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Teaching Good Sex

It CAN feel good to talk about sex.

Did it when you were first sexually active?  How about last year or last night?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me.  I’m always the person at the party who brings up the world of sexuality- we all got here that way didn’t we?  It’s not always for the shock value (that’s more my Grandie’s style) but I really enjoy seeing where people’s comfort levels are and where they get stuck.  The word “penis” just makes people a smidge squirmy and vagina, forget about it.  Did you know that vagina comes from the latin meaning: sword’s sheath?  Uhh!  New word please, thank you.

What about the word cunt?  It’s chocolatey sounding apparently…


As most of you know, my favorite thing about talking or teaching good sex is humanizing it- making it real, not having judgment and being open-minded.  It’s funny how a lot of old myths stick in our heads about boys wanting sex more or that women should orgasm vaginally blah blah blah – B.S!

I also think we rarely talk about all the stirrings that come about regarding the beautiful human form and how hot and bothered folks get regarding the opposite and often the same sex (why don’t we talk about this more?). Hello human!

Teens, senior citizens and folks of all shapes, sizes and desires would have had a better run if they had a teacher they could trust and could just talk shop without skipping over sex being pleasurable and how.  Sexual education isn’t (and shouldn’t) just be about the uh-oh and oh-no concerns  like STDs, pregnancy and rape- education begins with teaching “good sex” and talking about the positives too.  An ice breaker I LOVE to use is “Have you ever looked around you and realized that every person you see is the result of an orgasm?  Well, it’s my hope that we are the result of two!

If we leave out pleasure, what’s the point of talking- I know all my fellow classmates in Human Development just shuddered in horror at the slides of STDs and the “Miracle of Life” vaginal birth video.  Times they are a changing!  Sex Ed CAN BE SEXY and so can birth (a soon-to-be-published post).  We don’t have to rely on getting good info from Cosmo or Maxim, porn or old school beliefs that potentially muck up our perceptions/truths.

Imagine if you took a course in high school called “Sexuality and Society” where you got to talk about relationships, what a vulva actually looked like (and how many varieties there are), that porn isn’t the best teacher, gender stereotypes, what ways to experience pleasure through sexual activity…

These are the topics of debate in Mr. Vernacchio first of its kind course that I so wish I had taken (or been given the green light to teach).  In this week’s NY Times article, Vernacchio shares with journalist Laurie Abraham: “When God was passing out talents,” he likes to say, “I got ease in talking about sex” and I’m happy to join him in that gift basket.

Two boys who told me they’d been masturbating to Internet porn since middle school said they found themselves disoriented at the real-life encounters they had with girls, but Vernacchio helped them grasp the disjuncture. Pornography “gives boys the impression that the girl is there to do any position you want, or to please you, or to, you know, role-play to your liking,” one of them said. “But yesterday, when Mr. V. said there is no romanticism or intimacy in porn, porn is strictly sexual — I’d never thought about that.”

One young man in the class told me he had intercourse with 10 girls, but he was a relative outlier. While most of the students had had intercourse — 70 percent of teenagers do so by their 19th birthday, according to the Gutt­macher Institute — only 4 of the 17 I spoke with reported having three or more partners; 10 had had one or two; the other three were virgins.

To read more on this fascinating NY Times Article, “Teaching Good Sex” by Laurie Abraham, click here.

Were you having sex by 19?  Were you comfortable asking your partner what you wanted?  I think one of the greater gifts we can give one other is information on how to enjoy our lives more and sex certainly marks high on that list.  Sex can do a body good, don’t we want that for everyone?  Better sex makes for a better world.

Even after YEARS of sexual activity people still ask me things that this teacher is bringing up to 9th and 11th graders.

Why doesn’t my girlfriend cum during sex?”  is a mega popular question…

“…70 percent of women do not orgasm through vaginal penetration alone — [after discussing this fact] one boy exclaimed, “That shocked me, a lot.” The other boys also told me they’d been in the dark about the mysteries of female sexual satisfaction. “I think I sort of knew where the clitoris was, but I didn’t know it was, like, under something,” one said. Another declared, “It’s almost like a wake-up call.” He paused. “To not just please yourself.”

The female students were nearly equally surprised. “I always thought, Is it weird that I don’t get an orgasm from, you know, just like vaginal penetration?” said a girl who’d had intercourse with one boy, though she’d had orgasms before that from being touched genitally. “It was comforting to hear that for most people it doesn’t happen. I mean, I’d heard it, but it was nice hearing it from Mr. V., who knows so much about it, and other people saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s right.’ ”

We can’t normalize enough, be we teens or well into our fifties (and that’s especially the case for new moms and post-menopausal women because sex changes as our bodies change). Talking and re-addressing “normal” changes everyone’s perception for the better, particularly getting clear on what feels GOOD.  So don’t forget to include that in your next pillow talk session-  playing doctor or teacher isn’t just for the kiddies you know.  ;-)


Share this post/article with your family, friends, educators, lovers and community.  It’s good food for thought, body, sex and mind.

