Vixen…Interview with a True Burlesque Diva

Are you looking to improve your confidence, both in and out of the bedroom? Look no further than your own boudoir. Burlesque is more than just the tease; it is an attitude of confidence that can positively impact every area of life. There is a body-positive revolution brewing; and today, we meet a British bombshell who is setting the west coast ablaze with it.

Prepare to meet your next girl crush.

The Performer: Vixen Deville is an other-worldly sex goddess: she swallows fire, walks on glass, defies gravity with aerial hoops, and tantalizes audiences with her curves. Since leaving London for Los Angeles, Vixen has been blowing Hollywood minds with her saucy personality and sensuous feats of daring.

The Person: Cat LaCohie is a force of nature with a big mission. She lives to awaken the power in others, by teaching women (and men) to embrace their wildness and express their sensuality through Burlesque.

I recently got the chance to sit down for a no-holds-barred interview with Cat. In this intimate conversation, she reveals the lessons she has learned. In Part 1 of the following Q&A, Cat LaCohie tells us how it all went down. In Part 2, Vixen shares exclusive tips on how you can harness your own feminine power.

Part 1:

The Birth of Vixen

How did Vixen come to be?

“Originally, Vixen was everything I wanted to be, but wasn’t in real life. Growing up, I was overweight and unpopular. I hated giving presentations at school. But by the age of 9 or 10, I fell in love with acting…and I identified with strong characters, like Scarlet from Gone With The Wind. I wanted to be her, wearing corsets and dresses and everything. I became more comfortable being someone else. As a character, you can say whatever you want with no personal consequences – because they all assume you’re pretending.”

Who is Vixen, now?

“Looking back on it, I realize that if I had the confidence at the beginning, there would have been no need for a character. The stage was a safe space to express my honest thoughts. Vixen DeVille was me. When I feel powerful and sexy and shameless as Vixen, I am embracing my vulnerability and power as Cat. Vixen and I are very similar.”

I feel like everyone has a brazen alter-ego inside of them. What are the benefits of embracing this?

“As myself, I have become more confident in certain situations because I realize I’m not being judged for what I say anymore. If I say something a bit off the cuff, a bit more tongue in cheek, people like me for it. People like me for not giving a shit. You don’t have to ‘fit in’ or guess what people are expecting you to be. People love the quirkiness and weirdness that is you.”

Does Vixen also play a part in the bedroom?

“I think people expect me to be really adventurous and dominant in the bedroom, because of the persona. And Vixen is very domineering…all leather and corsets and all that. But I’m not even into that. It’s like how Halloween comes once a year and you have an excuse to dress how you’ve always wanted… Now that I play Vixen on a weekly basis, I don’t need that outlet anymore.

“In the bedroom, having a connection with somebody is way more important than sex toys or bondage or anything. It can be fun, but it shouldn’t be everything. If someone feels the need to do this with somebody, they might be avoiding connection. Great sex means simply being in tune with each other. Everything else is just bells and whistles. I personally like being dominated a little bit. It’s a give and take, really.

So while you and Vixen are very similar in life, does it bother you when people expect a certain thing in bed?

“Just because I dress a certain way, or listen to a certain type of music, or behave a certain way onstage…I’m not that way in bed. Marilyn Manson doesn’t go around killing children. You like to watch horror films, but you’re not an axe murderer.

Vixen does not discriminate when flirting with her audience. How do people respond?

“Onstage, I flirt with men and women absolutely equally. Men really like Vixen, but women find themselves attracted, too. Last night I did an act where I brought a woman onstage with me.

“People tend to over-think their sexuality to the point of shame. The stage is very freeing…if I didn’t have Vixen to speak through, I might not have had a chance to explore my sexuality. The audience jumps right in. It’s like group therapy!”

Perfect Bedroom Tips for Valentine’s

Is your bedroom Valentine’s Day ready?

