Love & Sex

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Love & Sex – Inspiration Collection

Ahh!!! Love & Sex Month is coming to a close and I was a bit overwhelmed by all that I want to share with you, so in lieu of my typical posts, I am sharing with you some important truths that I’ve found in my research. Enjoy!

TED

“30 is not the new 20” – Dr. Meg Jay (For the nonchalant)

What You Don’t Know About Marriage By Jenna McCarthy (For the married/engaged)

The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship By Esther Perel (For long-term, sex-filled relationships)

How I Hacked Online Dating By Amy Webb (For math geeks/online daters)

 

BOOKS

Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts By Regena Thomashauer (For the ladies)

I Don’t Want To Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression By Terrance Real (For those whose relationship is affected by male depression)

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science & Sex By Mary Roach (For the nerds)

Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage By Elizabeth Gilbert (For the engaged or coupled up)

Red Hot Touch By Jaiya and Jon Hanauer (For mindblowing orgasms)

QUOTES

“Dating in my 20s was like musical chairs. Everybody was running around and having fun, but then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up, so sometimes I think I married my husband because he was the closest chair to me at 30.” – Anonymous client of Dr. Meg Jay 

“Good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise.” – Esther Perel, TED Talk 

“Real, sane, mature love—the kind that pays the mortgage year after year and picks up the kids after school—is not based on infatuation but on affection and respect.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage 

“Don’t panic about having kids. But do educate yourself about your body and your options.” –Dr. Meg Jay, The Defining Decade 

“Research suggests that watching a romantic comedy causes relationship satisfaction to plummet.” – Jenna McCarthy, TED Talk

“If you treat man as he appears to be, you make him worse than he is. But if you treat man as if he already were what he potentially could be, you make him what he should be.” Harriet Lerner, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

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Love & Sex Experiment #3: Become a “Sexpert”

I apologize in advance for all the puns but I can’t help myself. Today’s experiment might sound silly but it is SO important.

Before doing some (very unusual and not surprisingly, FUN) research, I felt very mixed about the relationship between sex education and happiness. I was pretty certain most of my happiness in the bedroom did not come from a book or a website, but rather from *ahem* hands-on research.

I mean, our ancestors certainly didn’t need a Tantric Sex Anthology to help them sort out how to put a P in a V.

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But REAL TALK for a second… (more…)

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Navigating “The Honeymoon Phase”: The Good, The Bad & The OMG He’s not ugly, he’s perfect!

Sigh…. The Honeymoon Phase.😍

The time when breakfast tastes like rainbows and every joke your partner makes is comparable to Amy Schumer stand-up.

The time when your partner asks if you’re comfortable snuggling and even though you are about to chew your dead arm off, you respond: “Yeah, babe. So comfy.”

The time when you shirk responsibilities, ignore phone calls, and neglect your friends and family to have a sex marathon and stay up late saying, “No, you hang up!”

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This rose-tinted phase is so awesome you may feel like you’re on drugs while in it and feel like a train has hit you when you come down from it. It’s completely normal and fabulous and awful at the same time when you’re in it, but when you see someone else in it, it can also seem delusional.

Since I know most of us will go through at LEAST one honeymoon phase in our lifetime, and not all of them will evolve into forever, let’s lay some ground rules to safeguard our lives from the turmoil that can result from an intense “honeymoon phase”:

SEEING THROUGH ROSE-TINTED GLASSES

  1. Heed Your Advisors. If your most trusted advisor (Ie. Your mom or your best friend) still has an eyebrow raised after a few times of meeting your partner. There is probably a major flaw that is invisible to you, thanks to your “Honeymoon Phase” blinders. Even though it may burst your glorious bubble, better to look under the proverbial mask of your partner now than later. That’s a mixed metaphor, but you get it. If your bestie tells you your guy comes across as a player, you might want to open your eyes to the possibility that they aren’t just lying because they want you to be single forever. They might just see something you can’t.
  2. Don’t Ignore Red Flags. The sweet honeymoon phase is that time when most people ignore the little red flags going up about their partner. It’s more than OKAY to be easy going about flaws, in fact, it’s something you should try to harness even after the honeymoon phase has passed. That being said, make sure you set some “non-negotiables”. Mine are the following:
  • I will never date a smoker or drug user.
  • I will not date a liar.
  • I will not date someone who is disrespectful.
  • I will not date someone who let’s me compromise my priorities for them.

