It’s ALL Foreplay!

Part 1

I was working with a client a while back and he described two different “phases” to me as he was getting sexual with his new wife.

Phase 1, as he described it, was the make-out, arousal-building phase. Everything they did together was hot: the way they touched each other, how they looked into each other’s eyes, the feeling of heartfulness, spiking turn-on levels…. “We’re totally present with each other,” he gushed. “It’s exquisite.”

Once their clothes came off, they headed toward Phase 2. For him that meant more explicit sexual contact, culminating in intercourse.

That’s when his issues began to appear.

In Phase 2, his erection would lose its vigor. He would often struggle to reach an orgasm. His wife had no complaints about their lovemaking, but he couldn’t figure out what was happening, and he was getting increasingly frustrated.

I asked about various factors that might be in play: stress at work, change in medication, and so on. No traction there.

I inquired more deeply into what was actually happening in those moments as he shifted into Phase 2, and I realized that the switch itself might be the issue. That by labeling the sexual contact “Phase 2,” he was anticipating a different set of experiences.

“What if there was no Phase 2,” I said. “At least as far as your mind is concerned. You can continue to get as hot and heavy and sexy as you wanna be, but keep the mindset of Phase 1 during the entire sexual session.

“That means you can set your performance pressure aside. Whatever you’re doing in Phase 1 is working. Just keep going with it!”

The suggestion worked for him. It took a bit of time, because his old habits sometimes made a comeback, but eventually he could keep the Phase 1 state of mind throughout an entire lovemaking session.

(It also helped that he could share all of this with his new wife, and that she supported him in tracking his experience during their sex.)

What about you? Do you shift into another mode as you move from sensual to sexual contact? Is that mode supporting or hindering your — and your partner’s — experience?

I’m curious. Drop me a line and let me know.


Part 2

In Part 1 above, I wrote about how to prevent the anxiety in moving from Phase 1 (making out / foreplay) to Phase 2 (explicit sexual contact / intercourse). The solution, as I stated, is to keep doing whatever you’re doing in Phase 1 as you escalate the erotic experience.

Apparently that was not enough information.

I received more mail about this post than any other article or blog I’ve written in the past couple of years. All of the email was from guys who said something like, “You’re describing my experience exactly. Please write more about specific steps I can take to accomplish what you’re suggesting.”

So here we go!

You have left the premises

When you’re making out or petting (as we called it back in the day), you’re probably resident in your body. You’re experiencing the sensation of lips touching, of your hands touching soft places, of receiving touch on your body…. It’s quite the turn-on.

Then there’s the moment, as you move from sensual to sexual, when you are no longer embodied or present in the experience. Here are a few ways that might manifest. Does one of these ring true for you?

  • You dissociate: You have drifted away and are a bit removed from your experience.
  • You get anxious.
  • You begin to strategize; that is, you start to map out your next move. Usually this is to forward the action to your ultimate goal of ejaculation.

There may be other kinds of disembodiment, but you’ll probably land on one of the examples above. You can also combine them. For example, my go-to sequence is to dissociate, then apply a technique — usually to give her pleasure — to cover up the fact that I’m no longer present.

Now that you’ve determined how you become disembodied, consider when it’s most likely to happen. For each man that moment is a little different. Here are some examples that I’ve heard from guys I coach:

  • When clothes come off
  • When she makes a comment about my body
  • When she starts to go down on me
  • When I start to go down on her
  • When I am about to enter her
  • When I begin to actively thrust
  • When she wants me to do something (ie, thrust harder or faster) that I can’t or don’t want to do.

These two steps — knowing how and when you leave your body — are critical for you to track if you want to solve your habituated departure from presence.

Overriding your pattern

Once you’re aware that you’re no longer fully present in the erotic situation, it’s time to make a shift. As soon as possible, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and track back in time see when you stopped fully being there with her.

Once you’ve found that moment, ask yourself: “Now that I know what happened, what do I need right now?”

The answer to that question will be unique to your situation. It could look like:

  • Switching the action that’s making you uncomfortable to some other kind of physical experience. For you “silent types,” this option doesn’t require any words!
  • Telling your partner “Let’s take a break.” Go to the bathroom. Have a glass of wine. Reset the action.
  • Setting a boundary. If there’s something she did that you’d rather not have her repeat in the future, let her know.
  • Or — and this may sound crazy vulnerable to you! — actually admitting your dissociation or anxiety to your partner in a matter-of-fact, non-collapsing way. For example: “Zoë, those tugs on my balls just now were too intense for me, especially after my prostate surgery. When you did that, I noticed I stopped being present, even though I didn’t say anything in the moment.”

