Let me preface this by saying I’m part of this group, too. Just because I’m a licensed therapist doesn’t mean I don’t need therapy. I have many, many things to work on, one of which is getting back into therapy.
Full disclosure: I haven‘t seen a therapist in years. I understand if you think that makes me a hypocrite, but it is my truth. I would rather be honest than pretend to be someone I am not.
Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle.
But here’s what I’ve learned from both my personal and professional experiences. Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle, something we must thread into our daily lives. And therapy can be the needle to guide that thread.
Yes, women need therapy too. But multiple studies and researchers have pointed to the fact that women make up nearly two-thirds of therapy patients, while men arguably benefit more from the process.
We have to let go of what we can’t control and just focus on our own shit.
I believe all men need therapy, including myself. Here are four of the most compelling reasons:
1. This generation doesn’t clearly define the male identity.
You might argue that this lack of definition is about the culture of 2015. Society had a strong definition of “the ideal man” in the ′20s, ′40s, ′50s, etc. But I believe it has to do with the fact that we live in a fatherless nation.
More than ever, our fathers are either physically absent or emotionally unavailable. So, how does a son learn who he is as he crosses into manhood? He doesn’t. The shadow of a suggestion of an identity he struggles after is one learned through advertising, media, and coping.
I worked as a therapist in residential treatment for about six years. I treated teens struggling with addiction, and the vast majority of them had an absent father. The boys clung to me, desperate for a positive male role model. They wanted a guide, a mentor, a man to teach them about life — what all boys crave at that age. I know I did. When deprived of that, they try to fill the void in unhealthy ways.
Therapy is a safe space for men who grew up with absent dads (most of us) to process the loss we’ve suffered, whether we realize it or not, and to create a new, healthy definition of what it means to be a man.
2. Therapy helps you find tools that will exponentially improve your relationships.
Generally speaking, men tend to maneuver more on a logical plane and women on an emotional one. Many men struggle to express their feelings, eventually leaving their partner in the dark, resulting in the two being separated by the unspoken issue(s) between them. Eventually, they grow apart.
I see this all the time in the couples I coach: Men tend to go to “fix-it” mode instead of expressing themselves and holding a safe space for their partner. They struggle with using “I feel” statements and don’t practice building their communication muscles.
Since therapists are trained to help you explore and process feelings, seeing a therapist is like visiting an emotional gym and exercising these expression muscles. Once we have the ability to express ourselves, we can stop trying to fix it. Instead, we can be present, and create a safe space for our partner to talk to us. Then confrontations can turn into healthy conversations, creating closeness, trust, and stronger relationships.
Seeing a therapist doesn’t mean you have problems. It means you want to be a healthier version of yourself. It just means adding more tools to your toolbox. These tools will translate directly into your relationship.
Your partner will see the difference in you and may be inspired to go on his or her own journey. Now we have two pistons pumping. Translation: You’ve stopped the tug-of-war and started to move in the same direction. This is the only way to improve a relationship.
It’s never about the other person. It’s about you.
3. It’s the only way a lot of men ever learn to stop trying to fix everything.
Men tend to think they can do everything by themselves. Not necessarily because of ego. It’s a pressure we put on ourselves to take care of the people we care about. When it comes to relationships, sometimes we don’t realize that we are only 50 percent of the equation.
By thinking we can fix it, we can easily cross the line into controlling behavior without even knowing it. That means we have to let go of what we can’t control, and just focus on our own shit. This is what therapy is all about. Therapists are trained to keep the focus on the client so they can take ownership of their own issues and let go of other people’s.
I believe that with this mindset, the dynamic of the relationship will shift. There will be a lot less pressure and a lot more trust. Of course, women can do the same.
But from coaching hundreds of women, I’ve learned that the majority want their man to take the lead. It gives them hope and builds trust. Then they become inspired to work on anything they need to work on.
We get into a chess game with each other, subconsciously. We won’t change or work on ourselves unless the other person does too. But the only thing that grows in that dynamic is anger and resentment. It’s never about the other person. It’s about you, the kind of person you want to be, and what you want to bring to the relationship.
4. We have a responsibility to be better men than our fathers were.
I know it’s 2015, and much progress has been made. But men still tend to shy away or get embarrassed about seeing therapists. There’s a pervasive misconception that therapy is for people with “real problems.” So, men just talk to their friends, who are biased, and can’t advise them with the same experience, perspective, or authority. Men tend to associate “treatment” with weakness. I think we believe that if we see a therapist, we are admitting defeat. We are admitting we can’t fix it on our own. That last part is true. We can’t. But that’s okay.
Imagine if men went to therapy as much as they go to the gym. How many relationships would be saved? How many sons would have a healthier definition of manhood? And how many daughters would have higher self-esteem and a sharper radar when it came to boys? Imagine how much pain and destruction we could avoid. Then tell me it’s not a good idea.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE on Mind, Body Green
Photo Credit: Stocksy
Maybe you should too. Not MY wife — yours.—
I’m always anxious to read the latest advice from sex columnists about how to have amazing sex. My problem is that they often fail to speak to the reality of life after children. Of course I’d love to languish in those Halcion days when we spent nights doing nothing but worshiping each other. Those were the days. But why doesn’t anyone talk about having amazing sex after children?
The sex advice people suggest spicing up your love life. I’d love to have a few hours to do yoni massage in a quiet room filled only with sitar music and the aroma of sandalwood wafting in my nostrils. Children present too many interruptions and distractions. We never had the money or the child care back-up to do weekend get-aways. Waiting until late at night usually means someone is sleeping. Lovemaking gets pushed to the back seat. It takes a toll.
I was involved with men’s spiritual development groups for years. We all took a pledge of silence like the Las Vegas code. On several occasions though my wife asked me if we talked about sex. I said married guys with children don’t want to talk about something that doesn’t exist—sex after children. I couldn’t tell them about my life or they’d kill me out of jealousy. I have had a great sex life after children. Actually it started before children as it does for most of us men, but for my wife and I it never stopped.
I’m in a second marriage. My first was a complete mulligan. Maybe some insights will be posted here down the line. Let me just say, to reinforce an observation about The Good Men Project, men are victims too. I was. Enough for now. Well, okay, a little more revelation.
I underwent a vasectomy in a desperate attempt to save my first marriage. My ex was so afraid of pregnancy that she would “forget” to take her pill. ( I know, it doesn’t make sense.) She contrived ever possible excuse to avoid sex. I really didn’t want children either, so it was no big deal for me at the time—anything to get more sex. However, when I had the procedure in the late 70’s, the folks at the family planning clinic wanted to be sure I knew it was highly unlikely I would ever be able to conceive naturally. I signed off willingly.
Turns out I was duped. Can’t go there now. My marriage dissolved soon after.
