Whether we're talking ice cream or sex, vanilla is a great flavor.

We often people talk about “vanilla sex”—sex that is plain, the same every time, and not too spicy. Vanilla sex is “the usual.” It’s our go-to sexual activity—the usual location, the usual sequence of activities, and the usual sensations. Read More →

Prepare for the holidays in a way that helps the intimacy in your marriage be nurtured rather than blown away.

As I write this, I am sitting under a winter storm warning.

People around here are doing what they do when a big snow is on the way. They’re making sure their snow blowers are gassed up and their sidewalk salt is ready to go. Their digging out the winter hats and gloves. They’re gathering the last of the garden harvest. And yes, they’re going to the store for bread and milk. Read More →

Keep your sex life alive during the holidays!
It begins. The whirlwind of holiday activities is around us—and so is the stress.

If you have begun working to change your sex life, stress can cause a pretty big hiccup. Read More →

She took the steps of "all lights and no clothes"--all at once.

For several weeks, I’ve written about the value of stepping outside our sexual comfort zones. I’ve shared some of my stories.

Now I am sharing stories from other women. They range from things from simple “just getting started” steps to activities that some women would consider “out there.” The steps these women will describe for you are all different, but they all share courage and a willingness to try something different.

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Today’s story is from belovedalways, who tells us about her decision to take two big steps at once. She tells us the steps she took to get comfortable with “all lights and no clothes” in front of her husband. Read More →

Discomfort is often the impetus to growth.

As much as I love the comfort zone series I’m doing on Fridays, I know that some women are struggling to even have a sexual comfort zone in the first place. Read More →

Today’s post is from Dr. Swtfeet, who shares with us about her husband’s interest in her feet and how that has become something she enjoys as much as he does. She shows us  how being open-minded can open up new routes to intimacy and pleasure for her as well as for him. Learning to step outside her comfort zone (barefoot, of course) opened an unexpected and new world of pleasure for her. Read More →

Courage can be a process.

For several weeks, I’ve written about the value of stepping outside our sexual comfort zones. I’ve shared some of my stories.

Now I would like to share with you some stories from other women. They range from things from simple “just getting started” steps to activities that some women would consider “out there.” The steps these women will describe for you are all different, but they all share courage and a willingness to try something different.

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Today we hear from Jewel, whose story shows us the process of being courageous. Society bombards women with messages about their bodies. When we get that same message from our husbands (whether or not that was his intended message), we hurt. We struggle to believe our husbands’ words that they want to see us, that they desire us, that they find us beautiful. We don’t believe them, thinking they are complimenting us only because they want to have sex.

Once we are brave and expose ourselves anyway, we have an opportunity to learn how much we are truly desired. We can learn to become comfortable with something, even though it may feel impossible when we begin. Read More →

Get out of your comfort zone, one step at a time.

Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone? For the next few Fridays, I’ll be writing about our sexual comfort zones. How do we get unstuck? And what happens when take a step outside?

For the past few several weeks, I’ve been writing about stepping outside your sexual comfort zone in order to experience more joy, intimacy, and pleasure in the marriage bed. In The Comfort Zone, I shared that the best orgasm of my life happened outside my comfort zone. In The Macaroni and Cheese Lesson: Stepping Your Toes Outside Your Comfort Zone, I encouraged you to try to take a baby step, changing just one thing from something inside your sexual comfort zone.

When I say to step outside your comfort zone, I do know what I’m asking of you. I’m asking you to let go of the comfort and stability of the way things have been. I’m asking you to take a risk and step into something new.

But how do we do this? Some people are jump-in-the-deep-end, rip-the-bandaid-off kind of people. They decide to do something, and they just do it, whole hog, all at once. For them, the bulk of the effort is in the process of deciding to do it. I’m like that with some things. When I’ve been struggling with a decision, as soon as I decide—and if I know what to do and what to expect—I just want to do it all at once and get ‘er done.

But with sex, I didn’t really make a decision to make a big change, so this approach didn’t work for me. I’ve heard from other women as they share the struggle of their journey. Sometimes they know where they’re headed, and they know why—but they don’t know how. Or they know where, why, and how—but they’re afraid.

