--Martha Cornog, American Coll. of Physicians, Philadelphia
Extraordinary Sex Now: A Couple's Guide to Intimacyby Sandra Scantling
Based on the help she has provided for the thirty to forty couples a week she has seen in her twenty years of clinical practice as a sexual therapist, Dr. Sandra R. Scantling has written a new erotic guide to restoring the vital connections that bring couples together and make it possible for them to enjoy extraordinary sex. This is not a sex manual; it is a book about achieving true intimacyboth in and out of the bedroom
Great sex is not dependent on being able to achieve contortionist positions or finding that elusive G-Spot; it is based, rather, on couples' becoming aware of those ineffable forces that originally brought them togetherforces that may have been based on differences rather than similarities in style and personality, forces that now may be pulling these same people apart. Having achieved an understanding of these forces, they will be better able to communicate, achieve intimacy, and enjoy extraordinary sex. The first step toward understanding is self-awareness, and Dr. Scantling has devised a simple but accurate paradigm of the four basic personality types: Energizers, Stabilizers, Workers, and Pleasure-seekers. Through storytelling, anecdotes, and an easy-to-complete quiz, readers will learn to identify their own personalities and sexual stylesas well as those of their partnersand so to understand why they each behave as they do andabove allhow they can each modify their styles to achieve Extraordinary Sex Now.
This is an inspirational, must-have guide for any couple seeking to rekindle their passion. Dr. Scantling proves that lovemaking need never grow dullthat it can be an ongoing, joyous event, now and forthe rest of our lives.
--Martha Cornog, American Coll. of Physicians, Philadelphia
- Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Read an Excerpt
"A loaf of bread, carton of milk, and orange juice," Adrienne said without preamble. Bob always gets the same phone call on Friday. The weekends are times to restock the cupboards for the kids and their hungry friends. He had thought tonight might be different; after all, it was their anniversary.
"I'm on my way, Adrienne," trying not to sound too disappointed, "Be home in about forty-five minutes."
"Did you hear what I said about the bread, milk, and orange juice?" she asked impatiently.
"Uh-huh--be home soon."
Hanging up the phone, he thinks back and flashes on their honeymoon. It had been ten years, but he could remember it vividly--smooth skin, dancing cheek to cheek, cool Caribbean breezes, her incredible warmth ... The thoughts quickly evaporate, replaced with the mantra "bread, milk, orange juice ..." Picking up his briefcase and reaching for his coat, he feels the accumulated fatigue of the week and the familiar tension moving up his neck.
One good thing about leaving the office at eight o'clock is that there is very little traffic. He and Adrienne used to love rainy Fridays. The windshield wipers beating out a rhythm took him back. They'd leave for their weekend retreat that was simple, but oh so romantic. A small cabin in New Hampshire--making delicious love in front of the fireplace, her breasts so full and welcoming--anyplace with Adrienne was heavenly then. That was before the kids, the bills, and the two jobs. Lost in thought, he almost drove right past the grocery store.
With the ordered essentials in hand, Bob heads toward the express checkout line. It always amazes him that there is so much late-night shopping. "Bob Jenson, please come to the customer service desk," the loudspeaker echoes his name over the grocery-filled aisles. "What could be the problem?" he wonders. "Your wife left this for you," the clerk explains as he hands Bob an envelope.
As he opens the note, Bob thinks: last-minute groceries, or maybe a pickup at the late-night cleaners. "Dear Bob, hope you don't mind, Aunt Helen is coming into town unexpectedly. Would you please meet her at the airport? It's Delta flight 261, arriving at 9:15." It is signed "Love, Adrienne," and there is a PS: "Be a darling and pick up some strawberries for dessert, Aunt Helen loves fresh fruit."
Bob feels the heat rising from his collar again. "Just what I need, a twenty-minute drive to the airport and then a weekend of entertaining Adrienne's relatives. Oh God," he mutters, "I can't cope." ... He imagines her aunt waiting at the Delta terminal. Better hurry.
Nine-fifteen sharp and Bob scans the airport terminal for Adrienne's aunt. Just then he feels a tap on his shoulder.
"Hi there, looking for someone?"
"Adrienne! I don't understand--What's this all about?" he asks.
Adrienne looks fabulous in a gray trench coat and high heels. She's carrying their overnight cases and has a sly grin on her face. "Take a guess ... Surprise, sweetie! Happy tenth anniversary! Hope you brought the strawberries!"
"What?! Where's your aunt?"
"She's at home watching the kids and we're going to the Bahamas for three days!" She hands him two first-class tickets and kisses him passionately.
Later that evening, feeding each other strawberries as they look out at the waves from their balcony suite, they reaffirm their love. Although it has been many years since their honeymoon, the romance feels brand-new. The sound of the ocean crashing against the shore and the smell of the salt air ... it is all too perfect for words.
"You thought of everything, Adrienne. You're the best. You know, I haven't told you lately, but you really are everything to me." He reaches for a small box in his briefcase. "I picked up a little something for you, too," he adds, looking deeply into her eyes. "Happy anniversary, darling."
"They're gorgeous! But emerald earrings--these must have cost a ..."
