Yes…that really is our topic today. Dr. Laurie Mintz is here on C.Mom today to shed light on something that is um.…important. Relationships and marriages are hard in general, but even more so when intimacy takes a nose dive. And in my case at least, I am the first one to admit that I fall prey to the being tired, wanting to go to bed early, line of excuses. They are not excuses.…they are true statements. But I know that sometimes we have to take one for the team… I am just not always very good at that.
And so.….without further ado…an expert, Dr. Laurie Mintz.…on how to spice things up.
A TIRED MAMA’S GUIDE TO PASSIONATE SEX: 6 Sexy Guidelines to Try Today!
Remember the days when you and your husband couldn’t keep your hands off each other? If it’s a distant memory for you and you are too tired to care, you are not alone!
“Honey, I’m too tired” may sound like just another excuse—but for millions of American women, it’s simply the truth. They may settle for no sex at all or the obligatory “I’d better do this for my marriage” sex—often to the detriment of their relationships. In her new book, A Tired Woman’s Guide To Passionate Sex, which research has proven to be effective in increasing desire and arousal, Dr. Laurie B. Mintz shows women how to bring their libido back to life—and put the passion back into their lives.
Communication is the bed-rock to make your bed rock: One of my first steps when counseling couples, about sex or any other issue, is to teach them the principles and strategies of effective communication. In more than twenty years of counseling, I can’t think of a client I’ve worked with whose communication style has not either contributed to their problems, been part of their recovery, or both. Most people in our culture have never been explicitly taught useful communication skills and those who have often forgo such skills when tight on time, exhausted, or upset. The ability to communicate effectively, particularly when hurt or angry, is an uncommon skill, but the key to relationship intimacy. Entire books have been written on communications skills, and I have a chapter dedicated to this in my book. One of the most important tips is to not expect your partner to mind-read – about sex or any other issue. Instead, state your needs clearly, leading your sentences with the word “I.” Another essential tip is to not ask questions that aren’t questions When a desire is posed as a question, one of two things often happens:1. the receiver doesn’t realize it isn’t a real question and provides an answer which is not satisfactory to the asker; or
2. the receiver becomes defensive. Let’s pretend that Alice her husband, Martin, “Are you working late tonight?” If Martin thinks this is a genuine question, his answer might be, “Yes, I’m working late and will be home around 9:00 p.m.” He would then feel blindsided when Alice bites into him with “I hate how you are never home at night!” In this case, Martin innocently answered what he thought was a true question. In the second scenario Martin might reply not to the question but to what he perceives as an accusation. Martin’s defensive answer might be, “I can’t help it that I have to work late! I am under a lot of pressure and you’re making it worse!” Certainly, in either case, asking a non-question ends in negativity. This is true when the question is sexual as well. Think about a woman posing the question, “Do you feel like having sex tonight?” This non-question can have many possible meanings. It can even mean one thing one time and something totally different another time! This question could mean “I hope you aren’t horny, because I would love to just cuddle tonight”or “I’m horny and want to have sex”. Clearly, the question “Do you want to have sex?” can mean many different things because it isn’t a sincere question. For one week, try to not ask questions that aren’t really questions and ask your partner to do the same. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Ask your husband to engage in more chore-play: Research has confirmed what women already are keenly aware of: Women whose husbands do their share around the house are happier and more desirous of sex. Women need to make this abundantly clear to their spouses. Remembering the importance of communication skills, don’t ask “Will you do the dishes?” and instead explain clearly your need for your partner to do more around the house. Make it clear that you are likely to feel more sexual if, while you are doing the dinner dishes, he grabs a dish towel instead of your breasts.
Your most important sex organ is between your ears, not your legs: Likely the reason that chore-play works so well is because it gives women more time to relax – something research finds is necessary for women’s sexual arousal. Scientists scanned the brains of a small group of men and women while they were being stimulated by their partners and found that for the women (but not men), the part of the brain responsible for anxiety shuts down as they become aroused. These findings also explain why it’s impossible to have an orgasm while thinking about your unfolded laundry or unreturned emails, something research also shows women do more often than men. Learning the principles of mindfulness – staying in a complete present focus – can help women deal with distractibility during sex. It is helpful for women to learn to turn their busy brains off during sex, and instead allow themselves to fully immerse in their bodily sensations. An equally important way that women can harness the power of the sex organ between their ears is to think about sex during the day. Tune into the sensuality and sexuality around you. Take it a step further by stopping what you are doing a few times a day and think about sex. In short, use the sex organ between your ears by thinking about sex when you aren’t able to have it (e.g., in the midst of the work day or making lunch for your kids) and turn off your brain when you are having sex to revel in the fabulous sensations in your body.
