Category Archives: Other Articles

Be Satisfied This Valentine’s Day…Again & Again & Again

Here’s a Valentine’s Day article I wrote for Theravive that still rings true for many of my sex therapy clients longing to be satisfied. It’s about how to get the Valentine’s Day you want. I want people to stop basing their relationship and sexual expectations on what they have learned through movies and media. If you are waiting for your prince/princess to come and read your mind about what you want for Valentine’s Day or what makes you feel desired, yada, yada, yada, then you are likely to be disappointed. Expecting our partner’s to read our minds and be the perfect romantic partner for Valentine’s Day and any day for that matter is often a recipe for failure and disappointment. Waiting for that arrow to strike you in the butt may more likely result in a sore @$$ of resentment towards your partner and your relationship.

So read further to get some tips on taking control of how you want your Valentine’s Day to look and start creating it today. Read on…

What makes a great sexual lover?

Size matters you say? Of course everyone’s idea of what makes a great sexual lover varies. Some might say a great lover is naughty or rough, others might say erotic, while another person might say a great lover goes by the name of “Oh God!” More times than not, I find that when people describe a great sexual encounter the theme isn’t specifically about rough, kinky, naughty, or vanilla sex.

The common theme is that great sexual lovers show enthusiasm, curiosity, and desire.

Yes, being with a lover who is enthusiastic about you and the sexual experience gets lovers out of their shells and makes them more enthusiastic themselves. Get two lovers that are enthusiastic sexually and you create a more satisfying sexual experience for both lovers.  But enthusiasm isn’t enough – a great sexual lover also makes his or her partner feel desired and wanted.

For most, it doesn’t take a magic wand (pun intended) to become a great lover – just start by asking yourself a few questions. Are you curious about your lover? Are you curious about how your lover will respond to varied touch or do you assume that you know all there is to know about your lover? Are you more focused on pleasure or your performance?

Of course to receive great sex most need to feel relaxed and excited. In my practice, I often find that people feeling insecure about themselves, their bodies, or unsure about their partners can struggle with creating and receiving great sex. Also if they have a performance focus to sex –a focus on orgasm, how hard their erection is, or how long they last, actually have less satisfying sexual experiences than those who are relaxed, curious about their partner, and excited about whatever possibilities arise.

Sexual satisfaction can sometimes seem paradoxical.

The more we try to have an orgasm (See “Orgasm…just the period at the end of a sentence?), get an erection (See “Erection Obsession”), not cum too quickly, the less pleasurable it often is.  I often tell my clients who are overly focused on being good lovers to actually practice being selfish lovers (See “Be A Selfish Lover”).

I know some of you are confused – that’s because you’ve let Hollywood into your bedroom.

I get it guys, you’re focused on your dicks because you want to last longer to create great sex with your partner. Unfortunately, I am suggesting the opposite is often the key to great sex. Yes, when guys get too focused on their dicks and less focused on their partner, their partner isn’t feeling desired or wanted, and they finish feeling less satisfied and more disconnected. So bottom line, guys focus less on your dicks and ladies focus less on your body’s imperfections and everyone focus more on what feels good, being enthusiastic, and showing your partner you desire them, and there you have it – great sex… maybe.

Now go have sex!

Fueling Your Sex Drive

In my practice I see lots of women and couples wanting to address the issue of low desire. Before I work with individuals to help them fuel their sexual desire, I explore if the sex they are having is worth wanting and the level of overall satisfaction in the relationship. To have a motivation to have sex – the sex needs to be worth wanting and we need to feel desired and satisfied and happy for the most part in our relationship.  If that’s your problem – read this.

More often I find with women who are experiencing low desire is that it’s been a long time since they made their sexuality a priority. Sex tends to happen at the end of the day after all their energy has been put into work, children, the house, etc and then they don’t have much energy left to put the effort into making it a mutually satisfying experience.  In these cases I often suggest that couples schedule it.  I you think that scheduled sex isn’t sexy, read my blog Spontaneous Sex is a Myth!

SEXUAL DESIRE ISN’T THIS MAGICAL FEELING THAT IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL – Hormones are only a piece of what drives sexual desire. We all experience and do things every day that impact our sexual desire.  Some of the things we do fuel our desire and some of the things we do extinguish it.

WAITING FOR DESIRE TO HAPPEN – One of the myths that exacerbates low sexual desire is this mysterious approach to desire – particularly for women – the idea of waiting to feel horny. We look back at the beginning stages of current or previous relationships or ourselves as teenagers and we think – we were horny then – why aren’t we horny now?  Well, when we were teenagers everything was much more taboo and unknown – exciting – and that fuels curiosity which fuels desire. Similarly in new relationships we are curious about the person, on our best behavior, they are on their best behavior, and the chemicals that enhance our desire – endorphins are in full effect. There’s plenty of research that indicates our judgment is impaired when the endorphins are in full effect and we tend to be much more focused on the positive – what we like about the person that is triggering those endorphins. Once those endorphins go away and we get to know all the quirks and annoyances of our partners, they feel less sexy to us – they are no longer as mysterious to us as they were before and we begin to lose interest and decrease the amount of effort made towards being sensual, desirous, or initiating sex.

I find that people in long-term relationships create expectations for themselves that may not be realistic, especially since they aren’t typically putting in the same level of effort into their sex lives in long-term relationships compared to what they have typically put into a new relationship.

THINK SEX-POSITIVE THOUGHTS…You’ve heard that saying “your biggest sexual organ is your brain right?” Ask yourself, are the messages you give yourself about sex, your body, and sexuality positive or do they tend to be more negative. For instance – do you get up in the morning and have the ability to be grateful for the parts of your body that you like and that get you where you need to go and that get the things done that you need to do? Do you admire your favorite body parts? Do you allow space to be sensual with yourself? When you look at yourself in the mirror are you able to say positive things to yourself like “damn girl you look good for your age?” Or “I love my skin or my boobs or my ass?” Or our your thoughts more negative like – “I have got to get to the gym – things are not looking good” Or ” I hate my saggy boobs, ass, thighs, etc. “

Desire starts from within. While there are things in our surroundings that can spark it – a beautiful body or person, a sexy movie, a sexy song, positive admirations from a lover – It has to begin with us. I am suggesting you begin from a place of gratitude. Those kind of messages create space for sexual desire – negative, critical ones do not.

Lastly – Are you making your sexual desire a priority or does everything else come first? If all your energy is going into a clean house, your children, your work – why would you expect to have anything left for sex? Nothing good ever comes easy and while good sex may have seemed effortless when your relationships were new – it likely wasn’t. You were likely thinking about it – anticipating it – prepping for it – etc, etc, – you certainly weren’t wearing the granny panties.

10 MORE Sex Tips #MaySexTips

Here’s more May sex tips for all you couples in relationships as well as flirty singles. If you haven’t seen them all, just follow me on twitter @TalkSexWithLiz . To read about my first 10 sex tips, check out my blog here. I don’t think you or your partner will be disappointed. Also, if you have already tried some of these sex tips or you have feedback on my first 10 sex tips then comment below and let me know how they turned out for you.

Sex Tip#11-“Lick by Numbers.”

Number your body parts in order of how you want to be licked using your partner’s favorite flavor. This is a great way to teach your partner what you like in a fun way. S/he will likely remember this better than verbal instruction and you both will certainly enjoy it more.

Sex Tip#12 – For date night this week, go to a sex toy shop.

My favorite is the Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood . Here you can explore & buy sexcessories to spice up your sex life. Find out some of your partner’s likes, try something new, and maybe even learn something new about your own sexual likes and dislikes.

Sex Tip#13 – Have sex in the kitchen.

I suggest each of you pick out five items in the kitchen to supplement your love making. It may be food, a spoon, or even something more dangerous, but it will definitely be different than sex in bed.

Sex Tip#14 – Watch or read erotica with your partner and share the things that you see or read that you would like to try to do together.

