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Gigi Engle

Wedding

The 3 Most Common Sex Problems Newlyweds Face

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There is a lot of pressure placed on the honeymoon and post-honeymoon sex couples “should” be having. It’s like if you’re not doing it 24/7, each time putting the Kama Sutra to shame, there is something wrong with your relationship. This isn’t true at all. It’s not always incredible, lusty, mind-blowing orgasms right after a wedding. Just because you’ve been having sex for years and feel like you’ve perfected every technique in the book, doesn’t mean your sex life will suddenly magnify X100,000 now that you’re married and dripping (pun intended) in newlywed bliss.

According to psychologist and author of The Men on My Couch, Stories of Sex, Love, and Psychotherapy Dr. Brandy Engler, newlyweds should focus on a few key problem areas to ensure they keep their sex life poppin’.

If you’re finding yourself in a sexual bind and are worried, don’t be. There are a few common problems almost all newlyweds experience from when it comes to sex. Chances are, everything is perfectly normal. Here are three common areas where you might be finding trouble—and how to get around them!

Timing

When you’re newly married, the pressure is on to be getting down all the time. It can be super annoying getting those winks and questions from friends and family alike: “I’m sure the sex is amazing!” “You guys must be all over each other!” If you’re not doing it three times a day, it may feel like you’re not doing this whole “newlywed” thing right.

“We live in a culture that tells us we’re supposed to be super sexual all the time — but that’s not the reality for most couples,” Engler says. “However, couples should consider shorter sexual encounters during the week — think 15 minutes — and encounters that aren’t necessarily intercourse. Kissing, touching, oral sex, keep connections going.”

Instead of allowing yourself to succumb to BS feelings of inadequacy, remember that the amount of sex you have isn’t what’s important, it’s about what makes you and your partner happy. Focus on intimacy and reminding each other how much you love each other on a daily basis. If you want to have more sex, try things other than intercourse. Penetration is not the end-all-be-all of sex. Masturbate together or watch each other masturbate. Give your partner a sensual massage. Be together in ways that allow you to feel close, but don’t add unneeded obligations.

Too busy to get busy

“Our daily routines often don’t leave room for sex,” Engler explains. “Most couples are sure to make room for work, exercise or certain social activities, but refuse to think about sex as a scheduled activity.” While people desire spontaneous sex — the kind that takes place on the kitchen floor or right after a hot shower, “our lives don’t really allow for sexual energy to brew because we tend to exhaust ourselves by the end of the day,” says Engler.

Don’t push sex to the back burner. Consider it as important as any other part of your daily life. It brings you closer together and strengthens your pair-bond. Never stop flirting and being sexy with each other. You may be married, but that doesn’t mean things need to get boring. “Think little flirtations — grabs, kisses, whispers in the ear about what will be done later,” says Engler. “These things need to happen in a non-demand manner, meaning they don’t lead to intercourse right there on the spot.”

Keeping the spark alive doesn’t necessarily mean setting aside 20 minutes per day to get it in, it means being sexual and loving with each other as a means of conscious practice. If you or your partner feel like anytime the one of you is being flirtations and it needs to lead to sex, have a conversation about your insecurities. Sex is great, but your relationship should have room for flirtation that doesn’t always lead to getting naked.

See more: How to Keep Your Sex Life H-O-T Even After Years of Marriage

Unrealistic sexpectations

The biggest culprit to sexual dissatisfaction in those first few months after marriage is giving into unrealistic expectations of what your sex life is going to look like. If you think that just because you have a ring on your finger you’re going to suddenly have sex in 90 new positions a week, against every surface on planet earth, you’re going to wind up disappointed.

It’s also not particularly realistic to think that being married erases any lingering sexual concerns you may have faced pre-nuptials. If there were concerns before, they will remain if they aren’t addressed. Whether that be a difference in libido, trouble with lubrication or ED, getting married is not going to fix everything. It’s wonderful that you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, but marriage takes work. Be ready to do that work if you want to improve your sex life.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Best Sex Toys on Amazon PLUS Prime Day 2018 LELO Coupons

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Amazon Prime Day 2018 is here, everyone! This is NOT a drill. If you don’t know what Amazon Prime day is, well, let us enlighten you: It is only the holy grail of Amazon deal-days. It is the crème de la crème of opportunities to score expensive gear of all kinds for super discounted prices. Amazon Prime Day 2018 lasts from 3pm on July 16 until 3am on July 18.

This is not a shopping opportunity you want to miss. Because you know what Amazon has? Everything. Including vibrators.

Of course, when it comes to getting deals, we still have sex on the brain. We’re a bit apprehensive when it comes to buying sex toys on Amazon; there are some not-so-great vibrators made out of some not-so-great materials available for purchase. And we don’t want that for you.

So, we took care of the hard part. We’ve rounded up some of the best sex toys you can get on Amazon. We know the brands, you do the choosing for yourself! Approved and ready to plug in. Buzz buzz, baby!

And because we love our readers OH SO much, we have a special deal for you! Save up to 50% of select LELO products during Amazon Prime Day. Use coupon code CONDEN18 at checkout and receive a FREE Personal Moisturizer with LELO Product Purchase. (The LELO sale lasts until 11:59pm on 7/22 for extra shopping!)

