Sex Therapist’s Couch

A Couple Quits Therapy; What Is “Normal” Desire?

A couple I’d seen in sex therapy for a month quit last night. I can’t say I blame them. And I admit I was a bit relieved. They’re in their late forties, attractive and youngish. Here’s what I learned about them in four sessions: * She doesn’t like the way he touches her * He feels criticized by her every single day * She almost never has orgasms * He feels pressured to get erections quickly, and to make her climax from intercourse * She doesn’t believe he finds her attractive, although he insists he does * He feels he…

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When “Self-Help” is Part of the Problem

When it comes to sex, most self-help books offer more “self” than “help.” People keep buying them—when they stop, so will the publishers—and they keep feeling disappointed. Many readers wonder what’s wrong with them when they don’t achieve the greatest sex in the history of the world. When these books don’t deliver the ultimate sex, it’s generally not the reader’s fault. It’s because most self-help books are limited in what they can actually offer. And they leave out some very important facts that help shape our sexual experience. Let’s look at a few: * Desire: There are two good reasons…

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My Next Seminars for Therapists: 1) Infidelity; 2) Intakes & First Sessions

My next two seminars for therapists (and physicians, social workers, and other clinicians) will be May 1 and 2 at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. Once again, I’m an invited speaker for the annual meeting of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists. The seminars are described below; click here for registration information. Affairs & Infidelity: Betrayal, Negotiation, Reconciliation, Self-Esteem This presentation examines how to help couples recover from infidelity–and common clinical ideas which can undermine that recovery. Participants will learn how to sort out individual and relationship issues as we address questions like: • Why…

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Who Can Discuss Sex Without Discussing Damage?

Is there any point in talking about cars without mentioning car accidents? Certainly. Is there any value in discussing the Golden Gate Bridge or Niagara Falls without bringing up drowning or suicide? Of course there is. So why do so many people find it impossible to tolerate a serious conversation about sex that doesn’t include human trafficking, rape, kiddie porn, and child molestation? Why do such conversations have to be “corrected” with grim recitations of these problems—and why aren’t comments about these supposed “omissions” seen as off-topic? American marriage counselors and psychologists get notoriously brief training about human sexuality, typically…

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Seminar & Case Consult: Los Angeles

Existential Issues In Sex Therapy & Couples Counseling Existential issues are internal conflicts arising from the ongoing, inescapable confrontation with the givens of human existence–isolation, powerlessness, responsibility, death, and the desire for meaning. Most people defend themselves from fully acknowledging such realities. Therapy needs to illuminate how these defenses shape the behavior and thinking that brings people into therapy. We can help patients understand that truths like the following—rather than their presenting problems—are the issues with which they are really grappling: * Loving involves pain and, ultimately, abandonment or separation * We are responsible for how we express our feelings–regardless…

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