So many of the couples I see think they know everything their partner’s like and dislike but they are often surprised when they approach sex in a state of curiosity rather than all-knowing.

Sex Tip#15 – Instead of your usual foreplay try some partner yoga.

Here’s a great video to get you started. Touching in a way that is sensual without a focus on orgasm or being sexy is sexy in itself. You may tap into a whole new way of being with your partner. If you really enjoy this you may want to start exploring Tantra yoga or Tantric Sex.

Sex Tip#16 – Take turns blindfolding each other as you sensually touch and tease one another. Notice how your other four senses are magnified.

Many people get focused on the physical touch of sex but tapping into our other senses – sight, sound, taste, and smell can definitely intensify our sexual experiences more than you might think. By restraining one sense, it naturally intensifies the others.

Sex Tip#17 – Take a picture of your bare hip/thigh/collarbone/hand/rib cage etc. and text it to your partner as foreplay. Add sexy hints about the pictures you send.

Good foreplay starts way before you enter the bedroom. Remember when you and your partner were dating? Yes, that’s when you felt that on-going sexual energy. You may remember it being so natural and easy but it wasn’t automatic – it took work – it just didn’t feel like it. Start taking time to do fun and enticing things like this and foreplay will feel like “play” rather than work.

Sex Tip #18 – Try some new sexual positions.

Have you gotten into the habit of those predictable sexual positions that are focused on getting you and your partner off? Well that’s all fine for a quickie but when sex is so predictable it gets boring, your senses dull, and your satisfaction and excitement decreases. Here are some ideas for new positions to try tonight.

Sex Tip#19 – Give her the best cunnilingus.

One of my favorite “sexual how to” books is, “She comes First” by Ian Kerner. I guarantee that you and your partner will learn something if you read it. It’s not just for the giver – the receiver can learn something about herself as well.  AND for those people who think they don’t have time to read – you can get it on audio!!

Sex Tip#20 – Give him the best BJ!

The key to a great blow job really is in your level of enthusiasm. Of course technique and novelty is helpful – but that’s something you can learn. My favorite book on increasing your BJ talents is “Tickle His Pickle” By Dr. Sadie. It’s light and funny, yet informative and accurate.

Now…Go Have SEX!!!

Top 10 Sex Tips for May

Sex Tip #1 – Share your turn ons & offs with your partner. For every 1 turn off share 5 turn ons.

So many people assume they know what their partner wants or likes most but often when I ask the question “What are your partner’s greatest turn ons and off?” I get the answer “I think…hmmm.” If you have actually asked the question and you learned what your partner’s greatest turn ons and offs were years ago, great. But consider this, maybe his or her turn ons or turn offs have changed since the last time you asked. What we consider erotic in our 20s is often different from that in our 30s, 40s, 50s, etc.

Sex Tip #2 – Not every woman is a porn star and not every man has a 10″ dick. Unrealistic expectations of sex result in disappointment, so act accordingly!

It’s fun to act like a porn star. Some do this more often than others but when our partners EXPECT us to take on this role most of the time the result is either disappointment or detachment. So many people have expectations for sex that began on a TV, movie, or computer screen. The sooner you get realistic about your sexual expectations the sooner you will be able to embrace you and your partner’s sexuality and start working on greater sexual satisfaction and intimacy.

Sex Tip #3 – Be curious and mix it up. Approach your partner without expectation of their response. They will feel more desired & excited.

Everyone wants to feel desired. Everyone gets into habitual sexual behaviors. Habits are great for knowing what we can rely on but not so great for long term sexual satisfaction. Great sex requires a level of excitation that often gets stifled when our sexual behaviors and interactions become habitual. Mix it up and see what happens.

Tip#4 – Quit waiting for sex to be spontaneous – Spontaneous sex is a myth.

For more on this tip read my blog:

Tip#5-Your brain is your biggest sex organ. To feel sexy create space for and feed sexy thoughts.

When you see something that turns you on pay attention to it! Again, for more on this read my blog: Our Biggest Sex Organ

Tip#6 – What you wear can fuel or extinguish your desire. Get rid of those granny panties or grandpa boxers. Enough said.

Tip#7 – Mix it up – try using your mouth (taste, lick, bite, talk) and hands (grab, scratch, caress) MORE and your genitals LESS.

The erogenous zones outside of our genitals are often ignored – what a shame. Filet or Lobster is great for dinner but do you want to eat it every night? How about mixing up the menu? Try it – I think you will like it.

Tip#8 – Increase the intensity of your partner’s orgasm -tease it out – make them beg for it.

Sounds sexy doesn’t it? Slow it down and explore all those erogenous zones from Tip#7 before even considering touching the genitals – your partner will thank you for it.

Tip#9 – Use a good silicone lube.

If you think lube is overrated then you have never experienced a good silicone lube. Sure great foreplay and following all of my tips mentioned above will make it less necessary but this is to supplement sexual satisfaction not make up for a lack of lubrication because of lack of foreplay.

Tip#10 – Oral Sex Tips from Oral Sex Tips & Techniques like the tea bagging one are great – but I suggest shaving first!

Yes, if you want those nuts/balls/boys really attended to during oral sex then it’s all about maintenance – shave those family jewels! You and your partner will thank me for it.

Now go have sex!

Cindy Crawford – Leaked Photo & Body Image

Fake or not, months later I am still thinking about the supposed unairbrushed photo of Cindy Crawford that was leaked. Of course this is not the first “real” photo of a Hollywood beauty that has received attention but the contrast between the fake verses real was startling to say the least. It really made me think about how many of the photos we look at in media is just plain bogus and how it affects our body image.View image on 15 Minute News website

Sorry folks, this blog isn’t going to be lighthearted or funny because I am pissed.

So here it goes. As you can imagine, I regularly see clients in my Sex Therapy practice who struggle with body image.  Body image no doubt affects the sex drive and sexual satisfaction of many women and sometimes men as well. As a feminist, promoter of positive sex and sexuality, and one who appreciates a beautiful woman, I truly struggle with this. I enjoy wearing sexy heels, getting dolled up, and looking at fit bodies like Cindy Crawford’s but I don’t want that to box in my sexual desires and what I find visually pleasing.  Ageism and unrealistic expectations of the female body in our society has become so pervasive and shaming that sometimes we don’t know where our own sexual turn-ons and desires begin and where those that have been put upon us by media begin.

I don’t think I am alone when I say that I experience mixed emotions about this topic. Of course I was happy to have the opportunity to be reminded of what a real woman looks like. Of course we need to see images like this from women we idolize. So, yes I was happy to see a woman in her true form, but I was also surprised, sad, confused, angry, and frustrated; frustrated that I was surprised. Surprised that a 48 year old woman would have wrinkles and an imperfect stomach? What the F—?! Of course, this is what average – REAL 48 year old women look like!

Then when I looked at it in comparison to the magazine publication that’s when sadness, confusion, and anger kicked in. It put a spot light on how starkly different the images we see in media and advertising are from reality. It is sad that “real” pictures that haven’t been perfected by photoshop or airbrushing are so significantly different from modified pictures. It made me realize how along with so many women I struggle on a daily basis with unrealistic and impossible expectations of the female body.  Do we even know what a healthy normal naked woman at our age looks like?  At what point did we begin to expect that women should have no wrinkles or cellulite at age 48? At what point did we start comparing ourselves to women who have surgery, liposuction, personal chefs, personal trainers, professional photographers, and graphic artists to modify their images? It’s time for us to open our eyes, quit bullshitting ourselves and accept the female body for what it is – HUMAN.

Wow. I wish I had some solutions for you today. I would love to hear some of yours – please comment.

Now go have sex!

