#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

Listen to “187: Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi” on Spreaker.

Considering Polyamory 

Martha Kauppi joins me in talking about her book, “Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients)” which acts as an aid for therapists and serves as a self-help manual for people who are considering polyamory or encountering problems around polyamory.  

What is polyamory? 

Martha defines polyamory as an open relationship where some or all partners have agreed to have more than one romantic and/or sexual partner. Her book caters to all forms of ethical non-monogamous relationships; even the ones that might have started out rocky.  

Is polyamory an identity or a choice?  

Martha believes polyamory could be an identity for some and a choice for others. While some consider it something that they choose, others identify themselves as polyamorous because they’ve always known that their relationship dynamic would involve more than one intimate partner. For some, their choice could later develop to be an identity.  

Martha says that people choose to be polyamorous for several reasons; they could want to explore their sexuality, a kink, a fetish, or a desire discrepancy that they could not explore with their partner. To resolve the problems in their relationship and fulfill their desires at the same time, people find polyamory a logical option.  

The benefits of polyamory  

While polyamory allows someone to have multiple partners and experience different kinds of sex, it’s also an opportunity to form a supportive and caring family. People develop communication skills and endurance in a polyamorous relationship, and along the way, it opens one up to personal, relational, and emotional growth. Martha’s book addresses these topics and offers strategies to improve and apply these skills in and outside of the relationship.  

Pitfalls and how to overcome them  

Martha says that coercion is one of the biggest pitfalls. To avoid it, one has to figure out what they want, feel, or value beyond just the terms of polyamory or monogamy, but what they represent to their partner, and how to come to a place where they can advocate for themself. It eliminates the possibility of being pushed into saying yes but also allows one to expand their thinking and consider all options. Unlike monogamy, in polyamory, people are not subjected to choose between who to pursue. People can choose both or many and decide the dynamics of each relationship.  

Emotional regulation and jealousy  

Emotional self-regulation helps manage difficult emotions that are triggered in polyamory, such as jealousy. While co-regulation is seen often it’s not always reliable. Martha emphasizes that one has to decide to manage these emotions, and then have an honest and open conversation to address things before they’re revealed in a way that can’t be avoided.  

How to make strong agreements  

Skills in ‘differentiation of self’ aid in making strong and sustainable agreements. A strong agreement is one that all partners agree on and revisit before it’s broken. It’s more important to figure out how to make a strong agreement one at a time than having one at all.  

Martha encourages people to find a therapist who is willing to work with them to develop skills that make it possible to have a relationship that they desire.  

Biography:  

Martha Kauppi is a marriage and family therapist, educator, and AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor with a lifelong career in health and sexuality. Martha specializes in working at the intersection of sex and relational issues. She creates and presents educational materials that are based on theory and scientific knowledge while also being practical, effective, and immediately applicable by therapists and their clients.  

Resources and links:  

Website: https://instituteforrelationalintimacy.com/about/  

Book: Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients) – released on 15 May 2021. Available at Rowman & Littlefield, Amazon, and in UK outlets  

More info:  

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com  

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com  

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com  

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

#182 – When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson

#182 – When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson

Listen to “182: When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson” on Spreaker.

When you’re the one who cheated 

Tammy Nelson, the author of the book When You’re The One Who Cheats, joins me to talk about cheating and infidelity from the point of the cheater. She offers her interesting insight on why people cheat, what it’s like to be cheated on, and the recovery process.  

Is it Infidelity? 

Tammy defines infidelity as forming a relationship outside of your primary partnership; a relationship with a sexual context such as flirting online or paying a sex worker, in which you are dishonest about these relationships with your primary partner. The pandemic has caused an increase in online infidelity. People cheat for various reasons, but Tammy says that defining what infidelity means to you can help to start a conversation with your partner and can establish an agreement of implicit monogamy. 

Kinds of Infidelity  

While some people cheat to break up, for others, it’s a wake-up call to turn something around in their relationship. In Tammy’s words, “People rarely look for someone to cheat with, they look for someone to be.” Only 7% of affairs end up in marriage with the other person, while most affairs don’t last longer than a year. People who choose to make it work after the affair should acknowledge their changed relationship and incorporate their needs and desires into the new relationship to avoid another affair or any resentment. 

