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.