#216 – Co-Creating a Sex Life Over Time – Chelsea Wakefield

#216 – Co-Creating a Sex Life Over Time – Chelsea Wakefield

Listen to “216: Co-Creating a Sex Life Over Time – Chelsea Wakefield”

Chelsea Wakefield 

Co-Creating a Sex Life Over Time 

What does it really take to make a sex life last? How do archetypes about sex, expectations, and love capacities all come together to be a starting point for you and your partner to have conversations and do things differently to co-create a lasting relationship and sex life? Psychotherapist Dr Chelsea Wakefield explains how to co-create a sex life that you can be excited about for the rest of your life, and how you can build soulful relationships that endure challenges and changes. 

Sexuality and long-term relationships 

Couples in long-term relationships commonly struggle with sexuality at some point and begin to have questions about what can be done to help the relationship move forward to maintain a meaningful connection during the arc of the relationship. What are the elements that can make a relationship and sex life thrive over time? 

Prioritize personal development 

Sexuality should be a priority for couples. Some questions that may be asked before committing to co-creating a sex life: Why would you want to engage in co-creating a sexual relationship? What would it bring in your life? Co-creating a sexual relationship encompasses so many dimensions of relationship including knowing one’s self and defining one’s self as a sexual being. It takes a lot of personal development in each of the parties, otherwise it will not thrive. You don’t change your partner but rather, both need to work on themselves in order to co-create a dynamic sex life. 

Communication is key 

Sex is far from being a natural process. Communication is key to making it last. And communication is not just about talking and saying what you want but knowing who in you is talking and being able to do the necessary shifts. How do I get in touch with my sensual self? How do I access my playful self? How do I shift out of “responsible mother self” to “responsible lover” or “playmate”? How can I and my partner get there together? 

Labyrinth of Love  

In her latest book Labyrinth of Love, Dr Wakefield talks about love capacities that can be applied to any aspect of a relationship, including sexuality. Learn about commitment, courage, curiosity, communication, compassion, and creativity and how these affect the success of a relationship. 

Teamwork 

Self-awareness is crucial in making a relationship thrive. But at the end of the day, it’s teamwork that will make it happen. Once you discover your own history, anxieties, trauma, etc., you share that with your partner and work together as a sexual team and make it a journey of mutual growth. When couples are distressed about the limits of what they’ve tried and feel stuck, know that these roadblocks may not just simply go away but can be transcended by personal growth. Make co-creation of your sexual relationship worth it and something that both of you want to engage in. Step out of the box and encounter each other anew to open the possibility that the other person can engage in the process. 

Biography: 

Dr. Chelsea Wakefield is Director of the Couples Centre for University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  She is a psychotherapist, educator, conference facilitator, public speaker, and author.  Dr. Wakefield has written 3 books: 

  • Labyrinth of Love 
  • Negotiating the Inner Peace Treaty 
  • In Search of Aphrodite: Women, Archetypes and Sex Therapy 

She is also creator/facilitator of the Luminous Women Weekend 

Dr. Wakefield believes: 

The time we invest in healing wounds of the past, rewriting limiting life scripts, and becoming more consciously aware helps us to make more responsible, respectful choices in life.  It determines the quality of our relationships. Our level of consciousness and presence benefits everyone around us, life partners, friends, co-workers, community and ultimately our world.  

 Resources and links: 

More info and resources:
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast

 

#213 – Shameless Parenting – Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

#213 – Shameless Parenting – Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

Listen to “213: Shameless Parenting – Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers”

Shameless Parenting 

Many parents find normal sex behavior and development confusing. Parents often wonder if their child’s sexual behavior is normal. Certified sex therapist Dr. Tina Sellers talks about parenting and sexual health and give parents a better understanding of “what to expect and when” in terms of their child’s sexual development. 

Resources for Shameless parenting 

In her newest book, Dr. Tina’s goal is to help parents or caregivers foster healthy sexual choices and attitudes in their children. She believes comprehensive sex education is the best way to protect children when they get involved with sex later, to make safe sexual choices, to lower teen pregnancy rate, to lower STI rates, etc. The book was made to be a handout that doctors, teachers, parents, therapists, and other educators could easily use and refer to when dealing with sexual developments in young children. Moreover, since shame is one of the things that could get in the way for parents to become the best sex educator that they wanted to be, Dr. Tina also emphasizes way to soothe the self and heal from that, along with streamlined resources and websites that could effectively help overcome that shame. 