The key ingredients of great sex

great sex and sex appealSo what are the key ingredients of great sex you ask? Am I suggesting that great sex comes down to just a few simple ingredients? Yes. I know what you are thinking – here it comes – the answer to everyone’s sexual problems and the key to world peace. Ok, so maybe not world peace. These key ingredients aren’t actually things or a who, what, where, or when. The ingredients to great sex are a way of being. The ingredients to great sex are actually about the way we approach sex, our sexuality, and our sexual partner(s).

I know, get to it already. If you’re wanting me to hurry up and get to the point or feeling the impulse to jump to the end of this article to these ingredients, then I think you would benefit from a whole other blog topic. Give me a day I’ll come up with something. Possibly, “What’s the rush? Sexual impulse control for the hurried man or woman.” Or maybe reading my previous blog might help.

Seriously though, think back to a time long ago when you had great sex… for some of you this wasn’t so long ago and that’s awesome. For others, it was a long time ago and the closest thing you get to foreplay is my blog – sorry, I will try to write more often. Okay, really seriously now. Think about what has made up great sex for you in the past. Was a key ingredient the person you had sex with? Was it the place you had sex? Was it the positions you had sex in? These may have been some of the ingredients that made the sex great for you but were they common throughout each great sexual experience? Were they essential to what made the sex great? – Were they the flour in the cake? Were they the egg in the omelet? Typically, these items above are not necessarily key or essential items, they are important, and may bring back fond memories, but they are not typically the key ingredients to great sex!

The key ingredients – the sure fire way to make or break sex – are enthusiasm and confidence! If you have read my blogs before, you know your biggest sex organ is your brain. So if you are not into your partner or the sex – if you aren’t “feeling it,” the sex will be mediocre – whether you have all the ingredients I mentioned above or not.

Enthusiasm is contagious

If you are not enthusiastic about what you are up to in the bedroom, if you lack the excitement and interest in what you are doing, your partner can sense that, and you will both experience less pleasure. Our sexual partners feed off of our enthusiasm – it makes them feel good that you are interested and excited so they in-turn are more interested and excited and into you. When they feel desired they in turn have more desire for you. It’s contagious and cyclical.

Confidence is key

Confidence is important because if you are struggling with feeling confident about your sex appeal, desirability, or sexual prowess, you will APPEAR less attractive to your partner and ultimately BE less desirable to them. Over all the years I gave romance parties, taught romance, pole dancing, lap dancing, and even fabulous fellacio 101, I met many beautiful and attractive people who I thought could be very sexy, who actually couldn’t find their inner diva or stallion. They definitely lacked the confidence to pull off a sexy lap dance or a romantic interlude. Then again I also met many average looking people that kicked ass in the sexy department. They had enthusiasm about the pleasures of being sexual and they had the confidence to entice and excite not only themselves but their partners who in-turn mirrored that confidence and enthusiasm.

So there you have it. Even if you have a hot partner, a closet full of sex toys, the best sex swing on the market, or the body of a dancer or a Spartan, you’re not gonna have great sex without enthusiasm and confidence.

Now go have sex!

Be a Selfish Lover

long-beach_sex_therapist_background.pngThat must be a typo you say. But no, it’s not. If you want better sex, be a selfish lover. Your partner will thank you for it. Being a selfish lover isn’t what you think. Being a selfish lover is about approaching sex the way you did with your lover when you were first together – when you couldn’t get enough of them – when you didn’t know what she or he wanted – when you were curious about them – curious about their body, the way sex with them felt, the way they responded to your touch, and how it felt for you to touch him or her.

Being a selfish lover is NOT about

Being a selfish lover is NOT about ignoring your partner’s satisfaction or just getting yourself off. When I tell my clients to do this their first vision is often the young guy who has no interest in connecting with his partner sexually. It’s the partner who skips foreplay, orgasms prematurely, says to himself “awe that was great” and then rolls over to go to sleep. Let’s be clear – this is not at all what I am suggesting. If you know someone like this, give them my number, I can help! 

Being a selfish lover is about taking yourself and your partner to places that YOU want to go. It’s about approaching sex with a new sense of curiosity and desire that often gets stifled when we approach sex with the sole intent to please or perform for our partner. When you approach sex selfishly you and your lover can often experience more sexual pleasure.

When sex is a have to…

If sex is a “have to” rather than a “get to” for you then selfish sex is an approach you should try. I often find with clients or couples struggling with low sexual desire that they stopped having sex for themselves at some point and turned the focus onto doing it for their partners. When we approach sex or anything for that matter, in a way that is about doing something for ourselves then there is less space for a “have to” way of being. If you have difficulty allowing yourself pleasure or treating yourself; then that’s another conversation and it would likely be helpful for you to see a Sex Therapist. In the meantime, check out other topics on my “Talk Sex With Liz” Blog for some ideas on where to start.

Your partner will thank you …

When you approach sex selfishly your partner will actually feel more desired. Yes! Yes! Yes! Everyone wants to feel desired and when a partner is having sex with us because they want to – because it’s their treat for themselves – we feel more desired. Huh? Not getting it yet? Okay let me reframe. I am not talking about when your partner wants “It” I am talking about when your partner wants “YOU”. When your partner wants to have sex with you as a selfish treat to him or herself you feel wanted.

Mix it up…

One last caveat – By no means am I saying that we should never approach sex with the idea of pleasing our partners. I am suggesting that you be a selfish lover more- often not a stupid lover. These tips are by no means a constant – I want you to mix it up – variety is the spice of life. So having sex FOR our partners or giving to our partners in a loving, selfless way is fine, just don’t make it a constant in your approach to sexual intimacy.

Now go have sex!

Why 50 Shades Bombed – But Women Still Want to be Taken

sex and passionCheck out my latest article about the 50 Shades movie and find out  why women want to be taken. The movie may have been a dud but we can’t ignore the attention the book trilogy received and the overwhelming fact that being dominated is a very common fantasy for women, read more…

And, of course… Don’t forget…

Now go have sex!

New Year’s Resolution – More Sex in 2015

In my latest article for I talk about how to address low sexual desire and start working towards having more sex in 2015. Here’s what I had to say:

“One of the most frequent sexual complaints for women is low sexual desire (Ellison, 2001).  And one common mistake couples make when trying to fix this or other sexual problems on their own is jumping to solutions without taking time to understand the reasons for the low desire, then putting a band aid on something that needs stitches. This quite often just leaves a scar.

Increasing sexual desire can be very simple but surprisingly, low libido is one of the most difficult sex related issues to treat. This is because it is often just the symptom of other more complicated issues within the relationship or individual. Also there is rarely one single thing causing the low sexual desire.  Common causes typically fall into one or more of these four categories: Medical/Biological, Relationship, Emotional, and Societal.  And as you can guess there are many subcategories within these main categories.”

To read the full article, go to


Should Marriage Therapists Have Perfect Marriages?

My husband and I recently attended a couples retreat to work on some rough spots in our marriage. Yes people – marriage therapists don’t have perfect marriages! We are human just like you. It was humbling and difficult. While I have no delusions that I am a perfect partner or in a flawless marriage, I do sometimes find it difficult to ask for help when I am the professional that others go to for help.

Many of us marriage and relationship therapists feel embarrassment or even shame for not being able to fix our problems or resolve relationship issues on our own; thinking “If I can’t fix my own problems who the hell do I think I am getting paid to help others?”

At the marriage retreat what I found most humbling was surprising but not surprising. I see it every day in my therapy office; whether my couples are struggling with sexual desire, sexual dysfunction, communication, or rebuilding trust. What I found most humbling personally was struggling to empathize with my partner. As a Sex and Relationship Therapist this is my strength. Dammit – I am great at empathizing – I pride myself in this. That is one of the qualities that make me a good therapist. So to see myself in a battle between empathizing with my partner and being right was almost a surreal experience. I see this all the time with my couples but getting caught up in this myself was disappointing. Now don’t get me wrong – I knew this about myself before the retreat. What I hadn’t realized was how difficult it is for me to change it when I know it’s the solution.

