Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Good Vibrations 'Mommy's Playdate' and Dr. Carol Queen Answers Your Sex Questions

Good Vibrations Berkeley location

  On a recent Tuesday night,  I joined a small group of moms in Berkeley for their kid-free "me time."  No diaper changes, no Barney sing-a-longs. Instead,  brownies, vibrator tutorials and Mommi-tini cocktails. Those are just a few fun things to expect at Good Vibrations' "Mommy's Playdate." The women-friendly sex store hosts the FREE event to help moms, who put sex on the back burner, get the fire blazing again.

For many mothers, sex becomes less of a priority when cleaning runny noses or singing lullabies. I'm not a mom. But from what I hear, after a day of mommy duty, the last thing some of you want to do is get it on with your partner.

"Being exhausted does have an impact on your sex life," said Susie, 39 while holding a basket of adult-goodies she won from the event's raffle.  Susie's six-year-old twins were spending time with their dad during her playdate. "I'd figured he'd be even happier knowing I was coming to get some fun things to bring home."

Dr. Carol Queen addresses our questions
The store's sexologist, Dr. Carol Queen provided the moms with a host of ideas for the bedroom, bathroom, etc. Women followed Dr. Queen on a tour of the store from the Bondage S&M  area to the vibrator section and more.  At each section Dr. Queen explained how certain devices worked while also answering our questions about sex and the body (Did you know there are condoms for vegans?). Good Vibrations is not like the traditional dark, seedy, XXXX adult shops. The store feels more like a boutique with its bright lights and friendly saleswomen behind the counters. The environment along with  Dr. Queen's openness made the mommies comfortable asking questions. We gained a ton of information from Dr. Queen. Some of the interesting points were:

 --Lube, Lube, Lube
Sometimes you need lubricant to help get aroused. Dr. Queen says, "a dry finger touching the vulva may not do the trick like lubricant."

--I never knew the purpose of cock rings until Dr. Queen schooled us. She says, "They firm the penis and make erections more sensitive. Some are designed for clitoral stimulation, especially the vibrating ones."

--Crib liners can serve a dual purpose. For those who see cleaning up after sex as a hassle or time consuming, Dr Queen recommends you, "...use crib liners and sit on them when fooling around. You wont have to worry about your [fluids] or his."

It may look like a rubber
 --Dr. Queen also encouraged we invite our partners to join us during toy play. And contrary to what we've heard about vibrators being only for women, she says men enjoy them too. "Vibration talks to nerve endings...Lots of guys feel the vibrations and go, 'whatever, that feels good.'"

--Sometimes the toys can be your substitute when your partner wants some lovin' and you want some zzzz's.
"It's good to have those toys for the guys too, " said Helen, a  single mother of a tween daughter and attending her second Mommy's Playdate  She said when you're in not in the mood just hand him the toy and say" 'Here you go honey. Not tonight for me.' [laughter]"
-- Of course you don't want your man or woman to run off and marry Duracel. So when you want to have playtime with your partner, without waking the kids, Dr. Queen suggests trying silent vibrators.

Good Vibrations next "Mommy's Playdate" is
Tuesday Nov. 16th
620 Polk Street (at Sacramento Street)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 345-0400

Dr. Carol Queen Answers Your Fly Questions About Sex and Parenthood

Sexologist and author Dr. Carol Queen was so gracious to answer Cocoa Fly readers'  questions about parenthood and sex. Thanks to those of you who sent in questions.

Q: My cousin has a very traditional husband/marriage. She was a virgin when she got married & had a baby 1 1/2 years ago. Her husband says sex feels different now & she's worried that's she's "stretched out" down there. How much does your vagina stretch after a baby? Does it keep stretching after each baby? Will it ever feel the same for her husband?

Dr. Queeen: Your cousin should learn about Kegel exercises (also known as PCs, for the muscles involved: the pubococcygeal). These are vaginal exercises that tighten it all up after birth, plus they're great for making birthing a little easier -- they make the vaginal muscles more flexible, not just tighter --  and they make orgasms feel stronger too! Hers, anyway, and I am guessing that if she has better vaginal muscle control, his might just feel better also.

Here's information about these exercises:

Can masturbation help a woman get her sexual feelings back after having a baby?


Absolutely. The best thing about masturbation, in a situation like this, is that you can use that time to focus on exactly what your body wants, sensation-wise; also, you can figure out whether your responses have changed, and that in turn allows you to tell you partner about the "new you" -- it takes you longer to come now, or you like sensation to be a little softer or harder, or whatever it may be. Plus -- it's YOU time, without having to be distracted by another person. (Being distracted by your partner can be very sexy and sweet, but it can take your focus away from your own body.)

I'm a single mother and I have a 7-year-old. How do you explain to your child that your "friend" is "spending the night" without getting into a whole sex talk? What to say if your child wakes up and finds your "friend" walking out of mommy's room the next morning? Should you tell your 7 year old that mommy is having sex?

