is responsive to the slightest touch. I suspect that you will be pleasantly surprised by the experience of having your face stroked and held. Murmur, murmur, sigh, sigh, wow that feels good…

Although the skin of the nape has the same number of hairs and nerve endings as most non-sexual areas of the body, it is still very responsive to kisses and warm whispers of love. And it happens to be connected to your scalp, an area richly innervated, which translates to highly arousing. One way to encourage deeper stimulation and relaxation is to gently tug on a good-size fistful of your partner's hair. Doing so stimulates all those nerves and feels wonderful. It can also make the experience of orgasm especially blissful especially if done to your partner while she is orgasming.
 
I encourage the sensually curious to get over any squeamishness about having their armpits touched. We tend to carry a lot of tension in our shoulders, which is transferred via connective muscle and fibers to the armpits. Allowing your lover to massage, and lick your (clean!) skin can relax, rejuvenate, and even arouse.  According to ancient tradtions, kneeding the right pit helps release trapped 'masculine' energy, the left 'feminine' energy. 

Besides that, the soft skin of the inner elbow is a very sexy spot to plant a kiss or scratch your nails on (gently!). And the wrist is filled with many nerve endings, as are the pinky finger and the palms of your hands. Gently stroking the outer edge of the little finger, or drawing circles in the palm is sensual, tender and feels really good, especially when your senses are already tuned in to recieving pleasure.
 
Many people carry stress in the abdomen. This is how I know if I'm doing so: I sit for a moment to determine if I'm holding my breath. Think about it - very few of us over the age of five get belly rubs which is a real shame. Abdominal massage can do wonders for your attitude and arousal. Go ahead a try that next time you are in a quiet space with your lover. Together, pay special attention to the belly button and the area a few inches below. The first has lots of nerve endings, which means it can be highly responsive to caresses and kisses. Another idea is to place your palm below and undulate it in a wave to enhance relaxation and the flow of sexual energy.
 
Sometimes we worry that we aren't in the mood, and wonder if there is quick switch to fix that. Here's a indea that feels good and serves a purpose too. Have your partner gently kneed your hips and lightly tap with his or her finger tips on your sacrum (avoid the tailbone), the base of your spine. This stimulates the nerves in this area which are geographically very close to the genitals. According to sacred sexuality, the root of our sexual energy is here, and if it is blocked, we many not be so inclined for nookie.
 
Finally, we all know that the feet are highly innervated, and many lovers enjoy toe having their feet massaged and even their toes sucked. There are a few areas worthy of mention, the big toe, and the area just below the big toe and second toe, both thought to be energetically connected to arousal and desire. 
 
Of course, this list is hardly exhaustive! It’s just an encouraging starting point for you to map your personal pleasure zones. Our skin is a sensient gateway and learning to cultivate sexual energy through touch connects us to one another. It feeds our fires, it rejuvanates our senses, it heals and connects and strengthens our intimate bonds which ultimately is what this transcendent journey is all about. 


Tinamarie is a writer, blogger and relationship coach with a special interest in helping couples deepen intimacy. Her articles appear in a variety of online magazines. An earlier version of this article originally appeared in Examiner.com. If you like this column, please follow The Sex Whisperer on Twitter and Facebook.



For more columns from Tinamarie, click here.
 

Years ago, when my son was just learning about numbers, he asked me how much I loved him. I responded with a smile, ‘To infinity and beyond,’ to which he matter of factually said, “Mommy, I love you, seven.” It’s a conversation I hearken to when I'm contemplating what it means to love.

 

If I have to describe my ideal Hierarchy of Love it would be as follows: I love myself first, followed by my love and commitment to my husband. After that comes my dedication to my children, whom I would protect with my life if need be.

 

As your Sex Whisperer, I know this is not the most politically correct stance, and I’ve learned to mostly keep it to myself in order to avoid unproductive discussions with martyrs and wanna-be sacrificial lambs. That’s harsh language, and likely to set up bells and whistles in some heads. Here’s the thing though – I don’t love my kids any less than such parents who are slave to their love for their own offspring; I just understand the value of selflessness differently.

 

Turns out there is valid support for this view of maternal instincts (though in the spirit of fairness, I admit there are well-informed opinions on all sides of this issue). According to recent article by Melissa Chapman, the best relationships follow the paradigm of mommy loves herself, daddy loves himself, mom and dad love one another, and mom and dad love the children. 

 

Chapman goes on to explain that as long as this structure informs the hierarchy of love, a relationship and family is stronger for it. But when things get flipped around and the children are put in the primary position, when they are made to be the center of the kinship universe, the system breaks down. That is because there is nothing left at the end of the day for an exhausted couple to nurture and nourish their bond, if they’ve given it all to their brood.

 

On the other hand, children who grow up with parents who actively demonstrate their partnership and dedication to one another by making the marriage the center of the family, benefit from the stability and awareness of their place in that family structure. Happy children are those whose parents are happy, Chapman explained, and then she suggested ways for couples to set this standard.

 

One in particular resonated with me – showing affection.  Let your children see your loving bond. Let them hear you express your feelings, she explains, so that they realize mom and dad don’t sublimate themselves for anyone or anything.

 

It’s understandable why some women, even as they are reading this are balking at the idea of taking time away from the little ones in order to save something for themselves and their partners. Most of us are worn out by the demands of daily living, inundated with work and personal stress. To assuage the guilt, we give whatever we have left to junior.  The vicious cycle continues to everyone’s detriment because as vitality is sucked out from mom and dad, the family subsists on fumes.

 

What Chapman’s article doesn’t go into is something even more important in our touch-hungry world. I can think of nothing better to teach children about the foundation for intimacy than by parents who model affection. Show them a mother and a father who are stuck on one another like crazy glue so there’s no mistaking what grounds the family together – not the children, but the man and the wife.

 

 It isn’t always easy to maintain this paradigm. Some couples are further challenged by modern circumstances like divorce and blended families. Actually, I think ‘blended’ is the wrong word. Most mixed families are like a mélange of water and oil, that when properly shook creates a lovely marinade…until they settle and separate once more, as is fitting when it comes to love and parenting.

 

In our case, my husband is a stepparent, although for all practical purposes, he is the primary father who does the hard work without basking in the glory of unchallenged adoration.  That, my son still reserves for his biological father.

 

As for my spouse, there are times when we disagree, and when those differences revolve around my eldest child, there is no clear solution. Sometimes I’ve allowed daylight between my beloved and me, either I’ve forgotten about the hierarchy, or I’ve become self-absorbed rather than focused on my legitimate needs (I didn’t say it’s easy to find the right balance).

 

When imbalance strikes and becomes the pattern between partners, children know it. They recognize these openings, and like the self-preserving beings that we all are, they will pounce.  I can honestly say that my failure to keep my marriage in the center has always led to greater difficulties, creating frays at the end of the life my spouse and me are weaving together.

