January 28, 2015

Let's Talk About Sex - Part 3

This week, we wrap up our series with Tina Nies, Holistic Sexuality Coach. In this post, we get to the heart of the matter -- how to actually talk about sex!

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To begin to build confidence and clarity around talking about sex, I shared a few simple, yet powerful, exercises in parts one and two that may be helpful to you. There are lots of ways to build your confidence and whatever you decide to try, remember to continue it as a practice. Like anything, talking about sex gets easier with practice. So that’s where we’re going now.

Let’s talk about sex!

In previous posts, I also gave some examples about how a child might explore life and even sex without even really knowing it (acting out scene in adult magazine and playing house). They were just quick mentions to maybe trigger some innocent memories of your own, without much discussion, without judgment.

What we talk about with friends and/or share with our partners regarding sex has a lot to do with what we learned and experienced around sexuality. Those early experiences also impact what we believe about ourselves and our sexuality, what is “right or wrong” regarding sex, even things we might secretly or not secretly be turned on by later in life.

I was raped and sexually abused from the age 12 to 16. I was date raped and escaped an attempted rape in my teens. A boy I liked in high school, after I wouldn’t perform oral sex on him, called me a slut at school. I dated (and loved) a ‘college guy’ in my senior year of high school, but he turned out to be leading a double life and was married with children. I was raped by a man I trusted while in college. My early experiences around sex and relationships were negative, really negative.

Sex felt good sometimes, sometimes sex was just something I did because I thought it was expected, but I had no idea what orgasms really were. I had no idea that sex could be amazing, intimate, healthy, and powerful. I just didn’t know. What I did know was about secrets, sex and secrets, secret sex, abusive sex (that my body naturally responded to), coerced sex, etc.

Whatever your experiences were, good or bad, whatever reactions and results you experienced, good or bad, whatever you felt, good or bad, all led you to how you relate to intimacy now. It’s okay to feel or think or fantasize about anything. (Of course, it’s not okay to act out in ways that harm others, but you’re not a bad person for having thoughts.) It’s also okay to want to let go of some of those thoughts. Talking about sex, all of it, good and bad, can help you get clear about what you want more of and what you want to let go of.

In the past, I could talk about sex… secretly. I kept secrets. I loved secrets. Sometimes the secrets around sex was an excitement for me. Honestly, secrets still excite me and that’s okay. It’s also okay to keep secrets. No one needs to or probably wants to know everything in my mind.

Today, I can talk about sex, even talk with clients about extreme sexual fantasies, with the casualness of talking about the weather. I can even talk about my own sexuality in that way. Yes I can talk about sex. I love talking about sex. And even as I write this, I’m improving my own level of talking about sex – because I practice talking about sex!

Recently, a group of teenage girls giggled when I told them that they can tell a boy what their expectations are. This conversation began with whether or not they believed they could reach their goals. Some expressed concern around preventing pregnancy and I told them it was “easy to not get pregnant.” I shared with them the idea that they can and should have conversations about what they want or don’t want LONG before they “fall in love” or are talked into having sex or their hormones take over during a hot date.

I’m glad I can say this to them at their age, regardless of whether or not they believe it to be true or if they ever tell a boy what I recommended, “I am not getting pregnant and I’m not getting an STD.”

I’m glad because their giggles and laughter told me that no one else was having this conversation with them in this way. They might hear, “use condoms, don’t be stupid, don’t have sex,” etc. But no one is telling them that they can and should take the lead and talk about sex with their partner.

You can take the lead in your relationships too!

When you know what you want to feel and you know the experiences you would like to create, and you express that to a partner BEFORE you have sex, that’s really powerful. And if that new partner can express to you their expectations and what they desire, that creates intimacy. If you’re already in a relationship, begin to have these conversations outside of the bedroom. It’ll make it easier to also have them in the bedroom.

If you are worried about reactions from your partner or something seems too intense, too personal, too much risk, then begin to open up the dialogue and talk about sex in general. If you rarely talk about sex, begin the next time you are intimate with your partner. Afterward (or during), share a complement about what you enjoyed most, maybe hint that you’d like to do more or try something a little different. This will be easier if you’ve been practicing saying “I’m grateful for you because…” every day. You will have opened some space.

If you’re ready to share something deeper, then just go out there, say it and get it.