Some time later, I met the woman who would become my soulmate, the love of my life, all the magical things that a good relationship should be about. In our single days we were like mink. However, I knew when I proposed that I was committing to having children as our relationship wouldn’t work if we stayed childless. My wife was born to be a mother. I loved her enough to take the risk.
I underwent vasectomy reversal. In the aftermath I became her sex slave, as she rigidly followed the procedures for a thirty-five year old woman to get pregnant — sex every day she was at the proper basal temperature. We were told it could take a long time. The rabbit died before I was even out of my surgical recovery period.
We had sex all though the pregnancy. In the last days of a difficult and uncomfortable pregnancy, it became too painful for her. Thankfully, her gynecologist told her the way out was the same way she got in. Sex late in pregnancy will induce labor. I love that man. We had sex and she went into labor the next day.
Our first child was a crisis baby, born with a formerly fatal congenital heat defect. We took him back from the arms of the angels on several occasions. You’re never out of the woods with a heart baby, but that too is another story. I lost my job just before our second child was born. My father-in-law, my best scotch drinking buddy, died suddenly after the birth of #2. I think only a prison term is higher on the life stress levels. Still we held on to each other.
Okay, back to my opening point, the sex counsellors don’t acknowledge that sex after children comes in stolen moments. Foreplay becomes “Brace Yourself!” Children, for all their blessings, kill intimacy. It is the ruin of many marriages. Sexuality in marriage after children has to become a commitment and not an idle romantic indulgence.
Over the years my wife and I have stayed sexually engaged. Our sex life would not make a great XXX movie. A lot of it is under the covers, quietly in the dark, but still, a connection. Unable to have wild sexual fantasies played out, we have found our own means of fun. One of them involves me paying my wife for sex. It serves a dual purpose. Money has always been short in our situation—we have been a one income family—I’m the at-home dad. I have terrible money insecurities. My wife loves to shop and buy stuff—fortunately, she is frugal. Still, her spending has been a source of stress in our relationship. I think I own four pairs of shoes, she could supply a small nation with her collection. There is rarely a day when she doesn’t shop and buy herself something. The clutter has me tearing my hair out at times. But it’s the money fear that is most troubling for me, and I admit, irrational.
I do most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry, so lavishing those treats on her doesn’t open any romantic gateways. We needed something else.
Somehow we came up with the fun idea that I would pay her for sex. The money she “earns” she is free to spend without me nagging her. She has never denied me sex, but it has put a little naughty fun into a stressful situation that many couples face.
I don’t know if our little arrangement will work for you, I’m just saying don’t be discouraged by the sexologists, find a way to keep sex alive in your relationship, even if you have to “pay” for it.
Photo: Flickr/J.K. Califf
– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-i-pay-my-wife-for-sex-dg/#sthash.vtTU4kD8.dpuf
Do (or did) you and your spouse have significantly different levels of desire for sex? If so, you are not alone. Did you know that 1 in 3 couples has a sexual desire gap? But just because you aren’t alone, it doesn’t mean you should be complacent about a ho-hum sexual relationship. You shouldn’t. It can lead to a miserably angry spouse, infidelity and divorce. If you don’t believe me, watch this TEDx talk on The Sex-Starved Marriage
And although solutions to this sexual divide abound in magazines, self-help books and other pop psychology outlets, there is a little talked about fact underlying the problems associated with this sexual void.
The No’s have veto power.
Here’s the scoop. The spouse with lower sexual drive controls the frequency of sex — if she or he doesn’t want it, it generally doesn’t happen. This is not due to maliciousness or a desire for power and control, it’s just seems unimaginable to be sexual if one is not in the mood.
Furthermore, there is an unspoken and often unconscious expectation that the higher desire spouse must accept the no-sex verdict, not complain about it and remain monogamous. After decades of working with couples, I can attest that this is an unfair and unworkable arrangement.
This is not to say that infidelity is a viable solution to disparate sexual interests. It isn’t. As with all relationship conflicts, being willing to find middle ground is the best way to insure love’s longevity.
But what’s a so-called “low desire spouse” to do?
Believe it or not, although sometimes the causes of low sexual desire are complex and deeply rooted, this is not always true. One of the most common causes for a sexual desire gap is also the simplest to solve. I recommend that the person with low desire adopt the Nike philosophy, and “Just Do It!” Why?
I wish I had a dollar for each time someone in my practice said, “I wasn’t in the mood when I started making love but once we got into it, I really enjoyed myself. It felt great.”
After seeing lots of this in my practice, I started to look around at the literature about sexual desire and discovered that for millions of people, sexual desire doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen. (Basson, R.) But what does this actually mean?
The human sexual response cycle is thought to have four stages:
Stage 1: Desire, which is defined as having a sexy thought or sexual fantasy that often occurs out of the blue or in response to a trigger such as seeing an attractive person, smelling a aromatic perfume, or watching a hot movie. Desire then prompts us to become sexually active.
Stage 2: Arousal is the excitement we feel, the physiological changes in our bodies once we’re physically stimulated
Stage 3: Orgasm
Stage 4: Resolution, when our bodies return to the resting state.
But for almost half the population, stages one and two are actually reversed. They don’t feel sexual desire until they’ve been physically aroused, until they’ve been touched. But once they’ve been stimulated, they feel plenty of desire. They’re hot to trot. For these folks, arousal leads to desire, not the other way around.
If this sounds like you, it behooves you to do a little experimenting. Stop waiting for the fireworks to happen before you become sexual. Be receptive to your partner’s advances even if you’re not totally in the mood. Why? Two reasons.
You might just find that once you’re into it, you’re really into it. Plus, notice the changes in your spouse. She or he will be much nicer to be around. But don’t take my word for it. Try it. At least watch this new TEDx Talk on The Sex-Starved Marriage.
Michele Weiner-Davis is the Author of the best selling Divorce Busting, Divorce Remedy, and the Sex-Starved Marriage, and creator of the Divorce Busting Center. She is the Founder of DivorceBusting “Like” her on Facebook, and get her latest videos on YouTube.
ORIGINAL POST @ Huffingtonpost
It has been an interesting social week for this sex geek!
Love, marriage, relationship, sex, commitment, integrity, open-mindedness, judgement, new friends, old lovers and so much more…
Most of what keeps coming up this last week for me is circling around our idea’s and beliefs when looking at marriage or a “committed” relationship. The do’s and don’ts, and what is truly correct. What I have been reminded of the most is that one person’s “right way” is not always another person’s “right way,” and that this is such a beautiful thing that so many have a tough time accepting and seeing for the incredible gift that it is. As an ego based society we have been brainwashed into believing so fully that our beliefs are actually fact that we have squeezed out life, free will and individuality. We have buried personal truth and forgotten the age old wisdom, of love thy neighbor. The one core principle that ALL religions and spiritual practices have in common and as foundation. We have also forgotten that even our own personal truths and beliefs can change over the course of time and that in the end they are still only opinions in the eyes of others. Weather we back our statements with scripture, scientific evidence, or something else, they are all conjured from human translation.
