Sex Education: You need lube

Let’s be serious for a moment. There are things about sex that no one really tells you. Likely, it’s because of all the taboos around it. But, we’re all grown ups here and I’d like to pass along some of my experience and knowledge.

I don’t care what your age is, I highly recommend you incorporate a lubricant into your sexual repertoire. Sure, some condoms come pre-lubricated, but a little more can only help. Believe me. Sex is way better with lube.  It’s also not just for coitus. It can be very fun in some pre-coitus situations.

Not convinced?  I interviewed Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright and she had some interesting insights:

Astroglide Gentle1) What are some common misconceptions regarding personal lubricants?
People incorrectly think that they’re for only for people who have trouble getting wet, esp. those going through menopause, or that lube is only useful if you’re interested in safer sex or anal sex.

2) Are they any health benefits with regard to personal lubricants of which most people might not be aware?
For many, sex would not be possible without the use of lube. For some, orgasm would be very difficult to realize without incorporating lube. In general, using lubricant makes for greater pleasure, which equals better sex for a lot of people. Having a thriving sex life can result in better health.

3) How should someone approach their partner about using personal lubricants?
You can take a carpe diem approach and just take it out w/o saying a word, applying it confidently and as if it’s no big deal (which it isn’t). Your partner will quickly discover why this is a must-have enhancement. You can also mention that you’d like to experiment with lube, given you’ve heard about all of the ways it can enhance sex, like greater sensations and ease of stimulation.

4) Why would (or should) someone use personal lubricants?
Simply, using lube makes sexual pleasuring easier and better. It enables lovers to provide better touch and to more easily react to stimulation. Everything feels smoother, silkier, nicer… And who doesn’t want more of that in the sack?

Astroglide recently came out with a Sensitive Skin version of their lubricant.  At first, I thought it was a little too sticky and didn’t last very long (it seemed to dry out quickly, however, I’m a bad judge of time passing), but as I was tooling around on the Astroglide website, I took the Naked Truth Quiz and learned that lubes can feel different to the same person on different days.

However, we tried it again on another day and it was pretty good.  The nice thing about this new version of Astroglide is that it’s made with botanical ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Chamomile, and Vitamin E. This formula does not contain alcohol, glycerin, fragrance, or parabens that are common causes of skin irritation. If you go over to the Astroglide site, you can get yourself a free sample.

Also, never be embarrassed if you are buying lube or condoms. Be proud that you are a responsible adult and hey…you’re also getting laid.

 

Note: I received a free sample of the product from Astroglide to review, but was not otherwise compensated.

Advice is not always advice

cocktail napkin humorI’m always flattered when people ask me for advice. Personally, I don’t know much. Well, I know what my family has taught me, learned from the mistakes I’ve made and feel what my gut tells me. That works for me most of the time.

Regardless, sometimes people ask for advice, but what they really want is reassurance that they aren’t crazy.  Sometimes they just need to vent to an sympathetic ear. Sometimes they just need to hear a voice that isn’t coming from their head. Sometimes they just need a hug. Sometimes they just need a glass of wine or a cookie. Wait, that might just be me.

Sometimes they do want advice.  I tread lightly when asked what to do in any given situation.  I try not to judge.  I try to give them the help that I would want if our roles were reversed. I try to listen to my gut and remind them to do the same.  Unless their life is in danger, I try not to tell them what to do, but help them look at their problem from a different perspective.  Like a great person once said (Einstein maybe), you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.

So, if you are out there struggling with something that keeps you up at night, makes you antsy, or just generally concerns you, share it with a friend. As the saying goes, a burden shared is a burden halved.

 

Of Birthdays and Happiness

tiara, wine, San Luis Obispo

This year’s tiara will be fancier.

Today, is my birthday. It’s pretty much the best birthday ever. I just wish it didn’t take 39 years to happen. However, I am NOT complaining. Yes, I’m in my last year of my 30s. I remember when I turned 30. I celebrated in Vegas with my family. It was a pretty good birthday, but not the best.

It was surreal turning 30. I thought I’d magically feel some semblance of contentment or confidence wash over me. The confidence took about five more years to manifest. The contentment came a little more slowly. One thing I realized the other day, I’m not as nervous about much as I used to be. It’s great! All of these interviews I’ve been going on have been a little nerve racking, but my sense of confidence has helped me through them better than any other time in my life when I’ve had a job change.

