Category Archives: Sensate Focus

SEX WISDOM With Dr Cheryl Cohen Greene — Podcast #326 — 03/28/12


Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

Holy cow, do I have a fantastic show in store for you today. Despite the numerous remarkable guests that have appeared on this the SEX WISDOM series, there’s no one who can lay a hand on today’s guest. I’m so pleased to welcome my good friend, my trusted colleague and my bosom buddy for nearly 20 years, the amazing Dr Cheryl Cohen Greene. I can’t wait for you to meet her, because I know you will love her as much as I do.

Cheryl is a fellow sexologist, however her career path has been significantly different than mine. She is certified surrogate partner, don’t cha know. And she’s been working as such for 38 years. She is renowned in her field, so much so that she and one of her former clients are the subjects of a major motion picture, staring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, which comes out later this year. You can be certain that I will press Cheryl for all the juicy details.

Cheryl and I discuss:

  • How we met;
  • Her lengthy career;
  • The shift from sex surrogate to surrogate partner;
  • Her friend and colleague Shai Rotem;
  • Common issues she sees in her practice;
  • Role modeling good relationships;
  • Her former client, poet and journalist, Mark O’Brian;
  • Being at Sundance for the movie premiere;
  • Surrogate as sex worker;
  • The legality of surrogate partner work;
  • Surrogate partner training;
  • How prospective clients find her.

Cheryl invites you to visit her on her site HERE! Find her on Facebook HERE and her noteworthy blog HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Hot Plus Size Lingerie.
Plus Size Lingerie

A Spring Equinox Q&A Show — Podcast #325 — 03/19/12


Hey sex fans,

Hey everybody, Happy Vernal Equinox! Here we are on the cusp of spring, at lease here in the northern hemisphere, but the Emerald City is still locked in winter’s chilly grip. Hey, who’s in charge of this weather pattern anyway?

Despite the cold temperatures and blowing rain I have a bunch of very interesting questions from the sexually worrisome, which will dazzle and warm us till dryer, sunnier weather arrives.

  • Robert claims his GF doesn’t like sex. I think that’s because she’s never had good sex.
  • Ivy was molested at age 12. Now she finds it hard to enjoy sex with her BF.
  • Liam wants to last longer.
  • Dave reports that his fantasies include his father.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Healing Sexual Trauma through Sensate Focus

One of the most difficult things for me to deal with as a therapist is the aftermath of sexual trauma. And I know that the trouble I have with this is only a tiny fraction of the difficulty my client has as he or she faces his/her past. I share with you a correspondence I’ve had with a 36-year-old man from Boston named Trent.

Dr. Dick,
When I was 10 years my parish priest molested me. It went on for over a year. Mostly, I’ve been able to put this behind me. I’ve been married over a year to this really great gal. She’s been very understanding and supportive, and we love each other very much. A couple of weeks ago when we were having sex, my wife started to massage my bottom. This was the first time someone touched me there since I was 10. At first it felt good, but then I remembered how I felt when I was a kid and freaked out. I started to cry. My poor wife was devastated at the thought of triggering this painful memory. I told her it wasn’t her fault, but we haven’t had sex since. I’m worried, but I don’t know what to do.

Working through a sexual trauma, like the one Trent experienced as a kid, is difficult. But it is essential for regaining a healthy sense of the sexual self. I told Trent—and this applies to any anyone else who has had regrettable early sexual experiences in their past—that I strongly suggested that he and his wife engage a sex-positive therapist to help them get back on track.

Many people have dealt with some kind of sexually related trauma in their lives.  However, some trauma is more severe than others. Emotional scar tissue and painful memories may linger, but you can learn to insulate yourself from the disruptive effects of the past in the present. Thanks to the indomitable human spirit, most of us live through our difficulties and go on to develop healthy, integrated sex lives.

Sensate focus is a process that helps individuals move through painful sexual memories and heal the rift between the affected parts of the body and the pleasure they can produce. I thought this technique would be of particular value for Trent because of something he’d said: “At first it felt good, but then I remembered how I felt when I was a kid and freaked out.” This tells me that he was able to enjoy the sensations before the association with the molestation kicked in and ruined everything. Sensate focus offers a way to short-circuit this disruptive connection and rewire it for pleasure instead of pain.

