Sex Life After Divorce (Part 2)

sex after divorceEven 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.


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Keep The Lights ON

Sex with the lights on

Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us don’t even blink about it when it comes to whether or not to keep the lights on during sex and intimate time. Each of us has a go-to behavior and a way of doing it, and most people never even question breaking the routine.

Most surveys and polls do suggest that “lights off” is a common preference not just among Americans, but in the Old Continent as well*. But I find these surveys very limited; they are definitely not representative enough to make much of them.

I am gonna go right to the point: Why is keeping the lights on crucially important for better sex and a more fulfilling sex life?

  1. Self confidence and loving your own body. Seeing our partner value and cherish our body during love-making can help you accept and embrace your beauty. Radical self-love is something we should all practice more often.
  2. Appreciating and knowing your partner’s body. Same goes for your partner: if you’re not used to seeing them in their full true self, how are you going to fully appreciate them? Maybe their calves look really hot is some particular sex position. Maybe their face is so gorgeous while experiencing pleasure. Get to really know them and learn new things about their body.
  3. Receiving feedback. Maintaining full visual contact and not being in the dark will allow you to read the signals and messages their body conveys. Listen to what they have to say, not just to their words. Pay attention to their fingers, their toes, their skin, their gaze. All that can give you a lot of feedback on how you’re doing, whether they like what you’re doing, what feels less enjoyable.
  4. Building intimacy. Nudity is a special form of being vulnerable. Being naked and really looking at each others’ bodies might be intense, even overwhelming at first; it might make you feel too emotional, or too “exposed”. Being together and embracing this kind of awkwardness will bring you and your partner closer and will allow you to develop something deeper.
  5. It’s sexy. Watching yourselves have sex could be really, really hot. Get frisky! You can try doing it in front of a mirror. You can even imagine that the people you’re seeing are complete strangers and you’re sneaking a peek at their sex life. Unleash your voyeuristic self. C’mon. Everybody has a voyeur inside of them!
  6. Makes sleep time and sexy time two different things. You’re going to enjoy sex so much more if you own it. Learn to ask for it, and to know what’s what. Sexy time isn’t sleep time. Have sex because you want to, not because you happen to share the same bed and do it half-assedly before going to sleep. Even if that’s not your intention, keeping sex in the dark could make it come off that way: as if having sex was some kind of compromise, instead of a full-hearted enthusiastic decision. That honors your partner more, but also honors your own needs and desires.
  7. Unshames sex. For most of us, since we were kids, explicitly or implicitly we were taught that sex is shameful and dirty. You do it behind closed doors, you don’t speak of it with others; keep it quiet and keep it in the dark — literally and metaphorically. Repeating these bad habits further consolidates the belief that sex is dirty. Rewire yourself and unlearn these bad associations.

You can try it slowly at first. Use romantic or sensual dimmed lights, candles or anything you and your partner enjoy. Find the lighting that works best for you and fits the kind of sex you are having. Don’t be afraid to ask for “lights on”! Open up the conversation or even share this article with your lover.

* Some surveys on sexual behaviors:

http://www.yourtango.com/2011107470/americans-doing-it-dark

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/adamandevecom-sheds-light-on-lovemaking-habits-131453788.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/PollVault/story?id=156921&page=1

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2121681/Lets-turn-lights-dear-60-Brits-say-prefer-lovemaking-dark.html


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There’s Nothing Wrong with You if You Need Lube

Sexual Lubricants

When it comes to our bodies and how they work, we want them to always be responding. Whenever we ask them to. And when things don’t go our way, we want quick fixes. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If something can lessen our suffering or frustration, why shouldn’t we take immediate advantage of it? If science has an answer for it, and if we can easily find the solution, we don’t waste a second and get a doctor’s prescription, or drive to the drug store in the middle of the night.

