Are you in bed with a narcissist?

Working with Your Most Challenging Couples: Anger, Narcissism and Countertransference met today. Wendy Behary, LCSW, the Author of “Disarming the Narcissist… Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” gave a fascinating presentation about how narcissists have a hard time maintaining intimacy because they choose a partner who makes them look good, or who mirrors their need for approval. But when they are confronted with the need for true emotional intimacy, they shut down. Unless their partner makes them feel good, they may withdraw into their core of shame and will do anything to avoid feeling their own inadequacy and defectiveness. In their sex lives, performance becomes a way to head off real intimacy and connection, and a way to avoid being seen. Sex is a platform for showing off prowess and can be used to disappear emotionally.

Wendy also talked about how narcissists can get overly involved in pornography, because it is quick, fast and they don’t have to feel empathy to use it. I added that in my experience working with narcissistic clients, porn can lead to real time affairs, where entitlement and a dismissiveness for the partners feelings can make couples therapy difficult, and affair recovery even harder. An attitude of “I deserved this” or this is “your fault” can contaminate the treatment.

Wendy has some great interventions for working with Narcissists in treatment, and for dealing with our own countertransference as well. Send in your questions and cases, and get all the downloadable recordings and handouts when you sign up now. To learn more about this series, and other Teleseminars with Dr Tammy Nelson, click here.

Pornography doesn’t make you a sex addict

Last week I attended the Lifestyle Interventions Conference in Las Vegas.

I talked about erotic recovery after an affair. There were a lot of questions after my talk about pornography and how erotic imagery on the computer can turn masturbation into a compulsive repetitive act that drains sexual energy out of the marriage. That’s true for some people. But it doesn’t have to be that way for all couples. Looking at pornography occasionally doesn’t make you a sex addict. In fact, some people use it to stay monogamous. They avoid the dilemma of long term committed partnership that can lead to boredom and sexual shutdown and they stay true to their partner by finding variety and adventure online without cheating in real time with a person outside of their marriage or committed partnership. But for those couples where a real time affair does occur, seeking out a therapist who has experience helping couples move through the stages of recovery is important. Both partners can feel frustrated and even hopeless after one partner cheats and they may need professional help. Find a therapist who can help. Click here: for more info on Intensives for couples after cheating.

To find out more about the three phases of recovery after an affair, read my article at Recovery.Org: The 3 Phases of Erotic Recovery After Infidelity

12 Types of Sex You Have in Your Late 20s

Finally, an article in Cosmo about sex that embraces intimacy and connection and isn’t just about performance and looking good in lingerie. This is comforting to me and I agree with everything they say. And I am not even quoted in this one.

12 Types of Sex You Have in Your Late 20s

BDSM can facilitate personal growth

Shifting gender roles and cultural messages about sexuality have created “nice guys” who find it difficult to meet their partner’s desire for dominating, rough, kinky sex. What they don’t know is it is entirely healthy and empowering to discuss and realize fantasies within the context of a consensual negotiated framework.

Galen Fous shares a beautiful example from his work as a sex-positive sexuality counselor wherein both partners learn to embrace and encourage their erotic power. She learned how to openly and honestly share her desires with her partner and he learned how to harness his masculine power and balance the different aspects of their relationship.

What To Do With Your Nice Guy When She Begs For Your Bad Boy

Discount Code for The Changing Face of Marriage

changingfaceofmarriageI recently sat down with Rich Simon, Editor of the Psychotherapy Networker, to talk about how to help couples understand, define, and negotiate the personal boundaries of fidelity and betrayal. The interview is part of their new Webcast series: The Changing Face of Marriage.

It’s a remarkable series: covering the changing definitions of intimacy, sexuality, divorce, personal freedom, relational boundaries, and the very purpose of marriage—and in addition to my own cutting edge talk about relationships and a great interview with Rich, it includes interviews with my friends and colleagues Esther Perel, William Doherty, Pat Love, Terry Real, and Joe Kort.

To learn more, the Networker is extending the Early Bird discount to all of my readers. It’s a “thank you” for my participation, and an exclusive benefit for any of you who want to be part of this event.

If you are interested, use this code—NELSON30—when you sign up, and you’ll receive the extended Early Bird Discount.

There’s no better way to catch up on the very latest in couples therapy. The series teaches the most up to date techniques and concepts in the field:

  • How to develop a clear, nonjudgmental understanding of contemporary approaches to relationships and sexual behavior that may challenge your own values and beliefs
  • The different patterns found among Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial couples, including how traditional gender roles and conceptions of masculinity and femininity are being redefined
  • How to help couples balance their need for commitment and safety with their desire for more spontaneity, playfulness, and eroticism
  • The wide range of meanings that emotional intimacy and sexual compatibility have in gay, lesbian, and straight relationships

To find out more about how this series can put you on the cutting edge of couples therapy, click here.

You can see a quick clip of my video conversation here.

The exclusive savings code is NELSON30. If you want to lock in the savings, remember to sign up before Midnight Tuesday, November 11th.