 I don't recommend EVER lying to a kid who asks you a direct question about sex. They will remember it later when they find out the real answer somewhere else, and it will erode trust. That said, you don't have to over-share to your kids. You can say, "Sometimes adults have sleepovers with the friends they really like" -- which is true enough, right? If it's more than one friend and they arrive at the house after your child's gone to sleep, I'd recommend specifically telling your child that sometimes you do have sleepovers, rather than just having the kid run into a stranger in the hall without any forewarning. And also, if that DOES happen, introduce the child to your friend -- it's your child's house, and that's a sign of respect.

We like to be spontaneous, but our lifestyle is busy with work and baby. How can we get it going without having to "plan" it? 

Well, first off, don't knock planning it, because sometimes the best experiences happen when you schedule them and can make sure to set the scenario nicely; this lets you work up some expectation, too, which is sexy. But you can do the same on a more unplanned basis by starting to touch base earlier in the day, sending texts or IMs or phone messages about missing your mate and wanting to get a little love later on. This also lets either one of you reach out to the other whenever you feel like it, and can help keep the fires burning. (Don't do this on work-owned computers or phones, by the way; keep it private.)

The other thing to do is figure out when your optimum times are to give each other more than just a kiss. Can one of you run by the other's workplace at lunch and find some privacy somewhere? Can you get someone to come over a couple of times a week and watch the baby? Can you set the alarm just a few  minutes early or grab some time right after you put the baby to bed? This won't be a hard-and-fast schedule, but it's good to be mindful of the most opportune times.

I heard breastfeeding can get in the way of sex. Between the pumping and always having the baby, it can be a problem. Is this something to think about when choosing between the breast and the bottle to feed your baby?

Well, I'd always recommend breast-feeding; it has health benefits that bottle feeding does not. And the fact is, whether breast or bottle, when the baby wants food, you pretty much have to put your focus on your hungry child. As with my answer to the person above who asked about spontaneity, sometimes you really have to look at the cycle of your daily life and how the baby affects it: when is the little one down for a nap? When does s/he go to sleep? Is there a grandma or someone who can watch the kid to give you some alone time? And just remember that many women's partners actually find those lactating breasts bountiful and sexy -- they do not need to be a hindrance to erotic play at all!

From a male perspective, it is difficult to suggest the use of toys or talk about kinky "items" without seeming like a freak to my wife. How can moms facilitate for us men to approach the subject with more confidence?

Partners who have never gotten in the habit of talking to each other about sex and sexual possibility are often in a bind when one of them really has something they want or need to say. Every couple should be able to chat about lovemaking like they chat about what they like for dinner. That's the contribution moms AND dads can make to each other to make all kinds of conversations easier (and, I might add, sexier). That way bringing up toys does not seem unusual or freaky -- just one more erotic thing that might be on the menu.

Although I love my wife's curves, she feels less sexy because of the pregnancy effects to her body. Can you give tips to help her raise self confidence and self image? I know for men this can be a barrier which even if addressed properly is very close/sensitive for women.

Most women really yearn to hear that their partners consider them sexy and desirable, so even if she protests when you tell her that, keep saying it. You probably shouldn't directly reference that she's gotten bigger (no "Baby, there's more of you to love" comments, even if that's really how it feels to you), because she does very likely have a mental picture of what she should look like. But "You're hot just the way you are"? That's a message that reinforces your desire. There are sections in my book Exhibitionism for the Shy: Dress Up, Show Off, and Talk Hot that might be useful to her -- and you might want to get her gifts of sexy clothing, if she wore stuff like that before or is at all willing to put it on now, and compliment her when she wears it.

And if she really wants to get in shape, give her support for that too.

What are creative ways "tease" and turn each other on a budget? The baby is a big financial responsibility now.

Plenty of toys are fairly inexpensive -- you can get a little vibration going on for under $25. If you both like erotic movies, you can now stream them in segments, rather than the whole movie, and sometimes a little bit of frisky viewing is enough to get you in the mood -- that saves money, too. If you like to read to each other, pick out a paperback anthology and spread it out -- read a story or two a week and make it last. (And there are erotic stories online for free -- you can start with the Good Vibes Magazine and keep searching. Or write your own, customized to each other!) Of course the very best thing about sex is that it CAN be done for no money at all, and even if you have to postpone getting a toy or sexy clothes, you can have plenty of delightful fun with hands and mouth and other sensuous body parts while you save up. Don't forget love notes, feeding each other (even if you're just sharing some dinner, that's intimate and sexy), and doing a little striptease for each other while you get ready for bed.

 Thanks again to Dr. Carol Queen and the Good Vibrations staff!


  1. Great Job with this one Jenee. I'm sure this will be helpful to alot of moms and couples.

  2. Thanks J-Mal. I learned a lot from this as a single person. :)

  3. This was an interesting article and although I am not a mother I did learn a thing or two especially about the cock ring. I am always looking for fun and new ways to keep it spicy in the bedroom.

  4. @ CMW--I'm not a mom either but I learned a lot. It was a lot of fun and very informative. Dr. Carol Queen is so cool. I could've asked her a million questions. Hope this article helps spice things up. ;)

  5. Well I headed down to our local Drugstore and found Queen Helene products. I liked what i read on the back of the product and decided to go with it.
    TQueen Helene Shampoo


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