Salt-N-Pepa’s 1990 hit “Let’s Talk About Sex” made waves for its frank discussion about the good, the bad, and the ugly that can happen between the sheets. And there’s an unfortunate reason why it raised more than a few eyebrows: Sex is hardly a topic that we discuss openly — despite the fact that it plays such a significant role in our relationships. But Levina Li and Caleb Spaulding want to change that. Would you journal about your sex life? Li and Spaulding did for almost a year, and this journey prompted them to distill everything they learned, along with expert feedback and decades of research, into A Sex Journal for Couples. And on Feb. 24, 2019, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the manufacturing of those journals.
It all started in February 2018, shortly after the couple began dating.
“Right away, Caleb and I noticed that we were having really special, connected sex,” Li tells Elite Daily. “We wanted to get to the bottom of why, so we started keeping a sex journal to document what made for great sex. Right away, we discovered that we had a lot to learn about each other's bodies, perspectives, and experiences. Our journal gave us the space to explore these conversations.”
What Li and Spaulding discovered, both through their own explorations as well as through discussions with other couples is that there are a lot of distractions, insecurities, and other things that can get in the way of people having fulfilling sex. Self-conscious thoughts like "Do I look OK?" or "Am I doing a good job?" and anxious thoughts like “Did I send that email?” or “What is he/she thinking?” can obviously take you out of the moment. And when you’re not totally present during sex, it negatively affects the quality of the romp for both people involved.
“When we didn't have a space to address those conversations with each other, we ended up getting stuck in our heads, which got in the way of us actually connecting during sex,” Li and Spaulding explain. “Through keeping a sex journal together, we got to share these thoughts and feelings with each other, which amazingly, allowed us to let them go.”
Not only that, but the couple says that their increased efforts to communicate about sex have actually had a positive impact on their overall communication across their relationship.
“By practicing asking for things, sharing feedback, and saying yes or no during sex, we got comfortable doing the same everywhere else,” they add.
Now, the couple is hoping that other couples will be bold enough to tackle these honest discussions in their own sex lives. While Li and Spaulding shared the same copy of their journal, they decided to write their own individual entries and read them aloud to each other. Over time, the couple discovered that this format was the most effective because it gave them their own space to reflect before sharing and discussing their experiences. And that’s precisely the framework they used in designing A Sex Journal for Couples. The 200-page journal includes communication toolkits with tips to help couples have more effective conversations about intimacy, intention-setting exercises for checking in about your individual and shared motivations/commitments, intimacy exercises to practice journaling about sex, and guided entry pages with positive inspiration.
“We focused on prompts that were simple, meaningful, and effective — ones that let us check in with ourselves and reflect on what we learned about each other each time we had sex,” the couple says.
Over the course of their own journaling, Li and Spaulding collected a wealth of wisdom about sex — all of which they’re eager to share. One of the couple’s top tips is to journal ASAP after being intimate, while the experience is still fresh in your mind. And for people in relationships, they recommend always remembering that you’re playing on the same team.
“Sometimes, in the course of diving in, you're going to disagree,” they explain. “In those moments, you're either winning together or losing together. If you find yourselves on opposite sides of the table, take a step back and try taking the position that your partner is right. Can you see things from their perspective and create some flexibility in yours?”
Li and Spaulding also advise that both singles and couples acknowledge the areas they want to work on.
“It's all about balance, and there's always room for growth,” they add.
Already, the couple has witnessed firsthand the positive impact that the journal can have.
“A Sex Journal for Couples has helped us develop an amazing level of trust, comfort, and freedom,” Li and Spaulding admit. “Because of the way we've learned to communicate with each other, we know that we can navigate anything together.”
The duo tells Elite Daily that ultimately, A Sex Journal for Couples is aimed at helping other couples achieve that same sense of trust, comfort, and freedom in their relationships while inspiring them to connect more openly and authentically about their sexual experiences.
“Making it a ritual to check in is a powerful way of investing in intimacy over time,” they add. “We hope that A Sex Journal for Couples will prompt and normalize these conversations.”
With 33 days to go, the Kickstarter campaign has already raised $7,201 toward its $25,000 goal. A Sex Journal for Couples can be pre-ordered through the campaign with a $30 contribution. Additionally, a digital download of the PDF version is available for a minimum donation of just $1. The journal is projected to ship sometime in July 2019. In the meantime, why not get the conversation going? Jot down whatever thought your mind wandered to during a particular sexual experience. Note how it made you feel. Ask your partner how they felt. Try something new. Discuss what worked and what didn’t. Be curious. Be open-minded. And above all, be honest. The more we have frank discussions about our experiences, the more likely we are to have supremely satisfying sex.