1.31.2011

Valentine's Day Gift Guide at Babeland

If you've been considering purchasing a toy (I'm not talking Barbie doll, I'm talking vibrator) but have been too shy or too concerned with cost to pull the trigger, then Valentine's Day is your friend. It's the perfect "excuse" to do something daring and maybe a little bit embarrassing. There is a great Valentine's Day Gift Guide from Babeland.com here.



Don't be afraid to spend a little bit of money on a toy. A quality product will make your experience more pleasurable. It is, after all, going to be touching your highest quality parts :)

Any questions?

1.28.2011

Sensate Focus Challenge: Level 2

Somebody asked how long it takes to see benefits from practicing sensate focus.

The key is to only move on to the next level once both partner's feel full comfortable and have discovered what feels best for them and their partner. I recommend at least a couple days at each level for you and your partner to fully reap at least some great benefits. You need to learn how to cue in to your own body and what feels good, but you should also be paying attention to your partner. It can also be beneficial to practice sensate focus (or at least nondemand touch) every once and a while for a day or two throughout the course of your relationship.

Level 2: Nondemand Touching and Caressing Including Breasts

Check in with your partner regarding each other’s level of comfort with Level 1. Talk to each other. Did you learn anything new? What was it like to give feedback to your partner and tell them what your preferences were with how they touched you? What was it like to tune in to your partner’s body language and sense what they wanted? What was it like to have gentle touch without expecting intercourse? Once you have discussed your experience and both express comfort, you are ready for Level 2.

Level 2 of sensate focus includes more nondemand touching and caressing except now you may include breasts. Which areas of the breast are more sensitive than others? Do you find you are aroused? Do you find that you enjoy nondemand intimacy? Find out what you like and don’t like and help your partner to understand. The relationship has to be safe for this to be effective. Be open, honest and loving.

Possible Modifications (Bonus Points):
Don't talk to each other. Cue in to each other's body language to see what each partner enjoys.
Turn out the lights or close your eyes.
Engage other senses. Light a candle. Face each other. Wear perfume.
Focus on one body area each day.
Spend an hour giving each other massages
Tell your partner what you like in their touch.
Grab his/her hand and guide them instead of just telling them.


How’s it going so far? Questions? Comments? Concerns?

1.27.2011

Valentine's Day Lingerie and Sexy Gifts

Sure the Valentine's Day Date is fun, but Valentine's isn't really about the date -- it's about what happens in the bedroom AFTER the date. So let him take care of the romantic diamond ring you've been eying and the fancy dinner downtown and you worry about the fun part. Your gift to him doesn't even need to be wrapped because, ideally, it should be wrapping you! Valentine's Day Lingerie is what your man is secretly hoping for (trust me, I know these things.)


Hide a little number like this under your little black dress and he'll be squirming all night! He'll love this gift more than a box of chocolates or a pair of basketball tickets. Lingerie is the type of gift that keeps on giving. Men are visual creatures -- so give your man something to look at!


And if you're looking to step it up a notch, try something sweet like this chocolate body paint. It's a fun way to switch up your routine.


Have you ever tried giving a sexy gift for Valentine's Day or have you always stuck with a new tie? Give it a try. He'll be quite pleased :)

1.24.2011

Sensate Focus Challenge

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Sensate focus is a set of exercises created to help couples improve their focus on the senses during intimacy. Master's and Johnson, sex researchers, created this term and came up with various exercises for individuals and couples to do to create self and other awareness during intimacy. The purpose of sensate focus exercises is to realize that orgasm is not the main goal of sex, but, rather, for each individual to focus on their own sensations and learn about their partner to become fully be engaged in the intimacy that comes during intercourse.

Sensate focus is one of the most commonly used exercises in sex therapy, but could be beneficial to almost any couple. I have seen these exercises improve relationships in those who claim they already have an amazing sex life, those struggling with sexual dysfunction and those who have a past history of sexual abuse. Over the course of the various levels, partners are able to tune in to their own bodies as well as their partner's and make sex more relaxing, fun and enjoyable.

There are 5 basic levels of sensate focus proposed by Master's and Johnson: (1) nondemand touching and caressing without the breasts, (2) caressing including breasts but excluding genitals, (3) caressing including genitals, (4) penis in the vagina, and (5) intercourse excluding orgasm.

There are a few rules for the Sensate Focus Challenge:
1- Do not move until the next level until both individuals express they are comfortable with the current level.
This is usually where a good therapist gets involved and can check in with each partner. Make sure you are being completely honest with each other about your comfort level. This could take a matter of days or weeks or months. Definitely take your time. Enjoy the experience together!

2- Do not have intercourse until after completing Level 4.
I know what you are thinking. That's just crazy. How could it improve my sex life to not have sex?! But, trust me, it will. I've seen some couples that claim they just "have to have sex" throughout the whole thing, but they really don't get much out of the experience. It's worth it to go a few days or weeks without sex for improved intimacy. Talk to your partner and get him in on the plan.

