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Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008

You Will Have Many Great Adventures This Year – In Bed

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If your family participates in the long-standing tradition of seeing a movie and eating at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day, you may have played the familiar game where you sex up the predictions received in fortune cookies by adding "in bed" to the end of the fortune. When you're making your list of New Year's resolutions this week, I strongly urge you to do the same thing. Like any other area of your life, your sex life benefits from regular appraisal and thoughtful commitment to improvement. Below are some sex-filled add-ons to common resolutions.

Break out of your routine. Lots of folks make New Year's plans to take up a new hobby or finally do that thing that they've always wanted to try (I learned to knit as a result of a New Year's resolution). Make a deliberate attempt to shake up your sexual routine as well. It's not uncommon for us to use one reliable method of masturbation that we know will quickly put us over the top, or to fall into a predictable pattern of lovemaking with a partner. Take the time to try a new toy, a new stroke, a new position, a new DVD, or a new book.

Appreciate your loved ones. The winter holidays encourage us to be thankful for our relationships with family and friends. Include your sexual partners in the list of people that you're grateful to have in your life. Remember how sex took priority at the beginning of your relationship, possibly being more important than other bodily needs like food or sleep? Make a resolution to set aside time at least once a month to rekindle that sexual connection. If you've been thinking about trying something new, this is also the perfect time to bring it up - resolve to share a sexual fantasy with your partner and ask them to do the same.

Make peace with your body. One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to lose weight. Sometimes these resolutions are motivated by a desire to improve health and feel better, and sometimes they're motivated by our culture's obsession with thinness and negativity towards anyone perceived as fat. As a society, we tend to be uncomfortable with our bodies if they appear to be anything less than perfect. This extends to our sexual selves as well. The vast majority of images of "sexiness" that we are exposed to involve thin, pretty people, hindering the rest of us from claiming our own sexual power. People of all genders also receive messages about their genitals that prevent us from enjoying sex - that they're not big enough, not attractive, smelly, dirty, or shameful.

Rather than focus on losing weight or otherwise altering your body, I encourage you to accept your body, with all its curves, lumps, bumps, and hooks to the left. Being comfortable with your body can be the ticket to sexual freedom and pleasure.

If you need help with any of these sexual resolutions, I suggest taking a class. We're all lifelong learners, right? At the Tool Shed, we're offering a free class on the G-spot and female ejaculation on January 17 at 7:00 pm that will help you break out of your sexual routine. To gain body confidence, take our sensual bellydance class on January 24 at 4:00 pm or our burlesque dance class at 6:00 pm on February 6. To deepen your relationship with your partner, drop in on our ongoing parenting discussion group (on January 11 at 11:00 am) or our new polyamory discussion group (January 21 at 7:00 pm).

Oh - and for those of you who are interested in knitting, like I was six years ago, there's a knitting group that meets at the Tool Shed on January 18 at 2:00 pm. Come join us, and I will be happy to personally teach you how to wield your needles. You'll be crafting your own fishnets in no time. For more info on any of these classes, check out www.toolshedtoys.com. See you in the New Year!

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side. She has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

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