JimmyJane Wand Massager

This awesome wand massager is the ultimate clit-stimulator. Perfect for beginners, it’s a high-quality, high-power favorite. You won’t be intimidated by this adorable toy, but you certainly will be satisfied.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $125

LELO Sona Cruise

This clit toy uses pulsations rather than traditional vibration to offer an oral-sex like experience. This is not a toy you want to miss out on. Made from medical-grade silicone, you can enjoy this pleasure-inducing toy knowing it’s from the highest-quality materials.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $129

We-Vibe Touch

This palm-sized, curved vibe is easy-to-use and surprisingly powerful. It’s sculpted shape and silk texture are ideal for everyday use. Plus, you can utilize for anywhere on the body. Whether you’re into nipple stimulation or ball sack play, you are good to go. Get it, girl.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $49.40

LELO Hugo Prostate Massager

This luxury prostate massager will drive any penis-owning person crazy. The prostate is an infinite source of pleasure for men. Gently massage your partner’s butt hold before inserting the Hugo, well-lubed. It comes with a remote so you can control the vibrations while it is inserted. It will change the game. Use it on its own or during sex.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $219

Womanizer Pro-40

The Womanizer is a true gift to women everywhere. We’re not exaggerating. With the combined use of suction and air, this toy simulates oral sex so accurately, you’ll think there’s a real person between your thighs. Some women have reported having orgasms in as little as sixty seconds. Trust us, this is worth the money.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $94.98

LELO Nea 2

This vibrator is both elegant and powerful. It’s so incognito that even your in-laws would mistake it for a piece of decor. With eight different vibration patterns delivered through ABS-grade plastic, your clitoris will be a happy camper.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $99

Magic Wand Original VIVA Kit

Now, this package is pretending that it’s a “body massager combo,” but we all know what a Magic Wand is (a vibrator). The Magic Wand has long been touted as the little black dress of vibrators. This large, powerful wand is a must-have cornerstone of any sex toy collection. But, don’t use the massage oil in this package as lube. That’s a rash waiting to happen.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $51

(Or buy the original wand with an additional travel-sized wand for $59)

LELO Gigi 2

This wand vibrator is a true forever favorite. With powerful modes and a sleek body, it makes for mind-blowing orgasms. It is perfectly curved with a girthy head to offer maximum G-spot pleasure. But why stop there? You can always use it as a clitoral stimulator as well.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $139

IMO Silicone Cock Ring

Cock rings work by restricting blood flow, allowing for stronger, longer-lasting erections. Plus, they feel amazing for both partners. This multi-purpose cock ring not only provides the classic c-ring benefits, but it also vibrates. It’s raised head allows for clitoral stimulation during sex. You can even use it on your own as a clit-stimulator during foreplay.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $25.96

LELO Adore Me Kit

As far as good deals go, you can’t do better than the LELO Adore Me kit. It comes with a silk blindfold and handcuffs, as well as a small pock-vibe. It’s a kinky delight wrapped up in a neat little box. It’s the best way to say, “I love you” this Prime Day. Enjoy!

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $119

Satisfyer Pro

The Satisfyer Pro is so incredible that it has the potential to turn you into squirter. No joke. It uses the same air and suction as a Womanizer to provide the feeling of oral sex. You just place the nozzle on your clitoris, wait for it, and BOOM! You have an orgasm. This vibrator is both high-quality and affordable.

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $75

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Porn Doesn't Always Reflect Your Partner's IRL Sexual Preferences

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Porn is either demonized or idolized, depending on the company you keep. Opinions of porn vary greatly from all for it to completely and utterly against. Some even believe that if their partner is watching porn, they are cheating. It’s all big mess.

There is deep-seated insecurity that if our partner is into erotic material that doesn’t match our IRL sex life, that they must not be satisfied with us. If they want to watch threesomes, they must want to have a threesome; if they enjoy heavy bondage, they must crave some time in a dungeon. This is just not true.

Porn does not dictate IRL sex preferences. Pornographic material and sex with our spouse are two different things. They shouldn’t even be in the same sexy basket. Here is why.

Porn is a fantasy and nothing more

When it comes to porn, we have strong reactions. We’re so caught up in our heads about what we’re watching and what our partner is watching. We’ve got to let go of this stress. Porn is a fantasy. It is entertainment. There is nothing wrong with watching porn in moderation.

It’s baffling that we put so much pressure on adult entertainment, as if watching it means we want to run away and join a sex commune wherein triple anal is a common after-dinner special.

If someone watches gang bang porn, they must want to do gang bangs all the time. That’s like saying your spouse is going to become a professional drifter after watching The Fast and The Furious.

What someone sees in porn does not dictate what they want to do in real life. They just find it stimulating for masturbation. Porn is over-the-top the way most forms of film/video/music are over-the-top.

Sexual exploration is normal

We live in a sex-negative culture and any exploration of sexuality, however minute, is demonized. It makes sense that porn would cause strain. We’re told to only have sex with one person for the rest of our lives, to only think about them, and to be happy with that for all time.

While this can be true for some, we still need variety. We may want to try new positions, some bondage, and yes, porn. Having sex in the missionary position until we die is not particularly realistic or healthy.

Exploring new mediums, styles, and modes of sex is perfectly OK. Don’t freak out about it.

Porn is not like real sex

Here is the meat of it: Porn is not even close to real sex. Sure, the functions are there, but it isn’t real.

