From sizzle to fizzle: It’s natural that our sex life loses its spark, especially after motherhood sets in. In a bid to relight that fire, we sent a mum-of-two for sex therapy...
Gabrielle Lee* is a mother of two and has been married for 10 years. She admits that with having to juggle work and the children, she’s left with little time and energy to feel sexy. She reveals, “I have to admit it – sex, when it does happen, feels routine. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that it’s become predictable. We used to have great sex – there was a time when we would be so spontaneous and my husband would take me wherever and whenever desire struck, on the couch, table...”
So, we armed Gabrielle with some web videos and podcasts from sex experts, and also got her to meet sex therapists to help her find her sexual confidence. Here are her lessons:
REDISCOVER YOUR EROGENOUS ZONES
Humans are creatures of habit, and routines aren’t bad – though things can feel a little unexciting after a while. So where and how does one start to spice things up? “A good place to start is with yourself,” says certified counsellor John Ballew, who points out that many of us have picked up the mistaken message that good lovers are in charge of their partners’ pleasure.
John says, “Thinking: ‘I’m responsible for his pleasure’ leads to disappointment. Try replacing it with: ‘I’m responsible for my own pleasure and for being present with my partner.’” On his website (bodymindsoul.org), he suggests games like “Your turn/my turn”, which involves taking turns to undress and lay back while being explored. “Make it playful,” John says, “Ask him, ‘Which feels better, A or B?’ Try and learn what sort of touch doesn’t work for him, what’s pleasurable, what’s a major turn-on. When you’re done, it’s his turn to give and your turn to receive.”
Tammy Fontana, a certified clinical sex therapist from All In The Family Counselling Centre, adds, “Men and women alike need to be fired up. It’s more important to learn how to discuss what you like and how you want to feel with your spouse.”
GABRIELLE’S REVIEW: “I thought John Ballew’s idea was fun and do-able, and decided to try it out that very night. After the kids were asleep, I climbed into bed beside him and as he kissed me good night, I let my lips linger a little longer on his, drawing him deeper. I sensed a brief moment of hesitation – it was a week night after all and sexual advances were rare and far in between - but the moment passed and I felt his body relax. ‘Let me,’ I whispered, stopping his hands as I felt them starting to touch me in a familiar manner. I deftly undressed him and started exploring him all over, and then it was his turn. I realised that it had been a while since we took the time to slowly discover each other… and it felt really good to be touched in ‘forgotten’ places. It didn’t take long for desire to build up, and the mounting tension made every touch feel explosive.”
COMMUNICATE TO CONNECT
As spouses get familiar with each other, they do tend to do things that are safe and the same. Dr Martha Tara Lee from Eros Coaching, who also hosts educational videos on eroscoaching.com, explains that most people who have sex the same way all the time are “in habit”. If you find yourself caught in a rut or are bored about sex, in all likelihood your spouse is also feeling bored.
Tammy says, “People struggle to talk about sex and express what they like or don’t like. The first step is to address adult sex as an adult. Getting comfortable with speaking the language is a great way to have a good sex life.” Broaching the topic of sex may not come naturally, so here are some pointers from Dr Lee. “If you feel awkward about initiating sex verbally, try establishing code words, hand gestures, or other cues that only your husband knows. Texting each other – even just before sex, for example, if the kids are in front of you.”
Communication is key, we have all heard this but it rings even more true for a healthy sexual relationship. Dr Lee shares, “Sometimes, what is exciting for you may not be so for your partner, so it’s important to have a dialogue around it. Remember that it’s not about coercing or forcing each other, it’s about having intimacy by being vulnerable with your husband. Just call his bluff if he makes fun of you. Let him know if you feel hurt, and tell him that you would appreciate him honouring your desire to have a true connection with him.” GABRIELLE’S REVIEW: “I was anxious about broaching the subject with my husband. But after Dr Lee’s encouragement to be more open with my thoughts and words, I told myself I would venture a go at the ‘right time’, after we made love. I told him how much I had enjoyed it, and asked if he wanted to experiment more with me. I was surprised by how he was open to my ideas.
“I’d been worried about being judged, but my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d seen nothing in his (somewhat sleepy) eyes but love and support. I realised then that my own insecurities had held me back from communicating better, I wish I had done this sooner.”
HAVE A SECRET INTENT
Instead of having your husband be responsible for your pleasure, Dr Lee shares a simple strategy for arousal. “Instead of blaming and shaming your partner for the lack of sexual arousal in your body, take charge of your sexuality and think positive thoughts like, ‘I love the way he touches me’,” she advises. “Set the mood for yourself by thinking about what you desire, and ask for it.
“If your husband is not forthcoming with implementing what you would like to do or try, don’t get mad – get better by doing what you would like to do for yourself covertly.”
Dr Lee’s saucy strategy for “personal seduction” is having a “secret intent”. She explains, “For example, try stroking your partner in a different way. That, in itself, could make lovemaking a little more fun for you.”
To break out of a rut, try something different each time you have sex. Dr Lee says, “It could be wearing something different; trying to start sex in a different position; trying a new technique; or making a new sound to be more expressive in the bedroom.”
GABRIELLE’S REVIEW: “I was starting to understand where Dr Lee was coming from. Having a secret intent allows me to take control of my own sexuality, without expecting him to make magic happen for me. I sent the kids off to their best friend’s place for a sleepover on our date night, and dressed up in a lacy chemise. I felt good, and that confidence showed. My husband was surprised and commented that I was like a totally different person! That night, we attempted moves we’d never tried before.”
DON’T GET ALL HUNG UP
Gabrielle lamented about not having experienced simultaneous orgasms with her man, and wondered if there was something wrong with her. Dr Lee explains, “The idea of simultaneous orgasms is more difficult to achieve than more people think. It is easier for those who are more in touch with their bodies, and have practised regulating their orgasmic responses. This is a goal which can be fun to strive towards, but one should not put expectations or pressure for simultaneous orgasms to happen every single time.”
Tammy agrees. “Even if one has an orgasm before the other, sex can still continue,” she explains. “Rarely do people orgasm together, and it shouldn’t be the goal when it comes to sex. The goal should be to enjoy oneself.”
GABRIELLE’S REVIEW: “It was such a relief to learn this. Turns out I wasn’t “doing it wrong” or “missing out”… on the contrary, I’d already hit the jackpot with my husband – I just didn’t know it. We’ve learnt that the best way for us is for him to touch me for an orgasm first, before proceeding to penetration.”
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
TEXT: CANDY LIM-SOLIANO / PHOTO: 123RF.COM
How does a G-spot orgasm feel?
According to Dr Lee, it feels different from a clitorial one. She adds, “It’s just like how being pinched in two different parts of your body feels different. People tend to be fixated on comparing whether one orgasm is better than the other. I would say that an orgasm is an orgasm – just like the myriad of experiences we have in life, they are just different. Whether one ‘feels better’ or is ‘preferred’, depends on the individual.”
Is it possible to have a G-spot climax and a clitorial climax together?
“Yes – these are called Blended Orgasms. Stimulation for blended orgasms require the same moves needed for a G-spot orgasm, and a clitorial orgasm, meaning a combination of both sets of moves. Each person is different, so the best way is to focus on one type of orgasm, before trying to attain an orgasm through stimulating both areas at the same time.”