Sexual LubricantsAnd yet when it comes to vaginal lubrication we expect our body to always be good to go. If we’re turned on, we shouldn’t need extra lube. And we take it as a personal failure if that’s not sufficient. The “we” in the last sentence being ALL of us. We, women, because we’ll blame ourselves and assume that it’s our fault, and that there’s something wrong with us. But men as well, because they tend to think they’re doing something wrong, and that they’re not good enough if we’re not an everlasting spring. There’s so much shame around using extra lube and not being moist enough. Yet there’s no shame if our eyes don’t produce enough lubrication and we use some Visine instead. We wouldn’t go: “Oh, her eyes are so dry when she’s with me, why am I not sufficient enough for her, why does she need to use any eye drops”.

A lot of things can affect a woman’s vaginal moist, and it doesn’t only happen to menopausal women. What can be causing your vaginal dryness?

  1. The pill and other hormonal contraception. If you are on any form of hormonal birth control (the pill, shots, the implant, hormonal IUDs) that’s going to change the thickness of your cervical mucus and could cause vaginal dryness. Given that a lot of women start taking the pill even before losing their virginity, for a number of girls dryness is status quo.
  2. Your menstrual cycle. Your body’s ability to self-lubricate changes throughout your monthly period. You are probably going to be very dry during your period and the days leading to it. If you’re using tampons, that’s going to additionally make you sore to the extent that intercourse can be quite painful a couple of days after you’ve had your period.
  3. Being dehydrated overall. Not drinking enough water throughout the day is bad enough as it is, but is a borderline health hazard during sex when you’re going to get aroused, sweat, and even get a fair amount of exercise. Pro tip: drinking plenty of water is really important for oral and anal sex as well; in general, keep a bottle or glass next to your bed.
  4. Alcohol, cigarettes, or just having smoked some pot. All these substances can make you very dry. While the effect of cigarettes come with longer term use, alcohol and weed can make you dry right away.
  5. Lack of sleep, fatigue, stress. Have you noticed how tired and terrible your skin looks like when you’ve under-slept or stressed? Lack of rest and time for regeneration affect your private tissues as well.
  6. Douching. Vaginal douching is not only causing you dryness, but also disbalancing your flora (the good bacteria and microorganisms that keep your vagina healthy and prevent infections), and your pH.
  7. Allergy and some cold meds. One of the side-effects of antihistamines is that they can cause intimate dehydration. The effect is temporary and only lasts while you’re on the drugs.
  8. Childbirth and nursing. Your postpartum body is going to lack the progesterone and estrogen needed to produce lubrication and your hormonal levels are going to remain low while you’re breastfeeding.
  9. Menopause. The post menopausal body isn’t producing enough estrogen either and the elasticity of the vaginal walls is decaying as well.
  10. Lack of or too little foreplay. Not giving your body enough time to get aroused and skipping foreplay can make sex so much less enjoyable, and even painful.
  11. Bad over-the-counter lubricants. The most popular lube brands, and the ones you can find in the any drugstore or grocery store, usually contain glycerin and propylene glycol. These ingredients are really heavy and bad for your body. They will make things slippery during use, but what they actually do is they deplete your cells’ own water supplies and leave them really dry and prone to tears.

 

Sexual Lubricants

Just Add Lube!

Whether you’re 21 or 51 there’s nothing wrong in “fixing” what’s temporarily or more permanently not “working”. Using a sexual lubricant makes sex tenfold more enjoyable. It decreases the risk of damaging the gentle mucous membrane of your vagina or your penis, and helps prevent friction burn and discomfort. It also reduces the risk of STI transmission: both because micro tears on your tissue make you more susceptible, and because the lack of proper lubrication highly increases the risk of condom breakage and failure.

So do your sex life a favor, and get your essentials from a sex-positive store nearby or online. Always keep a bottle of lube on your nightstand and a little sample in your purse.


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How to Have Kinky Sex on The Road

In case you missed my bragging about it, I spent the best part of my summer at Sex Geek Summer Camp with Reid Mihalko and a whole bunch of amazing Sex Geeks.

What made camp such an unforgettable experience for me was having the opportunity to work and exchange ideas with other inspiring sex educators, coaches and counselors. Here is the love-child of one of these interactions. When I heard that Kat Nantz (Sexual Empowerment Coach from Guelph, Ontario) had spent 6 months in a camper, crossing the United States with her boyfriend, and that they didn’t have to sacrifice their hot and kinky sex life, I had to hear more about it.

