My Writing

Sunday, May 31, 2015

What I've learned from all of our fights about sex

Mr. LL and I fight a lot about sex. In fact, it's almost the only thing we fight about...because we can't seem to get on the same page with it.

And through all of our conversations over these years, my take-aways are starting to merge and become more defined, in a way that I think I may be starting to understand (or at least clarify) a few things about our sex life, our marriage, and what both of us need out of our time together.

#1; We don't have to be here. We have chosen this, and should consciously choose it every day. I think he's better at this than I am. He stays more focused on us than I do. My mind wanders, and when it does, I lose track of what matters. I get all hopped up on work and parenting and housework and forget that there are these beautiful things called love, happiness, and fun, right in front of my face...and that focusing on those things that add to my/our overall well-being is more important that getting shit done. Yes, we have responsibilities, but "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." (Goethe)

#2: He experiences love and true connection (emotional and, likely, spiritual) through sex. He needs sex with me because it's what cements our relationship. I'm just now learning that the same is actually true for me. I think I need sex as much as he does, because it DOES deepen the connection. And the D/s aspect of it also deepens the connection for me in ways that a "normal" married sex life might not...most likely because it really makes me focus on the trust necessary for a D/s relationship to be successful. Oddly, I think, after reading Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido, that the author is right -- simply having sex might actually fix (or at least really help in solving) our problems.

We are a close couple. We talk about all kinds of stuff, but we've mostly stopped talking about sex because it hurts, causes anxiety, and just plain pisses both of us off. Doing it doesn't piss us off. So maybe doing it is where to start. Do now. talk later...  Just a thought.

#3: We both have to take active roles in "doing marriage" rather than just "being married." Once again, he's better at this, but we could both use guidance from each other on what those active roles should be.

After reading The Soulmate Experience, I'd say that we both take each other's actions too personally. When I don't initiate sex, he feels unwanted. When he feels unwanted, he becomes depressed. But my not initiating isn't always a matter of not wanting it. Likewise, when he doesn't do the jobs around the house I ask him to do, I feel slighted. But he isn't really avoiding chores because he takes me for granted. He avoids chores because he'd rather do other things. Something I could take a lesson from once in a while. Basically, we both probably need to take more responsibility for the things that we want from the relationship and our lifestyle and home. I'm not likely to change him. And he isn't likely to change me (though he feels I HAVE changed since we got married and that he has not).

#4: He needs "adventure" and I need "safety and romance." How best to blend those two? Trust is certainly a big part of it. Though I have to admit, I get bored and restless when things become too routine in my life. I feel like a hamster on a wheel going nowhere. But does my feeling of safety have to come at the price of boredom? Probably not. My concept of safety simply needs to be modified. If I trust him, I am safe, no matter what adventure he takes me on, right? The problem arises when I don't like the adventure, but he does. What then? Do I just go along because it's what he wants? See that's where we end up in trouble....and fighting. A big part of the problem is that we don't really understand each other's definitions of adventure and romance.

#5: He needs to feel wanted and I need to feel loved and cared for. Our biggest fights are about his not feeling wanted. The question always resurfaces..."Why don't you want me?" and my resounding answer, "What does that look like to you? What does me wanting you look like?" And then he gets mad because he feels he shouldn't have to explain it. I should just know. Because I used to know.

How is it that two people who communicate perfectly well in every other regard can't seem to get their shit together when it comes to sex and intimacy?

At least we haven't given up. There's a new counselor in the picture. We had our "intake" meeting the other day, and of course she freaked out when I told her I wasn't taking my meds. I'm sure she got right on the phone to call my psychiatric nurse to let her know I've gone rogue. I started back up on the meds. mostly because I need them off my back...and I need them to support me in my work toward a med-free life. Is it possible? I don't know. I've been awfully anxious and irritable today...heading toward manic. Of course, we're heading in to full moon (lunar effect). Anyhow, we're going to start dealing with MY "issues" first, and then merge in some couple's counseling.

I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thorns



One rose. On her pillow.

It was an invitation.

It's velvety red seeping into the white cotton.

He'd left the thorns.

She touched the tip of one, pressing her flesh into it until it punctured the skin.

Slowly.

As she closed her eyes, she saw him rising above her, his biceps taut, his jaw set, his brow strong.

She felt the blood before she saw it.

Lips parting, sigh of release escaping, she licked her lips and then inserted her finger into her mouth, sucking at the metallic, salty flavor or herself.

She looked down at the rose.

Beside it, a single dot of crimson that would fade to black by the time he came home.

She decided to leave it.

A sort of RSVP to his request.

Yes, my love.

I will bleed for you.


Wicked Wednesday

Monday, May 25, 2015

At night, he comes...

He crawls in beside me at 4:19 in the morning. I know, because I can feel the weight of him on the bed, the heat of his body enfolding mine - and I look up at the clock to see how much more time I have with him, before I have to rise and greet the day.

I sink into his embrace and breathe deeply, taking in his scent, exhaling the subconscious worry that comes with being married to a man who wears a uniform.