People aren’t having double penetration on a daily basis. Women aren’t on their knees after a gang bang getting ejaculated on by five different dudes (for the most part, anyway). There will (hopefully) never, ever be a case when your partner goes from vaginal to anal penetration and back again. *Shudders*

And as for real-life sex acts, porn barely even gives it any attention. The clitoris isn’t on the table in most mainstream pornography. That is some BS. Who is going through life without having their clitoris licked and touched?

The point is, stop having a conniption over porn. It isn’t even a realistic representation of sex. If your partner expects to have the same kind of sex they see in porn, that is a big no-no and you need to have a serious conversation.

Porn can inspire, but it doesn’t dictate

Don’t get us wrong here, porn can serve as excellent inspiration. Emphasis on inspiration. Perhaps you and your partner watch a scene together wherein a guy is tied to the bed and a woman has her way with him and a riding crop. This might tickle your fancy. Who knows? Maybe you and your partner might want to try some light bondage.

You could be watching a really intense gang bang scene and think, “Well, I’d like my wife to spank me like that. I wouldn’t want all these other people around, but the spanking could be great.”

You can read all the “sex tips” articles in the world, but seeing something on a screen is a different experience entirely. We respond to visual stimulation in an alternative way. Porn can be a fun basis for some of your sexual play, but that doesn’t mean you need to recreate a video scene for scene. You likely don’t want to do that at all.

Remember, porn is just a movie.

You should monitor your consumption

Your partner should do the same. Watching porn is fine and normal, but you can develop compulsive tendencies if you’re not careful. Being aware is critical.

Experts will deviate on this claim, but we find it very similar to watching sports compulsively, every single day. Both porn and sports can affect your relationship and your sex life if you abuse them. It takes away from the real thing.

Porn is highly stimulating. Too much of it can make IRL sex feel a bit lackluster. You do not want to get into this mindset. They are two completely different things and experiences.

Pay attention to your porn habits and communicate with your partner. If one of you believes that porn is getting the way of your real sex life, take a break or cut back. Your sex life comes first. While porn is entertaining and fun, if it takes the wind out of your sails during IRL sex, you have to be willing to acknowledge this and take action steps to fix it.

Now, go find some porn the two of you enjoy together and live your best lives.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Oral Sex Tips to Send Your Partner Right Now

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What to do when you want oral sex, but aren’t sure how to give your partner the heads up? That’s easy. You send them this article.

Oral sex is a magical experience for women. For many, it is the primary way in which we orgasm. The issue? So many people don’t know what the heck they are doing down there. It’s not like you heard the word “clitoris” in school. It’s essentially never acknowledged in mainstream pornography. How could you possibly know how to lick and something you’ve never seen?

As a result, learning how to navigate the clitoris and oral sex takes active learning. Luckily, we have all the best info for you right here. Check out some of our amazing oral sex tips below. You are so, so welcome in advance.

Encouragement is Key

Women aren’t openly encouraged to expect or enjoy oral sex. Society tells us to put our partner’s pleasure before our own and to be grateful if he or she blesses us with oral. Not to mention there is an entire industry devoted to selling us products to “freshen” our vulvas and vaginas because they are inherently “gross.” It’s a crappy deal.

Since these negative attitudes abound, be sure she knows how much you want to give her oral sex. Be open about how hot she is and how good she tastes. Making her feel comfortable (and sexy) in her body will help her relax. A relaxed woman is one more likely to experience an orgasm!

Ask her what she likes

Showing interest in what brings her pleasure is a huge turn on. Every woman’s body is different and may enjoy being stimulated in a variety of ways. Ask her what she wants you to do to her.

It definitely makes for some titillating dirty talk. You are not a mind-reader. Don’t pretend you can see into the oral sex crystal ball. Ask and then do exactly what she says. If she isn’t sure what she likes, well, there is plenty of room for experimentation.

Stick to the clitoris

The clitoris is queen. Always and forever. Never forget it.

The clitoris is the epicenter of female pleasure. Ignoring it would be like giving a blowjob and not putting a penis in your mouth. It makes no sense.

The clitoris sits at the top of the inner labia. It is a rosebud-shaped button. This is only the part you can see. The entire structure of the clitoris extends back into the walls of the vagina, reaching nearly five inches. Hey, the more you know!

If you’re concerned about what to do, stay on the external button. You can use one or two fingers to penetrate the vagina, but don’t smash them inside her willy nilly. Ask her if she enjoys penetration during oral sex before trying internal stimulation.

When in doubt, stay consistent

Rhythm, style, and movement: these are important factors during oral sex. We know it can be a bit overwhelming. When in doubt, stick to consistent movement and rhythm. You can try moving up and down over the clitoris, left to right, or in a figure eight motion.

You’ll know you’re doing it right if you listen to her body. Which brings us to the next point …

Listen to her body

Pay attention to both verbal and physical cues. If she’s pushing her vulva into your face and moaning, you can be pretty sure what you’re doing is working. If she’s pulling away or dead silent, try something else. You can always ask!

Her body will tell you a lot about how she’s feeling. Don’t just space out and do whatever you think she might like. Be detail oriented.

Make some noise

This isn’t the movie theatre. Make some noise! This goes along with pre-oral encouragement. When you’re downtown, make noise. She wants to know that you want to be down there. We often get into our heads and think, “Am I taking too long? I wish I could hurry this up and orgasm.”