Find out how to make your own solar panel and plug in your Hitachi Magic Wand or recharge your toys on the go, how to do bondage and enjoy rope play even if you are confined to a small RV. Learn why taking Uberlube with you is a must, how to practice safer sex, how to have your toys clean and sterile, how to know your STI status even if you’re thousands of miles away from your health provider, and more in this fun and candid video.

 

And if you have SEX GEEK t-shirt envy, just get over with it and order yours already.


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Sex Life After Divorce

Intimacy and sex after divorce

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.

Maybe your divorce went well and it didn’t scar you deeply. Maybe it didn’t leave you devastated, bitter, or disappointed in humankind, and especially in the opposite (or the same) sex. Congratulations! You are one of the few. But even if things went relatively smoothly, there are many ways in which long relationships alter our personality, and make us fall into bad, unproductive patterns. That’s even more true when it comes to sex.

Here are some tips on how to get your sex life back on track

  • Be open to life again. Allow yourself to have fun again. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t waste your energy on anger and hatred. Just move on. Believe that life can be fun. Because it is. Life is full of wonderful gifts you just need to reach out for. You ended and got out of a relationship that was clearly not working. You still have the rest of your life to enjoy sex and enjoy yourself.
  • Start from the scratch, unlearn bad habits. Question everything! Whatever beliefs you have built around sex and pleasure, maybe it’s time to question them now. Sex is different for everybody and with any new partner. You might’ve been exposed to sex only lasting 5 minutes in the past 10 years. You might’ve not been able to achieve orgasm at all. You might’ve had problems staying hard. You might’ve been used to your partner constantly rejecting you sexually. You might’ve thought that you’re not desirable. You might’ve thought that you’re not interested in sex anymore. Whatever it is that you were used to: it was just a temporary state of affairs. You don’t have to carry these beliefs for the rest of your life. Sex and relationships can be different and so much better than you could imagine. Maybe you don’t even remember what it feels like to get aroused and want somebody. That doesn’t mean you’re incapable of it. You just went through a long period of not having it.
  • Get tested. Make sure you’re literally not carrying something from your past. Check your HIV, Hep B and C, HSV 1 and 2, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, HPV, and syphilis status. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, a lot of STIs can remain unnoticed and not express themselves for a really long time. For some of these STIs you can get tested even at the privacy of your own bedroom.
  • Get used to using condoms again. You might’ve not seen or touched one in decades. Condoms evolved a lot. See what’s new on the market, try out new brands. Good places to start are: Glyde condoms, ONE condoms, or even the new Lelo Hex. Make sure you are properly fitted. If a condom is too loose or too tight, it might slip out or break. If you have a penis, try masturbating with a condom on. This way it won’t feel weird when you actually get to have sex with one. You’re most probably not going to lose your erection if you’re accustomed to putting on a condom. If you have a vagina, have you tried an internal condom? For both vagina and penis owners – practice putting a condom on. It’s a skill. You don’t wanna get all nervous in the middle of your first post-divorce date!
  • Don’t overlook masturbation. Solo sex is sex and at the end of the day, orgasms count. You need those endorphins and oxytocin. Even if you think that partnered sex is the last thing you need right now, you can still have fun with yourself. You probably didn’t have enough privacy or time to get it going with yourself while you were married or in a relationship. Maybe you were even afraid to masturbate, because you thought that would upset your partner. Maybe you were afraid that you would get caught. Now is the time to pay your tribute to the temple that is your body. Keep the habit of masturbating even when you start dating and are in your next relationship. Pleasuring yourself doesn’t take anything away from your sex life. If you jerk off or if you touch yourself, that doesn’t mean that you are not going to want to have sex anymore that same day or in the next few days. On the contrary, the more you do it, the more you enjoy sex, the more you want it, and the more you know what feels good.
  • Make time for solo sex. Having your way with yourself takes a little more than good intentions. You have to make time for dates with yourself. Take the night for yourself, put it in the calendar, set the atmosphere. Unless you schedule it, life will get in the way and you will end up doing some chores, procrastinating on the web, or catching up with work. Take time for pleasuring yourself seriously.
  • Buy a ton of lube. Okay, a ton might’ve been an exaggeration. Get a good sized bottle of lube for your bedroom, and a smaller one for your purse or for travel. Put a few little lube samples or squares in your wallet or pocket, alongside your condoms. If you’ve never used lube before, now is the time to change this. Lube is the best friend of pleasure. It’s almost impossible to have enjoyable sex, solo or partnered, without a good amount of lubrication. No, your own lubrication is not enough, especially with condoms. Dry sex can be very painful or cause a lot of friction burn, and leave you incapable of having any for days. Not to mention that the lack of enough lubricant is the most common cause of condom breakage.
  • Pamper yourself. Go to the salon and the spa. Women: get new sexy lingerie, guys: simply buy a few pairs of new underwear. Don’t go out in your old worn out boxers or undies. Don’t wear your old sweatpants at home. Change your wardrobe. Pick up working out again. Start grooming – even if you don’t have a partner at the moment. Looking good will make you feel good about yourself. You will feel datable and desirable again.
  • Set up a dating profile. Or register at a hook-up site. Make sure to find the right website for you, so you don’t feel there’s nobody out there. For example some websites are predominately white and straight and are not very culturally diverse. If that’s what you’re looking for, great, but if it’s not – don’t lose hope, there are other options. Ask yourself what you want to get out of dating? Are you looking for a hook-up, something casual, or are you dating to find a long-lasting commitment? What are your needs, and what are you capable of giving? How much time are you willing to invest in dating, and how soon do you think you would like to start a new relationship? These are all great questions to start with. Take time to reflect upon your expectations and boundaries, in order to save yourself future disappointments or just wasting your time. Here are some examples of the most visited online dating services.
  • Allow yourself to play the field. It’s okay if you want to steer clear of commitments in the foreseeable future! There’s nothing healthy about bouncing from one relationship to the next. So don’t beat yourself for not wanting anything serious for a while.
  • Get comfortable with yourself. Enjoy not being married or in a relationship. Do all the things you’ve always wanted to do, but your ex-partner was against. Invest in yourself: personal development and growth are gonna bring you a lot of gratification and a sense of accomplishment. Start small and don’t set yourself for failure. Start a salsa class, or go on a trip.

