Friendship

The Politics of Sex

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I really don’t know how to begin today’s article because I am shocked every time this subject comes up. And it comes up often in my candid conversations. So, let’s just put it out there; people in close, intimate relationships are afraid to have good, satisfying sex! There, I said it! Now, I may be over generalizing, but I am certain that this is fact, not opinion. Yes, folks are having sex. Yes they are getting the job done. But, there is this other level that my readers, and friends tell me about that drives me insane!

Let me share a story with you in order to set the stage for the conversation. This is a recap of a recent discussion with a female friend:

Rita: I know you spend a lot of time writing and coaching people about their relationships. Can I ask you a few questions?

Me: Sure

Rita: Things are okay in my relationship with my boyfriend, but he won’t talk to me. I try to get him to but he doesn’t really say anything. What should I do?

Me: When you say he doesn’t talk, what does that mean? Is he quite, avoiding? Does he ignore you?

Rita: Oh, we talk but when I ask him a question he says he will think about it and let me know in the next day or so.

Me: What kind of questions make him take so much time to answer?

Rita: You know, all the usual stuff. Do you love me? Am I the only one for you? Do I please you in bed? Nothing out of the norm.

Me: Well, what’s there for you when you ask him?

Rita: What do you mean, what’s there for me?

Me: I mean, you’re asking interesting questions, but why those questions? What’s there for you? Do you love him? Is he the only one for you? Does he please you in the bedroom?

Rita: Oh, I see what you mean now. I am asking because I have those concerns about me. Is that it?

Me: I don’t know but let’s take a look. Can you answer the questions?

Rita: I think I love him, yes. I feel that he is good for me. And we have a reasonable sex life.

Me: I hear you trailing off through the answers. Is there something there about the sex?

Rita: No, we have a good sex life and it happens often enough. Nothing crazy, but good.

Me: What’s missing that’s not there now?

Rita: Well, I like things a little “freakier” if you know what I mean. He is just very “vanilla” about sex. But it’s fine, we are really good together. It’s not a problem.

Me: How does it go when the two of you talk about spicing up the sex life?

Rita: Oh! I couldn’t talk to him about that! I mean not SEX!

And that’s when the “You’ve got to be shitting me” warning bell went off in my head! Further discussion revealed that Rita was very interested in a more exciting sex life. And not only was she unwilling to talk to her boyfriend about it, she could not imagine herself doing those things with him! She said that she was thinking of cheating in order to get this part of her life fulfilled. Here she was blaming him for lack of discussion and she was holding back BIG things. She was asking him if they were committed to each other and she wasn’t. She was asking if the sex life was good, knowing she was unhappy and unfulfilled. And the saddest part of it all was that she would not entertain the possibility of a discussion. No way, it wasn’t going to happen. End of story.

We Fool Ourselves

In Rita’s case, she was looking to her boyfriend to fix what she wanted without telling him. She was blaming him for her lack of sexual fulfillment. She knew that there was a deep desire within her to have a wilder sexual relationship, but couldn’t picture it with him. WHY?

Why, when we have perfect partners in every other regard, are we willing to settle for something less in our sex lives? The real answer here is fear. We are afraid to have open discussions about sex, even when it’s with our sex partners. But we are also fooling ourselves into thinking that our partner would never be willing to have such a conversation.

I asked Rita if she would consider the possibility of the discussion and she flatly said “No”. She was cutting of any chance of getting what she really wanted with her boyfriend and resigned herself to cheating or being unfulfilled. It stuns me every time I hear it. And I hear it a lot.

Quit Fooling Yourself!

Just think of the possibilities within Rita’s relationship if she were to open the dialogue of having better sex with her partner. Does anyone truly feel that her man would not want to discuss it or just listen. HELL NO! He’s a man for the love of all that is holy! We love sex.

When my girlfriend says she wants to try something new in the bedroom, I become singularly focused with such an intensity that I feel like a sexual super hero. I want to know every detail of what she’s thinking and talk it through. We greatly enjoy the conversational fore play of new ideas and thoughts. The difference is that we have adjusted our dialogue to include sex, fantasies, and new ideas. We have consciously made the choice to offer up any ideas that come to mind and explore the possibility of adding them to our sex lives.

So, I suggest that if Rita, and others like her, should give this a try. Get to the place in your relationship where anything goes within the conversation. It’s only words and they don’t hurt. Don’t make the discussion anything other than what it is, an opportunity to talk about sex with your partner.

