post

The V-Spot: We’ve Got Different Sex Drives

Hi Yana,

My partner and I seem to be in different places when it comes to sex. We have fabulous sex when he’s up to it, but in general I have a higher sex drive and want to be more adventurous.

We both have histories of trauma and deal with it in different ways. I’m mostly into reenacting/reclaiming the trauma, and he wants to avoid it. I don’t think either is better, I just want to know if you know a way that we can find some common ground.

Thanks,

Opposites Attract

Dear Opposites,

Our individual sexual desires are like cake (Okay, I just spent my holidays binging on “The Great British Bake Off” and, subsequently, baked goods. So just bear with me here). Our sexual-desire cakes are all influenced by a variety of factors, some easier modified than others.

First, we’ve all got our basic batter ingredients that went into our specific cake early on in life that formed the foundation of our desire templates: biology, parenting, cultural contexts, and social messages about sex and sexuality that we didn’t even know we were receiving.

Then, we put that cake in to bake. Our batter doesn’t change that much, but as our cakes get golden-brown in the oven, our relationship to sex solidifies. As we get older, we absorb more information and log more experiences with sex and sexuality that we can actually remember: sex education classes, media and marketing messages, early sexual experiences both good and bad, traumatic experiences processed and unprocessed.

We get together with our partners and add on some frosting. Maybe even some of those cute decorative flowers or sprinkles. Our sexual desires shift in how they look and feel based on current life stuff: our jobs, stress levels, body image, medications, kids, health, communication patterns, or rooted feelings about our relationships. Decorative elements as these can be shifted with relative ease compared to the foundational ingredients in our batter or how long we set our bake-timer for. The latter are more deeply rooted and may be harder to change or maybe won’t ever.

So what are your options if, as a partner, all you can do is worry about your own cake and/or contribute to your partner re-frosting theirs?…continue reading…

post

The V-Spot: How Do I Make Sexual Suggestions?

Dear Yana,

I’m a 30-something guy in a long-term relationship with a bisexual woman. She’s got a high sex drive and wants to have sex almost constantly. My desire doesn’t really match up with hers but I wonder if the issue is really that her sexual techniques don’t really line up with my tastes. Her confidence seems tenuous and I’m worried that my requests will deflate her.

How could I best make suggestions towards what I want her to do and request changes to her existing approach without making her retreat from me or feel bad?

Thanks for any advice,

Cautious Critiquer

 

Dear Cautious,

I know for some readers this might sound shocking, but I was once a church youth group director. Okay, well, it was a Unitarian Universalist church youth group but still. One thing that’s really great about working with teenagers in an intentional, pure, community-building setting such as a UU church youth group is that they teach you how to be a nice, ethics-forward, person in the world.

What does this have to do with your sex life, Cautious? Well, not all sex advice is sexual in nature. Sometimes, learning how to communicate directly and kindly is just the skill set you need to further your sexual satisfaction. And with that, I introduce to you the The Compliment Sandwich, courtesy of my former church youth group days.

The Compliment Sandwich is a technique great for delivering constructive feedback in a way that strikes a nice balance between honoring your partner’s/friend’s/co-worker’s strengths, and being direct and clear about what you’d like to see change. In a Compliment Sandwich, compliments are the bread and your request/suggestion/critique is the meat (or vegan meat substitute, as it were).

For example: … continue reading…