No More Clueless Sex-- Gail and Lewis Wyatt-- 02/13/04
By Gail Wyatt
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Do you and your partner still heat up the bedroom, or is your sex life getting old and cold? If you need help in the love department but don't know where to start, read these intimate tips from the husband and wife team of Gail and Lewis Wyatt, co-authors of No More Clueless Sex .
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live, Drs. Wyatt. It sometimes seems that sex is everywhere in modern society, and so much information is available; are many people really clueless about sex?
Lewis Wyatt: Yes. Sex is very complex. There's absolutely no way you can go and learn about sex. There are no authorities that you can sit down with and talk about sex, there are no courses you can take about sex, so you are bombarded by sex in the media and you have no way to differentiate what is good for you and what is not.
Moderator: How do you define what is "good?" Are we talking about what feels good physically or emotionally?
Lewis Wyatt: Both. But the clue to feeling good physically and emotionally is developing a mutual understanding about what each of you is expecting from a sexual relationship and how to best achieve that without causing any damage to either of you.
Moderator: You talk about relationships -- this obviously omits casual sex from the equation? Do you believe that a commitment to a relationship is important to good sex?
Lewis Wyatt: I believe each person has expectations what they intend to get from any relationship, whether it's casual or long term, mutually monogamous or not. The problem comes in when one person's expectations are different than the other. There's absolutely nothing wrong about casual sex, as long as both people agree. It becomes clueless when one person's expectations are different from the other person's.
Member question: How can a couple "plan" sex without it becoming just something else on the day planner? Being spontaneous isn't working for this dad of two with a working wife.
Lewis Wyatt: When we talk about thinking about sex that is planning for sex. Planning for sex doesn't necessarily mean it goes on a daily schedule. It could be something as simple as a call during the day, a date during the night that is planned, where the two of you will have time to enjoy one another, because what you have done is rid yourself of the daily problems or things that prevent you from having privacy.
Member question: Our problem is contraception. He wants me to be completely responsible. I don't want to take pills everyday. I want him to be a part of it too. It is really affecting our sex life.
Gail Wyatt: There are many ways that women can take responsibility for protection against an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection that gives her options other than birth control pills. Women can learn to place a condom on her partner's penis and in doing so this can be a very romantic experience for her partner and protect them both, as well.
You might also try a female condom, which has to be prescribed by a doctor, but you can insert the female condom in your vagina without your partner having to do anything other than enjoy the experience.
Lewis Wyatt: Contraception is a major problem for some couples. Unfortunately, we have very few male contraception choices. Most of the industry has focused on female contraception, which makes women feel uncomfortable, as if it's their responsibility to protect from unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Men should be able to compromise and negotiate, and one of the ways they can do this is by limiting sex during the periods in which pregnancy is most likely. They can also be tested to demonstrate they have no sexually transmitted diseases.
Member question: My husband wants to spice up our sex life by having me look at porn with him. I don't want to look. Help!
Lewis Wyatt: There are ways in which sex can be spiced up. Porn is one of them. If indeed one person wants to look at porn and the other doesn't there are other problems that may exist in the sexual relationship. It would be important to have open honest communication about the reason for the need for sexual stimulation with visual aids. Most times one party of the couple is afraid to demonstrate unusual sexual behavior for fear that the other partner will be suspicious about their previous sexual encounters. It is important to understand the motive behind any new sexual request, and have an open, honest discussion about why you are not in agreement about it.
Member question: My partner wants to hear about my previous sexual partners. I don't want to go there. He says he's cool with it and would find it a turn on, but I think it will just cause trouble down the road. What do you think?
Gail Wyatt: You are absolutely right. Whatever happened before that person is history, so leave it there.
Member question: I am 40-year-old male, married eight years with two lovely kids, 18 months and 4 years old. It seems like my wife and I have gotten into this pattern that I want too much sex and she does not. Usually the pattern is I initiate the intimacy with a rub on her back and she makes a comment like, I cannot sleep, or she is tired, or how I don't respect her need to sleep. I stop and pull back, and then she comes to me and sort of tries to make up with me, and even offers sex.
On other occasions she may let me give her a back rub and I know she is aroused (body moves and breathing) but complains verbally how she is tired and how busy the next day is. I feel she is playing the hardball and some how I am a looser in this game. I do not get satisfaction from her and it has become a dilemma in our marriage. She feels pressured from me complaining and talking about this. Any thing we could do to kill this pattern?
Lewis Wyatt: Yes. The initiation for sexual encounter doesn't start in the bedroom with a back rub. It begins with each time you see one another or talk to one another during the day. Planning to be sexually active doesn't necessarily mean that you have to ask to have sex later on that day. But it means that you are behaving in a way during the entire day that will be sexually arousing as foreplay for sexual encounter later in the day.
Sometimes the schedule that two people have is so trying that physical exertion causes a sexual dysfunction and lack of sexual desire. One of the ways you can break this is start off having numerous encounters throughout the day, whether it's by telephone or email to one another. Secondly, take vacations away from your daily activities, whether it's just a short weekend or an overnight stay, so you can relax and be together.