Interestingly enough, since my last writing I have been through quiet a host of events and thoughts on this. A lover that I have had for a few years now (whom is a married man) had to deal with the possibility of divorce with his wife after a large dispute over his sexual activity outside of the marriage. Yet, their relationship is sexually dead and I mean DEAD. There is not even guilt sex happening. Now, I know that many who read this will be disgusted and damning, saying that in this sort of case instead of having an affair one should just get out of the relationship and stay in integrity. If your not happy then it is time to move on. If there are issues that cannot be resolved then it is time to move on. True as all of that is from a logical stand point, there are personal reasons that many who have affairs have that make it not so cut and dry. Yes, I am speaking from personal experience here. I have been an adulteress and obviously I have been a mistress as well. Both roles have blessed me with so much life lesson and deep empathy that I cannot see the disgust in them but only the beauty and empowerment that they both have led too.
Now, here is another interesting event of my week. Another old lover of mine who is a single man but was married years ago has a jealous, controlling ex-wife who has decided that he should not even text with me. Her attitude is very similar to the wife of my other lover, yet there is no contract that she can hold over his head or shame him of some religious sin. She can however cause disturbances and chaos.
In both cases above what we have are some core beliefs that we are taught about relationship, especially marriage.
In marriage you are responsible for your partners happiness.
In marriage, you are NOT to have any intimate or emotional relationships outside of that relationship.
Love as unconditional as we may say it is hits the wall of conditions when dealing with sex and emotions.
Ownership. (Partners own the rights to use of their partners body, especially genitals)
Jealousy is love.
If you cheat, you do not love your husband/wife.
So as you read this list, what did your heart say about each item?
Your heart not your ego, your beliefs and programs. Not what religion states. But what did your heart say? Your heart speaks in whispers remember, while the others are in your face, yelling the answers.
In follow up to these two events, I decided to do some social research on FaceBook and pose a couple questions. Here they are with some of the answers I received.
Is infidelity ALWAYS infidelity?
▪ Nope. Not always…Guess it depends on what your own definition of that is.
▪ Other’s concept of infidelity may not be yours. Not a universal definition.
▪ Infidelity is infidelity no matter how you slice it and dice it. infidelity is kissing another woman/man on the lips or commiting a sexual act with another person when in a relationship with someone. example…. peter is dating jenna, peter kisses another girl and has sexual relations with the other girl, that is infidelity.
▪ There are couples that are monogamous and then there are others that are polyamorous. Whatever works for a couple the most important thing is honesty with each other.
▪ A toxic relationship is a toxic relationship. No one should expose themselves to such thing for a prolonged agonizing period. Though leaving in itself is self empowering, and probably something that needs to be done by you. Cheating or committing in act of infidelity is a weakness that one succumbs under.
▪ And my favorite response: If communication is open and honest, then infidelity would never occur
The next question I posed was:
70%+ divorce rate. Over 40% of men in their late 40’s to 50’s have affairs. Over 30% of women in their 30’s have affairs. Many relationships have non existent or almost there so sexual relations after the 12th year together. Sperm are designed to fight sperm from other men, so that the strongest may win and the strongest offspring will be born to a woman. Women can become allergic to their mates semen.
College Study: In the early 1970s, a schoolteacher in southern England assigned a class science project in which his students were to find out the blood types of their parents. The students were then to use this information to deduce their own blood types (because a gene from each parent determines your blood type, in most instances only a certain number of combinations are possible). Instead, 30 per cent of the students discovered their dads were not their biologically fathers.
Question of the day: Are humans designed to be a monogamous species?
▪ It is possible. it requires a lot of internal work; which most people are not willing to go through.
▪ No, I don’t believe so. The reality of our true biological nature does not lend itself to that. We are programmed & learn that we should be, however, just look realistically at the divorce rate & you can see that something is a miss.
▪ I don’t think so… I think monogamy is a choice, one that can be followed through with, but naturally designed to be, no. Look at the bonobo, we are more closely related to them than any other primate/species. They, besides us (humans) are the only species who have sex, just for fun, and they do so with multiple partners. There is no hierarchy, no violence… I think it’s time we realize this, not to necessarily have multiple partners, but to have a better understanding of why we have such a high rate of failed monogamous relationships.
▪ Yes, were designed to be monogamous.. But as we as a human race evolved down through history, very early on we developed an appetite for more, and diverse engagement.. The pleasure center of our being was unlocked and an insatiable desire took over.. Pleasure is one thing, real love is another.. There is something sacred, about loved shared with one…and one only.. But our society doesn’t know how to facilitate that anymore.. There are unseen forces that prompt and Ignite some of the deeper..even hidden.. Passions.. That we might have had for just one person.. So yes, were designed.. But in the current cultural climate it is difficult to maintain.. Must be an incredible commitment to that person in your life.. Subtle, seek to steal and Rob the beauty, of that kind of oneness between two people.. Like some unseen force trying to take it away entirely… Just my sincere and humble opinion.
▪ I used to believe we were meant to be monogamous but I’m believing more and more that there is no way that just one person can satisfy all of our wants and needs (nor can we satisfy them). I believe in being open and honest with a partner but not necessarily monogamous. Just my opinion.
▪ Interestingly . . . way back in time . . . women decided what attributes their child would have . . . strength, stature, gentleness, hair colour, etc. . . . and would then seek out amongst the males in their community or tribe . . . those who embodied or embraced those qualities . . . and they would then mate with all of the chosen ones, repeatedly . . .
When the woman became pregnant with child . . . she would be supported by others of her ilk . . . and when the baby arrived . . . all of the fathers – sperm donors . . . would come to acknowledge their contribution to the new arrival . . . Within the tribe there would be those who quite naturally assumed the fatherly role in the child’s upbringing . . . even though they might not have been amongst the sperm donors .
What does all of this come down too?
Opinions. Beliefs. Programs.
All supported. All beautiful. All correct and all wrong. The true lesson of humanity is to love thy neighbor as thy self. And such raw topics such as infidelity and monogamy vs. non-monogamy are perfect teachers. Yet, fear blinds us. It blinds us from the possibilities of living in harmony and peace by embracing in unconditional love our neighbors, our lovers and mates and even ourselves. Instead of opening our minds and hearts we restrict them and point fingers. We say, “I am not judging you, that is God’s job,” while we state our opinion as fact. We slam the door of brotherhood because we fear our brothers beliefs. We go on witch hunts and call those who do not live according to our ways sluts, whores, tempters and temptresses. We pity them and most of all we fear the questions they pose to our soul without ever verbally asking it: Why am I not happy and what am I so scared of?
Fear is the answer to both.