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we’ve already given you plenty of ideas for gifts for your sweetheart, ways to decorate your home and adorable cards to send to your loved-ones in the mail. But let’s get down to business. Is your bedroom Valentine’s Day ready?

We spoke with a renowned sex coach, Amy Levine of Ignite Your Pleasure to get sexy bedroom ideas and tips to make a few simple changes so this space is a scene for red hot romance.

Amy Levine: Often the bedroom can be a catch-all of clutter, rather than a sensual haven. Look around your room and take note of the sights that cause you to be stressed out, overwhelmed or anxious, and remove them.

Levine also listed the 5 common culprits that turn out to be sources of “sexual sabotage.”

Clothing – This includes both dirty and clean laundry. Put clean clothes away in your closet and dirty clothes in the hamper as soon as you take them off (except the items you strip off in the heat of the moment as you’re getting it on).

Papers and Books – Move any bills that need to be paid, other paperwork, and books that you haven’t had time to read to another room. They don’t belong in your bedroom as they serve as reminders of to-dos, and can prevent you from getting in the mood.

Technology – A computer, TV, cell phone or tablet charging on your nightstand are all distractions.

Photos – Do you really want to look at a photo of family members when you’re having sex? Probably not. Instead, angle these photos away from the bed, or move them to the living room.

Children’s Toys – While your kids may play in your room at times, move their things to their own bedroom or playroom.

Basically, if an item is not in sync with making you feel sexy or allowing you to have a great night’s sleep, then get it out of your bedroom!

How Often Should We Be Having Sex?

Are you having enough sex? You might have wondered if you should up your bedroom activity after reading about other couples’ resolutions to have sex every day or about all the health benefits of getting horizontal.

In what might be welcome news for everyone exhausted from work and frazzled from kids, research suggests you don’t have to get down every day to reap the rewards of sex, at least in terms of happiness and relationship closeness.

A recent study found that, although married people or people in committed relationships who had more sex tended to report feeling happier, the benefit leveled off at a sexual frequency of once a week. Those who said they did the deed four or more times a week did not report feeling any happier than those who had trysts only weekly.

I do think couples can end up feeling pressure to try to engage in sex as frequently as possible,” said Amy Muise, a postdoctoral researcher studying sexual relationships at Dalhousie University in Canada. Once a week “is maybe a more realistic goal to set than thinking you have to have sex everyday and that feels overwhelming and you avoid it,” said Muise, who is lead author of the study, which was published in November in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The study found that sex could boost happiness because it makes people feel more satisfied in their relationship, based on survey data from two separate cohorts, including 2,400 married couples in the U.S. National Survey of Families and Households.

“For people in relationships, their romantic relationship quality is one of the biggest predictors of their overall happiness,” Muise said. “Having sex more than once a week might not be enhancing that (relationship connection), although it is not bad.”

However, there are a couple of rubs with this research, Muise said. One is that it is not clear which came first, sex or happiness. It may be that people who have sex once a week or more were happier in their relationship and life to begin with, and not that the sex helped make them happy. Or both may be true: Sex enhances happiness and happiness enhances sex.

The other catch is that, although a weekly romp might be just what some people need, it might be too much or too little for others. “Certainly there are couples for whom having sex less frequently will be fine for their happiness, and there are couples who will get increases in happiness if they have sex more than once a week,” Muise said.

What’s the right number for you?

One of the best effects of an article like this (by Muise and her colleagues) is that it opens up conversations with couples” about their sex life, said Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist based in Berlin. For some couples, the question of how often they should have sex might not have come up, which could be a sign they feel sufficiently close and satisfied — or that they are just too busy or disconnected to think about it.

Most couples want to be having more sex and I think this is really a result of how busy and full most of our lives are,” Marin said.

Marin avoids prescribing an amount of sex that couples should have, because every couple is different, and instead recommends couples test it out for themselves. “I’m a big fan of having clients experiment, like, one month try to have sex twice a week and see how that goes, or once a week, try to play around with it,” Marin said.