He doesn't want to wake me. And he's tired, anyway. But periodically, in his sleep, he touches me. He places his hand between my legs. He lightly squeezes my breasts. He tells me that he loves me...that I'm beautiful...that he's lucky. He calls me by name.

It is so true to him, that he pronounces it even when he's not awake.

And I lick my lips and sink further into his arms.

Every night, as I lay beside him, I find my place so easily. In the dark, it is so much easier to find my way.




Saturday, May 23, 2015

Trust


Yoga



I considered not going to yoga tomorrow. Mainly because it's a long weekend, and my son and I have been spending most of it at a local music festival. Getting up to go to yoga early after a late night out doesn't sound all that appealing. But...I know that afterward, I will be glad I went.

And...I think it has quite a lot to do with my changing state of mind.

I'm not a naturally calm person. I stress easily, become irritable, focus on the negative. Basically, I'm Eeyore, but in the form of a woman. A regular yoga practice reminds me to breathe, relax, and just let life wash over me...as best as I can, anyway.

Believe me, I catch myself constantly NOT applying the principles of mindfulness. But, I try.

And it's helping. It's helping me to focus on what matters and to stay positive.

So....

I'll be going to yoga tomorrow.

Besides...the yoga instructor is adorable. Bonus.



Sex Again (Part Three)



Now, that's totally me. And now that I've read this chapter, I'm feeling like maybe I'm more yang-deficient than yin deficient. Hmmmm...
  • low metablolism/weight gain
  • need a lot of sleep, but don't feel refreshed - even when you get it
  • dark circles under eyes
  • no physical, mental, or emotional energy for sexual activity
  • stressed out
  • fatigue 
  • low thyroid is common (my results came back normal...) and issues with adrenal or pituitary glands (all of these mess with metabolism and circulation)
  • aches and pains (esp. knees and low back)
  • poor circulation (can reduce sexual sensation)
  • hormonal imbalance
  • digestive disturbances
  • low immune function
  • gloomy, shut down, passive
"Boosting yang will restore balance and in so doing improve general energy levels - and revive libido."

My doctor put me on estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone therapies. But, in both of these chapters, it seems that one is usually not deficient in all three. Maybe using all three is an attempt to boost whichever one is the culprit without having to wait so long, since none of these are terribly fast-acting.

Based on Blakeway's description, it would seem I have both deficient AND elevated estrogen levels, both low AND high progesterone, and low testosterone. Hmmm....I will be bring this book to my next doctor's visit, for sure. AND I'll be bringing to the acupuncurist to discuss the herbal remedies.

This chapter also suggests some particular "exercises" to boost yang energy: "Buddha Belly," "The Loop," and "The Squeeze." Blakeway suggests eating whole grains (other than wheat), aerobic exercise, animal proteins, yogurt (but little dairy, otherwise), several small meals vs. few large meals, lowering alcohol/caffeine/salt intake, managing stress (ha!), taking chromium supplements, acupuncture, and several herbal/tea supplements.

A lot to think about here...so I'm off...I might get around to beginning part two of the book today, but among all the chores, errands, and a sick kid, it's unlikely...

When I follow, he leads...

Even with all of the trouble we've had over the past couple of years, our sex life hasn't completely fallen off the charts.

We have good sex. Just not enough of it and not as often as we should.

Our biggest problem has really been finding our "places" and figuring out our "roles." And I've written about it here dozens of times.

See, I'm cautiously submissive. I don't give all of myself. Which sort of goes against what submission is all about. I'm not positive what I'm guarding myself from. I've explored it a bit, but I'm honestly not completely sure what I'm afraid of.

In November, I wrote this response to my husband when he told me to write about my fears regarding D/s...I've interspersed a few new thoughts throughout (in red):

So you asked me about my fears.

Not only is it a good question, a necessary question...but it's also a hard question.

First...speed. You tend to get all excited and move too fast (for me) any time we try anything sexual. You're very adventurous...you're all in - head first...ready to try it all. Me...we'll let's just say, I'm so far at the opposite side of the field it's shameful. Of course, you promise you'd never put me in a situation that I wasn't ready for, but how will you really know? Especially, if it's a "surprise"? And especially if you think you're doing the right thing and stretching me beyond what I think I'm ready for...but actually am NOT ready for?

I suppose a good dominant would realize this about a submissive, right? And accommodate in some ways. I'm not saying he'd let her get away with saying no to everything...but rather that he'd intuit what she was ready for...and only push her as far as he knew she was ready to go.

And if we move that fast...how far will you take me? Because your ideas build...one on top of the other. When will I find myself in an alley being gang-banged by 7 guys for your enjoyment because you feel you're broadening my horizons and challenging me to "try new things"? Okay...that's really not likely - but it gets to my point. You find a limit of mine and then set about pushing it...stretching my sexual mind to the brink...expanding my notions of the possible. That can be good...but it can also be terrifying for me.

And, since you often bring up the addition of other men to the bedroom, I'm afraid of more disappointment, just to please you. I'm afraid of having to "fake it" just to make you happy. Maybe they need to be screened better? Maybe there needs to be more expectation of what they are being asked to do? I don't know, but - I'm just soooooo over having other men involved because they just make me sad. I don't look forward to it anymore. I dread it. Which you know.

