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Musings and commentary about various forms of love, sex and romance.

Sex Education–Storytime for Adults

Karen Kreps was a featured story teller at  THE LIVING ROOM, a spoken word series produced by Amparo Garcia-Crow, bringing together a diverse group of storytellers. Enjoy an eclectic mix of stories in an intimate setting at Casa De Luz every FIRST Saturday night at the auditorium of Casa de Luz, 1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704
. The topic of the stories on Sat Sept 3, 2011 was be “Sex Education,” and there’s no one more interesting to talk about her own sex education and how she became a sex educator than the author of Intimacies: Secrets of Love, Sex & Romance.

Watch the video of this event.

Single, the Film

This film was co-written/produced/directed by Jane Scandurra, a fellow alum from Prodigy, where I worked for six years until I met my husband and followed him from New York to Austin. It’s about the growing population of single adults in this day, but I wish I had seen it back then, when I was single. It might have helped me feel more indepedent and legitimate as a single woman.

Adult Education in Austin-Female Sensual Massage

Behind closed doors in a nice South Austin neighborhood, fourteen strangers crowded into a small livingroom for a three-hour workshop on how to give a woman a sensual massage and make her feel safe and relaxed and fully surrender.

There were seven single men and two single women, including four couples, ages ranging from 27 to 77. Everyone seemed relieved to find a congenial group of normal-looking adults who were genuinely interested in learning and excited by the potential that the workshop promised.

Charla Hathaway, an erotic coach and author of the book, Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure and Extended Arousal, welcomed everyone and explained the structure for the afternoon. There’d be an hour of introduction and discussion about sensual massage, followed by a demonstration (back, front and genital), and a wrap-up talk. She introduced herself and her model, on whom she would later demonstrate. The model was an attractive and charming young woman, totally at ease with nudity. She explained that she has been studying erotic arts in California and was very much looking forward to the massage she was about to get.

Charla put everyone at ease, elevating the energy with spiritual discussion of Tantric arts and respect for the human body. A high level of trust was established. She got everyone to share openly about what they wanted to let go of as they entered the class, what they wanted to bring into the experience and what they intended to get out of the experience. There were seven single men and two single women, including four couples, ages ranging from 27 to 77.

By the time everyone entered the massage room, circling around the table, there was so much respect in that room–between the students, to the model and teacher and for each our bodies.  There was a shared sense of privilege to be privy to a very private, intimate affair, to be welcome to simply watch and or to try a couple of techniques on the model while under the careful guidance of the coach.

Charla demonstrated used of props like feathers and fur, cornstarch (yes, from out of the pantry) and oil to soothe and relax all the muscles. She got every to breathe in rhythm with the model as she explained and the model confirmed what where the most pleasurable strokes and approaches.  As genital strokes were demonstrated on a live person, everyone asked respectful questions and the women shared their experiences and preferences. No massage was ever too slow. Breasts could never be massaged too much, but the nipples should be touched last. Asking permission before penetrating your lover’s body in any way was only decent.

While only the model got the massage, everyone present was touched and opened in new ways that would affect them for the rest of their adult lives.

–Karen Kreps is the author of Intimacies: Secrets of Live, Sex & Romance, and blogs at TrueIntimacies.com.

Why can’t we just be friends?–Q&A Intimacies

Q:

If you know that the person you’ve been dating for a year doesn’t want a serious relationship with you, but you still like her or him, does it make sense to keep her or him as a friend? — JP

A:

Breaking up is hard to do, especially after a whole year. But if you would prefer that your relationship with that particular person be serious–get the hell out of Dodge. It’s better to break it off right away, feel the sting of separation and recover your perspective–so you can find a new relationship with someone who can relate to you seriously.  You aren’t going to change your friend’s feelings and you may only delude yourself into thinking you can, postponing or prolonging the eventual disappoint.