Recovering from Infidelity

Before sharing anything with family or friends, it’s best to deal with the trauma in the conflict/crisis phase. The partners should process everything, from how it happened to how they’ve changed, in the insight phase. In the vision phase, the partners make decisions about moving forward. The goal of recovery is not to forgive, but to work on building a new sex life that is fulfilling. She points out red flags that people need to look out for before deciding to move forward. 

Should You Tell Your Partner? 

A partner who confesses to an affair after it’s over to feel good about themselves, knowing it could devastate their partner, is selfish. Many feel that they would want to know if their partner ever cheats, Tammy suggests, considering the extent of information you would want to know. 

How to Avoid Cheating 

Tammy believes people also cheat because they have experienced developmental challenges of a second adolescence and seek to evolve their personalities. They rebel against their partners as they did with their parents. To avoid cheating, partners can work through this stage together to reinvent themselves and have fun. She also advises seeking therapy and outside support to grieve the end of the relationship instead of using your partner for it. 

Advice 

Tammy advises us to differentiate between intuition and fear because intuition allows us to trust and move forward. 

Biography 

Tammy Nelson Ph.D. is a Board Certified Sexologist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, a Certified Imago relationship therapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Executive Director of the Integrative Sex Therapy Institute as well as Director of the Ph.D. program in Counseling and Sex Therapy at Daybreak University in Southern California. She is the author of several books including Integrative Sex and Couples Therapy, When You’re the One Who Cheats, The New Monogamy, Getting the Sex You Want, and What’s Eating You? Her latest book Open Monogamy will be released in November 2021 with Sounds True Publishing. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times Magazine, CNN, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine. She is a TEDx speaker and host of the podcast The Trouble with Sex. She is in private practice in Los Angeles CA. 

Resources and Links:

Website: https://drtammynelson.com

Podcast: https://www.thetroublewithsex.com/podcast

Book – When You’re The One Who Cheatshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1999481003/

Email Tammy and get your free E-book! https://drtammynelson.com/contact/

More info

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com

Access the Free webinar: How to want sex again without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass

#181 – When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein

#181 – When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein

Listen to “181: When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein” on Spreaker.

When Sex Hurts 

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, the founder of field of sexual medicine, joins me in the conversation about female sexual pain. He drives the talk with tons of fascinating information about sexual pain, including what are the different categories, common causes, and treatment options. 

The prevalence of female sexual pain 

Within the last month, 1/3rd of women reported experiencing sexual pain or some form of discomfort during sex, while only 2% to 7% of men reported sexual dysfunction or secondary pain.  He urges women to ensure they find the correct medical professional and find answers to their questions as he has found many women go untreated due to misdiagnosis. 

Dr. Goldstein best categorizes various kinds of sexual pain by the area it originates. The pain in the vulva is diagnosed as vulvodynia. However the vestibule is often overlooked as the source of pain, and more than 90% of the time is misdiagnosed as vulvodynia. 

Hormonally Mediated Vestibulodynia 

Dr Golstein warns against birth control pills as they have harmful side effects that can eventually affect your sex life.  He urges women to consider other birth control methods like Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) – IUDs, Nexplanon and Implanon contraceptive implants, and progesterone. He further informs that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer consider birth control pills as the leading method of contraception. 

Causes in Older Women and Treatment Options 

For older women over 40, the hormonal challenges of menopause are a leading cause of pain. He mentions that women go through two stages of menopause, where the first one causes low testosterone levels and the latter causes low oestrogen levels. He shares available treatment options for this. 

Other Common Causes and Treatment Options 

Among other causes, Dr. Goldstein talks about Neuroproliferative vestibulodynia, a condition where women suffer from life-long pain. Monistat is the number one medicine women use that causes neuroproliferative vestibulodynia. The only treatment option available is surgically removing the vestibule, which has an 80% cure rate and is completely non-disfiguring.  

Tune in for valuable advice that can make a huge difference in your life. 

Background 

Dr. Goldstein has been involved with sexual dysfunction research since the late 1970s. He has authored more than 350 publications as well as multiple book chapters and edited 6 textbooks in the field. His interests include penile microvascular bypass surgery, surgery for dyspareunia, sexual health management post-cancer treatment, genital dysesthesia/persistent genital arousal disorder, physiologic investigation of sexual function in men and women, and diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in men and women. 

Dr. Goldstein is Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital, Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California, San Diego, and practices medicine at San Diego Sexual Medicine. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Sexual Medicine Reviews and past Editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. He is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. He holds a degree in engineering from Brown University and received his medical degree from McGill University. 

