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Sex Therapy—What Is It and Who Needs It? – Part 2

(Look for Part 1 of this series HERE!)

Of course, there are plenty of individuals—and couples—who haven’t waited until the last minute to seek help. These people want to be proactive about their concerns. Some people simply need some clear, unambiguous information about human sexuality. A surprising number of people are trying to piece together their sexual lives, but are hampered by misconceptions and misinformation.

Sometimes a momentous event motivates a person to address arising sexual or intimacy issues. The birth of a child, a disease process, a death in the family, or an accident can fundamentally alter the power dynamic of a relationship, which will require a rethinking of the entire relationship.

Or perhaps someone comes to a new realization about him or herself: Perhaps they are finally able to acknowledge their bisexuality, or that he’s gay, or she’s a lesbian. Maybe they are finally able to acknowledge a fetish—he’s a crossdresser, or she’s into another kink. Things like this obviously impact the individual, but if that person is in a relationship, the relationship is also affected. People in these self-revelatory situations are often unsure how to talk about their discoveries with a partner, which is another reason they seek counseling.

Some couples don’t fret when the sex vanishes from the relationship; other couples are devastated. What does one do when one partner still has sexual needs, but the other doesn’t? Often, there are unexplored options that can hold the relationship together, but will address the disparity in sexual interest and desire.

In this case, I can help the couple make compromises without losing their moral compass. Some couples navigate this with ease; others not so much. It can be extremely challenging, but there are ways to preserve what’s sacred about a primary relationship, while contemplating opening the relationship to include others. I can help a couple establish guidelines and ground rules for making the necessary adjustments.

Sometimes the relationship is really wonderful and fun. The couple really loves each other, but they’ve noticed their sex life together is pretty boring and stale. I’m often approached to simply help a couple spice things up. In this instance, my work is sheer joy. Mostly, I just give them permission to experiment and have fun.

You’ve probably noticed that a good portion of the work that I do as a sex therapist is merely giving permission. That may not sound like therapy at all, but when you consider that our sex-negative culture is so full of prohibitions; permission giving is often the front line of sexual rehabilitation. Most of the permissions I give are for an individual to educate him or herself about his or her body and his or her sexual response cycle. Personal exploration, such as masturbation, is the very best means to that education. I’m a huge proponent of partners masturbating together.

Happily, our need to reacquaint and reeducate ourselves about our bodies and our sexual response cycle is a life-long process. There is always something new to explore. As we age, our bodies change, and if we don’t keep up with those changes, we can become frustrated and disoriented. Older people, menopausal women and andropausal men, take longer to build up “a head of sexual steam,” so to speak. If they’re not attuned to the changes they’re going through, they can easily miss the important cues their body is sending to slow down and enjoy the sensuality.

Of course, I could go on and on, but now I want to leave you with what is the distillation of years my thinking about the role sexuality plays in our life:

I believe that sex is like food. We can enjoy it alone, or with others. We can be abstemious, or gluttonous. We can nosh or nibble; dine or devour. And we can be certain there will be both times of feast and famine.

Sex is like food. It can nourish and sustain us, or it can make us sick. We can consume all the available bounty, or restrict our diet. It can completely satisfy, or leave us devastatingly empty. We can employ it to express our highest aspirations, or allow it to rob us of our soul. We can give it as a gift, or use it as a weapon. It can be both bacchanal and sacrament.

One thing is for sure, whether purely physical or transcendentally spiritual, no one can live without food…or sex.

Got a Sex Question?
You’ve come to the right place.
Contact me here: questions@drdicksexadvice.com

No time to write?
Give Dr Dick a call.
(866) 422-5680
Toll Free — Voicemail — HOTLINE

Would you like to talk about your sexual concerns, feelings, lifestyle or experiences?
Arrange for a consultation HERE!

Either way, you can be assured of my complete discretion.

Sex Therapy—What Is It and Who Needs It? – Part 1

I’m often asked about my work as a sex therapist. I’m surprised at how few people have any sense of what a sexologist does. While I can’t speak for all my fellow therapists, I can tell you a bit about my own practice.

Most of the work I do is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): short-term, goal-directed and personally liberating (I don’t believe this kind of therapy should become a lifestyle). Basically, I suggest that people with sexual issues change the behaviors that contribute to their problems as a surefire way to solve them. I try to give my clients all the tools they need to successfully work things out on their own once the therapeutic intervention is over. This approach doesn’t fit everyone; however, 99.9 percent of the people I work with respond positively.

