Lovehoney Sex Expert Interview: Shan Boodram
Shan Boodram is a Sexologist, author, and the Internet’s most sought-after, certified sex educator, dating coach, and relationship expert with over 25 million YouTube views alongside her mainstream coverage across ABC’s “The View,” MTV, The Steve Harvey Show, CNN, The New York Times, Forbes and Time Magazine.
Known by her community as “Shan Boody,” she is currently the relationship-expert host and a consulting producer for Facebook Watch’s, Make Up or Break Up which is now in its second season. Make up or Break Up is streamed live in front of a studio audience.
Boodram solidified her status as a go-to-girl in the dating space as the host and executive producer of the Fullscreen series, Your Perfect Date, where she serves as a coach to help individuals in need of polished dating protocol.
She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a full-time vocal advocate for sex-positive conversations and empowering the masses with clinical information through a youthful lens and has has brand new book set for release in 2019.
What are some of your very best practical tips to help couples fully express their sexual desires to each other?
One is to accept the fact that a lack of sexual desire is not an indication of your feelings toward your significant other or your feelings toward the relationship.
What happens when you first get into a sexual connection with somebody is that your body pretty much does most of the work for you. It gives you dopamine and spikes of adrenaline, it's something new and exciting, and so all of those butterflies and that feeling of, "I have to jump your bones" is all biologically induced!
It's like the first time you eat a particular food - it's the most incredible thing you've ever eaten because it's something new for your tastebuds. Then after a while, it's not that the food has gotten any less "good," but your body no longer responds to it in the same way because it's no longer something new. So once you can acknowledge that, just say, "Hey, we're no longer on the biological, chemical, cocktail of feel-good, now it's really up to us."
Around the two year mark in the relationship, desire really becomes your responsibility. I think if that were communicated to people more, there would be less guilt around that lack of "I want to jump your bones" feeling. So once you've crossed that barrier, you have to start having those discussions around, "Ok, here's where desire hits and here's when we have to move on it." And more importantly, "Here's what I need from you in order to help me get there."
I have something that I do called "turn-on triggers." It's a way for couples to explain something similar to love languages - what really gets them in the mood.
There's five different turn-on triggers:
1. Direct - You have to tell the person that they are desired. You have to look them in the eye, explain what you want about them, how you want to do them, and where you want to do them - they just really need to hear those words from you.
2. Mental - That's a person wherein if you're not in a good space mentally, if you guys aren't jiving on the same frequency, if you don't feel like you're on the same page, then basically they're just not going to open up.
3. Sensual - This is essentially somebody where everything else has to be taken care of before they can really engage in sex. If a sensual person sees a load of laundry in their peripheral, or they know that something hasn't gotten done yet, or the sheets aren't clean, they're just not going to be able to really focus. So if you want to engage in sex, set the mood and set the room.
4. Cat & Mouse - Some people just don't like to be pawed at all the time, you know? I hear this from a lot of women that are in a relationship. If their partners just let them come to them on their time, it would be better. Their partner should just give them the space to feel and allow them to be the one to lead the seduction.
5. Negotiator - This is definitely a fair one. Some people just don't prioritize sex as a physical act the same way others do and there's nothing wrong or uncommon about this. As a trigger, they might need someone to sweeten the pot by adding something else in there, like, "I will clean the room," or "I will take the kids to ballet," or "I will put gas in the car" - whatever that extra incentive is. That for them will get them more in the mood.
What are some of your favorite toys for couples?
It really depends on what kind of orgasm you want and what you like.
This is something I've learned over time with talking to people about their sex life. There truly is no "one-size-fits-all" - and that includes men too! I used to believe that men's sexuality was kind of on autopilot, like, "Oh, put it in the hole and you get a big bang," but some people require a lot of different stimulation.
If you are somebody who enjoys butt play, there's a wealth of stuff out there for you. I'm a big fan of combining sensations. Me and my sexual partner have been together for four years now and that's something that I think for us, allows us to keep things fresh.
While you're doing one activity, massage another. Butt play can be a great additional sidekick, not just what people think of as a main event. So if you're getting clitoral stimulation for example, and someone is slightly pulling on butt beads, dual stimulation might really work for you.