I often tell my couples that empathizing with their partner is often one of the first steps towards change – AND essential for working through difficult relationship issues.

I see couples struggle with empathy towards their partners every day in my therapy office. Couples seeking to understand their partners or to be understood by their partners but getting stuck because one or both of them needs to be right. Years ago, before I became a Sex and Relationship Therapist, I heard a therapist do a talk entitled “You can be right or you can be married.” I agree. Successful, happy relationships and marriages make space for feelings over righteousness.  As you can see this concept has stayed with me and yet it continues to be a challenge for me. So boy do I empathize (smile).  My marriage is a work in progress just like everybody elses – I can be right about that ;-).

Now – quit trying to be right and go have sex!

Foreplay and Erectile Dysfunction

Are you getting the foreplay you need for solid erections?

If not, your erectile dysfunction may be caused by lack of stimulation. Yes, sometimes erectile dysfunction is related to how much stimulation you are receiving when having sex or getting ready to have sex. That is, how much your partner touches, strokes, massages, licks, etc. your penis, dick, junk, rod, member… get the picture?

Ladies and gentlemen, foreplay isn’t just for women anymore.

When you were 18 or even in your early 20’s you may have gotten an erection, hard-on, woody, from a strong wind but as you age you need more direct stimulation, foreplay, to get and maintain the erections that make for satisfying intercourse. While previously looking at a partner’s naked body may have given you a stiff dick, as you age, visual stimulation is just not enough. Now you likely need manual and erotic stimulation.

As men get older they need more stimulation to get aroused.

While the old saying “men are like microwaves and women are like crock-pots” is typically true for women, as men age they become more like crock-pots; especially in long-term sexual relationships. I often find with my ED (erectile dysfunction) clients that they are not getting the stimulation they need from their partners to get or maintain a full erection and they are too embarrassed to ask for what they need and then they take full responsibility for their difficulty with erections when it’s a problem between the partners.

Erectile dysfunction is caused by many things and sometimes just as much, if not more of it, is related to your sexual partner. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not about pointing fingers or blaming, this is about getting the hard-on, stiff one, woody, rock hard cock that you both want ;-)) In order to do that, you need to CUM-municate. Yes, that’s right, talk about what you want, need, feel. Sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping this would be my one blog that didn’t push the value of direct communication. Nope, I can’t give you a quick fix that doesn’t involve talking with your partner about sex – that’s in a bottle, I don’t sell it, and even if you take it, you might end up seeing me for sex therapy anyway.

If more direct stimulation doesn’t help, check out my blog “Erection Obsession.”

Now Go Have Sex!

When sex is painful

help overcoming sexual problems



Sex can be painful for many reasons. Occasionally men suffer from painful sex but painful sex is more common with women. For women, sometimes it can be something basic like needing a quality lubricant, feeling safe/comfortable and relaxed, or getting the foreplay needed to be physically ready for sex. If it’s related to the foreplay you need, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner. In heterosexual relationships the old saying goes –

“men are like microwaves and women are like crock pots.”

Meaning that it takes women a lot longer to get hot than it does men. If your body isn’t fully aroused it isn’t ready for penetration. Never try to force penetration – sex is for PLEASURE!

Occasionally it could be hormonal, if our bodies are not hormonally balanced this can actually result in sex being painful. Being hormonally imbalanced is more common after a pregnancy, during the different stages of menopause, and for women being treated or in recovery from cancer. There are a variety of diagnoses that are biologically driven and a variety that are psychologically driven.

Studies estimate that between 12-20% of women experience ongoing genital pain.

Unfortunately, many of the clients that I see struggle with genital pain and painful sex for months and sometimes years before they are properly diagnosed and then eventually get the appropriate treatment.

In most of the “painful sex” cases I see my clients have at some point experienced both physical  and psychological symptoms. I treat only the psychological symptoms. We work to resolve issues such as guilt, inner conflicts regarding sex, negative or shaming thoughts about sex and sexuality, or feelings regarding past abuse or sexual trauma. For the physical symptoms I may refer to an OB-GYN that is knowledgeable about these types of disorders – not all are. In some cases I also refer to a Pelvic Floor Specialist – they are like physical therapists for the genitals and pelvic floor region and often create amazing results.

Some of the clients that I treat struggle with Dyspareunia- painful sex; Vaginismus- an inability to have penetrative sex or even have a gynecological exam; others with Vulvodynia/Vestibulitis – experience chronic vulvar pain without an identifiable cause; or even PGAD – Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder -unwanted, intrusive, non-sexual arousal of the genitals causing discomfort, anxiety, and distress.

When sex is painful your body is telling you something… stop having sex!

If you are having painful sex, it’s time to ask yourself why. Sex is for PLEASURE. Women sometimes get it in their heads that it is their obligation to have sex with their partner, husband, boyfriend…potential boyfriend. If you are having sex for reasons other than pleasure, if you are having sex because you feel it’s your obligation to your partner or the relationship, then your body may likely be trying to protect you because you are not saying no or giving your body what it needs.

If you are experiencing painful sex, get a medical exam and get some emotional support. You are not the only one suffering and there are on-line support groups and sex therapists that can help.

Now Go Have Sex! … (as long as it’s not painful!)


People Lie About Sex

sex and passionPeople lie about sex for many reasons. People lie about sex to have more sex, to have less sex, to avoid embarrassment, to avoid conflict, to avoid hurting others’ feelings, to maintain privacy or to maintain appropriate and healthy personal boundaries. When it comes to sex, people lie to just about everyone about just about everything. At some point or another, people lie to friends as well as past, present, and future sexual partners. People even lie to themselves about sex (hmm… another blog topic).

I think people lie a lot about sex at parties – I think that’s why they call them COCK-TALE parties. 😉

People lie about or give the impression that they are having more sex than they are having – because they don’t want to fall into the statistic of long-term relationships. People lie about how much they enjoy sex with their partner, how much their partner orgasms, or how long their partner lasts before ejaculating because they are embarrassed, because they feel abnormal, or out of respect for their partner. People lie to their partner’s about their sexual satisfaction to avoid conflict and intimacy. People lie about their fantasies to avoid hurting their partner’s feelings. The list goes on and on.

Ultimately, lies about sex create many false myths about sex and sexuality.

These myths about sex and sexuality have huge negative consequences on sexual relationships and sexual satisfaction. Myths and unrealistic expectations about sex like:

“Sex isn’t good unless we orgasm together.”

“Sex is only good if he lasts for 20 minutes or more.”

“Married women don’t fuck – they only want to make love.”

“Penis size always matters.”

“Erectile dysfunction is uncommon and only happens to men over 50.”

“Premature ejaculation is uncommon and only happens to boys under 20.”


You get the idea? If people were actually honest about their sexual desires and sexual functioning and media, Hollywood, and porn weren’t creating so many myths about sex and sexuality, counseling and sex therapy would be focusing a lot more on relationships and childhood wounds than dispelling myths, misconceptions, and downright unrealistic expectations about what sex is supposed to look and feel like. I like this quote by Andy Warhol “Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.” Of course you could interpret this two ways. I think sex can be much better off screen when a couple is authentic, desires one another, and is honest about what they do and don’t want sexually. But when people lie and carry their armor, sexual myths, and unrealistic expectations into the bedroom, then sex becomes boring, unsatisfying, frustrating, a chore, and ultimately a reason for couples counseling or sex therapy.

So get honest in the bedroom – tell your partner what you want and what you like. I would love to hear what happens.

Now go have sex!