Moan into her vulva. Let her know you’re a willing and excited participant. You can even take a two second break to tell her how good she tastes. She’ll appreciate knowing you’re having as good of a time as she.

Take her to a second orgasm (but be gentle)

Not every woman is multi-orgasmic, but this can still be a super pleasurable tip for one and all. After she has an orgasm, don’t let her squirrel away from you. Grab her by the hips and keep going. The clitoris may be too sensitive for direct contact right away.

Kiss and nibble her inner thighs. Move in to gently tease her labia with your tongue. After a few minutes, switch to direct clitoral contact again. She may squirm, but if she’ll let you, start all over again. Trust us, she will thank you later. Nothing is sexier than a partner who wants to make a woman orgasm multiple times.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Wedding

Should You Stop Having Sex Before the Wedding Night?

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Have you considered putting the breaks on sex for the weeks leading up to your wedding? This popular, self-imposed celibacy has been a wedding day preparation tip since what feels like the dawn of time.

We had to ask: Why? Why take sex off the table? Will it really increase desire? Is it worth the wait?

Wedding night sex is something we all think about. It is a once-in-a-lifetime (maybe, probably, hopefully) experience. We want it to be special. This is probably where the advice to wait came from: The idea that if we hold off on sex, we’ll want it more.

While there is certainly some merit to this argument, this adds a host of other pressures and anxieties to the days and weeks leading to your nuptials. Is holding off on sex before your wedding day a good idea or is a bust? Let’s discuss.

There is increased pressure to perform

The glaring red flag in this advice to be celibate is that it increases the pressure the perform. There is a ton of pressure for wedding night sex to be “perfect.” If you take sex off the table, you’re not just building up happy, excited nerves; you’re building up scary, anxious nerves. Even if you’ve been having sex with your partner for years on end, there is a risk of performance anxiety if you add on cinder blocks of expectation.

Performance anxiety — about erections and orgasms — can affect both men and women, making them so anxiety-ridden that they cannot feel pleasure from sex,” warns Dr. Patti Britton, master sex coach at Sex Coach U.

Don’t let the pressure get to you. “I always coach couples to take themselves off the pressure-cooker burner. Relax. Stop expectations for perfection, even in bed, and find joy, fun and humor if things don’t work well the first time,” Britton says. If taking sex off the table is going to make you a jumbled mess, don’t do it. There is no need to go off sex with someone you love just because you want to make sex hotter. That’s silly. There is no need.

No sex means more stress

You know what is super stressful? Planning a wedding. You know what is extra, super stressful? Planning a wedding while you’re not getting laid.

Sex is a stress reliever. It releases the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Orgasms bring down cortisol levels, the body’s natural stress hormone. It is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies. Depriving yourself of pleasure may not be in your best interest.

Additionally, there is tension when planning a wedding between partners. It’s inevitable. If you take sex off the table, the small disagreements and arguments will only feel more painful. Sex increases pair bonding between couples. It instills a sense of closeness in a way you can’t have without making love. If you stop having sex, you’re taking away that crucial time to connect.

On the plus side, it can increase desire and anticipation?

There are a few benefits to staving off sex. “Couples may find that their self-imposed ‘dry spell’ helps increase their desire for their partner, and may encourage them to really want sex on their wedding night,” says Debra Herbenick, PhD, associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout. “So, the primary advantage is to increase arousal.”

While we’re all about you being as relaxed and ready as possible before the big day, whatever that entails, if we’re being honest, wedding night sex is kind of overrated. Don’t get us wrong, it’s fun and exciting. You’re married now. That’s great! But the sex doesn’t need to be this ridiculously overhyped fairytale. Being relaxed before your wedding day feels far more important. If having sex makes you less stressed, have sex. If it feels like a burden and the last thing you want to do is get down and dirty, you don’t have to do it.

But, might we suggest oral sex over intercourse? If your partner takes time to serve you while you breathe into your body, you may find sex in the weeks leading up to the wedding are just what the doctor ordered.

See more: Do You Need to Have Sex on Your Wedding Night?

It’s about what you want

In the end, it is entirely up to you. There are good and bad things about putting sex on the back-burner. It’s really about what works in your relationship and how you and your partner want to wait for the big day.

“This really should be a mutual discussion and decision — nothing that someone puts on their partner, without their partner’s buy-in,” says Herbenick. “If a woman wants to try this, I’d encourage her to let her fiancé know why this is important to her. Maybe she wants to reconnect in a special way on their wedding night. Maybe she wants to really increase their desire and arousal and have an unforgettable night.”

Have an honest conversation with your fiancé. He or she may have strong feelings either way. It’s a choice that the two of you should make together. Just remember, it really isn’t a big deal. It’s sex, not the Olympic games.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Wedding

You're Not Into Your Partner's Sex Fantasies — Now What?

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So, you asked your partner what he or she fantasizes about and you’re feeling a little…uncomfortable about it. That’s OK.

Sexual fantasies are the stuff of fascination and confusion. When you’re thinking about something strange or taboo, it’s easy to feel like you’re gross and weird. And turned on somehow? Whatever your sexual fantasy is, it is perfectly normal. We think about plenty of things that we may never want to try in real life (or maybe we do).

Are you wishing you could take back the invitation to open up? Perhaps your partner is into gang bangs up in their noggin and you’re thinking, “Hm. Nope.” Maybe you thought you’d get the threesome scene of your dreams only to be met with vicious bondage. Sound familiar?

