A Thankful Thanksgiving

Did you have a fabulous Thanksgiving? I certainly did. We tried to put aside emails, shopping, work, and computers and focus on that which matters most -- each other. It was a refreshing and beautiful week. Hopefully you didn't feel too neglected because you were enjoying your sweetheart as much as I was mine.


For many couples, the holidays become more a point of stress in their marriage than unity. When the craziness of baking and shopping becomes too much in our marriage, we try to cut things out. Eliminate the good but less important pieces of life. The toilets can wait to be scrubbed and the neighbors will survive if they don't receive a gift this year. What really matters are the moments and memories you create with those dearest and nearest to you.

How do you and your honey overcome the pressure and stress of the holidays?


Cyber Monday For Lovers

Here's a little list of the Cyber Monday deals I've come across. If you're a deal seeker, this may be a better alternative for you than braving the crowds at Wal-Mart. Good luck!

Enjoy FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $25 at MyPleasure.com - Promo Code: FSVR25


Cyber Monday: Get 25% off Everything! Online Only at Torrid.com

Free Love - New Style - Torrid.com

Save 10% off Jewelry and Gifts at Dogeared.com's FALL SALE! Enter FALL2010 at check out. Hurry offer ends 12/21.

The Dogeared Bridal Suite


Get a jump on your holiday shopping, all from the comfort of your own house, by shopping at Babeland.com."Babeland.com. We'll even give you 15% off your purchase from Monday through Wednesday, Nov 29-Dec 1.


How We Met

Have you noticed when you ask a couple about how they met or the beginning of their courtship they light up like a Christmas tree? Reminiscing about how you met can be a great bonding activity for you and your spouse. You'll feel as giddy as the day you fell in love.

Try recording your "How We Met" story so you'll remember the magic for years to come! Share your clip with Gwen in Love readers by emailing it to me, gwenisinlove {at}
gmail {dot} com.

A few guidelines:
  • Submissions should be between 25-45 seconds
  • The subject line should include your names (When William Met Annie)
  • If you have a blog you would like me to link to, please include it in your email
  • Please try to follow the "When Harry Met Sally" format as closely as possible
  • Please don't ad any extra editing effects to your video (captions or fairy dust)

When Harry Met Sally Week from Gwen In Love on Vimeo.


Staying in Love

Do you remember your first hug with your spouse? Your first time holding hands? Your first kiss? Was it exciting? How do we keep those feelings strong as we go through the stresses of aging and raising children? How do we create a love and marriage that endures?


Regular, consistent bonding behaviors -- that I talked about in my last post -- can re-sensitize our brains and bodies to feel the excitement and thrill we felt when we first met our spouses. We can become even more receptive over time to subtle bonding cues, like cuddling and kissing, if we make an effort to perform them unselfishly and frequently. The author, Marnia Robinson, from psychologytoday.com explains:
There are some curious aspects to bonding behaviors. First, in order to sustain the sparkle in a relationship these behaviors need to occur daily, or almost daily. Second, they need not occur for long, or be particularly effortful, but they must be genuinely selfless. Even holding each other in stillness at the end of a long, busy day can be enough to exchange the subconscious signals that your relationship is rewarding. Third, there's evidence that the more you use bonding behaviors, the more sensitive your brain becomes to the neurochemicals that help you feel relaxed and loving. (In contrast, intense stimulation sometimes causes tolerance to build up.)
Marnia Robinson, The Lazy Way to Stay in Love

Robinson's article relates some experiences of her readers. These two experiences from couples who have been married for several years illustrate this bonding principle perfectly. The first is an experience told by the author's friend:

Though it was after 11 PM, we cuddled. For about two hours. Ecstatic cuddling. I had experiences last night that I do not have immediate words for. Rich, deep, full. Subtle. Powerful. Moving. Meaningful. Pointing to greater connection with all life. We were in connection. In the same wave, as she put it, like a flock of birds wheeling in the sky as if with one mind.

The next experience was from a husband who experienced this same fulfillment from bonding closer to his wife:

My wife and I just had guests for three weeks, and kissing, cuddling, complimenting each other, making love, etc, took a back seat. Now, it's like we're partial strangers. . . [I]t's become clear to me that 'going off' one another is the result, rather than the cause, of a dearth of cuddling.

Lack of cuddling eventually leads to lack of desire to cuddle, whether through laziness, habit, resentment or indifference. Cuddling (all bonding behaviours included) causes the desire for more cuddles. It is a beneficent biofeedback machine, just as the absence of bonding behaviours seems to be the opposite. Everyone will be familiar with young lovers not seeming able to get near enough to each other. Well, we've experienced the same, repeatedly, as a result of initially scheduling bonding behaviour and watching it snowball.

