Monthly Archives: September 2015

How do I bring a toy into the bedroom?

Need a vibrator in order to orgasm? Want to try a cock ring to enhance performance? Curious about butt plugs and anal? Great! That makes you normal. But how do you ask to bring a toy into the bedroom so that it's not awkward or weird? Sex coach Dawn Serra shares the secret.

When I was in my early 20’s, I had a small collection of vibrators that I carefully hid in my dresser. Back then, the toys were all jelly and delightfully toxic, but I didn’t know the materials were bad for me. I just knew that if I wanted an orgasm, that was the fastest way to make it happen.

Using my hands to touch myself still felt foreign, so I relied on my vibrators to get me off.

It never occurred to me to bring the toys into sex with my partner at the time. All of my friends (and Cosmo) made it pretty clear that if you were in a relationship, then penetrative sex (or in our case, since it was a lesbian relationship, fingers and dildos) was the pinnacle experience.

Masturbation was only for when my partner wasn’t around or if I wasn’t satisfied. Vibrators were a joke for tired, married moms (Parenthood) or women who couldn’t find great sex anywhere else (Charlotte from Sex and the City).

Sex with my partner and sex with my vibrators served two distinct functions.

Interestingly, I had a sex toy business while I was in that relationship. We spent hours each week repackaging vibrators and filling orders.

I counseled thousands of women on how to introduce a toy to their bedroom, helping them to find ways to talk to their husbands and partners so that it wouldn’t be threatening, and yet…I never once considered bringing a vibrator into sex with my own partner.

Toys now play a major roll in my sexual encounters. My current partner loves incorporating them into our time together, as well as times when we’re apart.

Part of it had to do with finding a partner who was as committed to my pleasure as I was, and part of it had to do with me realizing that I am the champion of my experiences. If there’s something I can do to make sex more pleasurable, more interesting, or more adventurous, it’s up to me to advocate for myself.

So many people that I talk to worry that there’s something wrong with them or their lover if they need a toy or aid to orgasm.

Only 25% of people with a vulva consistently orgasm from penis-in-vagina sex.

Most folks need clitoral stimulation in order to get off. And one of the easiest ways to achieve that is with a vibrator.

But orgasm shouldn’t be the goal of sex. Pleasure should be.

If you are going for maximum pleasure, what would that look like? If you unapologetically declared, “This is what my ecstasy looks like”, what would you ask for or try?

For many people, pleasure comes in the form of toys. Whether it’s a vibrator for your clitoris, a cock ring for your penis, a butt plug for some delicious ass play, or a strap-on for pegging or even double penetration, all of it is normal and healthy.

Because your pleasure? It really matters.

But, how do you ask a partner if you can bring a toy into the bedroom?

First, realize that there’s nothing wrong with you or your sweetheart if you want or need something else during sex. Our bodies are deliciously diverse, and they’re changing all the time. Toys help bridge the gap between what you want and what your bodies might be able to do.

You are normal.

Once you come to terms with what you want and need (because it has to start with you), often then you worry about offending or discouraging your partner by asking for something different.

Any partner worth their salt will want you to have a great time during sex. Of course, because they want to please you, they may also feel insecure or scared that they aren’t satisfying you. That’s where the defensiveness can come in.

When you ask to incorporate a new toy or technique, remember to make it about you and not your partner.

It all comes back to remembering that you deserve pleasure AND that you’re a team. You aren’t responsible for your partner’s feelings, but approaching the conversation as a fun adventure is empathetic and kind.

As equal partners who are both eager to have a great time in bed, it’s easier to make it clear what you want and how it will set both of you up for success. Be specific. Be clear. And make the ask.

Here are a few suggestions for starting the conversation:

“Honey, I just bought a new vibrator. I’d love to try using it together the next time you and I are having sex. Maybe we can take turns holding it and see what kind of trouble we can get into? The thought of you inside of me while that vibe is on my clit really turns me on.”

“I read about how cock rings can help me stay harder longer, and I’ve experimented on my own. I’d love to try it with you because I think it would be a fun experiment. How would you feel about trying that with me?”

