Sex Therapy

The Big News About The Big O.

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Were they good in bed? Did you climax? How many orgasms did you have? How long did you last? Post-coitus conversations about orgasms have become a common social experience, ones that are often used to evaluate sexual encounters, but they are actually pretty unhelpful. When we place a lot of importance on our orgasms (for ourselves or our partners), we place demands on ourselves psychologically, which can distract from our ability to experience pleasure. The "must have an orgasm" mantra creates an anxious dialogue that makes our minds stress during sex instead of relax, which makes it even more difficult to reach orgasm.

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So I'm here to share some big news about orgasms and sexual pleasure. Ready? Here it comes.

We are most primed for orgasm when we are relaxed, focused and not stressed. This means we need to calm our minds if we want to have a mind-altering experience. Craving a deeply relaxed and sensational climax? Here are some of my favorite tips to get you started:

  1. Relax the body with soothing touch. Instead of starting with the most arousing areas like the genitals, try touching the body creatively and focusing on areas that are not commonly associated with arousal. Sending soothing vibes to your body helps set the tone for what's about to happen next.

  2. Clean up your boudoir. The environment around us has an impact on our ability to stay focused. Research from Princeton University determined that the brain has a more challenging time focusing on and completing tasks when we are surrounded by clutter. If you want to feel relaxed and focused, make your space reflect that by removing the clutter.

  3. Bring your mind to the present moment. Staying present is a challenge for many of us, but it's really important when it comes to sexual pleasure. Even the smallest distractions can interrupt our journey to pleasure town, so try to be mindful of things that you know might get in the way (pets, kids, alarms, electronic devices) and seek space from them. Maybe it's your laundry list of chores that keeps running through your mind. If so, remind yourself that whatever you need to do can wait -- it's time for pleasure right now.

  4. Stay connected to the sensations that feel best. One of the best strategies for staying connected to sensations is directing your thoughts to the part of your body that is being touched. If your partner's fingertips are grazing across your chest, draw your attention to the area of physical contact and notice how pleasurable it feels. Continue often.

  5. Pick your favorite pleasure mantra and run with it. Think about your favorite pleasurable words or phrases and repeat those in your head over and over. Pick something that means something to you and helps you connect with pleasure. "This is super hot" or "my partner loves pleasuring me" are two examples. Try to stay away from phrases like "I must orgasm" that put demands on yourself as opposed to promoting relaxation.

Prepping your mind for pleasure is equally as important as prepping the body. Next time you're in the mood, try out these tips for a pleasurable sexual experience. Enjoy!

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Texting, Sexting and All Thing Tech: How to Use Our Devices With Love In Mind

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We've all done it and we're all guilty of it. Enjoying and utilizing our devices. It's impossible not to these days. Whether we are expected to be on-call for our employer or we are having a rapid fire texting conversation with a friend, it's hard to distance ourselves from our ever-so-smart phones, tablets and laptops.

Honestly, it's very hard to make a case as to why we should distance ourselves from our devices. Especially when we are often rewarded for being technologically savvy; knowing how to use our devices to share or acquire information via the internet is a skill. There are millions of jobs that have been created in technology, social media and marketing because of the fast-paced internet driven world we live in. So I'm not going to tell you to put your devices down. Rather, my hope is to share with you a few ways we can use our devices to turn up the heat in our relationships!

Turn up the heat with a thoughtful message. Randomly sending your partner a quick message or leaving a voicemail lets them know that you're thinking about them. Be sure to include a specific reason..."I just heard about this awesome new exhibit and I know how much you love contemporary art. I couldn't help but think of you. Hope you're having a great day!"

Snap a photo to spark the warm and fuzzies. See a cute puppy or mural on your way to work that you know your partner would adore? Take a quick photo and send it to them to let them know they're in your thoughts. Just be careful to hold off while driving!

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Speak their language. Is your partner an avid baseball fan? Find out when his or her team is playing and check the score midway through the game. Shoot your partner a text letting them know you're glad their team is up by 4 or you're sorry their boys are getting slammed, will certainly catch their attention.