If serial cuddling doesn't come naturally (i.e., a couple isn't an inseparable pair of young lovers) it seems absolutely critical to schedule bonding behaviours. It's as critical as an exercise regime, should a person have decided they like the outcome of exercise. In this case, assuming a couple likes the idea of feeling as close and as in love as parent and child or star crossed teenagers, time and effort have to be employed.

Actually, it's hardly any effort at all. The effort is in remembering to do it, and in overcoming any underlying resentment that might make that 'remembering' more difficult. Initially, the bonding behaviour need only be one activity a day; and that activity needn't last longer than a minute, though it could, of course, last a lot longer. I think it needs to last at least as long as a minute, as, in our experience, that's enough to start the snowballing effect. Bonding behaviours then become automatic and seem to replicate themselves in abundance. It's not so much that they become a habit, like brushing teeth; they are more like a drink that we develop a liking, and then a recurring thirst, for, not because of the obvious beneficial effect, both short and long term, but because the taste becomes inherently irresistible.
What do you think? Do you think it's possible to maintain the love spark forever?


Expressing Love Through Touch

All human beings are deserving of love and physical affection. We long for it. We search for it. We need it. This is a significant factor in our decision to be married. We need to be shown love. Scientists and researchers, however, have not always viewed this to be true.

"Hard as it is to believe, during the early Twentieth Century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids. The head of the American Psychological Association and even a mothers' organization endorsed the position that mothers were dangerous—until psychologist Harry Harlow set out to prove them wrong, through a series of experiments with monkeys." Host Ira Glass talks with Deborah Blum, author of Love At Goon Park : Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection

Listen to the first ten our so minutes to this fascinating interview about an experiment in love: (If this doesn't show up in your reader, try coming by GweninLove.com to listen.)

If children need this show of physical affection so dearly, don't we, merely over-sized children, need this same connection? By offering this gift to your spouse you will be filling his need and desire for true love and bonding.

Here is a list of ideas on how to express love for your spouse through touch from author Marnia Robinson:
· smiling, with eye contact
· skin-to-skin contact
· providing a service or treat without being asked
· giving unsolicited approval, via smiles or compliments
· gazing into each other's eyes
· listening intently, and restating what you hear
· forgiving or overlooking an error or thoughtless remark, past or present
· preparing your partner something to eat
· synchronized breathing
· kissing with lips and tongues
· cradling, or gently rocking, your partner's head and torso (works well on a couch, or with lots of pillows)
· holding, or spooning, each other in stillness
· wordless sounds of contentment and pleasure
· stroking with intent to comfort
· massaging with intent to comfort, especially feet, shoulders and head
· hugging with intent to comfort
· lying with your ear over your partner's heart and listening to the heart beat
· touching and sucking of nipples/breasts
· gently placing your palm over your lover's genitals with intent to comfort rather than arouse
· making time together at bedtime a priority
· gentle intercourse

Try implementing these ideas throughout the day and you will quickly feel more bonded with your spouse.


When Harry Met Sally Week -- #2

I love the wife in this When Harry Met Sally clip. You can only imagine what life has been like for this couple.


When Harry Met Sally Week

Welcome to When Harry Met Sally Week! Have you seen When Harry Met Sally? Fabulous movie. Throughout the show they play interviews of the cutest little couples retelling the story of how they met. I hope you enjoy this fun little week!


Love Story -- Denise's Pieces

Enjoy a Love Story from Denise of Denise's Pieces:

Our story started the first day Stuart saw me in our college cafeteria. It was my first time ever eating in the cafeteria as a Freshman. I didn't know anyone and I was sitting with a girl whose name I barely knew. He confidently strolled across the cafeteria, I could see him out of the corner of my eye, and asked me out. I had a boyfriend at the time, so I declined, but still offered up my phone number. He declined. A year and a half later, we had a Sociology class together and gradually became friends.

I remember the first time my group of girl-friends hung out with him. They thought he was absolutely nuts! His goofy humor definitely is part of who he is and not everybody gets it at first, but it grows on you that's for sure. The boy can always make me laugh, always.

Stuart and I were friends (and strictly friends, mind you, for over a year) .. and over time, we became the best of friends. We would take study breaks together and complain about our classes. We would grab dinner together and go to the nearby playground to swing on the swings. We talked about our families and discussed our opinions about the world. His admiration towards me only grew in time.... and unknowingly mine did as well.

