Getting the Sex you Want

Could energy work save your marriage?

In today’s world going to a therapist when your marriage is falling apart is like going to the Shaman or the healer in the old days when we lived in tribes, and the ancient elder held the key to lighting fires, making rain and resolving interpersonal conflicts.

Couple’s therapy can be stressful. Most of the time you show up in treatment because your relationship is falling apart or one of you is there to drop the other person off on the way out the door.

And yet there is a new type of therapy that might be more helpful. A more holistic, integrative approach that sees you and your partner more as whole people, with the potential to become even more whole, which means more integrity in your relationship and more sex.

According to the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, the definition of energy psychology is “a family of integrative approaches to psychotherapy, coaching and healthcare treatment that work with the mind-body connection. These methods are helping people around the world experience rapid relief from trauma, stress, limiting beliefs and more.”

Read more about energy psychology in my blog on YourTango.com: Shamanism and Energy Work; Can It Save Your Marriage?

Fifty Shades of Feminism

50 Shades of Grey posterI was in Paris for the opening of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. There were over 2,000 advanced tickets sold for the opening night in Paris, and almost 5,000 tickets sold for the 2:00 p.m. show.

The movie opened to over $100 million in worldwide sales. Tickets will continue to sell out and men, women and couples of all ages will see this film for months and maybe even years to come.

As I walked through the underground Metro there are movie posters on the wall with Christian Grey holding Anastasia’s arms above her head and kissing her passionately. There is another of her biting her lip, seductively, waiting.

The words in French make it look romantic. But is the movie romantic? Is a movie about a man who abuses his power over a young woman supposed to be romantic? And why is it grabbing the heartstrings of so many viewers? Is this a reflection of women in our western culture giving up their power and a step back for feminism? Or is Fifty Shades a true modern-day fairy tale?

The risk of the movie, particularly for young girls or beginners who want to try some BDSM in their own relationship, is that power must be used with permission and with a safe word within a trusting partnership. This may not be clear in the film.

One of the reasons that the book has been such an overnight success is that it hits a combination of sweet spots in our history of feminism and erotic power, crucial to our role as women.

But do not underestimate or mistake our desire for ravishment by a strong man for weakness.

We are not giving up our power; we are taking back our power. We are coming into a time of real authority, recognizing our own internal strengths and finding real choices. We don’t want to give our power away to men. We want to open ourselves to a man who can handle it. We want sexual satisfaction and we will not settle for less.

Read the full article on Huffington Post: Fifty Shades of Feminism: Hot Sex and the New Fairy Tale

Sexual Repair: Create More Desire, Arousal, and Fun

Was your Valentine’s Day lackluster in the sex department? Would like to create more desire, arousal and fun in your sexual life? Then mark your calendar for 12pm EST April 7th, April 21st, and May 5th and register for Sexual Repair: Three ways to Heal and Grow Your Erotic Self

In this course,

Participants will learn ways to heal sexual dysfunction including premature ejaculation, orgasmic delay and lack of orgasm.
Participants will explore how to work on bringing excitement and eroticism into a long term relationship.
Participants will learn how rape, incest, bullying, coming out, reassignment, and harassment affect erotic behaviors and how to heal from them.
Participants will discover their own smaller traumas and ways they affect their erotic lives.
Participants will find out the difference between being a cheater and being cheated on, both online and in real life.
Participants will discover what mate guarding, ravishment and cuckolding have to do with healing from the betrayal of a cheating relationship.
Participants will focus on what heals sexual self esteem and how they can heal from shame, feel sexy and find erotic behaviors in bed with a partner or alone.

Register before April 1 to save $50!

Sexuality in Mormonism on HuffPost Live

There are a lot of rumors around sexuality and mormonism. In honor of Valentine’s Day last week, HuffPost Live decided to look into how sex and love intersect in the Mormon faith. They invited Kristin Hodson, co-author of Real Intimacy, to discuss sexual intimacy in Mormon marriage. She believes that including a sex-positive dialogue during spiritual development will encourage healthy sexuality and marriage.

Watch Kristin B. Hodson discuss sex in Mormonism on HuffPost Live

Kristin will be joining me as a guest instructor for Sex and Religion: How Beliefs and Values Shape Erotic Behaviors, a three-part teleclass beginning March 3rd. This course will examine religion and sex from many angles and will give an overview of the resources that are available for clinicians who want to go deeper into this challenging work with couples from all backgrounds.