Friend Sex

Dear Ella,
I was having a discussion with a friend the other night and we were talking about the dangers of having guy friends.
My friend told me she generally has a hard time having women friends and prefers to have male friends. I began to think about the famous quote from “When Harry Met Sally” when Harry tells Sally that men and women cannot be friends. That there is always some sexual attraction.
Upon further discussion with my friend on this matter, it came to my attention that I have made out with almost all of my male friends. So I guess my question to you is : Is it possible to have a completely platonic relationship with the opposite sex without someone having these feelings for one another? Furthermore, do you have any advice to those who have crossed the thin line of friendship and more and wanting to patch things over so things aren’t as awkward.
x,
Mildred Darling

Dearest Mildred (love your chosen name btw),

Plenty of people, the world over have platonic friendships without sexing up the place. However, if you’re attracted to someone it is more likely that you will respond to that chemical reaction should circumstances, timing and reciprocity have a party. I do believe that men and women just like gay women and straight women or bois and boys can have awesome connections that don’t involve body parts.

I’ve admittedly “crossed” the line too with a lot of my friends over the years and sometimes once that happened, we were over each other as potential lovers and were able to move on to a great friendship or sometimes the relationship in its entirety disintegrated. We make up a whole load of stories to justify our bodies’ natural inclination to get naked and that’s why we have our intellect. Friend sex can be just that but I’d venture to say more than a few times, someone will read into it as more than sex. This is where it gets sticky. When it’s more than sex to one person, attachment and expectations kick in. The truth of the matter is we don’t accidentally make out and mess around (even if alcohol lubricates the situation by removing judgment) and if it’s just that, you’re not a bad person- you’re human. There’s nothing wrong with attraction and acting on it if it doesn’t hurt other people and if it does than you learn from it.

As far as cleaning up your messes or leaky awkwardness, the best remedy is communication and time. It once took five years for a friend and I to get over our choice to “hook-up” and I don’t judge the length or level of awkwardness, it was what it was. To top it off, I recently laid down some boundaries with friends when I became single. Being to the point, honest, loving and accountable is really healthy for all parties. No one can argue with your truth, it’s like arguing about if you like store bought tomatoes or not. Is someone going to disagree with you if you’re clear and express that? Not likely.

I think men may have a harder time not sizing up their attractive lady friends as potential sex and women (at least from my experience) get a bit more mental and emotional in their assessment. Tension dissipates over time or it doesn’t, you just have to make a decision with yourself and honor it (and sometimes reassess it).

A great awareness to have is asking yourself if you’re spending time with these guys to get attention and feel attractive. It’s not fair to play that card and expect different game results. Waffling back and forth can be fun but it’s also really stressful and agitating. Make a decision, move forward. As a woman, I feel we call the shots more than we admit or are conscious of- own an empowered stance, Sadie Hawkins it up or sit it out. There’s no blanketed rule like Harry suggests unless your ego is running rampant in need of validation (we often use sex to make us feel good and valuable). However, I appreciate how to the point he is (even though it’s kind of limiting to think that way).

P.S. A lot of heat behind Harry’s argument is based on the fact that men have a stronger libido and they do. Check out this article on sex drives of genders: http://www.webmd.com/sex/features/sex-drive-how-do-men-women-compare

It’s Not You Having Sex With Your Boyfriend

Question of the Week

Dear Ella,

The other day I was having sex with my boyfriend. We’d just finished having a pretty intense conversation about our past lovers and I noticed I was jealous and feeling weird. When we had sex it was really fiery and I felt like I was almost someone else.
What do you think that means? Has that ever happened to you?

Feeling out of sorts,

Emily

Hi Emily,

I wanted to respond to you initially with my face, here it is (and a few thoughts to go along with it).

For some of you the concept of the pain body is old news and for others, you guys may be wondering what crack is Ella smoking. To get down to basics, I’d recommend that anyone and everyone read Eckhard Tolle’s A New Earth. It’s a remarkable book that succinctly and simply conveys truths about what’s really behind our disconnection to ourselves and ultimately our world.

In a nut shell, witchiness and woo woo words aside, I believe we have the ability to create a more enjoyable experience during our time in these bodies of ours and the more we can do to unveil truth, the more full of it we become (instead of full of B.S.). No one is to blame really, it’s often easier to believe lies about ourselves and use relationships, experiences, conversations to regurgitate back to us our very broken record of “I’m not enough,” “no one is ever going to love me,” “I’m not beautiful” and my personal favorite: “I’m all alone”.

