My 3 Favorite Ways To Get In The Mood

Sex is amazing, especially when I’m feeling confident about myself. But, what about those days when you hit snooze for 30 minutes and miss yoga practice, your kids forgot their lunch on the counter and your dog ran through the screen door – those are the days when feeling sexy doesn’t come easily.

If you’re looking to turn up the heat and turn yourself on – I’ve got you covered. From pampering yourself to turning up the tunes – here’s a few of our favorite ways to start your journey to pleasure:

1 – Pamper yourself with a bath:

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Drop in the perfect bath bomb or add some bubble bath, then sit back and relax! Allow yourself to unwind surrounded by the comforting warmth of a hot bath and sooth yourself with your favorite scents. A little “me” time can help you settle all of the thoughts of the day and become more present in the moment. Bonus: turn off the lights and use candles for an even sexier experience


2 – Create an inviting space for intimacy:

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When my room is messy it makes me stressy – seriously. Messy spaces or an unmade bed can trigger all sorts of negative emotions that will quickly kill your sexy time plans. There’s nothing sexier than sliding naked into a neatly made bed with fresh linens – add some essential oil spray to your sheets to kick it up another notch!


3 – Turn on some music:

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Relax, close your eyes and let the music change your mood. There a bunch of science behind this – to sum it up…music taps into the pleasure center of your brain and releases all the good wanton mojo. Fun Fact: According to this study done by Sonos, the smart speaker system, 67 percent of couples that listen to music out loud together report having more sex than couples who don’t listen to music together.


(Bed)SIDE NOTE: If you’re still struggling to get in the mood – remember that sex hormones and stress hormones are linked in that if one is high, the other will be low. Stimulants like sugar, caffeine and nicotine all raise your stress hormones making you less likely to get in the mood.

Mom, Am I Fat?

When a 6 year old makes you question everything.

I’ll never forget walking by my daughters room and seeing her standing in a hot pink swimsuit in front of her kid-sized vanity mirror repeatedly poking herself in the belly. It stopped me dead in my tracks — it was the beginning of the end of her magnificently uninhibited childhood.

After a bit of conversation I learned that an older neighbor girl was picking on her for her appearance. Every time she went outside in only her swimsuit or in her new little sports bra top and shorts that grandma had bought her, she was being questioned and ridiculed…

“Why aren’t you wearing a shirt?”

“You can’t just wear a bra outside!”

“You shouldn’t be hanging your big belly out.”

“You’re going to get arrested for being naked.”

This was it — her first experience with body-shaming and she didn’t even have to leave our yard. I’m not naive, I am well aware that we are in the age of social media and the pressure to fit the mold is enormous — but I just thought I still had time.

But, I didn’t. So we stumbled through a conversation about her beautiful, magical, healthy six year old body. We talked about her strong shoulders that make her the fastest 6 year old on her swim team and her muscular legs that help her race her bike all over the neighborhood. We talked about self-expression and how her wearing a sports bra and shorts around the neighborhood was her way of expressing her style.

Then we talked about empathy, compassion and bullying. It was heart-breaking, necessary and a even a little bit encouraging all at the same time. It was an opportunity to set the stage for further conversations about her body and to learn what she already knew about bullying — all while crossing my fingers and hoping her magical six year old innocence would survive this conversation intact.

That girl…I just wish I had more time. Time to build up her confidence and teach her all about the magic within her — time to show her how strong her spirit is and build up her resilience to the countless mean girls and bullies she will experience in the coming years.

I just wish I had more time to build her up before society started chipping away at her perfectly beautiful and magical imperfections.

Recovering From Self-Sabotage

How I stopped being an asshole and fucking myself over.

I’m a recovering self-sabotager — maybe that’s too generous — it might be safer to just say I’m recovering from myself.

Procrastination — check

Over-complicating Life — check

Starting more projects than I capable of finishing — check

I’m pretty sure I have a black belt in self-sabotage. It wasn’t until after I had alienated myself from almost everyone who loved me and spent a few years wallowing in self-pity (and a whole lot of Ben & Jerry’s) that I recognized my self-deprecating patterns. My life had become entirely reactive and I was not only failing at achieving any of the goals I had set for myself — I had entirely stopped setting goals. I was no longer invested in taking action because I was too busy trapped in my tangled thoughts. These thought patterns would just take over and I hadn’t even realized it.

Intellectually I understood self-sabotage — but that did nothing to help overcome my subconscious desire to fuck myself over.

The good news was that my self-sabotaging could be corrected —yay! The bad news is that I already knew it would take a whole lot of work to untangle the two (or five) competing voices in my monkey brain — those assholes were loud and they enunciated E-V-E-R-Y W-O-R-D.

The first thought pattern I knew I needed to tackle was my massively destructive fear of dreaming. It had been a long time since I had allowed myself to even have goals and dreams — somewhere along the way I became convinced that floating through life aimlessly was less painful than failure. I was afraid to even consider the endless possibilities out there — why would the universe have anything good in store for me.

Worse yet — I had convinced my husband that being a “dreamer” was frivolous, irresponsible and immature. I had been projecting my sabotagey-ness all over him and trying to avoid pain on his behalf too — or maybe I’m slightly narcissistic and him not achieving his dreams would have been a blow to my ego too?

Either way — I’m an asshole.

A somewhat self-aware asshole — but still an asshole — and I really didn’t want to be an asshole anymore.

Just Decide That Enough is Enough

I slowly began making different choices — first in my brain and then eventually with my actions. Instead of limiting myself with the belief that dreaming is reckless and a complete waste of time, I re-positioned it as an opportunity to see how different choices would unfold. Now, I’ve realized my dreams have the ability to be my path — as long as I listen and follow through.

