Charla’s Blog

A New Pill for Women – Low Sexual Desire?

A New Pill for Women—Low Sexual Desire?

Big Pharma’s spent billions on a female Viagra.  Women now suffer from–drum roll–Low Sexual Desire that can be fixed with Big Pharma’s answer—a new drug, Flibanserin.

Actually, in today’s world low sexual desire in women is a sign of health—women are so tired of status quo sex they are finally saying no more.  They’re tired of male-agenda sex, bored and tired of penis-in-the-vagina centered sex, lack of romance, lack of sincere attention, the absence of intrigue and cuddling—they are saying no right and left.  And rightly so.  Their brand of sexuality, their rhythm, intrigue, fantasies and desires are largely untapped and unexpressed.  So, tell me, will a pill fix that?

Women, you need a shot of bravery.  If you’re not getting what you want, why are you not asking for it?  Will your man run and hide?  What do you want anyway?  Here’s what I think is pretty sexy:  a man who is more about ‘whole body touch’ and less about ‘going for the goods,’ more about ‘vulnerability’ and less about ‘knowing it all,’ more about ‘being present’ and less about ‘getting somewhere,’ more about ‘being’ and less about ‘doing.’  Now, Big Pharma, give him a pill for that!

As a sex coach I see many couples who want a better sex life.  Recently a husband brought his wife in to ‘fix’ her ‘low sexual desire.’  I had them each detail their idea of a great erotic encounter.  He spilled over with a steamy swing club scenario replete with toys, threesomes, and more.  On her turn, shamefully she looked at the floor and finally sighed, “I don’t imagine sex scenes. I don’t fantasize.”  I gave her lots of space and nudged her to tell a story she’d like to see happen—even if it didn’t look like his.  She began hesitatingly, “We’re on a beach and he’s in a hammock. There’s a breeze and I’m rocking him and serve him a drink.  He reaches over and touches my face where a palm leaf makes a shadow and traces his finger along my cheek, then down my neck to my shoulders where the light touches my skin.”

No magic pill is going to make her say that to him, it took a sex coach (in this case).  No pill can help you research your desires, risk saying them out loud, make you say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no.  How do you become erotically mature and ‘choose’ what happens on your body?  Pills don’t put you in the driver’s seat of your sex life!  You do.  As long as women don’t express the kind of sex they want, no drug is going to make them like what they’re tired of.  And the last thing a mature woman wants is a man with a Viagra-driven cock pumping into her with no more consciousness than it had 10, 20, or 30 years ago.

Women, do you want that great feeling of desire surging through your body?  Stop apologizing for and start initiating the kind of sex you want.  Commit to your erotic self-awareness, self-trust and expression.  Find your voice.  Do the work.  Take back your Body.  And get off drugs—like anti-depressants that take away your highs and lows.  Get high, get low—it’s life—live it!  There are men who will support and cheer your steps toward authentic erotic expression.  These men know the art of slowness, presence, telling the truth, being vulnerable and choosing pleasure over performance.  And they didn’t get there by taking a pill.  Do the work!

For mature women who are bored with Status Quo Sex, here’s a RX from the Sex Doctor (that’s me):  1)  Stop putting up with the kind of sex you grew up thinking you were supposed to like.  2) Don’t let a man, let alone Big Pharma, tell you what your desire should look like.  3)  Become a Pleasure Activist—Ride your pussy like a wild pony and make Pleasure your next Discipline–go on a Pleasure Diet!  Do it for you or not at all!  Your man will love it—or if not, get another one.  And seek out a professional sex coach for a shot of confidence to get you back in the saddle.  Check out my new online course, 7 Erotic Nights—a course in Pleasure for Partners.   It’s fun, affordable, and will bring you and a partner homegrown intimacy that warms the heart and pussy.

