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.
- 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?
- 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.
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.