So, after years of telling myself and my husband that all dreams were frivolous — I’ve made dreaming part of my daily routine. Every morning I sit down with a blank page and no distractions.

Now that dreaming has become a part of my life again — the thought of tackling my other self-sabotaging patterns and behaviors is much less terrifying.

…now I’m off to dream…

 

How I Overcame Sexual Shame and Learned to Love Sex

A friendly nudge to explore the pleasures sex has to offer.

It took me 28 years to begin dismantling and destroying the seemingly programmed feelings of shame and guilt I had about sex. It wasn’t just about my own sexuality — it was ALL THINGS SEX — the word itself felt taboo.

The only real opportunity I had to learn about sex was in the mandatory single-gender Human Growth & Development class at my public school — which was really just a glorified anatomy lesson pushing abstinence. I had amazing parents that taught me about all sorts of things — but they either didn’t know how to talk to me about sex or felt uncomfortable doing so. It was likely a mix of both since my mom still cringes any time I mention something sexual and my dad still shakes his head and walks away laughing.

This strange code of silence surrounding sexuality caused a whole lot of confusion in my hormone-heavy mind and forced me to operate from my adolescent assumptions alone. Sex had grown into this negative — scary — gross and entirely shameful thing. The feelings of pleasure experienced with sex — just plain old vanilla sex — were always followed by waves of guilt and shame.

Since the shame had lived inside of me for as long as I could remember, it felt natural and I never thought to question it. Silence had always been the way adults around me dealt with the topic of sex, which meant I certainly wouldn’t be bringing it up for a second opinion any time soon.

So there sat shame…simmering away well into my 20’s…

By then I was happily married and having the obligatory 1–2 times weekly missionary style sex -and we got pregnant with our first child. BOOM — no more hiding from sex. The proof was in my womb and some man named Dr. Taylor was sticking a wand up my vagina-hole to inspect the tiny bean-like creature. Something started to happen while my pregnant belly grew — I finally learned to love and appreciate my body.

Nothing teaches you quite how terrifyingly magical your body is like squeezing a giant baby out of your vagina-hole while your husband watches in half amazement/half horror. I’ll never forget my husband’s wonderous expression as he was explaining to his buddies (all single guys) how my vagina was kind of like a transformer…

Luckily, his wonder and admiration for my transforming childbirth vagina didn’t leave him with night terrors. Instead, he accepted me without conditions — earning even more of my trust and willingness to share some of my hidden feelings about sex.

As I slowly opened up about my distorted views and started sharing my feelings of guilt and shame out loud, things started to truly change. I had begun nudging myself to explore my sexuality — the thoughts, feelings, sensations, attitudes and emotions of it all. I no longer viewed sex as wrong or dirty and shocked my husband by beginning to openly and proudly discuss our sex life with friends.

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No more hiding my sexuality and staying silent in the face of shame. Interestingly, when I stopped judging my actions and labeling them as “wrong.” I also stopped judging others and found a place of gained understanding, openness and empathy.

My feelings of shame are not entirely gone, but they no longer control my actions or keep me silent. Now our communication keeps us honest, our sex life is one of the things I’m most proud of and shame has been replaced by unconditional love, joy and pleasure.

Depression, Sex and Shame

Making pleasure part of your recovery.

For eight years we had worked really hard to disprove the myth that marriage ruins sex. Before depression followed me into our bedroom like a cartoonish rain cloud, we had a sex life that I couldn’t have imagined my younger self having.

Somehow my depression and the accompanying shame convinced me that I wasn’t only the worst human in history, but also unworthy of pleasure. My husband remembers a time when I asked him “are we sex addicts” after realizing it had been a particularly long stretch without a night off. These doubts and questions I’d never even considered were gnawing at me and I didn’t have the awareness to stop and ask where that voice came from. Depression is a dirty liar and this was just the beginning of the damage it would do.

When depression comes to stay, sex goes away.

Over the next two years those whispers of depression turned my once healthy sexual desires into a sinister trigger for shame. The shame I felt seemed almost inexplicable — how could I go from being proud of my healthy sex life to hyper-critical and ashamed in a matter of months? EVERYTHING became overwhelming, emotionally draining and spirit sucking.

It took years to realize that my depression had not only been a great liar, but it found my weaknesses and soft spots and expertly exposed them. Sex was one of my weak spots and served as a perfect way for depression to gain entry. It manipulated my current views on sex and sexuality and brought back all of the feelings I had when I saw the scribbled Sharpie message “Rachel is a SLUT” in the bathroom in high school.

Depression made it so that I no longer knew how to make pleasure a part of my life. I had simply stopped enjoying everything — and there was nothing sexy about that.

If sex and the shame surrounding it was the way depression made it’s debut — could it also be the key to setting my mind free? As it turns out, yes — partially. By placing an emphasis on finding and enjoying pleasure again, my renewed interest in sex was the first sign of my recovery.

As part of my recovery I vowed to focus on the following things to improve my relationship with sex:

  • Mindfulness: Spend time loving yourself — meditation, masturbation, mindfulness. Just do it.
  • Exercise: a fit body (or in my case one that’s on the way to being fit) exudes confidence.
  • Cuddle/Snuggle: If you aren’t in the mood for sex, try to keep physical touch available for yourself and your partner.
  • Don’t force it: Sex is always a choice, never a chore and if you’re lucky it should always end in climax…if it doesn’t — don’t allow the doubt and shame to creep in. You’ll do better next time.
  • Talk: Don’t let sex become an off-limits topic — even when you aren’t having any.

Your brain may be your biggest enemy right now, but it is also your biggest sex organ. Take the time to include intimacy and touch in your recovery efforts — it might just help to undo some of the destructive effects of this devastating disease.