Sexual Development in children 

It is critical for parents and caregivers to get a greater understanding of sexual development and behaviors in children. Dr. Tina’s book was developed in hopes of creating a better understanding of these developments. It can be difficult to recognize that, like adults, children are sexual beings. Children will be curious about sex, sexuality, and the human body. The book can serve as cheat sheets for parents to get some general information on common and uncommon behaviors based on age groups. Parents can also find suggestions for conversations that parents can have with their children to help encourage healthy sexual development. 

Normalizing sexual behaviors 

Healing comes from knowing that there are sexual behaviors that are normal in children and that shame was never an appropriate feeling. Kids will do what kids will do from harmless curiosity. The evolving sexuality that we have is always beautiful and creative, and the fact that the society that we live in has just never gotten it right is tragic. Wrong notions and misinformation can crush a child’s developing sexuality and can get traumatized with profound effects. 

Managing reactivity for parents 

It is important to ask your kids questions and listen very carefully to what they have to say about what’s going on in their world. It can be scary for parents to get sort of a bird’s eye view of what the world is like for their kids but not knowing will not be helpful either. Parents need to learn to manage reactivity within themselves. Joining a parents’ group where you can start talking to each other about what it is like for you or just having a place to talk through your own reactivity and your own fears can be helpful. Know that your kids need your calm presence and just knowing that you got their back no matter what. Parents need to be conscious of their reactions because kids could easily pick it up as shaming or judging. 

Biography: 

Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD has had a distinguished career as a marriage and family therapist, medical family therapist, and certified sex therapist. She is also a professor, researcher, author, and speaker. She has won numerous awards and been featured on radio, TV, and podcasts. As the founder and Medical Director of the Northwest Institute on Intimacy, and the community group ThankGodForSex.org she speaks to audiences across the country about the difference sexual health and sexual health training can make for the individual and professional. Her award-winning book, Sex, God, and the Conservative Church – Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy reveals the devastation caused by sexual shame in the wake of the purity and abstinence-only movements and reveals the path to healing for both clinician and client. When not speaking and writing, you will find Tina delighting in her year-old granddaughter! 

Resources and links: 

Affiliate links to books: 

  • Sex, God, and the Conservative Church – Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy  https://amzn.to/2H2vTVV 
  • From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children – From Infancy to Middle School  https://amzn.to/2Ew4oCi  
More info and resources:
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast

  

 

#196 – Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn

#196 – Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn

Listen to “196: Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn”

In this episode, Dr. Rachel Allyn, a holistic psychologist, and pleasure expert, walks me through the concept of “bodyfullness.” Sharing some personal experiences, she talks about how embodied mindfulness can help us heal our traumas, reclaim our right to healthy pleasures, and inspire heartfelt human connection. 

What is bodyfullness? 

Bodyfullness is the ability to use connection and movement and physical awareness, in addition to paying attention to our thoughts and feelings, to really open up to pleasure. It also recognizes the ways that trauma lives in our body but goes to the next step of owning our rights to life’s pleasures and giving ourselves mental permission to enjoy, especially in a world where pleasure has been labelled a dirty word. 

How does the practice of bodyfullness tap into our capacity for healing and connection? 

Bodyfullness is moving away from the notion that feeling good in our body is bad and should be repressed. In fact, reverence for our body is the portal to opening up to different types of pleasure. When we open up to pleasure just within our own self, we connect more to others, and it helps us to open up to intimacy and relationships, be it sexual or platonic. 

How do we overcome some barriers to bodyfullness such as self-acceptance and body image issues? 

Dr. Allyn believes that part of the system we’ve been raised in is the epidemic of disembodiment, and that we should start an inner revolution about our bodies. bodyfullness is not just loving our body, but also embracing pain and discomfort especially when we override our body’s messages. We should all take time to listen to the language of the body and put it into balance. 

Four essential and overlooked types of pleasure 

Dr. Allyn discusses the four types of pleasure, underscoring the need to embrace all of life’s pleasures, because we all deserve to experience every single one. She talks about sensual pleasure, playful and creative pleasure, flow states, and erotic and sexual pleasure. Embracing pleasures does not mean running away from pain. Rather, it helps us tolerate and regulate pain, and keeps us grounded and honest about ourselves in dealing with emotions. 

How do people expand their pleasure and how do they share it with others? 

Dr. Allyn suggests slowing down and giving the body permission to rest. We need to start with ourselves before moving into engaging with others and bringing in somebody else to share in our pleasures. We need to own our right to pleasures first to effectively share and open up to what others might want for pleasures. Ultimately, it is a process of give and take. 

The Pleasure Is All Yours: Reclaim Your Body’s Bliss and Reignite Your Passion for Life 

In her book, Dr. Allyn gives light to people feeling stagnant coming out of the pandemic. She hopes that her book can reignite the power of inner connection to our bodies in order to connect to others on a deeper level. The negative feelings that we experience during these trying times are all part of a natural reaction to our collective trauma. Self-compassion, patience and support from others is key. 