What follows are structured therapeutic touching exercises for couples. They are not a prelude to sex. You need to be clear on that. Your genitals will be involved. There will be pleasure and arousal, for sure. But the object of this process is to desensitize the trigger (in Trent’s case, his butt), then re-sensitize it for pleasure. These exercises take about an hour one day a week over the course of a month. If you embark on this course, make sure that you dedicate that kind of time commitment. Please, don’t short-change yourselves; this is an investment in your sexual health and wellbeing.

You and your partner will take turns being the one touched and the one doing the touching. Both of you will have 30 minutes to touch and 30 minutes to be touched: 15 minutes lying on your front; 15 minutes on your back.

Week 1—Breaking the Ice
Structured touching will be unfamiliar to you at first. I want you to use this first session to connect with each other in a sensual and playful way. I want each of you to explore every inch of your partner’s body from head to toe, first the back of the body then the front. This first week, however, avoid one another’s genitals.

This isn’t massage, where touch is directed toward pleasuring your partner. Sensate focus exercises are about gleaning information. Focus on how it feels to touch different parts of your partner’s body in a non-seductive way. Be aware of the different textures contours and temperatures. Use different pressures—heavy and light; different strokes—long and short. Use fingertips, palms, the back of your hands and forearms.

When you’ve finished the first 30 minutes, swap places. This will work best if the one being touched relinquishes control as much as possible. Keep verbal communication at a minimum. Once the hour is over, thank one another for the experience and get on with the rest of your day. Don’t try to process things right then and there, just sit with the sensations. Or better still; write your feelings in a journal that you might want to share later.

Week 2—Making Things More Interesting
Building on what you learned in the first week; this time, kick it up a notch by expanding the structured touching to include anal and genital areas. These are sexually charged zones, but the touch must remain non-seductive. Begin the exercise with some full-body touching before moving on to the new areas. Again, the emphasis is on obtaining information and awareness of physical sensations.

This is where things got a bit challenging for Trent. When his wife touched his butt, I told him I wanted him to want stay in the moment and focus on who was touching him and why. Trent’s wife was not touching him in a sexual manner; she was gathering information.

Staying in the present helps take the edge off. If anxiety builds, deep breathing can help you to relax. Your partner will probably be very nervous too, so breathing together can be helpful.

A guided touch technique can also be useful. Place one of your hands on top of your partner’s and guide it over your trigger area. Try using more or less pressure as you see fit. Remember your trigger spot is just like every other part of your body. Even though an early trauma has sensitized this area to be off bounds, sensate focus exercises will re-sensitize and reintegrate it with the rest of your body. You’ll have to trust me on this.

Week 3—Mutual Touching
This week, we move on to mutual touching. However, it must remain structured and non-seductive, both in the giving and receiving. Mutual touch will provide a more natural form of physical interaction than the previous weeks. You’ll also be shifting attention from how it feels to touch to being aware of how your partner is receiving your touch. Keep verbal communication to a minimum. Let your body tell your partner how you are enjoying the touch. If you must talk, assign a number code to the touch you are receiving: 5 being, ho-hum, 1 being Yowsa!

Remember, no matter how sexually aroused you become, this is not a prelude to sex. If you need to release your sexual tension, feel free to masturbate afterward. No partnered sex during the exercises. Okay?

Week 4—Bringin’ It Home
This last week of exercises continues the mutual touching, with a focus on overcoming any final reservations you have about your trigger zone and the pleasure you derive from it. More of your partner’s touch should focus on that area. For Trent, I advised that his wife include a nice lotion or personal lube for this investigation. (Touching with a wet hand is different from touching with a dry hand.) While concentrating on his butt with one hand, I suggested she fondle his genitals with the other. By playing with the energy around Trent’s sphincter, his wife was able to redirect it and help him reconnect his ass to the rest of his body.

Try receiving your wire’s touch in different positions. Being proactive will facilitate the healing. While she is touching your trigger area, move your butt toward her to meet the caress. You’ll immediately see how being in control will help you move beyond any remaining anxiety. You are not just being passive recipient anymore; you are actively involved with inviting the pleasure. If there are still reservations, take it slow until they too, melt away.

Once he’d freed up his ass for pleasure, I told Trent be sure to incorporate butt play into his future lovemaking repertoire, but I also reminded him to take as much time as he needed to resolve the issue. There is no quick fix. I assured him, though, with diligence and care, sensate focus would remove the fear and shame of the molestation, and replace it with a sense of wholeness, joy and pleasure.

