In this month's Q&A, we chat with Lou Paget, an AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) Certified Sex Educator and the best-selling author of How to Be a Great Lover.
In 365 Days of Sensational Sex: Tantalizing Tips and Techniques to Keep the Fires Burning All Year Long, she writes, "Whether you are single or have been with the same person for twenty years, there are simple techniques, or gems, that will give you the key to keeping your relationship humming, as if the honeymoon never ended."
Read on to find out what Lou says on love, romance, and honeymooning all year round -- not just on Valentine's Day!
Question: Lou Paget, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, can you give us 14 tips to keeping the romance sexy and the sex romantic?
Lou Paget: Defining great sex (or great romance, for that matter!) is personal and very connotative. There is no dictionary definition. But from what I've learned through my years of listening closely to people, great sex boils down to two factors. First, great lovers possess an attitude toward sex that is open and curious, willing to learn something new about sex. Second, great lovers possess the know-how and the intention to keep the flames of passion alive. To that end, here are some quick tips.
Q: As a best-selling author (365 Days of Sensational Sex: Tantalizing Tips and Techniques to Keep the Fires Burning All Year Long) and "sex"pert, you've been been cited as "creating a one-woman sexual revival." What's it like having a moniker like that?
LP: Actually it's great, albeit a bit of a surprise at first. So let's start with what this "sexual revival" actually is. The sexual revival I have created is about accessing sexual information from real sources -- from real people and real experiences -- that actually works and can be incorporated into any person's intimate life without it feeling sleazy.
People assume that anyone who knows a lot about sex must be doing it a lot. So sorry to disappoint. Truly, if I did 10 percent of what people think I've done, I'd have time to do nothing else! As an AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) Certified Sex Educator, the information shared in my books and seminars is based on 18 years of research, 10 years and thousands of interviews in women's/men's sexuality seminars, 11 years as a volunteer on the groundbreaking Cedars-Sinai AIDS/IDC ward, and two years as a coach in an entrepreneurial development seminar.
Q: Many of our readers are either expectant moms or new moms. Will you share some insight into how lovemaking and intimacy changes during pregnancy?
LP: Many women have shared in my sexuality seminars that pregnancy sex was some of the best sex. Why? Because of the increased volume of blood in their pelvises due to the pregnancy. These women found it much easier to orgasm. In general, unless there are medical reasons not to engage in sexual relations, there is no reason not to. Once you get around the obstacle course of your belly -- and find comfortable positions for you and your partner -- then you might be surprised to discover how deeply satisfying sex can be while pregnant.
Q: And, once the baby is born, how can a couple keep the romance alive?
LP: If the spark was there before, it is still there, perhaps turned down, but still there nonetheless. In the beginning, when you were planning to be together, you made being together a priority and planned for it. There are two main reasons for the lack of spark and intimacy in couples: 1) no time, and 2) being tired. This sad state of affairs is especially true for parents.
Couples whom I have seen work at keeping their sexual connection going do so with intention and planning. They do not take for granted that sex is going to happen out of thin air; they still plan for it -- ten, twenty years after their vows. They may be more accessible physically to each other, but that does not mean they take a great sex life for granted.
Q: When relationships with our partners are going well, the sex seems to go well too. Talk about the connection between a healthy relationship and a healthy sex life.
LP: Just as your bedroom is your sanctuary, your relationship is your refuge -- from work commitments, family obligations, and life's responsibilities in general. Your relationship should be the anchor in the middle of your life, giving you support and a tether, while at the same time enough rope to grow, learn, and live. Couples who have established this feeling say it enables them to do so much more in their lives.
It goes without saying that the more relaxed and less frenetic you are in any situation, the more you can get done, and the better you are at what you do. When your relationship is a haven, I have heard again and again partners describe this haven as full of support, a safety net, and as "contentedness." As one man from a couple's seminar said, "I like to come home and feel like the world is on the outside. Once I'm home, I always know she is on my team." Given all the stresses we place on ourselves, couple who create this ambience when they are together enhance and inspire each other mentally and physically, inside and outside the boundaries of their relationship. And no matter how cold it may be outside, you always know that the emotional place you and your lover created inside when you came together is there, waiting for you to return to -- for succor, a sense of peace, and, of course, sex.
Q: Okay, time to dish. What are your personal favorites, your top five pointers for keeping the "honeymoon" going, all year round?
LP: Try these gems -- guaranteed to get a response!