Reminisce about the early days. One of the greatest features about our devices is that they are capable of backing up and storing our messages (if we want them to). If possible, upload your message history and revisit a time when you and your partner did not know each other as well. Print out a segment of your messages and read through them together. It will be a nice surprise and you can share your reactions about what you were like back then. **If you don't have a history of messages or emails, simply share a memory of how you experienced one another during courtship.

Anticipate their company. Let your partner know you are looking forward to seeing them later (or whenever you expect to see them next). This builds anticipation for you and them, which will make reuniting feel that much more exciting.

There are plenty of ways to use our devices to spark excitement and rev up the romance in our relationships. A little bit of mindfulness can go a long way when it comes to the way we text/call/beep/or snap. Having a tough time remembering to message your sweetie? Try setting a reminder on your device or marking your calendar to use one of these tips!

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Book Review

Review of Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are

Come As You Are is an intelligent and creative read that is extremely relevant, comprehensive and a necessary contribution to the field of female sexuality. Emily Nagoski’s writing combines humor with a sex-positive tone to address the complexity of sexual desire and arousal for women in a way that is friendly, directive and resourceful.

Nagoski challenges popular societal conceptualizations about sexual arousal and desire while using science to explain why certain ideas are myths and offer alternative interpretations that honor individuals’ realities and experiences. Anecdotes from former clients are woven into the text to demonstrate how many people navigate these concerns throughout their sexual relationships, validating and normalizing the worries of many readers.

Nagoski introduces the framework, “Pleasure Is The Measure” as a guide for readers to understand their own positive sexual experiences and acknowledge the nuances of contexts that can interfere with sexual satisfaction and desire, both individually and relationally. Readers have the opportunity to complete worksheets, which are included throughout the chapters, to increase their understanding of how the content applies to their own experiences. The versatility of Come As You Are makes it a fantastic read for females and couples as well as clinicians working in the field of sexuality.

5 Reasons To See A Sex Therapist

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What exactly happens during sex therapy and why might I go see a sex therapist?

Sex therapy is a specialized type of psychotherapy that addresses sexual concerns within the bounds of confidentiality. In other words, it is talk therapy that takes place in a therapy office with a clinician and the client(s). Occasionally, there may be other health professionals involved in the therapeutic treatment (only with a client's permission) such as a physical therapist, gynecologist, urologist or a psychiatrist.

Sex therapy can look different depending on the type of concern being addressed. Sex therapy can occur both individually and in the context of couple's therapy. Much of sex therapy is rooted in cognitive-behavioral interventions; sometimes it may be emotionally-focused or include psycho-education. Homework assignments are sometimes given to the individual or couple to work on in between sessions. These homework assignments are done privately and typically facilitate experiences for clients to gain awareness about themselves that will be helpful in addressing their treatment goals.

Sex therapy is a directive yet compassionate process for clients to share their intimate concerns and work toward improving their sexual health and sexual experiences, creating a more meaningful and satisfying relationship with themselves and/or their partners.

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Consider making an appointment with a sex therapist if any of these thoughts are on your mind:

1. Sex does not feel pleasurable for me or sex is painful for me.

Maybe sex has never felt pleasurable. Perhaps sex was pleasurable at one point in time and it no longer feels good. Sex hurts and is painful.

2.  I have never felt "comfortable" during sex.

My mind is always somewhere else during sex. Sex makes me nervous and I avoid having sex or talking about it because it is tough for me. I worry about sex often.

3. I have never had an orgasm before. What's wrong with me?

How do I get myself to climax? Sometimes sex feels good but it is never crazy good. I wish my body would work like the way I see in movies.

4. My partner wants sex all the time and I'm just not interested. Am I normal?

I have no sexual desire. I feel like I haven't wanted sex in a long time and it is affecting my relationship because it always feels like I am the one holding us back.

5. I can never last long enough during sex and it frustrates me.

Sometimes my partners seem disappointed when I finish too quickly. I feel worried that I cannot satisfy them and it is frustrating. I want to last longer, but I don't know how.

If any of these thoughts are present for you, I encourage you to consider sex therapy as an option.