I think this is a place that causes a lot of tension for me...the addition of others. I feel like we really need to get our own heads straight...our own relationship straight...before adding others to the mix. I think we've been there before. We will probably be there again. But, now...now isn't not a time for anyone beyond we two.

And...

What if I'm not in the mood? Because it's possible. We've been there. Times when I just want to fucking be left alone, and you're randy...and now you have the theoretical "go ahead" to do whatever, whenever, whether I like it or not? Yes, we've talked about the "rape factor." It's a touchy concept...does current refusal override past consent? Some might say, only in a scene...but what if our whole life is the scene? Hmmm... And what if, subconsciously, I'm pushing you to it? Because it forces you to use your power to the fullest. And I need to see you that way...(a whole different question, I guess...what kind of Dom do I really want/need you to be?)

Now, I realize, in my role, I do not get to say no...and the "go ahead" is not "theoretical," it is reality. So, no...it is no longer a touchy subject. It just is what it is. And I'm cool with that. So this is no longer a fear.

Also,

Failure. I'm afraid I won't be able to keep it up, that I'll be a disappointment. That my jealousy, fear of change, and lack of sexual desire might just cave the whole damned thing in. I'm afraid of not measuring up, which is crazy...because it's not like I'm being compared to anything - and a mark for success hasn't been set. There is no "winning," so my weird competitive tendencies are for naught in this situation.

This goes back to the paragraph about including others, and as stated before...we are obviously not there yet. These emotions can and will be dealt with when the time comes. But, for now, it's best for everyone, especially for me (as I am sort of in emotional training here, right?), if we avoid that altogether right now.

I'm afraid I might also be afraid of your failure. Of your not being the sort of dominant I want or need. Of your not understanding me. As we become this deeper version of who we are, will we still be compatible? Or will we disappoint each other?

I have since begun to realize that this is completely in my control. He will not fail if I do not let him. If I am the submissive he needs, he will be the dominant I need.




For some stupid reason, I'm still insecure. It's stupid. I know you are devoted and adore me and put no one else above me. But, I get jealous quite easily...especially if she's prettier...younger...or just plain "more willing to do everything you want." I worry that you will find someone whom you find "perfect." That girl who is so sexually adventurous and fun that you just can't resist her. And the saddest part is that I'm not at all afraid you would leave me for her. I'm afraid you would simply be terribly sad that you couldn't have that with me. And that you would be disappointed...depressed...or try to mold me into that (even unconsciously). I don't like to be compared to other women. And, truth be told, I don't tend to like them much, period.

So...fear of competition, I guess.

Seems to be the overarching fear...a recurring theme, if you will. My fear doesn't appear to be of submission...or challenge...or of change, but rather of being replaced or of losing him, or of simply not measuring up. My issues seem to stem from insecurity and jealousy mainly. So, of course, that will have to be dissected. Yay.

And finally (?),

I think I'm always a little afraid of what I'll find out about myself. I'm afraid of feeling ashamed of my own desires. I'm afraid of feeling ashamed of liking something my brain (or social upbringing) says I shouldn't. I'm afraid of learning my own secrets and feeling deviant or dirty about them. I'm afraid of feeling like I'm hiding out in Daddy's arms because no one else would accept me this way. I'm afraid of you having that much power...being not only a safe harbor...but the only harbor who could possibly accept this oddly shaped and unwieldy little ship. Of needing you that much...because even though I want to, I know I could never survive losing you if I did.

Maybe you want that power. But, I'm afraid of needing you that much. Both as your princess...and your wife.

I don't think I am really afraid of my own desires. Besides, by offering myself up to him and allowing him the freedom to use me in the ways that he sees fit, he takes the burden of that fear off my shoulders really. I can feel pleasure in things and not feel guilty.

And I don't think I am really afraid of needing him. 

But where the hell did my fear of abandonment come from? 


*****

I had at least 8 wet, gushing orgasms last night. Why? Because he wanted me to. Because I let myself. Because when he takes over, I become putty in his hands. So, all of these fears? I wrote that response in November of 2014. Not that long ago. And the questions and the needs and the wants keep surfacing.

They aren't going away. They won't....ever. Even if we were to separate...divorce (which we won't)...those feelings would be there...those memories.

He is who he is. And those qualities, even if I didn't completely understand them, were there from the beginning. They were the things that drew me to him. Something inside of me knew that he held a key to a door within me that I hadn't even found yet. I saw those sultry blue eyes that unnerved me. His quiet, silent intrusion into my soft underbelly happened so quickly and suddenly I hardly noticed it. I simply found myself, like a feral cat, eating out of his hand.

We didn't start out D/s. In fact, I knew so little about it, if someone had asked me, I'd have blushed and giggled the idea away. "Are you kidding me? BDSM? Never. Not for me. I do normal."

But, the thing is...I don't. Well I do. I just do more than normal.

And when I open myself up to it, my brooding, sort of depressed husband rises to the challenge and becomes the man I fell in love with.

