You may not know that in addition to being a lifestyle blogger, I’m a longtime sex columnist. After getting my Masters in Written Communication in 2009, I began writing my column “Sex & the Suburbs” for Make it Better Magazine (now better.net). The column, which covered what I call “sexing it up after you’ve settled down”, was awarded 1st Place for Informational Columns by the National Federation of Press Women and spurred a series of live panel shows. It has also led to numerous speaking engagements to all kinds of groups across the country. The response has been exciting and fun.
But when I became an empty nester and my husband and I moved to downtown, I let the column go for a while. Make it Better was expanding beyond Chicago’s North Shore and It didn’t seem right to be talking about suburbia when I was a new urbanite. And with the kids out of the house, many of the barriers to having an uninhibited sex life went with them. And after over 100 columns, I felt I’d covered the topic comprehensively and was ready for something new. But I came back. Here’s why:
People kept asking. Even though I was a little “over” writing about sex, people still wanted to hear me talk about it. I continued to get invitations to write and talk about intimacy, pleasure and relationships. The requests were flattering, but also they showed that I was providing something that mattered to my audience. Making a difference is hard to resist.
The conversation didn’t improve. When I first started writing about sex I was pretty groundbreaking, especially in my community. A dozen years later, there’s plenty of sex stuff all over the internet. But you know what? Most of it isn’t that helpful. Porn, dating advice, sex toys and new techniques all have their place. But an intelligent discussion about the delicate issues between two people who care about each other but need a little support to have great sex was hard to find. “It seems like nothing has changed in the last decade!” I complained to a sex therapist I was interviewing. “I’m still talking about the same old stuff.” “Yep,” she said, “and you have to keep talking about it. People need to hear it on repeat.” After listening to a popular podcast about how dreary and hopeless marital sex was, I had to get back to my column. Come on, sex can get awkward and mixed up, but it’s also fun and delightful and natural. We can do this!
Sex is important. This is the thing I always come back to. Our sexuality and pleasure are vital parts of living a happy, healthy, full life and feeling good about ourselves—with or without a partner. I say it’s like tapping into the underlying beat of the universe. Most people spend endless hours focused on their health, career or finances, yet don’t have the slightest idea how to approach improving their sex life, which is so critical to our relationships and well being.
So, I continue to write (and talk) about sex. My column isn’t called Sex in the Suburbs anymore, but it covers the same areas it always has—how to spice up long term relationships, overcome barriers to good sex, find out what turns you on, deal with relationship changes, feel good about your body, negotiate differences in desire, and communicate with your partner.
If you’d like to read my work, here are links to my most recent stories. Thanks to Better, a dynamic organization that values and supports their readers’ sexual wellbeing along with my writing!