#195 – ADD and Sex – Lisa Schwartz

#195 – ADD and Sex – Lisa Schwartz

Listen to “195: ADD and Sex – Lisa Schwartz” on Spreaker.

ADD and Sex

Lisa Schwartz is here with me to talk about the intersection of ADD/ADHD with relationships and sex. We go over how ADD/ADHD can show up in various ways, strategies to build an intimate relationship, and how ADD is not just a disorder.  

Definition- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 

Lisa’s personal experience with ADD has helped her work with patients in her practice. She says that people with ADD can hyper-focus on things that grab their interest. While doing that, they may not be able to focus on things that are not of interest to them.  

Recognizing the behaviors of ADD/ADHD 

From her experience with patients in her practice, Lisa lists several behaviors such as disorganization, not being present, short-term memory issues, lack of energy, and more, that people with ADD exhibit. One can be recognized as having ADD when one or more of these behaviors begins to show themselves.  

How does ADD/ADHD show up in sex and relationships? 

Lisa uses David Reed’s Erotic Stimulus Pathway model and Dennis Dailey’s model of sexual beings to explain how ADD shows up in sex and relationships. Reed’s model around sexual functioning talks about seduction, sensation, surrender and reflection. Lisa describes how ADD/ADHD interrupts relationships with one’s partner, sexual and otherwise. Dailey’s model of sexual beings categorizes human beings into sensuality, intimacy, identity, reproduction, and sexualization. These categories show up to affect individuals with ADD and their partners in sex and relationships.  

Tips for people with ADD/ADHD in terms of sex and relationships  

Lisa advises people with ADD/ADHD to take their medication to keep their focus, plan their sexual activities on a leisure day to conserve their energy, build an environment comfortable for both partners and practice mindfulness to stay present.  

It’s also important for partners to identify ADD/ADHD and view it as separate from them in a way that doesn’t impact their efforts to work on it collaboratively.  

Final thoughts  

Lisa leaves us with the message that ADD/ADHD is not necessarily a disorder, but to be viewed as something positive that enhances creativity and passion.  

Biography: 

Sexuality educator and psychotherapist with more than 20 years of experience, Lisa B. Schwartz has a doctorate in Human Sexuality Education and a master’s degree in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr Schwartz has a private psychotherapy practice and has specialized in the area of sexuality issues since 1994. Welcoming to a diverse clientele, and varying relational partnering (couples, thrupples and others), she works with clients on a wide range of sexuality issues: for example, issues about the impact of ADD/ADHD, change in sexual desire, infidelity and enhancing sexual experiences. 

Licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to practice Marriage and Family Therapy, Lisa B. Schwartz also is licensed to provide telehealth in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. She earned her certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy in an in-depth, three-year program offered by the Family Institute of Philadelphia. In addition, she is a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. 

Dr Schwartz received speciality training in relationship and sex therapy on diagnosing and treating erectile dysfunction. She remains current about sexuality issues by participating in continuing education programs. 

Lisa B. Schwartz is a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Association for Women in Psychology and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. 

Resources and links: 

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#194 – Navigating Parenting Differences – Rachel Duffy

#194 – Navigating Parenting Differences – Rachel Duffy

Listen to “194: Navigating Parenting Differences – Rachel Duffy” on Spreaker.

Rachel Duffy brings in actionable tips to navigate parenting that not only enriches your relationship with your children, but also unlock some of the barriers to your sex life. We discuss parenting issues, how to correct behavior, and navigate the differences in parenting approaches with your partner.  

Finding a passion for caring for family and children’s wellbeing in all her professions and personal life, Rachel explored conscious parenting to help people navigate parenting and life with children in general.  

When You Disagree with Your Partner’s Parenting in the Moment  

Rachel urges people to recognize their children’s ability to grow up with different parenting styles from each parent. To avoid a conflict in front of children, Rachel points out maintaining communication with trust and the assumption that your spouse ultimately wants the best for your children. It sets children up with a realistic image of marriage and empowers them with choices of their approach to parenting when they’re older. Giving children the space to express their feelings about one’s parenting is crucial.  

Examining Upbringing and Repeated Patterns  

Rachel believes from personal experience that people tend to repeat patterns of parenting like their parents even if it goes unnoticed sometimes. To avoid repeating those patterns, parents must work on understanding how their upbringing is projecting in their parenting, and reevaluate.  