As you may sense, this question you’ve asked elicits a different response than what say, Dr. Ruth would advise but that’s why you’re asking me and not her. A great question to ask yourself when you notice that some thing is off is “where do I feel this in my body?” and “what do I love about feeling this way?” If we keep feeling something or rather the lack of something, there’s a pay-off otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. Some agreement has been made. I’ve said before in other posts that we often get addicted to jealousy and the drama of our relationship because it creates fire, ignites sparks and makes us feel something.

Bringing up the past can be a pandora’s box especially if you’re not taking into account the pain body. Watch the stories and thoughts that spin, be aware of why you feel the need to pounce your partner. Are you pouncing to release or further injure or to avoid feeling what’s under the anger/jealousy?

There’s so much more I can say here but I’ll leave it for now as this little appetizer and simple green salad.

Be well indeedy,

Ella

When Is It Time To Do The Deed?

Question of the Week…

Hi Ella,

Thank you so much for doing what you do. It’s awesome to know that there’s a real person out there that has some wisdom and is willing to drop it, in public no less.
I’m wondering if you could answer this question, my girls and I talk about it all the time and we never have a solution.
When do you think is the right time for someone to have sex with their partner?
I’ve been dating this guy for awhile and one friend says why wait, know what their skills are before you commit and another says to make him work for it. I don’t want to make him work for anything. I want to have sex and I really like him so I don’t want to fuck it up. Do you believe in that old saying, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts Miss Ella!

Hugs,

Naomi

Oh mooooo! We’re sacred cows, I’m into that. You know as much as I’m into being REAL and not playing games, I’ve begun to see that there are some fundamental truths about sex and the dance between lovers-to-be.
I believe that it’s the same dance regardless of it being your first time ever or your first time with a new partner, it always IS actually the first time. Who you are right now is not who you were yesterday, five years ago, five seconds ago and only you know the truth regarding when “it’s time.” Some say we must judge by our past but the more I live my life’s lessons, the more I see that you have to check in with what’s true and what’s being presented right now to know what’s real. Your girls want what’s best for you I’m sure but they also want their ideas about love, men, sex to be right and when you share your world with them, you’re opening yourself to their projections. You know what you need to know when you know it and speculation is just frenzy filled drama bomb waiting to happen. I’ve also recently learned this the hard way. At the end of the day it’s you in the bedroom and it’s your reality (no one else has any business being there but who you invite). So be careful what you invite in.

Not sure if you’ve seen Eat Pray Love as it only came out last week but this question makes me think of Elizabeth Gilbert’s story that I read and now have watched with the gorgeous Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, James Franco (mmm what a lineup of eye candy, thank you!) and the lovely Julia Roberts.
In the film, it occurs to Liz’s lover (Javier Bardem) that they’ve not yet done the deed and it’s time and he let’s her know by coming up to her, distracting her from her cozy book reading session with an outstretched hand and saying “Liz, it’s time.”

Oh Hollywood, you little fantasy fisherman you- well, I don’t know about you but I bought hook, line and sinker. Now, to be fair, the couple had been learning about each other, developing quite a friendship and level of intimacy for some time. And it was the man’s son who asked if they’d “done it yet.” The reason Liz and Felipe had taken their sweet time was because they’d both been super burned in previous relationships and fear had paved their road with caution. Sometimes we need to put our hands on a hot stove to know to be a bit patient, lessons are lessons, no? When we’re first on the scene we have a lot of stories about love (and even if we’ve been broken and fallen several times) we still have a lot to learn about what’s real and what everything is worth.

You have to ask yourself if it feels right and preferably not when you’re in the midst of an all consuming make out session.
Sex is sex but for most people we make it mean something and if you’re interested in partnership, you have to weigh in that it takes awhile for you to know someone, trust them and feel good about going the distance (aside from them being ridiculously good looking and saying all the right things).

So how long is long enough? When is it time for two to become one and welcome them to the party in your pants (and hopefully your heart)? It depends on a few factors…

1) How long have you known each other?
2) Are you both interested in the same thing? (i.e. a monogamous relationship)
3) Is there something there beyond desire?
4) What will sex mean to you?
5) What would you advise your best friend if roles were reversed?

I think we often throw caution to the wind when we’re in love and we make sense of a whole story without knowing the characters at all. With all the Sex & The City rah-rah, let’s fuck and be empowered stuff that’s thrown around like our new banner of sexual liberation it can get confusing. It almost seems like when someone wants to wait or take their time that it’s an insult to their new love interest. Would you buy a car after one look? Would you invite just anyone off the street to house-sit? In regards to this very same conversation, my very dear friend asked me this morning, “Ella, when you’re making a big purchase do you just hand over your credit card or do a bit of research first?” Well, your body, your heart, your life is worth a hell of a lot more consideration than any purchase I can dream of and yet we worry that we’ll appear old fashioned and not with the times. We’re not Jane Austen characters but we still have sense and sensibilities that must be attended to.