It happens. Sometimes we think we’re ready to hear the erotically dark things going on in our partner’s mind only to realize we may have crossed a line. It goes from a super sexy idea to icky feelings all over. So, here is what to do when you don’t share your partner’s sex fantasy.

Imagination doesn’t always mean exploration

The thing about sexual thoughts is that that’s exactly what they are: thoughts. Remember that.

It doesn’t matter how messed up or odd something may seem. “Fantasies never need to be acted out,” Sari Locker, Ph.D., sex educator at Columbia University and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex tells Brides. “If someone feels uncomfortable with the idea of a fantasy, then it should not be acted out.”

It’s OK to tell your partner this. Should you say, “Ew, babe. That’s so f-ing weird?” Nope. Perhaps you go with something like, “That’s interesting. I don’t think I’d want to do that in real life, but I’m happy it turns you on.” You don’t have to talk about it again if you don’t want talk about it again. Maybe you just need to sleep on it—or maybe you need 20 years.

Fantasies, no matter what they are, are normal. We think about all kinds of stuff we don’t want to do in real life. We may have a ravishment or dominatrix fantasy, that doesn’t mean we actually want to become a leather-clad dominatrix. It’s just fodder for the imagination.

Approach your partner with empathy

In a relationship, there is no room for judgement. We mean it. It doesn’t matter how off-putting you find your partner’s sexual thoughts, you are not allowed to shame them. Would you want them to shame you for something they find unsavory? Obviously not.

Come to them with empathy. You asked for your partner to be vulnerable. It takes a lot of guts to share our sexual fantasies openly. Honor their openness and be kind. Let them know that you love them and appreciate their sharing. Now, share a fantasy of your own. It’s fantastic that the two of you can be open. Be grateful for that. So many people would kill for that in their relationship.

Communication is a good thing

Communicating is a huge factor in relationship health. Even if this was slightly (or a maybe a lot) TMI, remember this. Being able to share openly with your partner is part of the relationship contract. You should feel able to open up about all the weird things you’ve thought about sexually and your partner should have that same privilege.

“When spouses talk about their sexual fantasies, they learn very intimate things about each other,” Locker explains. “The more your share your sexual fantasies, the more your spouse will understand your thoughts about sex.”

Keep an open mind. You may not be into what you’ve heard, but it is just one more step towards open honesty. You’ll be stronger as a couple.

Let it go

Don’t get bogged down by the creepy crawly feelings that came from this newfound “knowledge.” Imagination is imagination. Let. It. Go. Move on. Seriously.

“It’s important to be able to move on after you hear a fantasy, without it sticking in your mind all the time,” Locker tells us. “Simply enjoy the sex life you’ve always had, without feeling pressured by the fantasy.” We know it’s easier said than done, but you’ve definitely overcome harder things in your relationship than your partner’s thing for clowns.

See more: The Best Porn For Every Kind of Couple

Explore an alternative fantasy together

To help with letting go, move on to something else. Watch some porn together. Find common ground. There may be a delicious fantasy you both share just around the corner, waiting to be discovered. Perhaps you’d want to try role play as a doctor and patient? Perhaps you haven’t given anal pleasure enough thought. You don’t have to do any of it, but it’s fun to feel around the boundaries.

You are not obligated to share your partner’s desires, but you are obligated to love them no matter their masturbation material. Don’t yuck anyone’s yum. Life is too short for that.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Wedding

Here's Why It's OK to be Too Tired for Sex (Sometimes)

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You’re tired and don’t want to have sex. It’s the start of a “vicious” cycle you’ve been warned about regularly, right? You get tired, you don’t want to have sex, you never have sex again, you get divorced. It feels a little ridiculous, but this idea is all over the internet and brunch conversations alike. You’re either in need of sex tips to keep passion alive, or you’re expectations for sex are too high. You can’t seem to win.

Look around you. There is a ton of pressure to keep sex “hot” and “exciting.” You see countless articles and advice columns on how to keep it poppin’ in the bedroom. Hey, we’ve got plenty of content on the subject.

While there is plenty of truth to this advice (and a ton of BS), the fact remains, sometimes you’re just too damn tired to have sex.

The truth of the matter is, it’s OK to be too tired for sex sometimes. No, it doesn’t mean your sex life is over. Yes, really. Here’s why.

You have to listen to your body

We often push ourselves to do things we don’t want to do because we think it’s good for us. This a guilt-packed situation.

On the one hand, you’re exhausted and want to take a few night off to rest. On the other hand, you’re told constantly by experts and the media that if you’re too tired for sex, you’re marriage is in trouble.

This blatant disregard for our needs can lead to resentment and fatigue. You need to give your body what it needs. Sometimes that means sleep. Your body might need you to lie in bed and read a book or watch Netflix.

Listen to your body and give it what it needs to be its best self. If this means orgasms, have orgasms. If it means sleep, give your body sleep. It’s OK to let yourself rejuvenate. Sex is fantastic, but you don’t have to pressure yourself to have it everyday.

Each body is different and needs different things. Sometimes you need to be tied to the bed and spanked. Other times you need to go to a yoga class and come home and take a bath.

Sometimes you’re just too tired for sex. Is that so bad? No. You’re a human being.

There are other ways to feel close

Sex means closeness. This is advice we see over and over again. If you’re not trying different tantric sex positions every night, there must be something wrong. This is damaging and, frankly, BS. Hot, hot sex great, but is it hot if you’re not feeling it?