I encourage my clients to give themselves permission to investigate their sexuality. This in turn assists them in taking charge of making themselves feel better and/or perform better. And as soon as they do, they almost immediately have a greater sense of wellbeing. Like they say, nothing breeds success like success.

Once we identify an area of concern, my client and I create a plan of action for them to implement. I believe the more an individual is part of their own healing process, the more productive that process will be.

Sadly, I find that fewer and fewer people are willing to give their sexual issues the attention they deserve. Rather than investing the time and energy to get to the bottom of their issues, many opt instead for the quick fix—the “Give me a pill for that” mentality. They’re often unwilling to make the necessary lifestyle changes to actually solve their problems. For example, I encounter people who are eating themselves to death, or abusing alcohol or drugs. Of course they have the accompanying sexual response issues—erection problems for men and arousal concerns for women. They may desperately want to resolve these issues, but without committing to any change in behavior—i.e.: “I want my erection back, but I won’t stop drinking”—such interventions almost always ends in disappointment.

Sexual dysfunction of one sort or another is the issue I see most recurrently in my practice, although the reason why a client reaches out varies. Sometimes an individual’s tolerance level peaks, and they finally decide to do something about an issue that may have been smoldering for years. Sometimes it’s a partner who brings in their proverbially “broken” partner, telling me to “fix him/her.”

Couples often seek sex therapy together, as sexual problems tend to be more obvious within relationships. However, by the time the couple comes for therapy, the issues have most likely been plaguing them for some time. The relationship often comes close to ending before the couple agrees to address the problem. For example: Say a guy brings his wife in because she’s “frigid,” whatever that may entail. They’ve been married for X-number of years, and he’s finally had it. She, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be in therapy, because she doesn’t really think there’s anything wrong with her. She just doesn’t want to have sex anymore, and she doesn’t want to discuss it. Period.

This is a difficult way to start therapy. Resentments are high and frustrations rage. If the couple does continue, we usually discover that there’s also something desperately wrong with the husband. Inevitably, we ascertain that he’s an ineffectual lover—and his inability to pleasure his wife is the root of her “problem.” It’s often painfully clear that he knows little (if anything) about his wife’s sexual needs or desires. Meanwhile, the wife has never had permission to know her body, so she’s unable to help or direct him. As you can imagine in a case like this, there’s a load of remedial sex education that must come before anything else is resolved.

Couples also seek therapy when one spouse has cheated on the other. The “cheat-ee” declares, in no uncertain terms, that this therapy is the last-ditch effort before “the end of the road.” Often in such cases, it’s too late for a successful intervention, because each partner is so angry and shamed that the chance of turning the situation around is slim. Sometimes the best we can do is end the relationship with as little acrimony as possible.

In difficult couple counseling situations like this, my first effort is to get the couple to disarm. There will be no sex therapy—and God knows there is a need for sex therapy—until there is some semblance of peace between partners. If we don’t establish at least a small bank of goodwill, our efforts are doomed.

We’ll pick this up next week at this time.

Got a Sex Question?
You’ve come to the right place.
Contact me here: questions@drdicksexadvice.com

No time to write?
Give Dr Dick a call.
(866) 422-5680
Toll Free — Voicemail — HOTLINE

Would you like to talk about your sexual concerns, feelings, lifestyle or experiences?
Arrange for a consultation HERE!

Either way, you can be assured of my complete discretion.

Yikes! WTF is wrong with me?

Name: Tony
Gender:
Age: 40
Location: Houston
I’ve loved several women and even married and divorced one. Over the last few years, I notice having similar feelings for men around me…longing, sweaty palms, difficulty thinking and wanting to be with them alone. Is this love? Am I bisexual? Am I a sick man better off dead? I have not crossed the line and I still have great sex with women. But there’s now a guy that I think about when I’m with her! Am I gay? Bisexual? Sick in the head?

Hey, chill out, my friend, this is not all that uncommon a phenomenon. Many people, just like you, inexplicably find themselves behaving in a completely unexpected sexual manner. I would, however, love to know what triggered you to veer off your comfortable and predictable sexual path?