 

I’ve long ago learned to remember myself in the familial equation, but now I’m reminded of what it means to love to seven, or infinity or some combination thereof. One day my son will no longer need to be protected. He won’t need me as he does now, but will fly off to create his own family. I can think of no greater gift than to teach him to love himself fully and foremost in a way that isn’t selfish, but self-fulfilling, so that he is as noble a partner as his stepfather is to me.

 

And as for his future children, may he love them with his life, and may they know that he loves their mother to infinity and beyond.

 

Follow Tinamarie Bernard at @ModernLoveMuse and on Facebook, Tinamarie Bernard, Modern Love Muse.
 



Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

 

The most liberating moments in my life occurred right at the time I might have expected to be most afraid: newly single and headed for divorce with my young son by my side.  Don’t get me wrong; I panicked about many things, absurd and serious.  How was I going to pay the rent or explain to my son why his parents were no longer married?  Inane but equally distressing was wondering who was going to kill the spiders because I absolutely detest that squishy sound of bugs gone dead. 

 

It’s precisely when you are on the precipice of the worst time in your life and have no choice but to stare your fears straight in the eye that you learn a simple truth (warning, what follows next is a new age cliché): Fear sometimes is False Evidence Appearing Real.

 

I’m not so evolved to deny that some fears are legit (bees and love do sting and it really, really hurts); to think otherwise is foolhardy.  Now your Sex Whisperer is no bug terminator, but I can finally discard of critters by myself (and with the help of a vacuum cleaner, there is no mess), but I admit that bugs are insignificant compared to the scarier things associated with heartbreak.  

 

Two things heaved my lungs and buckled my knees when I first ventured into divorce land.  There was the dicey little thing called sex-after-twelve-years-of-monogamous-marriage and its bothersome sidekick, who might want to see me naked. (The answer turned out to be enough. Whew). Another big fear?  Would I find a partner to love a package deal, newly single mom with squirmy kid in tow? 

 

I eventually did.  But first I had to acknowledge that fear had trapped me in a loveless marriage, and trust that if I walked towards what frightened me most – being alone and unloved and unable to care for my child - my unknown, amazing future awaited me.

 

For this moment, I encourage you to imagine your own private anxieties.  Is it that you’ll remain alone, not fully loved or accepted? Are you scared you’ll never know the joy of parenthood?  Do previous infidelities or betrayels keep you from being vulnerable again with another?  Or is it the loss of your freedom that holds you back from the full submission into a love relationship?  

 

When it comes to coupling, I’ve also discovered that we bury a lot of anxiety under the covers, like an unwanted bedfellow who doesn’t just rob us of sleep, but also of pleasure. It’s impossible to experience the full range of sexual ecstasy when you are too busy wondering if your mate notices your imperfections, or you are bound by shame, or cultural expectations of what you should do, when you should do it, and with whom you should be doing it.

 

We all carry some unacknowledged fears about love, sex and intimacy. It takes tremendous work and guts to allow them to fully surface with all their awful clamor and menace; to succumb to our tears; to talk and journal through the hurt and trepidation. Here's the 'ah ha' thing about courage, though; courageous people are just as afraid as the rest of us, but they nevertheless push through their panic to do what they must when life is most challenging.

 

That is why I encourage you to look your fears in the eye, and then consider that you can’t fully rid yourself of them, nor should you. Fear is a great teacher, a harbinger of change and protection when we pay close attention.  Because fear’s biggest enemy is confrontation: it cannot chase you when you stop to listen.  And fear, it turned out in my experience, is a lot less powerful when we finally learned to growl right back.

  

An earlier version of this essay originally appeared in Examiner.com.

 

Follow Tinamarie Bernard at @ModernLoveMuse and on Facebook, Tinamarie Bernard, Modern Love Muse.
 


 

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns, More of Tinamarie's Columns

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

 


I don’t have a chronic illness, but my inner advocate of sexual wellbeing knows that as we age and disease sets in, physical intimacy isn’t so easy to come by. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the recent study of 2,000 middle-aged adults with diabetes that showed many are still sexually active. (Image credit: Le couple, by Le Xav')

 

This is a disease, by all accounts, that can put a dent in the dandiest of lovers: erectile dysfunction being a most common problem in men. And even though it turns out that approximately 2/3 of women with diabetes with partners still find time for bedroom antics, they pay a higher toll on desire and sexual satisfaction compared to their men with the condition.

 

For example, women with diabetes are less likely to have a partner or to masturbate, and they tend to avoid sex more frequently than their non-diabetic sisters, as well as discussions with their physicians about sexual dysfunctions. That’s a shame.

 

"Failure to recognize and address sexual issues among middle-age and older adults with diabetes may impair quality of life and adaptation to the disease," said Marshall Chin, MD, senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Sexual problems are common in patients with diabetes, and many patients are not discussing these issues with their physicians." (Science Daily.com)

 

Science Daily reported on the major findings. “Patients and doctors need to know that most middle age and older adults with partners are still sexually active despite their diabetes," said the study's lead author Stacy Lindau, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of medicine at the University of Chicago. "However, many people with diabetes have sexual problems that are not being addressed."

 

Reduced sexual drive may be the most common aspect of sexual behavior affected, but because sexuality is complex in women even when there is no chronic disease, they tend to experience more sexual side effects.


What I learned was enough to make me put down my chocolate croissant and pay heed.

Women with diabetes experience more blood-sugar fluxes around their periods, something some suspect is related to female sexual hormones. This makes cells more resistant to insulin. One way to address this is for women to discuss with their doctors about adjusting the amount of medicine they are taking during menstruation (and they should also make sure that any oral contraceptives are diabetic-friendly). Another helpful trick: eat at regular intervals to better manage food cravings and irritability that affect many (not just diabetic) premenstrual women.

Here are two more downers for frisky chicks: diabetes can interfere with natural lubrication during sexual arousal, and excess sugar in the blood also makes diabetes more prone to ‘yeasties’ and beasties like vaginitis.  I’m not a doctor, but it’s my sense that using more natural, eco-friendly lubricants (i.e., water based and free of petro-based compounds) to help with dryness makes safer sense than using something originally meant to grease your car engine into your nether parts. As for infections, that is something that all women need to discuss with their doctors to obtain the best treatment for their particular sexual wellbeing.

Making love a priority when you have a chronic illness like diabetes obviously matters to people; the study reported on in Science Daily and other reputable websites demonstrates that quite clearly. Diabetics are having sex, and doing their darnest to enjoy it too. What’s not so clear to me at least is why women with this illness are hesitant to discuss sexuality with their doctors. But if reading this can encourage at least one woman to seek out ways to make her intimate life more fulfilling, then as I feel I will have made enough noise (like I don’t do already) as your Sex Whisperer to put the sugar back into your sex, instead of allowing diabetes to take the spice out of your life.

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and Fearlesspress.com. Visit her at www.tinamariebernard.com, twitter and facebook. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

 



When it comes to giving and receiving pleasure, goddesses take note: there’s a sex organ that never gets old, and it’s time we salute this mighty little gem.