Fuckery is one thing, love and sustainability is another. If it’s a hit it and quit it situation that’s your prerogative but I think at a certain point you have to acknowledge your own worth, celebrate it and allow someone to worship and revere you. Are you ready? It’s a hell of a journey, trust me, I know. And, only you can know when you feel you’ve give yourself enough time to suss out what feels right. In simple terms, more than a week, preferably more than a month, ideally more than two. Communicate with yourself about it and then talk to your lover. Talk about what you want, share your fears, desires, excitement and if they genuinely care, they’ll take the time to learn you too. You don’t need to set a date on the calendar and book a night at Hotel Paris or anything. You can go to the drawing board at any point and renegotiate but get clear what’s true for you first and then address it with your guy. Men will say anything to get you in bed, that’s their biological objective and even when they think they mean what they’re saying you can’t know by words. Heck, I’ve eve been guilty of that and I don’t produce millions of sperm a day.
The proof is in the pudding, actions speak louder than words, your heart speaks louder than your loins (and you have to learn to tune your ear properly before jumping in).

Good luck pudding pop,

Ella

P.S. A lot of psychology books I’ve read suggest three months as the general rule of thumb, I used to roll my eyes at this and say “yah not in this century.” But as I get older I realize that we’re much more of a prize than we’ve ever realized and we owe it ourselves to honor and appreciate our own value before we can expect someone else to get it. Like attracts like no? Plus, once sex happens for most women we get more attached and we don’t look with clear perception upon our lovers. Better to be clear before the red light special makes things hazy. Any comments from the peanut gallery welcome!

The Smell of the Land Down Under…

Question of the Week

Riddle me this….

The smell of sex is starting to drive me nuts, again. And not in a good way.

I used to think that male and female genitalia were disgusting, I felt shame for my own and couldn’t stand the thought of others. I remember being a kid and glimpsing my dads junk (easier to spell), the memory is burned into my head, i thought it was big and gross and yucky. I was always the kid that couldnt change in front of others in gym class. I believe that this, the zipped tight nature of our society, and my general fear of all things sexual really paralyzed me into this fear.

In high school when I finally jumped into relationships, I hated the smell of my girl’s vagina, and this increased my guilt and fear. It took me a while but I seemed to get over this, first not blaming my partner-taking the responsibility, showering together beforehand-removing the stigma and ‘cleaning’ my thoughts, I tried incense while doing the deed. And these things worked, I’ve had some partners over the years and have been able to really enjoy them with a clean mind.


But lately, the smell, no, the negative thoughts, are creeping back in. She’s sweet and innocent and I’m still almost forcing myself to get down there. She takes care of herself, she’s clean and I’m feeling more and more like an asshole.


Please let me know, what you think.

Thanks L.

Jack


P.S. As I now think, I’ve never, in my 30 years of life. Never told
anyone about the things I just told you. So I’m gonna go ahead and
prepackage a thank you now, for helping me be in better tune with
myself.

Dear Jack,

So cool that you realize the distinction of your thoughts being the real perpetrator and not your girl’s vagina. Thank you for giving yourself the room to speak and for allowing me to hear you.

First off, you’re not alone in having an aversion to genitalia, so much fear
and other icky reactions are held by many when it comes to the sexual
and the body. We’re human and the things that remind us of that stay behind closed doors and layers of clothing.

Each person, each vagina, each penis is different and hygiene, diet, how
we were raised, core values we hold, desires we have play equally huge roles in how we perceive/experience our partners and ourselves.

I would invite you to consider where you learned about sex, who taught you and how did they teach you? What was their tone, their body language aka the underlying message? Think about it, try and get a visual memory, feel it.

For you see, I strongly believe that a lot of what we feel is inherited by
an experience, a story, a cultural belief, a family education.
We often don’t even realize how much we were effected by our earliest
experiences around sex. We often talk about the “first time” but I like
to inquire around the whole caboodle and dust off beliefs that we’re holding that we may not be aware of.

On a personal note, I used to be really uncomfortable with genitalia too.
I had to dissect where that came from and feel into what I thought things “should” be and why that was. Conversations and constant exploration is what served me best and now, here I am being a space to connect with you about it. Kinda awesome.

Typically, I feel a conversation with yourself or someone you trust is a great step in creating awareness here. Free write about the word vagina or sex (or both) on some blank paper or in a journal, at least a page or two. Then, go back through what you’ve written and highlight everything that is an intense description or word. Then ask your body is that true? Our body has infinite intelligence and we often don’t take it up on its wisdom until its waving a white flag or a red one. To get a feel where your “yes” and “no” live, start with “Is my name Jack?” and you’ll be surprised how quickly your body will respond and where. I use this exercise all the time to choose what I want to wear, eat, do, etc. The cool part is when you hear “no” in regards to a belief you have and then you get to ask “Who does that belong to (society, my dad, something I saw on tv as a kid)?” And you get to choose if that’s something you want to continue to hold on to or not.

