Getting Comfortable with Your Sexuality

Getting Comfortable with Your Sexuality

Sex. Everyone thinks about it. Everyone wonders about how other people are doing it. And everyone has definitely experienced an insecurity or two about it.


Every day I talk to people who want to know if the way they think about, feel about, and have sex is “normal,” people who want to know if maybe they’re “normal,” but maybe not their partner(s). It’s an understandable concern. And it’s a trap.


Who makes the rules about what is and isn’t ok for you if not… you? Why should you leave your sexual fulfillment (and any other fulfillment, for that matter) strictly in the hands of anyone else? If you want to masturbate twenty times a week, do it. If you want to have sex twice a month, go for it. If you want to act out a fantasy with a consenting partner, why not? The message here is this; if you’re ok with it and your partner is ok with it, then it’s ok… whatever “it” is.


I can almost hear some of your responses. “Really, though? Is this still true if I can pretty much only get off orally?”  “And what about my fantasy of forced sex in captivity? I know that can’t be ok.” “What if people have told me that I masturbate too much…?”


If you are bothered by some of your preferences, thoughts, and feelings about your sexuality it could be helpful for you to get a professional’s objective opinion. A useful indicator of what is and isn’t ok for you is the level of stress that it seems to impose. And what isn’t ok for you can change; you can gain comfort with some things and lose a taste for others.


Something that used to send you to the nearest exit might become part of your repertoire five, ten years down the road. It’s important to explore why something isn’t comfortable for you, why it makes you anxious, repulses you, or immobilizes you. Just as important is the exploration of why something excites you, turns you on, and fascinates you. (This is true for any aspect of life, but for many people, it seems to lose it’s voice when they think about applying it to sex.)


If group sex is your preference, but your partner doesn’t want anything to do with it who’s “more normal”? I think you know the answer to that. Both of you! So, what do you do with the space between? You talk about it. Talk honestly about yourself. Empathically ask your partner questions. Figure out how each of you wants to integrate aspects of the others’ sexuality into the relationship. Allow yourself to take the risk of being vulnerable.


You have more in common with others’ sexuality than you think. Often, a safe, open, and fluid dynamic with a partner can usher you into a new, wonderful plane of connectedness to your sexuality, to yourself. Who knows what’s waiting for you?!


There is no normal or abnormal sexuality. The only measurements exist within what’s ok for you and the space between what’s ok for you and your partner.


Still, have questions or concerns about something? Let’s see what we can figure out together.

Love and Be Loved,


Decrease Arguments and Increase Understanding in Relationship

Decrease Arguments and Increase Understanding in Relationship

A whole experience can be regarded as a trifecta of thinking, feeling, and doing. Every day, we all walk around and bump into others’ experiences with our own, and we create more experiences and the pattern continues. Sometimes, this pattern is incredibly pleasant, and we get to feel connected to others and resourced. Other times, the pattern is fiercely dangerous to our connection, and we feel myriad feelings such as sadness, anger, hurt, and resentment. How does this happen?

Most often, the reason people experience this painful part of the pattern is because they are not taking responsibility for each point in their trifecta- responsibility for their thoughts, their feelings, and their actions. They say things like, “Well, I wouldn’t have yelled at you if you had just done what I asked you to do in the first place,” or “I wouldn’t have dismissed your opinion if I felt like you respected mine.” They almost immediately give up their integrity to another (and then punish them for it).

You might be able to identify with this pattern. So, what can you do about it? For starters, you can figure out what you want. If what you want is to be happier, more connected to your loved ones, and more understood, then you can move onto the next step. If you want to be unhappy, disconnected and misunderstood… then, don’t change anything you’re doing.

The next step is to ask yourself some questions:

1) “Why did/am I do/doing that?”

2) “How was/am I feeling?”

3) “What was/am I thinking?”

Let’s say you’re in a heated conversation with someone and you throw out the ever-loved phrase, “I wouldn’t have _______________ if you hadn’t_________.
What are you trying to communicate? (Because, give yourself some credit; I’m pretty sure you don’t think that another person can control your actions.) So, what’s going on? Were your feelings hurt? Did you feel disappointed? Is there a resentment you’ve been carrying?

It’s tempting to blame your partner (or your friend, colleague, family member) for your thoughts, feelings, and or actions, but it’s inaccurate. It’s also tempting to presume you know what they are thinking and or feeling and let this inform your actions… again, though, inaccurate. Focus on what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, and what you’re doing.

So, after you’ve uncovered your genuine feelings and thoughts, honestly communicate them to your loved one. You can even do it in the middle of a negative pattern- “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m feeling so frustrated because we’ve had three conversations about how you are going to start putting your shoes away yet I came home and tripped over them again. I have no idea why this keeps happening. It makes me wonder if you don’t care or don’t take it seriously or-?”

Conversations that are heavy on taking responsibility for your experience are much more productive and fulfilling than conversations that are heavy on blame and presumption. We all want to be understood, and we’re a lot more likely to increase our chances of this when we honestly communicate our experiences.

Love and Be Loved,

Fighting for Control in Your Relationship?

Fighting for Control in Your Relationship?