 

Oh, I’ve often bemoaned the changes of time: how my breasts sag, my belly bags, and my butt drags, but when it comes to sexual gratification, I’m tickled pink that age has no power over my clitoris. Not only does it have twice as many nerve endings as its anatomical equivalent (peter pecker), from birth until death (barring any unforeseen issues) our female ‘fun button ‘is at our service.

 

Consider the following facts:

 

* The clitoris is only present in female mammals, and some of our primate cousins have no shame when it comes to coming (think Bonobos, for example).


* Most of it is hidden from view. The hood can be seen with the naked eye, but the rest (about four inches) is inside. It is shaped like a wishbone, and extends into our bodies on either side of the vaginal opening.


* Your clitoris grows with age. During puberty, it increases in size by about 1.5 times, and after menopause it can become 2.5 times larger than it was when you were nineteen. While increasing size isn't guaranteed, it also doesn't matter when it comes to giving us pleasure. Take that Father Time!


*Its 8,000 highly sensitive nerves serve one function: recreation. As best as science can tell, the clitoris is there to offer up orgasms. Again and again and again.


*A woman’s ability to experience vaginal vs. clitoral orgasms is believed by some to be a function of her Clitoral-Vaginal (CV) distance. Shorter distances between the two are linked to greater ease in achieving orgasms via penile-vaginal stimulation.


*The G-spot, that mystical zone within the vaginal walls known to send women in the outer regions of transcendent pleasure, is thought by many sexperts to be the dorsal tips of the clit – think where the wishbone ends end.



Fine Vibrations:


Factoids that teach us about our bodies make me smile as much as historical anecdotes of sexual behavior. Take the story of the vibrator, the subject of a recent documentary (or so I’ve been told…my first thought was a film ala ‘Leave it to beaver’, but I digress). Back in the day when women were diagnosed with ‘hysteria,’ treatment often took an unusual (by today’s standards) form – manual stimulation by her handy physician. Doctors would massage, tickle, rub and titillate female patients’ genitals until said lovelies climaxed, thereby releasing all those pent up frustrations at the crux of her ‘condition.’

 

We gals may spell that R-E-L-I-E-F, but apparently those poor docs were getting carpel tunnel syndrome.

 

The point is, the doctors realized their schedules didn’t always accommodate rubbing female parts (but let’s get real and point out that women weren’t doctors back then. If we had been, would it have taken so long?). That is when a man named Kelsey Stinner put his creative juices to work, and invented a device to do the same: the vibrator. By the late 1880’s, you could actually find the (quite possibly) greatest gadget ever invented in all the major catalogues, including Ladies Home Journal, JC Penny’s and Sears Roebuck.

 

Discovering those former advertisements was like visiting a store for grown ups (as in candy, not sleaze).  My long dormant shopaholic (the one I haven’t spent time with for seven years, 360 days, i.e., just before my first child was born) began fantasizing again about the good ol’ days, when retail therapy was fun and I had all the time in the world. I’ll have that one, and that one and that one too…and honey, I think we should take the couple’s ‘get to know your new gizmo’ class together…

 


Getting to know you, getting to know all about you:


A clit that can’t be lit is like a sky without stars.  Think about it - Women certainly don’t need to orgasm to become pregnant, and yet we have the most captivating circuitry specifically suited to sensuality. Perhaps this pint-sized part of our bodies can mystify us, and if we are honest, we’ll admit that some valves need more tending to than others. But shyness serves no purpose here – the engine that never tires is a biological gift, and it’s time we honor our ageless wonders.

 

Contemplating all this, I find I’m humming that Broadway ditty from ‘The King and I’, “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…” It’s finally clear now, you see. Since our bodies are primed for bliss, we are obligated to learn the gentle art of clitoral persuasion, and find ways to show our partners just how to make us purr like satisfied and smitten kittens too.

 

Anything less is such a waste of precious time.

 

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and Fearlesspress.com. Visit her at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitterand facebookShe is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

It’s National Impotence Education month, and your Sex Whisperer has some natural libido enhancing bennies to share for those interested in improving performance without popping a pill. Non-pharmacological sexual stimulants are popular, and often come with a variety of claims: they improve overall health, enhance libido, increase mental and sexual energy, and enhance the vigor of many man’s wood. But are all natural aids worth the time, effort and investment?


For your perusal, here is an introduction to the benefits from Arginine to Zinc, with links after each compound to additional information. Ultimately, it’s up to the informed consumer to determine which herbs, vitamins and minerals really compliment a man’s vitality, and whether or not the benefits are all in his head. Keep in mind; the following list is NOT a substitute for a visit to your personal physician. If life has suddenly left your nether parts, please, please seek medical advice first before investing in these supplements. After all, a well-rounded approach to sexual health is probably the prudent way to prevent erectile dysfunction.


Arginine: “This amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein, is promoted to cure impotence, among many other things. It does boost levels of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow – and this, in theory, may improve erections. This is similar to what Viagra does. But it’s unknown whether enough of the supplemental arginine gets into the penis to make a difference. Indeed, at least two studies have found little or no improvement compared with a placebo.” (Source)


Chinese Dodder: “Chinese dodder seed acts as an aphrodisiac and increases fertility. It has been used to treat premature ejaculation and impotence. There are no known side effects when using Chinese dodder seed.” (Source)


“This herb is a noted aphrodisiac (arouse sexual desire), demulcent (soothing), and diaphoretic. It is particularly used in the treatment of impotence, nocturnal emissions, premature ejaculation, vertigo, lumbago, frequent urination, decreased eyesight, and chronic diarrhea. Also used to nourish sperm, increase fertility, and is listed as a sexual enhancer in all traditional Chinese pharmacopoeias. It is widely used to improve vision, strengthen bones and sinews and to improve overall sexual functions.” (Source)


Damiana: “When Damiana’s ability to cure sexually related ailments had been scientifically qualified western medicine became interested in Damiana. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia suggests Damiana for “anxiety neurosis with a predominant sexual factor, depression, nervous dyspepsia, atonic constipation, and coital inadequacy.” Damiana has also shown strong effects in animal testing. Rats who were previously “sexually sluggish” or impotent increased their mating behaviors and became more fertile and virulent after ingesting Damiana extracts. However, already sexually healthy rats showed no difference after eating Damiana.” (Source)


Fenugreek: “Fenugreek has been recognized as a medicinal plant for centuries. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used the aromatic seeds extensively. Traditional Chinese herbalists used fenugreek for male reproductive issues and kidney problems. It is interesting to note that in Chinese medicine the kidneys are considered to be the area where sexual energy is stored. Fenugreek lowers blood sugar, probably by increasing tissue insulin sensitivity. The rich combination of nutrients in Fenugreek include the steroidal saponin diosgenin,  choline , trimethylamine (a sex hormone in frogs), Vitamins A, B 2, B 6, B 12, D, and essential oils. Diosgenin is an important precursor for the synthesis of a number of sex hormones, and also exhibits estrogenic effects. The aromatic compounds in the fenugreek seeds have a maple-syrup like odor, which freshens the breath; an added advantage in sexual encounters.” (Source)