How To Enjoy Dating

A friend shared a dating book with me that made a huge difference in his shy, inexperienced life—you’d never recognize that in him now!  I gleaned a few new tips.  Don’t read on if you’re stuck on finding ‘The One.’  I’m personally giving it up for awhile.

How to Enjoy Dating

Never put all your hope in ONE MAN (or WOMAN).  There’s a 100 just like him/her, and thousands better.

You’re better off alone than with the wrong man (or woman, you get the idea…)

Flirt—with every man in every conversation!  Stay in condition.  Bust his Balls!

DOM—Date Other Men:  Being needy sucks. (DOW!)

Every man is practice for the next.

You miss every shot you don’t take (from a pro basketball player!)

Meet, Attract, Close:

  1. Say ‘hi,’ engage him, let him know you’re interested
  2. Get his contact—then leave—he needs space.
  3. Have a strong close—don’t let it dwindle.

Be humorous—It shows confidence.  Shows you can take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Build trust—tell the truth, hold to your word, no misleading.

Unpredictable is good.  Be a little mysterious.

Go slow!

Every man gets a 90 day probationary period.

Work on your life, not his.

Do what’s right for you, because no one else will.

You’ll never know what he’s thinking.  So don’t even try.

Make no decision when you’re feeling insecure, wait till your attitude and power is back.

All unhappiness stems from desire for things to be different.

Forget what you want, there’s only what is.  Make it work for you.

You’ll never be happy with what you want, till you’re happy with what you have—right now.

90% of what we worry about never happens:  90% of what happens to us we never have a chance to worry about.  You gotta love it.

After the Sweet Spot Workshop with Charla

What a wonderful image I hold in my mind after teaching my day workshop, The Sweet Spot: How to Give and Get the Touch You Want.  I looked over a room of 22 folks, soft with pleasure, their bodies draped over backjacks chairs, their faces peaceful and content.  We had found such simple and satisfying ways to express desires and be touched.  One student said, “Gee, that was the funnest time I ever had keeping my clothes on!”

We’d just spent the day finding out what we wanted on our body as well as what we wanted to do to someone else’s body–all with clear consent, of course!  In the 3 Minute Game we experimented for 4 different types of touch scenarios, each with their own challenges and rewards.  Some times we worked in duos and other times trios.  Gender of one’s partner wasn’t important to mastering the skill.

We slowed down by using one directional touching, “for you” or “for me,” and learned why that’s so important.  Watching a room full of deeply engaged, focused givers and receivers is a privilege I never take lightly.  In the final circle of the day, students could barely talk–ha!– all for trying to engage the Left brain when you’re steeped in the Right.  I looked over a Sea of Well-touched People, and believe it’s the foundation to World Peace.

The whole room was swimming in an endorphin/ serotonin stew.  Blood chemistry changes–it’s a fact!  And you could see the proof.  We sat in “ec-stasy”–or ex-status–which means out of status (or out of status quo.)   In this altered state, it’s tricky for a teacher to get students to speak about their experiences–but what came out was truly profound, “I really loved touching her for my pleasure, it was amazing.”  “I’ve never asked for things for me.” “I felt wanted and I didn’t even have to do anything.”

We did end up brainstorming questions like, “Why is it hard to ask for what we want?”  What do we do instead?”  “Do we say yes when we mean no, and no when we mean yes?” “What lengths do we go to try to have someone guess what we want?”  And, “What is vulnerability?” “What is intimacy?”  Students found new and enjoyable ways to touch; they used clear communication and expressed themselves authentically.  They will take that home with them.

I left students with these closing words:  “Notice what you want—it is different that what you are ‘willing to give or allow’.  Notice what you want…value it, trust it, communicate it.  Your desires are your highest intelligence; they will steer you into a life of wonder.  Choosing what you want on your body is a Spiritual Act.  It is more important that any fancy things we do to each other.  The act of ‘choosing’ is more important than the act of “doing.”  Deciding what happens on your body is the heart of self-responsibility and the soul of erotic empowerment.”