As for those lucky couples that are content with how often they get busy under the sheets, one study suggests they may not want to change a thing. Researchers asked couples that were having sex about six times a month to double down on getting down. Couples that doubled their sexual frequency were in worse moods and enjoyed sex less at the end of three months than couples who had stuck to their usual level of bedroom activity.

Being told you should do something always makes it less fun,” said George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and lead author of the study. That is another reason Marin does not make recommendations to couples about sexual frequency — for fear they could worry they are not living up to expectations and lose their mojo.

However, there’s a far bigger relationship problem than couples worrying they aren’t having quite enough sex — “couples that have pretty much stopped having sex,” Loewenstein said. For these couples, “I think once a week is a good final goal. … It is almost like a natural constant to do it once a week,” he said.

Even if these abstinent couples want to be having more sex, they may lack the desire for their partner. These couples can try conventional strategies, such as scheduling more quality time together or trying a change in scenery. “What couple has not had the experience that you go to a hotel in a new location in a new environment and the person you’re with seems different, and different is good when it comes to sex,” Loewenstein said.

But if these tricks aren’t enough, couples may have to appeal to their rational rather than lustful side and tell themselves to just do it. “These couples might be surprised how enjoyable it would be if they restarted,” Loewenstein said.

Should you schedule your sex?

It might sound like the least romantic thing in the world to pencil in sexy time with your partner. But if you and your partner are game to try, there is no reason not to make a sex schedule.

“For some couples, scheduling sex works really well, it gives them something to look forward to, they like the anticipation, they like feeling prioritized,” Marin said. “Then other couples (say) scheduling sex feels horrible to them, like sex is transactional and just another item on their to-do list.”

Again, Marin recommends couples experiment with scheduling sex to see if it helps them, as long as neither is opposed to it.

A good idea for all couples, whether they like the idea of scheduling sex, is to plan for quality time together — just the two of them. Ideally, this would be about 20 minutes a day with the TV off and cell phones away, but for extra busy couples, it can help to reserve just five minutes a day for a tete-a-tete, Marin said. This time is also the “container for sex,” the time and privacy when sex can be initiated, but you don’t have to feel pressure about it, she added.

Although scheduling sex can help couples that want to be having sex but just can’t find the time, it can make things worse for some. “If there are relationship issues or psychological issues such as stress or anxiety, then scheduling sex might just add to the pressure,” said Acacia Parks, associate professor of psychology at Hiram College.

As for when to schedule the sex, the best time is probably the time when you are least likely to be pulled away by life’s obligations. One of the perks of rise-and-shine sex is that testosterone levels are highest in the morning, and this hormone drives sexual desire. On the other hand, tuck-you-in sex could help lull you to sleep, as hormones released during orgasm could help you relax and feel tired.

According to Muise, the participants in her research typically reported having sex at night before going to sleep, which is not that surprising. But it has to work for both parties. “This is another point of negotiation between partners,” Muise said. “One of them is just too exhausted. That might be something to play around with, is there a time on the weekend that we could try instead.”

Curated by Timothy
Original Article

Here’s What Not to Do In the Bedroom

You probably didn’t need a study to tell you this, but research confirms that sex is one of the ingredients that’s most crucial to making long-term relationships thrive. Early on, feeling sexy and passionate isn’t hard—but things can get trickier as the years go on. Hoping to bust out of a dry spell or prevent those embers from fading? Don’t make these common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Thinking you need a “date night” to connect

If you’re like most couples, the first thing you do when you want to reconnect with your partner is put a “date night” on the calendar. “The idea is that after a fancy dinner, candlelight, and wine, you’ll come home and want to jump each other,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist and author of The New Monogamy. But what really happens after a meal of rich food, a few glasses of wine, and a late night out? “Most couples want nothing more than to go to sleep,” Nelson points out.

The fix:

Send the kids out while you and your partner stay home alone. “Think of this as a sacred time for the two of you to practice ‘planned’ spontaneity,” Nelson suggests. “It’s a much better way to act out all of your fantasies, without feeling bloated and hungover the next day.”

