Making Sex Better

Sex, Secrets, & Shame

As an everyday therapist, shame isn’t some abstract idea—it’s quite real to me. It’s why people keep secrets. It’s why they do exactly the opposite of what they want to—to prove that they don’t want it. It’s a big reason people behave self-destructively—unable to talk about their impulses, their feelings, or their curiosity, they act them out, despite the consequences. (Note: When the behavior involves sex, this may be mistaken as “addiction.” Nonsense.) There is no part of being human about which Americans feel more shame than sex. Predictably, that leads to sexual secrets, sexual violence, sexual acting out, and…

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National Men’s Health Week

National Men’s Health Week is June 13-19, 2016. Guys, here are 6 tips for better sexual health. Ladies, feel free to listen in. * Don’t have sex drunk While drinking, your judgment is compromised, your sensitivity to others is reduced, and your penis slows WAY down. As Shakespeare tells MacDuff in Macbeth, “drinking stimulates desire […]

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Open? Poly? How to NOT Cheat

A number of people have come into my office this past month inquiring about various forms of non-monogamy. Of course there’s the traditional one-sided clandestine affair, in which one person thinks the couple is monogamous while the other person knows that isn’t true (because he or she isn’t). For people who want a consensual arrangement, two of the more common ones are: * Open relationship: Each person has one or more sexual partners outside the couple, which they freely acknowledge to each other; * Polyamory: The couple finds other people (usually one or more couples) with whom to have a…

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Sexually, Is Pleasure What Motivates You?

If you ask most people what they want from sex, they’ll say some combination of pleasure and closeness. And yet people’s decisions around sex are clearly about other things. The way men and women select partners; choose to initiate or decline sex; relate to their preferences or fantasies; obsess on how they look, sound, or smell; and remain present or check out during sex—all of these decisions make it clear that for many people, their sexual agendas go way beyond pleasure or closeness. In fact, pleasure and closeness may be quite far from what people are really going after in…

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Is Lousy Sex Better Than No Sex?

It depends on what you want from sex. If you mostly want an orgasm, lousy sex might do the trick. If you mostly want to have someone agreeing to have sex with you whether they really want to or not, lousy sex may be your best bet. If you mostly just want to see someone naked, or briefly feel a tit or some balls in your hand, lousy sex may be good enough. But most men and women want other stuff from sex. Maybe you do, too. For example, you may want to see your partner smile with pleasure. You…

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