Bringing Sex into Couples Therapy

I’ve written before about how there’s commonly a disconnect between sex therapy and couples therapy. Many couples therapists have little or no training in sex:

“Most graduate programs taught zip about desire, or about passion, and none of them ever talked about sex. In fact, they all taught that if you fixed the relationship, the sex would take care of itself. I disagreed with all of them. I found that the opposite was true – if you help a couple with their erotic life, many things in their relationship would fix itself. And so I wrote the book Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together, which combines sex and good couples therapy.”

3 years later, inclusion of sex therapy in couple’s therapy is a growing trend. A growing number of educators are providing training focused on teaching elements of sex and couples therapy together. This movement brings new knowledge of alternative sexual expressions to better serve more types of couples and allows traditional couples to explore options for their relationships seen as non-traditional. Personalized monogamy rules, sexual menus, frank discussion of the role of pornography can all be discussed and this approach brings a more open attitude about sex focused on cooperation and communication.

Introducing Relationship TV

What can we learn about peace from the bonobos? If women ruled the world, would there be less violence and more sex? Check out my recent interview with author Susan Block and hear about her book The Bonobo Way, on my new show, Relationship TV.

On Relationship TV we interview experts from around the world who specialize in love, sexuality, marriage and flexible monogamy to help make all of our lives world more passionate and rewarding. At Relationship TV – we put your relationship first; to make love last.

Find Dr Susan Block at drsusanblock.com
Save the Bonobos!
Find out more at my Relationship TV YouTube channel.

If you want to be interviewed on Relationship TV, contact me for my next scheduled interview city or town – I could be coming to you!

RelationshipTv is brought to you by BethanyKnoll Productions.

Are Americans Becoming More Accepting of Homosexuality?

No one seems terribly surprised that acceptance of homosexuality is on the rise, but what does surprise many is the that, “The number of Americans who say they’ve had sexual activity with someone of the same gender has doubled since the 1970s,” according to a study by San Diego University.

This isn’t really as surprising as it might sound at face value. An increased acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality, and the spectrum of sexualities means that experimentation is more likely. As Ilan Meyer of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law notes, “Most of the increase in same-sex experience seemed to involve bisexual interactions with both male and female partners. And even that activity may be chalked up to an experimental phase of youth, rather than as a predictor of life-long exclusive same-sex relations.”

The Pew Research center shows that the question “Should Society Accept Homosexuality?” is answered positively by 60% of Americans- a 10 point jump since 2007.
This is great news for those seeking therapeutic help. Acceptance of homosexuality in general population correlates with the increase in organizations at various levels condemning conversion therapy models I’ve written about before. Conversion therapy is now banned in 5 states, as well as Washington DC. The World Psychiatric Association has taken it a step farther, issuing this directive to its members: ““Psychiatrists have a social responsibility to advocate for a reduction in social inequalities for all individuals, including inequalities related to gender identity and sexual orientation…”

This increased acceptance for homosexuality and bisexuality may also expand affirmation of gender identity. It has been shown conclusively that LGBT individuals show higher than expected rates of psychiatric disorders and once their rights and equality are recognized these rates start to drop.
Given that the suicide rate among trans individuals with a mental health condition is a shocking 65%, increased affirmation of all members of society is in the best interest of us all.

What’s Your Love Language?

Have you ever felt as though you’re just not seen by your partner? They say they don’t feel loved even though you go out of your way to do kind things, or make an effort to compliment them. Or maybe your partner is obviously showing you how much they appreciate you through their actions, but you still don’t feel loved and understood. It can be as though you’re speaking two different languages.

There’s actually a good chance that you are communicating your love in different ways. The Five Love Languages were developed by Gary Chapman, a North Carolina pastor and counselor. He realized that people tended to show love in one of five ways, and he recognized that if the love languages in a relationship didn’t match up, it could cause a lot of trouble in a relationship.

The love languages are:
Receiving gifts,
Quality time
Words of affirmation,
Acts of service
Physical touch

The good news is that if you can learn how your partner likes to have love expressed and teach them how you feel most loved in return, you can avoid misunderstandings and deepen your connection. If you know your partner is making an effort to speak your language, you get the benefits of their action as well as the knowledge that they are attentive enough to work and give you what you need.
Realizing you speak a different love language than your partner can also clear up a lot of confusion. For example, if your partner needs touch to feel loved but your focus is on quality time, your partner may feel like you aren’t connecting even though you go out on regular dates. You are giving regular time (your language of love) and your partner is giving what they think is needed (touch), but both of you end up feeling out of sync. If your partner learns that touch communicates love more directly for them and that time helps you feel loved, then you can both recognize the differences and find ways to address both of your needs.

“I think that the five love languages concept is important because it addresses the deep emotional need to feel loved. Our country is in desperate trouble when it comes to relationships, and we need all the help we can get.”

Take the test and find out what your love language is today. You can even send a request and your results to your partner. This can be a great conversation starter and what you discover can bring you much closer together.

 

Is Marrying the Wrong Person Avoidable?

This article discusses all the reasons we may end up marrying the wrong person.

Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.

If that sounds bleak, consider for a moment the trope of the whirlwind romance. Our instinct that we should be with another person often overrides all reason regarding the logistics of the situation. Maybe both partners are very young, the relationship is new, or there are preexisting financial problems. Perhaps because of human history’s past of arranged and advantageous marriages resulting in unhappiness, modern couples often avoid even acknowledging reasons the partnership might not work long term. We have embraced the romanticism of marrying for love and the spark that drives us to be with our partner is reason enough. But when the fantasy wears off we’re blindsided by serious growing pains.

There are a number of other reasons we marry too soon or marry the wrong person. We are driven to avoid loneliness, we seek the familiarity of strong family ties from our childhood, and we want a way to capture the joyful moments of our relationship and make them permanent. Unfortunately, life is full of changes, no two people can be happy all the time, and at times we will all be lonely.

The problem in the end isn’t marrying the wrong person. The problem is having unrealistic expectations. Romanticism tells us that if we find the right person, they will meet all of our needs and everything will be perfect. Thus, if we’re struggling and experiencing all the normal problems of two humans trying to share a life together we may feel we must be with the wrong person. In fact the beauty in a good marriage is continuing to work to be compatible, to be compassionate, and to continue to make the choice to move forward together.

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition