Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After, edited by Kristina Wright, is an exciting new release from Cleis Press. This book is important. It fills a gap not only on the bookshelves, but in our discussions about relationships and how intimacy changes across our life spans. This is a key guide to long-term couples who’ve weathered storms together, who’ve built their lives together, who’ve loved and lusted together and intend to for the rest of their lives.

BLISS

What does intimacy look like in these established relationships? What concerns and problems arise over the years for monogamous couples? What role can sex play through the bad times and the good? This book shows us real life couples who have found ways to keep sex or reintroduce sex into their lives as a means to stay connected intimately with each other. Of course, that’s not the only benefit of having sex, but this book has excellent examples of storms couples weather, along with the hows and whys they have sex, and keep having sex.

Some notes that resonated with me include: using lube is normal and healthy; sex drive changes with age but it doesn’t disappear; it’s the little things that can maintain intimacy; and sharing your vulnerability with your partner can be empowering and fulfilling. Opening up about what you need, what you want, and what you fantasize about can bring you closer to your partner. Life changes us, but that doesn’t mean that we grow away from those we love. We marry those we say “yes” to, and hopefully we continue to say “yes” to them throughout our lives spent together. From postpartum depression to hectic schedules, from raising kids to going through menopause, life is chock full of major events and big obstacles. But it is a beautiful, wonderful journey and I hope you get to make the most of your experiences.

As the wonderful editor, Kristina Wright, wrote:

Whether your sex life is thirty amazing years and going strong or in need of a little work, or still in the early stages and seems like it’ll never wane–make a vow not to forget about sex. Promise each other that you will remember that sex is good and that good sex can not only be orgasmic, but also therapeutic. Don’t forget the benefits of sex are emotional and physical. It not only feels good, it makes you feel younger, healthier and more confident. I’m not saying do it no matter what–I’m saying no matter what, make some time for each other and see where it takes you.

What more can I say? This is a terrific book that I hope all of you who are intrigued will read it. I loved that this book had self-help along with the erotica, because the real concerns of couples were included in the stories. This was a fantastic read that I found to be both educational and inspirational. Kristina Wright was kind enough to write a guest post about this wonderful book she edited. Thank you Kristina!

Kristina Wright’s Guest Post: “

What? Me, write a relationship and intimacy guide? No…. I’m a fiction writer.”

That was my first thought when I started brainstorming with my publisher about the book that would become Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After. When I finally committed to the idea and to writing the book, I knew it would have to incorporate fiction. I’m a fiction writer at heart and writing about myself gives me hives. I can’t even write a brief bio without hyperventilating, I swear! But I believed in the message I wanted to share and I wanted to show readers, through advice, memoir, and yes, fiction, that it’s a message worth them believing in, too. And writing a couple’s guide to maintaining a great sex life felt like it called for equal parts practical advice and realistic fantasy. The end result was the wildly different book and I think you’ll find it’s not like any other self-help guide you’ve ever come across. Memoir, advice, quick tips and a wide range of red-hot erotica come together under one cover to give committed couples inspiration and encouragement at every stage in their relationship.

I could never have written a book like this alone. Well, I could have, but it wouldn’t have felt true to the message. Even though I’ve been married for over twenty-three years and have experienced most of the relationship stages discussed in the book, part of what makes Bedded Bliss so unique and special is that twelve other writers contributed their enthusiastic voices to the book. Writers who are all in committed relationships ranging from five to over thirty years and who also happen to write erotica and erotic romance. Who better to write about keeping the passion alive in a marriage than those who not only write about it for a living but also live it behind closed doors? I asked these amazingly talented authors to write about the relationship stages they were familiar with and to contribute anecdotes about their own experiences. I think their individual takes on married lust and long term commitment make for a terrific well-rounded relationship guide that has something to offer every couple, from the newlyweds to the new parents to those in their middle and golden years of life.