During those times when you can relax and be together, try to be innovative on your sexual approach. Perhaps a steam shower, a massage, or just holding hands and listening to music might bring the romance and intimacy back into your relationship.
Member question: What do you recommend to help make sex be something other than the last thing you do, after the bills are paid, the laundry is done, and the phone calls are made? In other words, sometimes I feel like everything has to be "done" and perfect before I can relax enough to think about making love.
Lewis Wyatt: That's a relationship that doesn't take time out for what's most important, and that's being together. If indeed you're sharing the household chores, paying the bills, setting the budget, that can be a very sexual type of activity for both of you, which can be foreplay for a sexual encounter once you finish. If not, then setting up a schedule in which you have free days away from the household chores will give you the time to enjoy one another.
Member question: I might be more receptive to my husband if he were cuddly sometimes without the expectation of sex following. I'd like to be held sometimes just for the sake of being held -- not as foreplay. How do I get him to understand this?
Lewis Wyatt: Most men, in general, are orgasm focused. Intimacy is achieved by dealing with feelings. If you can get your husband to talk about his feelings, rather than demonstrating his behavior, you'll be able to develop a greater intimate relationship. Dealing with feelings means that you ask on a constant basis, without reaching a level of discomfort, about how he feels during your daily conversations, and not settle for one-word answers. Once he starts talking about his feelings, without feeling vulnerable, you'll be able to get the intimacy you want and deserve.
Member question: What do you think about cyber sex? If he is having cyber sex with someone else, I think it is cheating on me.
Lewis Wyatt: We have a chapter in No More Clueless Sex , chapter four, which deals with cyber sex. Cyber sex can be risky. The reason it can be risky is twofold: people can hide their true identify and motives over the Internet during cyber sex, and you can become addicted to cyber sex and neglect other forms of sex.
If you feel you're not getting the sex that you want from your mate and don't understand why it's more important for him to be involved with cyber sex, then you are definitely being cheated on, if that's your perception.
Member question: I prefer having a partner who is more aggressive, maybe because I'm used to having such a dominant personality, but I have usually ended up with a more docile partner. How can I change that without freaking them out?
Lewis Wyatt: Most people have just the opposite, so it's interesting that you are getting docile partners. I think you have to look at the type of behavior that you're using to attract your partners. And you have to look at the type of sexual activities you want to be involved with or in, and see if those are acceptable to most men you would be involved with.
It's hard to note what you mean by being more aggressive. Most men are or shy away from ladies who are aggressive, only because men like to feel in control. If you can't break your aggressive nature then you have to find a way to give the perception that your partner is in control, and then you can have the type of sexual relation that you desire.
Member question: So your book says "10 secrets." What's the big No. 1?
Lewis Wyatt: No. 1 is this: Most people are attracted, physically, to others, the sexual appearance of someone that looks masculine for a man or feminine for a woman, depending on the culture you live in. Some people like the anatomy, the way you walk, talk, and that's sexy to them. But the important thing that people overlook is that the sexiest part of the body is the brain. The brain is where you receive all the stimuli from your environment that turns you on.
Member question: How do I tell a potential partner about herpes without turning them off completely?
Lewis Wyatt: That's a question that has to be put in context. If it's a potential partner, as you said, then an open, honest discussion before any sexual activity must be had. Thinking about sex means that you get tested and you show your test results to the potential partner before any sexual activity.
Then you must sit down and explain to the potential what their risks might be and how you are able to protect yourself so you can protect them from acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.
Member question: Can you comment on faking it? Sometimes I don't have an orgasm. Although I like it best when I do, I am sometimes just fine having some fun in bed with my husband. However, he seems so disappointed when I don't have an orgasm. He'll keep going on, making it a chore. What can I do to convince him it's OK? I'm faking it at this point.
Gail Wyatt: Faking it is very common for women in particular because of the reasons that you have already stated. However, it's important to have a conversation with your partner to broaden what both you and he define as pleasure. You need to explain that enjoying sex is sometimes more important than being orgasmic. So make an effort to let him know when you really enjoyed sex, whether you're orgasmic or not.
Lewis Wyatt: It's important also to realize that men sometimes fake it. You may be surprised to know that this happens more frequently than women think, even though it's more difficult for men to fake it than women. Faking it, whether it's from the male's point of view or the woman's, has more to do to with manipulating the male ego than anything else. So Gail is correct. If each understands that the pleasure gained from being sexually active is just as important as having an orgasm, then you'll have a win-win situation.
Member question: My husbands rolls over after he has an orgasm, he's done. I'm not. Help!
Gail Wyatt : That is not an uncommon scenario, so don't feel alone. Here again, it's important to have a conversation outside of the bedroom about what you both can do to make sex more enjoyable. I advise women to date their husbands. That is, each week one of the couple will take responsibility for planning an evening out together. If you, being the woman, take responsibility first, your evening out could include sex where you do everything possible to find out how to keep your husband awake.
