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A sex life with teens?

A Sex Life with Teens? | Betty HerbertAuthor: Laura Wilkinson

First off, I’m not talking about teenagers having sex; I’m talking about the parents of teenagers having sex; or not, as is more often the case in my household. For clarity, when I say teen I mean adolescent, which seems to begin at about eleven these days.

I have two ginger sons. When my husband (known as the BigFella; he is tall rather than weighty) and I took the momentous decision to have children we understood there would be some impact on our sex life; we had friends with young children; we’d read the manuals. Naturally, we hoped for good sleepers but knew it was a lottery.

Unlike others we knew, when friskiness was off limits for six months or more, our sex life resumed sharpish after Ginger1’s birth. After a traumatic, fast labour my body snapped back to pre-baby form within a fortnight, and so we made love. After Ginger2’s arrival – this time by C-section – we had sex within a month. We were advised to take it easy; wait six weeks, the doctor said, but I drove after four (unaware that I would not have been insured had there been an accident) and I figured if I could drive I could get laid. Bizarre but true.

Neither of our boys were good sleepers; in fact, they were horrible sleepers. Especially our first, who woke at 2am for a play and a chat before returning to bed (ours) for a couple of hours, after which he was up for the day. While others munched on croissants, I dug into fish and chips; 9am was effectively my lunchtime. An ‘early-riser’ the health visitor said, quaintly, smiling. You could be forgiven for thinking this had an adverse effect on our sex life. It didn’t. It just happened a little earlier in the evening than BC. The little fella went down like a dream at 8pm so we always had a couple of hours to ourselves before we’d fall into a deep and dreamless sleep. And with energetic and helpful grandparents available and willing we managed weekends away periodically: New York, Paris, and, closer to home, London. Luxurious shag-fests with a bit of culture thrown in when we could drag ourselves out of bed. I’d be lying if I said our love making was as vigorous, imaginative and frequent as it had been when we were young and newly in love, but all things considered it was more than satisfactory.

So when did the passion disappear? Quite recently, that’s when. And disappear isn’t the right description – it slipped out the back door, shrunken and apologetic. So quietly we didn’t notice, for a while. No one warns you of the impact of an adolescent in the house on your sex life. If you live in a mansion where a rave could take place in the west wing without those in the east wing knowing anything about it then you will probably think I’m talking gibberish. But, like the majority of the population, we live in a pretty standard three-bedroomed house, where the walls are only marginally thicker and more sound proof than a good quality tea towel. Ginger1 is in his early teens; too young to be out and about having fun (and a sex life of his own) and too old to be tucked up in bed zzzing by 9pm. Teenagers are around. All the time. We often hear him padding around his bedroom after we’ve finished our cocoa and turned out the light. Still a horrible sleeper.

And teens are so aware. And so much more assertive than our generation. Like all teens, now and then, Ginger1 is mortified if his parents are blatantly sexual. On the rare occasion when we go in for a snog against the dishwasher, while ostensibly preparing the evening meal, if caught we are met with a very vocal ‘Yeeeeww!’ As a liberated, metropolitan couple we are open with our children, but we are not without inhibitions. One evening, amorous and desperate after a bottle and a half of Pinot Grigio we gave it a go only to be stopped in our tracks when Ginger1 banged on the wall, asking us to control ourselves. I remember hearing my own parents ‘at it’ at about the same age, lying there, fingers in my ears, desperate for them to finish, but I would never, ever, have asked them to stop.

What about making good use of your fella’s morning glory I hear you cry? Teens have to be dragged out of bed. There’s a four year gap between our boys, so the youngest is still up early-ish. On the rare occasions we wake up before both boys, we have gone in for a quickie, but these are rushed, whispered affairs, with one eye on the bedroom door and where the BigFella keeps his boxers hooked over one ankle in case an emergency leap out of bed is called for. And the grandparents? They are older, and less energetic, and teens are less than keen to spend entire weekends with gramps.

The gap between fumbles widened from weeks to months. ‘When did we last have sex?’ we asked at last. Once we’d noticed its absence, boy did we miss it. We might be middle-aged farts but the thought of hanging up our paddles and chains (I blame Fifty Shades) is too depressing to contemplate. We’re not so ancient to rule out sex altogether – if indeed anyone should do that. Smutty comments and bottom squeezing occurred regularly between my grandparents and though I found it disconcerting as a – you’ve guessed it – teen, by the time I was all grown up it delighted me to think that even after all those years (they’d been married 51 when my grandfather died) they still found one another desirable.

