Friday, February 15, 2008

Falling Off the Naked-Wagon

There is a two person whirlpool tub attached to our bedroom. The Partner and I exploit this ultimate form of decadence on a weekly basis. Since last night was St. Valentine's special evening, we were inspired by Chinese food take-out and the exchange of romance-themed card stock to take things to the next level by soaking in the jet stream while talking only about sex.

The discussion was guided by the book I've been reading called "Sex Detox: Recharge Desire. Revitalize Intimacy. Rejuvenate Your Love Life" by Ian Kerner, Ph.D. I signed up to review it for the Parent Bloggers Network because it was about sex. I'm easy like that.

The premise of Sex Detox is that most struggling relationships or faltering dating-lives (the book is divided into separate detox regimens for couples and singles) can benefit from stepping back from the action and taking time to assess the whole picture--not just where you are sexually now, but how you got there. The workbook-like exercises encourage you to write down your thoughts on topics related to your current partner, past partners, family upbringing and how your unique fantasy life is fueled by all of the above.

The detox element of the book suggests that you abstain from sex for one month while focusing on yourself (mentally, mostly...but manually, too, if you feel like it) through the guided exercises. It's not the simple lack of boot-knocking that does it--it's consciously working through the alone-time for the betterment of your life together. Dr. Kerner even says it's okay if you fall off the wagon--the point is being hyper aware of the history and emotion behind the mechanics.

I didn't do the detox. That probably would've been too beneficial and healthy for me. Instead, I read through the chapters and discussed the more salacious aspects with The Partner, culminating with last night's bath session.

In one chapter relating to fantasies, Dr. Kerner poses this question for couples: "What would be one exhibitionistic fantasy that, while pushing your comfort zone, you might do under the right circumstance?" Examples included making a sex tape, skinny dipping, having sex outdoors, etc.

"Would making a sex tape turn you on?" I asked.

"Eh," The Partner hedged. "I guess so." He didn't seem too convinced.

"Does that push your comfort zone?" I pressed.

He thought about it. "No, not really." Then a wry look came over his face. "What would really push my comfort zone is watching it afterward." There was some mention of his hairy ass and the next few minutes were lost in laughs.

Even without following through on the whole program, I think we benefitted from the open communication this book advocates. Simply putting oneself out there in word and deed is the underlying premise of most self-help books worth their salt, and this one is no exception. Sometimes talking--to each other, not at each other--is the simple necessity. Sex Detox gives you a framework for that conversation.

How you act on it is totally up to you.

You can hear Dr. Kerner LIVE on Motherhood Uncensored Radio 2/20 9-9:30pm EST.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

St. Valentine is Laughing at Me

Just to prove to you all that I do not take myself too seriously, I am linking to a segment heard on WBUR (the Boston NPR affiliate) this morning about the book I wrote as part of a new publishing venture called One True Romance.

OTR is marketed toward engaged couples looking to record their courtship for posterity by commissioning a professional author to write about it in romance novel style. The publishers have amassed a stable of writers, but I was the first filly out of the gate as I penned the inaugural book in the series. If you click on the Real Audio link on the WBUR Web site, you can hear NPR's coverage in the form of a thinly veiled satire on the sappiness of today's holiday. I alternated between cringe and guffaw as I gave it a listen myself. While I want to say that the overall tone of the book is not as schmaltzy as the artfully chosen excerpts would have you believe, that might just be my pride talking. Let's put it this way: while I find it a little strange that they did not credit me by name as the author of the piece, I'm not altogether disappointed by the omission.

But, as far as the sap goes--what do you want from me? I mean, it's a true story. The couple I wrote about did see fireworks. Sometimes real life just works like that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Can You See Me Now?

Earlier in the winter, I kept telling The Partner that I need new windshield wiper blades. "These things suck," I said, time and time again. My ever-patient husband would remind me on each occasion that it was not the wipers that sucked--it was the New England winters. There are certain times and places where windshields just aren't meant to be seen out of. November through March in Connecticut is one such example.

Then I received a delivery of Prestone Washer Fluid Booster (de-icer additive) to review for the Parent Bloggers Network. The packaging promised that the product would "quickly remove light ice and frost and help to repel build-up of dirt and salt from road spray as you drive. Also helps prevent dangerous re-freeze from forming on your windshield." I smiled and nodded. That's what I do when I'm not paying much attention, or when I don't believe a thing someone is saying.
While working on one of my car's myriad problems, The Partner poured the bottle into the washer fluid reservoir and left it to its own devices. Life went on, and it wasn't until months later that I noticed I hadn't cursed out my windshield wipers in quite some time. Ice no longer clung to glass and blade with its evil skeleton claws. In fact, hardly anything stuck to the windshield. Even the salt-rain just beaded up for easy wipe-away. Since I knew for a fact that it wasn't the winter conditions that had changed, I had to give credit to Prestone for this new visibility.
My smile-and-nod at this revelation was no longer vacant. I was pleasantly surprised.