Some people, especially men, I think, will propose, ‘Can’t we can still be friends?’ as a way to soften the blow of an ended. It’s just the polite thing to say. Usually, after a couple agrees to split up yet remain friends, in time, priorities shift and they choose not to spend as much time with each other, they aren’t as open as before and the calls stop coming.

If, on the other hand, the lack of romantic interest is pretty mutual—if neither of you want to have a serious relationship with each other and won’t be subject to fits of jealousy or unrequited longing, you need not cut off a working friendship just because you aren’t ever going to exchange wedding vows with each other. If neither of you want more from each other than each is willing to offer, if you both agree that the match isn’t serious,  you need not lose all the stability and familiarity you’ve developed together.

A key consideration is what you mean by “keep her or him as a friend.” Usually, that means eliminating the romantic or sexual component of a relationship, if it ever existed. A  relationship can shift from sexual to platonic only if there is no longer a sexual attraction between you, mutual or one-sided. And an absence of mutual attraction would validate the choice to not get serious about the relationship.

A less-common option is to remain a sexual friend. You may find a sexually compatibility with someone, but not have enough going  on in the other departments that you can share. Some people maintain “Friends With Benefits” as a fall back and insurance against lonely nights. But to have a sexual relationship that doesn’t restrict either party from seeking new partners, an open, polyamorous relationship, is not for the faint of heart. In order to succeed and still be real friends,  you each must truly be able to see the other one get into a new relationship, you must watch your ex fall in love and you must not be jealous. If you could truly dance for joy at the marriage  of your friend (to someone else), by all means maintain that friendship. But, as a real friend, you will respect the need for space and no contact, for at least half a year, if It is requested.

Be careful that you don’t use your loyalty to your friend as an excuse for not getting out, meeting new people and starting to foster fresh relationships. After a year spent dating someone, the relationship has made you a bigger person. You no longer need to feed on that former relationship to support or validate who you are. You bring yourself and all that that you’ve learned to this point to the nourish the relationships that will manifest through the years that remain stretched  ahead of you.

Enjoy the Intimacies.

KK

Wake Up from the Sex Stupor

Q: My wife isn’t interested in sex anymore. We still have it for a short time a few times a week, but I don’t think she enjoys it. I find her very exciting, but she doesn’t respond. What should I do? — Andrew C.

A: Dear Andrew,

If your wife is no longer getting off, and if you have sex that frequently for a short time, it sounds as if she is simply trying to fulfill what she may feel are her conjugal duties. If she’s not reaching orgasm, but you are, the focus of your lovemaking may have shifted from an spontaneous expression of sexual attraction to getting you to climax so she can just have it over with.

Try to shift your intention. Instead of focusing on your own response, focus on hers. Making love can be more than mastubation with the help of a friend. For example, when you touch her breasts, find a way to do it that gives her deep pleasure rather than simply copping a squeeze to get your own jollies. For a while, as an experiment, make it your goal to give her a great experience, rather than being off in your own world, what’s known as a sex stupor.

Pay attention to she what she responds to and if her response is positive or negative. Listen to her grunts and groans when she makes them and feel where she’s taught or moist. Do you still spend time on foreplay? If she performs fellatio, do you reciprocate? Take your time. Make sure you are both fully ready for penetration before you engage in it. Many men have erections that stand up okay, but their sexual energy is low and they misfire on a short fuse. If your ardor isn’t radiating out your appendage, she’s not going to get a charge from having it inside of her. When you join, make sure you are connected physically in an embrace that contains her whole body and being, rather than just her genitalia.

Try various approaches, not the same old bump and grind. Ask her what she likes. She’ll clue you in, if she thinks there’s a possibility of change and you would follow through, giving it to her the way she says she would enjoy it. Be willing to role play just for fun. Some women need more time for arousal, especially as they get older. Contain your energies so that you don’t spill the juice before she’s ready to soak it up. You may have to be supportive of her even before you get it on by helping to dispel the worries of the day so she can be relaxed and open to sexual activity when you do get together. Let her know that you want to find new ways to turn her on and she’d be a fool not to take you up on the offer.