Both questions come back to false evidence appearing real. Both are based on what we perceive as a danger when in fact, it is only self-created illusion supported by society.
We are not happy because we lack the strength and courage to live in integrity and authentically to be ourselves. We are fearful that if we were to do this, we would loss love, acceptance, family, comfort, all that we know. We fear that what we cherish in our lives and in love is truly conditional based.
We are scared of the reality of these conditions and that by living in our truth we will loose all that we feel we need.
And in reality….
Fear is just an illusion. There is no danger in any of the above. There is the reality that in many cases our fear WILL be supported by those parties we are interacting with and that we may very well find out that what we knew deep down is actually true. But, this just means that it was all a hoax anyway.
The hoax of conditional, fear based, controlling need wearing the mask of unconditional love.
In the end, it is a personal choice. The choice of living in a lie and being a sheep to needs of another or being a lion and standing firm for WHO YOU authentically are, just the way god made you.
Choose wisely. You deserve it!
The mysterious land of sex and relationship coaching does not have to elude you anymore, matter a fact you may be surprised at just how beneficial this service can be in your own love life.
As a practitioner of Tantra, a real life sex educator (basically this means I pull NO punches on the facts and am a realist) and the mother of six children, I have experienced my fair share of interesting events in the sex and relationship world and that is not even taking into account the time frame I spent dating 10 gentlemen all in unison or the 17 year marriage that I had the pleasure of learning from. All providing me with an authentic, loving eye to the BIG world of sex and relationship and how taboo it is for us as a society to speak of these intimate and empowering or dis-empowering moments in our lives. I have come to see how hard it can be for many single’ and couple’s to open up to a therapist or teacher and even how much more courage it takes to become vulnerable with their lover(s) and self. Below are 10 things that you may have not known about sex therapy/coaching/educating that will help you to evaluate the practice as the healing modality that it is, hopefully releasing some of the preconceived notions and taboo’s of it as well.
So what do sex coaches do (or don’t do), what issues can they help solve, what happens inside their office or sacred space (even a coffee shop)?
1. Your Sexual Confidence Overflow’s Into Your Daily Life – Sex Coaching Can Help Empower You in Both
I hear a lot of the time from people that they don’t need sex coaching because they have a good sex life, no hangups or trauma but what they do need is a life coach or a coach that will help them with an issue that has nothing to do with the bedroom. One of the biggest issues that we have in society today is our need to compartmentalize everything, not embracing the fact that everything is interconnected.
“What people don’t expect from sex therapy is how strong, confident and assertive they become in every area of their lives,” says Marne Wine, a licensed professional counselor and AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) certified sex therapist in Westminster, Colorado. “Sex therapy is just life playing itself out in the bedroom. Are you willing to be OK with yourself because you don’t know everything or have all the answers? Are you willing to put yourself out there and risk ridicule and failure? Once you learn to do that in the bedroom—naked—you can do it anywhere.”
When you are feeling connected and are able to receive as well as give properly, in love and sexually, you feel like you can do anything. Our fulfillment in our intimate relationships, both emotionally and sexually transfer out into all other areas of our lives. Our intimate relationship are a reflection and a stage on which we can choreograph our full life expression: weather that is showing up in our love life, our work life, with our purpose, our children, friends or in our health. When things are not aligned and harmonious in your sexual relationship(s), it drags all the other parts of your life down with it.
2. Being Naked With Your Sex Coach Does Not Involve Nudity
Through the years what I have found to be one of the biggest hurdle’s for people to get over is their own predetermined thoughts of what they “think” sex therapy or coaching even Tantric work is. Most of the time, clients are either one of two things: fearful that the therapy/coaching might involve physically intimate situations or hopeful that they will. To set the standard straight, traditional sex therapy/coaching (talk therapy) is just that, talk therapy and DOES NOT entail any sort of physical nudity. When coaches refer to being naked in this sense they are speaking of the emotional/physiological vulnerability of be naked, letting down your guards and fulling being authentic with your coach.
When you move into the world of Tantric practices and teaching you do open up the gateways of more vulnerability and nudity. Often Tantric work is a pseudo label for bodywork that deals with the genitals. This sort of ancient practice is along the same belief systems as acupressure, acupuncture, reiki, and massage. For centuries it has been known that the human body stores stress, trauma, and even memories in the cellular tissue of our muscles yet in modern times we are told that it is wrong to treat the genital areas of men and women as though we would treat their backs, necks, legs or feet. Tantra teaches that we must heal the entire body and not ignore or separate one aspect of ourselves from another but instead embrace and heal all parts in order to unite them and restore harmony to the whole-being. This being said, each Tantric Coach is an individual and practices are as unique as the teachers themselves. It is best before stepping foot down the Tantric path to fully explore what the style of the teacher is that you are pursuing and make certain that you are comfortable and in alignment with how they practice.
There are other types of people who work in the sex therapy world as well, such as sex surrogates, but there are very few legal certified surrogates in the United States at this point.
3. Authenticity and Healing the Sexual Self is Taboo, but NOT in Your Coaches Presence
I have worked with individuals and couple’s alike who face their shadow’s on a daily routine in my care. Everything from repressed memories, sexual hangups and fantasies or issues of abuse that frightens them to talk about, there is truly no subject too taboo for a sex therapist/coach. We have heard it all and many of us have been through our own shadow lands and know how hard and painful these things can be to vocalize. The truth in the therapy is that when you become vulnerable enough and find the courage to lay it all out on the table to your coach or therapist; you have finally stepped into releasing the shame, trauma and suffering in the victim-hood and have made way for empowerment and healing.
Often I hear from my coaching clients, “I feel so comfortable with you. I don’t normally share like this and especially about these sort of things.” This safe container that is made between the client and the coach is there because we sex coaches and therapists have experienced ourselves and with our clients so much that we have learned the valuable lesson of holding space free from judgement and criticism. It is in everyone’s best interest that the container be safe and full of unconditional love.
4. Finding the Right Sex Coach/Therapist or Tantra Teacher Is The Foundation Of Your Healing
Are you considering a sex therapist because they have a license? Are you wanting a sex coach because they have a certification from some institution or center somewhere? Are you wanting a Tantra teacher that claims to be trained by such and such leading tantra school?
Certifications, licenses, and other formal schooling are all powerful resources and I believe that they do help in the client healing process. But they are not the foundation of what makes a good healer, coach, therapist or educator. A truly good coach will be one who has the moral standards that align with what their clients needs and desires are. They are individuals who know that they do not hold all the answers but know how to hold the space needed for their clients to discover the right answers for themselves. They speak not just from the formal education and intellectual understanding that they have gained through their certifications but also from their life experiences and personal healing journey.
To ensure that you are with the right coach/teacher/therapist for you:
- Explore your coaches background.
- Get testimonies and references.
- Meet your coach/therapist for a consult in person prior to any therapy work.