We put so much emphasis and keeping sex hot that we forget to mention that there are other ways to feel closeness with your partner. You can make out and feel closeness. Perhaps you go out on a dinner date or make a home-cooked meal together.

Hold hands, give each other a massage, snuggle and be lazy. You don’t have to have wild, passionate sex every night to have a happy marriage. You have to do the things that make you happy.

Maintenance sex is great, but that doesn’t mean everyday

Having sex, even when you aren’t in the mood, is objectively good for relationship health. It’s a lot like going to an exercise class: You don’t want to go, but you feel awesome after. That being said, maintenance sex shouldn’t be the go-to sex you’re having.

If sex is feeling cumbersome, it’s perfectly fine to take a break and recalibrate. Sex isn’t a chore to cross off your list of “to-dos.” It should be fun. It’s a time to reconnect with your partner and feel a sense of intimacy.

If you want to have an orgasm and don’t have to have full-on intercourse, masturbate together. It’s intimate and sexy. There is no reason why sex ever has to mean penetration. Don’t believe these myths.

You don’t need to have sex every single day. You don’t need to have sex a few times a week. You need to have sex in a way that works for your relationship. If you’re putting sex off and your partner has voiced concerns, it’s certainly worth discussing and figuring out ways to keep your both satisfied. Communicate. It’s the only way to keep things level.

But, if you’re both exhausted from work and responsibilities and just want to cuddle tonight, do that. Do what feels right for you.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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What to Do After Your In-Laws Catch You Having Sex

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This might just be every person’s worst nightmare: You’re getting down and dirty with your partner behind your closed bedroom door, or in their childhood room over a holiday break, when your mother-in-law and father-in-law burst in without knocking while you are in a compromising position.

Cue the everlasting embarrassment and the fear your in-laws will never look you in the eye again. What do you even do in this situation? Will this image be burned into their brains for eternity?

We know, it’s…not ideal. But, it does happen. When you’re home for a holiday or vacation, the odds of getting caught in the act are pretty high. Parents aren’t always great with, um, boundaries. Here is what to do when your in-laws catch you having sex with your partner.

Should you address it?

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D., licensed therapist and author says that ignoring what happened is not a good idea. If you’re thinking, “F*%$!!!!,” you are not alone on that one. Who wants to talk about the fact that their father in-law saw them in doggy style with his child?

It’s easy to just pretend nothing happened and move on with this hanging between you. The problem is, this doesn’t solve anything. Now, you don’t have to bring it up first. It’s perfectly OK to see if your partner’s parent(s) want to talk about before you say anything. If they don’t, it’s best to pull one of them aside and have a quick chat. Even if they aren’t into discussing it, getting out in the open will make moving on a lot easier.

Address the topic with humor. If you make it awkward, it will be awkward. “This is a situation where humor can be your best action plan!” Hanks says. “A witty comment like, ‘well, this is awkward,’ or ‘here’s proof that I really do love your kid — though you probably don’t need this much proof!'” is the perfect way to ease into a conversation about what just happened. You want to keep things playful and funny. It’s likely the parents will take the cues on how to act from you.

Set up some boundaries

Then, suggests Ginger Bercaw, Ph.D., sex expert and author, it’s time to ask your in-laws how you can prevent this situation from ever happening again. As we said, parents aren’t great with boundaries for the most part. It’s unfortunately up to you to lay it out.

“What you’re really talking about is setting some boundaries with your in-laws,” says Bercaw. “Whether you are visiting their home( or they are in yours, having an explicit agreement about knocking on the door and waiting to be invited in — or investing in a lock for privacy — is very important.”

Move the hell on

If you’re panicking and have convinced yourself that you’re legitimately going to have to get a divorce to avoid seeing these people ever again, calm yourself. This is not great. No one is denying that. But, there are so many other, bigger issues you’re going to have to deal with down the line. This cannot be the thing that breaks you.

You’re a human being. Human beings have sex. Don’t be apologetic. You didn’t do anything wrong. Be empathetic and kind. And then move the hell on.

See more: Here’s How to Survive the Holidays with Your New In-Laws

While this conversation may seem even more uncomfortable than the time your mom made you take 30 thousand prom photos, strategically posed with your pimply high school girlfriend, “this need not leave a bad impression on your in-laws,” says Bercaw. “Sexuality and enjoying sex is a healthy part of every marriage. Establishing boundaries with in-laws is something every couple needs to negotiate regarding a variety of topics, including privacy.”

You were going to get here someday in all likeliness. No matter how many precautions you take, someone is going to walk in on you having sex at some point. Talk about it. Get it over with. Pop some champagne and have a drink. Move on with your life.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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5 Sexy Ways to Get Ready for Your Wedding Night

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Getting ready for your wedding night? It’s finally here. YAS!

It is a big night on which we place a ton of pressure. While it’s understandable why this is so, there really is no need to get so worked up with anxiety and nerves. This is your partner. He or she is someone you’ve been with for a long time. They love you. Just because you wore a wedding dress and are legally hitched doesn’t mean this is the end-all-be-all-night of erotic bliss.

Actually, wedding night sex can be a let down when you think of it this way.

Take a deep breath. Here are a few sexy tips to prepare for your wedding night. This is an exciting evening and we’ve made it easy. Get it on.

