Sex Therapist’s Couch

When Sex Isn’t About Sex

“Everything in the world is about sex, except sex, which is about power.” Yes, sex is sometimes about power. But sex can be about many different things. For some people it means “I can still get sex,” or “I can still get sex from a good-looking man/woman, or “I can still get sex from you.” I guess these are about power in a way, especially that last one. Here are a few more reasons that people want sex: to get attention, to get touching, to feel taken care of, to feel attractive, to challenge taboos, to assert autonomy. For some…

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Reasons People Have Affairs—Besides Sex

Cheating, infidelity, adultery—no matter what you call it, it’s a staple of popular culture. Articles with titles like “Why he cheats,” “Affair-proofing your marriage,” “Too sexy to cheat on,” and “Secrets of wives with faithful husbands” litter the self-help and “lifestyle” landscape. These articles—which mostly advise readers to be as sexy as possible, and just a tiny bit mistrustful—generally treat infidelity as if it’s primarily about sex. But while some affairs are just that, a large percentage of affairs are not about sex. In fact, many unfaithful men and women admit that the sex at home is good, or the…

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Talking Mary Out of a Boob Job

I’m seeing this couple, John & Mary. Very nice people. They came in last summer because he’d hardly ever have sex with her. Periodically she would get so depressed or angry that she’d get blind drunk and behave poorly—humiliate him in public, black out at parties, spend a few days in bed eating donuts. “I wouldn’t do this if you’d have sex with me,” she’d say. “You can’t expect me to have sex with you when you periodically behave so badly,” he’d say. They’d been doing this for over two years. Lots of anger, almost no sex. But after six…

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Criminalizing Conversion “Therapy”: Good Intention, Bad Idea

California just became the first state to ban conversion “therapy” for minors. That’s “therapy” which attempts to “cure” people of homosexuality, same-gender desire, or gender non-conformity, “converting” them to heterosexuality and “normal” gender behavior. My regular readers know that I have been a licensed psychotherapist for 32 years—about 35,000 sessions with men, women, teens, and […]

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