The World Association for Sexual Health awarded the Gold Medal to Dr. Goldstein in 2009 in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the field, 2012 he received the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Award for Distinguished Service in Women’s Sexual Health, in 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, and in 2014 he received the ISSM Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Sexual Medicine. He is happily married to his college sweetheart Sue, and together they have three children and five grandchildren. 

Resources and Links: 

National Vulvodynia Association: https://www.nva.org/ 

International society for the study of women’s sexual health: https://www.isswsh.org/ 

Book: When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain 

Schedule a Courtesy Call with San Diego Sexual Medicine: http://sandiegosexualmedicine.com/courtesy-call 

More info: 

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com 

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com 

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://www.intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

           

 

#180 – Wheel of Consent – Dr. Betty Martin

#180 – Wheel of Consent – Dr. Betty Martin

Listen to “180: Wheel of Consent – Dr. Betty Martin” on Spreaker.

The Wheel of Consent 

Dr Betty Martin, the author of the new book, The Art of Receiving and Giving: The Wheel of Consent, is highlighting the importance of giving and receiving and maintaining that balance in sexual relationships. Today, we get to hear about what it means to set boundaries, follow consent, and how all of that comes into play in terms of taking care of oneself. 

Why is it important to be selfish sometimes? 

While giving to your partner and thinking about their needs is an important part of the sexual relationship, being stuck in that position and being deprived of your own needs is not sustainable. It’s an opportunity taken away from your partner to give, and an opportunity that you are missing to receive. The relationship becomes strained when your partner has to figure out what to give, and things only become worse when they do it wrong. There has to be a balance of giving and receiving. 

Dr Betty’s Wheel of Consent takes apart the acts of giving and receiving and allows each aspect to be examined individually. In real life, it is not necessary to do these things one at a time, but this practice allows you and your partner to understand each other’s needs.  

Why are we so poorly equipped to receive? 

The reason that we’re programmed to not receive touch as we are supposed to, is because we assume receiving to be ‘done to’ us. Since touch is given to us, we assume that we’re supposed to like it, and from that, confusion arises about what’s wrong with us for not liking it. According to Dr Betty, this confusion began during our childhood when things happened that we didn’t like. Things such as changing diapers, noses being wiped, being picked up, going to bed early; our bodies were taught that there was nothing that we could do about it. 

Since then, this dislike has been reinforced by things ‘being done to us against our will in ways that we didn’t like or didn’t want’. On the other hand, we keep giving ‘touch’ in a way that we think other people like without ever asking how they’d like to be touched, either because it’s an awkward conversation to have, or because the thought to ask has never occurred to us. 

How can people get better at giving and receiving? 

For one to get better at giving and receiving, Betty suggests going through her book and following the processes stated in the book, beginning with the 3-Minute Game. In this game, one must give to their partner for three minutes, and then their partner must give to them for three minutes. She suggests starting with areas that don’t feel too sexy so that you can give yourself space to notice those areas and ask for what you want. Over time the game becomes more natural, and every time you play, you can discover something new about what you like or what you don’t like. More than touching itself, observing what you want and asking for it is key. 

Negotiating Boundaries and Limits 

Dr Betty urges people to say no without adding any polite justification if they don’t feel comfortable doing something. If you’re not entirely against the idea, she suggests negotiating the parts you want to do and the parts you don’t want to with your partner, such as telling your partner to touch an area, but not tickle it. She emphasizes the importance of setting limits. By setting those limits, you can be playful within those limits without the worry that your partner is going to do something you don’t like. 

She encourages people to listen for the ‘pull and not the push’ while considering their partner’s request. If they suggest something edgy, you can decide to try it if it feels like it could be fun, even though it’s edgy. However, if you’re telling yourself to do it simply because you don’t want to let your partner down, then it’s better to simply say no. 

Biography 

Dr Betty Martin has had her hands on people professionally for over 40 years as a chiropractor, and upon retiring from that practice, became a certified Surrogate Partner, Sacred Intimate and Somatic Sex Educator. Her explorations in somatic-based therapy and practices informed her and allowed for her creation of the framework, The Wheel of Consent®. 