I hope you get my point: Don’t “soldier on” and tough it out when you’re no longer present to enjoy the loving. No one wins when that happens.

Even if you’re not sure why you’ve “left the building,” you can still say something. There have been times during sex when I’ve said, “I need to stop,” and when my partner has said, “What’s going on?” I’d say, “I don’t know,” or “I need a minute,” or “Something’s going on, but I’m not sure what.”

True sexy

Honesty, delivered vulnerably without blame from a stance of self-love, always carries the day. Even if your partner has a negative reaction (“I can’t believe you stopped right before my orgasm!”), at least you didn’t abandon yourself. It’s a lot easier to repair her complaint when you know that you did a great job taking care of you.

Truth, ultimately, is sexy. It’s one of the pillars on which amazing lovemaking is built.

My wish is that you have the courage to speak the deepest level of truth that you’re capable of in the bedroom.

How to see women for who they are

Please! Give me my sexual power back!

Do one of these ways of viewing and treating women ring true for you?

1) Putting the Pussy on a Pedestal. I think that phrase comes from a popular movie a few years back. If you’ve done this once (or many times) before, you know what I’m talking about: You mentally and emotionally turn a real-life woman into an idealized version of the feminine. This strategy is almost always doomed to failure. If you’re a “roll out the red carpet” kind of guy — and you’re doing that as a way of securing love and affection — chances are extremely high that your tactics are going to come back and bite you in the ass.

What I’ve noticed during the times I’ve treated women this way is that they stop trusting me and they start doing things to “break” my idealization. Her style of breaking you may be to get angry, to withdraw and become unavailable, to start sharing sexual or emotional energy with someone else, or some combination of the above. It can get messy!

2) Women are objects to be acquired. If you a guy who treats women as “scores,” or notches on your belt, listen up. This method of connecting might make you feel good about yourself in the short term, but it sucks if what you want is real intimacy, connection, and great sex for the long haul. The techniques of a pick-up artist might help you get a great woman into bed, but they won’t help you maintain a great relationship.

My version of this distortion has been to use women as objects of desire to shore up my lack of self-love and self-esteem. The simple version of my story goes: If I could only secure enough sexual contact, it would validate me as a man and I could feel good about myself. This conditional way of viewing oneself — if I get enough sex, then I’m OK — creates a lot of suffering for all parties involved.



Here’s the alternative to the above two options: Treat women as honored equals while maintaining a strong sense of connection with yourself and owning your sexual power.

I’ll refine that:

Men who have successful, pleasure-filled, long-term relationships with women 1) treat them as honored equals while 2) maintaining a strong sense of connection with themselves and 3) owning their sexual power.

Let’s look at the three parts of what I’ve just said.

1) Treating women as honored equals. If you treat her like an unattainable goddess, she won’t trust that you REALLY see her. She won’t respect you because she’ll know that she can walk all over you. Alternatively, if you treat her like an object to be obtained, she’ll be, at the very least, annoyed: No one enjoys being treated like an object. (OK, almost no one!)

I want you to really consider those words: Treat her as an honored equal. Can you get what that means? Not “higher than” or “lower than.” Take a moment to just get a sense of that.

2) Maintain a strong sense of connection with yourself. This means that you stop putting all of your focus on HER needs, HER reactions, and HER issues as a means of securing her love and attention. Instead of seeking for validation from her, focus on practices that bring you a greater sense of connection with yourself. These can include:

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Solo movement or dance
  • Focus on your life purpose
  • Connecting with other men in a conscious way

The side benefit of experiencing more self-appreciation is that you automatically become more attractive to her. Good women are naturally drawn to guys who have a healthy relationship with themselves; those men exude a unique brand of self-confidence.

3) Own your sexual power. Many guys I talk to are constantly giving themselves away to the women in their lives. They have this great resource — called sexual power — then they pretend she’s in charge of it. That she keeps it in this box with a label on it that says “Mine to use when I want.” Then the guy feels like he has to beg her for a scrap of his own energy! I guarantee you that women do not like this (usually unconscious) strategy. She can’t take it from you if you don’t give it to her!

