8 Nonsexual Ways to Turn Yourself On, Making Way for an Orgasmic Life

“To live the life you’ve always wanted, you must confront the issues you’ve always avoided.” — Orrin Woodward

sex drive boosters, woman arousal

Are you happy with your sex life? Satisfied with how often or intensely you make love or orgasm? As sexually fulfilled as you could be? If the answer is far from a confident YES, you’re not alone. While married couples report having sex just over once per week on average, according to a News Week report, which is more than singles, 15 to 25 percent of married couples have sexless marriages, meaning they have sex 10 or fewer times per year. The report didn’t cover sexual desire, but I imagine that in many of these cases, it’s lacking; what we truly desire, we tend to prioritize and make time for.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to sex frequency. What matters is cultivating a healthy sex life that you and, if you’re coupled up, your partner find fulfilling—regardless of the specifics. And there’s a big difference between feeling generally content or accepting (“this is what it is, so I’ll take it”) and deeply, soulfully fulfilled. I’ve also gathered that many folks in sexless partnerships are lacking in the fulfillment department, potentially without giving it much thought.

I watched a fascinating PBS documentary over the weekend called This Emotional Life. One of the couples featured nearly divorced due to a lack of sex. Considering sexlessness a marital deal breaker, the husband told his wife he’d leave if that didn’t change.

His wife had thought she was happy without sex, deeming his companionship enough. After considering the ultimatum, however, she looked back on her life and had an epiphany: she’d been holding on to negative notions about sexuality since childhood and those notions were detracting from her marriage, sexuality and ability to lead a fully gratifying life. That awareness saved their marriage and undoubtedly parts of herself, and brought more than a few tears to my eyes.

Unless you’re asexual, desiring and enjoying sex routinely is natural, embraceable and arguably vital for overall wellness. If your sex life and libido are lacking gusto, I challenge you to look deeper into the underlying issues so you change them.

While sex can seem difficult to ease in to our hectic lives, the reasons for sexual absence and complacency often have less to do with schedules or technicalities and more to do with deeper issues. Fortunately, they’re typically manageable—perhaps more than you think!

8 Nonsexual Ways to Turn Yourself On and Make Way for an Orgasmic Life

While different strokes work for different folks (scrumptious pun!), one or more of the following steps just might help put the ooh-la-la back into your bedroom.

1. Challenge negative beliefs about sexuality. If thoughts of sex cause some embarrassment or you feel more shameful than sensual, start changing your thoughts and behaviors to reflect otherwise. Seek out sex-positive publications (and hmm… radio shows! ;)) and remind yourself that sex really is beautiful, natural and worthy of your time and energy.

2. Prioritize rest. Exhaustion is a leading libido tanker for women and men. Whether it’s shifting to healthier nightly sleep habits or taking more work breaks, do what you can to increase restfulness. Your Girl Boner will thank you! If you aren’t making time for rest, after all, you probably aren’t making time for sexual intimacy.

3. Eat well. Eating a balanced diet, based on whole foods helps ensure that your nutrient and energy needs are met and supports healthy circulation, which is crucial for arousal, libido and orgasm. Eating too many low-nutrient processed foods or dieting, on the other hand, detracts from your overall health, making arousal and orgasm less likely.

4. Respect your body. Eating and resting well are big parts of body-respect, but there are many ways to take it further. Replace negative self-talk about your body with gratitude. Aim for routine, enjoyable physical activity. Stay on top of personal hygiene and avoid toxic habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking. Listen to your body, including hunger, satiation, arousal and tiredness cues, then respond to them appropriately. Simply checking in with yourself can go a long way.

5. Have your hormones checked. Twenty to 30 percent of adults report having little or no sex drive, which can derive from health issues including age-related hormonal shifts and birth control pills. If your libido has left the building, making sure your hormone levels and overall health are in-check may make all the difference. For more on female libido loss, check out Low Sex Drive in Women, by Dr. Laura Berman.

6. Try new things! Newness helps your brain produce all kinds of feel-good chemicals—the ones we associate with “falling in love” intoxication. If your sex life feels stagnant, plan an adventurous date for you alone or with a partner. Take up a new class or hobby you’re intrigued by. Research shows the changes need not be major.

7. Detoxify. I’m not talking about risky juice cleanses or pills, but life toxins. The job you hate, “friends” whose behavior or ideals leave you feeling crappy, harmful crutches, such as over-spending money or guzzling down energy drinks, can all hinder your emotional, physical and sexual wellness. Replacing these toxins with self-care provides a triple win that yes indeed! Enhances our sexual va va va voom!

8. Pursue your passions. This is so important! Life passions can ignite sexual passion and vice versa. When we’re emotionally fulfilled and excited about our lives, we’re more likely to desire and delight in sexy fun. If your life is feeling passionless, change it TODAY. Even one step in the right direction may be all it takes to put you on the right track, inviting endless rewards.