Enjoy the intimacies.

KK

A Sex Info Website that Treats You Like an Adult

It’s not so easy to find websites with sex positive information that isn’t pornographic nor pedantic. CARNALNATION is one I found in an adverstisement on Alternet.org.

Here’s how it describes itself:
CARNALNATION provides comprehensive coverage of entertainment for grown-ups. We at CARNALNATION embrace and honor human sexuality, and we promise to be current, consistent, and uncensored. We compile event listings; we publish original and incisive content; and we provide insightful commentary on a range of related topics from health to fashion to the latest toys. We know you take your fun as seriously as we do, so we invite you, our readers, to use CARNALNATION to realize and explore your interests, desires, and curiosities.

CARNALNATION was developed out of a compelling need to counteract those oppressive forces, whether internal or external, that stifle sexual growth, awareness, and fulfillment. We believe that sex is a vital human need and that sexuality is an important component of who we are as individuals…

Vibrators Come of Age

Once considered shameful, the vibrator has become a common part of most people’s sex lives. Turns out we like sexual pleasure.

If Apple’s approval of a vibrator app for the iPhone wasn’t enough, the embrace of the once-shunned sex aid was recently confirmed by two studies from the University of Indiana (on one men, one on women), which found that 53 percent of women and 45 percent of the men between 18 and 60 have used vibrators and that those who had were more apt to safeguard their sexual health.

Liz Langley is a freelance writer in Orlando, FL, delves into the history of these sex toys and why companies that make batteries are good investments. See http://q.bz.sl.pt

Baring it All at Hippie Hollow

There’s no finer place to catch a few rays and perfect your line-free tan than Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis.

This bucolic area is a clothing-optional public park in Texas. When I mentioned that I liked going there, a friend asked if she could join me sometime. This was surprising, as she was going on seventy. She’s gone skinny dipping with girlfriends, but has never in her life been any place like a nude beach. Her husband of fifty years and her grown kids applauded her impulse to venture out with me. We packed towels, chairs, lunch and plenty of sunscreen—but no bathing suits—and off we went.

It’s a world away from the bustle of nearby Austin, a haven for those who wish to escape the rigors of modern life in a safe and comfortable nudist atmosphere. Hippie Hollow welcomes visitors from all over the world. The park of one hundred and nine acres features a steep, rocky limestone shoreline and provides some spectacular views of Lake Travis. Clothing optional means just that. You don’t have to take off your clothes. Plenty of people don’t. Only it feels a lot better in the water. And in the breeze. And in the sun.

On weekend afternoons, the rocks will be crowded with people sunning themselves with no inhibition, chatting, reading, snacking, and playing cards. Stroll past the second bathhouse and you’re in the gay neighborhood. Everywhere people are friendly, unusually so. A community has evolved that stays in touch with a forum on www.hippiehollow.com. (You’ll find directions and more information there as well.)

On that site, one denizen stated, “You can set up near others or tucked in a corner if you want to take tentative steps. As for body shape and level of attention, it’s simply not an issue. Folks you meet will be friendly and they’ve seen it all before, and there’s an infinite variety of people sun worshipping, swimming, relaxing and socializing. Just go ahead and get the first time out of the way, and you’ll be hooked.”

In my experience, there’s less of a sexual charge on a nude beach because nothing is hidden. When we wear bikinis it says, “I’ll show you most of me, but there are parts that I won’t show you, are secret.” But attitudes about being naked in public vary as much as the do the bodies on display: Rotund, lanky; with tan lines and without.

To see and appreciate the human form in all its variations is the main attraction, and some are forthright about it. One man, undressed and unnamed, says, “It’s so rare to be able to be naked with other people. I like looking at people. It’s stimulating.”

For some, to be out in nature in one’s birthday suit is only natural. “After any amount of time nude at the Hollow, I am loathe to put my clothes back on to leave,” states Jimbo9, moderator of the HippieHollow.com message board. “I hate it. I wanna be naked all the time, everywhere.”

