Snowballs of Gratitude

You know how shit snowballs? How, when one thing goes wrong in your life, EVERYTHING goes wrong? You don’t just sludge the engine block in your car, you also lose your job, and your house burns down in the same month.

Our relationships are like that too. We don’t just stop having sex one day. We stop having sex because we spent the last six months doing nothing but screaming at each other. I don’t want to fuck you, I want to gouge your eyes out with a dull, rusty spoon. And I wanna hear you scream. Not like, in a good way, either.

At some point in time, you will reach your crossroads. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less likely to make me commit homicide.

Your choice?

I’ll tell you a secret. It isn’t divorce or stay married. That’s NOT your crossroad. Your choice is simple. Survive, or thrive.

See, if you’re miserable in your relationship, it’s highly likely that you’re miserable in the rest of your life too. Divorce may fix your problems with your partner (and I know a lot of divorcees who are crying with laughter at that, because for them, divorce has infinitely complicated their relationships with their ex-partners), but even if it does, it won’t fix your relationship with yourself.

If this is an area where you struggle, I have a class for that.

But I promise you, divorce isn’t a quick fix. And it won’t automatically make you happy. I will qualify that statement by saying that if your relationship is abusive, then leaving IS the solution to a great number of your problems.

However, in the absence of that, you’re still left with a partner you fantasize about killing. I adore my husband, and my current plan includes bricks, the stairwell in our backyard, and an “accident” (although now I will have to come up with a new plan).

“You said gratitude, Briar. I’m not seeing any gratitude round these parts.”

Ah. So I did. Just as the bad shit snowballs, so can the good shit. Fine wine, limos, pretty girls, all yours.

Sorry. Forgot where I was for a minute.

No, I’m not channeling The Secret. It’s like that old insurance commercial. One good deed leads to another, all that crap.

But it’s true. If you think of partnership as an equal exchange, then you get out what you put in, right? So, if the partnership is not functional, chances are good that BOTH partners are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs.

Now, let’s be real. Women usually get the short end of this stick, especially women with children (says the lady on her laptop, watching The Lego Movie, and waiting for the dryer to go off). I work full time, homeschool my kids, generally keep a pretty tidy ship, and occasionally manage to throw food at people. If my husband didn’t adequately contribute to the day to day management of our household, then I would lose my everloving shit.

However, men have their complaints too. I’ll give you one guess as to what 93% of them are. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t justified.

Remember, it’s an equal exchange.

Now, if you’re reached the stage where you’re shopping at a hardware store for a shovel (in cash), chances are good we’ve got a lot of problems. You’ve considered cheating, finding a divorce attorney, or just running away, and never looking back. At the very least, you have a laundry list of complaints.

And I want you to write them all down.


Write them all down, and then prioritize them, from highest to lowest. So, the fact that you haven’t has sex in a year, can’t be in the same room together without snarling and / or foaming at the mouth, and are irritated at every single word that comes outta their mouth before they even say it… that’s top of the list stuff.

Bottom of the list stuff are things like… not kissing your partner before they leave for work in the morning. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste. Not putting your dirty ass socks in the fucking hamper. Because it’s RIGHT FUCKING THERE. (Not my issue at all. Nerp.)

Anything that makes your blood pressure rise should go on the list.

The next step is to have your partner write a list of their own. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t write your lists together. I promise you’ll fight about them if you do. Even sitting at the table together is dangerous. Don’t give in to that temptation to impale them with your writing implement.

But, once everyone has completed lists, then you can swap. Expect to fight about that. Not the actual swap, just the contents of what’s on your new list. Some of it will be expected. Some of it will not, and that’s likely the stuff that will hurt the most.

Now, here’s where the magic happens.

That big stuff, at the top of the list? You can’t fix that. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but mostly, it comes down to a simple fact. That shit is WAY too fucking big. Take sex. If it’s been awhile, the idea of jumping right back in the saddle isn’t just unrealistic, it might actually be downright repulsive.

It’s too big, it’s too scary, and it’s just too much.

And, if you are a human being, that means that you won’t do it. As a species, we’re LAZY. The scope of our evolution has been to create ways to be even more lazy. The idea of fixing something as vague and ephemeral as your sex life just ain’t happening.

But those socks?

Yeah, that I can probably do.

Gratitude is cumulative. Just one small action on your part, just one equal exchange can turn into a snowball of gratitude.