Owning your sexual energy means knowing how your body works — what it’s truly capable of. It means learning to channel all that energy in your genitals throughout your body in ways that feel good to you. It means REALLY getting that you are the source of pleasure. And it means channeling sexual energy into more than just sexual outlets!

Sex energy is creative energy. It’s life force energy. If you’re masturbating and ejaculating to porn regularly, you’re wasting that life force that you could be creatively using in other ways. I’m not saying that masturbating to porn is always bad. But if that’s the only way you’re expressing sexual energy, you’re definitely cheating yourself. You’re sitting atop a gold mine and you’re looking at this little gold nugget in your hand and thinking, “This is it! My little precious chunk to last me all my life!” — when there’s so much more gold to be enjoyed.

So before you take action with one of my suggestions above, start by making an honest self-assessment. Where are you on the Pussy-Pedestal/Objectification spectrum that I just outlined? And if you’re not pleased with what you discover, what’s your alternative vision for your intimate relationships with women?

Making a fundamental change in how you relate to the opposite sex isn’t rocket science, but it does take commitment to your own growth and a willingness to love and care for yourself when the old habits rear their stubborn heads. In addition to commitment, having a network of supportive friends is also helpful. So is working with a therapist or coach who knows the territory.

If you’re thinking that now’s the time to make this kind of change, then go for it! And know I’m here cheering you on.

Ladies: How to Talk to Your Man About Sex (And get better sex out of the conversation!)

How to talk about what you want with your man in bed

The Gap

If you’re a woman who has sex with men, you’ve probably felt The Gap — the gap between what you want in bed and what actually happens; the gap in understanding when it comes to talking about sexual needs and desires; the gap in intimacy created by your own resentment and disappointment…. It’s the gap that so often exists between what looks like two mutually exclusive desires: the urge to fuck and the need to feel connected.

As a straight guy, I have been on my end of The Gap. I’ve participated in some ways I’m proud of and in other ways I’d rather not repeat. I’ve hidden my own needs, attempted to placate, shut down, and become dismissive. I’ve encountered many layers of Catholic guilt as well as my strong belief that sex could be better, without any way of knowing how to make it so. Luckily, I’ve also been helped by a number of women who were able to coax me into conversation, guide me into trust, and soothe my shame into a vulnerability that I could finally share. I married the one who helped me the most, and we continue to navigate the changing waters of our sexuality nearly every time we get into bed.

Here’s why I’m writing this article. I want women to know that they can have an immensely positive impact on the men in their lives by talking about sex with loving intention. And I want men to receive the kindness and curiosity available to them in the presence of a woman who is able to hold this pure intent. I work with men every day on their end of The Gap; here is my map for women to help them initiate and create a conversation about sex that is healing, connecting, and could actually lead to better sex for everyone involved.

I’m making two assumptions about you and your partner. One is that you love each other and are both invested and committed to your relationship. The second is that your relationship is safe, both emotionally and physically. I don’t suggest attempting to have an edgy conversation in a scenario where you fear emotional or bodily harm may result. Many of you might feel a little shaky or afraid when discussing sexual issues, but that’s different than being downright scared for your safety. Please get appropriate support if this is true for you.

Before You Begin

Before you venture into a conversation about sex, I want you to spend some time considering the larger issues at play for you and your man. By this, I mean the sweeping effects of our social and cultural norms about sex. Throw in any particular information you may have received in a religious upbringing, and BAM, you have an undeniable tidal wave of influence to which no one is immune.

Next, there’s your own personal history, which obviously plays a huge role. What beliefs do you have about your own sexuality? Were you a late bloomer? Were you known as a “slutty girl” back in high school? Do you have sexual trauma? (A shockingly high percentage of women do.) Please spend some time getting to know more deeply what you bring to the table. If this process feels heavy, get some support from a therapist or someone you trust. You’re working with powerful forces, and you deserve respect and appreciation for engaging this stuff so consciously!

As you consider your man, offer him the same awareness you give yourself. What do you know about some of his beliefs about sexuality, his body, and his right to pleasure? What do you know about his cultural or religious influences? As much as you can, see him as innocent. Imagine him as a child, and then as a young person, trying to figure out the overwhelmingly powerful (and often confusing) world of sexuality within and surrounding him. Give him credit for doing the best he can.

Next, get even more curious about how your man is wired. This is not about “figuring him out” or assessing what’s wrong with him. This is about gaining and maintaining the perspective that much of what he does comes out of an organic place that is attempting to stay safe and in control. That’s all neurosis ever is, after all — a series of thoughts and behaviors born out of a need to protect and maintain one’s self. What flavor is your man’s? Is he a fighter? A stonewaller? Does he do some awkward fumble of placating you on his way to collapsing?