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It is common to let some of your core values slip when you are under the influence of the Honeymoon Phase. Is it so bad that he told me he was 28 and he’s really 35? But he apologized! And he’s so cute! And he noticed that time I got my hair cut, which was so huge. …….. YES, if your core values are not to date a liar and they blatantly lie to you off the bat, it’s probably a RED FLAG.

KEEPING YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

  1. Go to Work/Class/Appointments. (Self-explanatory.)
  2. Don’t Flake On Your Friends & Family. I couldn’t completely leave this out because everyone does it but don’t make me explain why it’s a no-no. Just try not to do it.

GROW & LEARN 👌 BUT DON’T CHANGE WHO YOU ARE

  1. Be honest & unapologetically you. It is easy to fudge some details when you are first getting to know someone. You are cozy in your love suite, so why rock the boat and tell them you actually hate animals, when they tell you that they plan on taking over their family’s farm? Ummm… because eventually, you are going to look like a big liar, and that is not something you can bounce back from. Maybe he will be cool with it, and offer to help you see a different side of the farm life [insert sexy overalls and hay scene] or maybe he will say that his Paw and Maw come first, in which case, you’re still you and you didn’t waste either of your precious twenties misleading each other.
  2. Use the burst of energy to be a sponge for new good habits. The honeymoon phase is one of those magical times where you are able to grow and change more rapidly than normal. Use the energy that your new found “puppy love” gives you to pick up good habits from your partner. Is your new squeeze an adventure seeker? You’ll find that suddenly you are more willing to go outside your comfort zone with someone holding your hand, and that is a BEAUTIFUL thing. Is your new partner a gym rat? I know you swore off all forms of exercise, but maybe now you’re open to the idea of a short sunrise run. I said short, let’s not get crazy and sign up for a marathon on your first date. (Or do. Might be fun.) The point is, that there is nothing more empowering than a new partner, so take advantage and be a sponge for GROWTH!

KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PHASE

 Graduation to Mature Love. The honeymoon phase will eventually end. That’s why it’s called a phase. But this is an essential process that will result in one of three situations:

A. You will see each other more clearly and flaws will come to light. You will feel a desire for your partner to change (and become more like you). One person will feel trapped and another abandoned and you will part ways not necessarily because of a bad match but because you FAIL TO PROPERLY COMMUNICATE YOUR FEELINGS.

B. Situation A, + you will communicate and realize that although you enjoyed each other’s company and care for one another, you are not a good long-term match.

C. Situation A, + you will communicate and realize that you have to respect each other’s personal goals, space, and needs. You agree to be more open-minded and work through the flaws because even with all the lights on, your relationship is still beautiful and worth it. CONGRATS! YOU HAVE GRADUATED TO MATURE LOVE! 

194853_1695815759963_1374900115_31844202_3586452_oMy honeymoon phase with my husband was AMAZING. We literally laid in bed staring at each other. (Gross! I thought those things only happened in the movies!) When I told him I had previous plans to drive cross-country for 2 weeks with 2 male friends from college, he said, “That’s awesome!” He was PERFECT with my family, and appeared sexy in literally everything he wore.

But, I am not particularly proud of anything I accomplished in my life while in this phase. I didn’t start any new creative projects or make a point to meet new people or learn. We were both completely consumed and I am SO glad to have balance back because:

HONEYMOON HAPPINESS IS UNSUSTAINABLE.

Share your honeymoon phase experiences (good and bad) in the comments below!

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Love & Sex Experiment #2: Pose for a Boudoir Photo Shoot

I love starting out with a fact. So here is one: you are not getting any younger! What??? That’s harsh! I thought this blog was supposed to make me happy! Well, yes, but the kind of happiness I want you to find is not going to come from simply READING this blog. You have to take action! 