I was hesitant about dating and didn't want to date anyone - especially someone I had become such good friends with. But in the Fall of 2006, I took that risk and we shared our first kiss. However, by Christmas I was having second guesses. I had to be honest with him and we stopped talking for a period of time.

I whizzed off to Europe for a few weeks for a class. While I was touring Europe, Stuart was all I could think about. I missed his companionship and our jokes. I really missed HIM. When I came back to the States, he didn't want to see me right away, and rightfully so. But eventually (and luckily) he did. That's when I confessed my feelings for him. At that point, I knew I didn't want to go another day without him in my life.

A few more months passed and on March 10, 2007, I asked him to be my boy-friend. Yup, I asked him to be mine. (Boy-friend sounds so silly now when I say it). And ever since, we've been inseparable.

We celebrated our first year of marriage together last Sunday. Lots of people tell you the first year is the hardest, but they're wrong. It was the best year of my life!

Do you have a Love Story you think is worthy of a feature? Send submissions to gwenisinlove {at} gmail dot com


Anniversary Date

This was a good week. A really good week. Husband and I celebrated another anniversary. I LOVE celebrating our anniversary. Our wedding day was truly the happiest day of my life. The commitment we made together is strong and powerful and I treasure it more than anything. We go all out for our special day.

This year, we got all fancied up and went to the (almost) most expensive restaurant in town. Afterwards Husband surprised me and took me to Lowe's. Sounds random, but we went into Lowe's on our first date, so it was really quite romantic. We walked around and imagined the changes and improvements we would someday make on our 1100 square foot home. It was a perfect night.

Want to know what I wore? OK!:

The fabulous Casablanca dress from Shabby Apple. I used this coupon code for 10% Off and Free Shipping: Fall10off (Offer expires November 20)

Darling earings I picked up from Crush Jewels. Aren't they beautiful?:

And I finished my outfit off with a pop of color with this unique, handmade clutch from Annilyn Green's Etsy shop:

When is your anniversary? How do you and your love muffin like to celebrate?


Feelin' Sexy Friday -- Facebook

Did you know you can feel sexy everyday -- not just on Friday -- with Facebook? It's true. "Like" Gwen in Love on Facebook and receive updated blog posts and status updates.

Oh look! There I am. Just click the fancy little button below. And be sure to tell your friends so they can have a rockin' hot marriage too :)


Vulvodynia -- Reader Experience

Here's an email I received from a reader:

While my husband and I do have an AWESOME love story I think the story of when our marriage was not so rocking hot is a much better/ more needed story to tell. I've actually been trying to think of how to get my story out there somewhat annonymously. I think its important for young newlywed good girls to hear.

The hubs and I got married last December and both of us had saved ourself for eachother and we were so glad we did! We had an amazing and romantic honeymoon just like I think both of us imagined ;) However, when we got home, the first time we tried it out in our new apartment I knew something wasn't right. It burned and stung and itched and was miserable.

I wrote it off as a yeast infection and after monostat made me feel like little crawly things were inside me, I finally went to the DR. They have me the standard diflucam (not sure on the spelling!) and sent me home, even though I wasn't testing positive for yeast- they figured the monostat had killed it but I was still being bothered. That worked for a little bit but every once in a while it would still hurt either during or after.


I went to my school's health center and got passed between general doctors and the gyno who each gave me conflicting advice. "Do it so you can get used to it (basically stop being a whimp and RELAX)" and "Don't do it- give yourself a break!" The gynocologist was the one who told us to still do it and try wierd things like putting yogurt INSIDE me (EWE!!! There are conflicting opinions on if this is actually good for you and/ or works, so if you are told to do this, make your own deicision. I just couldn't handle it so I didn't do it for very long) and baking soda soaks and stuff.

After a while I still knew something was wrong so I kept whining. The gyno finally sent me to a dermo telling me he no longer had any clue what do it. I honestly just felt like he was passing me off because he was sick of me and didn't truly believe anything was wrong.

Like I said, we were married in December, this was now March. Even when we were told to do it, I was only doing it for my husband. I hated it and it usually ended in tears. My husband was as supportive as he knew how to be but I think the mean gyno put ideas in his head that maybe I was just faking it and didn't like sex and/ or wasn't attracted to him. Poor boy- that still breaks my heart!

The dermo was much more symmpathetic but still after ruling out a few skin conditions was stumped. She took pictures and sent them to a few of her "mentors" accross the country.
However, I hadn't heard back from her in a while and the pain had become unbareable, even though we hadn't had sex in months (it was now May). In an act of desperation (and maybe inspiration) I called my health center again demanding to see another doctor NOW. I lucked in to getting an appointment with a doctor who had seen girls with my problem before. About an hour before my appointment the dermo finally called and told me what her colleagues suggested which was a disease called Vulvodynia- basically pain of the labia. I'm not quite sure exactly what it is but I know what it is not- its not an infection and not an STD.