- If your practitioner does any group events/talks/seminars, attend at least one prior to working one on one with them so that you can get a feel for how they relate to people and what people think of them.
- Get your questions and concerns answered and BE direct in what you are wanting or not wanting in your experience.
- And if, after the first appointment, you don’t feel comfortable with the coach/therapist, find another one—or ask for a referral. A good coach will keep your best interests at heart—not there ego.
5. Sex and Relationship Coaching is Not Just For Crappy Lovers or Traumatized Individuals
But we already have a GREAT sex life and deep intimacy, so what can you do for us?
“Most people believe that something has to be broken, or that they do, in order to seek sex therapy. What I do is more about sexual and emotional enhancement, making things better, than it is about Slot A and Prong B. The most frequent therapeutic outcome of any sex therapy is the relief that comes with being able to talk about sexual feelings, thoughts and fantasies, just putting them out there to be examined.” according to Isadora Alman, a marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified sexologist in San Francisco and I would have to agree with her 100%. Many of the couple’s that I have worked with have come to me to have support and learn new skills in their sex and emotional relating with their partner, others have come in hopes of healing an issue or misunderstanding even a desire for saving their relationship, but I would say about 40% of my couple’s clients are coming to me for enhancement not fixing. These couple’s want to go deeper in their already dynamic relationships. They want to feel more, love more and they want to explore their partners hearts, souls and bodies with more passion, understanding and empathy.
6. Your Marriage May Not Be Lost After All
Sex is the backbone to the marriage or intimate relationship(s). When we loose respect, connection, empathy and desire for our partners during our sexing it takes a major toll on our whole relationship. When a couple is having troubles with their sex life, a traditional marriage counselor might say, ‘You need to make time for you two to connect’ when it’s way more than just connecting for sex. If desire is no longer on the table and trust has been broken in the relationship or one party has experienced something traumatic or the couple is just feeling blah toward each other any false forced attempt to revive the sex or relationship will just fall prey to the wolves of the issues that are there already or possible even cause further damage.
This sort of advice often leaves couple’s wanting more or feeling misunderstood and lost. A sex coach or therapist can exceed the normal harnesses of coaching and therapy that a traditional coach has to abide by providing the clients with an ‘outside of the box’ approach to possibly heal their relationship issues and their marriage.
Instead of waiting till you have tried all other paths of healing and therapy to save your relationship look at sex coaching or therapy work among your first and get the advice you really desire.
7. Sexual Positions to Physical Dysfunctions and More Can Be Solved
In my many years of practice I have worked with many issues from men with broken penises (literally broken from rough sex) who no longer knew how to properly penetrate their lover to women who with no ability to orgasm and couple’s who wanted to swing but keep one party monogamous at the same time. These issues as well as to low or high libido, sexual difficulties and dysfunctions, sexual issues from cancer treatment and surgical procedures, ED, premature ejaculation, inability to orgasm (men and women alike), intimacy issues, dating issues, rape and abuse victims, virgins, couple’s who have not had sex for months or even years, kink fetishes and other adventurers as well as so many more. And then there are the one’s who just want to learn a new skill or position. 🙂 Yes, what can sex coaching help you with? I don’t know, but if your alive it most likely can assist you in living a better one.
8. Communication Equals Intimacy and Better Life Skills
Sex coaching is NOT all about sex acts and functions. Many of the people who come into sex coaching walk away with an improved ability to communicate and learn how to respect themselves and others through authentic communication skills taught in a session. So if you are fearful of confrontation or want to dive right into the fires, sex coaching can help you learn loving communication that can share your desires, needs and boundaries as well as skills of how to empathetically listen to everyone in your life not just the one you sleep with.
Ask yourself this: Was my last verbal exchange something like this, “Bring me the remote” or “Grab those bags of groceries for me, hun.” Remember that the keys to a gourmet relationship and sexing start with gourmet communication.
9. Back To School You Go
Most people believe that they know all they need to know about their bodies parts and their lovers bodies parts but in reality most people have not a clue what is between their legs or how to treat it, let alone their lovers. Science is in the beginning stages of unearthing the mystery of the clitoris and the research on that one small piece of a woman’s body is just a little over 15 years of study so far.
I do art therapy classes, both group and individual with many of my clients to help them reconnect to their sexual selves. In these classes we explore sensations and draw or paint how we may need to express them during a class. In other instances I work with clients and have them take a mirror into a bathroom or private spot and look at themselves. One of my softer approaches is to use stand alone models of these parts of the body and teach what each area is as I discuss deeper issues with a client.
In my practice as a sex coach I offer what I call Show N’ Tell Sex Ed Classes to people where they get hard core education blended with live model demonstrations. The value of knowing your body and being comfortable in it is one of the most important steps to regaining confidence and releasing trauma as well as stepping back into an intimate relationship.
10. Brings Back The Honeymoon Phase
There is nothing like a first kiss or first glance and especially nothing like the first time you have sex with a new lover that is floating your boat, but over time the NRE (New Relationship Energy) fades and we take our partners and relationship, including the sex for granted. We stop courting each other and slowly the desire leaves or is masked bythe day to day grind of life. Well, sex coaching can help with all of that! Sex coaching can help couple’s reignite those flames and make room for snuggling and making out, getting frisky in the car and even planning out sex dates. Sex coaching can help couple’s go from friendly pecks call a kiss to passionate first date kissing.
When you enter into a coaching therapy with a practitioner you must be prepared to invest time and energy into yourself in all ways. As you can see, sex coaching takes into account lot’s of things not just sex. Often one of the issues experienced is a lack of commitment from the client. Coaches (no matter the field) are here to help YOU, the client find your own way to healing, NOT give you all the answers. There are no set guidelines or times that can be stated for your transformation or healing to occur. There are no guarantee’s that you will be healed or that your assumed expectations will come about. What is for sure is that anyone who truly wants the guidance, support and education can have it but must be willing to expect homework, which might include writing exercises, communication exercises, intimacy and, of course, sex. And must be willing to step out of the box that has been holding them back for all this time.
*Some quotes found on google from glamour.com articles
Relationships provide the opportunity to teach us many lessons. Whether it’s between parent-child, friends, or even strangers, we can learn so much more about ourselves in relation to others.
On some level, every relationship is sacred as it holds opportunity for us to grow. However, there’s something distinct about the intimate relationship shared by lovers. Our partners are not defined by genetics or familial bonds. We’re not necessarily thrown into proximity by way of work or school environments. We choose willingly to enter into relationship with them. In addition, there’s the added component of physical intimacy.
Here are five characteristics of healthy, sacred relationships:
1. You can be yourself.
In a sacred partnership, you won’t feel the need for self-censorship. You feel free to show the spectrum of who you are and lose the masks often worn in society.
Even though you may still feel self-conscious about some of your behaviors, you work through your hesitation and often end up laughing at yourself. In the presence of this other, you are more accepting of the things you once tried to hide.
2. You maintain individuality.
Even though all barriers have been removed to allow room for your significant other, you still find independence within the relationship. Though you share many things together, you still have some of your own interests and pursuits.
You are not reliant on the other’s presence to fully function or feel whole, nor would your partner expect or demand otherwise. Your partner supports and encourages your individuality, as do you for them.
3. You have a mutual desire for personal evolution.
Consciously sacred connections always move in the direction of growth: for the partnership and for each individual. A desire to impede the growth of the other for one’s comfort is a manifestation of fear. Even when one is concerned that the relationship may dissolve, they accept that their paths may diverge for the benefit of both. Evolution is put before personal gain.
4. You “hold space” for each other.
The art of holding space for another is rooted in love and respect. It means listening to them wholeheartedly and letting them know by your complete presence that they are seen and valued. It’s not a space where you try to fix the other person. It’s about being witness to the totality of your beloved.
5. You’re peaceful.
Life doesn’t feel blissful all of the time, nor will any relationship. However, the majority of time spent together will be peaceful. Interactions with each other will leave each party feeling invigorated as opposed to drained.
An undercurrent of anxiety is not desirable to either individual. Though there may be stressful situations (schedules, children, relatives, job demands, etc.) both parties are committed to reinforcing their bond with minimal friction.
In conclusion, highly sacred relationships present a number of characteristics. These qualities can be seen in all types of relationships, but meet specific challenges in the romantic realm. Some unions will last a lifetime and others are brief. The one thing all have in common is that they provide some of the most transformative interactions you can experience.
Source: “5 Signs You’re In A Highly Sacred Relationship,” from mindbodygreen.com, by F. Emelia Sam
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
– See more at: http://theunboundedspirit.com/5-signs-youre-in-a-highly-sacred-relationship/#sthash.xvxfb1RI.dpuf
Are You Having Sex Because You Want to Have Sex, or Is There Some Implied Bargain Going On?
Today we are going to explore the rather controversial topic of “trading for sex.” I certainly would not be the first person to suggest that marriage is often a form of legalized prostitution. But it surely is not the only arena where implied trades for sex are happening. Perhaps if you are willing to be honest, you can remember times in your own life when you had sex even though you did not really want to have sex. Because you were going to get something that you thought was lacking in your life.
Recently I found myself in a situation where a man was doing all kinds of “nice” things for me. And I noticed the temptation within myself to “repay” him with sex. I did not want to have sex with him, but it would have been easy enough to do. I could almost justify it in my mind. Fortunately, though, my heart and my intuition are a lot more powerful now than they used to be. I caught myself falling into the trap of feeling “obligated” to “repay” this person with sex. And I stayed in integrity with myself and said no.
What is this ritual we have of men paying for dinner? It can have all kinds of interpretations, of course. I enjoy spending time with abundance-minded people, and a man sharing his abundance with me does not feel much different to me than the “free” stuff I am receiving from the Universe (not always through men) on a regular basis.
But what about when it’s not just a simple sharing of abundance with no expectation of anything in return? Recently I saw an old friend of mine who had broken up with his girlfriend. They were together for several years. It was never a relationship of equals. He is extremely wealthy, and she is financially insecure. She gave him sex, and he let her move in with him and paid all her expenses. Which was all fine and good and relatively harmonious until she realized that he meant what he said at the beginning: he had no intention of getting married. For her, getting married was an implicit part of the “bargain.” And as her friends gave her a hard time about it, she was sensitive to other people’s opinions, and the sensitivity grew when she hit a particular birthday … they broke up.
I myself once had a “sugar daddy” relationship. I don’t envision ever getting into a situation like that again. At first it felt like a princess fantasy. He would take me to Nordstrom and buy me 15 pairs of shoes at a time. He would take me to the most expensive stores in San Francisco and drop $15,000 at a time on dresses and shawls. He took me to the finest hotels and restaurants, and we flew first class to far-flung destinations. Did I realize that I was “trading for sex”? No, I was not that conscious at the time. It all just kind of “happened.” I even persuaded myself that I loved him.
At a deep level though, it felt like he was overcompensating for the fact that he did not feel like he was my equal. Over the course of the relationship, that icky feeling started to increase. My respect for him gradually diminished. Before I knew it, I was almost two years into a relationship that I knew would not be permanent.
And it started to get very dark. I remember one time he urged me to quit my job, and my intuition screamed “no.” “No, do not let yourself be financially dependent on this man.” I started thinking about other men, and he became very jealous. One time I was staying at his multi-million dollar vacation home with some of my girlfriends. He claimed to be occupied at another location, yet he drove several hours to arrive unannounced to “check up on me” (i.e., make sure I was not with another man). I had never cheated on any of my boyfriends, but his constant paranoia led me almost to cheat on him. When we broke up, he had an engagement ring that he said was “burning a hole in his pocket.” I never saw the ring. It was all so … ewwwwww. I broke it off, and he married another woman about six months later. I kid you not. Which made me even more glad that we were not together. To me, it was all driven by his not feeling complete as a human being standing on his own two feet.
There have been lots of other times in my life where I could have married a man for money, for social status, or for some other kind of “value.” And sometimes, let’s be honest, there were times I even had sex for far more trivial reasons. It was just “easier” than saying no.
The “sugar daddy” situation made me a lot more wary of men attempting to “buy” sex from me, one way or another. At this point, I am glad that I have spent a solid amount of time single. When we have learned to be solid all by ourselves, it is a lot more difficult for us to be manipulated with our insecurities. I don’t get lonely anymore, so I have no need to have sex to fill a void in my life. Back when I had a job that I hated (when I was dating the “sugar daddy”), I fantasized about a wealthy man “rescuing” me from having to work. I did not understand at that time about patterns of co-dependency and how destructive they are. Now that I have learned to stand on my own two feet as an entrepreneur, the idea of marrying a man for money just seems ludicrous. The only kind of relationship that appeals to me is a co-creative partnership of equals. The only kind of relationship I can envision now is uniting with another person who recognizes his wholeness and does not need to “get” anything from me, nor I from him.
Life does not “just happen” to me anymore. I am conscious of my choices, and I am in charge of my destiny. So when my intuition flags a situation of a man trying to “buy” sex from me, whether with money or by doing “nice” things for me … I just say “no.” And every time I do, my self-respect increases a little bit more.
After all, knowing what you want and being willing to stand firm until it manifests … without “caving” in to social pressures or personal insecurities … is what it means toBecome Fearless. And after living fearlessly, you’ll never want to go back to conventional living ever again
Erika Awakening, High Priestess of Miracles at TAPsmarter
“The moment of relief is when you drop the oars and let the stream turn you. Surrender and ask for what you need.” –Abraham Hick
The question that we all use often and that truly has a different meaning then the words used. Are you okay is a question asked of someone when someone else is feeling a societal need, a duty, a face to uphold. It is asked of someone when another party feels as if they should inquire but is not really committed to knowing the truth of the other. It is often asked in closer relationships when one party is feeling that there is something not okay but is not at peace with really hearing the answer. Because of our psychological programming, our fear of loss, our unstable emotional blockages we naturally answer this question when posed it, “Yes, yes I am okay. – Yes, I am fine. – Yes, all is good.” These responses are not accurate in most cases. These responses come with mixed feelings. “Yes, I am okay.” Actually says, “No, I am not okay but I am scared to share where I really am with you. I don’t trust you will handle where I am so I am going to give you the answer that you want and that will allow you to stop further inquiry and not feel guilty about it.” This answer at the same time is saying,” I know you feel something and I want you to dig deeper. I want to express fully but don’t know how or am unsure if I can trust you to hold space for me and where I am. I hope you can feel me calling through and asking you to go deeper with me. I want to be loved unconditionally and heard/seen.”
Our need to be heard, seen, truly felt and space held for us is a vital aspect of our human experience and healing, however because we all come with our own baggage we are fearful of opening ourselves at these levels and in turn give and accept these bullshit inquiries and responses.
This is one of the main questions posed in society, in all of our relationships. Through this question we actually convince ourselves that we care, that we want to know, that we have done our part in helping the one being asked, but stop and analyze this within yourself deeper. The last time you were asked this question, how did you respond? Did you feel heard? Felt? Seen? Did you feel any true connection or concern coming from the asking party or did you feel as though you and the other side had fulfilled a obligation of some sort in the brief inquiry? The last time you asked this question of someone did you get the response you had hoped for and was good with it so left it at that surface inquiry or did you hear a lack of integrity from the person asked? Did you hear their programmed answer and take it to a deeper level where you opened the door to real authentic love and empathy? If you did this did you hold space for the other person or did you open that door with a need to prove that you could “fix” them or show them the right path. What was YOUR underlying agenda in the inquiry no matter how deep you chose to take it?
Communication; Heart-felt and accepted communication is what we are all craving and yet we are scared shitless of embracing. We become involved in many relationships in our life times and even in the most committed, loving and connected ones we prevent this from happening. We fall prey to our programming and to our egos. Perhaps it is because we know that opening this doorway is like opening Pandora’s Box. Once opened we in truth are forever changed and we run the risk of looking silly, weak, psychologically messed up, selfish, insecure, possibly even suicidal if we really got down to the nitty gritty in some cases. We run into the possibility of sharing more of ourselves then we ever have trusted share before and this may cause our friend, lover, family member to shut down because they are not equipped with the skills and the maturity to hear our truth. Perhaps it is because we are all walking around with some amount of shame and distrust. We have been told from a young age to suck it up, that sharing these shadow lands of our internal selves is not healthy and it is actually selfish. We are told over and over again that emotion is meaningless, it is something that we need to learn to control and not embrace. We are told to hold it in, suppress it and move forward. Our society is programmed to believe that any emotional state of being that “Is NOT Okay,” is ill, wrong and should be suppressed in any way possible. Even medicated. But does this mean that it is right?
When we block one emotional state and stop living in heart integrity we naturally start blocking others. In what can be a very short period of time we find ourselves completely masking life, our hearts, our souls and all that we have to offer. Our love even becomes muted and you can feel or see the radiant light that was once present draining away from our living corpse. Our relationships, no matter how intimate become distant and we find ourselves alone, prisoners in this thing called life that we have no understanding of really.
Over and over again, I have heard from couple’s, especially men:
“She use to smile so much. Her smile could light up a room, if only she would do that now.”
“ When __________ is turned on she is the most extraordinary woman I have ever seen, I wish I knew how to get her into that state more.”
“She use to be so happy.”
“ I miss us talking about everything. I use to think that together we could do anything in this world, but that was then. Reality has set in and life is hard. We were young and dumb.”
“ People change. I don’t make her happy anymore.”
“I wish she could share with me more.”
“I don’t think she loves me anymore.”
“ I wish we could just talk without her getting so over emotional.”
“Women are too emotional. Your hormones mess everything up, we men cannot take what you say, do or are acting like for reality. I wish women could just be more stable minded.”
On the reverse I hear:
“ He use to make me smile in how he handled everything and supported me.”
“I wish he would just open up and share what is bugging him so much instead of ignoring me.”
“ I know he knows that we have not been right for some time now, but he won’t hear me out.”
“ I feel so alone.”
“Its just my hormones that are acting up. (It’s my period, I just got over my period, I am going through the change of life, I have the baby blues, etc)”
“It’s this new medication I am on.”
“I wish we could talk and he would just let me cry if I needed.”
These are all common statements made and felt. How sad it is that on both sides of the coin we feel a responsibility, a shame, a deep longing even to have more, embrace more but allow our egos to prevent the beauty of this soul communication by making us believe that if we express these “meaningless” emotions that we will sacrifice our relationship, ourselves and our image. If we open Pandora’s Box we are weak and immature, we are not cut out for this thing called life because the successful are strong and emotionless.
By opening this box though we do run the risk of seeing other souls at a deeper level and connecting with them in the space that they are at, we possibly may fall more in love with them, ourselves and with life by allowing both their humanness and our own to be revealed. We also run the risk of walking in a land that we have not traveled before ever or very much and see aspects of ourselves mirrored back at us that we are not fully ready to accept and heal. We may be asked to hold space or to support this other soul in a way that we are uncomfortable with. There may be nothing in return for us by opening at this level except a pain in our heart center that we cannot explain but feel great alignment with and wish we had someone that could hold this space for us.
Our interconnectedness as humans is amazing, but the interconnected, soul lessons that we are blessed with at a greater depth with those that we are physically connected to (our children, lovers, parents, siblings and close friends) are all the more intense. Our egos would have us believe that we should ignore and close ourselves off to even these people but is this the right and healthy thing to do or just the easy way out?
The next time you ask someone, “Are you okay?” Stop and ask if you are really ready to hold space for this person and whatever their truth is? Ask yourself if you are ready to inquire deeper when they give you the socially acceptable and expected answer of, ‘yes, I am okay.”? If you are not ready to do these two things, then DON’T ask. Smile at them, take a deep breath and walk away or ask a different surface question that will allow for idle communication without soul depth. If you choose to ask this question, be willing to embrace the other soul without judgment the best you can. Go as deep as you can with them in the moment. Know that most of us have never been allowed to express or experience deep communication and sharing and even though we crave it like the air we breathe, we will attempt over and over again to shut down the valves so that we won’t get hurt. Fear will be standing guard and the one who is being inquired of will look for ANY reason, any disconnect, any distance or fear within the inquirer to support the shut down. Past programs will be running at high speed in these intimate times and if a trigger is engaged you may have to recalculate, breathe and even allow for space to form to a degree before going deeper.