Charla Hathaway, Intimacy educator

Orgasms, Cougars, and Wizards: Charla busts 8 Myths of Sex and Aging

1)  Old folks don’t have sex:

One of the most loving things older folks can tell young people is the truth about their sexuality and that sex often gets better with age.  Young people feel pressured and frantic to do it now and get it right because soon it will go away.  Having elders talk honestly about the depth and breath of their loving is a great service to youth.  Young people need to hear that sex, like many things in life, often grow deeper and richer in a life well lived, conscious, curious and loving.  Yes, sex is good when you’re young, but for the greatest, melt-into-the-Universe-awed-beyond-belief sex, you’re just going to have to wait—no short cuts.  Sorry.

2)  Your parents aren’t sexual:

In my sex coaching practice many couples tell me they aren’t free to enjoy sex unless the kids are at a babysitter’s or away someplace.  Older couples have said, “Finally we can have a sex life again now that the kids have left home.”  That’s sad to me.  Why do parents want to hide the fact they are sexual beings from their children?  Don’t they want their children to grow up to enjoy a good sex life?  Why do adults let their kids watch TV with guns, blood and war, and try to hide their natural sounds of love making?  Parents, who mentor every other aspect of their child’s education, need to find appropriate ways to express their natural sensuality so children grow up seeing that sex is a cherished and natural part of becoming an adult—that they can look forward to sex in age appropriate ways.

3) Older Women lose desire for sex:

Menopausal women are more poised than ever to stop apologizing for and start asserting their brand of loving—more whole body touching, slower rhythm, and more connection…and humor.  Women at this stage of life often enjoy a renaissance of boldness, curiosity and pleasure.  Why did it take us so long to get here?

4) Menopause is a problem for women’s sexuality:

In an ad for hormone replacement therapy I recently saw in a magazine, a 50ish woman is looking over a dry, cracked creek bed in a bleak dessert landscape, insinuating that menopause is a dry and barren time that needs replenishing with hormones.  The cultural message is that aging and life’s cycles are really not natural, but rather disintegrating and dysfunctional and need to be treated by drugs and surgery.  With menopause tissues do dry, thin and become more fragile.  At which time, our bodies signal us to approach sexuality with new awareness, ingenuity, communication and sensitivity—which is good, otherwise we would never grow up and find new pleasure.

5)  Older men can’t get it up:

Can’t get what up–their attention to their lover?  Their appreciation for their lover?  Their focus on whole body pleasuring?  Older men can finally get up what’s most important—truth, honesty and vulnerability.  Yes, erections with age become less hard, less often, and less predictable.  Here’s the good part.  A hard cock has been the focus for men too long, and now they can turn their attention to the other important aspects of loving.  An older client once told me, “Now I finally have the time to enjoy my erections.”  Being penis-centered is a youthful man’s idea of loving, not a mature woman’s.  Older men can learn whole body sensuality, how to receive, notice and enjoy their own sensations, fine-tune lovemaking skills with their hands and tongue…which, by the way, are always erect—and a favorite with women.

6)  Older men attracted to younger women are Dirty Old Men:

Done with transparency and honesty, there is great value to older, men who have knowledge, money, power,  social connections and skills (including sexual) to help younger women.  And she has youth, beauty, and sensuality that greatly pleases and satisfies a man’s yearnings.  If the relationship is clearly understood and articulated, it can be helpful and not hurtful to both parties.

7)  Older Women attracted to younger men are Cougars:

Yes, sleek and powerful, graceful and instinctual.  Face it, between consenting adults the generations may have much to teach each other; done with heartfelt compassion and communication, it can be of great benefit to both parties.  Young men have sexual vigor, playfulness, and adoration to please an older woman.  And a young man can learn much about pleasing a woman from a mature woman who has finally discovered her self-worth, authentic voice, and sexual expression.