Spontaneous sex is a myth

In couples counseling I often see lovers who struggle with the desire and energy to have spontaneous sex because of stress and fatigue from life’s day to day obligations. Or sometimes it’s just getting on the same page. When one partner is in the mood for sex and intimacy the other is not – their timing for spontaneous sex is always off. With sex therapy cases like this, it often makes sense to have the lovers schedule a day every week when they could plan for sex. I know what you are saying, I hear it in my sex therapy office regularly – “Scheduling sex is a turn off – I want sex to be spontaneous.” I get it, but honestly, not scheduling hasn’t been working for you so why keep doing the same thing expecting different results?

For some lovers the idea of scheduling sex doesn’t sound sexy and feels too clinical.

Sure, spontaneous sex sounds more erotic and sexy – that’s certainly what we see in the movies right? And we all know we are supposed to be having sex like we see in the movies, right? Sorry – a little diversion there – that’s a whole other blog topic “How media and movies have wrecked our sex lives!”

Okay, back on topic. So my next question is,

Do you romance your partner often? Do you go on dates and flirt with one another often?”

And when you go on these dates are you wearing granny panties or are you putting on sexy lingerie, those hot boxer briefs, something sexy and risque? If your answers to these questions are yes (well except for the granny panties one 😉 and you typically have sex after your dates then I would suggest that you aren’t exactly having spontaneous sex. You were planning and preparing for sex – there really wasn’t much about it that was spontaneous. If your answers are no and you aren’t having sex regularly then you probably have an idea of what I am going to suggest next… you could likely benefit from scheduled sex … or … behaving like a person who wants to have sex.

When we were dating it wasn’t a surprise that we had sex at the end of the date. We did all the things that contributed to sexual desire; we dressed up, we wore something that made us feel sexy or attractive, we fantasized about the person we were dating; we flirted; we focused on what we liked about the person and complimented them on it. When you were dating your partner you scheduled dates and mentally prepared for the possibility of sex. You were not necessarily scheduling sex but you were preparing for the possibility. So keep this in mind the next time you wonder why you aren’t having sex.

Get Hollywood out of your bedroom, quit waiting for desire to kick in, start carving out time for sex and intimacy, and start doing more things that fuel your desire rather than those things that extinguish it.

Now go have sex!

Help for partners of sex addicts

Whether it’s porn addiction, infidelity, or obsessive sex related behaviors, being in a relationship with a sex addict or someone who repeatedly lies about their sexual behaviors can be paralyzing and often end in divorce or a break up. Partners of sex addicts often struggle with intense anxiety and fear that their partner will continue to repeat the obsessive porn use, the affair, the sex with strangers, or the obsessive sexual behaviors.

Partner’s of sex addicts often experience intense confusion and shame because of their being married or in relationship with a sex addict.

You stay because you love them, it’s what you know, because the passion you experience together seems impossible to recreate, or maybe because you have children together. You stay married to or in a relationship with a sex addict because, well, you don’t know. Or maybe it’s because when things are good, they are really good. Your friends are fed up with you, they think you deserve better, they are no longer willing to listen, be your counselor, or therapist when you come to them hurt and confused about your partner’s most recent infidelity – whether it was new porn you discovered on the computer, conversations of them sex-chatting on-line with someone, or evidence that they are having an affair again. Your friends tell you to leave the marriage or relationship but you feel they just don’t understand. Or maybe your friends don’t even know. Keeping a partner’s sexual addiction a secret is common.

Partners of sex addicts often experience such intense shame that they keep their pain and their partner’s addiction a secret.

You may feel having friends know about the disrespectful behaviors – the lying and cheating, would be humiliating. So you may be coping with the pain of the infidelity-the addiction alone. Which makes coping with the feelings you have even more difficult. Your own obsessions about where your partner is at any given moment, what they are doing, what they lied about today, whether you will ever be able to trust them again, keep you from experiencing your own happiness, pleasure, success, healing, etc.

You may have resorted to spying – gps tracking, reading texts, hacking into emails and tracking their every click on the computer…

you are now addicted to tracking them and most of the time tracking them no longer relieves the anxiety you feel when you are away from one another. The only time you feel like you can relax slightly and not obsess about their every move is when you are together. This can be incredibly confusing and if you have no one to talk to about it, you feel alone in your relationship but also alone in the world. Seeing a therapist who understands what you are struggling with can be incredibly helpful. But if you are not yet ready for this, here are some amazing books that can help you better understand some of the feelings you are experience and help you to know that you are not alone. Your Sexually Addicted  Spouse by Barbara Steffens & Mending a Shattered Heart by Stefanie Carnes


When sex is boring or unsatisfying

When sex with our partner gets predictable, boring, or unsatisfying, we lose interest in having sex – it’s low sexual desire 101. If you don’t get your sexual needs met with your partner or when sex is focused more on efficiency than pleasure and connection, you either satisfy yourself through masturbation, fantasy, an affair, or you start to shut off your sexual desire completely. Passion requires many things – pleasure, excitement, and sorry folks… direct communication. 

However, getting into a sexual rut isn’t the end of the relationship, marriage, or the end of the world, it happens to the best of us.

Boring or unsatisfying sex is most common in long term relationships and marriage because it can be. It just happens when we get tired, lazy, take our partner’s for granted, etc. and we aren’t making great sex a priority. If you read my Blog : New Years Resolutions – Great Sex... you learned that focusing on what turns you on helps to create more pleasure and sexual desire. But that’s not enough when you aren’t getting your sexual needs met. If your partner isn’t doing things to turn you on in or outside of the bedroom, then changing your focus doesn’t help much with sexual desire.

So many couples come into my sex therapy office wondering why they have lost their sexual desire, their libido, their erections, etc. Often the truth is, the sex they’re having is boring, creates more feelings of disconnection than connection, and leaves them feeling inadequate or frustrated. Who the heck would want to be having sex like that?

Sexual desire is related to sexual satisfaction.

Sexual desire is connected to our body’s level of sexual pleasure and satisfaction with sex.

In order to get your sexual needs met, you need to know what your sexual wants, needs, and desires are and make sure your partner knows what they are. Taking a personal inventory of your turn-ons and turn-offs is a great place to start. Whether these things currently include your partner or not, list them. And be open to ideas that might not initially seem related to what happens in the bedroom. Many interactions we have with our sexual partners impact our sexual relationship whether the interactions are sexual or sex-related or not. For example, equity of housework, respect, compliments, being doted on, etc. To get an idea about how to do this, check out my Blog: Identifying Turn Ons. Of course this will more likely help your marriage, relationship, sexual relationship, if you actually share it with your partner. Some of these things your partner may have done previously, some of these things may be new that you haven’t shared with your partner, and some of these things may require you taking more charge of your sex life and sexuality. Success in sex starts with some direct CUMmunication! If you are not able to do this on your own, you have my contact info and my door is always open.

Now go have sex!

Resolutions – Improve Your Sex Life

Here is a Resolution – improve your sex life this year. In order to do that you need to FOCUS on what you WANT sexually. Because whatever you focus on gets bigger….

If you focus on pleasure, what turns you on, what you consider sexy, you are more likely to enjoy and desire sex.

No this article is not about how to make your penis bigger… sorry to disappoint you… that’s a whole different blog. However, these ideas certainly won’t hurt and this blog and way of thinking can certainly help you if you are having difficulty with your erections.  Basically, when you focus on what you enjoy about sex rather than how your penis, body, or partner disappoints you, you become sexually aroused, satisfied, have an orgasm, NOT have erectile dysfunction, NOT have premature ejaculation, NOT feel sexually frustrated, etc.

If you are focused on what turns you off, parts of your body you don’t like, fear that you will lose your erection or ejaculate too quickly, things that your partner does in or outside the bedroom that annoy or frustrate you- you are not going to get turned on enough to reach orgasm, maintain your erection, or enjoy the experience. Think back to when you were first sexual with your partner. For those of you in sexually frustrated relationships or those of you who have lost your grove, or have no desire to have sex, this may not be easy.

If you want to get your grove back, it starts with your thoughts.