As part of her work with the School of Consent, Betty travels around the world, teaching practitioners how to create empowered agreements in their client sessions in her highly sought-after training, “Like A Pro: The Wheel of Consent for Practitioners.” Originally developed as an offering to teach much-needed consent skills to sex workers and touch providers, this training is now attended by somatic therapists, massage therapists, sexuality educators, medical and health care workers, activists, human resources folks, and the spectrum of touch-based professional providers – all of whom complete the training with a clear understanding of how consent starts with our own bodies, and then expands outwards into all forms of human relating, with or without touch. 

Resources and Links: 

Website: https://bettymartin.org/ 

Book (Get your free chapter!): https://wheelofconsentbook.com/

Workshops: https://www.schoolofconsent.org/ 

More info: 

Training video – https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/video-choice

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com 

The Course – https://www.intimacywitheasemethod.com 

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to want sex again without it feeling like a chore: https://www.intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

  

#179 – The Logic of Our Fantasies with Michael Bader

#179 – The Logic of Our Fantasies with Michael Bader

Listen to “179: The Logic of Our Fantasies with Michael Bader” on Spreaker.

The Logic of Sexual Fantasies

Michael Bader, the author of the book Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies joins me in a fascinating conversation about sexual fantasies. We get to hear his ideas about sexual fantasies and what they mean.

Decoding Sexual Fantasies

Michael recognized the need for an applicable approach to sexual fantasies to help patients with their shame and guilt surrounding their sexual fantasies and preferences. His arguments originated from a theory from Joseph Weiss. Michael argues that sexual fantasies are constructed to express our sexual desires and arousals in a way that is acceptable to our guilty conscience.

Michael gives an instance of dominance and submission, and the fantasy of having or giving up control over our sexual stimulation. That control could look like a masochistic fantasy or desiring partners with a rough exterior or self-centered. Curating this fantasy is exciting because ‘they don’t have to feel guilty about hurting the other person.’ A person assuming the role of a dominant knows that they are going to assume control over this person and that person would feel aroused by it and not be hurt and the same goes for the person assuming the submissive role. This fantasy dissolves the guilt of hurting each other. Sexual fantasies are strategies that our mind unconsciously develops to allow us to free our sexual excitement from things like guilt.

The Purpose of Sexual Fantasies and their role

Michael believes a person’s sexual fantasies act as a window into their unconscious psyche. When a person harbors feelings of guilt, shame, or responsibility for another person’s wellbeing, it inhibits the person’s sexual desires and thus resulting in the development of sexual fantasies to avoid such feelings. These inhibited sexual desires can interfere with other aspects of life. In the consulting room, when we analyze these sexual fantasies what we discover is “the revelation of someone’s core beliefs’’, which show up in the other parts of life and not just sexually. Analyzing these sexual fantasies can help the patient’s guilt and shame around their desires and also inspect the roots of their beliefs that caused their sexual fantasies.

Sexual Fantasies Are Not Meant To Be Changed

As long as there’s an innate need for attachment, the feelings of worry, care, responsibility, and guilt towards loved ones will be present. These needs tend to almost always show up in people’s sex lives. There won’t ever be a time where people will stop feeling these that stem from our core needs. And since sexual fantasies arise to overcome those feelings, they will always be needed as a way to express our sexual desires.

Are there Problematic Fantasies?

Every fantasy is enjoyed by somebody. Porn has tons of types of pornography for every population and some of the unpopular categories wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people to consume it. The problems with these fantasies coming true are they produce porn and sex addicts that take people away from being emotionally and sexually present in relationships and marriages. These fantasies could be anything.

Talking about limits to our sexual fantasy, Michael says, unless our sexual fantasies take us away from being psychologically present, being aligned with our values, and doing something meaningful from other people, sexual fantasies are not problematic. Michael also believes sexual fantasies that are illegal in reality are not problematic to think about unless they’re acted even slightly in any way.

Biography

Michael Bader, DMH is a psychologist and psychoanalyst with over 40 years of clinical experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has written extensively about the interaction of psychology, culture, and politics and has produced a podcast – Mysteries of the Mind—about these issues. He is the author of Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies, and Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t Understand It, and Men Don’t Either.

Resources and Links:

More info:

#163 – Joyful Monogamy – Lynne Sheridan

#163 – Joyful Monogamy – Lynne Sheridan

Listen to “163: Joyful Monogamy – Lynne Sheridan” on Spreaker.

Joyful Monogamy 

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. 

Dating yourself  

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. 

Advice  

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”: 

http://www.lynneesheridan.com/index.php/birds-and-bees-of-joyful-manogamy 

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  

 

 

       

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