When I close myself to it...he wilts.

He bends and rises to my willingness to be what I am...my willingness to allow him to be what he is.

It really is the essence of a D/s relationship, is it not? The submissive chooses to give or to not give. She (or he) makes a gift of herself. And he takes care of that gift. They follow the parameters of an agreement (spoken, written, or implied), and each of them find the power they need to be the best they can be.




I think possibly, the place we go the most wrong is the lack of clear parameters. The fuzziness there is what causes the "fear." Because I don't know what to expect, I hold back. Because he doesn't know what is expected, he doesn't feel as powerful as he should. 

Hmmm...there is definitely room to continue exploration there...



Friday, May 22, 2015

Sex Again (Part Two)



Ch. 5 "You First"

This chapter mainly review the concept of personal balance. It explains how yin and yang are interdependent, and that "the trick is to balance the two rather than pick one or the other." The author also points out that yin and yang are always shifting and that perfection isn't optimal or even possible.

The most important point in the chapter is simply that our balance within is a product of our balance "without"...meaning, our world affects our internal being, just as our attitude and energy affect our world. Everything is reliant on everything else. "So not only will improving your sex life improve your mood, but improving your sex life will improve your mood." Basically...it doesn't matter what you start working on, as long as you start working - the rest will come.

The chapter ends by providing a list of characteristics often found in people with low yin or yang (signs of imbalance).

The "To Do (It) List" at the end of the chapter includes the following suggestions: take care of your general health and mental health, eat right and exercise, practice mindfulness, de-stress, be in nature,

Ch. 6 "Putting Your Mind To It"

The title of this chapter says it all - sex (and libido) are partially (maybe completely) a state of mind. The chapter opens with a discussion on the importance of breathing intentionally, meditating, staying focused, and relaxing..."...where your mind goes, your qi will follow.

Ch. 7 "Getting in Touch"

This chapter is all about getting energy moving through the body through massage (namely, self-massage).

Ch. 8 "Sometimes It's All About You"

This chapter is about the importance of masturbation and how it can encourage you to explore your body and its needs.

Ch. 9 "Do It Yourself"

This is where the work begins...all the background has been provided...all the exercises explained. Now it's time to put it all together and start "doing." 

So this is how am going about it - This week, I'll tackle "phase 1" (page 150): This entails consciously thinking about sex with my husband every day...basically meditating. So, now that I'm adding meditation to my morning routine - this week, that space and time will be devoted to focusing on my husband and our physical bond. I'll incorporate deep breathing with this to encourage the flow of energy through my body.

Let's get this "party" started, shall we?


Chapter 4
Part 3

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I don't want to question it...

...but I have to admit, I'm curious.

Where did it come from? And the bigger, more important question...the one I am afraid to ask because I don't want to jinx myself is...will it stay? My last little post for Wicked Wednesday gave a bit of background on what shitty-ness has been going on in my sex-life for awhile now. But, recently, I've been "feeling it" a bit more.

So, I wonder what the cause is.

I've been taking hormone replacements for a few months now, but recently (as in last week) stopped because I've been gaining weight quickly for a few weeks and can't figure out the cause.

I've had my thyroid checked and my cortisol levels checked (both of which came out normal).

I also broke out in a crazy case of the hives about a month ago and stopped eating all sorts of things and stopped using my medications for awhile, worried that maybe they had something to do with the "allergic" reaction. I even stopped wearing make-up and replaced all of my hygiene products with "organic" items.

Both times that I stopped using my meds, I've started to feel better, mentally and physically.

Oddly, however, I started taking the meds (Wellbutrin and Lithium mainly) because I was having mood issues that were getting in the way of my sex life.

Wellbutrin is not supposed to have sexual side effects. Neither are my asthma medications (Advair and Accolate - which is a cheaper replacement for Singulair).

The Lithium can, but it's unlikely.



So, now that I am medication-free (against the advice of my psychiatric nurse, though my regular doctor would support my choice, as would my acupuncturist and homeopathic doctor), I'm feeling less shaky, more grounded, less irritable, and am more easily aroused.

Of course, I'm also doing yoga, practicing mindfulness, meditating, getting acupuncture, and actively concentrating on my sex life.

So, what is the cause? Or is it a combination?

I'd prefer to find balance without medication. So let's see where this takes me. Saying no to Western medicine, complicated diets, expensive vitamins... and "good morning" to Eastern philosophy? Can my mind and body handle it? Will it prosper?

Guess I'll find out.

My psychiatric nurse says it will only be a matter of time before the crash. Negative Nancy. I hope I can prove her wrong.


Sex Again (Chapter 4 "I'm Too Tired for Sex")



Now, that's totally me. And now that I've read this chapter, I'm feeling like maybe I'm more yang-deficient than yin deficient. Hmmmm...
  • low metablolism/weight gain
  • need a lot of sleep, but don't feel refreshed - even when you get it
  • dark circles under eyes
  • no physical, mental, or emotional energy for sexual activity
  • stressed out
  • fatigue 
  • low thyroid is common (my results came back normal...) and issues with adrenal or pituitary glands (all of these mess with metabolism and circulation)
  • aches and pains (esp. knees and low back)
  • poor circulation (can reduce sexual sensation)
  • hormonal imbalance
  • digestive disturbances
  • low immune function
  • gloomy, shut down, passive
"Boosting yang will restore balance and in so doing improve general energy levels - and revive libido."