After this empathic consideration, ask this: “How might I best support my man?” Commit to being his ally, not his opponent. Commit to being on his team. I can’t emphasize this point strongly enough.

Side note: If one of his stress-related actions triggers your own stress response to the degree to which you cannot remain his ally, stop and take a few deep breaths. Don’t try to have a conversation about sex in that moment. Wait a bit and let things deescalate. Then get support, and evaluate your ability to be his ally. Be truthful about it. You can’t be his true ally if you’re demanding that he change. For example, “I can be his ally when he stops pushing me away. As long as he shuts me out, he’s the one who’s hurting me. It’s his fault that I can’t support him.” This kind of thinking won’t bring about the collaboration needed here.

Second side note: I know there are times when women commit to their man, stand by him, and give everything they can to help him. They endure. They sacrifice. They suffer. But the impact on their man is negligible because he seems like a kind of sieve. All of her generosity runs out the bottom with seemingly no effect! I want to make a clear distinction between this kind of “over-giving” women often sign up for versus a clear, grounded giving that is mutually beneficial. The latter may be challenging, but it’s not draining. A grounded giving may require that you set aside some of your own needs for a moment, but it ultimately brings about a return that nourishes you both.

Set the Stage

Once 1) you’re clear about your side of the street, 2) you’ve gained some perspective about him and 3) you’ve found your commitment to being his ally, you’re now ready to initiate the conversation you know you need to have about sex. Let’s set the stage.

Guys feel like they’re in trouble when their partner says something to the effect of, “Honey, we need to talk.” That particular grouping of sounds will cause ripples of dread to seep throughout the guts and minds of most men, quickly followed by the thought “What have I done now?”

The best way to assuage this fear reaction is a trifecta of reassurance: Touch, smiling, and eye contact. Bonus points if you can throw in some humor. (You know what kind of humor works for him and what doesn’t.) Imagine yourself lovingly looking into his eyes while holding his hand, smiling sweetly while you suggest finding a time when the two of you can discuss making your sex life hotter. Or perhaps you hug him from behind, nibble his ear, and say softly — but with conviction — that your sex life is so important to you that you want to find time to talk about it directly.

Tease him with a flash of your undies, drawing him toward you — and then, with kindness in your eyes, tell him you want to talk about sex. When would be good for you, hon? The key is to initiate the conversation with meaningful contact plus a touch of playfulness. I’ll leave it to you to find the way that works best for your particular guy.

Don’t force the conversation into a particular time slot. It may be now, it may not be. Be spacious. You may think that you’re picking the ideal time, but he may have many good reasons to choose another time. Be loving AND be firm. Collaborate with him to find the ideal time for you both, and don’t let him weasel out of it.

Engage the Conversation

When the predetermined time has come, ask him to listen with an open mind until you’re complete. As the initiator, this is where you get to hold the floor for a time. You are asking for respect and the opportunity to speak without interruption.

As you open the conversation, I strongly suggest you start with what is working in your relationship and your sex life. Even if you struggle to find something that’s going well for you, find that one thing that you can get behind, and then praise both of you for it. Tell him what you do appreciate about him. Tell him about one thing that he does in bed that you really like. This builds goodwill and connection from the get-go. Leading with positive feelings can be a good springboard to contacting the deeper issues at hand.

Next, speak to how you see yourself contributing to your dynamic. Self-responsibility is extremely sexy and promotes things like emotional safety, respect, and equal opportunity for both of you to own your stuff. I can’t say enough about how much I have benefitted from conversations with women who had the capacity to be self-responsible. For me, it meant that I could relax my fear of blame, attack or retribution. It meant I was freed up to look at myself (because I wasn’t busy protecting myself), and I was actually inspired to do so because of how wonderful it felt to receive.

This brings me to vulnerability. To quote Brene Brown, the beautifully outspoken mistress of vulnerability: “Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment. It is the birthplace of everything we are hungry for.” This doesn’t mean that when you make yourself vulnerable you won’t feel fear, or grief or disappointment, but to me, it does mean that this is not where it ends. When you are actually vulnerable with your guy — sharing yourself, all bare and raw — the results can be literally breathtaking.

