In honor of National Family Sexuality Education Month (October), I’d like to bring your attention to your own family with a question: How often do you talk about sexuality, with your spouse, your kids, your parents?
Sexuality is a critical part of a healthy life. Our culture is heavily divided with regards to sex. Sex is sensationalized by commercials, movies, TV, and pornography (all widely available on the internet regardless of age!) but comprehensive sex education is lacking all across our great nation. The US government continues to fund abstinence-only education programs that only serve to strike fear in the hearts of aroused, curious teenagers. These programs fail to share the important information our youth need to make informed, conscious choices regarding their pleasure, health, and futures.
Part of the debate is whether it is the responsibility of parents at home or the public schools to provide sex education, and how young should it begin. Popular culture suggests that sex education can be contained within a single session in health class or a single conversation between parent and child, i.e. “the talk.” But this approach results in uneducated, sexually active teenagers with pregnancies, untreated STIs and unrealistic expectations of what healthy sex looks and feels like.
It’s important for someone to educate our youngest generations about the reality of sex, including pleasure, contraception, and STIs. Sex brought our children into this world. Why not include sexuality in every day conversation amongst your family?
Better sex education helps the youth make safer decisions
After interviewing Dr Bessel Van der Kolk on the Imago Think tank about the release of his new book, The Body Keeps the Score, I am interested in biofeedback and how it might work with couples. Bessel’s groundbreaking work with trauma integrates biofeedback to give clients control of their autonomic nervous system and in his new book Dr Van der Kolk notes how these clients can change their own neurology through biofeedback. I am wondering if couples can learn these techniques as well when they are triggered by one another. The Biofeedback Certification Alliance website lists an article about just this possibility. Scientific American published research D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro cognitive neuroscientist Jorge Moll, the lead researcher trains couples to feel empathy and compassion toward their partners when they are fighting.
Ranganatha Sitaram, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida says he is cautiously optimistic. “Certainly this could be useful clinically,” Sitaram says. “But outside of the lab the effects of these types of techniques are hoped for but still not established.”
I am looking into getting trained in biofeedback techniques to see for myself, and try it out with my own relationships as well.
Neurofeedback Increases Affection, Builds Empathy
My heartfelt congratulations to my friend and colleague Dr Joe Kort on the release of his new book on male sexual fluidity, “Is My Husband Gay, Straight, or Bi? A Guide For Women Concerned about Their Men” (available on Amazon)
This is the first book of it’s kind and will be a valuable guide for couples struggling to understand gay interests.
Joe was recently interviewed by an Australian podcaster about the book, the psychology of men who express their sexuality through having sex with men but don’t consider themselves gay, and whether a marriage can survive when a husband has been discovered having sex with men. Listen to the episode here.
Narcissism in a partner can create emotional and behavioral patterns in a couple. Wendy Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist is an expert in treating the defenses and creating leverage to avoid power struggles in the treatment of couples where our own countertransference is triggered.
In this 3 hour course, we will show you how to use cognitive restructuring, re-parenting work, attachment and behavioral-skills training. Through experiential techniques you will learn how to assess hot buttons and manage triggered reactions like aggression and anger toward the partner in the session and at home.
We will share strategies for working with couple clients where narcissism impacts clients and therapists. Each teleclass session will integrate questions and cases from participants.
In this 3-hour, 3-session course, we will meet three consecutive weeks for 60 minutes each time. There will be information for practitioners at all levels of interest.
Class starts October 21 – less than a month away! Register here to listen live or download the recording and listen on your own time.
I’ve been invited to teach Sex, Desire and The New Monogamy, a training for therapists in Paris France this February 2015. The workshop will be in English with a French translator.
Participants will learn skills to help couples with erotic recovery after infidelity and affairs, as well as ways to focus on sexuality and intimacy in long term relationships where lack of desire is the injury and can be the betrayal in the marriage.
The workshop will take place February 5-8, 2015 in Paris at Les Salles de Pratique.
Cost for the workshop is 580 Euro for 4 days and 240 Euro for non-therapist partners.
For more info or to register please contact the French Imago Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: You do not have to be an Imago therapist to attend