“I’ve been curious about trying some anal, so I got a beginner’s butt plug. I’m dying to know what it feels like to wear the plug while you fuck me. On our next date night, are you up for giving that a try?”

Of course, the way you say something matters a lot.

If you make it playful and flirty, then it helps take some of the pressure off of the conversation.

It’s not about your partner being a failure, it’s about you wanting to explore your pleasure.

It’s OK for you to feel awkward or shy when you have the discussion, too.

If you and your sweetheart don’t have open conversations around sex, or if it’s been a long time since you tried something new, it’s going to take a leap of faith to be vulnerable and ask for what you want. Just remember you’re worth it.

Another way to make it easier is to eroticize the toy and the way you bring it into your time together.

If you pull your vibe out and just say, “Here,” your partner might feel like they’re at a loss.

But if you show them how you use it on yourself, if you buzz it along their body, if you slowly lube up the butt plug with a playful wink, it will feel more like an invitation rather than a demand.

Toys, aids, props, and costumes can be an incredible addition to your sexual repertoire.

Invite yourself to adopt a curious, open approach to incorporating them into the bedroom.

Because toys will die in the middle of sex and cock rings may get stuck in public hair and a butt plug might shoot out when you’re riding your partner.

As long as you’re in the moment and embracing what happens rather than chasing the expectation of an ideal, then you’ll find you have a lot more fun and connect with each other at a much deeper level than ever before.

One last thought – if you bring up toys and your partner reacts poorly, it’s OK to give them space and then have a conversation about their reaction. If your partner shames you in any way, you are within your right to tell them that’s unacceptable.

Your pleasure is your responsibility, so advocate for your needs and know that you’re completely normal if you need toys to experience your best sex.

[callout title=”Learn more” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Are you ready to explore your desire and unleash your sexual self? I’m here to help. [/callout]

Eight books on sex and intimacy you need to read.

If you're looking for advice on sex, intimacy, relationships, and communication, it can be hard to find books that are actually useful and transformative. Check out these eight must-read books from sex coach Dawn Serra. Your sex life and relationships will never be the same.

The world is overflowing with an abundance of amazing books, more than you could ever read in a lifetime. Fiction, poetry, biographies, even young adult stories, it’s an endless sea of inspiration and imagination.

But when it comes to books on sex, intimacy, dating, and relationships, the literary landscape is riddled with bad advice, antiquated ideas, and a shocking amount of bullshit sold as the law of the land.

(The Rules, I’m looking at you.)

Mainstream media advice about our bodies, our gender, the way we communicate, and sex is misleading at best and downright traumatizing at worst. That is to say, almost everything you see in magazines, on the news, and coming out of Hollywood is based on a set of rules and beliefs that are designed to make us feel bad and buy more stuff.

So, how are you supposed to separate the good from the bad from the downright absurd?

Allow me, dear reader, to lend a hand.

Behold. The eight books on sex & relationships that I most frequently recommend to my clients (and why you should read them).

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, a book on sexual arousal and desire in women

“Come As You Are” by Emily Nagoski

This is the number one book that I recommend to my sex coaching clients. If you’re struggling with low libido or getting aroused, especially if you are a woman, this book needs to be at the top of your To Read list.

Emily Nagoski uses numerous studies and scientific data to build a compelling story for why all of the things we’ve been taught about women’s arousal are wrong, and instead, how arousal really works for most of us.

Using approachable stories and fun anecdotes, you’ll walk away from this book feeling empowered, enlightened, and much more in control of your sexual pleasure and desire.


 

Ecstasy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas is all about finding pleasure and ecstasy in ways you never before imagined

“Ecstasy is Necessary” by Barbara Carrellas

Barbara Carrellas is someone that I admire deeply. Her books are inclusive and powerful in ways that most sex books are not. “Ecstasy is Necessary” helps you to map out and discover your sexual self. Not the self that has been beaten into you by mainstream media or your family or your community – your true self.

What is ecstasy to you? What are the possibilities for pleasure? What are the endless ways you can tap into your sensual potential and unleash it in your life in practical and feel-good ways?

