What: Perfectly Normal Sex couples workshops for "perfectly normal people"
When: Nov. 2 and 3
Where: Chautauqua Community House, Boulder
Cost: $500 per couple; $425 if you register early
How to connect intimately when your sex life changes
Here are some tips from Perfectly Normal Sex:
Know what normal sex looks like. And that's not necessarily the images you see in the movies. Long-term intimacy ebbs and flows, has ups and down, pains and pressures and is different for everyone.
Remember all aspects of intimacy. Beyond the physical connection, you can share thoughts and feelings, too.
Don't expect sex to be linear. It's more like a flow chart with many different doorways and responses. You do not need to be aroused before sexual connection and touching starts. In fact, nobody needs to feel desire to achieve an intimate connection.
Just be together and explore your senses. Take the pressure off to reach an end result.
Make it a priority to spend time together, regardless of how you feel. Just see what happens. Accept where you are at that moment.
Find comfortable, nurturing intimate positions that you both enjoy.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Nov. 5, 2013, for clarity.
Sometimes, it just doesn't work.
For some couples, hormonal changes related to a new baby or menopause may get in the way of how they want their sex life to be -- or think it should be. How it used to be.
Other couples struggle with cancer treatments, high stress, injuries, low libido, exhaustion or just not enough time.
In fact, middle-aged Americans are the least happy with their sex lives, according to an Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com survey.
The AP found only 7 percent of middle-aged Americans were extremely satisfied with their sex lives, and nearly a quarter reported to be dissatisfied. The satisfaction dropped as respondents got older.
Another study published in the American Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found most men (54 percent) and almost as many women (42 percent) were unhappy with how much sex they were having; most wanted more.
Thirty million American men experience erectile dysfunction. And nearly three out of four women have pain with intercourse at some point in their lives, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.
That's why Jenn Weede, of Lafayette, couldn't have pain-free intercourse with her husband. A head injury, resulting in autoimmune dysfunction, caused chronic inflammation that affected her pelvis. She lived with the pain for more than 12 years, and it nearly destroyed her marriage, she says.
Until they rewrote their definition and expectations of what it means to be intimate, she says.
Today, Weede is among the vast group of businesspeople and volunteers throughout Boulder County dedicated to improving the community's sex lives.
Weede and her husband run called Perfectly Normal Sex, which organizes workshops to teach couples new tools and resources to reawaken their intimate relationship -- whatever that may look like for each individual couple. At the root of Perfectly Normal Sex is the belief that sex does not need to be linear or goal-oriented.
Their next workshop is Nov. 2 and 3 in Boulder.
A 'hotspot for sexual healing'
This kind of workshop is far from rare in a town like Boulder, which Weede calls a "hotspot for sexual healing," with its wide offering of sex-centric events, exhibits, workshops, businesses and hangouts.
Weede says the number of sexperts in Boulder seems to be disproportionately high, compared with many other typical American cities. Boulder boasts a long list of therapists who specialize in sex counseling. There's the Intimacy Institute, which provides counseling and education to help people deal with sexual concerns. The Boulder Center for Sexual Health, designed to "support your journey toward sexual fulfillment."
Then there are workshops like Tantric Sacred Journeys and Beyond the Bedroom. Soul Sex, offering "advanced human development training" to help you respond to sexual energy. Sacred Sexuality classes. The regular BEDTalks series on intimacy and sex.
Boulder even has a strong interest in Orgasmic Meditation, with a group called OneTaste Colorado. This group trains "men to touch women skillfully" and women to "feel more in their bodies," according to the OneTaste Colorado Meetup page, with more than 450 members.
"It's yoga for your orgasm," the page explains.
Boulderite Victor Warring attended a OneTaste event.
Although he does not teach "omming," he says he has attended community omming events, whereby a woman's clitoris is touched in a specific way for 15 minutes. As Warring explains it, the woman being stroked is naked from the waist-down. Some people choose to switch partners.
"People probably assume it's a sex party, which it's not. In fact, many teachers would go as far to say omming isn't sex," Warring says. "They liken it to a meditation practice."
Warring is the founder of Embodied Intimacy, which strives for "sexual re-education" of the public. You may have seen him and his partner, Elena Zubulake, holding signs every week outside the Boulder Farmer's Market, advertising, "Free sex." They're talking about open, free discussions about it.
Embodied Intimacy teaches people to "un-domesticate" their relationships through experimental movement and dance, improv, bodywork, play and more -- to live in your "animal body in relationship."
Warring, a somatic sexuality educator with a background in anthropology and psychotherapy, says a mismatched libido and sexual lows in a long-term relationship are incredibly common. His solution is body-centered, and specific to each person. That may include group workshops, pleasure education or participation in one of his regular erotic dance jams.
The next Jam Erotique is 8-10:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the BodyWork Bistro in Boulder. The event is $20 and open to the public with an RSVP to email@example.com.
Warring says Boulder is a receptive place to many kinds of unusual modalities, such as his body-centered approach to sexuality education.
"However, doing this work in Boulder is a double-edged sword, because while people are open, there's a lot of people doing a lot of different kinds of work -- almost like 57 channels and there's nothing on," he says. "It can be hard for people. There's so much here. On any given night in Boulder, there can be 10 workshops, and three can be almost the exact same workshop. In some ways, it's great, and in some ways there's a glut."
Sharing what they learned
Over the years, Weede and her husband, Dave Levine, learned new strategies to evolve their sex life.
Now, they hope to share what they learned.
Plus, she says, as Boulder residents grow older, they often find their bodies aren't working in quite the same way. Sexually, physically and athletically, Levine says.
"We tend to be a very physically oriented community, but what is challenging is, as people start aging, you're going to have more bumps and bruises," he says. "I see it as a unique opportunity to expand your repertoire. Not eliminate your physicality."
Instead of categorizing your activity into what you can or cannot do, explore what might be possible if you try something different. For example, he says, if it hurts to run a marathon, why not try a triathlon instead?
Euphemism or not.
Contact Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.