Maca: “Maca is a cruciferous vegetable like Kale and Broccoli, that grows in the Andes Mountains in Peru. Native people dig up the root-like tuber and brew it into a strong drink. Both men and women partake of this brew shortly before going off in couples for connubial enjoyment. Incan warriors used maca before battle to increase strength and endurance. Laboratory studies have shown a significant increase in sexual function in rodents.  Maca is high in essential fatty acids, minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc, along with vitamins B, C and E, various phytosterols, and other nutritional factors known for their importance to sexual function.” (Source)


Red Kwao Krua: “The raw extract from the root of Red Kwao Krua contains flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides demonstrating comparable benefit as that of the pill Viagra (TM), without any of the side effects. Studies revealed a strong vasodilatation effect, via production of nitric oxide. Enzymatic tests have shown Red Kwao Krua to be a potent inhibitor of c-AMP Phosphodiesterase which reacts directly at the corpus cavernosum in the penis enhancing blood flow to that area creating a more frequent, longer lasting, stronger male sexual arousal period.” (Source)


Yohimbe: “Made from bark of a West African tree, this has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries and, in pre-Viagra days, was sometimes prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction (the extract is called yohimbine). It dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow, and thus, it’s thought, may improve erections. It has been shown to increase sexual arousal in rats, but has had mixed results in human studies.


Its side effects include a boost in blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, anxiety and sleeplessness. It is unsafe and ineffective, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the German commission that reviews herbal treatments. On top of that, an FDA test found that most yohimbe supplements contain little or none of it.” (Source)


Zinc: “This is perhaps the most important single nutrient for a man’s sexuality. It is crucial for the production of sperm and seminal fluid. Clinical studies show that men who supplement zinc experience a dramatic increase in testosterone levels. Zinc also reduces the pituitary’s formation of prolactin, a hormone that stops testosterone production.” (Source)


Once you do your research and decide that one or more of these vitamins, minerals or herbs are an appropriate addition to your vitality, it behooves us to leave you with one final reminder: Do your best to use organic and sustainably harvested supplements. It does a man and the environment good.


This article originally appeared in Greenprophet.com.

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and Fearlesspress.com. Visit her at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitter and facebook. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

“In America the men say to each other, how far did you get? In France, the men say, how long did she scream? …Go figure.”  --Wendy Strgar, Founder of Good Clean Love


There is something to be said about yearning and desire, and the experience of holding back despite the urge to hurry things along. When I was growing up, this forbidden, delicious angst had all sorts of names: ‘making out’ and ‘heavy petting’ ring a few ancient memories, but these no longer seem like befitting terms for most women in my demographics.


I know I’m not the only mother/wife who wants to maintain a healthy romance and pleasure in my marriage without sounding like an adolescent. That is why I like a newer term, Outer Course; to me, it’s just a more grown-up way to describe those parts of making love that have nothing to do with penetration and everything to do with pleasure.


Most of us lead busy, rushed lives, and the recuperative benefits of sexual intimacy sometimes take a back seat to the urgent insistency to just ‘get it over with.’ I know I felt that way in my first marriage, certainly towards the end. I’d given up on thinking that we’d ever recapture those early days of lust and satisfaction. It took a divorce, serious soul searching and personal explorations to understand the importance of all aspects of physical play.


That is why I believe it’s important to refrain our expectations and spend time pleasuring one another without the pressure of intercourse or orgasm. The benefits are numerous.

For one, it takes the pressure off of men to perform; no erection is necessary to spend ten minutes gazing into each other’s eyes, or massaging one another’s backsides. After a long, hard day at work, getting your naked bits to rise to the occasion is not top of mind, but what man wouldn’t love a little hand?


And women – answer me this: don’t you sometimes wish he’d wash your hair for you? Or rub your feet? And to be petted, here, there and anywhere, not like a cat, mind you, but a living, breathing, vibrant human being who sometimes just needs to be stroked?


All that sensual touch raises good hormone levels, the kind that sustain relationship; I’m thinking about oxytocin, nature’s way of bonding us and increasing intimacy. In the beginning of a relationship, those levels tend to be higher, accounting in part for those early honeymoon feelings.  True, cuddling and romance are only one aspect of a healthy, authentic love, but in my observations, non-sexual touch is a balm that many could use more of. 


Ultimately, the definition is less important to me than the end result; by putting a name to everything else besides the finish line, we elevate Fore Play and After Play to their due levels. We recognize that sexual intimacy is about more than the moment your parts fit together. Blame, Clinton if you will: when he looked us all in the eye and on camera said - I did not have sexual relations with that woman – we collectively had to ponder just what physical intimacy entailed…. 


For me, it took a long time to learn the importance of this aspect of sexuality. Only after years of going without regular tender loving care followed by a divorce and remarriage did I figure it out. Outer Course is all of the sweetness, magic and tenderness of physical love without the pressure, and ironically enough – it’s the one thing I know that keeps the embers burning, like kindling, to reignite sexual passion between partners.


Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and EdenFantasys.com, among others. You can read her personal blog at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitter and facebook. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

I’ve always been intrigued by those little gestures and endearments between a couple. In my own relationship, I melted when my then-boyfriend first called me, “My Love,” a phrase I found wholly and unexpectedly charming and tender, delivered as it were in his foreign-born accent. Part proclamation of his feelings and part a statement of who we are to one another, to this day those words are one way we try to set the tone of our marriage.

 

Intuitively, it seems to me that most of us crave these tender sanctifications of our love bonds. In the beginning, they make the dance we call courtship more enjoyable, and as relationships deepen and grow, they offer more benefits. We communicate our needs, heal wounds, share secrets, and move emotional mountains with the sweetly placed touch or intimated word.

 

Every aspect of our coupling seems rooted in an ancient need to connect, through physical desire that shifts to emotional and spiritual as we allow ourselves to become more vulnerable and reveal our secret sensual selves. All the while, we flip our hair or stand a certain way, using body language and cues to signal our intent and desires.

 

Watch primates in action to confirm what I write; they wink, nod, grunt and sigh in disarmingly familiar ways to humans when copulating. And as for flirting, and dating and all those artifacts of culture that help unite boy with girl, and girl with boy (or other variations), are these not well-established processes and customs we follow in the pursuit of love and connection?

 

But all these take place on a subconscious level. What might it be like if we were to bring mindfulness into the picture, and create something new, a sacred sexual ritual, if you will, in our romantic relationship and in the bedroom. For most of us, I suspect that the idea of ritualizing something about lovemaking feels strange and foreign. So why bother pushing that boundary?

 

Because rituals do more than establish bonds.  I imagine how, with the right intention, they can shift our focus to being more present to the Now and our shared intimacy, and pave the way for creating sweeter capacities for joy, beauty, happiness and healing. And yes, they can be sexy too.

 

I admit that getting to that place of awareness isn’t always easy, even and especially in our primary love relationship, given our goal oriented culture as just one hurdle. We are programmed and socialized away from softer side of things, particularly men.