Biography: 

RACHEL ALLYN, PHD is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified yoga instructor, public speaker, and relationship columnist. She is the founder of YogaPsych, PLLC, a psychotherapy practice for adults that blends Western medicine with Eastern philosophy and connects the mind with the body. She has been in private practice for almost fifteen years working with individuals and couples dealing with sexuality, intimacy, and relationship problems as well as trauma, depression, anxiety, and loss. She’s been quoted in books and magazines including Yoga Journal, Women’s Health, Outside, Good Housekeeping, and Cosmopolitan. 

Resources and links: 

More info and resources:
 
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast
#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”

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: 

More info and resources:
 
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast
#188 – When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman

#188 – When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman

Listen to “188: When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman”

When your partner has Alzheimer’s 

Wanda Braveman joins me today to share her personal story through her book, “White Knight: Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment.” The book details her difficult journey with a partner who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She talks about how their relationship changed, issues of consent, and their sex life while sharing her powerful story.  

Background of their Relationship  

Wanda reminisces about her first encounter with her husband, Joe, and their connection on their first date. After their heartwarming encounter, Wanda says they had no contact with each other for a year until Christmas time when they finally got together and ended up getting married 9 months later. Discussing their relationship before Alzheimer’s, Wanda talks about Joe’s achievements of high diving in high school and his high intelligence. They had an incredibly passionate sex life and a normal married life. Four and half years into the marriage, they realized that Joe couldn’t read the time on his watch, which they mistook for poor eyesight. Later, she realized they needed a doctor after Joe couldn’t remember his social security number or his co-workers’ names.  

Sexual Relationship After Being Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s  

Wanda’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 57. They continued having a sexual relationship; Wanda says, “It was like saying goodbye.” Seven months into the diagnosis, their sexual relationship took a turn when the act was no longer filled with tenderness and romance, but something that could quickly have turned into sexual assault. Wanda then took action to put a stop to it. While there are many books about the clinical aspect of Alzheimer’s disease, there were none about how Alzheimer’s feels from a personal perspective. It was a book that Wanda needed when she had no one to talk to about her experience as she was going through it. 

Wanda describes the advancement of Alzheimer’s as inconsistent. As their lovemaking stopped, Wanda was concerned that, since his inhibitions were lowered, he might attack other women or their daughters due to his sexual frustration. Their relationship took a turn from being intimate to Wanda assuming the role of his mother and taking him to work every morning.  

Role of Consent  

Wanda combined his dislike of showers with lovemaking, intending to give him pleasure; a ‘loving gesture’ as Wanda says. She grappled with how consent played out in the later years. She realized their relationship dynamic and the context of him reciprocating loving actions, such as rubbing soap and confessing his love to her, made it clear that there was consent. However, she emphasizes that what was right for their relationship in this context isn’t right for everyone.  

Wanda learned to take her pleasure into her own hands and recognized how to take care of herself in a healthy way.  

Dealing with Grief  

While Wanda battled with grief during this time period, noticing Joe’s happiness, she learned to be in the moment and savor it. Although she experienced grief with every change that occurred, and then some more, later on, she stayed present with him. Wanda’s book is used in her husband Steven’s therapy practice called, “Care for Caregivers”, where they focus on how caregivers feel and deal with their loved one’s disease.  

Parting Words  

Wanda’s book addresses caregiving for everyone including mothers, children, spouses, or those with full-time jobs. It applies to everyone, including people of the LQBTQ+ community who are in a loving partnered relationship with a partner diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. She leaves us with parting words, urging people to stay and live in the moment with their loved ones even when it’s difficult to assume a role.  

Biography  

Wanda offers a fresh new approach to ISGC with her memoir, “White Knight: Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment”, and her warm counseling style. She makes caregiving a personal experience and enjoys sharing her life-gained wisdom and experience with others. In addition to the day-to-day management of our center as an Office Manager, Wanda is the founder and leader of our cutting-edge group, Care for Caregivers Group, based upon her book. She designed this group to enable people to become their own “White Knight” through learning and practicing self-care methods, as well as a positive, stay-in-the-moment philosophy, and to apply these principles to their work with loved ones who need their care. “You have to take care of yourself first!” This group is also for professional caregivers; it’s our experience that all caregivers need support. Wanda also co-leads our Monterey Transitional Support Group for the Transgender Community and our Sacred Sexuality/Tantra workshops for those seeking a closer connection with themselves and their beloved.  

More info and resources:
 
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast
#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

Listen to “187: Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi”

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 and resources:
 
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast

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