Yes, your thoughts drive your desires and the extent to which you get aroused, and then the extent to which you enjoy sex, have an orgasm, etc. etc. No magic cream or pill is going to fix your sex life when you are focused on your turn offs. So…getting back to when you first kissed, groped, had sex with your partner; were you thinking about how she or he disappointed you or annoyed you? Were you thinking about how you and/or your partner had gained weight? Doubtful. You were likely thinking about how desired you felt, how good their hands felt, how much you desired that person. That was what got your panties wet or put the bulge in your pants not whether or not your partner did the things you asked them to do earlier that day or how it annoys you that they have a sexual routine… kiss for one minute, melon grab to my boobs, quick genital touch, penetrate with missionary position, and then finish off in doggy style. This certainly doesn’t sound very sexy. However, to some maybe it does so their thoughts are going to be creating desire and arousal – the necessary components for satisfying sex. So… focusing on what you like, what pleasures you, what is positive in your intimate life is step one. If your sex routine looks like what I just mentioned, then you need to read further to step two – that’s my next blog so keep checking in and I will be following up with step two soon.


Now go have sex!


Fixing relationships in sex therapy

Want to improve your marriage or intimate relationship when the sex isn’t great? Go to a sex therapist or a therapist/counselor with training and skills in sex therapy. For couples counseling, therapists without training in sex therapy or sexuality don’t always have the skills needed to successfully help answer sex related questions or fix sexual problems.

If you have ever thought of going to couples therapy, sex therapy, or talking to someone about improving your sexual relationships, this article explains why it is important for you to make sure the counselor or therapist you are considering is skilled in doing sex therapy.

Most Psychotherapists and Marriage Family Therapists have very little training in sex therapy.

Just because a counselor or therapist is having sex doesn’t make them qualified to do sex therapy or help people fix their sexual problems. So make sure the person you are working with feels comfortable talking about sex and is knowledgeable about how to treat sexual problems common with couples.

Do you know how to ask for what you want sexually from your partner? Do you even know what you want in the bedroom?

Most people are uncomfortable talking about sex – let alone their sexual problems or concerns – this includes people coming into therapy wanting their sexual problems solved. Therapists are taught to bring up the topic of sex in therapy with clients but I have had couples come to me for sex therapy with the complaint that they previously went to a counselor or therapist and sexual issues were never brought up and the client didn’t feel comfortable bringing sexual problems up themselves.

One basic benefit of having training in sex therapy is it helps therapists feel more comfortable talking about sexual problems, issues, and concerns.

In our culture we learn many mixed messages about sex and we as therapists need to have the training to identify what sexual hang ups we carry around with us so that we can have the insight to know when it is impacting our work with a client for better or worse.

Now go have sex!




Why Talking About Sexual Trauma Heals

Sexual trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it looks like rape or sexual abuse. Sometimes it looks like infidelity, a sexual affair, or an emotional affair. Whatever it looks like, many of the feelings are similar and the impact it has on a person’s sexuality or a couples’ sexual relationship can be similar as well. While being raped or sexually abused and being cheated on are not the same, what is the same is the fact that in both cases you feel like a victim and in both cases the feelings of victimization must be processed  – that is, the sexual trauma, violation, infidelity, needs to be talked about and the questions that have been left hanging about the traumatic event need to be asked and worked through.

Whether a victim of something sex related, a violent crime, or a witness of something traumatic, my clients have many questions related to the traumatic event.

Unfortunately, many of their questions cannot be completely answered. However, what I have often found to be more important, clarifying, and healing is just being able to ask the questions out loud in a safe environment with someone who is willing to listen and normalize the thoughts and feelings associated with the questions. It’s also figuring out or processing  why they feel an answer is needed or what that answer would provide them. Sometimes this is just enough to help victims of sexual abuse, rape, or betrayal to start moving past the trauma.

People who were victims of sexual trauma or something devastating often keep the trauma inside and never want to talk about the rape, sexual abuse, or crime for fear that talking about it will make it worse. While talking about things isn’t always the cure-all and sometimes it does feels worse at first, ultimately if you learn effective tools to cope with the difficult feelings that come up when talking about and processing the rape, sexual abuse, or crime, it becomes smaller, less scary, less a part of us, and more a part of something that no longer defines us. People feel lighter, can move on to being more vulnerable and find more satisfaction in their relationships. When we hold horrible things inside of us like a secret, it starts to define us and get bigger. Getting it out is what makes it less scary. It’s like watching a scary film, the more you watch the same movie, the less scary it is right? This can be incredibly empowering. I have seen it and the bottom line is … talking can be healing.

The Shame of Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, shame and sexual abuse go together. Shame goes to the core and can result in feelings of being broken or less than. I rarely see a client who has been sexually abused or raped who doesn’t feel some sense of personal shame for what happened. Whether they believe they could have prevented the sexual abuse or rape or not, there is still a deep sense that they are not as good as “everyone else“ that is, …those who have not experienced sexual abuse or rape. I think shame from sexual abuse or rape is reinforced by a number of factors.

First, our culture’s discomfort with talking about sex reinforces sexual abuse and rape victims’ keeping their assault a secret. In the US, media capitalizes on sex yet so much of our culture views it as a taboo that should not be talked about as adults, let alone with children. This makes sex and sexuality incredibly confusing for people, especially sexual victims. Not processing or talking about things makes them more mysterious and confusing. With sexual abuse or rape, keeping the abuse or rape a secret ultimately makes the victim feel smaller and disempowered and makes the crime and victimization seem bigger and scarier. Resulting in them feeling less likely to move past it. Talking about thoughts and feelings associated with sexual victimization and understanding that the thoughts and feelings are typical or normal are keys to moving past the shame of sexual abuse and rape.

The second factor that I think often reinforces shame associated with sexual abuse or rape, and is likely perpetuated by our secretive approach to the topic of sex, is the plethora of misinformation people have about sex, sexual abuse, and sexual satisfaction. False beliefs about what it means to be a victim/survivor of sexual abuse reinforces victims’ thoughts or feelings that they brought it on themselves or that there is something innately wrong with themselves that resulted in the abuse, attack, rape.

The other main factor that I think often reinforces shame associated with sexual abuse is the false belief that victims of child sexual abuse are likely to become abusers themselves. This is incorrect information that is likely created by the very perpetrators of sexual abuse and rape who are looking for sympathy and more lenient jail sentences. Statistically speaking this theory is what is shameful. Sure it is correct that some perpetrators were victims themselves. However, the mass majority of abusers are men and the mass majority of victims are women. You do the math. If you or someone you know is struggling with their shame of being sexually abused or raped, I encourage you to find a safe way to start processing it or encourage them to find a safe way to start processing it. Here are two books I recommend my clients read when we are working through shame and towards having healthy intimate sexual relationships:

Now go have sex.

Communication tools for couples

Are you a good listener? Do you think you communicate effectively? What would your partner say about your communication skills? How about when you are angry, sad, frustrated, or hurt?… Are you able to calm your emotions enough to LISTEN to the actual message and process what you heard or do you get flooded with feelings that make communicating impossible?

In couples counseling a common theme I find is that couples often get so overwhelmed (aka flooded) with emotions that they are unable to hear what their partner is saying.  How many times have you and your partner gotten into an argument about two totally different things? Also, sometimes when people tell us things we don’t want to hear, the message we take in gets filtered. Basically we filter the message into something that may or may not be accurate. Then, we allow our emotions to take control and rather than making sure we are clear on the message, we lash out at our partner with hurtful words or we don’t acknowledge the message that was communicated because we are so caught up defending ourselves. Or maybe when you start expressing your wants, needs, or feelings, it starts with “you…”. That sounds like the message is more about someone else than yourself. Does this sound familiar? If it does, then I highly recommend slowing down the way you communicate with your partner by using these communication tools for couples. If you are at the point where this isn’t helping then couples counseling can get you in the right direction so that you can effectively use tools like this.