When my wife presents me with unmetered, unfiltered, embodied vulnerability, I pretty much melt in her lap. I listen, captivated, fully present to the hunger that lives inside her words, gestures and emotion. And I want to do everything in my power to meet that hunger. I am compelled from a place beyond my mind to become the man she is asking me to be. I know that she is calling me to be a better version of myself, even if in moments I may wince — or start preparing my defense — given what she’s saying. This is very powerful stuff, and not to be underestimated.

So to be clear, talking to your man about what you want out of your sex life will go far, far better if you can step away from talking about what’s wrong with it and move into a space of true vulnerability. A vulnerability that includes your longing, your pain, your anger, and your knowing that what you want is in full service to both of you.

Once your longing is on the table for both of you to see, describe your perspective of your current situation. Watch out for blame. Start every sentence with a solid “I statement.” You know what I mean, right? Not this: “I feel like you are clumsy in bed,” but this: “I sometimes feel anxious and uncomfortable when you touch me and I want to feel relaxed and open to you.” Remember that this is your perspective, not some absolute truth you demand he accept. This is how you see it and you’re asking him to listen, not necessarily agree.

Making Requests

After you have offered your perspective, remember that men love knowing what to do about a problem (how many times do we try to fix yours?). We want a map, or at least a guideline, of how to make things better. Nothing’s worse than serving up a heaping plate of “change this” without some portion of “here’s how.” So get clear about a request you have of him. Do your best to set him up for success by making it something you believe he can both say yes to and follow through with. Make it as specific as you can. And — this is important — do your best to bring forward an actual request, not a demand in the clothing of a request.

I know managing requests can be tricky. You may have a long list of requests you’ve built over time. The best way you can help your man is to ask how he would like to receive those requests. Is he a long-range thinker and likes to see the whole map at once? Does he easily become overwhelmed by too much information and would rather hear one request at a time? Life is rarely so neat; what I’ve seen of requests from my wife is that they often work like a web, and separating them from one another can be very difficult — everything is connected to her. But for me, I can’t see the web like she can, and I work best when she gives me one “big event” request, a starting point I can focus on. However your man is wired, do your best to offer him your requests in a way he can very likely receive. If you’re concerned about getting frustrated, that his pace is too different from yours, return to vulnerability and self-responsibility to guide you toward expressing your feelings without launching an attack.

Here’s one scenario: You may have one big request — a make-it-or-break-it request. You may feel like you’re going to burst if your man doesn’t handle this one. He’ll likely feel that he’s got 16 tons of pressure on him if he doesn’t satisfy it. I empathize with anyone in this position, as it takes a lot from both partners to hang in there and hear each other out. The encouragement I would give to any woman in this scenario is to return to contact with the power inherent in her vulnerability. Reread the parts on vulnerability above. Watch YouTube videos on vulnerability. Talk with an emotionally intelligent friend or therapist.

Your longing is a force, and when appropriately harnessed (with your vulnerability and self-responsibility), it can be used to destroy the barriers that hold you back from the intimacy and love you want. This requires you to tune into the different feelings inside between a destructive force and a healing force. I can’t tell you how it feels for you, but I trust you can discover it. I think it has something to do with actually feeling love for your man, and knowing at the deepest level you are on the same team.

Here’s another scenario: You may not have any concrete notion of what you would like your man to do differently. If this is the case for you, take some time to develop your connection to what you really want. See if your knowing about what you don’t want can inform you of what you do want. Think back to what I said earlier about becoming curious about your man and see if you can imagine what it is that he wants. Do you share any of the same desires? Do you both want more connected sex? You may innately know more about how to call forward the lover in him than you believe.


  • Don’t criticize. I think I’ve made this pretty clear throughout, but I want to emphasize how important it is to give criticism a wide berth. The number one issue I hear from men is how much they fear that they can’t please their woman, that they aren’t good enough for her in some way or another. Criticism cuts right to the core of any confidence they have, and sends many men running straight to their standard defenses. Your job is to illuminate the concerns you both feel rather than point the finger.
  • Don’t bring up your issues too often. Sadly, this only leads to more defensiveness, and that classic dynamic of a man feeling poked or nagged. Chose your timing wisely. Agree upon it.
  • Don’t bring up your issues while you’re in bed, having sex, or immediately before or after. Resist the temptation; it won’t go well.
  • Don’t demand that he explain himself. There are many ways to encourage a man to share himself, and demanding isn’t one of them. In many cases, you’d be asking him to articulate something he may not have a lot of conscious access to anyway, at least not right off the bat. I strongly encourage you to imagine that your man is feeling one or more of these things: shame, uncertainty, fear, disconnection from himself. If you can be curious about what might be going on inside him, you could change the tide of the conversation. If you could set aside the assumptions you make about him (even if they’re correct!) and allow him to find ways inform you about his experience, you could change the tide of the conversation. If you could suspend your “need to know” in favor of remaining a patient witness, you could change the tide of the conversation.