Make it beautiful, make it sexy, make it dirty, but just do it!

How to Make it Happen

So where do we start? Great question…

Without reinventing the wheel I will offer up some ways to jump into the conversation with relative ease and safety. Here at RLA we have been building a base of materials for our readers to pull from and I went back through the last few months to find help. Jay Simcic wrote a great piece about our inabilities to read minds. I think this is a good starting point for couples. Read the article and begin the discussion. Here is the one I am recommending: Men and Women Read Minds Poorly .

Then Jay hit another home run with What Does it Take to Turn a Guy On? . This has some silliness in it, but the last part really brings home the point.

Then a few of my offerings to assist with furthering the conversation. These include The Language of Love , Listening Like a Lover and Relationship Boundaries . I recommend that people share these with their partners and find out where they are in the relationship. I feel that you may get a big surprise. At the very least some hot conversation.

Let’s all stop fooling ourselves into thinking we are different and that our partners don’t have the same or similar desires. We are human beings and sex is part of what we do for reproduction and pleasure. Why not enjoy it to the fullest? I find that I don’t get everything every time I engage my girlfriend in conversation, but I get way more than if I just wished about it. Stop wishing and start sharing. I dare you…

Let me know how it goes or if we can help. And don’t hesitate to send me a follow up question.

Until next time…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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What’s Your Style of Fore Play?

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Now before you go down a different road, let me explain the question.

Recently, while in a coaching session, I was discussing results of a group interaction with my team leader. The team leader is another coach. We covered quite a few areas of human behavior within and without the group. I had an issue with one of my group in that she was not responding as I had wished. Further, I was having difficulty probing her and gaining information to motivate her into action. It may seem odd that I write this blog about how to make things work with relationships and then I myself have the same or similar problems. I even discussed this in a recent article, the link is here for you to review: Making Any Relationship Work . I should think this  proves that even coaches need coaches.

This reality exists with us all. You see, we are the same at every level of our existence and no problem, behavior or issue is new to human kind. So yes, I have the same troubles. But my team leader was generous enough to share a perspective with me that I had not yet discovered. When I explained what I perceived to be road blocks in the discussion with my teammate, and that I would shut off the conversation at the point I thought the resistance would go to hurt feelings, he asked if this was “fore play”?

Fore play? I had never considered the context outside of the implied sexual content. His point was that we all have a style of fore play that brings us to the main act. So let ask again; What’s your style of fore play?

Fore Play in Everyday Life?

Given that the woman I was attempting to coach is a very nice, educated, hard-working adult and I could not get what I wanted. There had to be more I was missing. I gave up in the conversation and possibly didn’t provide her enough space to open up and join in the conversation because, in her mind, the fore play was not over.

What a concept! It makes my outlook on conversational resistance change 180 degrees! Is it possible that people have this need for a style and approach to conversation? YES! And to prove the theory I began a discussion and a fact finding mission. It’s not about being right, just finding a new distinction to share and create with.

My team leader went on about children. When a conversation takes place with a small child they are always eager to engage. They love the attention and the stimulation. Talking is new to them and they revel in it. Tell them to do their homework, take out the garbage, brush their teeth, go to bed, they know the end result, but does that stop them? Hell No! And here comes the fore play… Thousands of excuses, reasons why it can’t be done, asking for delays, pleading, but in the end, they just do it. Every child is different in the approach, but all children have this natural propensity to push back.

This is the set up for how engage in conversation throughout life. It doesn’t have to be bad or good, it’s just that we want to have a little massaging before we get to it. Now, knowing this gives me a new way to approach or look at how we get to the main act of life.

My team leader said he was certain that my girlfriend and I loved each other. I agreed.

He asked if there was ever a time when she would accompany me to an event that she really didn’t want to attend.

“Sure” I said, “There have been several occasions.”

“Did she argue or complain before going? And did you know she would support you in any case?” he went on.

I said, “Of course!”

“Consider this was her style of fore play”, he ended.

And It’s There Everyday

Now that I understand the reasoning and basic programing we all have about how we approach and are approached, I take the opportunity to view these “nuisances” as an availability to advance and progress the conversation. And having the distinction gives me great power in the conversation itself.

While I was writing this article, my girlfriend came into the office and asked that I hang a mirror in the bedroom. We relocated two weeks ago and both of us have been working hard to get the apartment in order. She was lucky enough to spend the pervious weekend at the beach leaving me to finish decorating and hanging pictures. So, rather than ask for a moment to finish, request that we do it another time, or just ignore her, I got up from my desk saying, “It’s not like I’m writing my article or anything important…”

Did you say, “Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed”?