If you love this book, you’ll also want to check out Barbara’s “Urban Tantra” which is another book I recommend to most clients.


 

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel is a book about infidelity, erotic intelligence, and why people cheat.

“Mating in Captivity” by Esther Perel

The prevailing wisdom that we see so often is this quest for intimacy in our relationships. But, what if intimacy is the very thing that kills our erotic energy, and our sex lives?

Esther Perel, known for her amazing TED talks on infidelity, posits that in order to maintain erotic energy, to keep that heat alive, we need to strike a careful balance between intimacy and eroticism. If you’ve ever wondered why people cheat and what you can do to be more aware in your own relationships to help prevent infidelity, this book is an important (and very easy) read.

It’s one of the more common reasons people seek sex coaching, and it’s one of the most common books I recommend to clients seeking change.


 

Women's Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston is a very complex and rich look at women's anatomy, including the erectile tissue, clitoris, and how to help with arousal and desire.

“Women’s Anatomy of Arousal” by Sheri Winston

Did you know that many doctors, even gynecologists, don’t know the basics when it comes to arousal and genitals in folks with a vulva? It’s true! Sadly, many doctors only receive elementary information in med school about sex (most say it was less than 8 hours in their 8 years of training).

Sex education isn’t much better. We’re lucky if we ever even hear the world clitoris mentioned. Pleasure-based sex education is something we can hope for the future, but what can we do now?

Read Sheri Winston’s book. With beautiful hand-drawn images of all those delicious nerve endings and vast networks of erectile tissue, you’ll learn how the clitoris extends deep into the body, how important your pelvic floor muscles are, and what an important role your thoughts play in how your body reacts.

This book is the most comprehensive book on the anatomy of vulvas that I’ve ever seen. The language is heterocentric, so for any queer or trans folks, just keep that in mind as you go through the tips for lovers. It also has a lot of woo around energy and chakras.

Don’t let that stop you from buying this book, though! You’ll have a new appreciation for just how incredible our bodies are after you see what we’re made of.


 

Opening Up by Tristan Taormino is a very approachable and non-threatening look at all the different ways people can explore non-monogamy and opening up a relationship

“Opening Up” by Tristan Taormino

Tristan Taormino is a powerhouse in the sex education world. From her wildly popular podcast, Sex Out Loud, to her many educational DVDs, Tristan is a legend when it comes to sex.

“Opening Up” is the most approachable, non-threatening, easy read on non-monogamy that I’ve found. It’s full of stories and accounts from real people talking about the endless ways folks are redefining what it means to be in relationships.

Unlike many books about non-monogamy and polyamory, “Opening Up” does not pass judgment on folks who choose monogamy, which is part of what makes it so approachable for folks who are simply curious. Whether you’ve thought about kissing someone else or having a play partner on the side or even having multiple live-in spouses, this book walks you through the beauty of creating a relationship framework (or non-framework) that works for you.


 

Rising Strong by Brene Brown is a powerful book on moving through vulnerability and tough situations, like the ones you're likely to encounter in a relationship.

“Rising Strong” by Brené Brown

This book is hot off the presses and I’ve already written about its impact on me. Brené’s work on shame and vulnerability is incredibly relevant when it comes to sex and relationships.

In her latest book, “Rising Strong”, she outlines how to deal with failure in a way that allows for maximum emotional growth and healing. And we all fail in life – from trying something new in the bedroom to saying something we regret to a loved one. This book will arm you with powerful tools on moving through the yucky stuff without getting stuck.

If you take nothing else away from this book, learning how to say “the story I’m telling myself is…” will revolutionize the way you argue and have tough conversations. Get this book. Read it. Share it. And reap the benefits of new awareness in how you approach shame.


 

Rewriting the Rules by Meg Barker is a book that's likely to challenge your assumptions and stories about gender, relationships, pleasure, and sex.

“Rewriting the Rules” by Meg Barker

This book is important, but it is also pretty uncomfortable for folks who aren’t quite ready to step outside the lines of how society frames sexuality, gender, relationships, break-ups, sex, and self-image.