 

Nor do these practices develop overnight. You don’t read a manual one day and find yourself the next doing naked yoga in the bedroom, chanting secret messages that end in mutual surrender and orgasmic bliss. First, you have to start with the basics, like asking your partner to play along.

 

Can you imagine saying this to your partner? “Hi Love, Will you Sit With Me Here and Gaze Into My Eyes…And Can We Do This Every Thursday Evening, Say Around 8 pm, When The Kids Go To Sleep?”

 

Better yet, can you imagine his or her response? Would he laugh? Would she cry? Would you find support, ridicule or astonishment? Do you find yourself already balking at the idea? Or running to the bedroom and leaving a trail of clothes…

 

All those responses tell you something about yourself and your relationship. In no way is there some right or wrong answer here. The idea of bringing what we do subconsciously in courtship and elevating it to the conscious mind in love, is one that may work for some and not for others.

 

So far, what I know about creating these spaces and being mindful under the covers is that rituals aren’t about attaining some lofty ambition. You don’t suddenly find yourself in sexual nirvana. This is about the journey and a desire to create the right practice for you, if that is what you decide is correct to do. It takes time and intention, a good bout of humor, tolerance, and possibly some physical flexibility that we enjoyed in our younger years.

 

To be clear, I am not an expert on this, just intrigued by what this aspect of sacred sexuality can offer in the way of deepening intimacy. There’s research, and then there’s Research, the sensual homework of applying what we learned to our personal lives, so that we can say, yes, indeed, this is one love lesson worth undressing for.

 

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and EdenFantasys.com, among others. You can read her personal blog at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitter and facebook. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

 

Months ago, I reached out to a friend to share some insights on deepening intimacy, and she replied, “There’s a four letter word ending in K that’s vital to keeping love alive in a relationship.” 

 

In college, professors taught us about basic 4 F’s - feeding, fleeing, flying and fornication – so my inner adolescent boy was immediately intrigued. But Diana was teasing. What she really meant was T-A-L-K.

 

I asked her to teach me more, since that is her vocation. As an intimacy coach and mentor, Diana Daffner is committed to sacred sexuality as both a life path and a wisdom tool. Since just the mention of Tantra can give some people the heebie jeebies, and make others imagine contortions and all night sex, which may or may not be a wanted thing, I’ve shied away from this language for the most part in this column. However you label it, mindfulness in love simply invites us to experience our relationships differently, and to approach communication with an ear towards the heart.

 

 “Most couples engage in everyday conversations… the practical and important stuff related to the kids, the house, health and financial issues, and vacation plans, etc,” she said. Tantra adds another layer, encouraging T-A-L-K that redirects a couple to their breathing, their heart connection, and exploring what brings them pleasure and joy. And then Diana offered some easy to follow guidelines to help couples that may be bored, or shy or simply curious about other ways to experience lovemaking.

1. Create a sacred space for you and your beloved that is free from clutter, worries and anxieties. Candles, soft lighting, etc are recommended if romance is your shtick. The important thing is that you are both relaxed and present with one another.

 

2. Hold one another in a Tantra breathing embrace.  It is important that you connect physically and emotionally with one another, so use pillows and props if you need to hold one another comfortably in this manner. Then take deep breathes together. Feel your bodies expand and contract in rhythm together. Take as much time as you need to settle into one another's sensual space. You may start to get aroused. That's okay. Just wait. Pleasure is on its way.

 

3. Taking turns, set aside a few minutes for each of you to share what you enjoy sexually. This is a time for one partner to speak at a time, uninterrupted, while being held and listened to by the other. Some good questions to answer: “How do you like to be touched?” or, “I like having my breasts/genitals/abdomen stroked like this…” You can also pre-write your own question(s) to ask.

 

4. Listen to each other’s answers without responding. Give your most spontaneous answer without censoring yourself. Encourage the partner who is talking to continue if they stumble for words, or become embarrassed. It's important to gently push through stumbling blocks.

 

5. Have no expectations or agenda. Your partner may say something that surprises you. “You mean all this time I thought I was rubbing you just fine, when you really wanted it harder? Why didn’t you say so earlier?!” You may think these sorts of things, but let critical thoughts go. The idea is that you both become bold enough to answer intimate questions without shame or fear.

 

Enough with the talk from me. Sometimes we just need gentle nudges to redirect our efforts with our beloveds. Consider this a push in the right direction - towards your private sanctuary and gift of mindfulness in the bedroom.

 

 

Tinamarie is a regular contributor for ShareWIK.com.  She also writes for Greenprophet.com, Fearlesspress.com and Sexis Magazine.  You can find her blog at www.tinamariebernard.com.

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here

 


©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

“In order for monogamy to work, it has to be ‘dirty,’” writes Rabbi Irwin Kula in Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (Hyperion, 2006). I’ve read parts of his book many times, its folded pages and side scribbles evidence of my complete gratitude (bordering on worship) for his insight and willingness to take on a prudish establishment in the name of love.

 

“If the forbidden is what is exciting, we have to work hard to bring the taboo into our most intimate relationships,” Kula explains, thereby reclaiming naughtiness for those who ascribe in a higher power. “If transgression is so titillating, we have to learn to transgress where we’re most safe.”

 

Even non-believers can proclaim Amen!

 

Delicious strong language coming from a spiritual leader makes some folks squirm. Our American culture shies away from opening that hot envelope, of connecting sexuality with our soulful sides, and it shows in our experiences in pleasure and attitudes towards sexual exclusivity. That’s why when I discovered the website, Dick-n-Jane.com (NSFW) I was immediately intrigued.

 

“Jane and I both emerged into our adult lives having escaped religious upbringings, which shaped our expectations of a morally acceptable lifestyle,” Dick wrote when I initiated a dialogue on the topic of sex and relationship. Together with his wife of 16 years, Dick blogs about a very personal topic: his marriage. Their site is nothing short of a salacious union of sexploitations, real and imagined fantasies, and the truth of what it takes to keep a union sensually vibrant.

 

“Serial monogamy leading into monogamous marriage was really the only path” he and his wife considered for reasons including culture, religion, and socialization. For them, it provided a “safe harbor and strong support for child rearing, and unrivaled quality of companionship.” Through time these sex-positive bloggers, who augment their site with luscious images of their naked selves, grew to “discredit the original bodies of influence,” that got them hitched, but realized that this indelible ideology created the space they needed to deepen emotional and sexual intimacy.

 

But, and here’s where smutty comes into the picture, Dick and Jane admit the obvious. “As humans, we paradoxically hate routine but love the familiar. We often hold tight to what we know and approach change with caution.” Boredom can be the death knell of marriage, which is why, “dirty sex is one branch on a tree of techniques we use to keep a sexual spark alight.”

 

Obviously, dirty sex will manifest in different ways to different people. For some, that might mean making love with the lights on. Others will copulate at the brink of abandon, explore sexual fantasies, push against the boundaries of kink or even introduce tantric sexuality into their union.