How do the BigFella and I resolve this dilemma? We have dates, mid-week, when the Gingers are at school. Mostly for sex, but also to wine and dine (lunch) and talk without being constantly interrupted or eavesdropped upon. We look forward to these secret liaisons like naughty teenagers and they bring us closer together, most definitely. We’re both freelance and as such we have the freedom (mostly, we do have demands and deadlines like everyone else) to do this, and I appreciate that this is not an option many could do regularly, but it works for us. And we are more than happy to sacrifice a day’s lolly to keep our love active. There’s nothing to beat the sideways glance and grin we give each other when Ginger1 returns home and says: ‘So what have you been up to today?’

About: Laura grew up in a Welsh market town and now lives in Brighton. As well as writing fiction, she works as an editor for literary consultancy, Cornerstones. She has published short stories in magazines, digital media and anthologies. She writes general fiction as Laura Wilkinson and erotic romance as L. C. Wilkinson. Her first hot romance, All of Me, is published by Xcite, an imprint of Accent Press. Currently, she’s working on two novels: one is set against the backdrop of the 1984/85 miners’ strike; the other is a romance following a petulant young woman and a man running from his past. What does all her work have in common? Compelling stories, fascinating characters, and ideas that make you think a little. At least she hopes so! To find out more visit her sites – www.lcwilkinson.com or www.laura-wilkinson.co.uk – for news and freebies. Or follow her on Twitter: @ScorpioScribble . You’ll also find her GoodReads, and she loves to hear from readers and other writers so do get in touch.





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Guest post: Perving by Kath Melandri

Perving by Kath Melandri | Betty HerbertAuthor: Kath Melandri – visit her splendid new blog, The Mostess

Thank you sunshine, so far the summer of 2013 has been brilliant.

As temperatures have risen, good looking blokes have been peeling off layers and showing off their square shoulders, muscly guns covered in intriguing tattoos, thick calves and not forgetting, the biggest show offs with their washboard abs. Then of course there are the chaps who just have a pretty face. To be honest I like looking at all of you.

I think it’s time for women like myself to admit that we perv at men. For the record I don’t think this makes me a pervert. I have no desire to meet these dudes I speak of – I am happily married to a man with a full beard that I love (both him and the beard that is). I don’t even want the guys to know I’m looking, I just enjoy a sneaky peek.

That’s my definition of perving by the way – appreciating attractive people from afar without making them feel uncomfortable. For me it’s a really enjoyable pass time. Maybe men thought they had the monopoly on appreciating the human form, but no… we women like to check you out too.

As I see it, in our fast-paced western society, finding a spare 5  minutes to appreciate a fit chap has got to be good for mental health. From behind the protection of my massive sunglasses, whilst sipping my pricey iced latte, peering at lovely lads is a joy. I feel the need to stress I’m an equal opportunities perv – matters of shape, size, height and occupation can vary according to mood.

Don’t they mind I hear you ask… well I hope not. Honestly I think there’s an unwritten contract that I am part of when it comes to perving – I am drawn to guys with a peacock style of dress or undress so hopefully the quiet attention I give them, is me simply holding up my end of the bargain

This wonderful distraction isn’t a sinister hobby, it really is just my opportunity to celebrate the work of mother nature when it comes to creating men.

So just to confirm, as the humidity rages on with this unpredictable summer, if you see a middle aged woman glancing away as you turn around it was because I was appreciating your arse. Thank you for wearing those shorts, they showed it off a treat.

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Whisper: The Photograph

Author: Catherine Holt

I have had photo hidden like a dirty secret since I was 13. It’s only since I cleared my mum’s house that I found it again.

It was taken in 1990. I was 14 at the time. The photographer was a young man, who at the time was much older than me, maybe 22 or 23.

I was on holiday in Cornwall. I hardly spoke to him the evening I met him. I didn’t even kiss him. I was very naive at the time and completely innocent. I met him at the disco. He asked me to meet him the following day for a walk, and then he asked me to take my clothes off for this shot…..I didn’t.

Please take care of young women/daughters whilst on holiday this year: they may not be as well equipped as may think.

Whispers: The Photograph | Betty Herbert

(Adapted from a Facebook post).

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Whisper #36 – Limerence

Author: anonymous



….a term coined c.1977 by US psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated.  (Wikipedia)


You never meant to fall for Him. Because you thought being married ring-fenced such feelings, made you immune to them. You didn’t even like Him that much, that first time you met. He was pompous, self-centred, overly eager to impress you. He was wearing navy socks. He lived in a normal house in an ordinary part of suburbia. He was everything you had not expected: His very ordinariness was a shock, and when you left, after that first meeting, that interview, you felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment. Yet, there was something, vague and indefinable, an exchange of glances, a shared joke, the mirroring of your movements that set your belly fluttering in a way unfelt for over 20 years, like the half-remembered sensation of a teenage crush, and a time when sex was still as much a puzzle as a thrill.

