Getting over the hump: Q&A on parents and sex with Justine Roddick

There are a lot of jokes about the lack of sex once you tie the knot. As a married mom to two I don’t happen to think those jokes are very funny. Neither does Justine Roddick, daughter of The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and proprietor of Coco de Mer, an erotic shop with a focus on couples that just opened in New York City. Roddick and her sister Samantha launched Coco de Mer after coming to the conclusion that there were no viable options in the sex shop arena that inspired confidence and instead shamefully covered with blacked out windows and shuttered blinds. As Roddick puts it, “Every other aspect is catered to; every other sense. Your taste buds have the world’s best restaurants, your sense of smell with the perfumers but the sex life – which is so important to keeping couples connected – had nothing out there.”

After touring the beautiful and decidedly comfortable downtown Manhattan shop (Coco de Mer is also in Los Angeles, London and of course – online) I asked Roddick how parents could break down the no-sex stereotype and maintain the bedroom action while dealing with exhaustion and a lack of privacy. Pull up a chaise lounge, set up a date night and check out Roddick’s advice here –

What are the most important things parents can do to create a more vibrant sex life?

There’s not one prescription for everybody but there are general rules: men feel connected when they’re having sex and women need an emotional connection. You take those two fundamentals and remind women it’s okay to be a little bit selfish. It’s absolutely fine to take time for yourself and remember who you are as a woman. The greatest gift you can give your lover is letting him or her please you. That’s not being selfish, it’s doing them a favor. Let them go down on you for once.

Masturbation is also an incredibly healthy, helpful tool. It’s a very true fact that the more you know about how your body works and what pleases, the more you’re going to want to have sex because it feels damn good. A lot of people don’t really know what feels good to them and are afraid to use a sex toy because they’re worried it might replace their partner or their partner might be offended or they have negative ideas about it.

I’m always personally quite surprised by how few people use lubricant. If you don’t use a lube already you shouldn’t leave the store without it. It makes light work of a hand job with a lubricant. Being lubricated enough so you slide all around the sheets. That is absolutely non-negotiable for couples.

Do you think two working parents in a marriage can create problems such as lack of connection? Or has gender equality helped to create healthier sex lives for couples?

I definitely see the healthier aspects more. I see women on a daily basis coming into the store saying, “I need to know what I like. I need to know what it is that I want that makes me feel good.” I’m not too sure that would have been the dialogue among the masses twenty or thirty years ago. You might have been classified as a scary feminist. I see a lot of men coming in alone or with their partner saying, “It’s not about her servicing me.” They want to make her feel good. There is a more open dialogue.

Is co-sleeping harmful for a couple’s sex life?

I’m not a psychologist or a therapist. My personal opinion about it is I think your sex life is something separate from your parenting. As soon as you look over and see your kid there…I’m not sure you’re going to be able to go balls to the wall for it. But having said that, what parent hasn’t had a good shag while the kids are sleeping in a hotel room? I heard you should try and keep your bedroom a scared space. Take pictures of your kids out of the bedroom; take the kiddy drawings out of the bedroom. You can have them in every other room.

I read in Vanity Fair that the blowjob class is the most popular class in your Los Angeles store.

It’s definitely a class we’ll bring to New York. It’s very popular in London as well. We also have a bondage class that is very popular. But the blowjob class is big among women in new relationships as well as married women.

Are there a lot of moms in this class?

Yes, a lot of moms. Maybe it’s because it’s something you can do quickly.

Is this the most common type of help parents are looking for when they come into Coco de Mer? Something quick and dirty?

I had a married couple come into the store recently – they had three kids. They had taken the day off to spend together and had mapped out all the sex shops around Los Angeles. They were looking to connect and they’d been married eighteen years and still wanted to do this! You spend time trying to help people figure this out and that out and inspiring and motivating and every now and then someone inspires me.

Why should parents check out Coco de Mer?

A lot of people identify just as that one word, “mom.” Once you become a mother that’s just what you are. It might be a great way to remind them they are also a woman with a sexual appetite that needs to be stirred.

Once there, if they’re feeling up for some fun they should definitely experience the changing room and the confessional booth. We put that in specifically for couples. It’s such a great way to build up that sexual tension. It’s foreplay – you feel so charged before you even get home. The amount of rosy cheeks I see emerging from the changing room because they’re flushed and feeling naughty is wonderful.

I would encourage the couples to take a look around the store and talk and see what triggers something for them. The shop is so beautiful and relaxing that you can look around that shop and not feel embarrassed about looking at a bondage piece or a vibrating cock ring.

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2 Responses to Getting over the hump: Q&A on parents and sex with Justine Roddick

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