Many couples eat dinner, a heavy dinner, or drink wine before sex. If he identifies that he's sleepy after dinner, then you need to reverse the process, have a light snack, no alcohol, then sex, and then something else to eat afterwards. You might also try bathing or showering together to help relax each other and also to refresh each other after a long day. Remember to identify what's slowing him down and making him tired and not able to please you.
Lewis Wyatt: The important thing that you should do is what I call take away the bed. The bed is a wonderful incentive for orgasm-focused men to satisfy their desire and then go to sleep. Therefore, if you have sex in other places you have a greater opportunity to continue the intimacy after the orgasm.
Gail Wyatt: It's also possible that your husband may ejaculate prematurely and you both need to work on extending the time taken for penetration. In No More Clueless Sex we go through the squeeze technique that teaches couples how to expand sexual contact to allow both partners to be orgasmic. Why don't you read the book and see if that helps you.
Member question: Can sex toys help perk up a sex life gone lifeless?
Lewis Wyatt: Forty-three percent of women suffer from lack of desire, which is usually translated to mean, in most instances, lack of intimacy and romance. In order to perk up relationships you need to bring romance and intimacy back.
Gail Wyatt: First of all, most couples are exhausted when they have any private time. The first thing to do is figure out when both of you are more rested and set a date for intimacy. Some couples need to go to sleep first and wake up in the middle of the night; others simply need an evening without children or interruptions; still others need to carve out time by making a date. Some people think that married people should be able to have sex when you want to. To have great sex you have to plan it and be ready for it. So step one is to make sure that you are ready for sex.
Step two: In No More Clueless Sex , Lewis and I describe recipe sex. That is where you can close your eyes and predict every single movement that will occur. That's boring. Go to the store together, the adult store or educational store and buy educational videos and books on different positions and experiences that couples can share. Choose the ones that you are comfortable with and try them.
Member question : How can I have anal sex with my husband? It would be the first time. I don't want him to get upset at me.
Lewis Wyatt: I believe that expanding your sexual repertoire is absolutely necessary in mutually monogamous couples that have been together for some time. But as we mentioned earlier, it is always risky to bring up new types of behavior, especially sexual behavior, unless you know what the other person's expectations might be in the relationship, and if they coincide with yours. It is always important to have open honest communication so that you will both be on the same playing field.
If one person does not want to participate in your game, or you don't want to participate in their game, then you must agree that that's the place where at this point in time in your relationship you can't go, and then move on to other ways to expand your sexual repertoire.
Gail Wyatt: If you are not sure how to bring up this topic with your partner, try a sex menu and list the kinds of things you'd like to try that are new with your husband. That could be anal sex, rear entry vaginal sex, sex in a chair, different things, different positions, and let your husband choose what you're comfortable with. The fact that you have included anal sex in your menu can suggest that you are willing to try any of the things listed. As Dr. Lewis said, if he does not choose it, move on.
Gail Wyatt: But how about if I want to but then it hurts and he gets frustrated with me. What then?
Gail Wyatt: You can only place trying anal sex then on your menu. That means if you try it and it doesn't work, you always have permission to stop.
Lewis Wyatt: If indeed you have never had anal sex, it will be like the first time you had vaginal sex, and it may be anywhere from uncomfortable to painful. If you both feel you want to attempt anal sex again, then you need to plan it and be relaxed and see if indeed it's possible. If you don't want to attempt anal sex again, you need to discard it.
Gail Wyatt: Be sure to use a water-based lubricant such as Vagislide, Astroglide or KY Jelly, the more lubricant, the easier the penetration.
Member question: What happens when chronic illness enters the picture and the burden of money, loss, pain, and just trying to cope disrupts what was a happy sex life?
Gail Wyatt: In No More Clueless Sex we talk about illness and disabilities and how they can influence a great relationship, so this is really an important question.
Gail Wyatt: When your body won't do what you want it to, you have to remember sexual pleasure is always possible. You can't give up trying and using alternative ways to achieve sexual pleasure, specifically if you have an illness that prevents sexual arousal or a medication you're taking prevents sexual arousal.
The best thing to do is to consult your physician and explain to him what the disability is that's affecting your sexual behavior. If the physician is not trained to deal with sexual problems, he or she needs to refer you to someone who can, but the most important thing you have to remember is that your body has potential for sexual pleasure, no matter what disability you might have.
Moderator: We are almost out of time. Do you have any final comments for us?
Gail Wyatt: No More Clueless Sex is a book like no other. It provides most single and committed people with information to enhance the decisions they make about sex and the people they choose to be with.
Lewis Wyatt: What's really important about No More Clueless Sex is it will give you the knowledge to evaluate a current or potential partner for sexual compatibility and a relationship that will last.
Moderator: Thanks to Gail Wyatt, PhD, and Lewis Wyatt, MD, for joining us. For more information, please read No More Clueless Sex: Ten Secrets to a Sex Life that Works for Both of You .
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