Because remember, it’s a partnership. If I do something nice for you, you will probably be motivated into doing something in return. And the motivation here doesn’t matter. Even spite will do at this point (seriously), as long as there’s forward momentum.

Just start at the bottom of your list, and work your way up.

Now, some ground rules.

This isn’t a competition. Getting to check something off your list doesn’t earn you brownie points. Especially if your list happens to be shorter than your partner’s—ladies, I’m looking at you. Gentlemen, doing something once does NOT in fact mean that you will never have to do it again. And for the love of the gods, don’t wait for your partner to start on their list, or neither one of you EVER will.

Remember when I said you had two choices? Survive or thrive?

Marriage is kind of like a peace lily. Just… go with me for a sec. If you aren’t familiar with them, this is the plant to give your friends who kill everything. A peace lily is incredibly hardy, and will grow in about any condition. They are exceedingly difficult to kill, because when they need water, their stalks will get all droopy. It’s a slow process, but one day you’ll look over and think, “I can’t remember the last time I watered you.”

And then you water, and you can literally watch the leaves perk back up. It is a process of minutes.

However, appearances are deceiving. Despite it’s hardy nature, that poorly tended peace lily is only surviving.

You see, a happy peace lily blooms.

But this is actual work. Not an occasionally watering. It takes daily watering, in just the right proportions, tending, pruning, proper sunlight, an occasional repotting, all of that and more for a peace lily to thrive.

So too must you tend to your partnership. It takes daily maintenance for it to thrive.

Just remember, maintenance doesn’t have to be hard. Repotting doesn’t happen everyday, and watering is easy. Over time, the little things DO add up. And before you know it, you’re looking at the big stuff on the list, and it’s not that big any more.

So, decide. Survive, or thrive?

Cunnilingus 101

I saw this meme on Facebook the other day….


Here’s some hard math for you. It’s estimated that no more than 30% of women are able to achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. For at least 70% of us then, that means that some other means of stimulation is required. The options are endless–manual clitoral stimulation, nipple stimulation, vibrators, even anal penetration, are just a few possibilities. However, I’d say if given the choice, most women would prefer cunnilingus. Which, by the way, is Latin–derived from the words cunnus (vulva) and lingua (tongue). I’ve known a few women who don’t like it (they’re rare, but they ARE out there). I do occasionally wonder how much of that lack of enjoyment is pure self consciousness or an inability to turn their minds off, but it is what it is. And yet, cunnilingus is a challenge for a lot of men, because they don’t understand the mechanics of it.

For the purposes of this post, I’m breaking things down into three sections. Anatomy, because, yay science! Technique, for which your mileage may vary, and finally, what it’s like inside a woman’s head. I know, I know, you don’t really wanna go in there, but trust me, it’ll be worth your while on this one.

Starting at the top then, with anatomy.

First, the clitoris. It’s important to note that the clitoris is not just a button. In fact, the clitoris is a complex organ system that extends internally far up against the vagina, and is an average of 9 centimeters in length. Recent research suggests that the g-spot is actually just the terminus of the clitoral structure. The point of all this, then, is that you can’t just focus on the button. There’s also another access point to the clit just inside the inner labia. Mind blowing, I know.

Next, the labia. No, NOT the vagina. The vagina is the tunnel, the labia is the entrance. And, just like storm windows, there’s two of them–the inner and outer labia. These delicate flowers have nearly as many nerve endings as the clitoris, so it’s important that you treat them gently. And like a flower, they unfold, or open, upon arousal. If they AREN’T open, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t just ram stuff in there. The inner labia is especially delicate, and can very easily be injured.

Lastly, we have the vagina. Don’t ignore this part, just because you’re going to be getting to it later. There are an estimated 20,000 nerve ending per square inch of human anatomy. But estimates for specific anatomical features vary wildly (you’ll read 8,000 in the clitoris a lot, but that number is OLD). Let’s just say there’s a lot. Make it your personal mission in life to stimulate as many of those nerve endings as you can.

The vagina is kind of a biological marvel. No two are alike, and not just in shape. There’s a huge range of sizes, textures, and surfaces. And no two labia look alike, so far as I can tell. Yet another part of what makes them awesome.

Finally, before we end this little science lesson, let’s talk about arousal. Biologically, the nub of the clitoris is exactly like the head of a penis–they’re made from the same set of stem cells, and the only difference is in the chromosome. When properly aroused, it receives extra blood flow, and in some women, can even become visibly erect. Blood flow can also darken the clitoral area, and labia, another indicator of readiness.

