Shy Erotica

This list includes more mild forms of erotica and romance that you could use in your relationship.
  • Reminisce about how you fell in love. Tell him what you loved/love about him.
  • Public Displays of Affection. Hold hands, rub his back, play with his hair, nibble his ear, kiss etc.
  • Try to inconspicuously rub or grab his butt (or other things) while out.
  • Have a make out session. Better yet, make out somewhere outside of your home.
  • Write love notes on the shower wall.
  • Get dressed in front of your husband in the morning. Ask him to help you put your bra on.
  • Plan a relaxing night in. Send the kids away.
  • Get out for a couples massage.
  • Massage each other at home.
  • Send him out on a mission to choose some lingerie for you.
  • Go buy lingerie together.
  • Wear lingerie out on your date under your clothing and subtly give him a little sneak peek for when you get back home.
  • Do the housework in lingerie. Change in to your lingerie before he gets home from work.
  • Watch a romantic movie together.
  • Read a romantic book or poetry.
  • Do Sensate Focus.
  • Compile sensual music that gets you both in the mood.
  • Incorporate food (e.g. strawberries, whipped cream, honey)
  • Light some scented candles. Scents such as jasmine, lavender, and ylang ylang are said to be aphrodisiacs, but do your research.
  • Write love notes in emails or texts. Talk dirty.
  • Meet for your lunch break at home.
  • Take control of a sexual encounter.
I'm working on another list with some ideas that may require a bit more bravery and higher comfort level, but I thought I'd start by sharing this one.

What other suggestions do you have?


Sex Stopper -- Criticism

Do you find that you are being highly critical of your spouse and/or other people around you? It's not attractive and it's not helping anyone. Are you being critical because you're on edge and stressed? What are you trying to accomplish? What's the real feeling behind it? There are more productive ways to suggest a change or express your sadness, anger or disappointment.

Cut the criticism.

John Gottman, a prominent marriage & family researcher and therapist, considers criticism to be one of the warning signs that a marriage could be headed for trouble. Do your best to catch yourself and learn how to better offer critiques or even complaints without attacking another person for who they are.


Guest Blogger -- Unwanted Porn Use in Marriage

Pornography is always a hard topic to talk about. You never know how people feel about it. In a marriage it can be extremely dangerous. So what's the key to keeping your romance life in check when your spouse is "keeping their jollies to themselves?"

First off is recognizing the signs. If your spouse has no desire to have sex, I believe that would be the first sign. If they keep to themselves a lot, don't let you check their browser history or often delete it, those would also be sure signs. Also if they used to have a high sex drive but "seem" to not anymore, I'd keep an eye out for it. So let's say they do look at pornography. Now is the time that you take the next step. Confrontation.

Just ask. Nicely. Don't come out with your guns blaring and ready for a fight. Tell them that you have your suspicions and just want to know the truth. Also mention that you want them to feel free to talk to you about it. Especially if it is something that you do not approve of. And more important than anything: BE THE KIND OF PERSON THEY CAN TALK TO! I can't stress that enough. If you get mad every time they mention they slip up, or are having a hard day, chances are they will just stop talking to you.

One thing to remember as a spouse of a pornography addict is this: this is NOT about you. You are going to feel hurt, betrayed, even angry. DO NOT express these feelings when they arise. The only time you should ever talk to the addict about these feelings is when you are calm, collected, and caring. Your spouse is already feeling guilty and ashamed. So if you express these emotions right when they surface, you are telling your spouse that you don't care how they are feeling. You're taking the focus off of his problem, and putting the focus on you. Never EVER do this. The moment you do, whatever progress you've made in communicating about his addiction, will have taken numerous steps backwards. His addiction isn't meant to hurt you. And most importantly, it doesn't mean he doesn't love you. He hasn't cheated on you. It doesn't matter that you feel like he has, he hasn't. Once the problem is out in the open, chances are he will be wary of accepting any outside help. If you plan on staying married to him, you need to be patient.

Pornography is an addiction that is worse than any drug. They are going to have it for the rest of their life. This isn't to say they will never stop viewing pornography. Just that you will BOTH have to struggle and fight for the rest of his life. Again, if you plan on staying married to him, you now need to be gentle, patient and extremely compassionate as you encourage them to get help. Ultimatums should be avoided in all but the most extreme cases, and never mention divorce. Stay at your parents or a friends house if you must, but divorce is not a threat, it's a death sentence to your marriage. Show willingness to listen, accept and love them despite their problem.

Now how to help them stop? Encourage them to talk to religious leaders, go to support groups, seek counseling and friends that have/had the same problem. As your spouse goes through this, do the same thing. Talk to religious leaders, seek out support groups. Friends are different, you have to ask permission to speak to one of your friends about it. If you do not get permission, and do it anyway, your communication on the subject will dramatically decrease. You broke trust! Suggest that you put passwords on the computer. Ask them if it's okay if at the end of everyday you ask how they did that day. Go through the browser history of your computer together. Use the computer in a public room. If Internet is on their phone, see if their is a way to get it removed or check up on it or install a phone Internet filter.