Meg Barker takes all of the stories and assumptions we have about relationships & sex, and breaks them down piece by piece. By questioning the rules, she invites new dialog that does not rewrite the rules, but instead, invites us all to let the rules go and live in a place of constant curiosity and flow.

When you’re no longer bound by “should” and “supposed to”, you can begin to create a relationship with yourself and with others that is more authentic and meaningful than ever before. Do expect to get uncomfortable.


 

Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon is a fun, approachable look at sex with an inclusive approach that talks about everything from bodies to expanding what sex means for more pleasure.

“Girl Sex 101” by Allison Moon

Yes, this book is about queer sex. But, it is also full of body-positive cartoons, endless sex positive tips on how to actually have sex, and advice on everything from oral to strap-on sex and more.

Even if you think you’re beyond a sex 101 book, you’ll find yourself learning new and better ways to think about sex, your body, and how you can maximize pleasure with your partner. Allison Moon creates a fun, playful framework that will have you laughing out loud and nodding in agreement (the section on what makes someone creepy is especially fantastic).

Despite being a huge book, you’ll zoom through it and find lots of shareable quotes, pictures, and tidbits that you’ll want to try on for yourself.


 

BONUS BOOKS: If you have kids in your life, these two books by Cory Silverberg are LIFE-CHANGING.

What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg is an inclusive, beautiful book for young children that answers where do babies come from?

“What Makes a Baby” by Cory Silverberg

This book is designed for kids from 4-7 years old, though adults will get a lot out of it, too. Cory Silverberg wrote it for all kids in all sorts of families born in all sorts of ways to parents with all sorts of bodies and genders.

Instead of dreading the “where do babies come from” question, this book will give the young people in your life a beautifully inclusive answer that lays the foundation for a lifetime of sex positivity and self-awareness.

I buy this book for every single person I know who is going to become a parent.


 

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg is the single best book for kids about sex, gender, and boundaries on the market.

“Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg

Cory’s newest book, published in the summer of 2015, brought tears to my eyes. Intended for pre-teens, Sex is a Funny Word walks through anatomy, language, setting boundaries, consent, relationships, and the feelings associated with it all.

Each section ends with a question that invites the adult reading the book to engage with the young reader and the questions are sure to create an open conversation the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

Wildly inclusive, non-judgmental, and accessible to kids of all ages, if you have a youngster in your life, you need to get this book.

Please note, the links to Amazon are affiliate links for me, so if you end up buying any of the books, I’ll get a few pennies from Amazon. 


 

This list is not exhaustive and there are so many other books that I adore that I would have loved to include here, so expect additional reading lists down the road.

If you’re struggling with a specific issue or if you’d like to learn about something (like kink) that isn’t covered here, please comment below and I’ll provide additional resources and recommendations.

[callout title=”Let’s chat.” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]If you’re ready to get unstuck and create a life full of pleasure, desire, and sensual joy, I’m here. [/callout]

7 When shame swallows you whole

Brene Brown calls shame the master emotion. Knowing how shame works won't save you from the crushing darkness. How can you break free once you're trapped?

*Trigger warning: Shame. In Brené Brown’s book, “Rising Strong“, she talks about how we live in a culture that tends to hide the ugly middle parts of our stories. Everyone likes a hero, but we’ve become a culture that doesn’t really honor the pain and mistakes and the struggles that happen when someone is in the middle of their story. For me, a big part of being a sex coach is modeling vulnerability and sharing my journey as a way to demonstrate that all of us are always in process and learning.

I had a few trusted colleagues and friends read this post, and while their feedback was overwhelmingly beautiful, a few also found their own shame triggered by reading about my shame. I invite you to take care of yourself as you read this and process. Be gentle. Allow space for your feelings. And reach out if you’d like to share anything.


 

Want to know something bizarre about me?

Vulnerability is a space that I’ve come to crave.

I know this makes me an outlier.

Most people cringe at the thought of being vulnerable, at opening themselves up to hurt, ridicule, failure, and pain.