This is something a lot of couples negotiate throughout their relationships. What one person feels is common courtesy, someone else might interpret as controlling. Finding a middle ground here can be a challenge.

A lot of people can agree on some basic common courtesies. Things like, calling to say you’ll be late for dinner if someone is expecting you to be home at a specific time, filling up the gas tank after you’ve used someone else’s car, and setting your phone, work, or television show aside while someone is talking to you are all generally considered basic accommodations. But what about the specifics?


Much of the difference between common consideration and exerting control in a relationship lies within the intention of both members. Sometimes people aren’t aware of their intentions, and that has a tendency to obscure things. The more empathy you have for yourself and your loved one, the easier it will be to discern your true intention.


It’s helpful for both of you to be clear about your preferences so that you know where you stand in relationship to one another. When you’re both clear and honest about how you’d like your relationship to look, it can take some of the angst out of things. Generally, relationships feel more manageable the more everyone is aware of specific expectations.


Let’s take an innocuous example from what are usually basic agreements between people. Say you and your partner are watching TV, and you remember something you’ve wanted to ask them. Let’s say that you two have already talked about this kind of thing. You know that, since this is your partner’s favorite TV show, if the matter requires substantial discussion, they would appreciate your patience and waited until the program is over. If your question isn’t so pressing, your partner wouldn’t mind a quick pause in viewing for a brief discussion.


If one (or both!) of you experiences the other as controlling, there might be less flexibility in this scenario. Perhaps you’re not concerned with which program is on and you feel that you should be able to ask your question immediately. Maybe your partner doesn’t want to engage in any conversation, regardless of brevity, while watching TV and will not engage with you.


If this is the case, it might mean that some unmet needs have set up shop in your relationship. The more unresolved conflict you have about certain issues, however significant, the higher the chance of resentment clouding the communication happening between one another. If you dread bringing this up for discussion with your partner, the chances are slim that the resentment will resolve itself. Resentment doesn’t care whether you’re the one in the relationship who feels controlled or the one who is being held responsible for exerting control; both sides feel angry that they’re not getting their needs met.


It’s easy to see how couples can become polarized on certain issues. When that happens, both people dig in their heels, and the last thing they would do is back down. Subjects that started out as a matter of common courtesy start to feel more like issues of control. You can find soothing relief when both of you share your experience of what feels courteous and what feels controlling.


Love and Be Loved,


Secrets to Managing Defensiveness in Relationship

Secrets to Managing Defensiveness in Relationship

Partner A: “Ok… look at this mess! I thought you said you were going to do the dishes?!”
Partner B: “Do you have any idea what kind of day I’ve had? I don’t need this right now.”
Partner A: “Well, I wouldn’t have to yell at you about it if you’d just do them in the first place.”
Partner B: “You don’t have to yell at me at all. If it bothers you that much why don’t you just do them yourself or stop looking at them or something. You make it so much worse for yourself.”
(Cue: explosion)


When you express your feelings to someone, you feel better when they respond with something along the lines of, “I don’t think I could care any less than I do right now,” right? Nope. You’re absolutely right. When you tell someone how you feel, it’s usually because you’re hoping that the two of you will connect in some way.


There are plenty of ways to communicate feelings, some more provocative than others. The provocative deliveries can make it tempting to snap back with a defensive answer. Even calm approaches to expressing feelings can be met with a defensive response. Bottom line- it’s not that hard to become defensive.


Statements used in defense can be made with a few different undertones- criticism, deflection, blame, contempt, and rejection. They convey ideas like; “You’re wrong for feeling like this,” “My experience is more important than yours,” “Your dissatisfaction is your fault,” “Your needs make me angry,” and “This is your problem. Deal with it”. These are tough ideas to sit with, especially when you’re sharing your feelings.


I’m not saying it’s ideal to come home from a long day and be met with instant need; I know most of us would rather relax. It’s also not ideal to get into an argument and feel disconnected from your partner. Defensiveness is an efficient way to engage an argument and reduce intimacy!


So, what can you do instead? For starters, you can take a few moments before you answer. Think about what they might be experiencing. Do they seem overwhelmed? Insecure? Lonely? Scared? Understanding the need that someone is communicating to you can make it a little easier to respond with empathy.


Partner A: “Ok… look at this mess! I thought you said you were going to do the dishes?!”
Partner B: “You’re right; I did. I’m sorry I haven’t done them yet. I had such a long day that all I wanted to do is come home and relax.”
Partner A: “My days are long, too. We still have to help out; otherwise, things start to pile up.”
Partner B: “I guess I didn’t really think about the impact it has on you.”
Partner A: “Sorry I attacked you. I’ve just been feeling so overwhelmed…”
Partner B: “I definitely don’t want to add to that. I guess we’ve both been feeling overwhelmed.”


A little empathy can go a long way. While this conversation isn’t over, it is on the right track. By being open to what your partner is trying to tell you, you create a safe place for both of you to express challenges without blame or judgment.


Dealing with challenges can be scary and assuaging fear is a lot easier to do in an environment of empathy. Ditch the defense.


Love and Be Loved,