Taking her face in his hands, he looks into her eyes and gives her a long smoldering kiss. "Take a walk on the beach?" he asks with a wink.
"Love to," she whispers.
Although it may seem hard to believe, Bob and Adrienne aren't some fictional couple out of a hot and steamy Danielle Steel novel. They are actual clients whom I treated in my sex therapy practice over six years ago. In many ways, they are an ordinary couple who learned how to have extraordinary sex.
You're probably saying to yourself, "Sure, who couldn't be romantic in the Bahamas!" And although it would be great to be able to take an exotic vacation or shower your lover with emeralds whenever things get dull, it's not necessary. It's just the icing on the cake.
Bob and Adrienne have lives that are far from leisurely--they have a hefty mortgage, three young children, and an overburdened schedule filled with soccer practice, school events, and social commitments. Like so many couples, they had placed their relationship at the bottom of their priority list and forgotten how to be intimate.
By following the steps of my Extraordinary Sex program, they learned how to make their time together special in dozens of little ways. By blending intimacy and sexuality they've re-created a passion-filled marriage that continues to get better with each passing year.
By counseling thousands of couples over the past twenty years, I've discovered how to keep the sexual excitement burning. Extraordinary Sex Now shows men and women how to regain their "vital connection"--the original magnetism that attracts partners to each other. By following the step-by-step guidelines and straightforward exercises in this book, your lovemaking can become extraordinary. There are only two requirements for success--a committed relationship and a willingness to make a change.
SOME GENERAL POINTERS
1. If you want it, you have to work for it, but work can be fun
Everyone longs to have a love life that's romantic and sensual. But what would you do to get it? Would you read erotic books? Talk to experts? Change some of your behaviors? Consistently great sex doesn't happen by accident. The couples who have memorable sex year after year have worked to keep it that way. But as the old expression states: "They haven't just worked harder, they've worked smarter." As with any proficiency, developing satisfying intimacy involves finding a teacher and being willing to practice some new skills. Success doesn't come easily--whether it's in your career or in your marriage. But when it comes to sex, practicing can be fun!
2. Don't set your sights on perfection
Nothing spoils sex more than striving for perfection. If you expect to achieve some perfectly orchestrated scenario, complete with multiple simultaneous orgasms on a bed of rose petals each and every time, you're likely to be disappointed. Going for the perfect erection or ultimate no-hands orgasm is a surefire way to dampen your ardor. And unfortunately we're continually bombarded with utterly unrealistic sexual standards and expectations by movies, books, television, and all manner of erotica. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a staunch supporter of erotic film and literature--assuming it doesn't offend your personal sensibilities. But it's important for each couple to distinguish for themselves what fantasy they might find enticing to consider and what is realistic or comfortable to expect in their own bedrooms.
Focusing on pleasure and not measure is key. If you do what you love, you'll love what you do. Extraordinary sex isn't about another set of techniques--so put away your calendar, ruler, egg timer, and illustrated volumes of the Kama Sutra and just enjoy yourselves.
3. Allow your pleasure and interest to lead you
Tastes are variable and unpredictable. Human beings fluctuate in their body temperatures, biorhythms, appetites, and patterns of arousal. One moment we crave chocolate chip ice cream and the next moment it's the spicy salsa that beckons to us. The same is true about sex, that's what makes it so exciting--and frustrating. One day light playful stroking may hit the spot, the next you may find yourself welcoming a fast and furious romp in the hay. If you think you can find the exact formula and simply repeat it ad infinitum, you're wrong. That is a formula for disaster! Don't assume you already know what each sexual experience will bring. Instead, welcome the differences, expect each time to vary, and decide to follow the pleasure wherever it may lead.
4. Challenge yourself ... a bit
Each of us has a security zone--an area of comfort and familiarity that doesn't challenge the status quo. To expand your sexual enjoyment, find your sexual security zone and stretch it just a bit. For instance, if you're only comfortable making love in the dark, light one candle. It's the same principle that bodybuilders use--they increase their weights and repetitions gradually. Stretch, don't strain, and your improvements will be steady and lasting. Or let's assume that you feel uncomfortable or awkward expressing intimate feelings. Begin to stretch your security zone by making one phone call or leaving a message on his voice mail to say you're thinking about him or can't wait until he comes home. Don't plunge ahead and buy that G-string complete with a CD titled Music to Strip By. If you overwhelm yourself with unrealistic expectations you'll be afraid to try anything new. Start small, and you'll be amazed at the far-reaching results.
5. Ask for what you want
If you ask for what you want, you're much more likely to get it. Remember the lists we wrote for Santa Claus? It didn't take us very long to figure out that telling someone made it more likely that we might find one of those toys under the Christmas tree. Asking can be very powerful. Especially if we learn how to ask, when to ask, whom to ask, and what to ask for.
Don't assume the worst or jump to conclusions by saying things like: "What's the use of asking him to take a relaxing soak in the tub with me, he'll just say no" or "I'd just like to cuddle tonight but I'd better not tell him because he'll assume I want sex." Keep an open mind. Couples who play mind reader and are certain they know what their partner feels or thinks are often wrong. Certainty closes off opportunities for experimentation and keeps you stuck in that familiar rut.
