What’s Your Sexual IQ?

“There’s no problem that an orgasm can’t solve.” – Angie Jones

OK, maybe that’s slightly overstated, but Amen, Sister. Amen. It’s randomly turned into sex week over here because my last post was about having the Sex Talk with my older daughter. This post is all about sex ed for adults. Funny, it turns out that when I write about sex, A LOT of you read it. Pervs! Just kidding, I’m glad to know my people are out there. I think we should fully own our sexuality without apology, figure out what turns us on, and embrace it. When we do, lives improve! At least that’s my experience.

Stevie-D and I have been a couple for almost 24 years. As he sometimes says, there are prison sentences shorter than the amount of time we’ve been together. Fortunately, I majorly dig my hot nerd of a husband and I am happy to be with him for as many more years as I might have on this planet, but that means we have to keep our game fresh. You know what I’m saying? Can’t get lazy or shit starts to get boring, and when there’s very little sexy left in your sex life, that’s not good. Not good at all.

Did you know that 20% of married couples in the U.S. are in sexless marriages? That just makes me sad. I mean, I love sex. I love everything about it. It’s fun. It feels great. It’s bonding. It’s exciting. It makes me feel alive, youthful. There are a lot of benefits to having sex often. As a subject, it’s fascinating to study – the kinds of things people are into, how it affects relationships, how it can affect health, how it factors into power exchanges, etc. Sex makes people do strange, amusing, funny, and sometimes embarrassing things. Never underestimate the power of good sex. The biochemical power, that is – all that dopamine, norepinephrine, testosterone, serotonin and oxytocin bathing our brains before and after a rocking orgasm. I don’t have to tell you the lengths people go to and the seemingly crazy decisions they make upon finding an appealing source that consistently delivers the goods.

As far as I’m concerned, sex is a big deal and it’s a major part of a relationship. So how to go about keeping things fun, hot, (insert adjective of your choice here) in a long-term relationship? I think it starts here: I totally agree with Jake Johannsen’s notion that the right answer, almost always, is to just touch it. (Video quality is poor but his words are comic gold, and true.)

My experience is that with the “just touch it” philosophy, everyone wins, in both obvious and subtle way. But my main go-to resource about all things sex and relationship-related these days is Dan Savage. He’s my sex-positive superhero, and he is responsible for changing my sex life for the better. My gratitude for him is enormous. No, I will not share details, but suffice it to say that his sex and relationship advice and the role he’s playing in helping people of all persuasions overcome culturally, religiously inculcated shame and hang-ups and finding their way to sexual satisfaction is significant.

Dan is a snarky (and sweet) queen out of Seattle, Washington who has been giving sex and relationship advice for years. We hadn’t heard of him until NPR’s This American Life made the introduction about six years ago, but we’ve been dedicated fans ever since of the Savage Lovecast podcast, which you can access here. There are so many archived episodes that if you go back and listen to them all (and I have), you will have weeks worth of entertaining adult sex ed to keep you company. This is by far my favorite podcast. I tune in every Tuesday morning for the latest episode, and I’m a Magnum subscriber, which means I happily pay to access a long version of it each week. It’s totally worth the money. I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

There are a few points of advice that come up regularly in the Savage Lovecast. One is that, as a lover, you should be “GGG” or Good, Giving, and Game, which means you should hone your skills so that you are a good lover; you should be giving / generous with your partner; and that you should be game to try new things both for yourself and in support of your partner. He encourages listeners to figure out and embrace what turns their crank and find a partner/partners of like mind and interest. With the power of the internet, even dwellers of the narrowest of sexual niches can now find each other. The importance of sexual compatibility in relationships is something he hammers home regularly, which means he sometimes has to tell a caller to DTMFA (Dump The Motherfucker Already) when someone calls in talking about a jerk they are dating or is in a relationship with sexual compatibility so off kilter that there’s no hope for the long-term.

He is entertaining, and often kind, but he doesn’t pull punches with his advice. He’s as sex-positive as a person can be. There isn’t a fetish that a caller may want advice about that he doesn’t handle matter-of-factly and respectfully. I’ve learned more about the wide world of sex and sexual health from his show and the resources it links to than anywhere else, which is coming in very handy as I start to talk with my daughters about protecting their own sexual health in the future. Dan pulls in fun guests (e.g. Ira Glass, Simon Doonan, Ari Fleischer) and brings in great resources to answer questions on a host of topics like “Ask a sex worker” (a view into the world of sex work from people who actually do it as opposed to outsiders pontificating about it), doctors who field questions about sexual health and STDs (or STIs – sexually transmitted infections, as Dan likes to say), and people in the know about things like enabling the sex lives of the physically disabled. See why I’m fascinated with sex? Because it’s FASCINATING!

All I can say is that I hope you are having a happy and healthy sex life in your relationship. I think it makes all the difference. And enjoy Dan Savage. Oh, and here’s a partial playlist I was listening to while writing this post – a little early 80s Prince, the Master of the sexually provocative song. God, I miss him. He makes the Katy Perrys of the world, whose trying-way-too-hard attempts at being pop-culture, sexual icons, look like ham-handed amateurs.

(Indulgent side note: the show I saw during Prince’s Purple Rain tour in 1984 remains one of my favorite concerts. The guy knew how to entertain.)

Dirty Mind

Gett Off

Erotic City

Sexy M.F. (this one goes out to, well, you know who you are.)

Seriously, you’re welcome.

About Chris DeVinney

Me in a nutshell: mom, writer, former lobbyist, wife, volunteer, lover of music and art, massive fan of traveling, and something of a smart ass. A typical INTJ, I quietly observe anyone and anything that comes into my orbit, squirreling away material for future essays. These days I spend my time writing about whatever interests me (both professionally and personally) and trying to strike the balance between taking care of kids/family/house/pets and me. Occasionally I nail it, hang on to it briefly, and then scramble back toward the center when the tipping starts again. I know, it’s a common story.
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4 Responses to What’s Your Sexual IQ?

  1. monocurious says:

    I loved this, your flow is great. I can tell you really enjoyed writing this piece, it shows. Thanks for writing, and for encouraging and inspiring me to write. 

    BTW, I just read this after I posted. We both mention the word “hero,” but in a different context.  I find this ironic.Your post rocks compared to mine.  I’m just getting warmed up again. It’s scary. 

    Smooches, S

  2. Jerry says:

    Nice post – Must look up Dan – JKZ talks about ‘Beginners Mind’ as an important concept in Mindfulness to keep our sense of ‘Wonder’ in every day life. I guess its important in sex too 🙂

    • Thanks for mentioning JKZ, Jerry. I love the notion of bringing the Beginner’s Mind to all things including sex. What a wonderful way to be present and enhance the bonding experience that much more.

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