My doctor put me on estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone therapies. But, in both of these chapters, it seems that one is usually not deficient in all three. Maybe using all three is an attempt to boost whichever one is the culprit without having to wait so long, since none of these are terribly fast-acting.

Based on Blakeway's description, it would seem I have both deficient AND elevated estrogen levels, both low AND high progesterone, and low testosterone. Hmmm....I will be bring this book to my next doctor's visit, for sure. AND I'll be bringing to the acupuncturist to discuss the herbal remedies.

This chapter also suggests some particular "exercises" to boost yang energy: "Buddha Belly," "The Loop," and "The Squeeze." Blakeway suggests eating whole grains (other than wheat), aerobic exercise, animal proteins, yogurt (but little dairy, otherwise), several small meals vs. few large meals, lowering alcohol/caffeine/salt intake, managing stress (ha!), taking chromium supplements, acupuncture, and several herbal/tea supplements.

A lot to think about here...so I'm off...I might get around to beginning part two of the book today, but among all the chores, errands, and a sick kid, it's unlikely...

Chapter 3
Part 2

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where the f**k did it go?

Hi. My name is Brigit, and I'm NOT addicted to sex. In fact, quite the opposite.

(Hiiiiiii, Brigit....)

Shall I hang my head low while I stand behind a podium with a lukewarm cup of bad coffee in my hand? Shall I now tell my tragic (or completely pedestrian) story to a circle of would-be friends who "get it" because they've "been there" and can support me in my admission and guilt? Shall I glance around, sheepishly, looking for that one particular friendly face who might become my sponsor...someone who can coach me back to becoming a shadow of my former sexually-balanced self? Shall I go back home to the family members who just don't understand, because they have never had the problem, and don't see why I can't just control it like most "normal" people?




Some days, I wish I had the opposite problem. I wish I were addicted to sex...to the point that my husband wouldn't know what to do with me (I know, I know...be careful what you wish for).

Actually, I'd be pleased just to want it a few times a week.

And it's been a long struggle. Fights, tears, arguments, avoidance, counselors, more tears, self-help books, hormone replacement, supplements, acupuncture...

I'm only 38...married 9 years...THIS CAN'T BE MY LIFE!




So where did it all go wrong?

I don't even know...where to begin. If you read my blog at all, you know there have been "escapades," "shenanigans," and lots of good, sexy times. Not that we didn't have our issues before our sex life ran away, hid, and refused to come out except on rare occasions. But, we communicated well, and we worked things out.

With this issue, it's so personal, and so deep, neither one of us can seem to get through a conversation about it without gnashing of teeth, clenching of jaws, and crossed arms.  Even WITH a counselor involved.

So what is it about desire that is so elusive to us? The easy answers: boredom, resentment, fear. The hard answers: added weight, alcohol, possible medication side-effects, priorities...

Like a rare species (at least for us) that has only been seen enough times to suspect that it really exists, desire shows its head when IT wants to. Not when WE want it to.

And right now...IT obviously needs something IT isn't getting. Food, sunlight, water? What decadent treat do I offer it? And then what do I give it to sustain it and encourage it to stick around? It needs more than love. More than affection.

As with any wild animal, we need to consider how best to coax it, capture it (or encourage it to stay on its own), train it (at least a little), and make it feel at home.

I am doing my best to coax it. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone (all of which I've actually just stopped because of weight gain) meditation/mindfulness, "just doing it," eating right (most of the time), exercising more (still not as much as I should), curbing alcohol intake (also not as much as I should), reading up on solutions.

There are some more drastic things I could do. I've been considering the Hormone Reset Diet or Whole 30. I've stopped taking all medications (with the concern that any, some, all, or some combination might be contributing to the problem). I've stopped eating gluten. I've cut back almost completely on dairy (both because of other ailments...but hey - they might help this, too, right?).

And, we're meeting with a new counselor next week. Crossing fingers.

It's an uphill climb. But, I have a hopeful feeling that the view from the top will be worth it.

I'll take pictures...and post them...don't worry.




P.S. I'm afraid that part of the reason I stop writing here...and stop reading other people's blogs...and disappear from this community, is that seriously - it feels like being the ugly duckling in a family of sexy swans. This world of sex-writing, where everyone's having sex...lots of it...makes someone like me (who yearns to yearn for it) feel like a big, fat failure.




I'm trying to get past that. Bear with me, while I get my head (the very small one...between my thighs...between my sometimes wet and quivering nether-lips) straight...

