Even though this article is called “sex life after divorce”, all of the ideas in it are applicable after separation, and after a break-up from a long-lasting relationship.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been through some tough break-ups at some point in life. While these times can be truly testing, they provide us with a unique opportunity to reset and steer the wheels of life in a (possibly) completely different direction. We’ve covered the most important tips and first steps one should take in order to heal and move on after divorce in the first article on this topic. If you are ready for some swimming in the deep waters, here are some things you should consider.
Go far and beyond
- Start exploring and trying out new things. I have always wanted to… Yeah, this sentence. All of us have a thing they’ve always wanted to try out and never got the chance to. Whether it was because you were ashamed of your fantasy or desire and didn’t want to share it with your ex, fearing you would be judged, or you just assumed they would never be up for actually trying it: now is you chance! There’s a whole world of sexual experiences waiting for you to dip your toes into. Maybe you’ve never had anal sex, maybe you’ve never used a vibrator, maybe you’ve never been tied up and blindfolded. Brainstorm! Don’t limit your imagination. You can start writing down all the sexual acts that sound appealing or sexy to you, but you’ve never had. Don’t censor or limit yourself while brainstorming. When you have a long list of things, you can start evaluating which ones you just like fantasizing about and which ones you might want to act on. Interested in the darker side? Check out 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM or The Seductive Art Of Japanese Bondage from Midori. Or you want to learn a thing or two about Tantra? Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas is your go-to guide.
- Upgrade self pleasure techniques. Remember this one from Part 1? Yes, start masturbating. But also: change the way you masturbate. Maybe you need to add more lube in order to make things more enjoyable and less friction-y. Maybe you need to try out new positions. [Hint: sitting in a sofa or a lounge chair and having your body leaning slightly forward might feel a whole lot different and better than just lying flat on your back. For women: lying on your stomach adds extra pressure on your g-spot and can make self-satisfaction a whole lot easier.] Get a book or read a couple of articles on solo sex or gay sex for your gender. Maybe you never thought about it, but actually tips for queer sex are a great resource for masturbating because all of the moves are on your kind of “equipment” and you can usually apply them on yourself. Great books on the topic: Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex by Jenny Block or Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon. The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio by Violet Blue has a really cool section on stroking the penis that can give you ideas on awesome ways to treat your cock.
- Buy a new (or your first) sex toy. Chances are that if you were married or in a long-lasting committed relationship, whatever sex toy you own is waaaay dated. If your current sex toy is more than a few years old, you need to either toss it away immediately if it’s made of jelly or elastomers (if it’s silicone or plastic, you can keep it), or upgrade it if something better (or rechargeable) is available. Yes, vibrators don’t come with AAA batteries anymore. You plug them in an USB these days! If you are a woman, who’s never had a vibrator or a dildo, please, change this immediately. Most women can’t come from intercourse (is this a surprise to you?!) and need clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. Even if you thought that you “can’t” come or it’s really difficult for you, that might change the minute a vibe sets foot on your clit. If you are a guy, you gotta try a masturbator or a stroker. Take a look at companies such as Tenga or Fleshlight. (And please use lube with your penetrable toys!) You can try out cock rings and masturbating while wearing one, or you can explore prostate orgasms on your own with some of the Aneros products. Have you heard of the Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure by Charlie Glickman?
- Give porn a chance. Even if you have always thought that porn isn’t for you, that it’s shallow, superficial, or just cheesy, things have changed a lot in the last few years. There’s a ton of indie porn, soft-core porn, educational porn, kinky porn and even queer porn. You should be able to find something that best fits you, your aesthetic standards, your taste, and your desires. You’re not a visual person? Try reading some erotica. Rachel Kramer Bussel is a great author I can recommend.
- Challenge your sexual orientation. Straight suburban wife? If you scratched the last two words from your description, why don’t you see if it’s time to get rid of the first one too? Most people are not entirely straight, nor gay: they’re somewhere on the Kinsey scale. Which means that most of us are at least “a little bit” bi. Men, don’t feel excluded from this paragraph. Chances are that if you live in a bigger city there’s going to be a number of bi or at least bi-curious men. There’s no need to go “all the way”. There’s a number of sexual activities one can engage in with people from their own sex. Just keep an open mind.
- Challenge monogamy. Try out consensual non-monogamy. There are several kinds of open relationships, and almost all of them have big communities. There’s swinging, and you can try meeting people via the Lifestyle Lounge, swinger’s parties, and events, or even go on a lifestyle vacation. There are cruises and special couples’ resorts that are worth looking into. And there’s polyamory. If you are interested in being in a relationship with more than one person and always thought you were capable of loving more than one person at the same time, maybe polyamory is for you. Great books on the topic are: Opening-Up by Tristan Taormino, The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton, My Life on the Swingset by Cooper S. Beckett. Or the website and podcast Life on the Swingset. If you are looking for a novel, that is educational and talks about swinging, check out A Life Less Monogamous.
- Get a sex-positive therapist or counselor. Being able to talk about your sexual self or all the lifestyles that you already participate in, or want to explore, is really important. Make sure that your counselor is understanding and supportive of your growth and development as a sexual being. See this great article from Hedonish.
- Get a sex-positive health practitioner. Yes, your doctor has to know what you’re up to. You need someone who won’t judge you, will provide understanding and won’t shame you if you’re not monogamous or if you are very sexually active. Hiding information about your sex life might result in inadequate evaluation and medical advice from their side. They need to know what kind of birth control would be a good fit for you, and how often to run STI testing on you. If your current GP or OBGYN doesn’t make you feel comfortable talking about your sex life, that’s a sign you need a new one. Try going to a more progressive LGBTQ clinic or resource center, they’re always very open-minded and helpful.
- Learn about sexual side effects. If you’re going through a divorce or separation, most likely someone already put you on antidepressants. SSRIs can have a number of sexual side-effects, such as lowered or complete lack of libido. They can even lead to anorgasmia in both men and women! Research what are the common side effects of the drugs you’re taking. And yes, talk to that sex-positive practitioner and ask about the side-effects. Don’t be shy to want your drug changed, or to try lowering your dose. You will need your doctor’s assistance and understanding, and it might take trying out a few different things, but don’t just suck it up and give up on your pleasure. Here’s another awesome article on the topic from Hedonish.
Your life belongs to you and where you’re going to take your body and your mind after the break-up is entirely in your hands (pun intended!). You are allowed to change your mind, and go back and forth on all of these. Your sexual preferences are a living, breathing thing. Just embrace your desires and where your fantasies take you. You can always go back if you want to. Nobody drowned from testing the waters.