For a really good time, next time the lights are on, watch this process. It varies from woman to woman, but I personally have always enjoyed this show. Usually, the extra blood flow comes first, darkening the clitoris and surrounding tissue. Then the labia start to unfold. See if you can make this happen without touching. Anticipation kills, but usually in a good way.

Now with that out of the way, we can talk technique.

It’s important to note that like all sexual practices, a degree of personal preference is involved here. What works for one woman may not work for another, and some of these techniques may even be painful. When trying something new, pay attention to her reaction. A sharp inhalation of breath generally means that it’s painful. She may also arch her back away or down. So unless she’s into that, try something else.

Even more important, is this: what works once isn’t going to always work. In fact, what works now may not work two minutes or even thirty seconds from now. The clitoris is a fickle, fickle beast.

Start slow, and gentle. Use the tip of your tongue instead of the blade to begin with. Gently tease the outer and then inner labia open for best access.

Once she starts moving around, you’re ready to start the show. Rhythm is important. Whether you’re licking, sucking, or anything in between, the more consistent your rhythm, the easier it will be for her to achieve orgasm.

Side to side can be just as much fun as up and down. Circles, gentle flicks with the tip of your tongue, and long deep strokes are all fun too.

Once the inner labia is completely open, try inserting your tongue into the vaginal canal, and bending it upwards. That’s the internal access point I was talking about earlier. And it’s a sweet spot for a lot of women.

Ever been licked by a cat? The human tongue is nowhere near as rough, but with all those nerve endings, it’s possible for the clitoris to actually feel the taste buds. Licking like you would an ice cream cone then, can actually be quite painful. It can also feel amazing. Like I said, fickle beast.

ABCs? Don’t do that shit. Look, just like you know when you’ve been farted on when we’re spooning (and are kind enough to not mention it), we know that you’re doing the damn ABCs. From a practical standpoint, there is no rhythm, and if you take nothing else away from this post, I want you to take away this. Rhythm is fucking important.

Need something to do? Try a Fibonacci sequence. Seriously. Using gentle flicks, work your way up, then back down again. Stars are also fun, and since they explore the Divine Proportion, it’s highly likely to get you a response. Hell, play a counting game, consider baseball statistics, whatever. Just lay off the ABCs.

Also, unless she’s giving you clear directions, pay less attention to what she’s moaning, and more attention to what her hips are doing. When she thrusts upward, she’s trying to direct you to where she wants you to go. Assuming you’d prefer not to be stuck under the covers unable to breathe for an hour, I suggest you take her advice.

When she arches her pelvis up and locks it there, it means she’s close to orgasm. She may also get the twitches. This means you should keep doing what you’re doing for as long as possible. If you change the rhythm or technique at this juncture, she’s likely to lose her focus.

One final thought on technique, and this is a biggie.

No matter what you do…. Be fucking into it. A woman’s orgasm is more complicated than a male’s. It just is. Not only can we achieve orgasm from multiple erogenous zones on our bodies, we also have different KINDS of orgasm. Women report to me that there’s a HUGE range in the quality and intensity of orgasms. Men tell me that there’s mostly two kinds: pretty great, and mind blowing.

SHE wants mind blowing. Every time. The fastest way to deprive her of that is to be unenthusiastic or bored when you’re between her legs.

And now, I tell you what we’re really thinking.


The reality is, every single orgasm a woman has is a battle fought with a whole host of external and internal pressure. We argue against the idea that we’re ugly and undesirable. We resist societal expectations of what beauty and sex appeal are supposed to be. Some of us even have to fight our own personal values and belief structures. In nearly every single modern theology, a woman’s sexuality is BAD. All of these things, all of these feelings? They run through her mind while she’s attempting to let go and get off. If YOU aren’t into it, she NEVER will be either.

We might also be thinking about the laundry in the dryer that needs folding, what we have to do tomorrow, if there’s a kid awake, any number of things, really. Most women have an exceedingly difficult time shutting off their brains, so in addition to all the other shit I just told you to do, it’d be really awesome if you set the right mood.

Turn the TV off, turn some music on, and enjoy the process, not just as a means to an end.

Make her feel valued, cherished. Make her feel adored. More than anything else, that focus, that attention, will go a long way to putting her at ease.

Do your friends a favor and share. They’ll thank you.