Why is 39 the best birthday? Because after all these years, I finally have my birthday wish come true. I get to spend it with my boyfriend. For one birthday in high school, I had a boyfriend. It was nice, but this one is infinitely better. The sweetest man ever is celebrating with me. We’re going to visit wineries, have a nice dinner, and of course, birthday cake. I think it’s been two years since I’ve had birthday cake.

Last year, I was down in southern California celebrating my cousin, who now lives in Minneapolis, and her graduation from college. It was also the first time I puked in public (twice)…and I was completely sober! Thank you, migraine!

So unless I somehow end up puking on my shoes in the middle of a parking lot again, I think this birthday will be better. But, the fact that I get to spend it with Paul ensures that I will have the time of my life.

Everyone out there who has been wishing and hoping for something in their lives to change, I wish for it to happen for you. I wish you the best and want you to be as happy as I am. I know you can have it and I know you deserve it. Even if you feel angry, depressed, and defeated, please, keep hope alive. I felt that way last year.

This year, my life is vastly different. It happened when it happened, not when I wanted it to, but when it was supposed to. When I finally found the inner peace to go with the flow, things began to change. But, it wasn’t easy. I am a control freak. I want things to happen, NOW. What I wasn’t doing was looking at how wonderful my life already was.

Where do I see myself in five years? I hate this question in interviews. Five years ago, if you had told me I’d be living in the Midwest with the man of my dreams, I would have laughed in your face and then started crying because I was so lonely. Honestly, after all I’ve experienced this year, I have no idea where the universe will lead me over the next half decade. All I care about is that I get to take that journey with Paul.

Life: Risks and Rewards

I don’t think of myself as foolish. Foolish people don’t have a plan. I have a plan. It may not be the best one, but at least I’ve got one. Moving to Minnesota to be with Paul feels like the right thing to do. Every time I think about being with him, I smile.

It never occurred to me that some people who hear our story might think I’m being a silly woman by giving up my life and moving out to be with him. I’m not giving up my life. I’m starting a new one.

A goal I am aiming to reach.

A goal I am aiming to reach.

I’m in my late 30s. Years and years of experience are under my belt.  I’ve lived on my own for a very long time. It’s time to try something completely different. I wasn’t always happy with my life. Correction, I was mostly happy, but something was always missing. Now, I have the opportunity not only to be with the man I love, but to also change career paths, reinvent myself professionally.

If you ask me, I’m being courageous.  Not many people have the guts to do what brings them joy.  They fear the unknown. They prefer the devil they know versus the devil they don’t. I know in my gut, I’m doing the right thing.

Sure, I don’t have a job lined up yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I have a plan and I’m going to let the universe put me where I need to be. The right job will come along. I know it will. Until then, I’ve got savings and I can do temp work. See, a plan.

Maybe I’m meant to be in a whole different industry. Maybe I’m meant to start my own company. The possibilities are endless.  I’m open to whatever the universe wants me to do to earn a living.  My dream job is one where someone pays me to write, be it on social media, general marketing, or even just on the back of a napkin.

What I do know is that my goal is to expand my writing career. I make a little money at it now, but I’d like it to be more substantial. Writing is truly a joy for me. Sure, I’m good at being someone’s assistant, but it’s not where my joy lies. I want to be creative, not just pay bills anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to do something to pay my bills. I like buying stuff and traveling, but more energy will be put into my creativity and do more things that bring me joy…Like moving to Minnesota to be with Paul. It might be a little scary, but that risk is definitely work taking.  Like Paul wrote on that chalkboard in Caribou Coffee, my goal is to be more awesome.

This is not a diet (ce n’est pas un régime)

Diets don’t work for me. Well, they do for like 5 minutes, but that’s not going to help me with what’s really wrong. What’s really wrong? I am not thinking about what I’m eating. I know how to eat healthy, sometimes (most of the time) I just don’t think about it or want to…

OK, that’s not true. I do want to eat healthy, but it’s too easy to be lazy. So, in an effort to not be lazy, I’ve decided to track my food. It’s not a diet.