8)  Orgasms decrease with age:

A few years ago, I was sitting with my 85 year-old mother in a hot tub at a nudist resort, a first for both of us, and I asked, “Mom, do you still have orgasms?”  She probably expected such a question from a budding sexologist daughter.  Mother, who was a world traveler and visited China in the early 70’s before President Nixon ‘opened’ it up to the West, smiled and said. “Remember that vibrator I got while in China because my back hurt?  I found out if I put it in other places, it feels pretty good.  Well, I still have that vibrator from 40 years ago, and I can tell you my orgasms feel as good and strong to me now as they did then.”  I tell that story often when asked to speak at bachelorette parties.  Invariably, the young women raise their wine glasses to me and cheer, and they make me promise to tell me my mom that they love her.  And they love me for telling not only her story, but mine too, and how sex in my 60’s is more awesome than ever!

Basic Sexual Rights of Adults

When I was at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, I read the following ten basic sexual rights for adults, like a Bill of Rights about being a sexual being. Imagine a world where such basic rights were articulated, understood and upheld.

 

Sex and Tango: Notes from a Sex Coach and Tango Dancer

A newcomer to Tango dancing, I’m inspired to share the many parallels I see between this intimate, elegant dance and what I teach as a sex coach about intimate, elegant sex.  

 

In the sensual dance of Tango, the man becomes the container for the dance, and the woman, the movement.  The man forms the foundation, the woman moves the energy and light.  He is the Presence; She is the Dance.  He makes a subtle suggestion, a proposal for action, she interprets his cue, and moves her body.  In short, the man makes an offer, the woman interprets, and whatever she does–he makes it right!   And then he offers another suggestion–over and over.

 

In Sex as in Tango, a man needs a deep connection to his inner core strength to be a strong container or underlying Presence.  His Presence, deep and spiritual, is the safe springboard for the woman’s delight, play, energy the light.   He suggests, and she moves and dances her dance.

 

In sex, if a man is too busy trying, doing, moving, or even penetrating, he cannot hold the strong container for a woman’s dance.  A man must be able to touch his essential ‘stillness’, just as a musician knows, “There is no music without playing the rests.”  A good Lover (and Tango dancer) is a man who can hold space for a woman to do her thing.  And a good Lover (and Tango dancer) is a woman who can take this space, own it, breathe it, and move through it with joy and abandon…to both’s delight!  A man connected to his core strength and comfortable with ‘not doing’  sets the Universe in motion by his mere suggestion.

 

When a man provides a space for a woman to find her pleasure, she’ll capture the light and ride into ecstasy…carrying them both beyond the music, beyond the bedroom, beyond the dance floor, beyond the light, and into a seamless Sea of Pleasure and Treasured Connection that we all love, long for, and long to be lost in.

 

Interestingly, in Tango, except for learning purposes, one partner is perpetually the ‘lead’ (suggesting movements), and other the ‘follower’ (interpreting cues). The beauty of good sex is, although the man and women naturally (and culturally) play certain roles, we get to switch.  And changing off the lead can be fun, playful, inventive, and enlightening.  In sex we can choose to negotiate roles, reverse them, change our mind, all which makes things very interesting.  Sex is a great place to discover our innate male and female, our natural desire to both lead and follow.  This expansiveness in sexuality, a uniquely human invention of consciousness, lets us play in both realms–accessing our larger selves, harnessing greater awareness, and expanding our spiritual soul.

 

So I love expressing my feminine on the dance floor, dressing sexy in high heels, and love the men who hold space for my dance.  And I love ‘tangoing’ in the bedroom knowing deeply the complimentary essence of power and surrender, their unique qualities and challenges, and choosing and weaving between them in every moment.