1. Expand your knowledge base (and toy collection)

Knowledge is power (in bed). You can never know too much when it comes to anything, especially sex. We aren’t given any real information in school (and in most cases, from anywhere) about what makes sex good. Don’t be afraid to go out and expand what you know. Take time to masturbate and feel comfortable in your body. Even if you’ve had tons and tons of sex over the years, it’s difficult to escape the pressure trap. If you feel in-tuned with yourself, you’ll be rearing to go.

Read articles on different pleasure products you might want to try. Choose something that really gets you going. Bringing a new toy into the bedroom is exciting and sexy. With so much pressure placed on wedding night sex, it can be fun to introduce something playful and orgasm-inducing.

Need suggestions? You know we’d never leave you hanging. We are loving c-rings like the Pivot from We-Vibe. If you’re looking for a vibrator, we’re jiving with the Le Wand Mini and Gigi 2 from Lelo.

2. Take it easy with the champagne

Now, it’s your wedding and there will be bubbles. It is to be expected. It’s basically a huge party just to celebrate YOU. The problem? Too much alcohol is going to inhibit your ability to have great sex. Orgasm is inhibited when you’re intoxicated, leaving you dry and sad. Drunk sex is always rather lackluster, isn’t it?

If sex is high on the list of priorities, stick to two or three glasses over the course of the evening. Don’t get sloppy and then expect to be a sex goddess. It’s not going to happen, girl.

If sex is lower on your list than partying the night away, go for it. You can always pass out and have sex in the morning. Welcome to married life. You can have sex everyday for the rest of your lives. Bless.

3. Choose your look and keep it simple

The basic rule of lingerie is to keep it classic. Stay simple if you’re in doubt of what to buy. Again, enough with the pressure. Who has time for that?

You do not need to go wild with the lingerie if that isn’t your style. If it is, get it! If you want to rock a full lacy body suit or babydoll nightie, you do your thing.

Otherwise, opt for something straightforward and easy to unbutton. Choose a lacy bra and panty set you can wear under your dress. This way you don’t need to make a show of the “big reveal.” You can just slip out of your dress and go for it.

Trust us, after a long day of wedding shenanigans you partner is not going to care what you’re wearing—only that you’re naked.

4. Manage expectations

Don’t get in your head about your wedding night. Stop sitting on the train picturing exactly how it will go down. Don’t make it this scenic, perfect experience. This is sex. Sex is never perfect. It isn’t a movie. It’s hot AF, but it isn’t a scene from Fifty Shades.

Having realistic expectations will serve you greatly. If you put you “wedding night sex” up on a pedestal, you will be disappointed. How can anything match up to your imagination? Spoiler: It can’t.

Remind yourself that even though your dream day has finally arrived, this is still real life. Enjoy yourself and all the weird silliness that comes along with sex. There is fumbling and awkwardness. That’s the realness. You’re in love. Have a good time!

5. Be present in the moment

We suggest trying meditation in the weeks leading up to your wedding. It’s a stressful time. Learning how to quiet your mind is essential. Breathe into your body so you can elevate your senses (aka: Have a big, ‘ol orgasm).

Focus on everything that is happening to you. If you find your mind wandering, refocus. Pay special attention to that thing your partner is doing with your vibrator or with her hips. Pick out the details of this moment that turn you on. Getting distracted and disengaged does not an orgasm make. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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4 of Your Most Embarrassing Sex Questions Asked and Answered

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If you think you should automatically know everything there is to know about sex, think again. Sex is learned. Good sex takes practice.

We know essentially nothing about sex because no one ever teaches us. It’s not like you learn what a clitoris is in school. “Many people fear that asking questions about sex will lead to judgment or conflict with a partner, and no one wants to rock the boat,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D, sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive. “But getting married doesn’t magically make you instantly proficient at all aspects of sex with your partner.”

So, if you’ve got embarrassing sex questions you can’t imagine asking your partner, let alone a professional, it’s OK, because we’ve got the answers you’re looking for.

1. My partner doesn’t know how to give me an orgasm. How do I tell them?

Honesty is the best policy. This doesn’t mean being unnecessarily harsh. You can communicate your needs without hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s very likely your partner doesn’t know he or she isn’t making you come. You’re never going to get there by pretending nothing is wrong. If there is something he or she does that you particularly enjoy, ask them to do that thing. For instance, oral sex is an excellent way for a woman to have an orgasm.

If your partner doesn’t know where your clitoris is: Firstly, we’re sorry. Secondly, guide his or her hand to it while you’re engaging in sexual play. Show them how you like to be touched. Ask them to keep doing what feels good for you. If you can take some time to focus entirely on your own body, you’ll have a better chance of achieving orgasm.

Bring a toy into the bedroom. Vibrators are designed to assist you in having an orgasm. If you’re worried about introducing your partner to sex toys, read this.

2. How often should I be having sex? How much is enough?

There is no right answer to this question. The easiest way to answer this to say that what constitutes “enough” is what works for your particular relationship.

Of course, quantity is not the only thing to take into consideration. Like many things in life, “it’s not the quantity, but the quality of sex that counts,” says Ava Cadell, certified love coach and author of Passion Power for Couples. “However, if he [or she] wants sex every day and you want it once a week, you should negotiate a win-win compromise that includes masturbation, foreplay, oral sex and intercourse.”