Navigating Differences in Parenting Approaches 

Rachel stresses the unreliability of “quick fixes” and advises parents to dig deeper into the root cause of their children’s behaviors, and why it bothers them. Creating a rapport with your children to communicate and address what’s going on behind those behaviors or examining what’s going on with their relationship with the parent could help. Sometimes it’s parents’ triggers to children’s behavior that needs addressing.  

How to Support Your Partner with Their Triggers? 

Moving forward with compassion and an understanding that your partner is doing their best with the tools they have is necessary to implement an actionable plan that addresses the issue at hand.  

Actionable Tips to Navigate Conflict in Front of Children  

The best way to navigate differences in front of children is to make a plan in advance such as coming up with a signal to let the partner know when it’s time for them to break away. Rachel also suggests parents either work with a therapist for deeper issues or with a parenting coach to speed up the progress while children are still at home.  

Why is it Worth Doing? 

Rachel says that working on parenting not only deepens one’s connection with the children and themselves, but also deepens the relationship between the parents.  

Biography 

Rachel Duffy is a Certified Conscious Parenting Coach. She helps high achieving parents get off the “Roller Coaster Track” of parenting by learning how to set boundaries with their kids without yelling, feeling guilty or getting their buttons pushed so that they can foster a deep connection and enjoy the time they have with their families 

Through her unique methodology, she helps parents become Parenting Architects: gain patience, understanding, authentic connection with their children, become powerfully grounded and finally, see the success they have in their professional setting also within their home. 

Unlike traditional parenting models that rely on quick fixes to put out fires, Rachel helps you create life-lasting change, without using discipline or fear, by facing uncomfortable truths, risk-taking and not settling for mediocrity. 

With decades of combined experience as a family lawyer and businesswoman, Rachel brings a unique combination of both strategic and tactical tools alongside growth and self-development, all delivered with compassion. Today, she works with parents and leaders to help them find freedom, joy and direction in their parenting and leadership positions. 

Resources and links: 

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#193 – Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter

#193 – Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter

Listen to “193: Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter” on Spreaker.

Pleasure as a Means to Healing Trauma 

Kathy Slaughter introduces an interesting way of integrating pleasure, in both sexual and everyday activities, as a way to heal from trauma. She talks about what trauma does to our body and mind, how to regain the connection between the two, navigate healing in intimate relationships, recognize triggers, and how to trust and feel safe.  

Slaughter’s Interest in Healing from Trauma 

Kathy’s interest in this field of work stems from her decades of experience working with situations like domestic violence, substance abuse, and gender and sexuality struggles. Evolving from her own experience as well, Kathy embraced the idea of pleasure becoming a step in healing trauma.  

Integrating Sexual Pleasure in Trauma Healing & Its Relevance 

While it’s harder to incorporate pleasure in the initial stages of trauma survival, it can be experienced through soothing activities, like a hot bath. When you’re in the thriving stage, embracing pleasure can unlock a pool of resources of soothing strategies. Trauma disconnects people from themselves and the process to get the connection back varies for every trauma, but it’s also fundamentally the same and comes out of the need to feel safe and trust.  

Role of Physical Pleasure 

Kathy identifies behaviors her clients enjoy and reinforces those behaviors in everyday life which couples can transition into the bedroom. Once they start integrating pleasure into their daily life, they learn to be mindful of things around them that bring them pleasure, help with anxiety, pressure release, and sleep.  

Partner Pleasure in Healing from Trauma 

While healthy relationships can restore your connection with yourself, relationships that have trouble with intimacy through sex can experience pleasure in everyday things like holding hands or cuddling. Kathy suggests trauma survivors take individual or couples therapy to recognize triggers and learn how to not let them get in the way of intimacy. 

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Response & Sharing Responsibility 

A partner who tends to respond by fighting can snap in the bedroom when triggered, a partner with a risk of fleeing might respond by pulling away. Someone with a tendency to fawn might be prone to please, while someone whose response is to freeze might dissociate in the bedroom. Kathy suggests looking out for these responses to check in when it shows up.  

She believes that the partner initiating the activity has the primary responsibility to look out for triggers, while the other person as an adult has the responsibility to look out for themselves at all times. It’s about balancing, supporting, and being there for each other.  

Biography: 

Understanding how abuse happens, how to recover from it, and how communities can prevent abuse and respond to harm in life-affirming ways forms the basis of Kathy’s passion. Grounded in Social Work values and paradigms, Kathy has spent 15 years working on healing trauma and uncovering pleasure, agency, and safety in the consulting room. Currently, she leads a team of five at Soaring Heart Counseling, a sex-positive, queer-affirming, trauma-informed therapy practice in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

To connect with pleasure, Kathy enjoys practicing yoga and meditation, dancing, hiking, and planning outdoor adventures with friends at regional Burning Man festivals. 