I suggest using this BEFORE you get overwhelmed or flooded with emotions. First, try practicing this when communicating about a topic or issue that doesn’t typically get you and your partner flooded with angry or hurt feelings. Practice it when trying to decide about what to eat for dinner, making a purchase, or something that you know isn’t a source of contention between the two of you. It feels odd or robotic at first but with practice it is an amazing tool that has helped many of the couples that have come into my office for counseling.

Goal: Communicate what you are wanting, needing, or feeling. Focus on the SOLUTION you are hoping to reach NOT what is wrong with your partner.

Talker: Try to limit message to 2 sentences. Start with “I” statement.

“I want…” “I need…” “I feel…”

Example: “I want more affection, more hugging and kissing. I want to feel closer to you.”

Instead of: “You never hug or kiss me anymore. You never pay attention to me.”

Listener: Step 1: Paraphrase what was said & check for accuracy

“What I hear you saying is…”

Example: “What I hear you saying is that you want us to be more affectionate, like with more hugging and kissing.” Is that right? Is there more?

Step 2: Empathize

“That must make you feel….”

Example: “That must make you feel disconnected, maybe lonely, and sad that we aren’t as loving as we used to be.”

Step 3: Validate – this doesn’t have to mean you agree.

“If I were you/If that was me/If I were in your shoes/I agree, I feel/would feel …..”

Example: “I can see how you would feel that way since we haven’t had a lot of quality time together. I know this is something that is important to you so I will try to make it more of a priority.”

Then the couple can switch roles so that the listener can take the opportunity to express themselves. Sometimes one round is all that is needed because the talker just wants to be heard and when the listener doesn’t get or feel defensive it’s not about arguing a point, it’s just about getting wants/needs met or feelings heard and we can get that accomplished more easily/quickly using this method of communicating.

Now makeup and go have sex!


Igniting Your Sex Drive – Identifying Sexual Turn Ons

If I asked you what your turn ons were, would you know? If  I asked your sexual partner what your turn ons were, would they know? Do you know what turns on YOUR sexual partner? How about previous sexual partners? How aware are you of what impacts your sex drive? And to what extent have you communicated that to your partner? If you paused and were not sure of your answers to these questions, then below is an exercise for you. But first, when you think about TALKING ABOUT SEX, does it excite you or make you nervous? For many people the idea of telling their sex partners what they want is scary or a big turn off. I wonder where this idea comes from that we expect our sexual partners to read our minds and then are surprised or disappointed when they don’t. I theorize it comes from our culture and movies. We are taught not to talk about sex when growing up yet we are bombarded with sexual images every day. This certainly sends mixed messages about sex in our society. If you are craving pizza for dinner but don’t express that and your partner cooks burgers do you blame them for not knowing what you wanted?

If the idea of talking about sex with your partner makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone. Many of the people I come in contact with express the same thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to have been partnered up with someone you share the same sexual style with in bed, talking about sexual likes, dislikes, turn ons, and turn offs, is essential to a satisfying sex life. Yes, it is disappointing to have to tell your partner what you want – because all those people in the movies never have to – their partners know exactly what gets them straight to orgasm – right? No you’re not in Hollywood, welcome to reality.

Communicating desires and expectations is a necessary component to getting our sexual needs met. While it might be disappointing initially to have to ask for what you want sexually, hopefully soon enough you will forget that you ever asked because you will be too focused on how great it feels! If you continue to be sexually frustrated and longing for something else – start communicating so you can make your sex life something you desire over something you dread. I encourage my clients to think about talking about turn ons and offs, sexual likes and dislikes, as foreplay with partners. To even write it down so that they can remember and refer to it when wanting to treat their partner on a sexual special occasion.

Turn ons & Turn offs exercise:

  1. Each partner lists out their turn ons and turn offs. Take some time and don’t try to get your list completed in one sitting. Do this on your own and try to limit turn offs to 1 turn off for every 5 turn ons. Stumped? What are some of your favorite sex scenes from movies or is there some erotica that you have watched that really got you hot? Why? Was one partner particularly confident or  aggressive? Was it the way one person undressed the other? Were there candles lit or was it in a place particularly erotic? Was it hurried or slow and passionate? Did the couple talk to one another or were they quiet?
  2. Once each person’s list is complete, they make a copy of it for their partner.
  3. Share your lists without judgment. Be open, present, and in a place of curiosity. If you have resentment, don’t allow your feelings from the past impact your ability to be present with your partner. If you are unclear on something – go ahead and ask questions but don’t share any judgments about your partner’s turn ons/offs. Don’t yuck their yum.

Now go have sex!


Our Biggest Sex Organ Is Between Our Ears

Yes, your biggest sex organ is your brain! Sex drive, sexual pleasure, and sexual satisfaction are more about what is between our ears than what is between our legs. However, our culture sees sex drive, sexual pleasure, and sexual dysfunction as being about our sexual parts – our genitals. The fact of the matter is that our sexual desires and dysfunctions are driven by our thoughts and what we do with our genitals will rarely change our sex drive or dysfunction unless we first change our thoughts. So if you or your partner are struggling with orgasm, maintaining erections, premature ejaculation, or staying present during sex keep reading.

In our culture sex is about breasts, hard erections, the right clitoral stimulation, or that perfect sexual position. Sure all of that is important too but until you get into the right head space, your body isn’t going to enjoy or be receptive to what is being offered by way of stimulation. Just look at the success of businesses that sell sex toys, sexual stimulants/arousal creams, and other sex related accessories. Now don’t get me wrong, these products can be fun, enhance sexual pleasure, and help to get some people in the mood or stay in the mood. The problem I see is that when we look to these sex accessories as a fix to a sexual problem it is like putting a band aid on a wound that needs stitches, it just makes it worse and it‘s likely to leave a scar. Yes, so many of my clients have scarred themselves by trying at home fixes for sexual problems and the increased insecurities, hopelessness, and sexual frustration it resulted in created a much bigger wound than the initial sexual difficulties.

So go get yourself into a sex positive head space, take a personal inventory and be honest with yourself about why you are having sex related difficulties, communicate with your partner, and go have some sex! Not sure how to do this? Keep reading my blog and I will give you tips for increasing your sexual comfort, your sexual desire, and having more open and direct communication with your sexual partner about your sexual likes, dislikes, turn-ons, and turn-offs.

Look for my blog later this week for step one of getting into a sex positive head space: clarifying how your thoughts are driving your sexual desires and satisfaction. I will give you some tools for taking your own sexual inventory.

Now…. Go have some sex!

I just can’t get in the mood….Sexual Desire is Complicated

Yes sexual desire is complicated. Are you saying to yourself, “I love my partner, I want to be sexual with my partner, I SHOULD be sexual with my partner but I just can’t get in the mood”? Are you lacking the motivation or desire to make the effort to initiate sex, enjoy sex, or even say yes to sex when your partner initiates? I say sexual desire is complicated because it is. If you are telling yourself these things but you are still not having sex it’s time to start asking yourself “What am I doing to fuel that desire and what is or isn’t happening with my partner in or out of bed that is impacting my  ability to get in the mood to have sex?”

Now of course your low libido could be caused by something physical, so of course, visit your ob/gyn or doctor to get yourself checked but in most cases it is usually our head that is driving our low libido . In most cases there are multiple reasons why a person can’t get in the mood… has low sexual desire or a low libido. Low sex drive is rarely caused by one factor, hence the need for sex therapy. In sex therapy we peel the layers of that sexual onion to determine the many factors that are contributing to sexual problems. Some common factors are difficulties in the relationship – resentment about old wounds and unresolved conflict, boredom with our sex life, problems with sexual performance, or a partner with a different sexual style than us. Sometimes it is our own interpersonal stuff like negative sexual schemas that we carry around about ourselves or our partners that may be related to sexiness or sexual behaviors; priorities not related to sex; or a lack of sexual awareness. Also, if you are not getting your basic needs met for your own personal wellness and are stressed or fatigued, then you may not have much energy left for having sex.