It’s not that I’m emotionally masochistic (maybe I am a little bit), but that every single great thing that’s ever happened to me occurred after I allowed myself to be vulnerable and then found the courage to do the thing anyway.

Being vulnerable has allowed me to experience the most profound depths of intimacy, love, connection, gratitude, and transformation.

Studying Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability and wholehearted living, along with other amazing thought leaders like Tara Brach and Seth Godin, has not only inspired and influenced the work I do with my clients, but it also afforded me a sense of security against experiencing my own shame.

After all, if I understood shame, if I knew how it looked and how it felt, if I studied the way it impacts us and how to overcome it, then shame would be easier to avoid, to identify, and to elude, right?

The truth is shame will find you, no matter how much you know.

Shame will grab you and do everything it can to crush you.

Shame will find a way to hold you under the water and no one will ever know you’re drowning because the amazing thing about shame is it tricks you into silencing yourself when you most need to scream for help.

In “Rising Strong“, Brené Brown’s newest book, she says, “…shame crashes over you with such force that you go into do-or-die survival mode.”

She goes on to say, “Ironically, I always warn people not to be seduced into believing that they can manage these moments simply because they’ve learned how they work. We call shame the master emotion for a reason.”

I was genuinely surprised when I recently realized that I’ve been drowning in shame for well over a year in my relationship with my partner.

What’s worse, is in the tiny moments when I spotted glimpses of my shame, I felt deeply ashamed of feeling that shame because as a professional, I should (there’s that word) know better.

And so I hid.

I silenced myself.

I shrank, wished for a different reality, and through all of that resistance, suffered tremendous pain which, of course, fed my shame even more.

Each of us have different shame triggers, and many of us have one or two primary triggers that we carry for most of our lives.

One of my shame triggers is a nasty little voice that likes to whisper how unloveable I am.

Most of the time, that voice is a distant, nagging irritant that I can acknowledge without feeding it. We have found a way to live fairly harmoniously.

It’s an on-going process for me to remind myself I am worthy, I am enough, I am lovable, and it has gotten easier with practice to hold this knowledge inside of me as a truth.

I started to see cracks in my lovability as I fell more deeply in love with my partner. I began to internalize a dialog that told me I wasn’t living up to his expectations.

We have an open relationship. My partner identifies as poly, and I identify as non-monogamous.

When we first started co-creating this relationship, I had a few other lovers and non-monogamy felt pretty easy. As my feelings for my partner, who is simply extraordinary, became more important to me, something started shifting.

What once was easy was becoming crushingly difficult.

I started talking to myself about snapping out of it. I began a daily routine of speaking to myself like a drill sergeant.

Figure this out. Find out what’s holding you back. Name all the ways you’re insecure and start fixing them. Do more self-care, dammit! That’s not good enough. You’re going to ruin this amazing relationship. Get with the program.

That’s still not good enough.

You’re not good enough.

If you know the difference between guilt and shame, you can see how that last one is when things took a turn for the worse.

What made it more complicated is that I also live with PTSD from sexual trauma as well as anxiety.

But as a sex positive professional who is surrounded by folks who easily and naturally practice polyamory and non-monogamy, I felt utterly and completely alone.

I started wincing every time the word “poly” got mentioned.

I pulled inside myself and scrolled as quickly as I could past articles extolling the virtues of non-monogamy.

When my partner went on dates, I felt like something inside of me was dying, but knowing just how important our relationship structure was to him, I would only disclose smaller versions of my truth.

I would buckle down. Work harder. Dig deeper. Find a way. I could do this on my own.

Because I was convinced I was a failure, and who wants to show the world what a total and complete failure they are?

That’s when shame won.

Shame wants nothing more than your total and complete isolation. Shame salivates over your panic. And the thing shame loves more than anything is when you feel shame about having shame.

Oh yes. In the world of shame, nothing is more elegant and perfect than a shame spiral.

This deepening sense of worthlessness and dread nurtured itself inside of me for nearly a full year.

I started feeling like I was reaching my breaking point – which honestly sounded like: I will just end things. I can’t make him happy. I feel miserable about what a fraud I am. I’ll just pull the plug and save us both.