True authentic communication and acceptance is NOT easy or without risk. It takes a deep love and courage on both sides to reveal and be revealed into so much nakedness of self.
Do you have what it takes to love or be loved at this level?
I dislike the term “masturbation,” which comes from the Greek root word to “self pollute.” I prefer self pleasuring. Only through self pleasuring can we discover what our bodies are capable of and what really pleases — or pleasures — us. Without that knowledge, we can never let our partners know what we want or what we need to be pleasured by them.
Historically, the United States Patent Office has had over 900 applications for anti-masturbation devices for men. One of those devices even included sandpaper gloves which were meant to prevent nocturnal emissions in young men. Conversely, with the exception of chastity belts, there are few devices to prevent female masturbation – the thought being, of course, is that women neither masturbate nor enjoy sex. YES, THEY DO!
The only things preventing women from enjoying a pleasurable sexual relationship are lack of knowledge of their own bodies; partners who are poorly educated in female pleasure or who simply refuse to give up control; and/or an unwillingness or inability to communicate what they want or need from partners. With self pleasuring, women can acknowledge all orgasms before climax and bring that knowledge to their lovemaking with their partners.
The dichotomy is that we are told not to touch “down there.” As old myths fall we now know that self pleasuring is healthy and constructive. It enhances pleasure when intimate with a partner and adds to mutual pleasuring. YES, it’s ok to reach “down there” and assist a partner in pleasuring you.
Some experience their first, and often multi, orgasms with the aid of a vibrator. Pleasure devices have been around since ancient times such as Ben Wa balls, which are now replaced with cordless vibrators. The use of a vibrator to explore one’s body for pleasure is recommended; however, it is never a replacement for lovemaking. One person said they didn’t want a vibrator because “it’s not warm and it doesn’t hug me.” The key point is the more you know about your body, the more pleasure is available to you, and your partner as well.
For men, self pleasuring allows for extended erections and delay of orgasms. Often vibrators extend lovemaking and avoid premature ejaculation. Simply by stroking without allowing ejaculation, men can learn to last longer and longer in their lovemaking.
Although couples can pleasure themselves in front of each other as foreplay or as a learning experience, self pleasuring is different. It is the only time you get to make love to someone you really love — no one can pleasure you like you! Even as you tell your partner how to pleasure you, and he or she pleasures you, it is different. Not better, just different.
Have fun, explore, be pleasured!
Nationally renowned author, teacher, lecturer and inventor Dr. Stuart Bloch, DD, PhD, ChT is one of the nation’s leading experts on sex and sexual relationships. He is the founder of The Institute for Sexual Awareness (www.isasex.org), a research and educational trust whose purpose is to educate people to have more pleasure and satisfaction in relationships. This article is based on Dr. Bloch’s new book, “Conversations with the World’s Greatest Lover” found on Amazon.com.
In case you were wondering, May is National Masturbation Month. The celebration of May as National Masturbation Month began in 1995 in San Francisco as a response to the forced resignation of then U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.
After a speech at the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994, an audience member asked Elders about masturbation’s potential for discouraging early sexual activity. She answered,“I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.”
That was the end of Elders’ career as America’s first black Surgeon General, but the spark for National Masturbation Month. Offended by Elders’ ouster, the ever progressive, pro-sex staff of San Francisco’s sex toy and education company Good Vibrations decided to find a way to keep the focus on Elders’ unjust firing, and to bring talk about masturbation into the mainstream in just the way Elders had envisioned.
Realizing that large number of folks lacked support and advice to help them enjoy the simple, basic act of masturbation, Good Vibrations sought to provide support, advice, and reassurance for people looking to open their own personal sexual horizons.
And so was born National Masturbation Month. Among the first steps Good Vibrations took was to promote masturbation as healthy, safe and natural way to express one’s sexuality, thereby removing much of the shame and stigma have so long colored the act masturbation.
So, is it true, as so many believe that masturbation is so commonplace, natural, pleasurable and healthy that “ninety-eight percent of us masturbate, and the other two percent are liars?” If so, why do we need an entire month to educate people on something they’re already enjoying?
The answer is twofold: First, to help those already enjoying themselves to delve further. Second, and most importantly, it looks like plenty of people might still benefit from some encouragement and education.
A recent cross sample study of American adults asked the question: “On average, over the past 12 months, how often did you masturbate?” Only 38 percent of women said they’d masturbated at all during the past year, while 61 percent of men had done so.
The data shows that young women seem to warm up to masturbation more slowly. The study showed women from 20- to 39-years old were the most enthusiastic masturbators, with women 18 to 20, and those over 40 masturbating less. The study is the subject of an excellent article by Journalist Michael Castleman in Psychology Today.
Earlier studies have shown that rates of masturbation are higher for both men and women with higher education, more frequent sexual thoughts, sexual experimentation before puberty, and more lifetime sexual partners. Moreover, masturbation has documented physical benefits for both men and women, to say nothing of likely emotional and psychological benefits.
Health Benefits for Men
A 2007 article in Sexual and Relationship Therapy notes that masturbation may help men improve immune system function, build resistance to prostate gland infection, promote overall prostate health. Moreover, Australian researchers have shown that frequent masturbation may lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
A survey of men found the more frequently a man masturbates between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to get prostate cancer. In fact, those who masturbated more than five times a week were one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer.
These findings were the subject of a 2003 Doonesbury panel by Pulitzer Prize-winning Garry Trudeau. In the panel, one character alludes to masturbation as “self-dating.” Nearly half of the 700 papers which normally syndicate Doonesbury did not to run that strip, proving that public discussion of masturbation is still a thorny issue for some, and perhaps attesting to the need for an observance like National Masturbation Month.
Health Benefits for Women
Women who masturbate regularly increase their resistance to yeast infections. Masturbation helps women release pre-menstrual tension and other physical discomfort associated with menstrual cycles, like cramps. Masturbation increases blood flow to the pelvic region, which helps to reduce pelvic cramping and related backaches. Masturbation can also help to alleviate chronic back pain and increase a woman’s overall pain threshold.
Health Benefits for Both Men and Women
For both men and women, masturbation is the safest sex possible, with no possibility of sexually transmitted disease, or of unwanted pregnancy. It’s a great way to relieve stress, and release a nice flood of mood boosting endorphins. Masturbation is both a natural energizer, and a good way to help you sleep better, depending on the time of day. Lastly, masturbation helps to build stronger pelvic floor muscles, which can improve sexual performance and enjoyment. The benefits of masturbation for men and women is the subject of an excellent article for Fox News by Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright.
So, don’t just stand there, get out and celebrate National Masturbation Month. I’ll leave the details to you.
Join the Event on Facebook