Wicked Wednesday


Sex Again (Chapter 3 "I'm Not Sexy Enough for Sex")



Honestly, I think I have a fairly decent and realistic body image. I know I have faults...but those faults are natural. I've always had a big rear...always been curvy....always had cellulite on my thighs. The flat tummy became a thing of the past when I had my son, and now that I'm a mom, I carry more weight than I should, stress eat, and find myself to be a bit "rounder" and "softer" than I'd really like. But, ultimately, I'm really okay with my body most of the time. Oh sure, I have my phases. My clothes just don't seem to fit right, I can't find anything to wear, I'm bloated and feel fat...I get on the scale after a vacation. You know.

So, the chapter of this title just doesn't "say it" for me. And what's in the chapter doesn't really go with the title.

This chapter is mostly about yin and yang and the dynamic balance of the two. It's about having energy that flows equally on both sides. There's a little quiz in this chapter to help determine if you are deficient in either yin or yang (apparently, I'm low in yin - who knew!?). It gives me information to arm myself for the acupuncturist. I feel like I can walk in and actually sort of sound like I know what I'm talking about, Instead of him asking, "So how are you feeling today?" or "What issues would you like to focus on?" I can actually say, "So, I'm a bit heavy on my yang right now and likely may be low in estrogen and high in progesterone. I need to unblock my qi to help increase yin...and hopefully jumpstart my libido.



Here's a bit of a definition of yin and yang, in relation to your sex life (according to the book):

"The state of your health, both physical and emotional, depends on the balance of yin and yang within you; the health of your relationship depends on the balance of yin and yang between you and your partner. And your sex life depends on both the state of your overall health and the state of your relationship. If there's an imbalance anywhere, it will show in your health, your psychological well-being, your relationship--and your sex drive. In fact, lack of libido is one big flashing sign that something has fallen out of balance."

Solutions to low yin or yang:

  • acupuncture (yes...I realize this book was written by an acupuncturist, so I get the push)
  • massage
  • herbal supplements
  • yoga
  • building up areas in which you are low (I assume this means looking at the chart in the chapter)
For those of us with low yin:
  • read, watch, and think "sexy" stuff -- basically feed your mind what you want it to provide
  • self-care (hair, nails, make-up, clothing...get rid of what doesn't make you feel "great")
  • exercise and watch your weight (ugh...always with the exercise)
  • eat right (whole, real foods - too much red meat can suppress estrogen production - choose yin-nourishing foods and estrogen-boosting foods - take the correct vitamins/supplements)
  • hydrate and avoid alcohol and caffeine (ugh...again)
  • evaluate your medications and their effects of libido/hormone levels/yin levels
  • sleep
  • manage stress
There's a great section in this chapter titled "Sex Never Gets Old, Neither Does Sexy." This is plain to see when I look around. I see older ladies...in their 60s and 70s and beyond, dressing for their body type, caring for their hair, smiling. Gray hair and wrinkles do not make one unsexy. Quite to the contrary. They can do the opposite. Older women often seem more "at peace" with themselves and the people around them...more calm and capable of giving...more self-assured. Qualities that come with (or improve) with age. Of course, I am generalizing. But, you get the point. The book also points out (something I already knew) that, "True sexual intimacy and deep connection require experience and maturity." The book also warns against the common hole we can fall into - getting hung up on appearances: " When we are young, pure physical attraction gets our motors running. We can decided who to have sex with on the basis of whether we like what we see. We can decide if we feel sexual, based on how we thing we look. But, if you stay dependent on this most basic drive to get you going, then sex will tend to drop off as you age."

This chapter also addresses long-term relationships and how sex can become "routine." Blakeway writes, "It's easy to shut down sexually when we start to feel less responsive in the old, familiar ways." Basically, when our routine stops working, we fall apart. We get down on ourselves. We worry it's "broken."

Finally, the chapter addresses the yin and yang between a couple. Because, not only are yin and yang at play within you...that are traveling between you and your partner. His yang addresses your yin, and your yang addresses his yin. Blakeway states, "In this way of thinking, intercourse is about giving and receiving, creation and transformation, initiation and reciprocation. If the energy is a little off here or there, the whole system can run into trouble. But when it is in relative balance, everything runs smoothly." She goes on to explain that, "Western medicine views sexual response as part of a similarly tricky balance--but of hormones, rather than energy...." and that "...hormone imbalance is the most common physical cause of sexual problems in women."

The chapter closes with an explanation of the different hormones and how they relate to yin and yang and libido.

An info-packed chapter, to be sure. And one to be considered, mentally, as I wander around the house today, cleaning, and running errands.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sex Again (Chapter 2 "I'm Too Stressed for Sex")



Well if this chapter was written just for me! And after reading it, I'm certainly glad to have made an acupuncture appointment. Hopefully, coming to the appointment armed with the information that I need to get my qi (chee) - or energy - flowing to help revive my libido...since sexual energy is one type of qi, and nothing stops the flow of it faster than stress (of which I am a constant harbinger). The chapter notes that "stress builds up when qi is stuck and can cause a host of physical, emotional, and relationship problems."