Night time is not the right time: Countless women tell me that when they get in bed at night, the last thing on their mind is sex. They just want to go to sleep. There is interesting evidence that testosterone, which is partially responsible for our sex drive, is at its lowest at night. Between exhaustion and decreased testosterone, bedtime is not the ideal time for many women to have sex. As noted by my friend Jean, “It’s hard to find time alone with kids running around, but that’s a problem because the only time we have is too late at night for me.” To get around this, one couple I know sets their alarm an hour early every Friday morning. Another has arranged rides for their son to his weekly Boy Scout troop meeting, giving them an hour and a half at home each Monday after dinner. Let go of the myth that bedtime is the “right” time for sex, and instead, embrace the notion that the right time is when it works for you and your partner.
You can’t go from being an ice cube to boiling water: We are born with the need for skin-to-skin contact. Studies conducted in orphanages and hospitals reveal that infants who aren’t touched lose weight, become ill and even die. On the other hand, premature babies who are provided with touch gain weight faster, cry less, and have improved pulse and respiration rates. Your sex drive mirrors these findings. Without touch, your sex drive shrivels and dies. Conversely, loving, sexual, and affectionate touch can all help to rejuvenate your libido. Rarely will a tired mom initiate sex or respond with ready passion to a spouse’s advances if there has not been connected touching throughout the day and week. As stated by Nadine, my seventy-five-year-old friend who has had a satisfying sex life over the course of her fifty-five-year marriage, “You need to be defrosted. If you haven’t been touched all day and go to bed at night, you’re an ice cube. It’s hard to go from an ice cube to boiling water. Being touched during the day warms you up.” But, just any touch won’t do. Some touch warms you up and some touch frosts you further. For touch of the melting variety, I recommend that couples touch each other affectionately three times a day. I also recommend the same amount of sexually provocative touch – titillating, insinuating touch at a time and place that sex is impossible. Remember that car in your parent’s driveway – the touch certainly wasn’t going to end in sex, but it sure was exciting. Rekindle that feeling.
Men are microwaves and women are crock-pots: When a woman laments that she gets little sexual satisfaction, the problem often not enough foreplay and instead, too much focus on the goal of intercourse. During intercourse, the clitoris is only indirectly stimulated and this is why only a minority of women orgasm through penetration alone. In order for a woman to reach orgasm, she generally must have her clitoris in contact with something and it must be stimulated. How much stimulation? There is great variability among women. Likewise, an individual woman herself will vary, depending on many things. Among these are her level of exhaustion and her ability to turn off her busy brain. Still, averages are interesting. On average, men take four minutes to reach orgasm, once they begin intercourse. Women take somewhere around eleven minutes and this is not eleven minutes of intercourse. It is eleven minutes of stimulation. Not all women know this. Even fewer men seem to know this. What’s more, women often don’t tell men this. Women don’t always tell their partners that they need time to get aroused or how to arouse them. This takes us right back to the first tip. The most important advice for sexual satisfaction is to know what you like and to communicate this to your partner. This means that if you, like many women, are a slow cooker – tell your partner about your slow cooking time and the ingredients you need to turn up the heat.
Dr. Mintz is a tired woman who has regained her once-lost passion and a psychologist with more than fifteen years of experience helping countless women do the same. She has a PhD in psychology and is a licensed psychologist with a wealth of experience counseling women and couples. Thanks to following her own advice, she enjoys a passionate and satisfying sexual relationship with her husband of twenty-two years. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.
Um…so ok…I have some things to work on. Probably my grumpy-ness not a big help in this department. The whole chore play idea? Interesting. Rocket already does a lot of chores… Oops. The nighttime piece though…yes, yes, and yes. I want to sleep at night. Though ok, I want to workout or get ready for work first thing in the am. So Rocket can’t really win around our house.
What about you all? Anyone else in the “needs work” group?