Lastly, it’s important to practice patience with yourself and take baby steps. Eating an apple instead of a doughnut and taking a nap probably won’t instantly make you want to grab your partner or sex toy and go for it! (Though, you never know! ;)) We should aim to take care of ourselves, knowing that a healthier, happier sex life will evolve as a precious byproduct—if we’re open and willing. Communication and honesty are also key, and both heighten intimacy. But geez—enough for one blog post! 😉 Your turn!

What could you do, or have you done, to improve your sex life? What do you find most challenging? Which tip struck you most? I love hearing from you! 

For more sexy fun, I hope you’ll tune in to Girl Boner Radio today. I’ll be chatting with two incredibly inspiring, beautiful inside and out transgender folks who are making an important difference in the world. If you subscribe via iTunes, it’ll appear on your playlist automatically tonight! Much gratitude for the support. ♥

#GirlBoner Bonus: 25 Signs of Sensual Living

“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.” — Margaret Atwood, Der Blinde Mörder

Last week during my interview on Let’s Talk Sex, Dr. Jane Greer posed poignant questions about the link between poor body image and sexual unease. Since then, I’ve received emails from several courageous women grappling significantly with both ( to you!).

It’s often difficult to determine which happens first, the lack of sexual empowerment or body dislike, but the connection is inarguable and the effects, often grueling. Low sexual self-confidence tinkers with body image and vice versa—the setup for a self-defeating downward slope. Looking back on my own experiences, it’s crazy obvious how much sensuality was amiss when my body-embracement was nil and my Girl Boner was hiding away in a dark corner. (Now there’s a visual… ;)) It’s a glorious thing to have come full circle, and I wish the same for anyone on a similar path. I’m sure you who’ve blazed empowerment trails of your own can relate.

Thankfully, no matter where we stand in our self- and sexual- embracement journeys, we can flip that equation around. I personally believe that moving forward has a lot to do with sensual living.

Sensuality definition

Here at Girl Boner Central, we believe that sexuality far surpasses what happens in our skivvies. We also believe that embracing our sexy, sensual selves makes way for growth and fulfillment in all facets of our lives.

The following list could undoubtedly go on and on, but I tried to hit some of the biggies. As you read, keep track of how many make you think, “Yes! Totally me!” You may also want to take note of your nos, particularly if you deem certain traits worth changing.

25 Signs of Sensual Living

1. You make a point of savoring the smell, taste and appearance of food and find heavy distraction while eating bothersome.

2. You smell bouquets at the flower shop before deciding on a purchase.

3. Your sleep in silky PJs, underwear or your birthday suit, and choose bedsheets largely based on feel.

4. It’s tough to reach P.D.A. overload, in your opinion; the more affection the better.

5. If you close your eyes and recall an aromatic memory, the smell seems to resurface.

6. Clothing feel is often as important to you as its appearance.

7.  You consider yourself a highly sensitive person.

8. When sitting in a taxi cab or restaurant, a nostalgic song begins playing and you can’t ignore it; it “takes you back” pronto, affecting your mood.

9. Music is known to move you to tears.

10. When you visit museums, you take time to observe the colors, texture and emotions works that strike you.

11. You love petting and holding furry animals.

12. If you had to choose one dance to engage in, you’d choose a slow, partner-embracing number over a rapid solo techno boogie. (Assume you have the skills for both. ;))

13. You prioritize and delight in pleasurable self-care means, such as sudsy baths, massage and lotions that feel luscious on your skin.

14. You revel in trying new foods, particularly while exploring foreign places.

15. You prefer not to buy fresh foods online; you want to see and touch fruits and vegetables pre-purchase.

16. If you’re seated at a restaurant near too much noise, chill or light, you’re likely to request reseating.

17. The presentation of foods, table settings and gifts is important to you. (Amazon wrapping is well worth that $3.99!)

18. When sitting on the sofa with your partner, you sit as close to him or her as possible.

19. You love, love, love hugging!

20. You cherish being naked—or would, if you felt more confident. (If the latter is true, check out Sexual Confidence: How to Feel Sexier Naked.)

21. Your partner’s taste and smell rank high on your value/turn-on list.

22. Locking eyes with your lover and observing his or her sensual gaze turns you on big time.

23. You often relish passionate kissing, touching and being touched as much or more than intercourse.

24. You value orgasm—yours and, when applicable, your partner’s.

25. Merely taking this quiz tickled your Girl Boner!

Did you find yourself nodding or shaking your head to most of these items? Which struck you most? When do you feel most sensual? While the above isn’t a clinically tested or diagnostic exercise, and many factors affect sensual appeal, I definitely believe that the more sensuousness we embrace, the better. The best part? We can cultivate sensuality in countless empowering ways. (More on that soon…)

Speaking of tickling the senses, we’re having a cake contest! Help celebrate Girl Boner’s 1-year birthday by visiting Girl Boner on Facebook and casting a vote for your favorite sexy cake—one I’ve posted or a creative concoction or find of your own. Cast your vote via Facebook or Twitter by Friday for a chance to win a Girl Boner gift pack. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Thanks so much for your continual support! You help make Girl Boner Central an arousing place for many. 

#GirlBoner: An Introduction

I’ve been contemplating girl boners for years.

Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

It all started in 1990. My family had moved from a very diverse St. Paul area to the safer, if eerily homogenous, suburbs. On my first day of school, I wondered if my mostly Scandinavian could-be-my-siblings classmates derived from Stepford parents, which made my own existence much more interesting.

Before that school year started, I was confident of three things (four if you include my Stepford hypothesis): Paula Abdul rocked. The strict teacher I’d been cursed with didn’t. And soon my classmates and I would learn all about S…E…X.

Little did I know then where that class would lead. Based on my memory, here’s what happened:

I was sitting amidst a sea of students, some pale and fidgeting, others pink-cheeked and snickering, when Ms. Cloke,* aka Cruella Deville, started the projector.

“Welcome to sexual education…” Her frog-tone words blurred like the teacher’s voice on Charlie Brown in my horrified brain. “Wah-WA-wah-WA-wah…” Here I’d been hoping to learn the truth behind soap opera steam and all things hush-hush-adult. But Ms. Cloke’s voice was so…teachery.

“Wah-WA-wah-WA-wah,” she continued. “…erect penis.”

Huh? Muter mechanism, off. Now she had my attention. My eyes must’ve widened at the scientific drawing of a naked man on the screen, his penis pointing upward in firm salute.

It looks painful, I thought, keeping my view peripheral.

“It actually feels quite good,” said Cruella.

Jesus! Could she hear my thoughts?!? I stared at the floor, resisting the urge to scope the joint. Was that hidden in all the boys’ pants? This was sex ed, after all. Our bodies were changing…

Don’t look, don’t look! I scolded myself, my brain conjuring images of boys’ bulging crotches beneath neighboring desks. I shot a glance toward one. No bulge.

As I reviewed Ms. Cloke’s explanation, my nervous self-coaching took pause. If men had erections… What felt “quite good” for ladies?

Calmed by curiosity, I honed in on the lecture: More about erections, the triggers in boys and men, what men do with their standing penises during intercourse and something about women’s vaginas. That part, I’d heard.

Thank goodness we were on to vaginas. Surely Ms. Cloke would answer my pleasure question soon. So I waited. And waited. And…waited.

“When women begin adolescence…” she began.

Here it comes! Another click. A new slide, featuring—

Maxi pads. Tampons. Discussion of womb-shedding, bleeding, swelling and cramps. A week every MONTH?!? Fantastic. One quarter of the rest of my life would consist of bloody pain.

Class ended, leaving me in a state of crestfallen confusion. Not once throughout sex ex did Ms. Cloke mention female sexual pleasure. Not that I was longing for it then. I just deemed the whole thing unfair. Guys gained fun special effects. Gals? We bled. (Was that what drove my girl Paula to sing Cold-Hearted Snake?!?) The one takeaway I’d hold onto for years: Never wear white pants. Ever.

Seriously?!?

Not bold enough to pose my questions to anyone, particularly Ms. loved-to-punish-kids Cloke, my curiosity accompanied me through puberty. While men all around the world had bulging, feel-good genitals, I bulged with curiosity constipation. Anytime someone spoke of sex at school, in public or on TV, I listened—not in a sick way. I just wanted to know, without being deemed crazy, idiotic or un-Christian for wondering. The first time I heard an erection called a boner, I wondered, “What about girl boners?”

It would be years before I had an answer. Since then, girl boners have gone from perplexing puzzles to a passion, and not just for me personally. I want every woman to experience, embrace and celebrate her sexuality, and feel deserving and confident about doing so.

The truth is, there is no broadly used term specific to female arousal. (Think how many we have for guys. My slang thesaurus lists 22 synonyms for the male boner alone.) Multiple websites and thesaurus searches for ‘female sexual arousal’ draws up Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome, as in a disorder, as a top hit.

On some level, I understand why there isn’t a universal word for female turn-on. It’s not as though women experience one primary or obvious change. But words hold power. Giving a positive term to female sexual arousal and pleasure makes both more probable, making the whole world a better place, IMO.

I believe that women would experience less depression, better body image, a lessening of relationship strife and greater personal security if we were taught to cherish our girl boners. While we’ve come a long way in these regards as a society, significant work remains.

I could go on and on (and on…) about girl boners and my journey from sex ed to the present, which is why I’ve not only decided to trademark the term, but make it an ongoing series on my blog. I’m committed to keeping the tone and information upbeat, and hope you’ll all engage in equally fun and respectful discussion. And yes, guys and gals are equally welcome.

I should also mention for any newbies that I’m not a sex therapist or doctor—simply an empowered woman who embraces her sexuality and uses her professional health writing and researching skills to dig deep and relay what she learns. I’m also quite fond of blurting everything out sharing, so more personal stories will follow. (Fear not, exes. I’ll change your identifying details as I did Ms. Cloke’s.*)

I hope you’ll join me next week as we discuss girl boner physiology: what actually happens when we get turned on. Until then, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. Do you remember your first sex ed class? Any funny or interesting stories to share? Are you as stoked about girl boners as I am?!?

**If you’d like to share this post without the #GirlBoner hash tag, feel free to omit it or use an alternate.