Good luck

Room With A View

Look for my new

Video Reviews!

This week we have two great titles: COUPLES MASTURBATION and EVERY COUPLE CAN.

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“I think we can all agree that there’s nothing more fundamental to a happy and healthy sex life than masturbation. Dr. Michael Perry. Ph.D., ACS, the producer of these fine movies, introduces the concept of masturbating with and for your partner.”

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“This R-rated video (EVERY COUPLE CAN) has much more of a story line than the previous one. First we meet Sam and Marie, a sexually frustrated couple. Sam turns to a sex surrogate to learn how to overcome his sexual problems in the hopes he’ll be able to save his marriage. Sam’s friend Trevor and his wife are having sexual difficulties too. What a surprise! “

…full reviews here

Watch Your Language, Mister!

Before we get started today, I’d like to take a minute to explain something to ya’ll. You will notice just to the right of this posting there is a section called CATEGORIES. If you scroll down from there you will notice that there are loads of topics— well over a hundred — that I’ve written about and/or included in one of my podcasts. Next to the topic you will notice a little number. That reflects the number of postings that include that particular topic. Isn’t that fucking brilliant?

So if you’re looking for information about something, I encourage you to check there first, before you send me a question. You may find that I’ve already covered your concern at length.

The CATEGORIES section is also a great resource for those looking to investigate new and interesting aspects of human sexuality.

Name: Martin
Gender: Male
Age: 50
Location: ?
Thanks in advance for your assistance, Dr. Dick.
Here’s my dilemma; I’m so in love with my partner, he’s actually the man of my dreams. We met much later in life, he being 45 and I’m 50.
I was married before w/children, out now as a gay man and all is well with my children’s relationship.
My partner has always known he was gay, has had numerable relationships and was a sexual addict. He has wanted me to understand his past in relationship to his level of happiness now, stating that he was a bottom slut only because he was never truly in love or satisfied.
He wants me to believe that “I”m the one” that has changed his life-long addiction to strange dick up his ass.
I can’t seem to get past his past slut behavior, and oftentimes get so pissed off because he wants me to meet and develop friendships with many of these past fucks (primarily because they were military buddies also).
Why can’t I accept his slutty past and stop the suspicions?
Why do I get so upset just knowing that he was a total bottom slut??
How can I get him to understand that I have no desire to know any more about his sexual past and just focus on creating our lives???
Thanks.

Martin, Martin, Martin! How you do go on, honey. Take a look at your language, why don’t ‘cha? Could you possibly be more pejorative when speaking of the sexual experience of someone who has lived a different lifestyle than you? I doubt it. Look at how many times you use the word “slut” to describe the man you say you love. How can you tell me you love someone you have so little regard for or understanding of?

Your man wants you to understand his past, but you don’t take it at face value. You69201_7_122_1143lo.jpg belittle his experience, possibly because it doesn’t match your own very limited, sexually exclusive, predominately heterosexual lifestyle.

Listen, lots of gay men (and some straight men) have loads of sex for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes just for the fun of it…or, as your man suggests, just to be a big ‘ol bottom slut. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. A guy can be happily sexual without loving each and every one of his partners. And the sex can be really great too. Just like a guy can have very unsatisfying sex with somebody he loves deeply. None of these things are necessarily dependent on the other. Don’t make such a tangle of it all, Martin. Sex, love, intimacy are all very different things.

I also want to reinforce my belief that there’s no such thing as a sex addict. Compulsive behavior? Sure! Out of control behavior? You betcha! Self-denigrating behavior? Absolutely! Sexual addiction? No way!

Try for just a minute to extricate yourself from your sex-negative mindset by exchanging the notion of eating when you talk about your friend’s sexual exploits. Would you have the same revulsion if your guy said he had shared food with lots of other guys? Some of it was fast food that didn’t satisfy very much. Sometimes he ate just because he wanted to, not because he was hungry. And now he wants you and he, as a couple, to be friends with some of the men he ate with. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!

Your man is trying to open you up to seeing life and sex as most openly gay men do. This is fundamentally different from how some formerly closeted men see life and sex. If you let him, he just might help heal you of your sex-negativity.

Finally, jealousy is one of the worst human emotions. It is a kind of hatred, you know. Sometimes it’s hatred of another, but it is always self-hatred. We’d have no reason to be jealous if we had enough self-confidence. You say you love this man, but I challenge you on that. It’s clear to me that you have a much greater love of your provincial notions about sex then you have for this guy.