At my appointment at the health center I told the new doctor what the dermo said and he said it sounded right and suggested I see a pelvic pain specialist in Salt Lake City. I was so grateful my husband went to all of my appointments with me and was so supportive. He still treated me like a princess and we did our best to keep the romance alive.

The dermo gave me anti-depressants that were supposed to dull the pain (and completely screwed with my mood and made me more depressed than I already was given the whole situation) and sent me to a physical therapist (most awkward experience of my life but I have heard it works for a lot of women). I tried these two solutions out since the specialist couldn't get me in for weeks. They didn't work (the therapist told me my circumstances were too severe for what she could do).

When I finally met with the specialist it was first time I felt like all of this was finally over. He saw me a few times just to confirm that this was indeed vestibulitis, a form of vulvodynia, and I ended up having surgery in July where they snipped off the hyper-sensitive skin. We just got the green light to try things out a week ago (now that we have been married 10 months and have no clue what a normal sex life is haha). Everything is fine so far and there is no more pain!! Thank goodness my story has a happy ending and I have a wonderful husband who held my hand through it all and made sure I knew that he loved me even though I felt like I couldn't show him how much I loved him.

Some stories of this disease dont' have a happy ending. My doctor told me of one girl he helped who's husband couldn't handle a temporarily sexless marriage and anulled it. But the point I want to get accross is that if something doesn't feel right- and especially if it hurts- don't be afraid to speak up. At first people might not believe you like they didn't believe me. They might tell you just to relax or lead you on a wild goose chase. Don't give up though! Don't settle for living in pain! You know your body better than anyone else- listen to it!! And fight for the help and support you need/ deserve.

Here is a video clip from the Dr. Oz show explaining What Causes Vulvodynia.


Votes For Marriage!

Did you vote yesterday, girls? I did. I love voting day. The campaign posters scattered all over lawns, the red, white, and blue, the hanging chads. It's all fabulous!

Now that your political vote has been cast, it's time to head on over to The Marry Blogger to nominate your favorite marriage blog. And I'll be crossing my fingers that it's me ;) I have loved being a part of the marriage blogger community and getting to know all of you. Each comment, email, and follower has motivated and encouraged me. My heart is full of love and appreciation for each one of you, dear readers. This is a community we have truly built together and I thank you. What a gift it has been to dedicate time each day to think about and build a better marriage. Have you noticed an improvement in your marriage? I have.

Here's what you do:

1. Nominate your Favorite Marriage Blog via the form here (you will be notified via email about the Finalists and Top 10), or leave a comment on this post

2. One vote per person…if you have more than one, only the first will be counted

3. Please Include the URL of the blog

4. Give a reason for your choice

5. Go back to vote for your favorite Finalist for the Top 10 List starting November 24

You have until November 23rd to vote. But why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?


Orgasm? Hitachi Magic Wand

Many of you, dear readers, have sent emails describing your search for an earth-shattering, mind-blowing, marital orgasm. And some of you would settle for ANY kind of orgasm. No matter your orgasmic status, you need search for the magic no further than the Hitachi Magic Wand. This vibrator has two speed settings: high and really freaking high. This is the vibrator women turn to when they aren’t messing around. It’s been branded as the “orgasm every time vibrator.”

Hitachi Magic Wand is somewhat of a dinosaur. But there is a reason this prehistoric vibrator won’t die. It’s good. Really, really good. The strong vibrations can be attributed to the power source. No wimpy C batteries here. The wand plugs into the wall. Do you know what kinds of powerful appliances plug into the wall? Blenders, vacuum cleaners, shoot – washing machines! You get that kind of power between the sheets and you’ll be smoking cigarettes in no time. But seriously, please don’t smoke cigarettes. You’ll get cancer and die and have a sad lonely husband.

  • 6’1” long reaching cord for easy maneuverability
  • 12” long and 2.5” in diameter
  • Great for the hubby too! It's commonly used to help with erectile dysfunction or arousal issues
  • Comes in discreet packaging
  • Even if you can already orgasm, this will help you learn to orgasm in new ways and different positions with your husband!

(The vibrations may be a bit too strong for some at first. Try separating yourself and the toy with a blanket or towel.)

