Listen to “163: Joyful Monogamy – Lynne Sheridan” on Spreaker.
Lynne E Sheridan, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist after being an international transformational trainer for 27 years is here today to talk about Joyful Monogamy from her book, “The Birds and Bees of Joyful Monogamy: Nine Secrets to Hot Partnering”. She dives into the topics of monogamy as a basic nature, what leads us to choose monogamy, advantages of a monogamous relationship, and how to keep it alive over time.
Definition and what monogamy means
Lynne defines a monogamous relationship as ‘a mutual endeverance’ of a couple that stems from an urge for fathering and mothering a child and to have a partnership. A father’s need to know that the child is their own and a mother’s need to have a partner who supports them throughout, historically has driven people to choose monogamy.
Lynne talks about the romanticizing of monogamy in Hollywood. She declares that Hollywood represents a relationship to be easy and it’s merely a fantasy to think that’s how a monogamous relationship is in reality. This representation encourages couples to go unprepared with the expectation of it to be a natural process.
Monogamy as our inherent nature
While answering questions about our inherent nature of being monogamous or open, Lynne says we are intrinsically pulled both ways. Our personality, formed from several factors of our childhood experiences that draw our unconscious beliefs, leads us to make choices. As we repeatedly make the same choices, they form a pattern.
We repeat negative patterns rooted in our unconscious beliefs that we don’t recognize until we see the result. Lynne talks about how these patterns result in whether we choose or not choose monogamy by sharing a personal example. Lynn states that monogamy itself is not the problem but our relation with it is. We have to make an authentic choice that isn’t coming from an old pattern but from a clear conscience.
Gifts and struggles of Monogamy
The goal here is not to solve all the problems in a relationship, it is to communicate them. She says that it’s about sharing your troubles and healing each other’s wounds constantly. When a person is willing to work through what troubles you or them and is still there to listen to it over and over again, that is the gift that monogamy brings-to put in the effort. As Lynn puts it, “it’s about transference and counter transference”.
She talks about intimacy as being totally transparent, to be our authentic selves all the time. More than just sex, intimacy is to constantly catch yourself and acknowledge when you are being someone else. Lynn poses a question on how one can be in an intimate relationship when we don’t let ourselves be seen. It’s a continuous process where we repair and move forward and get better each time.
How to keep a thriving, passionate sex life alive
Talking about keeping your sex life alive in monogamy, Lynn quotes Esther Perel, “We have this conflicting desire with mystery and adventure and security”. She says it’s about balancing between both monogamy and wanting more adventure. It’s also passion that drives sex. To ignite that passion we have to be willing to open up to risks, adventures and keeping the mystery alive. She presses the need for sensuality without orgasm or penetration. While out of habit we look for a quick release, Lynn suggests reinventing sensuality by blindfolds, exploring each other’s bodies without an orgasm or a quick fix. She emphasizes prolonged pleasure that requires time and space and the freedom to pick a tone of the encounter. She gives a number of exciting ideas to keep the fire burning such as role-play, dress up, picking each other up at a bar and titillating.
As important as it is to keep the fire burning in a monogamous relationship, it’s also of great importance to rekindle the fire within yourself. Lynn talks about “dating herself” by exploring all of her possibilities within, for as long as it takes. It’s easy to fall into a rut just like the habit of sex, but learning happens when we push ourselves to grow constantly. As Lynn states, “The work I do is outside of my comfort zone, that’s where possibility exists”. The excitement lies in areas that you haven’t explored, where growth happens.
During Covid-19, more than ever, Lynn advises the importance of self-care. She says self-care for her is not just about commonly practiced routine but it’s about surrounding yourself with people who stimulate you, it means not to overburden your partner, rich conversations, pushing to do transformational programs and pushing the boundaries of your beliefs about everything.
Resources for Lynne:
“The Birds and Bees of Joyful Monogamy: Nine Secrets to Hot Partnering”:
Lynne’s website: http://www.lynneesheridan.com/
‘Couples Thriving Practice’ – 12-week program: http://www.lynneesheridan.com/index.php/partnerships/couples-thriving-practice
Couples Intimacy Practice: http://www.lynneesheridan.com/index.php/partnerships/couples-ip
VIP Couples Customized Retreat: http://www.lynneesheridan.com/index.php/partnerships/couples-vip
Access the Free webinar: How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressured or obligated- https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/opt-in-e1c80391-fe9b-414f-937a-16daae78061a
Listen to “160: Sizzling Sex Across the Lifespan – Michael Castleman” on Spreaker.