Inspiration and motivation is only worth the action that it incites. That’s why I stress the importance of EXPERIMENTING as a means of exploring happiness.

 

In fact, I am about to drop $250 on today’s Love & Sex Month experiment even though it kind of terrifies me, and here is why:

Back to my first point – you are not getting any younger.

Since starting my happiness journey, I have become very intentional about what I do with my time. I was discussing this “carpe diem” mentality with my girlfriends on a three-way phone call (yeah, we’re bringing those back) when the conversation shifted to the theme of the blog, which at the time was “Body Month”.

My friend Alissandra said that she couldn’t agree more and that when it came to her body, she knew she also wasn’t getting any younger. She is a very confident girl but admitted that she wonders about how sexy she will feel when she is 80 and her body is not the same as it once was. If I had to guess, I’d still say that she will probably have a pretty healthy sex life for a senior citizen, but she brought up a good point.

“I feel sexy at this age, and I want to remember how I look now before all of the stretch marks and wrinkles. A friend of mine had a Boudoir Photoshoot done and was thrilled with the results, so I decided to do it as a gift for my boyfriend…. but more so for me!”

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@vixenphoto

Whaaaattt!!!??? 😯 I had never heard of anyone I know actually doing this and was FASCINATED by the idea, albeit a bit nervous. Come to find out, my other friend on the call had ALSO had a Boudoir photo shoot taken! I felt a little bit prude that I was the only one on the call that was uneasy at the thought of posing in a sexy way in front of a stranger, but as a woman of research I knew I needed ALL the facts before I could make my judgment.


A Summary of Alissandra’s Advice for Your Boudoir Experiment

Better Safe Than Sorry!

“My two biggest concerns were that A: The pictures would somehow get out or posted on social media and that B: My boyfriend would have an adverse reaction to it and be upset that I did it.”

To avoid these things happening, she suggested the following:

  • Research your photographer! Make sure he/she has a portfolio that is legitimate, with reviews or references. Ali was referred to her photographer through a friend.
  • Consider a contract. All professional photographers should have a contract that outlines what exactly will be provided and how the shoot will run. This is to protect your interests and the photographers. **This is where you tell the photographer whether or not you want your photos appearing in their portfolio.**
  • Know your partner. If these photos are for anyone other than yourself, make sure that you trust this person exclusively, and that in the case of a split, your photos wouldn’t be compromised. Also, consider whether or not your partner would feel uneasy at the thought of you being photographed in this way. Some people may want a female photographer.

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    @916Boudoirphotography

Getting Prepped, Feeling Sexy & Looking the Part

“I had to drink half a bottle of wine before I was remotely comfortable doing it. [laughs] So, my advice is… have a glass of wine, or two… or three.”

  • Keep it Fun! Lots of photographers provide wine, but some don’t allow it. This is a fair question to ask beforehand. Photo shoots are meant to feel like a party. You should feel your most comfortable, so bring your own music and props!
  • Research Inspiration. Depending on your style and your partner’s turn-ons, your shoot style will vary from classic to raunchy. Go online and pull inspiration. Search #boudoirphotography on Instagram or even search Victoria’s Secret. Send your favorites to the photographer so they can best capture your style. If the pictures aren’t a surprise, you should see what kind of photos your partner likes and send those as well.
  • Hair, Make-up & Wardrobe. When you look your best, you will feel your best and it will reflect in your confidence and in the final product. Cherie Steinberg of the “Boudoir Café” advises investing in professional hair and makeup. She also suggests you “…ditch the old stuff and play with the element of surprise and fantasy with bras, panties, garters, etc. your [partner] hasn’t seen before.”

Alissandra’s Conclusion

“I am SO glad I did it and would actually like to do it AGAIN! My boyfriend LOVED them too. Also, in the pictures I’m curvy and myself, not at my thinnest or anything. And that’s one of the things I love about them. It’s me. And I don’t look at them and think ‘Ugh. I have to get back in shape.’ I look at them and think, ‘This is me and I’m beautiful and curvy and sexy.’ I’m so happy I have them forever.”