Yes, it may be scary. Yes, you may be taking a risk. So, before you say it, plan it. Plan how you will say it – especially if this is something really new for you. Sometimes a TV show, movie, magazine article, etc. can help you get the conversation started. Mention an article you read, plan to watch a particular movie together, something where bringing up YOUR sex topic is easier.

Here’s an example that has come up more than once, (seems to be a popular issue). I was asked how in the world a man might share just how much he enjoys his wife’s intimate scent. He was afraid she would think he was weird, that she might be embarrassed, that she might start showering or using perfume or something to cover her scent. But he really wanted to be able to tell her and it became a problem for him that led to secretly sniffing her clothes. He was embarrassed and worried she might catch him and really freak out. It was affecting his life.

That is what our natural curiosities, preferences, fantasies, can do – affect our life – when we begin to feel bad and ashamed for something that is just simply a desire.

So in this case, I gave him reassurance that there was nothing wrong with him. In fact, our scent attracts us to each other in many ways. It’s natural. But it is possible that she would freak out if she caught him in the laundry. So, it was important to bring it up in a positive natural way.

I suggested he begin by complimenting her scent while they were having sex, telling her how much he desired her and how her scent turned him on. We practiced things he might say. We also practiced what he might say to her if she responded with something like “I’ve just worked all day, I can’t smell good or I need to shower.”

Think about what it is about sex that you want to talk about. Do you have a fantasy to share with your partner? Do you want to just get it out of your mind and out, to someone, somewhere?

If you’re not ready for a face-to-face conversation, there are websites where you can post anonymously. Just be careful - some sites and apps allow people to also comment anonymously and some people can be judgmental and mean. If you’re worried about electronic trace to your post, go to www.postsecret.com where you can write a secret on a postcard and mail it! Pictures of the postcards are posted on the website. It’s a great site to visit when you feel like you’re the only one with a secret. Some of the postcards are funny, some very deep and personal. Another site that allows any type of share, nothing is taboo, is www.mysecretpost.com. When you put it out there and you see it, it can be a tiny relief. It’s a step in opening up and talking about sex.

Like anything, getting more comfortable talking about sex takes practice. Start wherever you feel comfortable and go from there.

So, speak up and share a secret, a fantasy, whatever you desire with your partner, a friend, or even anonymously. If you’d like to build your confidence and self-acceptance, you can read my bestseller, 40 Day LoveFest for You, free, visit www.40DayLoveFest.com/freebook.




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Tina Nies is a Happiness Consultant, Mentor, and Holistic Sexuality Coach. She works with individuals & organizations to build self-love, acceptance, and respect as foundations for success and happiness through programs about Love, Smiles, and the Power of Choice. http://www.40daylovefest.com/

January 20, 2015

Let's Talk About Sex - Part 2

This week, we continue our series with Tina Nies, Holistic Sexuality Coach. Last week really brought up some stuff for folks, so I can't wait to see what you all get out of this week's post!

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In part one, I shared a simple daily practice that can help if you are on a path to loving and accepting yourself, your whole self, your sexuality, even the parts you sometimes keep hidden. I also acknowledged there is talk about sex all around us every day. Regardless of our comfort level with what we see and hear around us, regardless of our personal beliefs about sex, we learn, we wonder, we make judgments, we create expectations about our partners and relationships, we even experiment based on all that stuff!

Our partners don’t know all the millions of thoughts and expectations we may have unless we tell them. We all have desires, thoughts, and expectations. Why not learn to share them a bit more? Why not become comfortable talking about sex?

It’s okay to be concerned about sharing our deepest secret desires. We may have had our own heartaches that now make us wary of opening up. We may have experimented in the past or have been abused in ways that felt degrading. I get it. I have secrets. And I’ve learned to share lots of them in healthy ways, and yes, some things may be best left in my head and memories. It’s okay to keep some things to ourselves.

For example, someone once confided in me that when he and another child found an adult magazine, they thought they saw a man urinating into a woman’s mouth (it was just oral sex, but they only knew the penis for urination). They duplicated what they saw with a not so pleasant result. Once, while playing “house” my cousin and I were the parents, so when it was bedtime, we took off our clothes and got into bed. It was innocent, we duplicated what we saw, getting undressed and into bed. I remember that playing house sometimes included someone getting spanked, even bare bottom, because back in the seventies, spanking was generally considered acceptable. We learn from those experiments. We learn from every experience at any age, good and bad.

