Relationship sex & intimacy workbook/resource suggestions
April 26, 2021 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Partner & I have been together a decade and our relationship has lost some of its thrill and 'spark,' particularly around sex but also when it comes to expressing affection and intimacy more broadly. Suggest resources for us! We're especially interested in workbooks (and other things that offer a semi-facilitated approach), but suggestions of podcasts and other low-stakes tools are welcome too. Resources intended in part or whole to titillate are great, and so are ones meant as entirely therapeutic. Bonus points if you've used it before and can vouch for it.

If it's helpful to know, we mostly communicate well, respect each other wholeheartedly, and fight fairly when we do fight. There's no significant personal trauma history, religious/cultural shame, or relationship betrayals that underpin any of this. Also, the pandemic hasn't helped, but our lull in intimacy pre-dates COVID.

One of us is a cishet male Asian American immigrant, the other is a AFAB queer nb white & Jewish, both forties, overeducated leftists from working class backgrounds. For the most part our intimacy woes aren't rooted in interracial/intercultural differences, but we don't want to feel alienated by books/resources that only tokenistically consider poc and/or queer audiences (somehow worse than being entirely overlooked), or make excessively gendered assumptions (men are always horny and women are always "not tonight, honey" or "well maybe if you did the dishes more often," which aren't relevant to us specifically, and are generally kinda gross). When it comes to sex and sexuality, we're glad to utilize resources that incorporate porn, toys, power dynamics, kink, role play, etc; that said, we're shy with each other lately, so we're looking for ways to facilitate sexual and emotional intimacy and dipping-our-toes-back-in, not advanced shibari or links to DIY gloryhole Instructables (unfortunately).

FWIW, we already have Mating in Captivity, which we're both reading so slowly it hardly counts as reading. The pandemic has made us suck at reading, especially things we're already a little avoidant about.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not sure whether this is quite what you're looking for but Emily Nagoski's Come as You Are has a lot of workbook elements around figuring out what encourages and discourages desire for you personally. Even if it doesn't end up being the exact answer to your question, it's a great read.

I remember having the impression that is was queer-inclusive; I can't remember how or if it addressed gender identity, but it definitely mostly talks about "women" if that's a deal-breaker for you.
posted by duien at 4:54 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]

Seconding Come As You Are. It is mostly pretty fair, but she is up-front about the research being on ciswomen and so aimed at them. But that said, the worksheets alone are amazingly helpful - there is one on your best ever experiences, one on your worst ever experiences, which if you do them honestly is both triggering and scary and super enlightening. Then you use that to come up with an honest list of what turns you on and what you need to avoid. There are other worksheets as well, which were equally helpful - I recommend it to anyone.
posted by epanalepsis at 5:53 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]

If you're open to podcasts, you could check out Swoon's back catalog (also available on Spotify/Stitcher/Apple Podcasts). Episode #105 is "Slow Jams: The Decrease in Sexual Energy During a Pandemic" and might be relevant. Playing episodes at home has spurred thoughtful conversations between me and my partner, so I can vouch for it in that respect.
posted by infrathin at 9:19 PM on April 26

I've been a reader of Savage Love since I was in highschool in the nineties, and a listener to the Savage Lovecast since it came on the air. Dan Savage is not a perfect human being, but his column/show have introduced me to so many human beings trying to understand and be understood by each other around sex that I find it a perennially valuable resource.

Oh Joy Sex Toy has been lovely when I've had occasion to check it out as well.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:43 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite online things is Aurore, which is a collection of high quality erotica. I think you pay for it but as I recall the subscription is maybe $5-10, and the quality really is amazing.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 11:08 PM on April 26

can’t vouch on personal experience, but the gottmans’ eight dates comes to mind. bonus points that it is sufficiently mainstream you can likely borrow it from your local public library :)
posted by tamarack at 6:40 AM on April 27

If reading is not your thing but you've enjoyed Esther Perel's book, she also has a podcast called Where Should We Begin, where you are just listening in on her therapy sessions with couples. It's not specifically only sex related, but perhaps you can browse through and find episodes that are more relevant to you. I really enjoyed listening to it with my partner.
posted by monologish at 8:33 AM on May 5

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