Resorces and links: 

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#192 – Men Raped by Women – Kelvin Pace

#192 – Men Raped by Women – Kelvin Pace

Listen to “192: Men Raped by Women – Kelvin Pace” on Spreaker.

Men Raped by Women 

Breaking myths about male victims of sexual assault, Kelvin Pace joins me in talking about changed parameters, frequency, the societal narrative of men raped by women, the path to healing, and resources of support. 

What Drew Kelvin Into Working With Victims?  

Kelin observed that 80-90% of the transitional youth that he worked with were sexual assault victims, prompting him to work in the field. After CDC came out with the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which included a new parameter of ‘made to penetrate’, it was found that at any given year, 1 out of 4 men are sexually assaulted.  

Change in Parameters – ‘Made to Penetrate’ 

Before the new parameter came out, the sexual assault of men only included men being raped in prison and men sexually assaulted by other men. However, the new parameter of ‘made to penetrate’ changed it to include men being made to penetrate by other men or women by coercion, influence under substances, or by guilt. He noted that 75% of men reported being made to penetrate by female perpetraors.  

Societal Myths 

Kelvin explains that we grow up believing that men can’t be raped because men must want sex all the time; that men can’t sleep through sex with an erection, and if men have erections or ejaculate they must have consented to sex, all of which are societal myths that push men away from reporting their sexual assault.  

As 7% of victims experience some form of sexual assault before the age of 25, they grow up believing a narrative that pushes them to become hyper-masculine and defensive. Kevin works to provide victims a safe space to be vulnerable, express their feelings, and tell their stories.  

Process of Healing – What to Expect? 

Kelvin builds trust with his clients He takes his clients through the process of talking about their feelings and thoughts, has them ask questions about the emotions triggered, and gathers information as a result to form decisions on the behavior. The clients then sit with those negative and positive behaviors and decide which one to act upon. This helps them feel empowered and in control.  

Connecting Past Thoughts and Present Emotions 

Kelvin helps his clients to sit with their emotions in the present and connect them to the thoughts of their past. After contemplating questions like “what if?” and “should I have?”, his clients have an opportunity to come to a place of acceptance. Kelvin then gets his clients to answer what they’ve learned about the experience and themselves. The responses would usually include resilience and empowerment. While it’s important to learn and not ruminate about the experience, it’s also important to recognize what happened.  

Biography: 

Kelvin Pace, MS, LPC-S, CST. He graduated with a master’s in clinical psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2009.  

Kelvin is the owner of Kpace Counseling, LLC where he serves clients in private practice. He does contract work with Full Spectrum Health as a behavioral health clinician where he works with an integrated care team delivering evidenced-based care to persons of the LGBTQ+ community. Kelvin has worked for a local non-profit delivering mental health services to children and young adults that have suffered from complex trauma. With a firm foundation in trauma, he delivers trauma-informed sex-positive therapy to his clients.  

Kelvin provides services to couples and individuals dealing with sexual or relationship issues that include low desire, anxiety surrounding sex, and infidelity. His current focus is on mindfulness-based interventions to manage sexual concerns and he works with persons that are either in or looking to explore non-traditional relationship orientations that fall under the umbrella of consensual/ethical non-monogamy.  

Resources for male sexual assault survivors: 

Resources and links: 

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#191 – Letting In Vs. Letting Go – Benson Fox

#191 – Letting In Vs. Letting Go – Benson Fox

Listen to “191: Letting In Vs. Letting Go – Benson Fox” on Spreaker.

Trauma: Letting in vs Letting Go 

Benson Fox; a transformational coach, therapist extern, a psych major, and a current doctoral student of Adelphi university, guides people and helps them to embrace all parts of themselves. He talks about the effects of sexual abuse and the impact unprocessed trauma can have. He also talks about how to process trauma.  

Listening To Parts of Yourself That Advocate Your Needs 

Benson believes people tend to shun parts of themselves like anger, shame, depression, self-doubt, and hatred for reasons such as ‘societal messaging’, when in fact these emotions should be felt and processed.  

He says that all parts of yourself are advocating for your needs, like shame advocating the need to enforce boundaries. In those cases, it’s important to correct these behaviors by relying on one’s internal system (that’s been evaluated and chosen for oneself) rather than outside validation. He further dives into identifying some exceptions and how one can deal with them.  