So, have I made my point clear yet? Sexual desire is complicated! And life is short, so go get some help!

Are you running on emotional empty?

Are you running on emotional empty? While I don’t like to minimize the work I do, sometimes therapy or counseling is pretty basic. Sometimes basic questions like “What are you doing to take care of yourself?” or “What fills up your emotional tank?” are all that are needed in therapy or counseling sessions with my clients. If you often find yourself in patterns of putting others before you or feeling so depressed or anxious that you lose sight of how to get your basic needs met, then it‘s time to slow down and take a personal assessment of what you need emotionally to feel like you are not running on empty.

Sometimes therapy or counseling is an outside party giving us permission to do what is necessary to fill up our emotional tanks. Whether it be a massage, social time with a friend, spiritual time, exercise, private time with a good book, talk with a therapist, or anything that relaxes us like sex.

Being a mom with a successful career I too experience the typical guilt feelings that drive me to an empty tank and when I am putting all my efforts towards my loved ones and not making efforts to do what I need to fill myself up, I know that not only do I suffer but my loved ones do as well.

I often share with my clients the analogy of the vehicle. When we don’t take care of our cars (gas, oil change, tune up, a good wax job;-))) they eventually breakdown. In this way, people are like cars. Without the proper fuel and tender loving care, we eventually breakdown; whether it be physical or emotional, something eventually gives. Of course everyone is different so it can show up as impatience, frustration, anger, resentment, anxiety, sadness, depression, and the list goes on.

So go do something today that fills up your emotional tank!

Could porn be causing your erectile dysfunction or intimacy problems?

Could porn be causing your erectile dysfunction or intimacy problems? With all the media coverage of porn addiction, you may be saying, “porn, what’s the big deal?” but if you or your partner has erectile dysfunction (difficulty getting or maintaining erections) or delayed orgasm you may want to read further. This recent article in the Huffington Post by Robert Weiss “Is Porn Destroying Your Relationship?”! really hits home in the sex therapy work I do. So many of my sex therapy clients and couples are struggling with intimacy … connecting sexually and one common factor that impacts their sexual success is the use of porn. Now don’t get me wrong, I have never had a problem with porn – it’s a great teaching tool. Unfortunately, the immediate sexual gratification that internet porn provides is problematic – it is definitely not the porn that I grew up with and I am becoming more and more concerned about the impact of porn because I am seeing it as a direct correlation with sexual functioning. Porn addiction has become a common term and whether you agree with it’s usage or not it I am finding that it is more and more common for me to see male clients who report regular porn use come in with Erectile Dysfunction or Delayed Orgasm. Also, their partners are feeling confused as to why he has lost interest in sex with them or why he is so disconnected when they are sexual.

It’s much easier to get our immediate needs met using porn because there isn’t a partner to please, impress, disappoint… you get the idea. The problem comes in when porn is used habitually as a way to avoid or to fulfill needs that could be met by other means. When porn usage becomes automatic I encourage the user to ask him/herself “What am I horny for?” or “What am I yearning for?” Are you bored, lonely, depressed, angry, horny? And are you using porn EVERY time you have this feeling or only occasionally?

Of course overcoming sexual problems are not usually as quick and easy as just eliminating porn usage. Often times there are communication gaps and sexual topics that the couple hasn’t felt comfortable discussing that lead one partner to ultimately just avoid communicating about or having sex with their partner and move towards sex with themselves. That is where sex therapy comes in. I help guide my clients through these difficult issues that they have been avoiding and work with them to communicate directly with one another about tough issues sometimes related to sex and sometimes unrelated.

The bottom line is our biggest sex organ is between our ears … our brain, and porn used regularly to avoid sex with our partner rather than enhance it is becoming more and more problematic. Maintaining a healthy and satisfying sex life takes work, it takes being vulnerable and sometimes being rejected, but like the saying goes “Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Now go have sex!

True Love or Co-dependency?

Is the book the Giving Tree about true love or co-dependency?
One of my many insightful clients brought up recently that the book “The Giving Tree” seems more about a person’s co-dependency with a partner who takes, is selfish, and never gives, than a beautiful friendship or loving partnership. So I had to open up that old book on my shelf and take another look at it from a therapist’s perspective. Wow, did I agree.

From my perspective, giving of oneself selflessly is not what love and friendship are about. I find that many of my clients are caught up in patterns of rescuing behaviors that result in their partners being dependent upon them. Ultimately they end up feeling resentful about their partner‘s lack of responsibility, neediness, or selfishness yet struggle to get out of their patterns of giving or pursuing. Sometimes this is the only kind of love we  know and this is where the work begins to decrease unhealthy enmeshed behaviors that result in resentment, dependency, and co-dependency. Increasing healthy differentiation and ultimately learning to soothe ourselves when our partners may appear to need us to save or protect them is essential to changing the relationship dynamics and eliminating our own tendency towards co-dependent behaviors.  As the old saying goes, “It takes two to tango” is relevant here. In order to change a relationship we ultimately need to change how we react to our partner’s behaviors and their patterns of relating.

According to Wikipedia “Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.” I actually don’t think that the person one is co-dependent with has to be narcissistic or an addict; that sometimes, that person could just be enjoying receiving like the boy in the giving tree. When my clients get caught up in co-dependency or acting like a parent to a child in their adult relationships, I encourage them to consider what they are getting out of relating with their partner in this way. While there are many disadvantages to having a partner be dependent upon us there are advantages to this as well – it can feel pretty good to feel needed or to feel in control.  But when does this get confused with feeling loved? Without the support of an objective supporter, it may be hard to pull back and see how the dynamic maintains itself and how we continue to feel like the victim in our relationships.  If you find yourself experiencing these feelings repeatedly in your relationships it may be time to take a look inward… if you want to create something different.

Great Sex is NOT Like Baseball

A friend told me about this great talk on TED today by Al Vernacchio. It’s about how it’s better to look at sex like pizza than baseball.  To check it out, click here: “Sex Needs a New Metaphor”

I love this concept. He talks about how viewing sex like pizza gives us the opportunity to discuss with our partner how we would like it… the usual way?… half of what you want and half of what I want?… or if we would like to try something new.  The linear view of sex that so many people have …. first base, second, and so on, like baseball, creates performance focused sex rather than pleasure focused intimacy. When we have a more cyclical view of sex – that it ends when YOU say, not when the penis does or when one person orgasms – it becomes more pleasure focused, more flexible, more desirable, and more satisfying than being constricted to the box that linear focused sex puts us in. So check out this fun video …. and go get yourself some pizza!

Risks, Desires, & Long Term Relationships

I attended an Infidelity conference this weekend and between the conference and this article “Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish” I couldn’t help from wondering…. What are lovers holding back from their sexual partners and to what extent does this lead to infidelity and/or a lack of sexual desire? For many, the idea of telling your partner, wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend what you REALLY want sexually is more taboo than the fantasies themselves. You seek greater intimacy and a more satisfying sex life yet something keeps you from revealing your whole self.  The potential rejection of your desires from the person from whom you seek comfort is often too painful to consider so you avoid risking, keep your partner at a safe distance, sustain the unsatisfying Saturday night sex, and seek your satisfaction in other safe activities. OR you push those desires down to a place where you eventually seek it elsewhere…with another partner. You have your cake and eat it too – you have the comfort at home and the risk, desire, mystique outside the home.  Yet, are you really having both? Those of us who study this work, sex therapy and couples therapy, would likely say no. Eventually, the secret likely erodes the true intimacy, desire, or love you and your partner have because you are taking away your partner’s ability to choose. To choose YOU whatever your desires, to choose alternatives to monogamy, to choose a lover for him/herself.  I wonder, when you take away choice in a relationship what happens to desire?