Some other notable points:

  • having sex boost qi and can invigorate its flow
  • stagnant qi can cause muscle aches, irritability, distractibility, overwhelm, and lack of focus
  • stress triggers a hormonal chain reaction that ultimately suppresses libido
  • having stress and not moving your qi will lessen your ability to enjoy sex, which will push sex even further down on the list of priorities, causing relationship strain, guild, and even more stress
  • learning to move your qi is key
  • some solutions: aerobic exercise, Xiao Yao Wan (Relaxed Wander) - herbal blend, massage (yep! I made an appointment!)
  • without enough qi, you might not be able to spark your own libido



For this chapter, which was a quick one, I'm really just left with the intention to meet with my acupuncturist and be as honest as possible about my intentions. Armed with the background information from the book, I can easily say, "I'm having libido issues which I think stem from my hormones being imbalanced (which I'm seeing a homeopathic doctor to address) and from having stagnant qi...I need you to help me get my qi moving again." I'll also bring up the herbal supplement to see if that's a necessary addition to my regimen. And then, of course, there's the addition of a massage - oh darn. All the self-care...what's a girl to do but wallow in bliss? And hopefully...increased desire!

I can admit that yesterday, after spending so much time considering all of this, my mind was fully present, and I was all over my husband when he got home. 

I also made this move - I initiated sex earlier in the evening, before we had the chance to plant our behinds on the couch and lose interest. It worked. And having sex kept my mind on it even when we went to bed, and I still wanted it. Not at all like me, as of late, but refreshing. And of course, hubby obliged (why would he not?). 

The feeling carried over to today, though I have to admit, I'm a bit tired from going to bed so late and then getting up early to drive to an out-of-town meeting. 

Oh well...it was worth it.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Dear ________,

I'm not sure what to call you...other than by name. Because you're right. We've made a dozen attempts at D/s, and have failed.

Or have we?

What if all of our mistakes...all of our "failures" have merely been unfinished brushstrokes on a canvas made too small for our landscape?

Maybe you aren't Sir, or Daddy, or Master...or maybe you are all of them rolled into one - something undefinable...untranslatable from physical touch, smell, taste.

Maybe you are simply mine. And I am simply yours. In all of our messy confusion.

This isn't an apology. Or a request. It's just a consideration of the path we have been on and the choices we have yet to make.

We take with us pieces of the past, old wounds, fears, and mistrust. And yet, we haven't refused to continue. That's something, isn't it?



I miss you when your schedule is so opposite mine. And the promise of more days apart and your absence next weekend is disappointing. It isn't your fault, and I'm not saying this to make you feel bad. I'm saying it to remind you that you are loved, and that your presence is necessary in my life. When you aren't here, there is a tangible emptiness. A hole. And I fill it in both constructive and destructive ways.

Regardless of where we go next, what matters is that we go together. We'll figure out the itinerary later.

I love you.



"Beast" (Mia Martina)

Just because it makes me smile...

Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido (Chapter 1 "Sexual Healing")

I started this book a few weeks ago...in fact, it's one of the things I bought my husband for his birthday (sort of a message that I was committed to try something different). But then, as usual, I glommed on to too many "solutions" and all of them fell by the wayside.

So, now that I'm "uncluttering" and "focusing" on "one thing at a time," it's time to go back and really think it all through (skip to the end of this post for "personal reflection").

*****


Chapter 1 "Sexual Healing" -- main points -- Sex is key to a stable, strong, loving relationship.

"Just Do It"
  • lack of desire breeds lack of desire
  • lack of sex breeds lack of desire
  • to have sex...to want more sex...you have to have sex
  • the more sex you have, the more you'll want
  • the more you enjoy sex, the more satisfying it is, and the more you'll want to have it
"Sex is Good for You"
  • you should want to have sex
  • your sexuality is an integral part of identity
  • sex is key to a relationship
  • a couple's sexuality is an integral part of what makes a couple a couple
  • sex helps create the strongest bond, particularly over the long haul
  • sex helps create stability
  • having sex literally "makes love" 
  • having sex increases libido
  • having sex is the single best thing to do about lack of desire
"Energy and Balance"
  • combination of issues behind lost of interest in sex: body, mood, relationship
  • Chinese medicine addresses all these issues together
  • Western medicine addresses all separately (divide and conquer?)
  • The Sex in Six program helps you restore energy levels, rebalance your self and your relationship, and recharge your sex drive...in any order!
"Good Sex"
  • good sex is about connection between two people
  • it is about the mutual flow of energy between partners
  • good sex comes from & takes you to a state of balanced energy
  • it's about the sense of union (two-becomes-one)
  • it's physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual
  • when desire is gone, it is often because the sense of connection is missing
  • may connect you to "universal energy" as well
"Good Sex Again"
  • having sex is "making" love
  • good sex inspires and builds love...it expresses love...it is love
  • it's a mutal exchange of shared energy, flowing in both directions
  • it is energizing and energy-balancing
  • it is committed...with both partners "present"
  • it is pleasurable
  • it is satisfying
  • it is a total body experience...involves all 5 senses...heart, body and mind
  • it is a form of communication
  • it is meaningful
"Bad (or non-existent) Sex"
  • can generate negative emotions and alienate partners (no shit!)
  • it can leave you feeling the relationship is incomplete
  • it wastes/misuses your (and your partner's) sexual energy
  • both of you feel drained, rather than revitalized
  • bad sex is sex that leaves you feeling sad, depressed, empty
  • it is disconnected or devoid of emotion
  • it is monotonous or exhausting
  • it is a power struggle
  • it is goal oriented or merely mechanical
  • it is only about relieving stress or having an orgasm
  • it leaves you physically or emotionally unsatisfied
  • it is too rushed or focuses on performance
"A Little More Conversation" (journaling opps in bold)
  • if you want to be a good sexual partner, you are going to have to figure out what your partner needs and wants, likes and dislikes
  • if you want your partner to know what you need and want, like and dislike, you're going to have to tell him
  • start with all the things that are working for you in your current sexual experience...be specific, sincere, and enthusiastic
  • find out what your partner likes...what he'd like more of...what he'd like to try...his fantasies
  • create a safe space for full and free discussion
  • don't dredge up the past
  • listen carefully
  • this is valuable information...you are going to want to ACT ON IT
  • keep an open mind
  • don't criticize
  • share what you'd like more of
End of Chapter "To Do (It) List: Getting to Good Sex"
  • be a generous lover
  • keep your mind on the matter at hand
  • honor your body and your sexuality
  • aim for variety, creativity, and surprise
  • take care of your (and your partner's) well-being 
  • have a spiritual or meditative practice
  • know yourself
  • focus on the sex, not the orgasm
  • choose regular sex over occasional but explosive sex
  • experience the emotion of the sexual encounter
  • live a passionate life
  • value the connection...honor the bond
(the items in bold are a bit lofty for quick consideration on a "to do" list...so I'll likely come back to those at another time)