How can those of us who are the wade-in-gradually-until-we-see-what’s-hiding-in-the-water women manage to get ourselves outside the comfort zone to be able to dance in the land of desire outside it?

Honey, we just take it one step at a time.

Some things can make this easier for us:

  • Step outside your non-sexual comfort zones. The more our minds get used to the experience of doing something unfamiliar in one area, the easier it is for us to carry that ability into our sex lives. Switch up a recipe. Drive a new route to work or a friend’s house. If you’re used to saying “yes” when asked to volunteer, change how you say “yes” (for instance, saying that you’ll get back to the person the following day instead of agreeing right away). These small changes every now and then will help you become a person who can handle a little uncertainty with grace and courage.
  • Be willing to be silly. If you don’t do something well, who’s going to know? Only your husband. And so what? Does he do everything perfectly in bed? Enjoy making mistakes and figuring it out together. I’ve avoided new positions in the past due to fear of various bodily functions doing embarrassing things. Now, if we do something new, I simply tell my husband, “Okay, I’m going to make a list of all the things I’m worried about happening—and once that’s out of my head, we can do it.” We tried the game Bliss. I don’t remember what the question or task was, but I couldn’t stop giggling. I was completely outside my comfort zone, and apparently my response to that is giggling. I decided to get over myself and just embraced the giggling. While it wasn’t my sexiest or most attractive moment, what we both remember is that we made an effort—together—to do something different. Okay, we also remember the giggling, but fondly.
  • Make an effort to look for the value in the unexpected. In sex and in other areas of life, learn to appreciate the blessings that come in surprises. We recently discovered that a possum had taken up residence on our back porch. My first reaction was to be upset that my back porch was so animal friendly. My husband wanted to kill it. I was very upset at the idea, but I decided that since he was taking care of it, I should just let it go. I told him I would prefer it not be killed. Several days later, he came home with a live trap and pet food as bait. The next morning, before I even got out of bed, he had carried the cage across the street to let the trapped possum loose in the park. I did NOT want a possum on the porch at all—but I got to see my husband care enough about me that he captured the possum live instead of dealing with it the way he wanted to. The possum was unexpected, but it allowed me to see something I might not have seen otherwise.
  • Imagine your success. During the Olympics, we always hear about athletes visualizing their routine and their success. We can do the same thing with sex. Visualize how it will look (or imagine how it will feel) to do the new thing we’re preparing to do. If you’re getting brave enough to let your husband see you naked in bright light, imagine the way his eyes will look when you surprise him. Imagine the response of a different area of his body when you decide to try giving him oral sex.

Stepping outside your comfort zone is really like doing the hokey pokey. You know, you put your left foot in, then your right foot, then your hand, and so on . . . The next thing you know, you’ve thrown your whole self in and you’re shaking all about. Now, just imagine doing that naked, and you’re practically halfway there.

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Next week, I’ll be posting the first of several stories from women who have stepped outside their comfort zones to discover the great pleasure waiting for them there.

You’ll hear from women who have tried new lighting, gotten naked, responded to a husband’s interest in feet, embraced anal sex, and come to enjoy private photography and video. If you have a story to share, I’d love to be able to include it.

Get out of your comfort zone, one step at a time.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone? For the next few Fridays, I’ll be writing about our sexual comfort zones. How do we get unstuck? And what happens when take a step outside?

Stepping outside your sexual comfort zone doesn't have to be a giant step.

There is nothing wrong with having a routine that works, even in the bedroom. Maybe you and your husband have a usual—you kiss, he touches your breasts, you touch his penis, he gives you oral, and then you do missionary. Comfort zone sex is like comfort food. It isn’t spectacular, but it fills a need in body and soul. Comfort zone sex does the same thing. Read More →

The best orgasm of my life happened a few months ago. My husband and I were in a hotel room with a lovely city view. Late morning sunlight filled the room. I had already had several strong orgasms. But then . . . wow. It was the kind of orgasm that made me smile for days. I wanted to tell everyone I saw about this amazing orgasm. I wanted to review it with my husband over and over again. I wanted to announce it on Facebook and Twitter.

It was the orgasm against which all future orgasms will be measured. And I very nearly missed it.