And as I entered the bedroom, she asked,”Was that sarcasm I heard in your voice?”.

“Do it right now young man and no arguing!”

“No” I offered, “Just a little fore play”.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

As interesting as it is, and yet little known, this distinction can dramatically change how we react or interact with those in our lives. Just imagine the possibility of being in control of removing the fore play from the conversation and getting down to the “real thing”. Would you get more or less upset with your children? Would you be able to have a different kind of discussion with your relatives during the holiday seasons? Could you tolerate and understand the co-worker you have had issues with? The possibilities go on and on.

And now for the main act…

When she says, “I’m not in the mood”, is this her offer to begin fore play?

Don’t miss the sex because you don’t like the fore play. Relish it!

What’s that Dear? Yes, I’m almost finished…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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We’re Not in Kansas Anymore….

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The last several weekly articles have generated a debate that has fascinated me, the RLA staff and many readers. Here are the links to the two that started the conversation: Lights, Action, Drama!!!!!!!!!! and Attitude and Gratitude Check them out if you haven’t already.

The power of choice and the recognition of being in control of choosing has brought out stories that prove the point. At first it seemed odd that people around me made an argument of no possibility of choice and that we have no control over our emotions or how we react to situations. So, we here at RLA took a deeper dive and followed the rabbit down the hole. The first post addresses how we choose and the consequences of doing so. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by emotion, that too, is a choice.

The second post gave insight to the perspective in which we choose to live. I give several examples of how I and people around me make bold choices to do the right thing in the face of what could be considered “wrong”. The reality is that there is no “right’ or “wrong” but WE choose to make it into something that we can label and therefore be comfortable with. I like that we have a conversation going about our ability (or not) to choose how we act, react, and engage.

So, back to the stories… Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a woman named Savannah, who was gracious enough to discuss our web site and asked questions about what we do here at RLA. She was intrigued and shared many aspects of her life with me and my friends. She was open and direct and shared one story after another. Savannah had us all laughing about her family and their behavior.

During the discussion, the option of choice was brought up. We talked about how making choices and being in control brought a great position of power to any relationship. I offered that if we wanted the truth about any situation, our best bet was to ask a woman 70 years old or more. You see, my opinion is that there is no greater truth than that from an old woman. They have seen it all, lived it all and done it all. Furthermore, they have absolutely no reason to hold it back. They will fire the truth at you as if it were being shot out of a Remington model 1100, right between the eyes and with no regard to your feelings. You asked, they deliver. Old ladies are the Dominos pizza of truth, delivered right to your door, hot, fresh and under 30 minutes. “Does that dress make you look fat? Oh Honey! When you walked into to church this morning, I thought there was a college football game about to start. I mean, silver stripes just aint’ your thing Sweetie. Now, I don’t mean nothin’ by it, but if you want to keep that dress at least get some advertising for the back side.” And there you have it the double report from the model 1100 fired at point blank. I LOVE OLD WOMEN! They choose to live by their own rules.

And Savannah, once again, had a story. She has an aunt who, at the time, was 92 years old. And Aunt Janie liked to have things here way. She made no bones about it, she liked things to be a certain way based on her proper upbringing in the state of Georgia. You see, Aunt Janie had lived during a time when manners were taught and observed by everyone in the community and she was not about to let go of what she viewed as proper. In addition, Aunt Janie knew this was her choice. Her choice came with consequences but that was also fine by her. As Savannah explained, Aunt Janie was the kindest person you could meet. She loved company and was a gracious southern cook. Aunt Janie was as happy to have visitors at any time as most single older women are. But there was one thing she would not compromise. Aunt Janie was raised in a time when a visitor “called” before they arrived. As was the custom in her younger days, it was proper to schedule a visit, especially to the home of a single woman. And now was no different.

Savannah said that even though the family all knew of this “rule” some of them tried to visit unannounced. The results were less than spectacular. Every unannounced visitor found Aunt Janie sound asleep on the sofa facing the TV. And no matter how hard or often they knocked, no one could wake Aunt Janie. When Savannah told Aunt Janie that she had missed several visitors due to her afternoon napping, she was stunned to find out that Aunt Janie had missedd nothing. Her 92 year old aunt was playing opossum! She explained that she knew of each and every person who came calling and she feigned sleep rather than answer the door to an unannounced caller. She was set in her ways and no one was going to alter the proper nature of her rules. Aunt Janie further explained that she increased the volume of the television, slumped down into a sleeping position and watched through half open eyes as the company banged on her front door. How cool is that? At 92 years old, Aunt Janie was still saying, “Do it my way, or bite my A$$!”