 

To be certain, wild and risqué coupling doesn’t just prevent monogamy from becoming monotony, or provide the tight connection to underpin intimacy and communication. After reading Rabbi Kula’s book, I came to the conclusion that to defy the odds and reclaim intimacy in a world gone ‘sexophrenic’, I had accept that my most primitive urges – even the ones I wanted to insist belong on someone else’s mind – came from a deeply spiritual source. Lust rested in the fruit of my loins, and the seat of the soul, if you will.

 

Overcoming fear, apprehension and sexual shame also produces anxieties, something Dick and Jane see as positive. Taking that leap into new sexual terrain excites and binds. Those built-in taboos that tell us it is dirty are the very key to forging into novel ground with your beloved, of pushing back against boundaries, and, most importantly, reuniting the sacred with the primal.

 

Not every act of copulation between married folks needs to be experienced with bells and whistles, pomp and circumstance, or blindfolds and feathers. Viewed from a soulful prism however, sex that pushes our comfort zones and propels us towards transcendent physical experiences is no longer taboo, but mandated. It demands that we consider how and why we ever, individually or collectively relinquished our most secret sensual selves to a sense of propriety or embarrassment. Who was I to assume that passion belongs outside the boundaries of traditional marriage?

 

Regardless of how each person reading this answers that for themselves, I propose we all benefit from embracing the sacred dirtiness of sex in the context of committed love. One might even argue that it’s a shame – no, make that a sin – to give up on hot and juicy lovemaking, whether or not you consider long-term pair bonding an unnatural choice incompatible with human biology, or an act of God.

 

This article originally appeared on www.fearlesspress.com

 

Tinamarie writes about love, sex, intimacy and relationships for several websites. You can find her at twitter and Facebook, and at www.tinamariebernard.com.

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here

 


©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

The numbers are staggering: 54 million Americans - that is 1 in 8 employees - report being the victim of some form of bullying. More men behave as bullies in the workforce, but women are more vicious when they bully. In particular, women bosses tend to pick on female subordinates: 70% of their victims are females.   

 

This may appear off-topic for your Sex Whisperer but really it is not: treating others with respect matters in all relationships, not just those between lovers. Besides, this is a topic close to my (tender) heart. Both coworkers and managers have bullied me more than once in my professional life. It is to put it mildly a highly stressful situation, and can lead to depression, anxiety and diminished self-worth.

 

Victims take more time off of work (who can blame them?) and companies suffer from diminished productivity. So it is in everyone's best interest to spot these Toxic Witches and call them on their mal-treatment of others.

 

If you find yourself the victim of bullying at work, the first step is to realize that you can find ways to cope with the situation (which may or may not include getting a new job).  In particular, if your boss is a Toxic Witch, consider the following: 

 

·     Remember that it is your right to stand up for yourself, and when you do, do so using a respectful manner and tone.


·     Keep your voice calm and quiet, even when the boss is yelling at you. This can help calm both of you.


·     Bullies tend to pick on those who they perceive as being weak. Remind yourself of your strengths and abilities so you don't internalize their false narrative about you.


·     When the boss is pressuring you, ask questions to find out what he or she really wants.


·     Figure out his or her trigger points, and if possibly, avoid those behaviors that set him or her off.

  

·     Be careful to not appear confrontational or defiant, especially when you are trying to explain your own viewpoints.


·     Keep notes about any and all altercations. It will help you to not internalize the criticism and bullying, and it could help you in case you need to take further action.


·     Share your concerns with a therapist and your physician. They can determine if, and when, the bullying is compromising your physical or mental well-being.


·     If you have done everything within your power to maintain a professional environment, or the situation cannot be diffused, consider your options: speak to your HR representative, go up the chain of command and ask for informal mediation, file a formal complaint, or speak with a lawyer that specializes in employee law.

 

Harassment based on age, religion, sexual orientation, and gender is against the law, but beware: being bullied because someone doesn’t like you may not actually be illegal. That is why it is important to empower yourself. Taking action on an individual basis is the first start of a paradigm shift, one that redefines management. Unfortunately, there are some managers who still believe that intimidation and fear equate with leadership. So if your boss is toxic, it is ultimately up to you to find a way to diffuse the situation, or escape from their wicked web.

 

A version of this article originally appeared in Examiner.com.

 

Tinamarie writes about love and relationships for several websites. You can find her at twitter or Facebook, or send her a private message at modernlovemuse @ yahoo dot com.

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here

 

©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

I find it remarkable how restrained we can be with regards to expressing our needs, wishes, desires, dreams and more via our bodies.  Pleasure in corporality gets drummed out of us early on to the detriment of women and the men who love us.

 

Think about it. How often have you found yourself taking a bold step towards sensual living – dancing in little else but an obnoxious hat or whispering wantonness behind a pink fan – only to scuttle back to safety from fear that someone will disapprove of your behavior?

 

It’s time we reclaim the middle ground between prudishness and promiscuity, that fertile place within our imaginations that understands being naughty isn’t just for bad girls and boys anymore. After all, our fantasies are the stuff of the soul, whatever that means to each reader, as they are of the body. The feminist in me can’t resist repeating: when God created sex, she had a big smile on her face. It’s not just feminine sensuality we’ll be aiding and abetting by reclaiming positive sexual and soulful energy. Men also are wounded by the shackles of female shame, inhibition and insecurity as well.

 

I love this excerpt from a friend’s journal about a party she attended. Think you could have done the same with your hindquarters?

 

“The party… Such neutral, spayed feminine energy there; everybody was in pants except me (and the little granddaughter who accompanied one couple). So tied up in jobs and church and “doing” activities versus “being.”

 

I made a point of lingering at the gift table and slowly, imperceptibly grinding my hips, as I know they were all watching my ass in my holiday mini-dress. I was a tiny bit “bad” making some double-entendre remarks and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t realize how much the “pushed outward” helpful, cheerful, busy female energy acts as a wall and a shield so that no femininity is glimpsed.

 

Whoever said that uncontained female sexuality must be controlled at all cost was very perceptive, and we women have bought into that. What good girls we are, to control ourselves, to shut ourselves down. What convenient timesavers we are for our men so they don’t have to “waste their time” worrying about what female energy we might let slip. (haha, your slip is showing) …”

 

Please don’t get me wrong; I love and appreciate men. I honor their strength, I validate their initiative, and I recognize their tender hearts. I hold them in high esteem. I consider them to be suffering from our cultural constraints as much as we women are.

 

Show your slip. Swivel your hips. Let your hair down. Growl. Whimper. Be an example of sumptuous living. Have a dalliance with yourself. Find your rapture. Shake your booty, and imagine all those vibrations spreading like wildfire on the winds of social and personal change.

 

Tinamarie writes about love and relationships for several websites. You can find her at twitter or Facebook, or send her a private message at modernlovemuse @ yahoo dot com.

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here

 

©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC

 

 

Years ago, when my son was just learning about numbers, he asked me how much I loved him. I responded with a smile, ‘To infinity and beyond,’ to which he matter of factually said, “Mommy, I love you, seven.” It’s a conversation I hearken to when I'm contemplating what it means to love.