We swallowed a lot unconsciously as little ones and even now, the difference is that we can choose to be aware of the lies we’re still telling and start discharging them. Each day is ground zero, we get to start being more of true selves and surrendering to that truth.

We can’t expect to have an epiphany and then be forever changed though, the real trick is to consistently take action to support what we know to be true, every day. Be in inquiry. What may be true is you’re just not into oral sex, and that’s okay. However, ignoring or resisting or judging it doesn’t serve you and I’m happy that you reached out and asked. You know that this is about you and not your lady’s nether regions. A better question to ask is what about you do you not accept? Every thing is a reflection, especially our “junk.”

Riddle me that,

Ella


P.S. Women smell and taste different depending on where they are in their cycle, stress, their diet- there is no “normal.” There are questionable discharge colors and consistencies though so just take note (if something radical is happening and not in a cool way, consider going to your gynecologist). Yeast infections or STIs do exist, I don’t need to read the riot act on that. However, I find that eliminating sugar, alcohol and dairy are a surefire bet to make everything calm down and be more delectable (eating more veggies, drinking at least 8 oz. of water a day, wiping front to back, showering daily using a mild soap). Cool?

Music To Make Love To Your Lady By…

Question of the Week

Hi Ella,

Was making sweet love to my woman the other day and we had pandora radio on in the bedroom.
I thought a “Sade Radio” station would do us right but it didn’t plus the commercials aren’t so cool
when you’re getting close to cumming, ya know? Ha! We both thought of you after our session and wondered if you had any thoughts on music to play during sex?
Dude, a lot of people need help with this so I hope you choose this as the question of the week.

Thanks Ella, you are a “G” as Lily said. I hope you start helping more of us guys out (it’s cool you take our questions here).

Best, Matt

Oh Matt,

Great question and so happy you asked me because for those of you who don’t know (aside from being buried neck deep in research of all things sex and self-development), I’m a complete music junkie and I’m always on the hunt for auditory goodness. Playlists are my specialty and I’ve made thousands over the years but the music selection for bedroom antics is a very special breed.

And yes, I’m a Pandora fan however it has been known to happen that mid-thrust, a song comes on that you don’t know and one of your party people put a hold on things to check what song that is to “like” it. Ha, now it’s not a super mood killer but it’s a distraction never-the-less. So let’s get back to the matter at hand…

We all have different ideas of what good music is and your partner may be into you but not the hip-hop you lay down when you curl up next to her. The best advice I can give to you is for you to have musical foreplay, make a personal playlist with your partner in mind (or for those of you Hans Solos out there, make it just for you). Being thought of and attended to before you get into the sheets is a major aphrodisiac.

Still not sure where to start? Not to worry I have some suggestions, I won’t leave you high and dry here.
Now, although Al Green, Sade, and Marvin Gaye are kind of played out (I think at least a million people have been conceived to “Let’s Get It On”) they do do the job but careful where they are in the line up because they can make a situation seem a bit too Hallmarky.

Before I get all snaptastic and lay out my personal favorites, I’ve got a special treat for you all today (and it is ready for download). I happen to know a mad sexy and uber-in-the-know music mama, DJ Lady Sha.
And she just so happens to have a playlist with the lovemaking in mind that she uploaded for everybody to enjoy for free! Click here and select “2010: Vibrate, presented by Lady Sha & LoveMade.mp3″ at the bottom of the list. You’ll have it in less than 10 minutes, thank you Lady!

Albums you should buy immediately in my opinion if you don’t already have them:
** Nathaniel Merryweather presents Lovage’s Music To Make Love To Your Lady By (The title alone says it all and it’s hella awesome. Yes it’s worth using “hella”. I once napped while this was on and starting making some questionable sounds and gyrations according to my boyfriend at the time… I believe him as I woke myself up with my moans!!)
**Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago (more on the slow, folky, sweet & haunting side)
**Radiohead’s Kid A or O.K. Computer
**Portishead’s Dummy (anything from Portishead actually will do you right)
**Jeff Buckley’s Grace
**Jorge Drexler’s Sea (and Echo pretty good too)
**Massive Attack’s Mezzanine
**The XX’s XX (can’t get enough of this album)

Here are 38 songs that I would take to bed (they are just beautiful and sure to leave a lasting impression)
Type any of these into youtube/google or go to iLike.com to hear/see):

Emilie Simon’s “Desert” (sultry, sexy and sweet)
Band of Skulls’ “Honest” (gritty sugar)
Bat for Lashes’s “Sleep Alone” & “Moon and Moon”
Beats Antique’s “Beauty Beats” off of Collide (in fact the whole album’s got a gypsy deep down funk of heat going on)
Coco Rosie’s “Werewolf”
D’Angelo “How Does It Feel (Untitled)” – come on this song is pretty dripping with sexiness
Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”
Fiona Apple’s “First Taste”
Goldfrapp’s “Let It Take U” & “You Never Know”
Hot Chip’s “Tchaparian” & “Arrest Yourself” (these just make people a hot mess on the dancefloor and elsewhere ^.~)
Imogen Heap’s “Just For Now” & “Hide and Seek” as well as her first single ever “Come Here Boy
Iron & Wine’s “Such Great Heights” (hello! You’ve been hiding under a rock if you don’t already have this one)

