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Show Your Partner You Love Them (Through Spanking)

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SPANKING

Wishing your lover would take a bit more control in the bedroom? Frustrated by his hesitation to be the boss while you happily submit? Don’t know how to bring this up without embarrassment and possible disappointment?

You are not alone!

Though there are a number of respectful and knowledgeable books on the market that inform new practitioners about the hands-on aspects of BDSM, what seems to be missing, or at least downplayed, are the psychological complexities many new fans are encountering.

An answer to your disappointment about your partner not taking the lead may come from an example from a client of mine.

Tom, a 53-year-old heterosexual man arrived in my office concerned about the sexual requests he was getting from his girlfriend of two years. She had told him she wanted more experimentation in their sex lives, and suggested some props. He enjoyed her sexy new outfits and picking her up in a bar while pretending they were strangers, but when she then asked him to spank her, he found himself in a quandary.

Raised by ardent feminists, he knew well the rules about “hitting” women. When he attempted to please his lover with a light spanking, she begged for more — and harder. Tom soon began to avoid sex rather than confront his anxiety. He felt torn between being a “good man” and a “good lover.” He came to me worried about his role and the future of the relationship.

Like you, Tom is in good company. Many people, regardless of gender, confront how BDSM intersects with abuse. The surface answer is simple: consent. If everyone playing clearly agrees with what is happening, it is not abuse.

The more complex answer is that, even with unambiguous and enthusiastic consent, it can be difficult to lay hands on another person. It goes against our ethics and our lifelong messages about not hitting another person. It can feel beyond naughty and sometimes downright evil.

What to do?

  • First of all, talk to your lover about your feelings. Ask for their views on what’s hot and what’s not and share yours.
  • Make lists comprised of What I Like, What I Would Like to Try, and What’s Off the Table, and then discuss those lists. Talk about your fantasies and fears. Negotiate your differences while you celebrate your similarities.
  • Establish safe words to be used if any of your limits are threatened, even unintentionally.
  • Proceed slowly…not with caution but with a sense of exploration. Add to your inventory of desired behaviours as you each and both become comfortable.

Tom found that following these tips led to increased vulnerability and intimacy with his girlfriend. In fact, ‘kinksters’ credit this open communication with strengthening their bond as well as keeping their sex lives hot and fresh.

If you long for more intense stimulation, or if someone you love is asking for more, consider how confronting your old messages and trusting in honest communication can enhance an already rewarding experience.

Trying new things is often scary. What is sad is allowing your fear to cost you growth and adventure!

Reconsidering Resolutions

Reconsidering Resolutions

With winter’s weather reminding us it is still January even while our memories of eggnog and wrapping paper are rapidly fading, those of us who dutifully write New Year’s resolutions are likely sorting them into two categories, self-congratulatory “Hey, I’m doing well”s and self-critical “Whatever was I thinking?”s.

Much of the difference hinges on the reason behind our resolution. If we choose a goal from our own heart, we tend to succeed. It’s the ‘shoulds’ that we resist.

Take a second look at your resolutions. Re-evaluate them. Do you really want to quit smoking, or did you list that because you know it’s bad for your health? It’s important that we realize that guilt and shame are poor motivators.

Another barrier to success with our resolutions is that our goals may be too vague. “Become a better person” is an admirable goal, but how do we measure our success? And do we need to wait until next New Year’s Eve for the thrill of checking it off the list?

The solution to more successful follow through is to break that goal into manageable pieces. For instance, your partner would certainly consider you a better person if you mentioned every day something that you appreciated about your life together. Try that consistently for a few weeks and I’ll bet you get some positive feedback to boost your motivation! Or set a reminder to bring a special gift home once a month for no reason except to say “You’re special to me”. Wouldn’t that make you feel like a better person? And you’d be assured of continual positive response as the year progressed.

As a sex therapist, I cannot resist encouraging you to include a resolution to improve your sex life in the coming year. If you are single and happily so, resolve to expand and enrich your fantasy life. Indulge yourself in a new book, video or toy. If you long for a partner, make this the year that you pen a sparkling profile—and post it! Go on that blind date; join that group.