While you enjoy these new found feelings, beware that there’s never a scarcity of sexual fascists out there. People who believe that sexual tastes and preferences are carved in stone, or that there’s only one “right” way to be sexual. They’ll persecute anyone who doesn’t conform to their strict immutable notions of sexuality and eroticism. Despite the proliferation of these hetero-fascists and homo-fascists; they are all very wrong about the indomitable human spirit and the flexibility of human sexuality.

Humans are not sexual automatons. Given a more permissive and sex-positive culture then our own, we’d all be more fluid in our eroticism and sexual expression. Are you one of the lucky few who has discovered the joy of this fluidity? Doesn’t quite sound like it to me, at least not yet. I think you’re still in the “scared shitless” stage.

For a guy who has yet to “cross the line” and actually act on your fantasy, you sure are preoccupied with your identity. Are you afraid that someone will take away your breeder card if you actually touch a dude in a sexual way? Does having same-sex feelings…sweaty palms and all…make you a gay? I certainly doubt it! Being gay entails a lot more than a sense of longing for something you’re not supposed to have. Are you bisexual? I can’t say for sure, but you’re certainly not exclusively straight either. I suppose you have to come to grips with the self-identify thing when you have a bit more information about your burgeoning eroticism. What I know for sure is that you are not sick.

Who knows, your homoeroticism might very well be situational. It might not extend any farther than the guy you think about when you’re fucking chicks. I know all of this is can be pretty disconcerting and it can really mess with your head. But at least you know you are still alive sexually. So many people are sleepwalking through their erotic lives.

Will you act on your inclinations? Will you test the waters, so to speak? What harm could it do? Might just open up a whole new sexual world for you. On the other hand, if you do nothing, or try and repress these natural feelings, you’ll always know in your heart of hearts that you have the desire, if not the capacity, to express yourself sexually with a much wider range of humans than what you are currently used to. And something tells me that if you choose the path of self-denial, it will eat away at you until you satisfy your curiosity.

Good luck

Name: William
Gender:
Age: 67
Location: Connecticut
Is there such a thing as a being a homosexual watcher only? Ya know, getting an erection, but not wanting to perform?

All of human sexuality is on a continuum. Are you familiar with the Kinsey Scale? The dean of American sex research, Alfred Kinsey, his associate, Wardell Pomeroy, and their colleagues developed this scale as a way of classifying a person’s sexuality in terms of both behavior and fantasy.

This is what they developed.

0- Exclusively heterosexual with no homosexual behavior or fantasy.
1- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual — most likely in fantasy only.
2- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual — fantasy for sure and possibly behavior too.
3- Equally heterosexual and homosexual in both behavior and fantasy.
4- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual — fantasy for sure and possibly behavior too.
5- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual — most likely in fantasy only.
6- Exclusively homosexual with no heterosexual behavior or fantasy.

These pioneering sexologists also discovered that an individual may be reassigned a different position on this scale, at different periods in his/her life. It’s conceivable that one could go from Kinsey 0 to 6 in a lifetime, or just a summer in San Francisco. This seven-point scale comes close to showing the many gradations that actually exist in human sexual expression.

Back to your specific question, William, yes, someone could be a Kinsey “6” in terms of his fantasy and desire, but be a Kinsey “0” in terms of behaviors.

We’re amazing creatures, huh?

Good Luck

Lost and Found

Hey sex fans,

We bring you our third and final Romance Series video from New Sensations for today’s edition of Product Review Friday.

But wait, you didn’t miss the two previous reviews we posted, did you? Well not to worry if you did, because you can find them HERE and HERE.  And remember all our adult product reviews, going back 5 years, are archived at Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews.

Let’s check in with Dr Dick Review Crew members, Glenn & Hank, to see what’s on their mind.