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@robertovillarv

The “big picture” point is this – feeling sexy is about more than just having sex and being hot. It’s about looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling confident and proud in your own skin. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of visuals and I think that having these pictures of yourself that you can admire for the rest of your life is a priceless tool that will help empower you….and simultaneously give a little boost of passion to your relationship! Share any tips or questions you have about boudoir photography in the comments below!

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The Power of Love…Notes!

Did I get your attention? I certainly got my husband’s! 😉 If you are here simply because you saw the cover photo, you will probably be confused. Today, I want to shine a spotlight on one of the simplest, most romantic gestures you can make: writing a love note. (And not just your standard “I love yous”, either!)

It seems crazy to me that in my lifetime, the ancient practice of WRITING has become a dying art form. Birthday cards, hand-written notes, and grocery lists have been replaced by e-cards, Facebook posts, texts and phone apps. It makes sense. I mean, why would I go looking for a pen, pay for a stamp and wait the time for mail to be delivered when I could just text or e-mail the same message?

As more and more forms of written communication have been added to the endangered species list, I fear the extinction of one of my all-time favorite romantic gesture. I don’t want my future children proposing to their future spouses over a TEXT MESSAGE! So what do we do!?

I am proposing a…. LOVE NOTE REVOLUTION! And here is why:

  • It’s now considered next-level romance. With written communication dropping rapidly, almost entirely squelched by the technological revolution, love notes have become romantic as f***. I’m sorry to curse, but it’s THAT true. If you found a hand-written note from your sweetheart in lieu of a text wouldn’t you be smitten? Just think about the effort that your love put into finding a pen, paper and maybe an envelope (I am getting a little turned on just thinking about the stationary possibilities here…) to deliver the sweet nothing that otherwise could have been texted in one emoji: 😍
  • It’s costs less than flowers and probably means more. Everyone loves receiving proof that you love them, but it doesn’t always have to cost money. Especially in your twenties, when you tend to have less, this thoughtful gesture can substitute for gifts that you want to give to your partner but can’t afford.
  • Even anti-mushy stone-cold MEN love it. Just because your man isn’t vocal doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate a good, old-fashioned love note. Little love notes are a great way to keep your relationship young and fun, long after your twenties! I suggest getting into this habit now.
  • Surprises = Intimacy. Love notes are a great way to let your partner know you are thinking of them even when you’re not together. It puts the two of you in a great mood for when you see each other next. Your thoughtfulness can translate into warm feelings and hopefully, if it was a REALLY good note, sex!
  • You need some lightness in your relationship. The whole point of the note on my husband’s snack he took to work was to make him laugh. That’s it. Whether it’s an inside joke or something that will brighten their day, I think this is a great new activity to get you to focus on your partners happiness outside of meeting each others general needs. If you make it a priority to keep your partner laughing, I bet your relationship will last a lot longer AND BE MORE FULL OF LOVE!
  • Words of affirmation are a key part of every relationship. This is especially true if your love language is, in fact, words of affirmation. Either way, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a love note that hurt a relationship.
  • You can save them and create a love note jar. Time for some #RealTalk. Back when my husband and I were dating, and I had recently moved back from living in Peru, we hit a rough patch. We were arguing A LOT. One particularly nice day he said something so sweet that I said, “See! If I could just hear that, I don’t think I could stay mad at you in an argument.” So we sat down and privately professed our love on paper in the form of 10 specific things we love about each other. We put them into a jar with the letter “J” for Jessica to read and “D” for Dustin. If we began to argue, especially over something that was silly, one of us would make an effort to stop and walk over to the jar. It was like Romance Jessica and Romance Dustin could sub-in for a second and tell the truth, instead of the angry words we were making up on the spot.

 

Here are some beautiful examples to get your creative juices flowing:

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The love note is not a novel concept, it’s a classic one. Take an extra 5 minutes in your day to write out something special for your love and put it in his/her car, on the mirror, in a wallet, on a bedside table, in the fridge, somewhere silly. Be creative. Creativity is the lifeblood of long-term relationships. By ignoring this vital component you are depriving yourself of your happiest relationship and happiest life.

Do you have a sweet or funny love note? Sharing is caring! Drop it in the comments section below.