After 8 years of marriage, I just had a first kiss

I was driving around yesterday in an attempt to clear this old head of mine.

My head does feel old lately, weighted down by questions and answers and hopes and places my heart tries to reach but never quite does. Driving and listening to music while looking at the houses where other people live seems to make everything feel lighter and younger. So, I suppose was driving in pursuit of my youth when a cheesy country song came onto the cheesy country radio station.

hey, I want a kiss a girl

want to feel nervous before I kiss a girl

but then we do kiss

and it’s the first time

but I’m not nervous anymore

annnnnd I really like it

Because I like kissing new girls for the first time

Okay, I might be paraphrasing a little bit. But that is pretty damn close to accurate.

The timing seemed fortuitous. An old minded girl seeking youthful lightness is reminded by her radio that she will never have a first kiss again. And also, somewhat tangentially, that she should probably get her ipod fixed so that she no longer has to listen to local radio stations.

Eight years into a happy marriage with lovely children and trees bearing fruit it occurred to met that I’ll never have a first kiss again. It’s an odd thing, to think that you’ll never feel a feeling again. I’ll never have that moment of will he or won’t he? Will I or won’t I? What does the shape of his mouth feel like against mine? Will he kiss me into butterflies and desire or kiss me into, “Hey, this was great. Ummmm. Don’t call me because I will be in Africa for the next….ummmm….foreseeable future.” The first kiss is a beginning.

And beginnings are exciting.

Right now, my brain sometimes tries to tell my soul we are in a middle. Riley and I are tired. The kids are a delightful handful. Work is draining. The mortgage is due. There is heartbreak and hearthope. The ipod is broken...forcing me to listen to horrible country music stations that in turn force me to analyze my place in life. It’s exhausting.

A few more miles, one more bad song and I’d worked out that my brain is full of, well, bleep. Listen, yes. Once married you’ll (hopefully) stop kissing new people. But that doesn’t remove the beauty, brightness or surprise of a first kiss. Heavens, I am not the person Riley married eight years ago. And he isn’t the boy I married. We’ve changed. We’ve grown together and apart and back again. We’re developing into the people we’re meant to be. Thank goodness. Could you imagine a static existence? Every day with Riley is a day with a new man. Every kiss is the first time I’ve kissed THAT version of him. It’s fulfilling and exciting and I’ve never tired of it. I don’t need to seek the new when it is standing right in front of me.

Last night, it was late and I suppose we should have been asleep. But I hadn’t kissed the man I married yet that day. So I leaned against him and our lips hovered apart from each other for just a moment. There was just a moment of will he or won’t he? Will I or won’t I? What will the shape of his mouth feel like against mine tonight? Then the moment broke and he pulled me in.

And it felt like a beginning.

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex and Even Better Intimacy

Let me just say that the title of this article is a little tongue in cheek. I don't believe in good girls or bad girls. I just believe in "all composed of the same beautiful worth" girls. However, the title, " The Uninterested in Learning About Sex through the Culturally Accepted Teaching Vehicles of Porn and Permissiveness Girl's Guide to Sex: A Book List" seemed a little long winded.

The response to my last two columns on sex has been overwhelming. ( Find them here and here.) Written months and months ago, they remain two of the most visited posts on Meg in Progress. I receive emails weekly (daily!) from readers with angry feelings, heartfelt comments, gratitude and amazing, inspiring insight. Honestly, you have all taught me so much. And generally that’s a very good thing. (The guy that said he was “going to ____ and then _____ while he ______.” taught me vocabulary I had never heard. Stuff that would make a pirate blush. That was not a very good thing.)

There have been two areas of concern discussed again and again in the emails sent to me.

  1. Okay, orgasms. Those sound great. But how do I go about having one? I feel like we are both fumbling around in the dark. And not in the good way. Am I the only one not having an orgasm?
  2. I read all these advice columns about what to do when the woman doesn’t want to have sex. But what can I do when it is my husband who doesn’t want to have sex? There are no resources for me. So not only do I feel rejected, I also feel completely alone. Am I the only dealing with this?

Women! Friends! Sisters! You are not alone.

Let me say that again.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

My inbox is full of your compatriots, women who are befuddled, stumped, mystified and, occasionally, heartbroken. And you know, in one way or another, I’ve been there, too.

We all have.

So please, let the darkness fall from you. Abandon the shame, the guilt and the secrecy. They have no place here.

It is time to let the light in.