Mistake #2: Forgoing sex because you’re not in the mood

“Having a grown-up life is exhausting, and stress and fatigue can decrease desire,” acknowledges Nelson. But if you wait to have sex until you have plenty of free time and boundless energy, you may be waiting a long time.

Plus, “for many people, particularly women, desire comes after arousal, not the other way around,” Nelson notes. “That means once your body is sufficiently aroused, you may find you are more into sex than you realized.”

The fix:

Just do it, and you’ll probably be glad that you did. If you’re genuinely crazed from obligations and short on time, you can still fit in a quickie, says Nelson. “The sexual contact will make you feel connected to your partner and can reduce the stress in your marriage.” Sex also helps release endorphins and dopamine, serotonin, and other brain chemicals that can reduce your stress during the day and help you sleep better at night.

Mistake #3: Falling into a rut

There’s something to be said for sex so familiar that you can anticipate what’s coming next. “Each of you knows the buttons to push for the other, and if you have a routine that’s giving the other a good orgasm, then by all means, keep at it,” says Nelson. That’s said, it’s not uncommon for couples to get entrenched in habits that aren’t working. They just aren’t sure how to change them or worry that speaking up will hurt the other’s feelings.

The fix:

“Pick one day a week to do something different,” suggests Nelson, “maybe a morning or an afternoon when you have more leisure time to expand on the erotic connection in your relationship.” Start by telling your partner three things you appreciate about him sexually, plus one bedroom move you’d like more of. Then listen as your partner does the same.

“Talking about sex can increase the sexual tension between you, and if you do this exercise in bed, it can really turn up the heat,” Nelson says.

Mistake #4: Worrying how your sex life stacks up

From leaked sex tapes to the latest episode of Game of Thrones, we’re inundated with sexual images—which can put an outsized amount of pressure on us to look or act a certain way in the bedroom. “Sex isn’t supposed to look like porn,” says Amy Levine, a sex coach in New York City and founder of “Sex in real life can be awkward, takes practice, and has the potential to be incredibly intimate and vulnerable.”

The fix:

Be open-minded, Levine says. “Be present, know what feels good to you, communicate your wants and desires, be yourself, and find your confidence.” In other words, approach sex with your partner, she says, “without judgment or expectations.”

Mistake #5: Taking your emotional connection for granted

When was the last time you really spoke to your partner, other than to confirm what’s for dinner or who’s on duty to pick up the kids after soccer practice? Thanks to hectic, overscheduled days, the majority of time we spend with our partners takes place when we’re asleep, notes Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. “But quality relationships require an intimate emotional connection during awake times,” he says.

The fix:

Carve out 30 minutes of connection with your partner before shutting your eyes, Hokemeyer advises. “Turn off all electronics and snuggle or discuss the events of the day.” And while you love your kids (or the family pet) dearly, having them around at this time will “squeeze out the romance,” he notes. “Set clear boundaries and enforce them.”

Mistake #6: Not talking about sex

“The inability to have open and honest communication is at the heart of many couples’ problems in the bedroom,” says Elona Landau, a sex educator in Portland, Oregon. “Even with the people to whom we’re committed, we can’t openly talk about our wants, desires, and needs.” We either never learned how, she says, or keep quiet for fear of being judged, shamed, or shut down.

The fix:

Your partner isn’t a mind-reader, and neither are you. Want to have sex more often, try something new, or have concerns about your waning libido? Speak up. Meanwhile, ask your partner to weigh in on the state of your physical union. Just as relationships grow and evolve over time, so does your sexuality.

“Listen with ‘fresh ears’ and try to hear what your partner wants without putting it through your own filter,” says Landau. Pay attention to how you’re responding, whether you’re intrigued, uncomfortable, or somewhere else on the spectrum—and approach that with curiosity as well. “Being willing to hear the other person, acknowledge their vulnerability, and be empathetic to their needs can go a long way.”

Curated by Erbe
Original Article