 

My favorite Austin Tango teachers are Stephen Shortnacy,  Monica & Gustavo and Daniela

 

Pornography Pros & Cons and How to Watch it

As a sex and Intimacy coach I decided since porn is a big part of today’s sex scene, I’d better know more about it, so I spent a good couple months watching…lots.  Very interesting experiment, I didn’t even need a vibrator. Instead of trying to answer whether pornography is good or bad, I decided you need to know 1) what porn will and will not do for you  2) how to find the good stuff  3) and how to watch it.  Porn can kickstart a hot sexual encounter, or get in your way of having good sexual relationships. Watching porn is a little like using a credit card—it’s a great tool when you use it right, but it’s easy to be seduced into bad habits and get into trouble. You choose.  Here’s five pitfalls of porn use—followed by five ways it can help you. 

Don’t expect Porn to—

1) Help you like your body—unless you’re twenty, a cute Barbie doll, or Ken with a ten inch cock, and have $$$ for multiple cosmetic and body surgeries.

2) Make you feel good about your orgasms—Unless your orgasms are always big, wet, pounding, quick, loud, consistent, and OFTEN–like EVERY TIME!  What’s wrong with you anyway?

3)  Make you closer to your partner—unless maybe you’re watching it together.

4)  Give you a realistic picture of sex, love and intimacy—but most movies don’t do that either.  So how do we learn mature, empowered, and spiritual sexuality?  Come and see me, or other teachers, read books, go to workshops and put some time and effort into this discipline—Study Pleasure!

5)  Be about Whole Body pleasure—Porn is ‘penis-vagina-wiggle-wiggle pop’ action.  Yep, the real-estate is a few square  inches between the legs. Forget about the rest of the body, it’s not important. Hey, Dudes, take note, WOMEN LOVE WHOLE BODY TOUCH (which also helps prevent premature ejaculation.)  Three cheers for Whole Body Sensuality, and Boo Boo wiggle-wiggle-pop.

 

Expect that Porn may help—

1)  Get you off…and off, and OFF, and….yes, if you find the right porn for you, it’s HOT.  Warning: getting off too often could start to feel troublesome or compulsive.

2)  Spice things up…with new ideas, laughter, positions, games, and conversations about sex.

3)  Make you feel NORMAL.  It’s NORMAL to be interested in sex, to love sex, to be an exhibitionist, to be a voyeur, to fantasize, to want to try new things—this is GOOD. 

4)  Give you company—with people right there in your own home (hotel, theater, etc.) being sexual, breathing heavy, moaning with pleasure, all glassy eyed (even if on screen.)

5)  Make you compulsive—You crave it, over and over, but it never seems to fill the hole (pun intended).  I know I stuck a negative in my positive list, but it needs another mention.  Shame on me, get out the flogger.

I suggest if you’re a couple, watch porn together, and experiment with the difference kinds of porn with a good guide book like The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos by Violet Blue. Educate yourself, sample different genres—gay male, Lesbian, woman directed, features (with a story line, some set in Victorian times with candlelight and elaborate corsets), Gonzo (no plot), S/M, classics, and educational (yes!).

Find what you like.  While watching, keep your remote control handy—remember you’re in charge, don’t watch what doesn’t work for you. Find what you like (if anything) and use it.  Use it wisely as you use your credit card (hopefully), no reason to go into debt, pay late fees or become addicted to borrowing–if you’re smart.

A few of my porn favorites are, Velvet Tension (no intercourse in the whole movie!), Tipping the Velvet (great Lesbian), Matinee (real people, real sex from Blue Artichoke Films), Portrait of a Dominatrix by Ernst Green, feminine porn from director Candice Royal or other award-winning female directors, educational porn such as ‘how to’ videos, like how to give a good blow job by porn star (and nurse) Nina Hartley, and Talk to me Baby—A Lover’s Guide to Dirty Talk and Role Play. Lots to learn and enjoy.

And remember, if you don’t like the porn that’s out there, be proactive and MAKE YOUR OWN.  Let’s be the change we want to see happen!