But, whether in a committed relationship or not, if

you want to increase your overall intimacy and learn to open up and talk more about sex, start now, start simply.

If you live with a partner, you can practice this daily. If you see someone casually, you could still practice this without the “I love you.” If you are not seeing anyone at the moment, you can simply continue the LoveFest practice shared in part one and move to the visualization exercise I share further down.

Look your partner in the eyes and say…
“I love/like you and thank you for ____” or simply “thank you for ___”

OR

“I love/like you and I’m grateful for you because ____” or simply “I’m grateful for you because___”
 

If or when it feels comfortable and to really get more intimate, each of you can place one hand on the others’ heart as you say those words. It can take just 1 minute, every day… but WOW the impact on intimacy is huge!

The thank you or gratitude can be for anything. It can be for specific activities like taking out the trash, giving a back rub, picking up the dry cleaning, listening to a vent about work, etc. Or it can be for more general characteristics like, listening at the end of the day, being kind to neighbors, supporting the family, making a partner feel loved, etc. When you make this part of your everyday routine, you’ll find that some days you’ll thank your partner for something deep and intimate, some days, just the simple stuff.

If you already express appreciation regularly, that is awesome! But I’d still suggest giving this a try, especially starting or ending every day this way. Talking about sex or any topic becomes easier when you practice looking into each other’s eyes, placing your hands on each other and expressing gratitude.

While strengthening your intimacy and building your confidence, it’s a good time to also get clear about what you’d like to talk about. What do you really want in and out of the bedroom in terms of your intimate and sexual life?

This next suggested exercise is one of my favorites. Visioning exercises of any type can be powerful tools in gaining clarity and focus. You can do a visualization anytime, anywhere, but ideally you’ll want to have time and space where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Get comfy, turn on music if you like, but I suggest it be instrumental music, lyrics can be suggestive and lead your visioning without even realizing it! For your first time, give yourself at least 10-15 minutes, set a timer if you like, but commit to that time. 15 minutes can go by very quickly or it can seem to last an eternity.

In this exercise, you don’t have to think about any particular person. So if you’re single, stay focused on what you want to experience - you’re not trying to visualize who would be a perfect mate, just visualize YOUR amazing experience! If you’re in a committed, loving relationship, then yes, imagine you partner in this exercise, but be careful to focus on the feeling and the experience and not get distracted by fixing anything you might think needs fixing about the partner or relationship.

Before you begin, tell yourself that the past is just that, the past, and you’ll make no comparisons or judgments about the past in these 15 minutes of visualization. Take 3 deep breaths, and consciously intend to see and feel clearly what you desire.

Choose one of the following, start wherever you feel comfortable, and let your mind take you on the path.

  • Imagine a perfect kiss. What does that kiss feel like? If you’ve experienced perfect kisses, it’s okay to remember what made it great, but stay focused on the qualities of the kiss, not the kisser, especially if it’s not your current partner. Think about the intimacy of the kiss, imagine what that would feel like, soft or hard, wet or dry, tongue or no tongue, open mouth or closed mouth, all of the details of that perfect kiss, that awesome kiss, just feel it.
  • Maybe you want to imagine building intimacy up to having that perfect kiss. Begin imagining a perfect date (not a first date, unless you want to start there). Imagine what you’d love to share or do, the light touching of hands, the conversation, etc. Imagine if you could totally be yourself in that date, what it would feel like. Maybe you and your partner haven’t been on a date in ages, what would that great date look like? Imagine it all, from start to kiss!
  • If you have children, maybe you want to imagine a perfect night away. Grandma and Grandpa come over to babysit and you get a room at local hotel. What happens in your special time alone? Now this visualization could get really fun for some of you, maybe you visualize playing out a scene, not necessarily a costumed role play, but more an idea that it’s just the two of you without any restriction or worry about kids waking up in the night and running into your room and no concern about how loud you might get. In your perfect night away, what would you do, how do you feel?
  • Maybe you have an idea that’s been floating around in your head a while regarding a sexual experience you’d like to have. It could be simple, maybe you’ve never had someone lick your toes or other body part and you’ve always been curious. Maybe it’s more intense like creating a role-play fantasy. Whatever it is, let yourself imagine it, but not just as a sexual fantasy, but as an actual experience where you feel free to share that fantasy in words to your partner first in a safe way where there is no judgment about the fantasy. Then continue to imagine creating that fantasy. Imagine every detail and what each detail feels like.
  • Create any visualization you desire that includes a healthy dialogue about what you desire and then the experience itself. This can be anything, even if you’d really like to just lay in bed touching your partner without proceeding to intercourse. Imagine that. Imagine whatever you desire and the confidence to share that desire with your partner.