Here’s a tip, Martin — jettison the unhealthy attitudes about sexual expression and give your guy a chance to be himself, not what you want him to be, or what you think he should be. You’d be well served by working with a sex-positive therapist to help you get over this. Do it now, because if you hesitate you will surely ruin the very relationship you claim to treasure.

Name: Pete
Gender: Male
Age: 60
Location: New England
What is sounding the penis and why is it called that?

Sounding is a kind of urethra play. It’s called that because the it involves sounds, a kind of dilator. Why not mozie on over to Dr Dick’s Stockroom and check out the Sounds & Dilators section. You’ll get an eyeful!

Urethra play freaks out lots of folks. Most of us equate having something inserted into our urethra…for any reason…with a root canal by a sadistic dentist. Not something purposely done for the sheer enjoyment of it.a974.jpg

I’m always curious about how folks come to odd fetishes like urethra play. One of my correspondents back in July, Georgia, wrote that her urethra play began when she was a child. She asked her mother where babies came from. Her mother said it’s where peepee comes out. Georgia looked down there and saw this teeny-tiny hole. She knew having a baby was difficult and painful and thought, no wonder! So she decided she’d better try and make the opening bigger. And so it began.

Once a guy told me his fetish started when he was playing doctor with his older cousin. His cousin inserted a twig into his urethra, mimicking how he thought a doctor would take a patient’s temperature. This guy said that the moment was so sexually charged, even as boy of no more than 5, that his piss hole became an object of fascination and pleasure from that day onward. When I knew him, he was able to insert the bristle end of a toothbrush into his urethra. That bit of unsolicited information just about made me swoon into a faint back then. Even now, retelling that story gives me the willies.

So ok, this isn’t for me, but I am told by those in the know that because the urethra is such a sensitive organ, stretching it can provide exquisite sexual pleasure.

Practitioners of this unique kink often start out young, like Georgia and the other guy. Maybe it’s just a function of one’s natural curiosity about his/her body, when one day he/she discovers their urethra. They toy with it, stretch it and find pleasure. Once that happens, of course, it becomes like most pursuits of pleasure. It becomes a fascination, then a full-blown kink.

If a little accidental stretching is pleasurable, they wonder, what about intentional stretching with one kind of gadget or another — Q- tips, thermometers or a ballpoint pen? Once these kids are old enough to do some research, they discover an array of medical implements available to them; like latex or plastic tubing, catheters and urethral sounds and dilators. Well, you can see how this could just grow and grow…pretty much like any fetish. Pleasure is curious that way, spurring us on to higher and higher heights.

But like all pleasure related things, practitioners ought to have their wits about them when they play with their pee hole. I think it’s ill advised to be stretching your urethra with just any old thing lying around. One’s bladder and urethra are sterile areas and one ought only use sterile equipment and procedures while inserting anything in there. And one ought to take one’s time with this sort of play. Incremental stretching is advised. The use of mind altering, or body desensitizing drugs is not recommended, for obvious reasons. Like I always say, safe and sane play is happy play.

And here’s something you should know — the male urethra is approx. 10 to 13 inches long and has a “J-shaped” curve to it. The female urethra is much shorter, only approx. 2 1/2 to 3 inches long, and there is no curve. Therefore, a woman can stretch her urethra much easier and to a greater extent than a man can. You will find that these gender differences also makes for gender specific toys.

Name: Alice
Gender: Female
Age: 19
Location: Minnesota
My new boyfriend is really frustrated and doesn’t want to have sex anymore because he can’t come. He says he’s had this problem for a while and hasn’t come with any girl for over a year. I see how upset he is and I know he still wants to sleep with me but says it hurts when he gets excited and nothing happens. Is there something I can do? I tell him to see a doctor but I don’t think he will. thanks a lot!

Wow, that’s a bummer Alice. Unfortunately, you don’t supply me with enough information for me to make an educated guess about what might be up with him. So I’m gonna make a stab in the dark.

If I had to guess, I’d say the lad is suffering from a real bad case of performancetom03a.jpg anxiety. He doesn’t need a medical doctor; he needs to relax.