Bringing it Home

I want to let you know that I am working with men to offer the women in their lives this same kind of gracious and loving relationship environment. I strongly believe that both men and women deserve the same amount of care and consideration when it comes to the tricky matters of the heart and of sex. I would never expect my wife to show up in this way without meeting her there as well. And her ability to do this for me often reminds and inspires me to return the favor.

Ladies: Use your feminine powers for good! Your feminine brain is inherently wired for emotional communication, and it’s possible for you to lead the way by treading intelligently and compassionately on this delicate ground.

Oh, and by the way? You just might start getting the high-quality lovemaking that you’re longing for.

Relationship Flatline (And the Incest Taboo)

If you live with a woman, have you ever wondered if there’s some mysterious force that is actively de-sexualizing your love life? A force that’s so strong and unconscious, it’s almost as if you’re powerless to keep it from happening?

I hear about this all the time from guys who I coach who are in long-term relationships.

There are lots of reasons for this situation (including the famous “Coolidge Effect”), and an entire industry designed to help you overcome this challenge. The one thing I never read about in any of the “re-romanticizing” literature is any mention of The Incest Taboo.

The theory of The Incest Taboo is simple: After a couple sets up housekeeping, childhood experiences are recreated and the mate appears more and more like the parent, primary caretaker, or sibling we once lived with. As this unconscious projection gets stronger, we are less able to get turned on by our mate because of the cultural taboo against having sex with one of your family members.

In some families, the draw to brother-sister incest is as strong as the parent-child draw. Either way, the Taboo is running in the background ALL THE TIME with you and your live-in honey bunny.

The Incest Taboo theory has always made a lot of sense to me — especially since I believe I’ve experienced the phenomenon myself.

I’ve had four live-in relationships — each lasting a minimum of two years — and in all of them I noticed a steadily increasing urge NOT to have sex with my partner. Objectively, the women hadn’t become less attractive, but gradually I tended to think of them as more of a roommate or a good friend rather than the hottest thing on two legs.

The only place I’ve ever seen The Taboo mentioned is in the book “Loving Relationships” by Sondra Ray.


Begin the process of overcoming The Incest Taboo by understanding that there are very good reasons for its existence. Actual incest is not OK, and very confusing for the children involved. Let’s be clear about this.

As with so many patterns, simply being more aware of the tendency can go a long way in helping you overcome it. But because the Incest Taboo is such an unaddressed and unconscious pattern, awareness alone won’t completely defeat it.

To help build your plan of attack, I’ve got a few menu items for you to choose from:

  1. Start talking to your partner about this. If either of you are blaming the other’s low sexual desire, maybe having this conversation will ease the “blame game” that you’ve found yourselves caught in. Forces much greater than the two of you are at work here.
  2. Distance and individuation can recreate sexual polarity and counteract the effects of The Incest Taboo. Spend more time apart from each other. Do your own thing, and spend less time focusing on “merging” in the relationship.
  3. For the ritually inclined: Create a ceremony where you release any conscious or unconscious incestuous urges. The intention would be to set yourself free from the chains of cultural oppression and re-choose your relationship with fresh eyes.
  4. Work out an agreement with your partner so you can to say things forcefully to each other, like “You’re not my mom!” or “You’re not my sister!” whenever you need to loosen the grip of The Taboo.
  5. Or head in the other direction: Role play the incest situation. This is an edgy, advanced practice, but can prove to be a thrilling way to ameliorate The Taboo. Ask your partner to play the role of your mother or sister, and act out what you never were able to do in real life. (Repeat as necessary.)

I believe that overcoming The Incest Taboo is an important step in restoring sexual fulfillment in long-term, live-in relationships. Practicing any one of these menu items should go a long way in helping you fight The Taboo.

The three sex styles. Which one will women say is yours?

Sex — an act as innate as eating and breathing for most animals — can be nothing short of a confusing mess to humans.