How did it feel? What did you experience during your visualization? As your visualization developed, did you have any surprises? Did you find some clarity if you needed clarity?


The first time you do this, you may not feel anything, you may think it to be silly, and you may never want to try this again. What ever you feel is okay. But whether you loved it or hated it, why not try it again sometime. If you try it again, you might have a different result, you might move to visualizing a higher level of intimacy than the first time. You might have new insight or more clarity. You might become more confident in what you desire.

It’s important to stay focused on the desired feelings, so when we get ready to talk about sex on a deeper level it’s just about us and what we’d like to experience, NOT on what we think is wrong in our current relationship or what our partner should fix about themselves. Because if we really want to talk about sex in a meaningful way, there is no room for condemning judgment. Judgment may still be there in some ways, but it lessens when we build a foundation of love and acceptance first.

So, once you strengthen your personal or relationship confidence and bonds, are clear about what you want to talk about, how do you actually go about saying the words? How do you say the words, especially if you still feel like some of the things you are thinking are too naughty?

Let’s save that conversation for part three!



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Tina Nies is a Happiness Consultant, Mentor, and Holistic Sexuality Coach. She works with individuals & organizations to build self-love, acceptance, and respect as foundations for success and happiness through programs about Love, Smiles, and the Power of Choice. http://www.40daylovefest.com/

January 13, 2015

Let’s Talk About Sex - Part 1

This week, we begin a three part series by Tina Nies, Holistic Sexuality Coach (among other amazing things). This week, she shares with us about one key thing that gets in our way -- fear.

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“Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about Sex.” Remember this from the musical group, Salt ‘N’ Pepa?

People are talking about Sex.

“Curling up with favorite book is nice.  But, I think women would rather curl up with their favorite man.” Recognize this line from my favorite erectile dysfunction commercial.

Sex is everywhere, we almost can’t escape it. TV, video games, movies, advertising, etc. Most of the talk is superficial and much is directed toward selling us a product or idea. Places of worship often talk about “sexual purity” and “chastity.” Most of us never learned about sex in an open, healthy way. Instead we were bombarded with these types of mixed messages; our own sexual curiosity and experimentation; peer pressure; or even sexual abuse.

So, what is missing? What are we not talking about?

We’re missing conversations about what we feel, wonder, or even fantasize about. Conversations about what we’d like to feel. Conversations about our expectations in the bedroom and relationships. Conversations with our sexual partners and even with ourselves – openly and honestly.

But there is talk. Everywhere.

So with all this sex talk around us 24/7, why is there still such a fear about getting real and talking about sex, with our partner, our children, or reaching out to doctors, therapists and coaches?

Personally, I think it comes down to not totally loving & accepting ourselves as we are and then choosing to learn to express ourselves in healthy ways.

Often, because there is sex around us 24/7, we compare ourselves and our intimate life to what we see in the media. We compare what our body looks and feels like. We compare what we think is good or bad about sex to what we see. We compare our own private intimate life to what we see portrayed through the various media.

It can be challenging to not compare ourselves and many of us are not strong enough to see those things and look at them objectively, without judging ourselves. It can also be challenging to not judge others and their ideas about and experiences in their sexuality.

Whether we perceive ourselves and our sexuality as good or bad, we’re okay right now. I don’t mean okay as in, yeah, all is good even if you’re miserable or hurting others. I mean this in a way to say, YOU are okay, regardless of what you think or believe about your sexuality and you can change those thoughts, if you want to.

If we want to learn to embrace our sexuality or improve our sexual lives and relationships, we have to begin with accepting what is… even if what is, is not what we want.