Jeff Buckley’s “Everybody Here Wants You” will seduce any ear as well as “Lilac Wine”, “Hallelujah”, “Last Goodbye”

Kaki King’s “Night After Sidewalk” (this is a beautiful instrumental from a woman who is a highly acclaimed guitar goddess)
Kings of Convenience’s “Gold in the Air of Summer” (it’s summer, it’s sweet and slow like honey)
Lauryn Hill’s “Nothing Even Matters”
Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”
(classic rock’s answer to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”)
Lovage’s cover of “Sex (I’m A)” & “Strangers on a Train”
Lykke Li’s “A Little Bit” & “My Love”
Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”
Madeleine Peyroux’s cover of “Between the Bars”
(her whole album Careless Love is a keeper)
Nina Simone’s “I Put A Spell On You”
Rachael Yamagata’s “Be Be Your Love”
Ray LaMontagne’s “Hold You In My Arms” and “Truly, Madly, Deeply”
Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”
(ooooh and the Deftones do a riveting and delicious version of this classic)
Sigur Ros (take your pick, you can’t really go wrong)
South “By The Time Your Catch Your Heart”
The Sundays “Wild Horses”
(The Rolling Stones wrote this song for the Sundays to cover I’m sure)
Tom Waits “All The World Is Green”

How much do you love me right now? I know, I know.

This was one of the most satisfying questions to answer, thank you so much for indulging me.

Music is my boyfriend.
Music is my hot, hot sex.
My music is where I’d like you touch.

Your personal love deejay,
Ella

P.S. Know of even better songs? Post ‘em! Sharing good music makes the world go round!

Do Long Distance Relationships Ever Work?

Oh Ella,

I’m asking and I hope you have an answer.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship?
Can it work? Does it ever?
I met a girl and she up and moved to NYC (I’m in California).
We’ve been dating for a little under a month but our feelings are pretty intense for each other. She’ll be gone for a year.
Do I hold out? Do I ask her to be exclusive? Is it insane to give it a go?

Help! Help!

-Alan

Dear Alan,

Long distance relationships have their own flavor but so does every relationship (and partner, do I need to even say that?). You’re not the first to have asked about this one, I’ve asked myself over the years if it’s worth attempting (and so have a millions over the ages). In my personal experience, long distance sustains the just-out-of-reach longing romance that turns up the heat but also gives the relationship an unrealistic glow. However, I’ve got a friend who was away from her boyfriend for three years while she was in the Peace Corps and they just got married this year, after seven years of giving it a go.

What kind of relationship do YOU want? Get clear about it, write it down and then tell her. Anything’s possible and if you want her you’ve got to let her know (a lot and often but careful of not letting her have room to breathe while she’s beginning this new chapter in her life). I’d aim to visit her a couple of times, check in regularly (texts, emails, camera phone moments that capture the “I’m thinking of you” message), sign up for skype (or gmail or some form of video chat), send a care package once or twice and live your lives.
The internet and cheap roundtrip airfare have become good friends if not champions of love and lovers worldwide. It wasn’t so long you would have had to write by hand and wait for responses for weeks on end and do I need to mention how expense phone calls were!?!?! Ugh I once had a $400 phone bill, not cool.

So aside from praising the technology angels, I’d say obsessing about the situation will snuff it, having good intentions and making an effort is the best foundation. Here’s the raw deal though, you are the only one responsible for your choices. Whatever happens you have to be accountable for your part (read: if it doesn’t work out you can’t beat yourself up about it and bolt the door to your heart). You created your experience and yes, she plays a part but you only have control over you. You know in your heart if you want to give it a go, so saddle up. Do your best and be the lover you want to be. If she’s not game, it’s not about you- it’s about timing, circumstance and she’s just not well suited for who you are right now. Nothing’s wrong or right and through the labors of love, we learn a whole lot about who we are and where we have room to grow.

And as for the exclusive part, that’s a conversation that can probably wait a month or two. If you’re into each other you won’t be pussyfooting around but the minute you talk about boxing up, it provokes a wandering eye. Don’t make the relationship about other people or what you don’t want.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen” I’d have more money than Bill Gates but I also subscribe to “if you build it, they will come” (thank you Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones). So let’s play ball!
I don’t know if absence makes the heart grow fonder but you are you right now as you’ve never been so don’t judge anything by the voices in your head or around you. Carpe diem.

You’re the man, lead.

Best of luck,
Ella

Lights Out! Sex in the dark?