Parenting and sex after divorce

  • Get a reliable baby-sitter. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Meet other parents, make new friends. You need people who haven’t already been exposed to all the divorce drama, or been poisoned by your ex spouse. Other divorced parents are going to be your biggest ally when it comes to covering up for you, play-dates and sleepovers for the kids, and taking turns in child-sitting. As you will pretty soon see, you can’t only rely on baby-sitters.
  • Start using Google Calendar. Or any planner that can be used under different platforms: have your schedule on the go, not only on your computer, but in your smart phone and all of your devices. Time management around dating and parenting can become challenging. Make most of your free time without stressing out too much. Going out should be fun and should come guilt-free. You deserve it and you’re not a horrible parent if you have a personal life. A happier you makes for a happier kid!
  • Don’t stay home when the kiddos are not around. It will be very, very tempting to just stay in your PJ’s binge-watch Netflix and gobble all the unhealthy food you got at the convenience store. You might start having lots of unhealthy habits while your child(ren) are with their other parent. It’s understandable, everyone gets tired of being perfect, of being a role model. Don’t fall into this trap. It will be very strange at first and you will feel empty and lonely, when you’re home alone. Make sure to make plans, waaay in advance, for almost all of your free nights. It can be simply going out with friends for happy hour, or seeing a concert, but commit to something you can’t easily get out of or cancel. Otherwise the bucket of ice-cream and the couch will win. It will only make you spiral down, and will create a false feeling that life is only joyful when the kids are around because all of your gratification will be from them. This will put you off dating even more, because you will start feeling conflicted for “jeopardizing” your relationship with your kids over “some dude/chick”. Staying home is a trap!

And at the end of the day don’t forget to pat yourself on the back, because you are a freaking super-hero for bouncing back from your divorce. Even if you take just one or two of these suggestions, you’re already taking steps in the right direction. Give yourself credit for it and make sure to celebrate even the smallest victories.

Ready to step it up a notch? Read Part 2 of this article!


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