Bedded Bliss is meant for couples who are already happy with their sex lives but are looking for ways to spice it up or introduce new fantasies. Rounding out the personal experiences and sexy stories are fun tips in the sidebars, quotes and statistics from experts, real-life situations readers can identify with and a helpful resource guide of books and websites for adventurous readers who want to explore further. This is a one-of-a-kind book, meant to ignite your imagination and encourage you on your life-time of lust.

Here is an excerpt from my introduction to Bedded Bliss:

We met in the airport. The first thing I ever said to the man who would become my husband was, “Please tell me your name is Jay.” At the time, I was dating his roommate and Jay was doing him a favor and collecting me from the airport since my then-boyfriend had to work. We had spoken on the phone and I had seen one picture of him—beyond that, I didn’t know him at all. He will tell you he saw a picture of me and knew we would end up together. In fact, the story goes that he told his roommate, “I’m going to take her away from you.” It didn’t quite go down like that, but we did end up together despite my doubts about another long distance relationship. Jay was more of a romantic than me—at least at the beginning. I caught up fast.

No one thought it would last—except us. And the naysayers no longer have anything say as we have weathered over two decades of marriage, several military moves, close to a dozen deployments and made a home wherever we were, first with a menagerie of pets and then adding two babies to the mix in our forties. Life is crazy, hectic, chaotic. He is at the tail end of his naval career and contemplating life post-retirement, I have a thriving writing and editing career that I cobble together with part-time childcare and late night caffeine-induced writing sessions. The kids are growing like weeds, the house is in constant need of some kind of repair and there is always a holiday or birthday or trip around the corner. In other words: it’s just life. Not busier—or better—than yours. We pass in the kitchen and grope each other knowing there’s nothing we can do about it for another five hours; we send furtive text messages during naptimes, “Are they still asleep? Do we have time?” We do what we have to do to fuel the flames of that raging fire we still feel for each other. And so do you.

We are still going strong and I think it’s a hell of an accomplishment for a couple of love-and-lust-struck twentysomethings who hardly knew each other. We are lucky—but it’s not just luck that got us (and keeps us) here. It’s dedication and imagination, it’s creative use of our free time (and technology). Most of all, it’s love—passionate, ongoing, never fading love. It’s an amazing thing we share and I never take it for granted. And yet, we are invisible in a society immersed in a culture obsessed with sexual scandals, casual hookups, betrayal, infidelity, divorce and midlife crises. Where are the other couples like us—the couples who fell in love, tumbled head first into bed and are still there, tangled amongst the sheets, living and loving, for better or worse, every single day of our lives?

Turns out, there are a lot of couples like us. We are here, we are still in love and lust, and we are happy to share our stories, knowledge and advice with others. Sexy, lusty love is a lifelong pursuit for those of us who know the once-in-a-lifetime flash of lightning of young love doesn’t die or fade—it grows stronger and becomes the kind of everyday magic on which to build a life together.

When I first conceptualized the book that would become Bedded Bliss, it was with the awareness that there haven’t been many (if any) books like it. This is a book filled with real life experiences, sensual fantasies, practical advice, realistic suggestions, a dash of humor, a lot of sexy erotica, a few poignant memoirs and a combined total of over 243 years of relationship experience. This is a book to remind you that—no matter where you are in your life or your relationship—your passion, your imagination, your need is still there and very much alive. It’s a book to inspire and encourage—to give you some ideas if you feel as if your well of passion and imagination is running dry. We, these talented, inspiring writers and I, are here to remind you of what you already know (even if you sometimes forget): married sex is a grand, amazing adventure from the first heartfelt “I do” to the distant golden years, and everything in between.

About the Editor: Described by The Romance Reader as “a budding force to be reckoned with” and as one of the “legendary erotica heavy-hitters” by Violet Blue, Kristina Wright (kristinawright.com) is the editor of a dozen published and forthcoming Cleis Press anthologies, including the best-selling Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women and the Best Erotic Romance series. She is also the author of the erotic romance Seduce Me Tonight for HarperColiins Mischief and her fiction has been published in over one hundred anthologies. Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After is an October 2013 release from Cleis Press. In addition to being a cross-genre collection of advice, memoir, suggestions and erotica, it is a love letter to her husband of twenty-three years.