How did this happen? Is my husband that good of a lover? (Yes, but that isn’t why.) Am I one of those women who can orgasm at the drop of a hat? (Sadly, no.) Were we in a position or engaged in an activity we had perfected over a period of years? (No. In fact, it was only the third time we had engaged in this particular activity.)

It was all because I stepped outside my comfort zone. If I hadn’t been willing to step outside my comfort zone to try a new sexual activity with my husband—and to keep trying it until I got more comfortable with it, I would have missed out on the best orgasm of my life. What a shame that would have been.

The Comfort Zone

A comfort zone is a mental state of being where we feel secure, comfortable, and in control. We act in a rhythm that is predictable and routine in order to reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of risk. If something doesn’t fit within our preferred arrangement of life, it is outside our comfort zone. Stepping outside the comfort zone contains some risk and anxiety, so it is natural to want to stay inside the zone. Humans need routine and a sense of what to expect.

There is nothing wrong with having a routine that works, even in the marriage bed. It’s good to have a comfort zone. After all, there are times you need sex to provide you with comfort. No matter what new things we try, we have an old stand-by that is perfect for when we just need to reconnect in a basic way. The problem isn’t having a comfort zone; it is staying inside that comfort zone all the time that limits us.

So what’s the big deal?

Much of the literature I’ve seen about the comfort zone relates to business and productivity, including pieces from Forbes and Wall Street Journal and TIME. While we don’t typically think of our marriages in terms of productivity, shouldn’t we be striving for growth and success in our marriages?

Staying in your sexual comfort zone can affect your sex life—and your marriage.

  • When you take few risks, you have few chances for growth.
  • The longer you stay in your comfort zone, the harder it is to leave when it becomes necessary. Practice builds ability and confidence, after all.
  • Sure, the same three-step sexual activity works, but it’s kind of boring to do time after time after time. The only difference between a rut and a grave is dimension.
  • Boredom leads to avoidance leads to excuses—and these things can damage a marital relationship.
  • Our greatest productivity and performance come when we have just a bit of anxiety from being outside our comfort zone. If you want the greatest sex life possible, you’re going to have to get brave and try new things sometimes.
  • Sharing new adventures with your spouse builds intimacy.

Are you stuck?

Are you stuck in your sexual comfort zone? Do you find yourself responding to your husband’s suggestions for increased frequency or new positions or activities with any of the following? Do you dismiss your own desires and interests sometimes, never even bothering to mention them to your husband?

  • Nope. I’m just not interested. I just wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
  • I tried it once and didn’t like it. There’s nothing wrong with what we do now.
  • He only wants it because he saw it in porn.
  • I probably wouldn’t be any good at it.
  • It looks too complicated.

For the next few Fridays, I’ll be writing about our sexual comfort zones. How do we get unstuck? And what happens when take a step outside? I took a step outside my sexual comfort zone as a way of being generous to my husband—and I had the best orgasm of my life. Stepping outside the comfort zone at my husband’s request turned out to be just as much of a blessing to me. And what we were doing is something I now request for my own sake. If I had stayed inside my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be having some of my best sexual experiences now.

I am also going to share some stories from women who have been blessed by the choice to go outside their comfort zones. Ladies, if you have a story to share, I would love to include it! It can be a brand new activity, a new position, a new lighting source, your first time being completely uninhibited in the bedroom, undressing in front of your husband for the first time in years, or using sexy lighting for the first time. It can be something that is outside the norm a bit or something that you think many women wouldn’t even think of as a change. Big or small steps, if you found courage to do something outside your sexual comfort zone, I would love to be able to let other women know how you were blessed.

If you’re willing to share your story of stepping outside your comfort zone, email me your stories at forgivenwife@gmail.com. (Please let me know what name or pseudonym you’d like me to use if I include your story.)

I ran across a definition of “comfort zone” that made me chuckle:

The temperature range . . . at which the naked human body is able to maintain a heat balance without shivering or sweating.

Sex is supposed to alter your heat balance. Amazing sex should leave you shivering and shaking. If you haven’t had much sex that involves your naked body shivering or sweating, you are definitely missing out. It’s about time you decided to step outside your comfort zone. And who knows? Maybe the best orgasm of your life is out there waiting for you.

Are you ready to take a step?

Other Posts in the Comfort Zone Series:

Photo credit: anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net