Others find it a liberating challenge to disrobe. Gene recalls: “I used to think it was bad for a straight guy to go alone to a nude beach because I thought that people would think you were there just to gawk. Not so it seems. I felt so free taking my clothes off for the first time and nobody cared.”

Some worry about running into people they know. The first time we came there, my husband met a guy he used to work with at IBM.

Hippie Hollow used to be owned by the McGregor family and was legally a nude beach because it was on private property. When McGregor died he willed the land to Travis County, provided that it always remains a clothing optional beach. If the county ever tried to close it down, it would lose title to the property. The county makes far too much money on admission fees to do that.

At Hippie Hollow sexual activity is not just rude, it’s illegal. One can get ticketed, banned from the park, arrested or any combination of all three. Cameras are allowed, but it is a crime to take pictures without permission and for sexual gratification. This should catch a guy sitting concealed in the bushes with a telephoto lens, but should not affect couples or small groups of people openly and knowingly taking pictures of each other.

My friend was delighted by her first experience. She said, “It’s so freeing to be able to go in the water without anything on. It feels great to take a walk wearing nothing but a sarong and nothing underneath. I was glad you suggested I bring a sarong. They’re perfect when you want to cover up without effort.”

She said she’d have come much sooner, but she couldn’t find anyone with whom to go.

Jimbo9 states, “Hippie Hollow is perfect for showing up alone. After one gets comfortable with being a single party, then one begins meeting people. Meeting people in order to go to the Hollow is much more difficult.”

On our weekday morning visit, my friend and I found ourselves almost the only women there. When we showed any receptivity, men were quick to come over and chat. All left when we wished them a good day and said goodbye.

A couple of creeps made pests of themselves by walking by us repeatedly and too often saying hello. Pathetic! We’d have had a better time with more mixed company. Creeps who go there only to gawk can be real deterrents, but my friend laughed when she saw the lineup of boats motoring just beyond the buoys that rope off a swimming area. She said, “I hope they’re enjoying themselves half as much as we are.”

My Gift to You–a FREE eBook

Hello. I hope  you show your love boldly. Please accept as my gift to you a copy of my FREE ebook.

To request a copy please use the special-offer form on http://intimacies.weebly.com. All I ask is that you simply answer the one question on that form and let me send you—not a dozen roses, but “A Dozen Choice Intimacies,” a 38-page eBook, a special collection of twelve essays I’ve written on Intimacies. You’re welcome to share them with anyone you like—or anyone you love.

1.     Ditch Mr. Lonely, you deserve a love that’s better
2.     Meeting eye to eye may seen as invitation to romance
3.     Massage can enhance love if you let your heart be touched
4.     Why do people want to have sex? For reasons varied and complex
5.     How to learn to be a lover? Experiment and communicate
6.     Friends with benefits—just the perks without the ties
7.     It’s a shame, shame, shame how we feel shame about sex
8.     Why eat an apple a day, when sex may keep the doctor away?
9.     Overcome complacency, revolutionize your sexual outlook
10.   Whose duty is it to do what when sexual desire dims?
11.   The mysteries of age meet the mysteries of sexuality’
12.   Singles or doubles, it’s good just to be in the game

The first one, “Ditch Mr. Lonely, you deserve a love that’s better,” has never before been published. It was written for the February 2009  issue of the The Good Life magazine, which never made it to press.

To receive this free farewell gift, please tell me: What is your Number One question about relationships?

I will add you to my new email list to keep you posted about future events and Intimacies-related news. Of course, you can opt out at anytime.

Please visit http://intimacies.weebly.com.

Why do people want to have sex? For reasons varied and complex

loving couple What motivates us to mate?

by Karen Kreps

I didn’t really feel like having sex the other day, but I did anyway. My motivation wasn’t very clear. I had some free time. There was an opportunity to join my husband while he was taking a siesta. I assumed correctly that he’d welcome my initiative, and I said to myself, “Why not?” I thought it would relax me and help me get out of my head. It did.