 

If I have to describe my ideal Hierarchy of Love it would be as follows: I love myself first, followed by my love and commitment to my husband. After that comes my dedication to my children, whom I would protect with my life if need be.

 

As your Sex Whisperer, I know this is not the most politically correct stance, and I’ve learned to mostly keep it to myself in order to avoid unproductive discussions with martyrs and wanna-be sacrificial lambs. That’s harsh language, and likely to set up bells and whistles in some heads. Here’s the thing though – I don’t love my kids any less than such parents who are slave to their love for their own offspring; I just understand the value of selflessness differently.

 

Turns out there is valid support for this view of maternal instincts (though in the spirit of fairness, I admit there are well-informed opinions on all sides of this issue). According to recent article by Melissa Chapman, the best relationships follow the paradigm of mommy loves herself, daddy loves himself, mom and dad love one another, and mom and dad love the children. 

 

Chapman goes on to explain that as long as this structure informs the hierarchy of love, a relationship and family is stronger for it. But when things get flipped around and the children are put in the primary position, when they are made to be the center of the kinship universe, the system breaks down. That is because there is nothing left at the end of the day for an exhausted couple to nurture and nourish their bond, if they’ve given it all to their brood.

 

On the other hand, children who grow up with parents who actively demonstrate their partnership and dedication to one another by making the marriage the center of the family, benefit from the stability and awareness of their place in that family structure. Happy children are those whose parents are happy, Chapman explained, and then she suggested ways for couples to set this standard.

 

One in particular resonated with me – showing affection.  Let your children see your loving bond. Let them hear you express your feelings, she explains, so that they realize mom and dad don’t sublimate themselves for anyone or anything.

 

It’s understandable why some women, even as they are reading this are balking at the idea of taking time away from the little ones in order to save something for themselves and their partners. Most of us are worn out by the demands of daily living, inundated with work and personal stress. To assuage the guilt, we give whatever we have left to junior.  The vicious cycle continues to everyone’s detriment because as vitality is sucked out from mom and dad, the family subsists on fumes.

 

What Chapman’s article doesn’t go into is something even more important in our touch-hungry world. I can think of nothing better to teach children about the foundation for intimacy than by parents who model affection. Show them a mother and a father who are stuck on one another like crazy glue so there’s no mistaking what grounds the family together – not the children, but the man and the wife.

 

 It isn’t always easy to maintain this paradigm. Some couples are further challenged by modern circumstances like divorce and blended families. Actually, I think ‘blended’ is the wrong word. Most mixed families are like a mélange of water and oil, that when properly shook creates a lovely marinade…until they settle and separate once more, as is fitting when it comes to love and parenting.

 

In our case, my husband is a stepparent, although for all practical purposes, he is the primary father who does the hard work without basking in the glory of unchallenged adoration.  That, my son still reserves for his biological father.

 

As for my spouse, there are times when we disagree, and when those differences revolve around my eldest child, there is no clear solution. Sometimes I’ve allowed daylight between my beloved and me, either I’ve forgotten about the hierarchy, or I’ve become self-absorbed rather than focused on my legitimate needs (I didn’t say it’s easy to find the right balance).

 

When imbalance strikes and becomes the pattern between partners, children know it. They recognize these openings, and like the self-preserving beings that we all are, they will pounce.  I can honestly say that my failure to keep my marriage in the center has always led to greater difficulties, creating frays at the end of the life my spouse and me are weaving together.

 

I’ve long ago learned to remember myself in the familial equation, but now I’m reminded of what it means to love to seven, or infinity or some combination thereof. One day my son will no longer need to be protected. He won’t need me as he does now, but will fly off to create his own family. I can think of no greater gift than to teach him to love himself fully and foremost in a way that isn’t selfish, but self-fulfilling, so that he is as noble a partner as his stepfather is to me.

 

And as for his future children, may he love them with his life, and may they know that he loves their mother to infinity and beyond.

 

Follow Tinamarie Bernard at @ModernLoveMuse and on Facebook, Tinamarie Bernard,Modern Love Muse.
 



Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. From celebrity relationships, sacred and eco-sexuality, erotica and feminism, to dating and mating advice for couples who want to deepen intimacy, Tinamarie covers what today's Modern Lovers want to know about. You can send her emails, good vibes and inquiries about relationship book reviews to tmbsdre@yahoo.com. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 


If a man (of the cloth) can write, "Women are sadder because deep down men are shallower"  about his gender, what truth, if any, is there in those words? And do I, as a woman, have any business repeating his observations?


Apparently not, according to one male reader of that column, who ranted on about how sexist and childish the title was. Never mind that the content of the blog was about those expressed convictions on gender issues and the need for healing. 


“Would you write an essay that said women are sadder because they are neurotic and self-absorbed?” he challenged me. I could practically see spittle coming from his lips.


Yep. I would.


Truth is, women have long been labeled worse, and often blamed for that matter, for their own dissatisfaction and the psychological wounds of their children, spouses, extended family, etc. Son is gay? Mom was too controlling. Daughter has a drug problem? Mom must have withheld love. Husband strays? Well, who could blame him for philandering in someone’s else’s bed after she let her waist grow thick?


We carry the weight of the world on our shoulders (and just to be clear, I don’t mean that men aren’t carrying their share, or suffer any less. It’s just that I can only muse on my particular biosuit). After the feminist movement pushed those damned shackles off our backs, giving us access to previously restricted professional successes, the hope was that greater freedom and opportunities would translate to greater inner satisfaction, for men and women.


Except, that hasn’t happened if the research is to be believed. If success is measured by happiness, many signs point to the epidemic failure of painting men as the enemy. There are many warriors-in-transition reframing the gender-happiness-relationship dialogue from the masculine perspective. As two women readers responded, this issue isn’t about men versus women per se. All these wise mentors of mine (long list of names!) teach me daily about the inner work that must be done to bridge the masculine and feminine.


It’s an inside job first.  When we can own the feminine strengths such as nurturing as much as the masculine traits of protectiveness, for example, then this ‘battle’ of the sexes will finally be a quaint artifact of our past. As long as we blame one side or the other, we are the snake eating its own tail. The truth of happiness, or the lack thereof, has much less to do with how we look, our emerging opportunities, the changing roles of men and women, and the like.


I believe the answer lies in something far more fundamental than the trappings of modern life. When you strip away the to do lists, the meetings, the expectations, the technology and the masks, humankind’s needs are fundamentally the same. They are the same as they were two decades ago, when these studies on happiness were initiated: Human connection.


We are sadder because we have discovered that the emptiness within cannot be filled with professional success, Botox, or a purchased pair of perky breasts and biceps.


We are sadder because the burden of raising a family doesn’t guarantee a connection to those we love the most, and a fabulous career with a stellar title doesn’t keep your demons away at night.


We are sadder because we have an unfulfilled need to be known, to be seen, to be heard and to be loved in a way that is incompatible with life as we now live it. And we are not certain what our intimacy essentials are or how we can go about fulfilling them.