If you are coupled, the goal to enrich your relationship can be narrowed down to “How can I better access my erotic courage?” or “How can I better reach my spouse romantically and sexually?” To accomplish this, you may need more individual space to remember what you longed for. Perhaps give your love an evening out per week to take a class or see friends while you arrange something special with the kids. Or perhaps you have grown apart and need to find ways to rebuild intimacy. In this case, a no-interruptions weekend getaway may be just the ticket. Resolve to return to balance, one step at a time, in whichever direction is appropriate.

This may be the year to put into motion that plan to come out, to tell your sexual secret, to ask for what you really want in bed. Now that the end-of-year pressure has passed but the year is still new, reconsider what you would like to accomplish for yourself in 2013.

Toss out those other-directed resolutions and replace them with goals in which you vote for yourself. Break the year long goals into bite sized pieces and don’t forget to check off your progress. Your sense of pride and accomplishment, and likely your improved relationships, will make you glad you reconsidered your resolutions.

 

 

Responding to ‘Playing Doctor’

Responding to ‘Playing Doctor’

playing doctor

It’s common for our children to surprise us with how fast they are growing. As a child I always looked forward to the packages that arrived seasonally from my year-older cousins, full of wonderful clothes just ready for me. My mother packed up similar boxes for my younger cousins, greeted with equal enthusiasm, I’m sure.

Our kids slip through sexual development stages, too, not so easily marked by tight shoes and tee shirts that no longer cover our tummies. We sometimes miss them, too, because we ignore them, embarrassed by the topic of sexuality in general and particularly by the subject of our children’s sexuality. Understandable enough, but this can leave us caught off guard and unprepared for the inevitable situations when we must respond to our kids growing up.

Just the other day I got a call from Jane, a young mother of two unsure of how to deal with something that had just happened.  A couple of neighbourhood children were over for a play date, and while the six-year-olds played in the rec room and the baby napped, she was preparing snacks.

When she heard the baby fussing, she went to attend to him and passed the rec room door. She thought she saw her six-year-old hopping off a table and rearranging her clothes, but she wasn’t sure. Jane was ripping down the hallway to a crying baby and hadn’t really been paying attention. What had she really seen?

When she had gotten the baby, she entered the rec room. The kids were playing house as usual and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Still…

Jane called me immediately.

“They’re only six!,” she cried. “I didn’t punish them because I wasn’t sure, but surely I should do something. Should I forbid those children from coming over again? What should I say to my daughter?”

Jane’s reaction was typical. She was surprised to find her youngster expressing sexual curiosity and suspected that this exploration should be stifled.

I asked Jane what happened when she was caught playing doctor as a child. She asked how I knew that had happened and I chuckled, responding that almost everyone plays that game, and most are caught. I went on to explain that at around five or six, children reach a maturational age when they become intensely curious about all sorts of scientific things, their bodies included. They are at this stage aware of the differences between males and females, but are mightily confused about those differences. And they want to know!

If your children live in a home where nudity is not the norm, or where they lack the opportunity to interact with opposite gender siblings during bath time and dressing, they will find ways to satisfy their curiosity about how boys’ and girls’ bodies differ. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” is one effective method of getting an answer. Playing doctor is another.

These kids are not perverse—they’re curious. Their motivation in what we consider their sex play is not sexual in adult terms. They want to see and possibly touch, but their aim is to learn the similarities and differences in their anatomies. They may well have discovered the pleasure of masturbation—and wonder how good someone else’s body feels—but their behaviours are fueled by curiosity rather than the emotional crushes that blossom years later.

How should you handle the situation?

Not by punishing, not by isolating. If you happen into a room with a group of children playing doctor, be assured that the activity will stop immediately of its own accord. Be graceful. Apologize for interrupting and back out swiftly, as though you had seen nothing. Those kids will want to believe you missed it.

But that’s not all. Your job has just begun. This is your cue that your child (and the other children) has reached the maturational threshold to want and need accurate information about how their bodies are constructed and changing. Let the other parents know what happened in a positive, matter-of-fact way.

Inform yourself and then inform your child. Get books geared to their level and teach them respect and pride in their bodies. Yes, you may be a little embarrassed at first. It passes.

If for no other reason, do this to abuse-proof your kids. That’s right, children who know proper names for their body parts, and who feel pride and ownership over their bodies, are poor targets for predators. If your children know they can talk to you about sex from early on, they will.

“I’m glad I called,” sighed Jane. “This feels much better than how I might have handled this.”

“Don’t lose my number,” I laughed, “There are lots more stages ahead!”

 

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