It comes down to what satisfies the both of you. Making compromises is a part of being in a partnership.

3. Is it wrong for me to fantasize about things other than my partner?

You are absolutely not weird or a bad person for fantasizing about someone other than your partner.

That being said, it’s not uncommon to feel shameful. “For many people, there is an underlying feeling of guilt if their sexual fantasies turn to something or someone other than their partner,” says Castellanos. “But this is not only OK, it’s normal. Sexual fantasies are similar to dreams — they are symbolic and have more to do with an underlying theme rather than the details of who or what is going on in the fantasy. You don’t really have to read too much into it or try to analyze it — just let it build your arousal, which you are sharing with your partner anyway.”

Fantasy is imaginary. Your brain is a very powerful organ. Watching porn, thinking about sex outside your relationship or any other form of alternative scenario is nothing to be worried about. Honestly, essentially everyone does this. Humans have rich fantasy lives.

See more: 15 Totally Normal Sex Fantasies You’re Not Weird for Having

4. How do I tell my partner about my changing libido now that I’m pregnant?

First, know you’re not alone. During pregnancy you may experience an extraordinarily high libido, or find that it disappears entirely.

Communication is key during this tentative time in your sex life. “Let your [partner] know how you are feeling during the different changes of your pregnancy as [he or she] cannot read your mind,” Cadell explains. “This is a great time to include sex toys for both of you to maintain passion and playfulness. It’s also a great time to enhance intimacy through kissing, synchronized breathing and caressing.”

Go with the flow. Pregnancy is a beautiful time in your life. Don’t get stressed out about sex. Talk things through and find what works for you.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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When Making Excuses Not to Have Sex Hurts Your Marriage

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When you’re not in the mood, it’s easier to feign fatigue than it is to muster up the energy for sex. Pretending you have a headache, saying you’re exhausted, or just not feeling it are normal excuses we make to get out of sex. They are “sexcuses,” if you will.

If this is something you’re doing on the reg, you might have a real problem going on.

If you’re making sexcuses constantly, you need to ask yourself why. If you don’t want to have sex, it’s likely because you’re not getting what you want out of your sex life. Figure out what is holding you back. Sex is a valuable part of partnership. Having a good sex life may seem like a less important issue when there are so many others to consider, but this isn’t true. Sex is as critical as any other component of a relationship. It deserves credit.

Here is how making excuses not to have sex can damage your relationship, and some advice on how to make sex better so you want to do it.

The more you put off sex, the less you want to do it

Have you found it easier to fake a headache than to climb on top for cowgirl? You may be doing harm to yourself over the long-term. Your body and brain work on the principle of “use it or lose it,” explains Madeleine Castellanos, M.D, sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive. If you avoid sex, your body stops responding to pleasure in the same way. Your clitoris can become somewhat disengaged from the body and your vaginal muscles can atrophy.

Once you get in the habit of watching Netflix over bonding, it’s simple to stay there. “The more you put off sex, the easier it becomes to skip it altogether,” Castellanos explains. Regular, satisfying sex benefits your body and your mind, she points out, while “too many excuses starts a bad cycle of avoidance that only grows if left unchecked.”

You don’t want to end up in a loop of excuse > no sex > excuse > no sex. This is not healthy. You may think that having sex isn’t a big deal, but it is. You’re putting strain on your relationship by denying both yourself and your partner the chance to intimately bond.

Confronting the real issues

Getting what you want requires opening a dialogue. Women are often told to “take what they can get.” We’re not given agency to explore our pleasure or our bodies. If you think you don’t enjoy sex, it’s quite possible you’re not giving your own body the attention is deserves.

Lying does not fix the problems in your sex life. It is a way to get out of dealing with the root of the issue. Exploring relationship concerns is not a highly pleasant experience—denial often feels like the quicker fix.

If you deny sex, you don’t have to deal with the “why?” Are you getting what you want out of sex? If you were having regular orgasms and receiving the clitoral stimulation you need to enjoy sex, you’d be less likely to make an excuse to skip. Have you thought about this? Perhaps you did not even realize that a focus on your pleasure in an option. It takes two people to have an egalitarian sex life. You deserve to get what you want out of it as much as your partner.

Gloria Brame, Ph.D., sexologist and author of The Truth About Sex: A Sex Primer For The 21st Century tells Brides that excuses are lies and your partner is aware of it. “We know how frustrating and angering it is when someone seems to brush you off with dumb lies,” Brame says. And when you decline sex with an fake excuse rather than communicating with your partner about the real issues, “you can get caught a cycle that leads to other fibs and misunderstandings, and it can herald the end of good communication,” Brame warns, “which is so vital to a marriage’s longevity.”

If you’re avoiding sex, you need to sit with yourself and figure out what is going on. “Avoiding sex repeatedly is like any other symptom of your body and mind trying to tell you that something is wrong,” Brame explains. “It may be as simple as your life being out of balance, but it may point to more serious issues that need to be corrected. When your health, your life, and your relationship are balanced, there is a healthy desire and experience of sex that continues to add to your energy and happiness.”

Explore some options. You might consider seeing a sex coach or therapist to work through what is troubling you. Masturbate and figure out what feels good for you. Here is a guide to making the most of self-love experiences.

Sex is absolutely fabulous for women when we take the time to venture into our own pleasure zones. Don’t just make excuses, actively find ways to make your sex life better so you can be an excited participant.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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