Inspiring Women to Live with Poise, Flair, and Purpose

Today’s To-Do List: Sex

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How many of you have met someone and couldn’t keep your hands off one another, then one morning you wake up and all you can think about is your laundry list of To-Dos, with sex at the bottom of the list. Well, guess what? You’ll always have To-Dos and it’s up to you to put sex where it belongs on that list.

After almost three decades of working with couples, I’ve seen how lack of effort when it comes to intimacy can affect relationships. A study spotlighted this trend and showed that sexual intimacy is the link that keeps partners positive about their marriages in the face of adversity, and a lack of sex makes things worse.

We don’t plan to lose that “honeymoon phase,” but we just get comfortable. We gravitate in different directions…he’s in the recliner with the remote watching the game, and she’s putting the kids to bed, packing lunches, doing laundry – the two reunite in the bedroom and think Should we do it? And then say, “We’ll do it tomorrow.”

This reminds me of a an episode of What Not to Wear which featured a woman who admitted she normally wears a frumpy T-shirt, “mom jeans” and hiking sandals on date- night with her husband. When the hosts asked if she ever put something on that made her feel sexy, she said once a year on their anniversary. She then went on to say, “We’ve been married 11 years, we have kids that take up most of our attention; the ‘wow’ factor just goes out the window.”

While many of us can relate, it doesn’t have to be this way. Just like we have to fight excuses like I’ll start exercising tomorrow, we have to commit every day to making an effort when it comes to our relationships and sexual exploration. Some mistakenly think that marital sex is doomed to get boring. For example, Country Singer Blake Shelton joked while hosting the CMA Awards: “I thought ‘Same Sex Marriage’ referred to the fact that you have the same sex every day” (his wife was looking on in the front row – and let me tell you, she didn’t look too pleased!).

It’s like when a new trainer tells you to start eating healthy and all you eat is chicken and salad for two weeks straight. We don’t want to think creatively about all of the options out there for healthy meals, because we look at it as work. But once we start trying new recipes, we’re often very surprised! The same goes for our sex lives! Of course it’s easier to just go through a drive through, but that’s just plain lazy and if there’s one thing we shouldn’t be when it comes to our intimate lives, it’s lazy – no matter how in love or committed we are.

Ask yourself, are you really seeking out your happiness by placing intimacy on the back burner? You may not even realize that you are compromising your health, your relationship and connection with this other person – and I truly believe that you connect better when you’re physical with one another. Of course, there are those who are suffering from mental or physical obstacles to intimacy and in that case, it’s important that they consult with their physician for advice and council. Regardless of what your particular situation might be, the bottom line is that the first step is putting attention on what’s important to you.

 

What is a Goddess?

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I came across this definition of a Goddess (below) on social media and had to share. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: women always try to take on so much – we try to juggle a million things for so many around us; we never take the time to stop and appreciate how beautiful and amazing we ALL are.  Take a moment to read and remind yourself today, and every day, that you are truly a Goddess…

A woman who is in the process of learning to know, accept and love herself on all levels, Mind, Body and Spirit. A woman who, because she focuses on personal growth and self awareness, experiences a life increasingly filled with peace, love, joy, passion and fun. A woman that understands that she has unlimited capacity to make her life anything she wants. A woman who is inspired to give to those around her because of her sense of gratitude and abundance.

Avoid a Communication Breakdown

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Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to good communication? During a conversation, how many of you plan what you want to say next instead of really listening to what the other person has to say?

A friend told me a story in which communication broke down. She and her husband were playing cards in a hotel lobby when they decided to split a soup and salad. Sounds harmless enough, right? Once it arrived, she played her hand and nibbled on the salad. Suddenly, she noticed that the cup of soup was empty. When she asked him about it, he said there wasn’t very much so he just ate it. She then asked him if he’d like any of the salad, and he told her he wasn’t hungry anymore. But, when she went to move the dishes, he rolled his eyes and told their daughter, “My wife didn’t even save me any salad.”

What’s really going on here? This is the fun part where we get to break it down. At first glance it seems like typical married bickering. But look closer. Much bickering comes from missing information.

Weeks earlier, they had taken a communication class and she decided to use what she learned. When they got back to the room, she reached out to him to better understand. That’s when he told her that the reason he ate the soup was to leave her more of the salad. In his mind, he was making a sacrifice. Meanwhile, when she ate all of the salad, he felt she was being inconsiderate. This was not about soup or salad; it was about two people responding to two completely different conversations going on in their heads.

One of the best ways to avoid this block to intimacy is to just talk about how you’re feeling openly. In this story, they were going through the motions on autopilot before they even understood how each person was feeling.

I love this story because we often invent things in our minds and think what we want instead of investing in the relationship to understand and make it better. As silly as this story may seem, without communication, it could of snowballed into something bigger. In the end, they laughed about it and it took their relationship to a new level.

Are you communicating with others in the best way possible? Take the time to invest in your communication skills and let others know your feelings. I’ve practiced what I’ve preached and enrolled in a communication course myself. I know it takes time, but in the end, I promise you, it’s worth it!

Vaginas & Vulvas- What Do You Know?