Into Fifty Shades of Grey? Don’t Do These 3 Sexy Things In Real Life

For many people, the most exciting part of this Valentine’s Day weekend is the release of the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie. As everyone runs to the theatre tonight for the premiere, I’d like to share some advice for anyone curious about BDSM…

I see couples every day in my office committed to improving their sex life. As the author of Getting the Sex You Want, and The New Monogamy readers turn to me to find out how to spice up their love life, or to rekindle their marriages. And sure, I advise them to have a sex date, or create some adventure, or even try out some grown up dress up and role play games in bed. But there are 3 things that I caution even the most enthusiastic couples to watch for when they pull out the silk scarves and the Sex Slave contracts.

Read the full blog post on YourTango: Into 50 Shades of Grey? Don’t Do These 3 Sexy Things In Real Life

As well, I was quoted in 50 Shades of Not-Okay: What the Book Got Wrong:

‘BDSM, or bondage, discipline or domination, sado-masochism, is really about power and someone being in control. And yet the submissive partner is always the one who has the most control. The one who is submissive always has the ability to use a safe word and can stop the ‘play’ at any time.’

But surely most of the Fifty Shades audience is aware that they’re experiencing a fictional story and can separate the fantasy of an author from the reality of a lifestyle enjoyed by consenting adults, right? Not necessarily, according to Dr. Nelson.

‘Young women watching the movie or reading the book may mistake power for giving in, giving up and for signing off. My fear is that less experienced women who are watching the movie will start responding to their boyfriends and husbands in ways that allow things to happen that are not pleasurable, that cause pain without pleasure and that could be dangerous. Or worse, some women may even begin to contact men online, predators looking for a submissive woman, and they will sign up for something they are not prepared to experience.’

Dr. Tammy Nelson also agrees that the hoopla surrounding the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, and now the film, is not without its merits. She points to a unique aspect of the story that often gets overshadowed by the darker elements.

‘Most bodice rippers are about capturing the heart and sexual attention of a man who is a chronic bad boy, a man who has sex with other women and who finally pays attention to us. But not here. We finally have a sexual hero who throws us down on the bed, rips our clothes off, ties us up and spanks the hell out of us.’

5 Keys to Great Sex

Your friends have probably given you sex advice, you may have Googled around for “hot tips,” or maybe you even get your sex advice standing in line at the grocery store flipping through magazines. Spoiler alert: You can ignore most of what you’ve heard.

There is a lot of advice out there, and some good books about how to have better sex. Some people look for their pointers in pornography, or what they call their “online sexual education.” But the truth is that most of the sex in movies, porn and in magazine articles is not actually great sex.

Maybe your friends told you a thing or two when you were out drinking, or maybe you picked up some tips in your last relationship. But as a Board Certified Sexologist and a PhD Certified Sex Therapist, I am here to tell you that what you think you know about having great sex is simply not the whole story.

In my latest article on Huffington Post, I shared the five keys to great sex, and these apply to straight couples, gay couples, young, old, married or living together.

Read the full article on Huffington Post: The 5 Keys To Great Sex

Sex & Religion: How Beliefs and Values Shape Erotic Behaviors

Beginning March 3, join Dr. Tammy Nelson and expert guest speakers Talli Rosenbaum, MSc and Kristen Hodson, MSW, LCSW for a three-hour teleclass covering religious factors related to sexuality, such as:

  • Sociocultural and familial factors in relation to sexual values and behaviors
  • Issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Intimacy skills (social, emotional, sexual), intimate relationships, interpersonal relationships and family dynamics
  • Diversities in sexual expression and lifestyles

Participants will learn about Orthodox Judaism and how Jewish couples comply with religion and sexuality.

Participants will cover LDS and Mormonism and how their religion affects sexuality and relationships.

Participants will cover alternative religious practices as well as radical religion as it relates to sex.

Register for Sex & Religion by February 10th (that’s tomorrow) to save $49!!

Dates: March 3, 10 & 17, 2015 at 2 pm EST for one hour each session.
Listen live or download the teleclass and listen at your convenience.
Who should attend: Therapists, counselors, healers, and anyone else interested in religion and erotic behaviors.