A woman I once coached had been kidnapped and raped at about age 15. She was forced to look at pornographic videos during her experience. After that experience, she hated pornography. She also thought it was horrific for men to watch pornography. For here, pornography was connected to harming women. So when she began a relationship with her now husband, it was very distressing to find his stash of porn. She got angry, physically destroyed the porn, and told him porn was a horrible thing. For him, pornography was entertainment and assisted sexual release. He had been a mostly single guy until age 35 and to him, it was a healthy, normal activity to watch porn. To her, it was anything but normal. Those individual beliefs about pornography led to arguments because neither shared the intimate details about their beliefs and experiences with pornography.

It was okay that she didn’t want porn anywhere near her. It was also okay that he liked porn. Sadly, many relationships end over these type of issues and lack of intimate communication. I’m glad that this one did not end. It’s important that we can share the whys behind our thoughts about our sexuality, about what is real to each of us. To really be okay with who we are and sharing who we are on the deepest level with another human being can be a powerful experience.

So, why does this often seem so hard?

Fear.

Fear of what the partner will think of us. Fear they may leave us. Fear they may tell someone our secrets, Fear that they might think we are bad or damaged or crazy.

Fear is just a feeling, it’s something we can begin to release through love and acceptance. Practicing accepting who we are and why we are and that it’s okay now, helps us see that it can be better and happier if we want it to be.


So how do we begin the process of opening ourselves up to the deepest, most intimate parts of ourselves?

Learn to accept, even love ourselves as we are now.

There are so many exercises you can do in the process, many are deeply personal, take time, and might even be too overwhelming to try at this point. I like to help people start simply, with looking for their good in who they are, in general, right now.

Yes, it can still be hard to do. It may take some time, but you can begin with simple, daily practices.

1. What are you grateful for today? What are you grateful for in your personal or intimate life? 

2. Look in the mirror. Say something nice to yourself. Say something nice about your body.

3. What did you accomplish today? And If you are working toward goal of improving your intimate life, what did you do today toward that goal.

Sometimes people think something this simple can’t make a difference. Because it’s simple, it makes a profound difference. It builds a foundation of strength that supports the deeper work to acknowledge and share our deepest desires with our partners.

Those three steps take just minutes each day and are based on a practice I share in my book, 40 Day LoveFest for you, which you can download free at www.40DayLoveFest.com/freebook.  This practice can help you begin your conversation with yourself and about your sexuality. As you build your acceptance of yourself, it gets much easier to really talk about sex. So, in the next part of this series, we’ll delve deeper into loving and embracing our sexuality.



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Tina Nies is a Happiness Consultant, Mentor, and Holistic Sexuality Coach. She works with individuals & organizations to build self-love, acceptance, and respect as foundations for success and happiness through programs about Love, Smiles, and the Power of Choice.

January 6, 2015

Loving the Ebb & Flow of Life

Today I was thinking a lot about the randomness of life. And also how we come to this new time each year where we hope for a better round, we imagine what could be different for ourselves, and perhaps we lament the year gone by -- opportunities missed, relationships changed or lost, and worst of all, may have a sense that another year has gone by with nothing changed.

I was thinking back to a time in my life when each year felt like a huge struggle and how New Year's brought more upset and anxiety than hope. 

One of the things I came across in my journey that helped shift my perspective about life is the following poem by Henley.



What Is To Come
William Ernest Henley (1892)

What is to come we know not. But we know
That what has been was good—was good to show,
Better to hide, and best of all to bear.
We are the masters of the days that were;
We have lived, we have loved, we have suffered...even so.

Shall we not take the ebb who had the flow?
Life was our friend? Now, if it be our foe—
Dear, though it spoil and break us! —need we care
      What is to come?

Let the great winds their worst and wildest blow,
Or the gold weather round us mellow slow;
We have fulfilled ourselves, and we can dare
And we can conquer, though we may not share
In the rich quiet of the afterglow
      What is to come.




I love this reminder that what is to come is varied and beautiful.  To love the ebb and flow. 



My favorite line, "We are the masters of the days that were; We have lived, we have loved, we have suffered... even so." --- what a powerful thought -- that the past bends to our will, our perspective, our choice about what it was all for and about.

How can you embrace the ebb and flow?


 

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http://rachelgrantcoaching.com/abandonment/


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