We are sadder because we are further away from understanding our yearnings and desires in a world that places greater value on the material over spiritual, on riches over wealth, and on popularity over substance.

And finally, I suspect we are sadder because we crave a real and abiding intimacy. But the problem is that we are afraid to admit to a need that may appear as if we are weak, needy or dependent on another in a world increasingly critical of admissions of vulnerability.


Does all this make any of us who are tuned in to the human condition, male and female, neurotic and self-obsessed? Sure does. And I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way, because the alternative is to go numb. And that hasn’t served us all that well either.



Tinamarie is an occasional poet, blogs at www.tinamariebernard.com, and writes for several websites. You can find her at twitter @ModernLoveMuse and Facebook, or send her a private message at modernlovemuse @ yahoo dot com.

Read more Tinamarie columns here.  

©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC

“In America the men say to each other: how far did you get. In France, the men say: how long did she scream…Go figure.”  --Wendy Strgar, Founder of Good Clean Love


There is something to be said about yearning and desire, and the experience of holding back despite the urge to hurry things along. When I was growing up, this forbidden, delicious angst had all sorts of names: ‘making out’ and ‘heavy petting’ ring a few ancient memories, but these no longer seem like befitting terms for most women in my demographics.


I know I’m not the only mother/wife who wants to maintain a healthy romance and pleasure in my marriage without sounding like an adolescent. That is why I like a newer term, Outer Course; to me, it’s just a more grown-up way to describe those parts of making love that have nothing to do with penetration and everything to do with pleasure.


Most of us lead busy, rushed lives, and the recuperative benefits of sexual intimacy sometimes take a back seat to the urgent insistency to just ‘get it over with.’ I know I felt that way in my first marriage, certainly towards the end. I’d given up on thinking that we’d ever recapture those early days of lust and satisfaction. It took a divorce, serious soul searching and personal explorations to understand the importance of all aspects of physical play.


That is why I believe it’s important to refrain our expectations and spend time pleasuring one another without the pressure of intercourse or orgasm. The benefits are numerous.

For one, it takes the pressure off of men to perform; no erection is necessary to spend ten minutes gazing into each other’s eyes, or massaging one another’s backsides. After a long, hard day at work, getting your naked bits to rise to the occasion is not top of mind, but what man wouldn’t love a little hand?


And women – answer me this: don’t you sometimes wish he’d wash your hair for you? Or rub your feet? And to be petted, here, there and anywhere, not like a cat, mind you, but a living, breathing, vibrant human being who sometimes just needs to be stroked?


All that sensual touch raises good hormone levels, the kind that sustain relationship; I’m thinking about oxytocin, nature’s way of bonding us and increasing intimacy. In the beginning of a relationship, those levels tend to be higher, accounting in part for those early honeymoon feelings.  True, cuddling and romance are only one aspect of a healthy, authentic love, but in my observations, non-sexual touch is a balm that many could use more of. 


Ultimately, the definition is less important to me than the end result; by putting a name to everything else besides the finish line, we elevate Fore Play and After Play to their due levels. We recognize that sexual intimacy is about more than the moment your parts fit together. Blame, Clinton if you will: when he looked us all in the eye and on camera said - I did not have sexual relations with that woman – we collectively had to ponder just what physical intimacy entailed…. 


For me, it took a long time to learn the importance of this aspect of sexuality. Only after years of going without regular tender loving care followed by a divorce and remarriage did I figure it out. Outer Course is all of the sweetness, magic and tenderness of physical love without the pressure, and ironically enough – it’s the one thing I know that keeps the embers burning, like kindling, to reignite sexual passion between partners.


Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and EdenFantasys.com, among others. You can read her personal blog at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitter and facebook. She is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 

I don’t have a chronic illness, but my inner advocate of sexual wellbeing knows that as we age and disease sets in, physical intimacy isn’t so easy to come by. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the recent study of 2,000 middle-aged adults with diabetes that showed many are still sexually active. (Image credit:Le couple, by Le Xav')

 

This is a disease, by all accounts, that can put a dent in the dandiest of lovers: erectile dysfunction being a most common problem in men. And even though it turns out that approximately 2/3 of women with diabetes with partners still find time for bedroom antics, they pay a higher toll on desire and sexual satisfaction compared to their men with the condition.

 

For example, women with diabetes are less likely to have a partner or to masturbate, and they tend to avoid sex more frequently than their non-diabetic sisters, as well as discussions with their physicians about sexual dysfunctions. That’s a shame.

 

"Failure to recognize and address sexual issues among middle-age and older adults with diabetes may impair quality of life and adaptation to the disease," said Marshall Chin, MD, senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Sexual problems are common in patients with diabetes, and many patients are not discussing these issues with their physicians." (Science Daily.com)

 

Science Daily reported on the major findings. “Patients and doctors need to know that most middle age and older adults with partners are still sexually active despite their diabetes," said the study's lead author Stacy Lindau, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of medicine at the University of Chicago. "However, many people with diabetes have sexual problems that are not being addressed."

 

Reduced sexual drive may be the most common aspect of sexual behavior affected, but because sexuality is complex in women even when there is no chronic disease, they tend to experience more sexual side effects.


What I learned was enough to make me put down my chocolate croissant and pay heed.

Women with diabetes experience more blood-sugar fluxes around their periods, something some suspect is related to female sexual hormones. This makes cells more resistant to insulin. One way to address this is for women to discuss with their doctors about adjusting the amount of medicine they are taking during menstruation (and they should also make sure that any oral contraceptives are diabetic-friendly). Another helpful trick: eat at regular intervals to better manage food cravings and irritability that affect many (not just diabetic) premenstrual women.

Here are two more downers for frisky chicks: diabetes can interfere with natural lubrication during sexual arousal, and excess sugar in the blood also makes diabetes more prone to ‘yeasties’ and beasties like vaginitis.  I’m not a doctor, but it’s my sense that using more natural, eco-friendly lubricants (i.e., water based and free of petro-based compounds) to help with dryness makes safer sense than using something originally meant to grease your car engine into your nether parts. As for infections, that is something that all women need to discuss with their doctors to obtain the best treatment for their particular sexual wellbeing.

Making love a priority when you have a chronic illness like diabetes obviously matters to people; the study reported on in Science Daily and other reputable websites demonstrates that quite clearly. Diabetics are having sex, and doing their darnest to enjoy it too. What’s not so clear to me at least is why women with this illness are hesitant to discuss sexuality with their doctors. But if reading this can encourage at least one woman to seek out ways to make her intimate life more fulfilling, then as I feel I will have made enough noise (like I don’t do already) as your Sex Whisperer to put the sugar back into your sex, instead of allowing diabetes to take the spice out of your life.

Tinamarie is a top-rated writer of sex, love and relationships. Her columns can also be read at Examiner.com, Greenprophet.com, and Fearlesspress.com. Visit her at www.tinamariebernard.comtwitterand facebookShe is a regular ShareWIK.com columnist.
 

 

Read more Tinamarie columns here. 

 


©2010 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC 


©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ShareWIK does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information, please read our Additional Information, Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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