I will post the assignment for each level every few days. Remember to follow the rules. Go at your own pace. Relax. Enjoy.

Here's the first assignment:

LEVEL 1: Nondemand Touching and Caressing

The first level is for you and your partner to practice nondemand touch for at least 30 minutes (15 minutes each) once a day. (You can modify this if needed. That's just my recommendation.) No genital or breast touching.

Maybe, start with your partners hands. Gently rub your finger over the back of their hand. What do you notice? Is it bumpy, smooth, dry? What does your partner notice? Is he/she pressing hard, soft, moving in a certain way? Gradually move up the arm asking yourself and your partner the same kind of questions. Touch the legs, The Face. Ears. Neck. Back.

Possible Modifications (Bonus Points):
Don't talk to each other. Cue in to each other's body language to see what each partner enjoys.
Turn out the lights or close your eyes.
Engage other senses. Light a candle. Face each other. Wear perfume.
Focus on one body area each day.
Spend an hour giving each other massages
Tell your partner what you like in their touch.
Grab his/her hand and guide them instead of just telling them.

1.17.2011

Sexual Response Cycle

You would be surprised at the number of people I have talked to or heard about that have no idea how sex works. I think this is a very valuable and important place to start. For many reasons, the sexual response cycle isn’t always taught well. Parents assume their children will just figure it out. Or maybe a kid learns about it from his or her peers. Or maybe from the media. Maybe, it was too taboo to talk about sex in your family or with anybody else. Sex education is very lacking in my opinion. So I’m going to start at what I think is the beginning with a very basic overview of the sexual response cycle.

But first, here is one scenario I’ve heard.
  • Fred and Wilma show up to the doctor both very depressed and lighthearted. They want to get pregnant, but they can’t. They are wondering what is wrong and why it is taking so long. They explain, “Doctor, we are doing it. Every day! We take off our shirts and rub against each other for sometimes over an hour even. It’s getting so bad and it’s painful! Both of our chests are getting so chafed! We’ve tried putting oil on our stomachs and everything! Why aren't we pregnant yet?!”
…Yes, they were just rubbing chests. OUCH! I’m so glad they sought help, though. Needless to say, their sex life improved drastically!

There are two parts of the Sexual Response Cycle (SRC). The first is Psychological. This is the desire to have sex- commonly referred to as one’s libido. The second part is Physiological or the anatomy behind sex. It is my belief that God knew what he was doing when he created our bodies. Sexual intimacy is to be enjoyed and meant to be a uniting experience physically, emotionally and even spiritually.







Five Phases of the SRC

1. Desire (Psychological)
Throughout cycle
a. Male
• Often more visual

b. Female
• Often more emotional


2. Excitement/Arousal
a. Male
• Increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

• Blood engorges penis

• Erection occurs
• Cowper’s gland secretes fluid

• Lasts 15-56 seconds (re-occurring)

b. Female
• Increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

• Nipple erection in 60% of people

• Blood engorges pelvic area

• Uterus pulls up and away from vagina

• Cervix pulls up from vagina

• Vagina begins to lubricate
• Inner 2/3 of vagina lengthens and descends

• Lasts 15-56 seconds

3. Plateau/Foreplay

a. Male
• Penis color deepens

• Testes fully elevated

• Cowper’s gland secretes fluid

• Seminal fluid collects in urethra (includes sperm from testicles, fluid from prostate gland, and fluid from seminal vesicles)

• Sexual arousal can end here. If ejaculation does not occur, no harm will be done

b. Female
• Uterus continues to elevate

• Vaginal barrel expands

• Vagina lubricates

• Labia increases in size

• Clitoris retracts

• Sexual arousal can end here without harm


4. Orgasm
a. Male
• Internal sphincter of bladder closes and rectal sphincter contracts

• Contractions force semen to ejaculate through urethra

• Internal contractions in vas deferens, seminal vesicles and prostate gland

• Involuntary rapid pelvic thrusting

• Facial muscles may contrac
t
• Hyperventilation

b. Female
• Contractions in orgasmic platform

• Uterine contractions (similar to labor)

• May have multiple orgasms

• Involuntary rapid pelvic thrusting

• Facial muscles may contract

• Hyperventilation


5. Resolution
a. Male
• Blood leaves pelvic area

• Penis returns to unstimulated size

• Testes descend and scrotum thins

• A mix of hormones are released causing most men (and some women) to become sleepy

b. Female
• Uterus drops back to normal position

• Cervix drops into seminal pool

• Vagina returns to normal


And for the visual learners...

New Guest Blogger -- Alyssa

I am so excited to be a guest blogger on here with Gwen! I’m a Christian Marriage & Family Therapist that is lucky to work with individuals, couples and families on a regular basis. I believe that every relationship has room for improvement. A lot of my clinical experience includes issues such as body image, eating disorders, reproductive health, abuse, and healthy relationships. I have also received some sex therapy training. I'm always learning and definitely not an expert on any of these topics, but I can do research.

