Lovehoney Sex Expert Interview: Xanet Pailet
Xanet Pailet, author of the new book, Living an Orgasmic Life, is a recovered NYC healthcare lawyer who lived in a sexless marriage for over two decades.
After experiencing her own sexual healing and awakening in 2011, she transitioned her career into a full-time sex and intimacy educator and coach. She offers 1:1 coaching and online group programs to empower women around their sexuality and strengthen couples' relationships and intimacy skills.
Xanet is a certified Somatica Sex and Intimacy Coach, Sexological Bodyworker, Holistic Pelvic Care Practitioner, Tantra Educator, and is trauma trained in Somatic Experiencing. She is on the faculty of the Ecstatic Living Institute and the Somatica Institute.
Find out more about her work at powerofpleasure.com.
1. What are some of your very best practical tips to help couples fully express themselves to each other sexually?
It all starts with communication. Being open, honest and vulnerable with each other is the key to a fulfilling relationship and sex life. Being able to ask for what you want without fear of being shamed allows you to open up sexually with your partner.
If it's hard for you to have that conversation, I suggest making it into a game where each partner writes down on a piece of paper five ways in which they would like to be touched or aroused. This takes some of the charge away from your request, gives your partner time to process it, and also will begin a conversation.
Know what you want. For many couples, especially women, this is often a lot harder than it sounds. Women have a tendency to rely on their partner to figure out their body and what turns them on because we don't understand our own arousal patterns. I tell all my female clients that they are responsible for their own arousal, which is impossible if you don't understand what you need.
A really fun way to explore your arousal with your partner is to have a night of R & D (Research and Discovery). This is a night of exploration and curiosity, like you used to do as a child when you played doctor.
There is absolutely no expectation of having an orgasm or sex. Rather you get to explore each other's bodies, sensation, and arousal and give each other constant feedback about what you like and don't like.
Have a mutual masturbation session or watch each other masturbate. This is not only very erotic but you will also learn the exact technique and strokes that your partner likes and the pattern that gets them to an orgasm.
2. How can incorporating toys into the bedroom help strengthen and increase the level of play in a couple's sex life?
Boredom kills a couple's sex life and toys are one of the best solutions to that. Sex should be fun and bringing toys into the bedroom gives permission for more play. Toys can change sensation and create a deeper sexual connection between a couple.
Be creative in choosing your toys as well. Toys are awesome for going into fantasy or role play; sexy costumes, blindfolds, handcuffs, and furry gloves can all enhance a couple's sex life and expand the possibilities for sexual exploration.
3. Tell us more about Living An Orgasmic Life and the inspiration behind it! What kind of healing journey can readers expect to go on and what does awakening their sexuality look like?
I wrote this book because I have an important story to tell about the potential for healing your relationship with sex. I have not always been a sex and intimacy coach! In fact, I'm a healthcare lawyer by training and had been working in the corporate world until I hit 50.
I was also living in a 20 year sexless marriage as a result of my own sexual issues and disconnection with my body. That began to change when I was introduced to Tantra and Sacred Sexuality which became my doorway to sexual healing and awakening.
What's unusual about this book is that unlike most self-help books on sex, I take readers through my own personal sexual healing and awakening journey in a very raw and vulnerable way. Readers are telling me that it's like reading a juicy novel with lots of exercises, tips, and case studies from my clients. It keeps them engaged and wanting to find out what's next!
The first part of the book is about healing your relationship with sex and we work through shame, trauma, physical wounds, and blocks to intimacy.
The second part of the book will help readers awaken their sexuality and their pleasure and again, I incorporate my own awakening experiences as well as those of clients and lots of practical exercises and tips.
Awakening your sexuality involves four steps, all of which I talk about in detail in the book:
- Self-awareness and the courage to address your issues
- Understanding and banishing your sexual shame
- Accepting and loving your body, especially your genitals
- Allowing yourself to fully experience pleasure
Some of the ways to experience pleasure that the reader will learn about is exploring Tantra and learning how to move sexual energy around the body. We will also cover how to reignite your libido and bring passion back, and sexual polarity which is a secret ingredient to a great sex life.
4. In your multi-disciplinary work, what have you found that women in particular need in healing, reclaiming, and celebrating their sexuality? What are some of the foundational steps they can take to begin right away?
Most women are dealing with layers of sexual shame including body image issues that block them from being fully sexually expressed. These emanate from the negative messages that they received about sex growing up.
While boys are told to go "sow their wild oats" but just don't get her pregnant, girls are often told to keep their legs shut. Girls who are more sexually active are often slut shamed by other girls. Women also feel discomfort and shame about making noises during sex and many are uncomfortable asking for what they want.
Reclaiming your sexuality begins with understanding and normalizing your shame. In my book, I provide several different exercises to facilitate that, but one of the most powerful ones is to share one of your most shameful sexual experiences with a partner or good friend.
Talking about it starts to reduce the trigger and it often makes you realize that you are not alone and others have shared similar experiences.
Another foundational piece for women is to give themselves permission to experience pleasure. Women need to shift their mindset from making sure that their partner is having pleasure to making sure that they are having pleasure.
Putting one's own needs above others is really challenging for many women, but that's a critically important step to reclaiming their sexuality. The way to start this part of the journey is to begin to understand what you want and then ask for it.
5. What's your very favorite bedroom advice to give couples?
Go slow! The tendency is for our sex life, like the rest of our life, to be fast and furious. But when we rush into sex, we lose so many of the elements that can make your sex life great.
Intimacy happens when we feel emotionally connected with a partner and that happens when we slow down, look at each other, and really appreciate our partner's body and being. Going slower also allows you to be much more present so your partner will feel seen.
Slowing down also helps to build up tension, which is a key ingredient to a great sex life. It's hard to tease your partner and build up their desire when you go straight for their nipples or genitals. So slow everything down.
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