It is time to speak unabashedly.

It is time to…read.

Yes, read! Listen, the last time you bought a new slow cooker you sat down and went over the instructions. You found out what heat and times were appropriate for each meat and veg. You looked into new recipes. You educated yourself. You took the time. What if we gave even the same small respect and deliberation to the most intimate parts of our life that we accord to our appliances? What if we decided it was worth taking the time?

(Your man can’t keep his hands off you, you communicate openly and you orgasm at the drop of a hat? Fine. You should still read these books. Because sometimes great can get even better. Ahem.)

Enter Kristin Hodson, founder of The Healing Group and sexpert extraordinaire. She has a few book recommendations for those of us that want to: get back to having good sex/start having good sex/keep having good sex. Between, you and me, this selection of tasteful and insightful volumes will be the best purchase you make this year. Yes, even including that pair of Anthro boots purchased half off right before they sold out.

Kristin, take it away...

Real Intimacy: A Couple's Guide to Genuine, Healthy Sexuality.  

First, let me put in a shameless plug for the book I co-wrote a year ago. It is written in such a way that if one spouse is a reader and the other is not, there can still be meaningful conversation. Each chapter has a nuts and bolts section, that way the non-reader is able to understand the main ideas. There are also questions, things to think about and action items at the end of each chapter. The subjects discussed range from sex 101 (what is the clitoris? How does it work?) to more complex emotional issues. It will help you lovingly discuss your physical relationship with your spouse, identify false ideas about sex, and reconcile your differing perspectives.

The Return to Desire: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Sexual Passion by Gina Ogden.  

Gina has over three decades of experience as a sex therapist and sex researcher specializing in women. She also includes spirituality in her work. This book helps transcend guilt, shame and "good-girls-don’t" messages while also opening up heart to heart communication with her partner.

*Meg’s note: Another bonus? Ian Kerner author of She Comes First (one of this girl’s fave sex books, ahem) said of The Return to Desire, “To read this book is to bask in the radiance of the wisest of sexual guides. Ogden gently and lovingly takes readers on a magnificent journey." Ummm, sign me up.

 Getting the Sex You Want by Tammy Nelson

This is another one I love. This book directly moves couples from talking to taking action. She is a big proponent of having the weekly "sex date" (Which I use with my couples and it works FANTASTICALLY).

Enduring Desire: Your Guide to Lifelong Desire

 

This is an especially great model that I think counters the false idea that there is a perfect sex and that good sex is always mind blowing.  His premise is a "good enough” sex. I think that as couples, we generally have “good enough” sex.  We also occasionally get the "whoa that was out of the world sex" and the..."well that was less than stellar sex."  Having space for the spectrum of experiences helps couples have authentic interaction.  

Now if you don’t mind, I am going to throw my two cents in. Ladies, this reading assignment is not just for you. You buy two of each copy and then tell your husband he just joined the most interesting book club of his life. Sex, like the marriage that contains it, is a partnership. There is give and take and …. give …. some …. more. Read together, talk about the things you learn openly and discuss the issues in your marriage and in your bedroom without recrimination. The openness, the acknowledgement of need, the revelation that you both deserve this may be new. It may also be hard at first (insert sex joke here). I can’t promise it will cure everything. I can promise it will help.

Let me stand here as your sister in arms and say proudly, unabashedly, from personal experience, it helped. Oh my stars in the ever blooming sky, did it help.

And now I am blushing.

Happy reading.

Want to learn more? Go to The Healing Group’s On the Edge of the Bed: A Tastefully SEXY Workshop for Women at The Hotel Monaco on September 14th. It is 6 hours worth of tools and helps for the price of one 50 minute therapy session. And there will be swag bags and non-alcoholic fruity cocktails. In a word? Awesome. Grab a bunch of your girlfriends and have a good time. Some of the topics covered:

  • Let go of a painful past and create a positive sexy and intimate future
  • Look at common problems women face
  • Understand the fundamentals of the body and sex
  • Increase to increase your libido and move sex back to the top of the to-do list
  • Increase your confidence and take sexual risks through the power of vulnerability
  • Navigate the 5 senses of sexuality
  • Add spice to your love life

 And just because I believe in the power of getting it on, my readers get $20 off their ticket when they use the code ‘meginprogress’ at checkout.

I was going to write “Now get out there and spread the love!” but that just sounds too literal in this context. So you know, ummm, enjoy yourselves.