How Does It Get In The Way Of Your Sex Life? 

According to Benson, all experiences, including trauma, have both negative and positive aspects to them (in the context of an individual to process it and not in any way to justify the experience). When people have a negative experience, they tend to shut out the parts of themselves that feel something positive. It leads to a lack of trust in those parts when they go unprocessed. He further explores this idea by giving examples and discussing some of the dangers and the blurriness of this concept.  

What Is The Process? 

Benson believes that people should process as much pain as they can while maintaining a balance, so that they can get full access to their potential. In his practice, Benson follows parallel processing of functionality, optimization, and self-actualization for the short term and long term, where he incorporates the NASRI model – Notice, Accept, Sit, Respect, and Integrate. He takes us through each step of the process and emphasizes that NASRI is not an instructional-based model, but something that the client molds for themselves. The goal is to understand ‘how to address and receive the defenses’ while processing what’s behind the defense.  

Impact of Benson’s Orthodox Jewish Background on His Work and Perspective 

Benson’s Jewish background gives him confidence and trust in his process. His view of the world through the physical dimension of action and spiritual dimension of mindset, and the belief that we live in both at the same time allow him peace and confidence as a professional that people will be taken care of, but at the same time, helping as many people as he can.  

Biography: 

My name is Benson Fox, and I am an experienced and certified transformation coach and crisis counselor. I’m a major in psychology from Touro College and currently a doctoral student in Psychology at Adelphi University and a therapist extern at Brooklyn College. I help men and teens looking to gain balance, harmony, and joy in their personal and professional lives. 

Resources and links: 

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#190 – Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima

#190 – Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima

Listen to “190: Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima” on Spreaker.

Hormones are Your Superpower 

Dr. Stephanie Estima, author of the book The Betty Body: A Geeky Goddess’ Guide to Intuitive Eating, Balanced Hormones, and Transformative Sex, joins us to talk all about how women can take control and embrace their bodies. She talks about chronic stress, menstrual cycle, sleep, hormonal imbalance, nutrition, and how we can love ourselves by understanding them.  

“Women need to have twice as much sex than men” – Dr. Estima 

Women have 52% less serotonin synthesis than men which causes women to require twice as much reinforcement. This reinforcement could be sex or otherwise to fill that gap.  

The Betty Body 

Dr. Estima’s The Betty Body promises to help women get their own “Betty body”. Its philosophy is rooted in being size agnostic and embracing the body that you already have. The book helps driven people with a vagina embrace their gender agnostic feminine energy as much as their masculine energy by slowing down and getting attuned to their bodies.  

What the book teaches people with a vagina 

The book talks about the effects of chronic stress on physiology. Chronic stress is of two types: Eustress and Distress. While eustress gives out ‘good stressors’ to motivate you, distress negatively impacts you to de-energize. Dr. Estima talks about these stressors and their effect on your menstrual cycle and your ability to embrace your body in the book. Dr. Estima believes women must understand their menstrual cycle and how to use their hormonal flow to their advantage. 

Hormonal imbalance and sleep deprivation 

Dr. Estima explains the impact of hormonal imbalance and the various hormonal compositions that occur while moving from perimenopause to menopause. She stresses the importance of mastering the natural bases like generalized movement, stress reduction, and nutrition before considering other options like hormone replacement therapy.  

She talks about the impact of sleep, regular sex, and orgasm on the vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and menstrual cycle) and the activation of pleasure centers in the brain. To solve sleep deprivation, Dr. Estima suggests avoiding bright lights in the evening and keeping caffeine intake to 12 hours before sleeping. 

Advice for women struggling with orgasm  

Dr. Estima advises women who’ve never had an orgasm to take it slow and spend an hour every day exploring their bodies to figure out what they like. Self-pleasure could be the first step towards discovering more about your pleasure points. She emphasizes the freedom in play and the lack of pressure. She suggests resistant training and protein intake improves the synthesis of testosterone for people experiencing anorgasmia.  

She leaves us with hope for every betty to look inside themselves for their worth rather than external validation. 

Biography: 

Dr. Stephanie Estima is a doctor of chiropractic with a special interest in metabolism, body composition, functional neurology, and female physiology. 

She’s been featured on Thrive Global, of the Huffington Post, has over 3.5 million article reads on Medium.com, and has helped thousands of women lose weight, regulate hormones, and get off medications with her signature program, The Estima Diet. You can hear her every week on her podcast, Better! With Dr. Stephanie. 

Resources and links: 

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