Here’s how this nasty thing works. Say a fella has a less than satisfying sexual experience for one reason or another. Before he know it, he replaying the incident over and over in his head, till that’s all he thinks about. The proverbial molehill becomes a mountain. He brings his anxiety to his next sexual encounter. His hyper-consciousness primes him for more disappointment. And he’s ready to interpret all disappointment as a failure.

Well, you can see where I’m going with this, huh? His fears become self-fulfilling. Before he knows it, he begins to avoid sex. His relationships suffer. He develops a full-blown sexual dysfunction. And his self-esteem takes a nosedive. His preoccupation with his problem makes it less likely that he’ll be fully present during sex with his partner, which pretty much fucks up his sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity.

It looks to me like performance anxiety is putting a damper on his sexual arousal and short-circuiting his sexual response cycle.

This is nothing to fool around with, especially for someone at his tender age. When I see this sort of thing in my private practice, I always begin the therapeutic intervention by calling a moratorium on fucking of any kind. This immediately takes a great deal of the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psychosexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training, stress reduction and relaxation exercises. I have the greatest confidence in this method. It succeeds over 90% of the time.

Name: Roxy
Gender:
Age: 37
Location: SF Bay Area
Dear Dr. Dick, I am slowly but inexorably marching to my wits end over my current dilemma. I’m a part time TV married to a wonderful girl who I find very satisfying emotionally, mentally and physically. So what’s the problem, you’re asking? The problem is that before we got married I had several sexual encounters with men (yes, with me dressed and made up as a girl). Some of which were quite thrilling, and now I find that I am yearning to get all dressed up and find a male partner who will satisfy the girl side of my psyche sexually. I don’t want to cheat on my wife (with whom I’ve talked about marital fidelity…if I cheated and she found out, her line is that our sex life would be over), but I feel the compulsion to act getting stronger all the time… what should I do? Sincerely, Distraught in downtown

Before I respond to you, Roxy, I want to make sure my audience knows what we’re talking about.

Folks, Roxie here is identifying as a part-time TV. That, of course, has nothing to do with the box in your living room on which you watch The Brady Bunch reruns. TV in this context means transvestite. Which is literally the practice of cross-dressing, wearing the clothing of the other sex. Which as we all know, or should know must not be confused with a TS. And I don’t mean the poet, but a transexual. A transexual is a person that self-identifies as the gender other than the one he/she was assigned at birth. I hope we’re all down with that now.

It appears to me, Roxy, that you’re really overreaching here. Desires are wonderful2070257205_55f002f39a.jpg things. We just better know the difference between a desire and reality. I encourage you to think twice about realizing this particular desire of yours if it means upending your marriage. Seems to me your long-suffering wife’s feelings deserves more than the casual consideration you afford them.

Most TVs I know would give their left falsie for a partner as understanding and accommodating as your wife. And look at you, considering fucking this up by skipping out on her. Just so you can get all gussied up and find a dude to pound the bejesus out of you to satisfy the girly side of your psyche.

I never advocate the cheating option. But I know how compelling sexual fantasies can be. On the other hand, maybe some kind of additional accommodation could be made with your wife. Maybe she’d be up for a 3-way.

I know this marvelously kinky woman, Abby, who pimps out her beautiful straight boyfriend to totally hot gay gays they meet at the best gay nightclubs. She does this just so she can watch the straight BF get pounded. I hasten to add that the beautiful straight BF is a willing participant in this unusual ménage. Curiously enough, he’d never think of doing this on his own. For him, the turn on is not the part where other guys fuck him, although that is pleasurable. It’s pleasing and being dominated by his kinky girlfriend that turns his crank. So when Abby snaps her finger, you know for certain that Ty will soon be buggered senseless. Now that’s devotion. And while this is not for everyone, it sure as hell works for them.

Will your little woman go for something like this, Roxy? Got me! One thing for sure, you’ll never know unless you ask. Here’s a tip. To sell this whole ménage thing to the wifie, I encourage you to play up how HOT it will be for her. How much fun she’ll have watching and possibly even directing her pansy-ass husband take it up the bung-hole. How it’s gonna blow her mind, and shake up your traditional sex roles and really spice things up in the boudoir. With a sales pitch like that she might just give it a whirl.

I don’t envy your dilemma, Roxy, but I think something interesting could come of this just as long as you’re upfront about it with your wife. If ya don’t, you’ll soon be a cock in a frock with his marriage on the rocks.

Good luck ya’ll

 

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