In this case Aunt Janie made a choice, it had consequences and she lived by her rules. Love it or hate it she chose to conduct herself as she saw fit and I feel like that alone is enough to offer some respect.

So, this will wrap up my rant on choice unless there is more out there to discuss. The conversation has been stimulating and thank you to all of those who have shared in the dialogue. Keep choosing and offer the same to those in your life. You be surprised as to the results.

As always,
Love with no shame and ask with no fear.
Bobby

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Listening Like a Lover

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Listen First

             Up to this point I have written several posts about talking. Now don’t get me wrong, I want all my readers to engage in conversation. However I thought it a good time to reverse the tables just a bit and discuss the art of listening.

             Talking is the beginning of sharing our thoughts and ideas. But without a willing partner talking alone is akin to oral masturbation. If you’re doing it by yourself, the results can sometimes be less than spectacular. So when talking to each other, make certain that you have an active partner. If they are not interested or distracted, hold the conversation for a short while until things clear up and each of you can take an active role in the dialogue.

             With that said, it is equally important that you be a good listener and not just hear the spoken words. Listening can be a great way to pick up on subtle things that are conveyed through voice inflection and body language. In a relationship discussion what is not said can be more important than what is said. For example, if a partner uses the word “fine” to end an emotionally charged conversation while turning away and folding their arms, does it really mean “fine”. NO! It means exactly the opposite. Although this is an extreme example that could be picked up by the dumbest of all men, you get my point.

 

Why Is This Important?

 

            Regardless of the situation, by listening first, and I mean really listening, you put yourself in a very powerful position. As the listener you will get all of the information being offered. It gives you the ability to think about the message and create a reasonable, informed answer. This will help in advancing the conversation, learning more about your partner and if it is an argument, the listener has the power to shut it down with complete understanding of the other’s position.

           It’s better to understand than to push a point for the purpose of being “right”. In relationship dialog there is no reason for right and wrong. Being in a relationship is just that, relating to each other. There is no need to dominate, no need to prove the point, no need to be right. Just listen first and try to completely understand your partner. You may be surprised by what it actually conveyed.

          Several months ago I called my daughter and asked if she had spoken to her mother recently. In, what I thought to be, an angry tone, she replied, “Yes, she called me”. Very short and to the point, however I thought she was angry. All she really said was, “Yes, she called me”. Rather than ask why she was angry, I chose a position of power and asked her to share her thoughts about the conversation with her mother. We then had a wonderful, twenty minute, phone call. Had I chose to argue about her tone, the conversation could have been markedly different.

 What is the Benefit?

             In relationships we are emotionally invested. Our feelings are exposed for anyone to nurture or damage. And this leaves us feeling vulnerable to the next attack. In reality it is each of us who has the opportunity to choose to listen and engage in the conversation. There is nothing to fear when we are listening, because all of the information is coming to us. We are not hurting each other, merely listening to what is being imparted. If we choose to add meaning upon what is said it becomes our own fault.

             Listening can be sexy as well. If partners are discussing sex, desires or wants be open to what is being said. Engage by asking probing questions; 

  • Does that interest you?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Is there more there that we should discuss?
  • Tell me more…
  • What can I do in that regard?

 Any additional question or comment to keep the dialog moving can only help. Try not to use the word “No” until you’ve listened to everything your partner has to say. He or she may be nervous and not get the words right at first. Give them room to expand and listen while they relax and get comfortable with the exchange.

             I suggest never getting angry during times of conversation. This adds to those body language messages we discussed earlier. By remaining calm we have a better chance of getting our thoughts out clearly. And as the listener, anger dulls the senses and makes really understanding much more difficult.

             With anything, this takes practice and it takes two people. If one is angry, neither is ready for a conversation. If one is distracted neither can communicate. And if one is incapable, neither have a chance to properly share.

             So, give listening a try and let me know what comes of it. You may get a surprise, you may find something you didn’t know or you may just connect better than ever before. In any case, let me know how it goes. Your story may be what helps the next reader have a better relationship.

 As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

 Bobby

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