Unexpected Bliss: Erotic Education in a Group Setting

I just finished teaching my daylong workshop, Tantric Loving & Massage for Couples.  Warning…I’m still high. In one day, a group of twelve fidgety strangers, embarked on a melting journey of erotic exploration. They created the necessary confidentiality, safety and protection along the way.  Together, with breath, each dropped awareness from heady things into the body. You could feel it in the room.

 

Students spoke of their longings, fears, turn ons, and how they wanted to be touched. They brought items that represented what they were ready ‘to let go of in their sexual story’, and ‘where they wanted to go.’ They shared hidden parts of themselves–dispelling lifetimes of silence, isolation and shame. Puja style we looked into each others eyes, we saw reflected back our own humanity…and divinity.

 

“I cried when I felt how focused my partners was giving me a massage,” one woman offered. A man celebrating his forty-first wedding anniversary with his partner said, “I though I knew what slow was–but it wasn’t slow enough…and she loved it.”  A woman said, “I didn’t think I could be naked in front of others before I came here, and it’s so easy. It’s nothing like what I logically imagined.”

 

Around the closing circle at the end of the day, each student finished the sentence, “Right now I am aware…” Twelve soft faces, slow and glowing, one after the other, said things like,”I’m aware of the peace in this room, I’m aware of accepting of my body just as it is, I’m aware being validated as a sexual being. I’m aware of feeling connected to everyone.”

 

As an erotic educator I’m convinced sexual learning in a group is more powerful than individuals behind closed doors. There’s a magic in accountable, conscious community.  One student, dazed by the high erotic play brings, said, “I will never forget this day or this feeling.” In sex, as in other learning, it takes a community.

Peter Pan Comes to See Me

A young man comes to see me for sex coaching who is feeling shy, awkward and inexperienced with his older girlfriend.  She usually initiates their sex and says she wants more passion from him.  He really likes her and even thinks she’s the one–yet, the sex part of the relationship causes him much worry because he often comes too soon.

 

He discloses that he relates closely with Peter Pan and Dionysus, one holds the key to Neverland and the other ‘Pan’, is god of sensuality and celebration. He desires to grow a spiritual aspect to his sexulaity and asks me if I would like to play the role of Wendy or Diana with him in this session?

 

I enjoy trying new things along side my clients and becoming ‘Wendy for Peter Pan’ or ‘Diana for Dionysus’ puts a big smile on my face. Knowing that play and pleasure are powerful teachers, I say, “Yes, let’s play.” We would be making it up along the way (scary for me even), and ‘Peter’ would experience taking the lead, inventing, voicing his desires, and thereby, hopefully gain confidence. And play is a perfect way to prolong one’s sensual experience.

 

I draw up the ground rules for safe play with clear consent–we’d both practice expressing an authentic (body-based, not head-based) yes or no to the other’s request.  After a fun session of laughter and play, I thought, “When did we adults stop playing in sex, and when can we start again?”

 

Towards the end of our time, Peter Pan, all smiles, asks if we could ‘cuddle.’ I ask him what he meant by ‘cuddle.’ He says, “lying together and moving around.” Not clear enough for me.  I offer, “I’ll ‘spoon’ with you, which means lying on our sides, clothed, not moving, and tuning into our breath–for five minutes.” Now that’s clear, but then I’m a teacher.  I suggest if other urges surfaced during our spooning, fine, we don’t have to act on them.

 

I gave my Neverland Boy some homework–to honor his internal Peter Pan or Dionysus in some tangible way that week–make a drawing, write a poem, find a photo, collect a token, etc. to remind him to invite these great archetypes, so eloquently embodied in him, out to play with others–often.  And maybe I’ll do that for Wendy too!  Hum, life is full.

How Love & Desire Differ

Ask yourself, “How does it feel to be loved by someone?”  And then ask, “How does it feel to be desired by someone?”  You may be surprised how differently love and desire feel in relationship. Being loved feels comfortable, secure, anchored, being taken care of.   Love feels safe and secure, like a melting together.