During sex, it’s usually tough to track what’s going on at any given time — physically, emotionally and energetically. Everything is happening at once. One moment you’re focused on your own experience. Another moment you’re focused on your partner.

Maybe you’re having thoughts about your performance. Maybe you wish something was different but you don’t know how to communicate that desire. Maybe you’re having invasive thoughts about work, or about a movie you just saw.

And sometimes — Praise the Lawd! — you get to experience the ineffable sweetness of connection with another human being.

So let me ask you: How can we dudes increase the chances of experiencing that ineffable sweetness? And how do we address the parts of ourselves that detract from that possibility?

In the past decade or so of coaching hundreds of men, I’ve noticed that there are three styles — or more accurately, stages — of men as lovers. I’ve given names to these stages to add a touch of humor to what could be a “touchy” subject.

  1.   Anxious Al
  2.   Conrad Control
  3.   Bruno Bliss

These three characters exist in all of us, from the rankest amateur to the greatest love-genius, and at any moment in a sexual situation, one of these guys is probably running the show.

So in case you can’t imagine their personalities from their names alone, I’ll lay it out for you in more detail.

Anxious Al is preoccupied with questions like “Will I get it up?” and “Will I come too soon?” Al feels most safe in his head, which, of course, keeps him from really living in his body. As a result, his preoccupations tend to come true. Anxious Al often struggles to get hard and when he does, he comes before she even starts to moan. He watches a lot of porn. When Al is having sex with a partner, his eyes are mostly closed and he’s usually fantasizing he’s with a porn star, or a “sexier” partner than the one he’s with. Al’s main sexual goals are to “get it up and keep it up” whenever he wants.

Conrad Control has found a way — whether through practice or because he’s naturally gifted — to control his tendency to ejaculate early. But he’s also preoccupied with the technique and how-to’s of sex, making him mechanical and formulaic in the bedroom. Conrad likes to pleasure women for the ego boost it gives him, and putting all of his attention on his partner takes the pressure off his “performance.” Conrad’s main complaint is that he doesn’t feel a lot during sex, and that he’s cut off from the source of his sexual desire. Conrad is envious of how much pleasure some women appear to experience during sex and secretly wants that for himself.

Both Al and Conrad have a tendency to live in the future and see sex as a series of steps designed to get to the ultimate goal: ejaculation. The two of them are cut off from their bodies in their own unique way.

Does any of this ring true to your experience in the bedroom? It certainly sounds like the sex I experienced for many years (especially that Conrad guy!) — and even today, Al and Conrad still jockey for position in my psyche.

Bruno Bliss is our third sex character style. Bruno is not interested in his “performance” or goal-oriented sex. Like Conrad, he has mastered ejaculatory choice. But instead of using control, he relaxes into the present moment with his partner. Any breathing or other techniques he’s learned have been so smoothly integrated into his lovemaking that his partner barely notices. Instead of preoccupation with future results, Bruno is aware of what feels good now and allows more and more of that into his sexing.

Without the burden of Al and Conrad’s preoccupations, Bruno is able to pay plenty of attention to his partner, but he’s also tracking is own desires and experience in the moment. Bruno is a sex god not because of his massive cock or endless thrusting ability, but because he treats lovemaking like he would dancing the tango, enjoying a fine meal, or a creating a work of art.

Bruno Bliss is:

  • Confident in the bedroom
  • Relaxed and not posturing as a “good” lover
  • Can choose to make love for 5 minutes or 5 hours
  • Capable of having full-body, multiple orgasms
  • Capable of giving his partner orgasms through penetration
  • Connected to his desire and passion
  • Regularly chooses pleasure as a way of life

So how can we increase the chances of our Inner Bruno running the show? Here’s my short list.

  1. Gather information: About women, about sex, about your own body.
  2. Tame your shame. Train yourself to relax and manage your anxiety.
  3. Expand your orgasmic capability.
  4. Use willpower to overcome your outdated habits.
  5. Cultivate the capacity for greater intimacy.
  6. Give yourself lots of opportunity for practice.

A great place to begin (or continue) this journey is with my MultiOrgasmic Lover programIn addition to teaching you how to have multiple, full-body orgasms, I’ll teach you how to manage shame and anxiety, how to feel more confident in the bedroom, how to easily manage your arousal levels during sex, and how to give your woman incredible amounts of pleasure.

Check it out: MultiOrgasmic Lover for Men.

I salute the Bruno Bliss in all of us!