All of this despite the fact that my partner and I have one of the most accepting, trusting, passionate, communicative relationships on the planet. Because it wasn’t about him, or about us.

It was about me, being trapped under the weight of my own shame, and trying to disown my story without facing it.

I was resisting my truth.

Shame can drive us to do horrible things. Shame can traumatize us, harm us, and lead to depression, anxiety, and even violence.

Then, I had the fortune of having a perfect storm of circumstances force my shame out into the light.

First, my partner and I had pretty significant miscommunication that threw us into the deep end.

Second, I attended a workshop on shame by the glorious Charlie Glickman at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. Being confronted by so much information about shame, and also hearing so many people in the room express feelings and thoughts that echoed my own, I began to realize what was happening to me.

Third, I did what I do best, and I leapt towards what felt most vulnerable. I moved into my discomfort and had a series of scary conversations, ending with a raw, brutal tell-all one night with my partner.

I was inconsolable in my grief and pain, but as I started to drag my shame out into the light of day, it began to shrink.

We worked through that conversation together. My partner holding space for my truth, inviting time for me to share my feelings – even the really ugly ones. He offered me such grace and patience, which in turn allowed me to start to treat myself with the same amount of kindness.

For weeks after, I felt lighter than I had in months. Certainly, I still felt tender and raw, unsure of what this new world meant for me, but I felt seen and heard. I felt proud that I’d faced my deepest fears.

I felt my self-worth returning, but this time it was stronger and more rooted in my sense of self than ever before.

Because we’d been to hell and back and learned something powerful in the process.

As fate will do, shortly after all of this unfolded, an article landed in my lap that beautifully captured so much of what I’d been struggling to find words for. Even better were some of the comments.

My favorite comment spoke directly to the fear I’d been carrying for so long. The story I’d been telling myself was that if I couldn’t make myself look like everyone else who does non-monogamy, then I was a failure.

The comment, in part, said, “Every poly relationship is entirely unique to the individuals involved. In every relationship, poly or mono, we make allowances for the strengths and weaknesses of our partners…If I choose to be in relationship with you, I accept you as you are, and then will negotiate a relationship that works for us rather than one that works for someone else.”

Message received, world. Message received.

Shame only thrives in darkness. So, by sharing our stories and discussing our pain, we can begin the process of healing. Together.

Shame can show up in many different ways for each of us, and when it does, you feel like you are entirely alone in your struggle.

My shame shows up around my body, my talent, and my lovability. You may not have any shame in these spaces at all.

We can feel shame around parenting, or success, or money, or our education.

But where so many of us experience a great deal of shame is around sex and intimacy – the way our body looks naked, especially if it’s changed over the years; the way we experience orgasm (or not); the fantasies in our head; the things that turn us on; the fact that our bodies or our desire may not align with what all of the mainstream magazines and movies tell us it should be.

Every mention of the thing that we feel ashamed of can trigger more hiding, more yucky feelings, and more fear.

What makes shame even worse is when a partner shames us for something we are already struggling with – like watching porn or masturbating.

Though shame in very tiny doses can help us make changes, the kind of shame most of us experience is far beyond what’s healthy.

When we feel ashamed, we pull within and try to bury our truth. The deeper we push it, the more controlling and powerful it becomes.

No relationship can thrive when shame is sitting at the head of the table. No person can achieve wholeness when they’re weighed down by shame.

So, I do not take it lightly when I suggest that you find a way to come to terms with any areas where you are experiencing shame and share your fears with someone, because I know how profoundly difficult it can be to admit these things to yourself, much less utter those words to someone else.

Start with a therapist or a coach. Call into a sex positive podcast. Write a letter to someone you trust. Write a letter to yourself, even.

The bottom line is that you are valuable, powerful, beautiful, and normal just as you are. Shame will hide that truth from you and tell you horrible stories about yourself and your worth.

So, I’m inviting you to share your shame with me. Just as I’ve shared mine with you.

