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Thursday, July 14,2011

Rebooting your sex life

By Dr. Jenni Skyler

Dear Dr. Jenni,

I read your column last week about the woman who wanted to soften how she said no to sex with her husband. My wife and I are in a similar situation. She’s said no so often I’m petrified to even ask. At this point, I don’t even know how to initiate sex. Any tips?

—Lost that Loving Feeling

Dear Lost,

You both need to press the “restart” button on your sex life. I would start by sitting down together and developing a game plan on how to go forward in a way that feels safe and satisfying for you both. Two exercises to get the conversation going include developing “Initiation Fantasies” and “Setting the Mood.”

When cultivating initiation fantasies, write down how you would like your partner to invite you to sex. Give yourself permission to dream into this exercise. You may look to Hollywood for fantasies about being ravished against the wall, tearing clothes off one another. You may want your partner to grab your genitals while watching a movie, or kiss your neck while cooking dinner. You may want a salacious invitation via email or text. Once you have cultivated a few fantasies, trade papers.

“Setting the Mood” is a similar exercise. Again on paper, note different ideas for what you need to have your partner help you get in the mood. This may mean having your partner assist with dishes so that they are out of sight and, more importantly, out of mind. Or this may mean putting on a sexy outfit to help inspire more tantalizing thoughts. Then write down ideas for how to help yourxself get in the mood. This can be anything from a refreshing shower to a 10-minute meditation sit. Again, trade papers when done. You may surprise yourself with how much you know about each other — and how much you don’t!

If all else fails, find outside mediation with a sex therapist.

Dear Dr. Jenni,

My girlfriend sometimes smells down there. I don’t mind unless she asks for oral sex. But more than half the time it’s pretty bad, and I lose my erection and end up not wanting sex at all.

Plus, I struggle with finishing giving her oral sex because of the smell. What should I do?

—Offended by Odor

Dear Offended,

Smell and hygiene, as well as grooming, are some of the most taboo sexual topics and yet the easiest to fix.

Firstly, frame your suggestions in a positive light. Rather than exclaiming that she  smells like Tina the Tuna, tell her how arousing it is to make love right out of the shower. Or jump in the shower with her and start to pleasure her orally. As you do, compliment her clean smell, and tell her how much you love going down on her when she’s fresh and tasty. If you have an erection to boot, then definitely make that known as well so she gets the idea that oral sex and showering are a big turn on for you.

If the showering doesn’t ameliorate the smell, you will need to have an honest conversation with her about optimum vaginal health. She may need to shower, but not over-soap, on a daily basis. Wearing cotton underwear also helps, as does taking a daily probiotic. Or she can eat natural, sugar-free yogurt that contains acidophilus.

Also, offer her the opportunity to give you feedback on your smell and grooming. This demonstrates that you trust her and feel comfortable enough to invite an honest and vulnerable conversation.

Send questions for Jenni Skyler, PhD, to drjenni@theintimacyinstitute.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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Dr. Jenni,

I found your response to Offended by Odor offensive. How could this possibly be only a hygiene issue? He didn't say, “sometimes”. He said, “she smells down there.” Here are some important points that I am amazed you missed.

All women have an aroma and taste “down there”, even directly after showering. It changes during the monthly cycle. Each woman's smells are unique.

The smell of “Tina the Tuna” is caused by hours old male semen hanging around or a real health issue in women. Healthy women don't smell like that, ever.

Cunnilingus like most of the finer things in life, is an acquired taste. Since each woman is different, you may have to acquire it again, to some extent, with each new partner. If she is healthy, and clean, and you lose your erection, you could try asking yourself what is good about this smell/taste? What would it be like to love it? What about it is offensive? Can I shift my perspective? You may find that the same smells and tastes soon become the ones that arouses you most. If not, you are probably not a good chemical match for that woman.

There is always a period of adjustment with a new partner. If you love them, you'll look for the goodness in what you find; And it gets better and better. I wouldn't be with a woman if I didn't like her smell.

Why so biased Jenni? You could have cut and paste your answer in “To swallow or not to swallow” and given a better response.

Kelly MacInnis