Upcoming Event: 35th Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

I can’t keep it quiet any longer, I’m excited about the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium coming up in March. Are you going?

I’ve been invited to present a “Flash Talk” as part of the Forum on Couples Therapy: Advances and Changes in Couples Therapy Today. I am speaking on one of my favorite topics, “Monogamy in the Internet Age” at the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium-The Colors of Tomorrow-in Washington, DC, March 26-29. A Flash Talk is the Networker Symposium’s version of the popular TED Talks where we deepen the questions we’ve been asking all along.

Click here to see the other Symposium events (including mine!)

The Networker Symposium is an intense experience and one of the best conferences around. With the top presenters in the field of psychotherapy, there is something new to learn every year from my colleagues’ presentations. There is always something different, a new perspective and interesting ideas.

I’m presenting 3 different times this year – the Flash Talk on Saturday morning, March 28th, an All Day Thursday presentation on “Expanding Your Sexual Comfort Zone,” and a workshop talking about “The New Monogamy” on Friday.

With my presentations and hectic schedule I may not get to hear all of my colleague’s newest ideas, so I plan to get the conference audio. That way I can listen to the other presentations while I am back home shoveling snow! (Today I am home in the third blizzard this week up here in Connecticut.)

With 100 top names in psychotherapy, the Networker Symposium really is a rare opportunity to explore timely issues and the newest developments in psychotherapy. Many of the workshops are hands-on, practical learning experiences that help build skills and impact your practice right away. All of speakers are powerful, and I am honored to be among them.

If you have ever wanted to rejuvenate yourself and your practice, this is a great way to do it. Come join me and say “Hi” when you are there. I will be looking for you!

Now is the time to make plans for the wonderful new year, and make joining me a priority on March 26-29th in Washington, DC for the Networker Symposium-The Colors of Tomorrow: Expand Your Vision for the Future of Your Practice.

See you there!

SymposiumArtCard

As a special Bonus, the Networker is giving you free access to a video that celebrates the remarkable history of the Symposium.

You can watch it right here, right now.

I hope that you will watch and enjoy the video.

And come hang out with me. DC is fun, and the conference is awesome. And come play with us on Creativity day for an all day presentation on Thursday for some surprise Fifty Shades of Grey demonstrations! More info here.

Click here to see the other Symposium events (including mine!)

Google data reveals secrets about sexual behavior

In the earliest ages of the academic study of human sexuality, Alfred Charles Kinsey interviewed men and women privately about their sexual behavior history and published two controversial reports: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). Now in the digital age, it seems we don’t need academic research to discover how we all have sex and think about sex. We have Google search statistics! Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examined what big data reveals and conceals about our desires, our bodies and our many insecurities. He found some interesting contrasts with common opinion. If you’re ready to change your perceptions on human sexuality, read Searching for Sex in The New York Times.

Getting The Sex You Want in Orthodox Judaism

Religion has for centuries shaped our sexual values and behaviors, everything from masturbation to ejaculation to procreation. This is possibly most noticeable in Orthodox Judaism. Thankfully for ultra-Orthodox women in my local region, Bat Sheva Marcus is an Orthodox Jewish sex counselor, teaching patients and kallah teachers (sex educators) how to balance religious observance with physiological arousal in order to maintain a healthy sexual relationship between husband and wife. Daniel Bergner presents Marcus’ work with the Medical Center for Female Sexuality and the Hasidic Judaism community in The Orthodox Sex Guru (The New York Times). I often refer patients to Bat Sheva Marcus and highly respect her for the difference she’s making in women’s lives and marriages.

Judaism is just one of the religions I will be discussing during my upcoming teleseminar with Dr. Talli Rosenbaum and Kristin Hodson. During week one Dr. Rosenbaum will discuss basic Judaism views surrounding the sexual act and present three core concepts of Judaism surrounding sexuality. She will also provide some cautions for practitioners who wish to treat Orthodox Jewish clients. In Week Two, Kristen will discuss Mormonism and sexuality and in week three, I will discuss techniques for working with couples who have mixed religious backgrounds. I will address religious extremism and how it relates to sexuality in the modern world. 3 AASECT CE’s are available – Class starts March 3rd. Register here