The reasons we choose to have sex vary from person to person and from time to time. People do it for serious life-affirming reasons, for frivolous debauchery and everything in between.

“Historically, the reasons people have sex have been assumed to be few in number and simple in nature—to reproduce, to experience pleasure or to relieve sexual tension.” So wrote a couple of professors from the University of Texas at Austin. Cindy Meston and David Buss, both PhDs in the Department of Psychology, have published a thorough taxonomy of sexual motivation in the Archives of Sexual Behavior after conducting a scientific study of why people have sex—an extremely important, but surprisingly little-studied topic.

Research in the nineteen-seventies, -eighties and -nineties showed that people had sex for reasons that were varied and psychologically complex. These included a desire for pure pleasure, to express emotional closeness, to please a partner and to make a conquest. Yet most of the reasons documented in those decades, implicitly assumed the context of an ongoing romantic relationship or long-term mate. Humans, however, have a menu of mating strategies, including long-term, short-term and extra curricular mating. There might be reasons for having sex with a casual sex partner such as the desire to experience sexual variety or seeking to improve one’s sexual skills. Sex could be exchanged for favors, special privileges and a preferred job or indeed for any resource.

Sex might be used to reward a partner or as a favor in exchange for something the partner has done. Or sex might be used to retaliate against a partner for some perceived wrongdoing. Also, sex might be used to intensify the relationship, escalate the level of commitment within the relationship or turn a relationship from short- to long-term. Women, in particular, were thought to engage in sexual intercourse for emotional closeness, bonding, commitment, love, affection, acceptance, tolerance and closeness.

In their recent study, Meston and Buss surveyed more than four hundred men and women, ranging in age from seventeen to fifty-two, who responded to the query: ‘‘Please list all the reasons you can think of why you, or someone you have known, has engaged in sexual intercourse in the past.’’ The more than seven hundred answers collected resulted in two hundred thirty-seven distinct reasons.

Once they came up with that long list, Meston and Buss asked more than fifteen hundred college students, in exchange for psychology class credits, to rank the reasons in terms of how they applied to their experiences. Keep in mind that these results reveal the behavior of those who are of an age when, Meston conceded, “Hormones run rampant.” She predicted significant differences when older people are studied.

The research found similar reasons for why these young adults got intimate, and the Number One reason was simply: “I was attracted to the person.” While the primary reason involved lust, rather than amour, expressing love and showing affection still were in the top ten for both men and women.

Gender differences were negligible. Twenty of the top twenty-five reasons given were the same for males and females. “Men were more likely to be opportunistic towards having sex,” Meston said. “So, if sex was…available, they would jump on it—somewhat more so than women. Women were more likely to have sex because they felt they needed to please their partner.” Men, the study revealed, were more apt than women to have sex to get things like a promotion, a raise or a favor. Guys were much more likely than gals to say they’d had sex to “boost my social status” or because the partner was famous or “out of my league.”

The study Meston and Buss completed inspired New York Times science writer John Tierney to provide an on-line forum where the public could add their ideas to the list of reasons to have sex. In just a few days, he got hundreds of responses, which lead the UT researchers to put an additional forty reasons on their list.
Reading the many tawdry reasons why others have sex, I felt more inclined to forgive my own past foibles.

The reasons I found scariest involved revenge: “I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease (e.g., herpes, AIDS),” “I wanted to get rid of aggression” and ‘‘I thought it would help ‘trap’ a new partner.”
The most inspiring reasons involved celebration: “Because life is short (and a hundred years from now we will all be dust),” “To recover or reaffirm life after the loss of (a) loved one” and “I wanted to become one with another person.”

While we may wish to keep to ourselves the rationalizations for our behavior, the act of reasoning itself has value. By delving into our own feelings, getting honest with ourselves about why we get it on, we’ll gain greater personal understanding of and appreciation for our own sexual natures.

Between these covers, find secrets to great relationships! Buy the book now and learn about love.

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