Let’s start a movement of dragging our shame out into the light and aligning with our truths, even if they’re terrifying.

If the people in your life cannot accept you when you’re standing in your truth, then the sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can build a new life, find new loved ones who do. And then that’s when the really good stuff unfolds for you.

It gets easier.

Just do it.

Dare greatly.

Whatever motto or movement inspires you, I implore you to shine just the tiniest of light into the darkest corners of your shame to see what happens.

You may just find that eventually you can fill those once-haunted spaces with love, gratitude, joy, and acceptance.

And whatever happened with me?

Well, by speaking my shame and giving my fears a voice, I started experiencing immediate relief. I’ve connected with other non-monogamous folks, shared my story, listened to theirs, and I’m finding new growth and acceptance where there was pain and suffering. My partner and I are co-creating our relationship, each and every day, and we have a vision for something uniquely our own. And yes, that vision includes non-monogamy.

If you’d like to share your experience with shame, I invite you to comment below or shoot me a message. You can even do it anonymously if you aren’t quite ready to make yourself known.

You deserve to let go of the stories that are not lifting you up.

If you decide to voice your shame with a partner, make sure you set both of you up for success by choosing a time when you’re both present and relaxed, when you can ask your partner to hold safe space for you, because you’ll probably fumble it a bit.

And that is OK. It’s part of the process. You’ve got this.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Your desire, your fantasies, your voice deserve to be explored and heard. I’m here to help. [/callout]

 

Are you still flirting with your sweetheart?

When was the last time you made an effort by flirting with your partner? From boosting confidence to igniting desire, find out how to up your flirting game. Sex coach Dawn Serra

One of my favorite rituals with my partner is the way we flirt with each other.

At least once per day, my phone buzzes with excitement, alerting me that a text has arrived. I’m smiling before I even see what it says, butterflies flitting through my tummy.

I’m thinking about this morning, and a smile grows on my lips.

A little shiver runs through me. We had incredible phone sex that morning before he’d gone off to work, while I was in the car in the parking lot of a popular cafe.

Another morning it might go something like:

*kisses your collarbone and straddles your waist, pinning you to the bed*

Depending on the day, we may feel dark and gritty or we may feel playful and silly. My favorite is when I send the beginning of a sexy scene and he finishes it.

Me: *quietly steps up behind you as you work, sliding a folded note in your pocket, and then sneaks off with a wink over my shoulder*

Him: *unfolds the note and blushes at what it says* You are VERY naughty, my dear.

The exchange may carry on for a few texts if it’s a busy day, or off and on for hours. No matter what, it is always a wonderful way for us to stay connected.

Flirting is a simple, fun way to make each other feel special and desired, and it’s not just for brand new relationships.

One of the leading reasons people stray, whether it’s a monogamous or a non-monogamous relationship, is because they feel undesirable, unwanted, invisible, or like they are no longer their own person with their own identity.

It’s normal for relationships to ebb and flow, and life has a way of falling into monotony. Comfort and routine can be very alluring when our lives are endlessly busy and stressful.

Too often, though, as your relationship falls into routine, you stop seeing each other as unique, complex, mysterious individuals and you start assuming you know everything there is to know about one another. That lack of autonomy and individuality is where a lot of relationships begin to experience trouble.

Because it’s easy to take things for granted when you assume things will always be the same.

Erotic energy thrives on mystery and risk.

To stoke your passion, you need to fuel the flames by introducing elements of the unknown and the unpredictable.

Flirting is a deliciously easy way to keep that mystery alive. In fact, feeling seen and wanted is as easy as a snap of the camera, click of the ‘send’ button, or the scribble of an unexpected note.

Why? One of the most desirable experiences is being desired by someone. Flirting with your sweetheart is a powerful way to show your desire. Not to mention the confidence boost it gives them.

It’s also a chance to get creative with what turns you on, to try out new fantasies, and to practice new skills.

As an added bonus, firting with your partner often ends up making you feel sexy because you’re giving yourself permission to think about your erotic self.

It’s a fun little feedback loop.

What are some fun ways to flirt?