I'll create a "To Work On List"
  • honor your body and your sexuality
  • have a spiritual or meditative practice
  • know yourself
  • live a passionate life


So yes, I can definitely see this is the place where I am right now. The "just doing it" phase of the game. Because she's right...and it's a complaint my husband has shared often - we are not (or should not be) "roommates" or "co-parents" only. In order to have a happy, complete marriage...a real marriage...a "union of souls" (sorry for any cheesy-ness here), there has to be desire and physical/non-verbal communication that bonds us. And that is done through sexual or physical touch. Kissing, caressing, holding, hugging, and sex. There's something rather spiritual about that, right? Something way bigger than us. 

I'm not Christian, but I am spiritual...or at least I used to be. I've kind of lost track of that part of myself - which is possibly part of the problem. Not keeping in mind the importance of my connection to the world around me and the connection I have, or should have, with the people and beings in it allows me to "disconnect" and focus on stuff that really doesn't matter. I suppose I could have a spiritual connection with stuff...but it cannot have a connection back with me. So my spiritual efforts are definitely misdirected sometimes. 

Ultimately, my "take away" from this section is that sex has to be at the forefront of my mind if I'm going to do anything to improve my marriage. It's the fundamental, non-verbal, deep, spiritual connection I have with my husband...or should have...DID have. Which is why it's something you can crave FOREVER, not just when a relationship is new. While sex is not new, and our responses to it and our knowledge of each other's bodies is not new, the communication that occurs when we touch, that vibration, that energy is something that sustains our well-being and is necessary to living not only a connected life, but a true union. Regardless of your spiritual inclination, what higher being wouldn't want that for us? And if we're talking "meaning of life" here...what else is there, really? That human connection is imperative. 

Sex is way bigger than just slot A going into slot B, when you think of it like that.

I also went ahead and made an acupuncture appointment and a massage appointment as soon as I read this section. Just saying...self-care is important, but if I can manage to physically boost the travel of energy beneath my skin, that's got to be good, right? My acupuncturist may also be able to suggest some good supplements. I'll ask him about the ones the author mentions in the book (more to come on that later).

Sadly, after reading this chapter, I realize we've been having "bad sex" for some time...that is - WHEN we have it, which isn't often anymore. But, of course, having bad or little or no sex is just a product of a bigger problem. 

I like how this book posits the solution being bigger than just learning to have better sex - since honestly, that's not realistic on its own. The interactive nature of all the parts is heartening and takes a bit of the stress off, I think. Basically, it's like the author is saying, just get in there in do "something" right. There is no right place to begin, and sitting back planning it out to perfection isn't going to help anything - or get you started.

So, I am at the "Conversation" part of the chapter at this point.

D. and I have talked a lot about sex...what we like, what we want...we've actually never been terrible at communication. It's only recently, and that's because I'm so tired of fighting I just shut down. And...I feel like it's all already been said. And now, we are both on the defensive, so it's hard to do anything with a positive attitude. 

Luckily, I already know quite a bit about what he wants. So, I have a place to begin without having much intense conversation for now. I know he likes (and I like) for him to be "in charge." It works for us, but the problem is, we haven't clearly defined it. So, it ends up causing contention, because his concept isn't necessarily the same as mine, and I'm not completely clear on what mine is, anyway.

That's surely something I need to explore. Ahhh...some journaling opportunities! So I guess I'm off to do some writing.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2...