Sexual Health

Shame—A Bigger Problem Than Your Penis, Vagina, Fantasies, or Desire

At our first session, when I ask “what would you like to accomplish in our therapy,” people will often mention their fantasies (too weird?), their desire (too low, too high), or their penis or vagina (which won’t do what they want when they want it).

Very few people say “I want to feel less shame.” Of course not—they’re too ashamed.

Sexual shame has many causes–and it’s usually not an individual’s fault. It takes many forms, which therapy can often reduce.

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“Yes, Your Kid”—and Maybe You?

Dr. Debby Herbenick, one of the world’s most important sex educators and researchers, has a new book out, and it’s great. It’s called “Yes, Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today’s Teens and Sex.”

Before you go away because you don’t have kids, or because your kids are too young or too old, read on. Because there’s stuff in this book that’s relevant to all of us.

Especially the stuff about rough sex, which a huge number of young people are doing.

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Why Do Men Pay For Handjobs?

Totally by coincidence, two different guys called me for therapy this week with similar issues. One was regularly going to massage parlors for “happy endings,” and the other was paying young men he met on Grindr for quickies.

They each thought their behavior was wrong, and both felt ashamed. The first guy, Pedro, wanted to stop. The second guy, Chang, didn’t really want to stop, but thought he “should.”

Both guys are married. Both guys have high-paying, pressure-filled jobs. Both guys have trouble talking about sex. So they’ve each arranged to have sexual encounters without any talking.

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What Sex Therapy Can’t Do

Sex therapy, first developed by Masters & Johnson in the early 1960s, can be wonderful—life-changing, cost-effective, marriage- (and therefore family-) saving.

But we can’t do everything that people want or need. Here are some things I’m asked to do periodically, which I just don’t know how to do—and I doubt that my colleagues, can, either.

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The Pride Flag Dilemma

All kids deserve to feel accepted and safe at school.

When public schools promote Pride Month or fly the Pride flag next to the Stars & Stripes, they’re teaching kids that the best way to get adult attention–positive or negative–is to express childhood angst in the vocabulary of gender & orientation struggles.

Yes, Pride should mean acceptance of all kids. But kids who struggle with other issues—such as an alcoholic parent, a years-long bout of intense acne, early puberty, or guilt about masturbation–don’t get the same attention, aren’t perceived as cool, and don’t have nearly the same community or sense of identity.

Of course there are kids who struggle about gender

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