Question of the Week

Dear Ella,

This is a weird question but I just don’t know what to do or who to ask. I’m kind of embarrassed that I can’t figure this out on my own (and I don’t want anyone to know).
My girlfriend won’t have sex with me unless the lights are off, I don’t think I’ve ever
really seen naked and it freaks me out. When she’s a bit drunk she allows the lights to be dimmed (like candle style) so I know she’s not a dude or anything and she’s BEAUTIFUL. She just says that she can’t have sex with the lights on and won’t offer any explanation. I get really turned on by looking at her but she won’t have it. I think it’s because she thinks she’s fat and yah she’s curvy but it’s hella sexy to me. Help a brother out here. What the hell do I do?

Sincerely,

Steven in SF

Hey Steven,

You know what’s crazy to me? That this “lights out” scenario is pretty standard and in my opinion, sad. I’m all for going green and saving on electricity but keeping the lights off, is turn off (afternoon bedding anyone?). Not being seen in the bedroom is a sad state of affairs and it stems from a number of issues but that’s why we get into relationships- to work on ourselves. Here’s my take on the basis of this situation.

You noted that she “thinks she’s fat” and when someone is not comfortable in their body, they are troubled by being naked (especially in front of others). But there’s something bigger going on here and I’m not talking about width of your lady’s waist, it’s a layering of protection and being naked isn’t just about being nude. I believe that folks carrying weight is a form of protection, insulation. When it comes to physical intimacy, the hormones still want some action but from a distance (hence the lights out). I think curves are scrumpdidliumptious too and yet if your girl isn’t accepting of who she is, it proves to be quite difficult for her to accept your love of the va-voom and all that she is.
The question comes up for her is probably: “how could he love this about me when I can’t?”

Be sensitive to your girlfriend and also challenge her. Ask her what she needs to feel more safe. Maybe just being intimate with her and not having sex will radically effect that. Kissing and adoring her and without an objective (sex) could rock her world.

Also, it’s often the case that being completely “seen” is just too intense for people (kinda crazy, I know but it’s true) because they don’t feel like someone else can hold it down for them. Whether that’s the oh-face (some don’t feel so sexy when they lose control and don’t know what they look like) or it’s just being naked, truly naked, folks get a little whacked out. It’s a loss of control and complete vulnerability that is so terrifying and that’s why alcohol is such a well-liked lubricant to get the ball rolling. Alcohol allows us to check out and not care and shut the mind up but it also dulls the experience so it doesn’t fully penetrate us (yet again keeping a distance from really feeling what’s going on).

Here’s an exercise that I’d recommend: holding gaze. One of the most intense and beautiful ways to connect with another individual is to be completely present, without words or touch and just hold gaze from eye to eye while sitting across from one another for five minutes (which will feel like a lifetime). Like meditating, there will be impulses to stop and distractions will come but fight them. Do this and just feel what it’s like to see her (for all that she is) and allow her to see you. Emotions will come to the surface, her insecurities and yours will become visible. Do this clothed and in a comfortable environment, lights on and no sound. Then talk about what came up for you together. Meeting each other eye to eye, heart to heart is a powerful way to balance out the fear into love and acceptance. Go team!

There are so many things that could be causing your woman’s need to shut down and shut out the lights but she wants to let you in so help her by really holding space and really showing up. It could take deep work to peel back the layers of her walls and she may need support outside of what you’re able to provide. Coaching, therapy, yoga, meditation- these are things that could really support her growth too. Her development is her responsibility but you can be a great help and one of the greatest gifts a lover can give is their complete and total presence. Express that you’re not going anywhere and you love her and you accept her for everything she is, unconditionally. That is an aphrodisiac and a half, let me tell ya. Command love, be love and lead by example as a true man.

Go get ‘em tiger,

Ella

Oh Orgasm, Where Are You?

Come out, come out wherever you are!!!