And so a correspondence begins, your messages bouncing back and forth in the ether with all the intensity of an ace tennis volley. By the end of the weekend, you’re certain there is “something”, a connection and a chemistry more profound than anything you’ve experienced in a long time, maybe ever. You walk around Notting Hill where you work with a spring in your step. You catch sight of your reflection in shop windows, people smile at you in the street, you’ve got the pollen on you! Yet it comes as a shock to realise that the boundaries of your emotional life are not completely impermeable, that being married does not make you resistant to another person’s attention. You anticipate, and look forward to contact with Him in a way that is all too consuming, and before long, you find he has filled a space you hadn’t even known was there. You tell yourself it is foolish to pretend that these email ‘conversations’ have anything in common with real ones. By its very nature, communicating by this means is subject to stringent self-editing; these are self-conscious, self-selecting versions of truth, offering mere illusions of intimacy, yet soon a relationship begins to grow, built on paragraphs and punctuation in the soundless, faceless, anonymous world of cyberspace. Each day you long to see the little envelope icon in your in-box, to tell you He is thinking of you, and the churn of a secret life is potent and addictive. You spend your days in suspense, waiting. Waiting and waiting.

You re-read His latest email, re-reading and re-reading until you have memorised every word in the short message, and you watch your feelings rearrange around it, like the splinters of coloured glass in a child’s kaleidoscope.




And then – oh joy! – the chance to meet again. It’s public, with others. It will be easy. But of course when you see him the symptoms flood in, strange uninvited feelings, as though something has colonised and taken over your mind and body. Just seeing him sets your heart racing, banging around in your chest as if you have been running hard. You want to appear cool, sophisticated. He’s standing in the doorway, talking to someone else, but His gaze is fixed on you. He’s impatient to come to you. You’re edging towards one another now, imperceptibly, and then suddenly He’s striding towards you, smiling, smiling, and there’s the “Oh-my-God-is-it-really-you-ness” of meeting Him again after a long absence, and you’re touching the fine wool of the sleeve of his suit and you’re kissing, public and chaste, but a kiss nonetheless, and He’s talking to you, and now there’s no distance between you at all. You’re talking, laughing, it’s friendly and easy, and the hive of nerves in your stomach settles because you haven’t said anything stupid.

You wrap the moments around you like a soft warm shawl and walk back to the station with a secret smile playing around your mouth. But as the train trundles through the Surrey countryside, and the distance between you grows, again, all the anxieties creep back again and threaten to overwhelm you. Your insecurity, your hopeless desire for the things you cannot have, your need to be in touch with Him, to have His attention, His flattery and His affection, flood you and erase most of the pleasurable feelings of the encounter. Your eyes prickle; you are close to tears.

An email drops into your inbox at 4pm. Brief. Significant. Sufficient. You read it and reread it. Again, and again. Later, in bed you bring it out again, like a precious, secret object, always hidden, always close. Read it. Reread it. Again. He invades your actions and your thoughts, and your fingers stray between your legs, remembering, remembering, replaying, trying to balm the ache.

Each day you tell yourself it has to end. But how can you end something that has hardly even begun?

If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.


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Whisper #31 – Know Yourself

Author: Korhomme, who blogs as The Empirical Reader

A phone call, out of nowhere: to tell me that my cousin was dead. And by his own hand; things began to unravel from there. A long, long forgotten memory stirred in my head.

We’d been close as kids, he would stay with us in N Ireland, we would stay with him and his parents in the south of England. I didn’t realise it then, but now I see that he was brought up in what his brother conceded was ‘genteel poverty’. Yet his parents were gentlefolk in the best English tradition. Over the years I’d grown very fond of them, though my cousin always seemed to have greater ambitions, a desire, a need, to escape from his origins.

“He was always flamboyant,” my sister said when I told her. And it was true. He was ambitious, determined somehow to escape from the circumstances of his childhood. He would smoke only the most extravagant cigarettes, the most unusual, Balkan Sobranie for example. Just to be different.

There was more, it all gradually unfolded. He had been missed by his lover, he hadn’t phoned, so his lover had called the police, they had been alerted and found him.

He’d married years before, and had a couple of boys; and had had a grandson, though out of wedlock. But he had divorced her some years ago, and taken a series of lovers. Men.

When he was married, they used to quarrel, frequently and seriously. And then he’d suffered from depression and had been treated for this — and still was being treated at the time of his death. And the migraines; he’d never had these before, but after his marriage they were frequent, debilitating.

All of this was revealed in pieces, in fragments. As if the family didn’t understand what was happening, how he could have taken his own life, as if they couldn’t accept what had happened.

It was difficult for me to take this all in; he’d seemed to be content, to have been a success. And he was, at least financially and socially. The foreign holidays, the cars. What had happened; how had he changed?