Sizzling Sex Across the Lifespan
Michael Castleman is a journalist that has been writing specifically about sexuality since 2005. He is also the author of Sizzling Sex across the Lifespan, covering the good bad and ugly bits about the subject. His book contains 25 actual medical studies and is based on facts.
Common Sexual Issues
Poor ejaculatory control is one of his best-selling subjects and you can find his e-book ‘ The Cure for Premature Ejaculation’ on his website. He discusses how differently men and women think about sex and provides advice for men to help improve the statistic that only 20% of women reach orgasm.
We learn that desire difference is also a main difference with couples which is not often reported. Michael talks about sexual pain and the high number of women that suffer with it even to the extent of not knowing the medical term for it and accepting it as ‘normal.’
If you are experiencing tension or stress around desire discrepancy, check out my free webinar – How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressure or obligation at https://www.intimacywithease.com/training
The Effects of Porn
Michael refers to masturbation and how kids are deterred from this behavior instead of being taught to understand it and enjoy it into adulthood. He mentions statistics that reveal 25% of the porn audience is female and despite popular belief, porn does not increase incidence of rape or disrespect of women, while teens have become more sexually responsible since pornography on the internet.
Michael agrees that porn results in masturbation and sexual miseducation. Debunking myths, he affirms that porn does not affect men’s ability to become aroused. He mentions the refractory period and shares how this should be understood in order to manage our bodies. He discusses arousal and how it changes across one’s lifetime.
Links and Resources
Michael Castleman is a journalist and sex counselor. Writing since 1974, he is the world’s most popular sex writer, covering sexuality, sex research, and sex therapy, helping people everywhere enjoy great sex.
Listen to “156: The 5 Seasons of Connection – Leanne Kabat” on Spreaker.
The 5 Seasons of Connection
On this episode, we hear about Leanne Kabat’s personal journey. Faced with an illness and a young family, she found clarity and direction on how to choose to get out of chaos or conflict. She discusses what she calls the five seasons, what they mean and how to get to the “Summer” that we all love and need.
Dealing with Issues
She shares Spring cleaning methods that different people prefer in order to resolve difficult situations. Glossing things over is not an option, as the reference of Spring cleaning implies. She emphasizes getting dirty, uncovering painful or hidden issues in your relationship and dealing with it.
Leeanne talks about her book and how she initially thought it was going to be about the other person in her relationships but finding that its actually about yourself. She also shares her discovery about multiple layers to intimacy as opposed to a blanket idea. It also covers levels of awareness in your relationship. Her book delves into unpacking all your issues and difficult moments to connect and instead of holding hurt, growing your relationship from it.
Categories of Intimacy
Leanne discusses these 7 categories in more detail in her book. The point of these categories is for people to try and connect on as many levels as possible.
- Spiritual- which can be anything you connect with on a deeper level eg religion, nature, etc.
- Physical- is separated from sexual as Leanne highlights that it can be used outside of foreplay and not requiring a sexual act back. It can be used to communicate love and affection apart from sex
- Experiential- She explains the experiential category as the many areas you and your partner have common threads that enhance connection.
Leanne Kabat is an international speaker and author of The 5 Seasons of Connection collection. Her books take us right into those crucial minute-by-minute interactions where we either draw closer together or push further apart. When we understand our seasons, we can transform our relationships from conflicted to connected by confidently moving out of the cold, dark, stormy
Winters towards love, happiness, and sunny Summer days. Her first book customizes this system for parents, her second book helps entrepreneurs who battle with doubt, anxiety, mental blocks and imposter syndrome, and her third book is for couples. The 5 Seasons of Connection to Your Love Partner goes into the most profound adult relationship we have, guiding couples out of Winter and towards their deepest love and truest connection.
Leanne developed the 5 Seasons framework as a result of a medical diagnosis in 2006 that gave her five years to live, challenging her to truly live a life she loved. Fourteen years later, she’s happily raising three teens and excited to visit her 50th country when it’s safe to do so.
Links and Resources
Listen to “153: Love More, Fight Less – Dr. Gina Senarighi” on Spreaker.