I polled some friends to find out their favorite flirting techniques. Some of the responses include:

“Show particular body parts by surprise!”

“Sexy texts, occasionally with a picture of my anatomy.”

“I leave cards & notes on his truck.”

“We have a chalk board [for writing notes to each other].”

“I have a look and a smile that [he] calls ‘that look!'”

“A Victoria’s Secret changing room photo shoot.”

“I pretend we’re strangers and give him compliments. I ask him if his girlfriend appreciates his nice legs, face framing brows, etc.”

“I unnecessarily brush against them when going past. Bonus points if I can get erogenous zones.”

Ready to up your flirting game?

Try one, some, or all of these to see what feels best for you. Flirting is nothing more than the art of being playful and appreciative of someone else.

  1. Hold eye contact across a room or in a public space and let a little smile dance across your lips as you think of your beau doing something sexy. They’ll know you’re imagining something naughty, which will pique their curiosity. (Or, as one friend called it, “Eye fucking…across a crowded room.”
  2. Let them know they’re on your mind by sexting, emailing, or writing a note that you then hide in their wallet or lunch bag.
  3. Build anticipation by buying or wearing something erotic, and then taking a series of pictures that slowly reveals what it is. Bubbles in the tub, toes peeking out, the flesh of your thighs beneath the water…
  4. Use the power of touch to delight and entice. This is especially powerful when you’re out in public, so that you both know you can’t follow through on anything too scandalous until you’re in private. A finger trailed softly along the back of the neck, a kiss dancing along the inside of a wrist or on the tips of each finger, the press of your body as you slide behind them at a party or in line at the store, a hand on the small of the back to let them know you’re there. This is about the art of the tease, so aim for tiny little tidbits.
  5. Get explicit about what you want them to do to you later. Leave a voicemail or whisper it in their ear. Let them hear the need in your voice.
  6. Compliment them on something unexpected that shows them you’re paying attention and appreciate them in a new way.
  7. Wink. Wrestle. Gently snap a towel at their bum. Give them little spots of playful teasing to let them know you think they’re the bees knees.

 

Remember that it’s not about being someone else or doing something out of character. Find ways to adapt these ideas to something that feels authentic and meaningful to you.

Flirting only works when it’s genuine.

If you’re faking it or forcing it, you’re more likely to drive someone away than bring each other closer together.

What if you and your partner haven’t flirted with each other in a while? No problem. It’s perfectly OK to let them know it’s something you want to start doing again. By making your needs known and using your voice, you’re more likely to have the kind of exchange that makes you both feel good.

Don’t worry about looking stupid. If you make a mistake or mess up, call yourself out, turn it into a funny new memory, and share a giggle.

Because I can’t be the only one who has fallen off the bed, snorted while trying to be seductive, and seriously messed up a sexy text by not noticing the auto-correct. I want to do no such thing with a duck, thank you very much.

As much as flirting helps to strengthen the bond between the two of you by keeping things fresh and new, one of the best outcomes of flirting is that it awakens your inner siren.

So many of my clients struggle with a lack of desire. Some of that stems from not seeing themselves as sexual beings any longer – either because their body has changed or they’re parenting or life is just too damn busy.

Flirting invites you to reconnect with that part of yourself that feels and expresses passion.

Suddenly, you’re looking for excuses to try on new lingerie or to pull out that sexy outfit you haven’t worn in ages. You start wanting to show off little flashes of skin or teasing your partner with playful little movements.

When flirting becomes something you do for yourself, because tapping into your sexual self arouses you, that’s when the real magic happens.

Because yes, sometimes flirting can feel like a chore, something you should do, another thing on the To Do list.

But when you feel that adrenaline rush, when your skin tingles with anticipation, when you feel your body responding to the sexy thoughts racing through your mind, flirting becomes part of your sexual experience.

And how delicious is that?

I want to hear your favorite way to flirt. Share your thoughts below and let’s let ourselves feel wanted.

Looking to up your flirting game? Download this fun little worksheet on sexting made easy. It includes 10 prompts you can use to start a sexy conversation, plus some additional flirty suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.

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