In order to pick the right toy for you, I would determine what your erogenous zones are.
For some people it's nipples and for some it's not. Some people love their balls and some women love their mons pubis. Once you identify what your secondary erogenous zones are, look for accompanying toys that can work on those.
Find yourself a standard vibrator like The Magic Wand. It's large, can be used vaginally, on the perineum - which is that space for men between their balls and their anus, can be used for your back; it's just a multi-purpose massager.
If you're at a loss and don't really know what your partner likes yet, that's a good place to start.
Tell us about Make Up or Break Up! What have you observed about the human experience in relationships when loads of other people weigh in?
It was such an illuminating experience because the consensus that people usually came to early in the show ended up being the same one toward the end - meaning that we all know the signs of a declining relationship. We all become experts of noticing the incompatibility a couple has. It's just nothing that can be worked on.
I think this "knowingness" is something we can tap into for ourselves because we've all gotten to that place in relationships where we're fully aware that it's not you, it's not them, it's just that the connection is just not right. Yet we still try to force ourselves into it. But an outsider can look at it and be like, "Nah, you're career oriented and that's the war when this person wants to start a family." It's just not gonna work.
Or this person's trying to go to college, have fun, and they want to experiment, and you're more traditional and the idea of sharing your partner makes you sick to your stomach. There's fundamental incompatibilities there and at a different time in life when you lived in a town of 20 people and five of those people were your cousins, sure, you would make massive compromises.
But now that you have a plethora of options, if you are really clashing with somebody on one of your core values, it's just not worth it to keep fighting through it.
What are some practical ways couples can feel empowered to emotionally connect with one another both in and out of the bedroom?
I think you have to give to get. If you feel like you're lacking in emotional vulnerability from your partner, often times, you're not giving enough of that on your own.
The empowerment really comes from within when you understand the benefits, not only of what you feel when you express something out loud, but when you really explain how you feel. It often allows you to actually determine how you feel. Hearing our own words echoed back to us and seeing that reflection in someone else is a massively helpful way to get in tune with our own emotions.
I often get asked this question in the form of "How do I express what I want in the bedroom?" or "How do I get comfortable expressing it?" It really stems from a place of recognizing that you don't think it's comfortable. You think it's an awkward conversation and so you're approaching it like "How do I make it less awkward?".
Actuality, it should be, "Oh my gosh, learning to talk about our own feelings - that's so fun! We're going to come out of this knowing each other better, knowing ourselves better, and this is going to make us closer!"
This is the entire benefit of being a human being, right? If you're not going be in touch with your emotions, why not just be a lizard? The empowerment comes when you just truly enjoy and see the benefit of it and that excitement washes off onto your partner.
What's the very best bedroom advice you've ever received (and most like to give!)?
The best part of my job is that I get to be super nosey. As a matter of fact, I asked a friend once because he was saying that what really turns him on is when a girl whispers in his ear. He told me that this girl whispered in his ear while they were sitting side by side to "Come get this." I tried that same technique on him and the next day and he was like, "I know that you got that from that video!"
I'm always fielding people's tips.
I love a good mons pubis massage. The mons pubis is that fleshy mound where pubic hair grows. I was talking to someone once and they said that they massage it either just before copulation or just after. It's a great way to get to the legs of the clitoris. So I love implementing that. Or even after orgasm, just press the heel of your hand down over the mons pubis. Just putting pressure on that area feels really good.
Advice that I would give to people is to be a good sexual partner. No matter what stage you are in the relationship, you really have to be a good tourist and not a tour guide.
A tourist goes to a place with wonder or excitement and they're curious in a positive way. They're not judgmental, they're not making assumptions, and they're not trying to butt in and tell the person what things they know about their country. They're just really there for the experience of, "How do I honor what this person has already built and their traditions and what works for them?"
Then maybe you can start to integrate some ideas you have, but ultimately you're always going to be a tourist with someone else's body. Even if you've been married to them for 50+ years, there's still quite a bit that you haven't learned and unturned. Never assume that it's now time that you take the reins and that you know it all!
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