Here is a little video demonstration from Babeland (Babeland.com does a great job at keeping your purchase discreet, so no fear of Gladys Kravitz or your 16-year-old son being included in your love life):

Have you tried this toy? What do you think? Would you recommend it to others?


Overcoming Painful Sex: A Reader Experience

Here's an experience that a reader emailed me hoping it could help others who may be dealing with similar issues.


For me, sex, was pain. It was physically impossible for me to get him inside me at all. I've been married a little over two years and had sex for the first time 8 months ago!! Yikesabee right?! I was in a world of confusion, pain, and shame. No one ever mentioned to me that there was a possibility that I would not be able to have sex, so I was like....what's wrong with me?!! Unfortunately, even though my mother is AMAZING, I felt even more depressed after speaking to her about the problem. She told me to just "tough it out" and treated me like I was purposefully withholding sex and being immature. Most of my friends got married around the time I did and I remember one of my friends telling me that on her honeymoon her and husband got bored of having sex so much. I could have screamed. I felt completely alone.

(I should note immediately that my husband was/is the most incredibly patient, gentle, loving man in the world. He never made me feel abandoned or broken, but I felt broken compared to everyone else, so, the struggle felt solitary.)

After many months of excruciatingly painful sexual attempts, usually ending in tears (imagine what that did for our minds, hearts, and libido) I began to research. Surely I wasn't the only one in the universe with a problem like this. I went to my gyno but she was extremely unhelpful and acted like my problem was irrelevant to her. So I found myself a new Dr. That helped, but only a bit. She was a bit stumped as I had never had previous sexual experience, been the victim of a sexual attack, or raised to think sex was impure. I looked online and discovered that my condition was called "vaginismus." I found a site that sold kits to help treat it, and there were a lot of web discussions from people with my same issue, or ones very similar! Hallelujah! I was not alone! I ordered the kit and my husband and I read the book that came with it and attempted the treatment, but honestly, it did nothing for me, and I soon gave it up.

Now I felt like a failure again. I wasn't even working on my condition with the tools I had purchased! Was I the laziest person on Earth?! No. Didn't I want to have an amazing sex life??! Yes!! And that's when it came to me (and when I say "came to me" I don't mean that it came completely out of the blue out of my own wisdom; there were many, many hours of prayer and fasting that I connect with this epiphany and I do not claim any credit that belongs to Him).

What did I want? Sex? Sort of. Too me, at this point, sex=pain. What I really wanted was pleasure. I wanted to be pleasured. I had found sufficient ways to pleasure my husband, and he had been doing everything to "get" me but I realized I was always so stressed out because I knew eventually I would have to try sex. And I would fail. Thus I never felt very pleasured. So. I decided, screw sex. Screw it! I was going to get mine!

And that's what my husband and I did. For months. It required quite a bit of time after fooling around, to take deep breaths and push my stresses away, and then we would begin pleasuring me. This was achieved almost completely by my bff, vibrator. Ladies, if you do not have a vibrator, you must have super orgasm power, because I learned real fast, that was my ticket to success. (Gwen has great posts about this and discusses why this works so well, read them!)

Anyhow, once my brain was trained to enjoy pleasure from my husband, we introduced "the main guy" to the proceedings. He mostly just hung back and didn't do much, but eventually we just concentrated on keeping him near the base of my vagina, and then slowly, over weeks and weeks, worked him further and further in. My brain, and vagina, learned that even when he is around, pleasure doth still abound. And in fact, pretty soon, he was giving me a lot of pleasure on his own. Then one day, after all our hard work building up to it (breathing deep, clearing my mind, vibrating for the life of me) he was in! And it was a miracle! We rejoiced exceedingly!

I gave myself about a week and a half before I agreed to try again (not wanting to give myself too much pressure to perform, for I learned that pressure is a sex stopper). We did it again! And again! Until now, I can get him in fairly quickly, ya know, for me. We are insanely grateful!! I feel like so many people take sex for granted. I even assumed when I first got married that sex was just part of the package deal. Oh boy was I wrong, right? But my husband and I appreciate being able to have sex together more than almost all the couples we know. We worked our tails off for it and we treasure the fruits of our labor.

Since then, I have spoken with many girls about this issue because I don't want anyone to ever feel as alone as I felt or to have to taste of that despair. As it turns out, no one has a perfect sex life like I had originally assumed, go figure. We can all work to be better, more giving, and most importantly, open to pleasure. I am so thrilled about Gwen in Love because she is open and excited about sex! I do not believe that there is anything to be gained by keeping silent on this topic, especially after my experience. Let's enjoy the blessing we've been given to experience and give pleasure and never take it for granted!


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