Lost and Found —— $18.81

Glenn & Hank
Glenn: “I have a little secret. I have a guilty pleasure. I really get off on straight porn. Well some of it anyhow.”
Hank: “He has to keep it a secret, because, if the homo police find out, they’ll take away his homo card.”
Glenn: “You joke, but you know there’s truth in what I say, Hank. Most of our queer friends would never understand my taste for straight porn.”
Hank: “Hey, I don’t know; I’d be wiling to bet that way more gay men dig straight porn then those, like you, who are willing to admit to their guilty pleasure. Nowadays the men in straight porn are way hotter than they used to be. Maybe that’s because a lot of the ‘straight’ male performers are also working as ‘gay-for-pay’ performers in gay porn. So you know for certain that is raising the hunkyness-bar all over the industry.”
Glenn: “On a recent visit to Dr Dick’s I noticed a pile of DVDs on his desk. I asked him; ‘what’s up with all the movies?’ He said, ‘I got them from New Sensations to farm out for review.’ I said, ‘I’d be up for that assignment.’ He said, ‘really? That would be way cool; you know it’s straight porn, right? Then Dr Dick added, ‘I suppose if these movies can pass the gay test, we’ll all know that they are good to go.’ And so that’s how I got Lost and Found to review. Score!”
Hank: “When Glenn is happy, I’m happy. Besides, anything that gets him boned up will eventually lead to me gettin’ a world-class blowjob or me pluggin’ his tight muscular ass. And I almost never argue with that math.”
Glenn: “Ok, I admit, I’m a sex fiend; so sue me already! Lost and Found is the story of a bachelor, David, (Xander Corvus, who is hot, hot, hot!), who wants to jettison the swinger ways and settle down. Imagine his good fortune when the gal of his dreams, Jen (Allie Haze, who is so adorable!) moves in next door with her little dog. This is a sweet romance about a man, a woman and the little dog that brought them together by nearly tearing them apart. Fuckin’ charming, huh?”
Hank: “It is very charming, but it’s sexy as hell too. I walked in on Glenn watching the DVD and thought he was watching some Hollywood romcom. I was just about to turn heal and run when this chick starts blowin’ this dude. And damn, she sure looked like she knew what she was doin’. Most of the women I see in straight porn aren’t very good cocksuckers. They look at the dick in their hand and you can see it in their face, they’d much rather be in Cleveland.”
Glenn: “Hank says that a lot of the guys in gay porn don’t know how to suck dick either. He’s right! It’s pathetic, I tell you. Cocksucking is a lost art. I also want to comment on something else Hank said. The production values of Lost and Found are first class. Everything from the box art to the movie’s audio track is topnotch. It could have easily come from one of the major Hollywood studios…except it has all this really hot girl on guy sex. And here’s the real kicker; all the dudes wear condoms in this flick. Fuckin’ A! I wish more straight porn producers did that.”
Hank: “You can also tell that this movie has its female audience in mind. I don’t mean to suggest that they soft sell the sex; they don’t. But it is respectful of women. Call me old fashioned; but I hate it when I see a woman being degraded in a porno. It’s such a turn off. No wonder most women aren’t into video smut. BTW, Xander Corvus is super fine! He has a sweet face, a nice body, a big old dick, but he shaves his pubes. I guess three out of four ain’t too shabby!”
Glenn: “Lost and Found has four really great sex scenes. All the characters are very attractive and likeable, but they’re also still believable. There’s not a porn stereotype in the bunch. The sex is vanilla, but there’s real chemistry between the performers. There’s loads and loads of kissing too. And the non-sex acting is amazingly good.”
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

Touched for the very first time, Part 2

Look for Part 1 of this two part series HERE.

Let’s pick up where we left off last week, on the perils young people face as they navigate the expectations of virginity and sex, and begin to consider their first forays into partnered sex.

Teenagers face enormous peer pressure when it comes to sex, yet there’s precious little education afforded them in terms of the fundamentals of human sexuality. This dearth of clear, unambiguous information on how our bodies work is just the first way we let down our children. There’s almost nothing available to teens to emotionally prepare them for partnered sex.

Mariana is 17. She writes:

I lost my virginity yesterday, but I did not bleed. Why is this?

Hold on there, missy! That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna say about your first time at bat? Is there anyone else out there who is as perplexed by this as I am?

Maybe I’m reading way too much into this. Maybe it is, after all, par for the course. For some young women, the externals of first-time partnered sex are the more important then the act itself. Maybe that’s because less than 5 percent of women have an orgasm the first time they have sex.

It’s clear that we do put more emphasis on the outward signs of virginity, which, in turn trumps everything else?

I guess, Mariana, I would have liked to know if congratulations are order? Was your first time enjoyable? Are you happy it happened? It’s so amazing to me that you didn’t mention any thing about your first intercourse other than that fact that you didn’t bleed. Maybe that’s your way of saying it wasn’t so special.