6. Remember, it's never too late for great sex
People often say, "Let's be realistic, we're both getting older, isn't it too late for us to rekindle our passion?" Let me tell you a story.
One day I picked up the phone in my office and an older woman's voice asked for my help. "My name is Alice and I just turned seventy-eight," she began. "I was hoping you could tell me where I could get my vagina stretched." A most unusual opener. "I heard you talking on the radio about painful intercourse, and I think I have that problem ... I think you called it vaginismus ... I can't be sure, because I've never really had intercourse." She went on. "You see, dear, I was married for forty-three years to the sweetest man who was a very heavy drinker and he had problems keeping his erection. We did just about everything else, but we never had intercourse. I had some great orgasms, though." She laughed. "But poor Arthur died, rest his soul, and now I've met an older man, his name is Gus. He's eighty-one and he has really firm erections. He's a sensitive and patient lover and we'd like to have intercourse, but I feel some tightness and discomfort when we try."
I asked Alice when she had her last pelvic exam. "Oh, not for years, dear," she replied, apparently unaware of its importance. "I'm long past menopause." I suggested that she do two things: first, she must make an appointment with a gynecologist, who would take the necessary time to perform a gentle but thorough pelvic exam to evaluate any structural or hormonal problems that might be contributing to her vaginal discomfort; second, she should get a tube of Astroglide (a terrific water-soluble lubricant that simulates the natural slippery secretions of the vagina) to incorporate into their lovemaking and genital touching. About three weeks later Alice called again. "Dr. Scantling, thanks so very much. The doctor you referred me to recommended some estrogen cream and said I just had some vaginal dryness, but everything else looked fine. The lubrication you suggested works like a charm. I just called to tell you that I'm not a virgin anymore"--she giggled--"and sex couldn't be better." She sounded delighted, as was I. So when you think you're over the hill at thirty-nine, remember the story about Alice and Gus and take heart.
7. Believing you can change is the most important change you can make
If you're frustrated about your sex life, let me ask you a question. Is there an area in your life in which you feel very successful? Maybe you're proud of your parenting skills, or you've earned a degree of success in your business or in a particular sport or hobby. Maybe you're an organizational dynamo who balances work and recreation with such aplomb that you make others turn green with envy. Your friends can't imagine how you do what you do--but you've never doubted you can. And that's the answer--thinking something is possible sets the stage for making it so. So, if you're having trouble believing your love life can change, it's time to change that belief. Try these mental tricks to begin visualizing success:
* First think of a sexual time between you and your lover that you'd like to improve upon. Picture the episode with all the clarity and vividness you're capable of. Spend a few moments filling in the details, including any emotions you might recall.
* When you're finished, take a deep breath, let it out gently, and imagine an eraser wiping the slate clean.
* Now picture the same scenario with a new, more satisfying story line and ending. You've just replaced one image with another.
Or try this:
* Visualize a large pink elephant sitting on your couch. A silly notion, but go with it. Now try to block out that image. Impossible, isn't it? The harder you try, the more difficult it is to erase that picture from your mind.
* Instead of trying to "not" think of the elephant, simply replace the image with one of a green donkey wearing a purple party hat. See how easy it is! The technique works just as well with sexual images.
Some people say, "I can't visualize and I never fantasize." Although some people are more imagery-prone, anyone can learn to develop their visualization skills. If I ask you to tell me how many windows you have in your home, you'll need to visualize the location of each window and then count them, and just about everyone can do that.
What's exciting about this technique is that you already have everything you need to enhance your sexual thinking. Instead of trying to block your worries about not having a firm erection or your difficulty having an orgasm, focus on pleasurable images, thoughts, feelings, or sensations. We can't hold on to two opposing images or feelings simultaneously. It's impossible to feel tense and relaxed. Fill your mind with a positive focus and you will provide no opportunity for distracting thoughts.
These attentional substitution and visualization techniques have been used for years in sports medicine and health psychology. By mentally rehearsing new possibilities, we actually design a way for desired behaviors to emerge or become intensified.
A few minutes before the next time you make love, take a minute or two to think positively about your encounter--every detail of it. In your mind's eye, watch yourself reaching for your lover and welcoming his or her touch. See yourself enjoying the strokes, smells, or tastes. Feel your lover's tongue move across your lips in the special way that you enjoy. Enlist all of your imaginal senses as you develop your picture as completely as you can. Practicing visual rehearsal in a comfortable relaxing way mentally warms up your arousal pathways.
In the same way that spying some scrumptious chocolate élairs on a waiter's pastry cart whets your appetite, focusing on an erotic thought, feeling, or image can actually "whet" your sexual appetite. It doesn't matter if the "real thing" doesn't follow suit. Your mental rehearsal gets your blood pumping more and your adrenaline surging. It's a kind of sexual aerobics of the mind that you can choose to intensify.
By modifying your ways of thinking about yourself, your partner, and your capacity for loving intimacy, you will demonstrate how easy it is to change an ordinary sexual encounter into an extraordinary one.
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