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.


Mary-LUE said...

While I think actually making the tape would be beyond my comfort zone, I am positive watching it would be out of the question. I shudder to imagine!

Alysia said...

I think it is great to be open about sex. We might check out that book ourselves! I wish we had a whirlpool tub to read it in. I'm totaly jealous! ;)

Boz said...

For your pleasure, a bit of background on Mr. Kerner:

"America's Sex Therapist," Ian Kerner, Ph.D., frequently works with couples to address issues that are common to the American bedroom but nonetheless lead to lives of quiet desperation. He is the author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman, which was selected by both and Borders as a Best of 2004 non-fiction title and has been translated into several languages around the world, as well as the New York Times bestseller Be Honest—You're Not That Into Him Either, DSI—Date Scene Investigation, and Passionista: The Empowered Woman's Guide to Pleasuring a Man. Kerner has appeared frequently on Today, contributes regularly to Cosmopolitan, and can also be found on AOL Coaches. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

So what qualifies this guy - or any self-help author, for that matter - to give me or anyone advice? Wikipedia states that he had a, "personal battle with sexual dysfunction," what the heck does that mean and how does it qualify him to counsel others in any way? What is this guy's Ph.D. in? It also has the abbreviation of "FAACS" listed in his Wiki entry, but I can't find where that acronym stands for anything via Wiki nor Google (I realize Wikipedia is a resource and not fact, but it is a helpful research tool).

I just cannot stand self-help authors. They get their start by relaying their own experiences in reforming from whatever problem they had, then branch out into additional topics. "I went through this, it worked for me, and it can work for you too!" That tag line has been attached to alcohol reform, smoking, weight-loss, relationship help, and even the thighmaster. In the vast majority of cases, most people just need to change the way they communicate with each other to resolve and prevent problems, and pretty basic exercises help accomplish this. The whole self-help marketplace, argh! I can't stand it!

Sorry for the diatribe. I know some people swear by certain self-help books or other media that helped them through difficult times, but the ability to stay calm and not lay blame on your partner is all most people really need to avoid arguments, the leading cause of decreased intimacy. I think it was the following sentence that really got me going, "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." Way to turn sex into Social Studies class, I'm all hot and bothered now!

Lauren said...

And with my luck of loving to make documentaries, our new sex tape would end up edited and segmented in between clips of the dogs and pictures of our family members. I think that might be out of Sean's comfort zone.

Boz said...

After discussing this entry with my wife, we would like to know how it is that you two have been together so many years without making a video. I find it hard to believe you both to be a missionary-only couple.

Cathy said...

I made one a loooong time ago, but right when we were done I had him tape over it. Never even watched it.

katrin said...

No sex tape for me. No Sex in public places. But over the years my husband has ever so gently encouraged me to be more daring. I still find good old regular sex, just the two of us, to be the most fun. Especially if we've had a dry spell.

One thing I do know to be true: the more you have sex, the more you want it and like it. It's terrible for intimacy when women become complacent about sex. It's too easy for us to get lazy!


crazynewmama said...

oh hilarious. i need to get that book NOW.
You my friend, are friggen hilarious. I look forward to more posts from your blog.