Love More, Fight Less
From early on in her career, Dr Gina knew she wanted to help people with sex and relationships. Her work delved into the more uncommon areas such as discernment counseling, conscious uncoupling, and consensual non-monogamy.
Her work today revolves around a diverse group of clients, which she calls expansive relationships. Dr Gina explains expansive relationships as relationships between partners that want to explore and encompass more of themselves, people who want to “color outside of the lines.”
Looking Deeper into Our Stories
Gina deals with many stories and talks about how we all have stories. She notes that we need to look at our own actions and history in a healthier way and finds that this can bring us to realizations in our lives that help us better understand ourselves. Exploring our norms does not mean we need to scrap them but rather encourages us to better tailor them to our current relationship needs.
Dr Senarighi highlights that vulnerability and intimacy are not the same but that handling vulnerability with care can deepen intimacy in a relationship. She explains intimacy as a deep connection with people and explores the different kinds of intimacy around us.
She explains that trust and openness go hand in hand and shares how we can cultivate that openness for ourselves. Dr Gina discusses her book and how important communication is in relationships. It is filled with tools and actionable steps for couples to use to strengthen their communication and deal with obstacles. She uncovers a few examples to give us some insight into what she means.
A few key elements she unpacks that help communication are clarity of boundaries, having a clear and compassionate accountability process and trust and stability in relationships
Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD, CPC is an author, teacher, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach based in the U.S. She’s been supporting clean fights and dirty sex in happy healthy relationships since 2009. Gina has written several books and currently leads couples retreats and coaches clients all over the world to have deeper intimacy and more meaningful connection.
Call for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.
Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD, CPC is a couples’ therapist turned relationship coach, retreat leader, and author specializing in intimacy, authenticity, shame-resilience, and connected communication for diverse relationships.
For over twelve years she has supported hundreds of clients creating fulfilling integrity-based relationships according to their own rules. In that time she’s developed a solid framework based in neuroscience, nonviolent communication, and positive psychology research that has transformed diverse relationships around the world.
In 2020, she published her first book, Love More Fight Less, A Communication Workbook for Every Couple with Penguin Random House. She earned her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010 from Saybrook University, her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin in 2002, and a Masters in Education with a minor in Human Sexuality from Indiana University in 2004. In 2019 she completed her PhD in Spiritual Studies and Pastoral Counseling.
Gina was named Portland’s Best Life Coach in 2019 and has taught psychology courses, communication workshops, couples intimacy retreats, and guest lectured on alternative relationships and sex-positive therapy at universities across the US. Students love her no-nonsense “real talk” presentation style.
Her podcast, Swoon has helped over 10,000 listeners build a more compassionate, creative, confident, and fulfilled society. Gina offers practical, proven skills to transform relationships in deeply meaningful ways.
As a retreat coach, her background in psychology, mediation and communication training has enabled her to offer uniquely powerful tools to help clients overcome stuck patterns. Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease. She is not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she’ll call you out, and always help you grow. Gina has created thousands of tools, worksheets, guides and authored a few books to support relationships. Get on her email list if you’d like access to her tool library.
When she’s not working you can find her in her gorgeous urban garden, cooking dinners for friends, playing with her two adorable kids, or traveling the world with her partner, Rae.
Links and Resources
Book: Love More Fight Less, A Communication Workbook for Every Couple
Get on her email list if you’d like access to her tool library.
Listen to “152: Learning From LGBTQ Elders – Dr. Jane Fleishman” on Spreaker.
Learning From LGBTQ Elders
At age 56, Jane went back to finish her PhD and completed this at 62. She tells us this brought her into her own intellectually. She chose to focus on sexuality, as she found it to be the root of humanity’s problems. Her specialty is sexuality and aging. Her book, the Stonewall Generation, focuses on LGBTQ elders and the process required her to find people to interview.
Her writing journey took her to the story of Stonewall “the birth of the modern day rights movement“ which stands today as a historical event for the gay community.
Her goals include trying to combat ageism and the myth that LGBTQ is a young persons’ identity. With all this in mind, Dr Jane targeted people who are marginalized so that their stories could be told through her book.
Dr Fleishman’s aim is to experience pride events with more exciting sexual politics. With current upheaval in terms of racial injustice and other injustices, Jane believes that things will change to include more LGBTQ elders.