 

Yet, love is not aways enough.  We humans have another basic need–our desire for adventure, novelty, surprise, taking risks and even flirting with danger, like a coming apart.  Now it gets interesting when, as in our culture, one person is supposed to fill all our needs–both our need for love/security, as well as our desire to dabble, autonomously, in the unpredictable, uncharted and risky. Desires are like dreams, we do not choose them they come to us. Our desires are our highest intelligence, turning our world, charting our destiny.

 

Often clients seeking my intimate relationship advice profess a great love for their longterm mate (which feels very sincere to me), and in the next breath they lament that desire for their spouse, once very strong, seems to have evaporated.

 

When I ask clients to remember, “When do you feel most drawn to your partner?”  I get answers like, “When I watch her from afar gardening–she’s so in her own element.”  Or, “When he’s leaning over his drafting table, pencil in hand, pointing out a design detail to a new client.”  Or, “When he’s making silly faces at the baby, unaware of my presence.”  Or, “When someone else is admiring or flirting with my partner.”

 

Desire is born from seeing the other from a distance, seeing them as separate, autonomous, doing their own thing. Love is ‘to have’, desire is ‘to want’. Space breeds desire in relationships–giving us the space to move towards.

 

How can you come together if you never come apart? How can you ever say hello if you never say goodbye?  Ester Perel, in her book Mating in Captivity, asks the question, “Can we desire what we already have?” She says experiencing the “otherness” of our mate is the root of desire, where  too much oneness smothers desire.  Lookout soulmates!

 

So how can we both love and desire our partner?  Perhaps the problem is thinking one person is supposed to provide all our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs. We think one person should supply what a village used to provide. Or we may forget that desire, like anything else, can wax and wane. How then, given our culture’s mandate for longterm monogamy, do we navigate these treacherous waters?

 

The couples I know who keep love and desire alive over time have a great deal of separateness, differentiation, and privacy built into their relationships. They enjoy the novelty of new places, people and experiences. In sex, novelty is more than a new toy, it’s bringing forth hidden parts of ourselves.  Mystery is more than a new place, it’s looking with new eyes.  Sex is more than doing things to each other, it’s transcending the personal(ego) and entering the Cosmic. Our current crisis of desire is really a crisis of the imagination.

 

In a relationship workshop, our guru leader (I forgot his name) asked, “How much focused, quality time together do couples need to maintain a good relationship?”  His answer, thirty minutes a day–on average.  The number seemed small to me so my husband and I ran an experiment.

 

We tracked the quality time we spent together for the coming weeks.  We noticed how, after missing several dinners together (very common), we’d want to go out and spend the whole evening out together. After spending a week or so apart, we’d gravitate to to each other in special and unpredictable ways. Indeed, on the average about three to four hours of quality, focused time together a week did the trick.

 

There’s a great joke about an older couple.  The woman turns to the man, “Honey, I want someone to dive deeply into life’s pleasures with me, drink fully of the senses, and explore the wonder of each moment!”  The man returns her enthusiastic smile, “That’s great, Dear, sign me up for Fridays!”

 

Here’s a great ‘Friday activity’ to explore desire with your partner–and it only takes thirty minutes!  Remember since only 10% of couples talk about sex, this activity will put you ahead of the game. Set the timer for three minutes, one of you listens while your partner answers the question, “I turn myself on when….”  If the talker stops before the timer goes off, the listener repeats the question “When do you turn yourself on?”  The listener is silent for the total three minutes, this is not a conversation and do not add your story, comments, or ‘fix’ anyone. At the beeper, exchange roles and listener becomes the talker–speaking for the whole three minutes.

 

For an exciting second round–and this type of sharing rivets your attention if time frames are tidy–reset the three minute timer, change who speaks first, and answer the question, “I turn myself off when…”  You may discover ways to grow space, desire, novelty and love in your relationship.