Most important above all this though, have sex. Lots and lots of sex. Even if you aren't in the mood to do it, the best way to avoid a spouse masturbating, is if the urge is constantly being taken away. It also wouldn't hurt to spice things up a bit. Maybe what the spouse is craving is a little spice. Lingerie, different positions, dirty talk or toys. Obviously you would talk about these things beforehand, see what you are both comfortable with.

The biggest thing though is communication. Talk about everything. Now these aren't professional opinions. Just opinions of many who have dealt with the same thing. Things will get better as long as you have a calm and open heart and trust your spouse, even when it's hard.

I would add that pornography isn't always about sex. Even if you try to increase how often you're having sex, it may not affect their pornography addiction at all. But in most cases where pornography is an addiction, it's something they have learned to do to cope with stress, anxiety, boredom or something else. An addiction is an addiction. Even if life is going better in another area, the addiction will still be there. It takes time and a lot of work in different areas to overcome.

If you are the spouse of an addict, make sure you are seeking help and support yourself. It's usually not helpful to vent to your spouse how extremely hurt you're feeling right from the beginning. Eventually, this is appropriate, but probably not at first as it may push them away and feed into their feelings of shame. You still need somebody to talk to along the way and you need to be available for your spouse to talk to. I also don't usually have addicts fully disclose to their spouse if I think it might be harmful. Some couples do better with full disclosure upfront and others don't really want to know or prefer gradual disclosure over time.


My Thoughts on Pornography

I'm very appreciative of all the comments different views on the Ask The Audience-- Pornography post. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

Some have asked for my opinion so I'll share.

My thoughts on pornography stem from my training and research, experience working with many couples, families and individuals in counseling as well as more personal experiences with friends and family. I realize that not all of you will agree with me, but I hope we can still have respectful dialogue.

Pornography is intended to cause sexual arousal. There are varying forms of pornography from soft porn to hardcore. There are varying story lines or not, varying types and levels of violence or not, varying characters, varying levels of reality etc. Regardless of all of these types- the purpose is still to cause sexual arousal.

There is some research that suggests the addictive power of pornography. I've certainly seen some individuals in therapy for starting out with a little bit here and there and developing an addiction that they are disgusted with and feeling shameful of themselves. Some of these people have religious or moral beliefs against pornography and others don't. I've seen some in therapy that view hours and hours of porn each day and don't even realize the extent of their viewing until history logs are reviewed. Spouses may begin to wonder if their partner is thinking of them or someone else during sex. I've seen couples come in where the husband has a porn addiction and the wife has an eating disorder. I believe they are related. More women are viewing pornography than ever before. The pornography industry will continue coming up with more extreme sexual portrayals, means to distribute and will continue to grow.

Pornography is meant to be individualistic, self-gratifying, and sexually arousing. Pornography can create a false sense of being wanted and needed, an escape from reality. Masturbating is a simple way to ease anxiety, feel gratified and sexual. As I stated earlier, I find it interesting that most people view pornography alone. I think people intuitively realize that pornography is objectifying. Most people don't openly broadcast when they're going to go look at porn and masturbate or even that they do it at all. The sexual response cycle is naturally meant to be a bonding experience as oxytocin is released so I think it's important for couples to have this experience together as much as possible.

I know that a main argument in favor of pornography in a marriage is that it can spice things up. I believe sex can still be fun and exciting without pornography. In my opinion, the risks of pornography outweigh the possible benefits. With the couples I've worked with where desire and arousal are difficult, they have found other methods. I don't usually recommend viewing pornography to improve a couples sex life. However, I recommend varying types of erotica within a relationship.

If you and your spouse have found either pornography or erotica useful in your relationship then I applaud you for expanding your sexual repertoire out and doing what works for you! I believe each couple should find what works well for them. As a counselor, I am open with my clients about my opinions and the research I am familiar with and will work with each couple to find what best fits them.

For those that asked, I've heard Candida Royalle makes some tasteful couple-oriented pornography. She has also written a book.

Feel free to read the following links from Psychology Today for some references to research:
Cupid's Poisoned Arrow
Not All Warnings about Porn are Moralistic or Unscientific
The End of the Porn Debate?


Slice of Advice -- Date Each Other

Too often couples get caught in a dating rut. They either just go to dinner and a movie or don't even go out any more. They think it's too much of a hassle, they already have their great catch, their spouse already knows they love them, why waste the money... Wrong! It's worth it! Keep the spark alive!

Make sure that you and your hubby are dating each other. You might think you know everything about him already, but you don't. You still have plenty to talk to each other. Plan a nice night out on the town, get dressed up for each other, plan a great evening inside with a themed dinner date, go try something new.

Be creative.

Feel free to comment with great dates you've had in the past and exchange ideas here.


Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a great day to celebrate womanhood whether you have children or not.

Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

I'm hoping to be able to relax a bit and not have to worry too much about cooking, cleaning and/or children.

Did you get or do anything special for Mother's Day? What's your idea of a thoughtful gift?


Slice of Advice -- Turn off Electronics

Turn your phone off. Turn off the TV. Turn off the games. Turn off the computer. Maybe even spend a whole day (or more) without these things.

Take the time to actually BE with each other. Fully engaged in the moment. Give each other your full attention.

Then, go turn off the lights and have some fun!


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