I hope that what I post will be beneficial and fun for you and maybe even challenge you a bit occasionally. Feel free to ask questions and/or post comments because I’d love to dialogue with you! You can also email me at AlyssaMFT AT gmail DOT com.

Please, let me know if there’s a certain topic or area you’d like me to address in the future.

1.15.2011

Guest Blogger -- Learning Curve

I have been receiving several emails from women interested in guest posting. I would love to have more input and different points of view on the blog. That is how we learn. I encourage you to gather knowledge and then decide what is best for you and your husband. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please email me at gwenisinlove {at} gmail.com.

I hope you learn something new from our first anonymous guest poster!

Hello, Gwen in Love readers! I saw a lot of comments on Gwen in Love from other women who were frustrated because they have a hard time climaxing, or because they could only climax if they had no distractions and were in the perfect position. I sent Gwen an email offering to do a guest post to share some ideas.

I'm confident that a reliable way to learn to orgasm more easily and in different positions is to practice. Just like anything else, it takes time, effort, and practice to improve our orgasmic potential! I often comment on another marriage forum where many women discuss their orgasm struggles. Many of them recommended a book called I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide. Great book.

Here's an excerpt. But first... understand that this book, while very educational, wasn't written with a Christian audience in mind. If you have a problem practicing alone, all these "exercises" can be done with your husband.

"Sometimes we hear from women who feel limited by their own masturbation technique. For instance, perhaps a woman first orgasmed by lying in bed on her belly, squeezing her thigh muscles tight and pressing against her mattress. That technique may have worked fine when she was eleven, but as an adult she might find it limits her ability to have orgasms from other kinds of stimulation. If she wants to be able to come from oral sex, or have an orgasm by rubbing her clit while she`s having intercourse, the lying-on-your belly-thigh squeezing technique may present some challenges."


"Good news: It’s often possible for women to learn to and have orgasms in new ways. The process can be a little frustrating, because you basically have to teach your body that it can respond from other kinds of stimulation-even when you know full well you could get off fast and easily your old way."

* *

"To make this kind of change, start masturbating using your old technique. When you get pretty aroused, switch to a new technique that will allow you more orgasmic versatility. Stick with it even though it will take longer and may not feel as arousing right away—this may require some persistence. You'll probably need to experiment a bit to figure out what feels best and how to make this new technique work for you, much like a woman who's learning to have an orgasm for the first time. (Your advantage is that you're starting with the confidence that comes with knowing your body is capable of having orgasms.) Make sure you orgasm using the new technique. If you're having trouble staying sufficiently aroused, switch back briefly to your old technique to boost your arousal, but then bring yourself to orgasm the new way. Keep practicing even though it'll take more time and might not feel like as much fun. Remember how many years you practiced your old technique!"



*Magic of Ten Game*

Want to have stronger orgasms, and be able to come in a wider variety of positions and situations? Here's a fun game a woman can play all by herself that can help:

1. Wait until you have some private time.

2. Masturbate in your most common, reliable way. Get yourself almost to the brink of orgasm, but stop before you reach "the point of no return" —do not allow yourself to fall over that orgasmic edge. Count, "one."

3. Change to a new position. If you were lying on your back, try kneeling on your bed, or sitting up with your back against the wall. Start masturbating again. You will have lost some of your arousal, but not all. Get yourself almost to the brink of orgasm again. It'll be a little more challenging this time, because you're not accustomed to doing so in this position. Again, stop before you reach "the point of no return"—no orgasm allowed yet. That's "two."

4. Change to a new position. You might lie on your side, or crouch doggie style, resting on your knees and one forearm, using your head for support. You might try it with your legs closer together or farther apart than is your usual preference. Again, masturbate yourself almost to orgasm, but stop just before you get there. "Three."

5. Get yourself to that brink of orgasm ten times. You may find it helps to rest for a minute or two in between positions, to allow your level of arousal to fall back a bit before nudging it up again. On the tenth time, you're allowed to go for it—finally!

6. Enjoy an orgasm that will probably be particularly satisfying because of all that teasing. Longer buildups tend to result in bigger orgasms. Plus, realizing your body has the potential to come in so many different positions can be liberating.

For advanced players: Instead of just modifying your physical position, experiment with changing the type of stimulation each time. Try one finger instead of two, vertical strokes instead of horizontal, tapping instead of rubbing. Vary your typical speed or rhythm. Masturbate with various kinds of penetration, both fingers and other phallic objects, Warning: This is a lot harder, and some kinds of stimulation may not work for your body. That's okay—you can also alternate between your reliable way of touching your-self and new approaches. Make up the rules as you go. The best part of this game is that you discover a little more about how your body responds each time you play. There's no way to lose at a game that ends in orgasm!

1.05.2011

Slice of Advice: Watch Your Words

When arguing, remember, you can't take back your words. You can easily add more words but it's very difficult to take them back. Choose wisely what you say.


"Man's tongue is soft, and bone doth lack; yet a stroke therewith may break a man's back." Benjamin Franklin

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