It came back to me a week or two after the first phone call; funerals arrangements can be delayed, and I’d time to think before going to meet the relatives. I remembered a scene from forty years before, when I stayed with him and his parents. We were on a station platform, his brother and I, he was going off to his summer job, and we were chatting, as lads do.

“You know,” he said, “it’s only after you’ve fucked a girl for the first time that you’ve proved yourself.” We’d all laughed at this, for it was true, a proof of manhood.

But it was a lie, he’d deceived us and himself for decades. He hadn’t proved that he was heterosexual, he’d pretended to be something that he wasn’t. It was illegal then; his parents would never have understood.

And he lived with this self-deception for decades, until it was too much.



If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.


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Whisper #17 – Pretty Kitty + Exciting giveaway!

Author: Jess, who was written a Whisper for us before.


It seems a vital step to any female sexual self-discovery journey: learn to appreciate your pussy. And by that I mean, find her beautiful. As simple a step as that may seem, it’s been a long process for me.

I remember in high school, I couldn’t figure out how to use a tampon. To hide my mortification, I joked that maybe I didn’t have a hole. (I went to a school where holding hands was not allowed on campus . . . most of us weren’t having sex. Clearly, I wasn’t.) My vagina has always been a mysterious, wet cave to me, until I started to explore without any lust involved. I realized one day as I touched Her that: She is Me. And I wasn’t shamed or grossed or tentative about Her anymore.

Last week I found 2 books on Amazon filled with pictures of many different vulvas. One reviewer sounded a lot like me: she’d purchased both books with hope of connecting beautiful with her own vulva, which she’d always thought abnormal. Because of those books, she wrote, she found beauty in between her legs.

So I poured a glass of cabernet and settled in to watch Zen Pussy, a short video of 11 different vulvas. I won’t lie: I didn’t find beauty every single time. I can’t intelligently articulate why I felt shy about some vulvas and gravitated toward others. And while I wanted to feel more womanly and powerful from seeing other vulvas, I only felt that way once I re-looked at my own pussy. I felt relief, because my familiar lips and colors soothed me.

Light bulb moment: if I found her this beautiful and pleasing to the eye, I’d be much more interested in touching her, pleasuring her, showing her off to a lover. I could see how this one shift in bodily perspective could overhaul my attitude toward sex.

Clearly, our bodies inspire men to lust, and they seek out pictures of pussy for that very reason. So why aren’t women prouder of their pussies? If we could see our bodies as guys do, if we believed the hype men give us, would our body image woes disappear?

We all know guys are shamelessly in love with their cocks. They’re allowed to be shirtless outside, and they’re generally prouder of their bodies – with or without cause – than the average woman. And they seem to be the more sexually satisfied sex. The photographer who created Petals, Nick Karras, found a correlation here. He noted in an interview about his project with women that, “I’ve come to believe that the woman who is proud of her vagina also tends to reflect that confidence in the rest of her personhood.” He also says that, “As a rule, men get lost in women. It amazes me that some women don’t quite understand that.”  That comment makes me wonder if I’ve missed the potential power in my pussy all along.

But I’m curious about the lovely Betty Herbert readers’ experiences and thoughts. I’m single, so I have no guy to interrogate about this and my inquiring mind wants to know. I will proudly recall that once, the sight of my pussy caused a lover to gasp. What about you? Do you find your kitty pretty? What about your lovers?


Exciting Giveaway – How To Be a Sex Goddess!

To drag us all (kicking & screaming) towards lady-garden enlightenment, Jess has generously offered to give away a copy of Dr Annie Sprinkle’s ‘How To Be A Sex Goddess‘, which includes the Zen Pussy slideshow that she mentions above.

To enter, all you have to do is be on our mailing list – click here for the (very short) entry form. By entering this competition, you are confirming that you are 18 years or older. I will pick the winner at random, and then contact them via the email address provided, asking for a mailing address. The competition closes on Monday 24th January 2011, at 12pm.

The books that Jess refers to are Petals by Nick Karras and Femalia by Joanie Black.

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Whispers #11 & #12

This week, the Whispers come a day early to make way for the final Seduction tomorrow. After that, me & H are off to Paris for a well-earned rest before we start working out how to continue to have sex without the structure of the Seductions to keep us going. Eek.

In the meantime, I’ve got two excellent Whispers for you today.

Whisper #11 is a thought-provoking cri de coeur about how we see sex and fat bodies – or how we in fact refuse to see it at all. The author captures beautifully what it’s like to find your sexuality when society disapproves of your body.

Whisper #12 is a lovely, sleepy poem about morning sex from friend-of-the-blog TeacherMommy, who writes the wonderful Diapers & Dragons. Gorgeous.

Enjoy! And please do send me your own Whispers – you can write anonymously, and I’m always on the lookout for new posts for this popular feature. (I also love reading them!) Submission guidelines are here.

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