Sorry about the diversion there, Mariana, as you may know, the hymen is a mucous membrane that is part of the vulva, the external part of a woman’s genitals. It is located outside the vagina, which is the internal part of a woman’s genitals. Not all women have a noticeable hymen. You may or may not have had one to begin with. However, you are right in thinking that most women do. Simply put, having a hymen and/or having it rupture during one’s first coital experience is not necessarily a good indicator of virginity.

Many girls and teens tear or otherwise dilate their hymen while participating in sports like bicycling, horseback riding or gymnastics. This can also happen while inserting tampons, or while masturbating. A girl may not even know she’s done this, since there may be little or no blood or pain involved when it actually happens. The tissues of the vulva are generally very thin and delicate prior to puberty. Again, the presence or absence of a hymen (or its bleeding) in no way indicates whether or not a woman is a virgin.

Some hymens are elastic enough to permit a penis (or similar object) to enter without tearing, or they tear only partially, and there is NO bleeding at all. As I hope you know, when you are adequately aroused, your vagina will lubricate itself and become more flexible. For many women, it will stretch without discomfort. It’s even possible for a woman to have sex for years without “tearing” her hymen.

Tia, age 19, has a very unusual concern.

I have a problem. I’m still a virgin, but my bf thinks I’m not. It’s really my fault he thinks this, cuz I told him I was all experienced and everything. We’ve been going together for about eight months already, and I really want my first time to be with him, but how am I going to act all experienced when I don’t know what I’m doing.
HELP ME PLEASE!!!

That sure enough is a pickle you got yourself into, darlin’. You’ve got some “splainin’ to do, Lucy!”

Curiously enough, I’m more likely to hear from young women who are not virgins, but want to know how they can fool a new partner into thinking they are. I guess we can chalk up all this deception and confusion to the powerful associations every culture imposes on technical virginity.

And like most things sexual, there is a huge double standard between the cultural and personal implications of virginity for men and women. The cultural expectations regarding virginity are also tied to age as well as gender. For example, our society expects its 16-year-old girls to be virgins. To be otherwise at that tender age would be a scandal in most communities. But a 35-year-old woman who is still a virgin is considered an old maid—or worse, a (gasp) lesbian.

Of course, things are a bit more fluid when it comes to boys. On one hand, a 16-year-old boy who is not a virgin may raise eyebrows in some communities. But many others in those same communities would praise him for being a “stud.” On the other hand, a 35-year-old man who is still a virgin is not only the butt of jokes—or worse, a “queer”—but he’s also more of a disgrace to his gender than an old maid is to hers. Funny how that works, huh?

I hasten to add that there is a lot to argue with in terms of these arbitrary cultural norms, and I encourage ya’ll to argue away. God knows I do! And just because they’re there, and considered “norms” where you are, that doesn’t mean you have to buy into them. God knows I don’t! So make up your own mind.

But back to you, Tia. I’d love to know why you felt the need to deceive your boyfriend in the first place. Do the people you hang with prize sexual experience over sexual innocence for a woman of 19? And what are the expectations of your peer group regarding a 19-year-old guy? I’ll bet the expectation is that he be sexually experienced—right?

Well, you can see why a lot of people—and not just you—find this whole thing just too damned complicated. And rather than adding to the confusion or the deception, I encourage you to come clean with your boyfriend about the status, as it were, of your cherry.

Here’s why I think this is the best policy. First, if the boyfriend is sexually experienced, it will be very difficult for you to hide the fact that you are not. Besides, like you said in your message to me: “I really want my first time to be with him.” Tell him that! No man is gonna turn that down…ever. In fact, that may be the most sexually charged and treasured sentence in any language.

Begin the big talk with your boyfriend like this: “Baby, I got something real special to tell you. You know how I’ve been saying that I’ve been with other guys and everything? Well that was just my way of keeping all the other guys from pestering me for my junk. Baby, the truth is I haven’t had sex before now. And the best part of this is I’ve decided that I really want my first time to be with you. My cherry belongs to you, baby”

Clearing the air like this will also allow you to relax when the moment finally happens. And relaxation is the key to enjoying yourself. And you should enjoy yourself, because no one can do that for you.

Good luck!