I just want to be more aware.

I’m still eating whatever the hell I want. If I deny myself everything I crave, it just spirals out of control. It’s about awareness, so I downloaded the My Fitness Pal application for my iPhone. It’s kind of awesome. The best part is the bar code scanner. You can scan that box of Wheaties and it will look up the food for you. All you have to do is determine the amount of servings you ate.

My Fitness Pal screenshot

It seems to have a lot of foods from restaurants already uploaded, which is nice, because I’m lazy. I don’t want to have to estimate if I don’t have to.  It also lets you input food if you know the calories, fat, etc. Plus, it tracks your exercise, so it will net out your calories.

It really helps me be more aware of what I’m eating. Do I really want that cookie? Not really. I’m just anxious or bored. Wait five minutes and I don’t care anymore. Plus, now I have a pretty good idea of how crappy or how well I’m eating. All I know is that I’ve lost a few pounds in the past two weeks. I know because my belt needs to be tighter to keep my pants up. I’m not on a diet. I’m just being more aware.

Random thoughts on sweets

Girl Scout CookiesI’m addicted to sweets. I’m sure I’ve confessed that before on my blog. It’s a way to self-medicate when I’m stressed, annoyed or otherwise not calm. Since it’s Girls Scout Cookie time and Easter candy time, I have a double whammy. Avoiding Easter Candy is easier than Girl Scout Cookies. No one stockpiles Cadbury Eggs in the office. We have about a dozen boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, Lemonades, Thanks-a-lot, and Peanut Butter Patties in the break room.

Not to mention that once in a while someone will share a treat given to them by a vendor. The worst thing you can do is go around the office and offer a cookie to everyone in their cube. You might think you’re being polite, but you are just enabling my problem. Now I’m going to use politeness as a reason for not refusing the cookie with 130 grams of fat in it. Yes, I looked it up after I ate it and was appalled.

I can’t blame other people for my choices. No gun was put to my head. Skinny people refuse food all the time in a polite manner. I just really wanted that damn cookie. I’d rather be comforting myself with the prospect of hot sex later in the day or actual hot sex, but that’s about six weeks away, so I substitute cookies and candy.

I try not to be too hard on myself. I mean it’s not like I’m addicted to heroin or cocaine. I haven’t killed a man. It could be worse. Even my eating habits aren’t that bad, overall. I just need to be more aware of what I’m doing instead of mindlessly giving in to my bad habits.

It’s just stress

Apparently, one of the things doctors do for women who start on birth control pills is to check their blood pressure after a few months of doses.  So the other day, I went back in for my follow up.

Of course, it had to be a day when I was stressed out at work.  I hate being late and it never fails, whenever I have an appointment (made weeks ago, of course) someone has a fire that needs to be put out 10 minutes before I have to leave.

Also, I HATE getting my blood pressure taken.  Give me a shot.  Give me a pelvic exam. I can deal with those better than that horrible cuff trying to sever my arm.  Needless to say, my readings were high.

I knew something was wrong.  Usually my readings are in the healthy range.  Oh wait, I’m sorry.  Now they are in the “pre-hypertension” range.  Something I beleive to be bullshit made up by the health insurance industry.  Of course, I have no proof,  but 10 years ago, my 120-125 systolic readings were in the healthy range.  Now they are a warning sign of impending doom.  Never mind that my resting heart rate is almost always between 50-65 and my diastolic is almost never over 80.

This used to be normal.

This used to be normal.

How do I know this?  My doctor told me to buy a blood pressure monitor and take random readings for the next few weeks to see where my levels really lie.

Now this is normal..barely.

Now this is normal..barely.

At home, everything was copacetic, so I decided to take it to work today and see if the stress was going to kill me.  No.  Today was a mellow day, so my readings were normal, well old normal.  Of course the silly little cuff on my wrist (I couldn’t bring myself to buy an arm one) made a HUGE amount of noise when it was inflating.

“What are you doing over there??”

I sat there in silence.  Talking raises your blood pressure.  I didn’t need a false reading.

Of course, when everyone saw what I was doing, they had to check themselves out and see what their reading was…uh.  People, you need to mellow out.