Have you looked at your vulva lately? Yes, you read correctly! Many of you will probably say you haven’t, and many more would probably ask what in the world is my “vulva” in the first place! That’s okay. I was in the same boat myself before venturing out on my journey to expand my sexual health awareness.

I recently traveled with the core members of the Patty Brisben Foundation team to San Diego for the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Conference as part of my continued hunger to keep learning! (Below is a snapshot of me with Aran Mordoh, Pure Romance’s Sexual Health Education Manager at the conference.)

2One of my biggest takeaways was the importance of consistently examining our own vulvas for any signs of irregularity. We are told by our mothers and the media from a very young age to take care of our skin, and told by our doctors to do annual breast exams at home, but how come no one has ever told us to regularly look at our our vulvas? We should be proactive about every aspect of our health and that includes every part of our body. During one session at the conference, they asked us to look at side-by-side photos comparing two vulvas – one of a woman in her 50s and another in her late 70s. Most would assume that the younger woman’s vulva would look healthier, but in this case, it was quite the opposite. It was fairly easy to notice and identify the difference in these two vulvas, but how do we know how to check ourselves when using a mirror in the privacy of our home? There is a great book called, “Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva” by Debby Herbenick and Vanessa Schick that will serve as a wonderful guide for learning about your vulvar health! Have you ever taken a look in the mirror and knew that you were getting sick? It shouldn’t be much different when it comes to recognizing the red flags associated with your vulva (as long as you know what to look for in the first place). We have to make the decision to be proactive when it comes to our sexual health, especially because it is a topic that people aren’t traditionally as comfortable discussing in public forums, and even with their healthcare providers.

Another big takeaway from the conference was a concept that I’ve been passionate about for decades, and that is the idea of “Use it or lose it.” Just like cardio is important to maintain our lung and heart health, we also need to make sure that we are actively “exercising” when it comes to our vaginal and vulvar health. As we age, our vulva undergoes a multitude of “wear and tear” experiences from tampon use to childbirth. It’s so vital to keep this part of our body stimulated, not just for the psychological benefits (such as helping alleviate stress and encouraging mental wellness), but also for physiological reason like preventing atrophy and dryness that can lead to pain in the future. Single people without a sexual partner might neglect to kegel or use intimacy products as a way to continue to keep their vulva and vagina “active.” Women in relationships sometimes wrongly assume that regular intercourse is enough; meanwhile couples in sexless marriages are also at risk. Whatever the scenario, it should be the highest priority to always stimulate the muscles in the vulva to prevent problems in the future.

Most women have been taught that they are never supposed to touch themselves, and they certainly were never told that it was a priority to maintain “healthy vulvas.” This kind of misinformation has been one of the biggest obstacles we have faced when it comes to achieving optimal health. By being more familiar with your body, you are not only prioritizing your physical and mental wellbeing, but you will also be able to better instruct your partner on what you enjoy. So do yourself (and your partner, if attached) a favor and pick up a mirror and the book I mentioned above to start the road to better health today.

My Wish for All Mothers

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After reading my daughter’s guest blog she wrote for me this Mother’s Day, I had to fight back the tears. I couldn’t help but think about all of the nights that I had spent lying in bed worrying and wondering if I’d given enough time to my kids.  There was a constant battle going on inside me.  Did I give more attention to one child over the other? Am I missing important time with my children while juggling my parties in the evenings – the little time I have with them between school and bedtime? As mothers, we’re always going to question ourselves when it comes to our parenting.

But hearing all of these memories – reliving them through Lauren’s eyes  - this was the best Mother’s Day gift she could have ever given me. I realized now, many years later, that the little things that at the time might have seemed so mundane – like sipping hot chocolate with my children in the kitchen on a cold winter day – these are the memories that stay with our children throughout the years. Working hard and being a Consultant also gave me the ability to provide luxuries like taking my kids to Disney World, but what I love most about her magical memory is that it wasn’t some amusement park ride that stood out in her mind, but her first time meeting Minnie Mouse.

Looking back, I’m so proud I was able to balance family and work and show my children a strong work ethic in the process. Those Mommy moments (“You can go play if you are back by 9 and straighten up your room…”) often hurt me to enforce more than it hurt them; however, it taught them that there were consequences if they didn’t keep their word.

Now that my children are raised, I see it wasn’t about how much time I was spending with them as much as the qualityof time we spent together. This speaks volumes to that Pure Romance Consultant out there every night doing parties – she is working hard so she can continue to make unforgettable memories for her family. Every day she will question if she’s a good mom or a bad mom, but I’m here to say that’s normal! When I’m on the road, Consultants always ask me how I was able to build my business and raise my family and let me tell you the truth: as a woman and mother, you always feel like you’re never doing enough. That’s okay. In the end, it’s the outcome that matters most and reading my daughter’s blog this weekend showed me a whole different perspective.

Below is an amazing video that shows how we often see ourselves much differently than our children see us. There’s no better day than Mother’s Day to take a moment to stop, reflect and know that we are doing the best we can! We wish you a Happy Mother’s Day from our Pure Romance Family to yours.

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