Question of the Week

Dear Ella,
 
I have been having (quite a lot of) sex for a few years now, and I love it! I really enjoy it, I crave it, I enjoy experimenting, I have fun from the intimate, slow, emotional sex to the wild animalistic sex… it’s all great if it wasn’t for one small problem. I have never had an orgasm. Yes you hear me, not even ‘I have never had an orgasm during sex’ but simply I have never had an orgasm. Or at least I don’t think I have. And if I don’t think I have, I guess that is a pretty good indicator that I haven’t. I’ve really enjoyed sex or all other kind of activity around it and I definitely have moments when it feels really REALLY good and I also reckon I might have come close a few times but this complete overwhelming WOW explosion just hasn’t happened.
When I first started having sex, I was 15, which to some people might be normal but I know that for me it was too early, not with the right guy and I wasn’t really emotionally ready for it. Not that it hurt or anything but I don’t think I was quite ready to enjoy sex the way it can be enjoyed. 6 years later that is definitely different by now and I want and love sex. I thought before I might not have been having orgasms because I wasn’t ready to let go, didn’t loosen up enough, wasn’t comfortable enough, etc.. but in the meantime I also had a nearly three year relationship, my first love, very intimate and beautiful, and yet I just didn’t reach that special point.
Then I thought for some time that if I explored myself on my own, managed to find out what it is I like for myself, how and where I like ‘my buttons to be pressed’, etc. I might be much more successful in bed with a partner. I always hear that it is often harder for girls to orgasm during sex so it makes perfect sense I would be more likely to achieve it on my own first. But here comes the thing – I just can’t properly masturbate. It has never gone further than the few moments of clitoral stimulation which is extremely exciting and pleasurable but can hardly be all there is to it. It’s just.. I can’t ‘get into it’, I’m too aware that I am lying in bed or whatever and going to touch myself now, as funny as that might sound. I just don’t know how to get in the mood, whether to picture someone or something, I just don’t understand how guys can get off just from pictures.. It’s hard for me to lose myself when I’m not actively involved in a sexual act. I just don’t know what to do. And I’ve spoken to a few girls that I know have the same problem.
 
Now I’ve read some of your posts from ‘Operation Happy Lady‘ to your 30-day-challenge. I am excited and looking forward to trying out your suggestions from OHL once I have a partner again but until then I thought I should do some ‘foundation work’ on my own :) Your blog is amazing and inspiring and it sounds funny to say this but I envy you for already being a sexual little kid and knowing where it’s at as I still don’t seem to know with 21.
 
Can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you for your blog, I have passed it on to many of my girls (and boys) and we all love it.

“Ella is a G” has become a standard phrase.
 
All the best to you and thank you for sharing,
 
Lily

Dear Lily,

Fantastic question, thanks for asking it.
The simplest solution is one word: vibrator.
It takes time to develop a relationship with your
orgasm be that solo or with a partner so don’t be
too hard on yourself. I promise you can let go and get lost in the moment,
it just takes patience, time, compassion and a little help from an inspiring erotica novel,
film, fantasy (and a little help from a buzzing friend). Cultivating your pleasure
is a journey and there are loads of twists and turns. Enjoy each one!

Here’s a video response regarding orgasm from yours truly:

Lovingly,

Your Resident “G” ;-)

P.S. Here are phenomenal resources for toys as well as inspiration, take a moment to window shop at these two online stores that are highly recommended: Babeland and Good Vibrations

Short Comings- When The Big Disappointments Come in Small Packages

Question of the Week

Hi Ella!
So I recently started dating one of my very good friends… We were making out and one thing led to another and we had sex… Thats when I found out Mr. Amazing wasnt very amazing in the sack.
I know hes not very experienced, and neither am I but Ive definitly had more partners than he has. He not only came VERY quickly but hes also very small… I dont want this to be the reason that we cant make things work. Do you have any tips for me to (secretly) help him over come these short comings, literally…

Thanks!
Audrey

Hey Audrey,

Ooph! Doh! Grrr! That’s never a fun experience. I can only imagine that your frustration is equal to his embarrassment. When things go from platonic cool to spicy hot back to luke warm it’s typically because of a number of things including build up of expectations. Men have it hard sometimes, ha pun unintended. There’s a lot of pressure for them to perform, it’s their manhood at stake and if they are disconnected because of fear for any reason- well, pop goes the weasel or in some cases the penis remains shy and full of stage fright. If this friend of yours has been into you for quite some time, he may have had a lot of weight on his mind and heart about finally getting to the homestretch with you. Shooting sparks could be taken as a compliment and with a little time and compassion, short comings becomes a non-issue. If it keeps happening then it may be a deeper deal, a guy friend of mine would get soft right when the underpants would come off for the first few months of dating his girlfriends. It just took time for him to feel safe, imagine that!

As far as size goes, my Gran always says that there are three sizes in life. Small. Medium. And “Oh-my-f&^*ing-God what do you expect me to do with that?” Guys get it into their heads (wow I’m really punny tonight) that big is better but that’s not the case and each penis has its own special tricks up its sleeve. You’d be surprised. Smaller penises or less hard ones often make it easier for a woman to vaginally orgasm. Cool right?

Now comparing your current flame to other lovers is a lose-lose situation. You rob yourself of the opportunity to experience what you’re experiencing in the present moment and he gets it on some level that you’re playing line-up. The body, chemistry and presence are not easily fooled. Give a few tries and don’t roll out and over just yet. My suggestion would be to really explore your new partner and yourself with a beginner’s mind and have patience. Intimacy takes time. It’s rare that the first go hits everything out of the park. Explore more oral adventures, show him how you like to be touched and ask him. Find out, have fun! This is your friend first right? Give it a go, be honest but tender and have lots and lots of oral sex. ;-)

P.S. I answered another asker with a similar question, check it out http://goaskella.com/?s=penis+shy, I go into more detail specifically around going to the next level with a friend.