Aging and Sex
One of Dr Jane’s concerns revolves around older adults’ cognitive decline and sexuality. The question she asks is “Do people have the ability and the right to have a sex positive future?“ This brings up ethical issues but Jane is passionate about helping the elderly and ensuring that even in old age, they can enjoy consensual sex.
Jane Fleishman, PhD, MEd, MS, AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, is an award-winning educator, writer, program developer and researcher with a keen perspective on the intersections of race, class, and sexuality, particularly for marginalized populations.
She holds a PhD and MEd in Human Sexuality from the Widener University Center for Human Sexuality Studies. Jane is the Principal in her own consulting practice, Speaking of, LLC, specializing in program development, training, curriculum design, writing, and policy review related to human sexuality for older adults, parents, teenagers, young children, and members of the LGBTQ population.
She hosts a regular podcast on topics related to sex in the second half of life at www.ourbetterhalf.net and recently completed a TEDx Talk entitled, “Is It OK for Grandma to Have Sex?” Her latest accomplishment is her book entitled, The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism, and Aging.
Her curious nature has led her to research many topics related to sexuality, such as the associations between internalized homophobia, resilience, sexual communication, satisfaction in relationships, and sexual satisfaction in older adults’ same-sex relationships. Her work has helped organizations of different sizes develop tools to understand their organizational plights and dilemmas and implement changes into their work environment that align with their values, principles, and vision.
Links and Resources
Listen to “146: What We Can Learn From People With Spinal Cord Injury – Dr. Mitchell Tepper” on Spreaker.
Sex After Spinal Cord Injury
On this episode, Mitchell joins us to discuss the impact of a spinal injury on sexual function. Having experienced this type of injury personally, he shares his journey to teaching people about sexual health being one of the first people to have a sexual health domain registered in 1996. The website was intended to help people with disabilities with their sexual health but soon became a central source of sexual health information for all kinds of people.
The Importance of Trust
Setting myths aside, Mitchell explains that people with disabilities can experience sexual pleasure, erections, etc but some have difficulty expressing themselves. After research into this, he found that people need a partner they can trust to reach the point of sexual pleasure and comfort.
A critical part of this is relearning the truth about sex, departing from the limiting physical definition to experiencing trust, safety, and connectedness. Mitchell is a testament to breaking physical boundaries with this combination. He has found that even those with disabilities below their injury region have experienced an orgasm with the proper context and approach.
Sexual Self Esteem
In other areas of his research, Mitchell tells us about the effect of how much time has passed post-injury and sexual self-esteem on sexual health. His findings also point to people having higher sexual self-esteem if they were born with their disability as opposed to people who acquired their injury. This is based on the latter group constantly comparing their past sexual performance with their current ability.
These Ideas Apply to Everyone
In his process of helping people, Mitchell explains that he helps his clients understand how their new bodies work, as this is usually overlooked or taken for granted. In addition to this, he encourages people to make use of touch, sound, and sensation to help people reach sexual pleasure.
For people that aren’t struggling with a disability but want to explore a deeper and meaningful sexual experience, Mitchell advocates sensate focus. He further explains that this builds sexual communication and advocates touching for your own sexual satisfaction, allowing your partner to provide feedback. Mitchell also finds that Tantra a meaningful technique to deeper sexual experiences. The technique has three main factors: Stop, focus, and connect, which he digs deeper into.
Mitchell’s techniques are beneficial to able-bodied and disabled people, revealing that penetration is not at all the only means to orgasm. With dozens of examples of non-penetrative orgasms amongst his findings, he shares real cases with us that shed light on this experience.
Undoing learned habits is just as huge a part of the difficult journey to experiencing sexual liberation. Incorporating play into sex is also a great way to make it less serious.
Dr. Mitchell Tepper, author of Regain That Feeling: Secrets to Sexual Self-Discovery, brings a lifetime of first-hand experience with chronic conditions and disability to his work as a Sexuality Researcher, AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator and Counselor, Coach, and self-proclaimed Prophet of Pleasure. He has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Public Health from Yale. Dr. Tepper worked on ground-breaking research on orgasm in women with spinal cord injuries with world-renowned orgasm researchers Drs. Beverly Whipple and Barry Komisaruk. Over the last 14 years, Dr. Tepper has turned his attention to helping wounded veterans and their partners navigate intimate relationships. His forthcoming documentary, Love After War, tells the stories of intimate partners who have won the battle for love.
Links and Resources