‘sexual communication’

“Is that infidelity?” Why that’s the wrong question

As a therapist, I deal with couples in conflict every week. Frequently, two partners want different things: another child versus a vasectomy; saving versus spending; how much sex to have.

Of course, there’s no “right” answer to questions like these—just two people with different values that may or may not be reconcilable. But couples also ask me to arbitrate questions that…

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Has the Internet Really Changed Anything About Sexuality?

Nothing could be more modern than the rise and fall of Ashley Madison: millions of world-wide members linked by a single website, the central promise of cyber-confidentiality, millions of phony profiles generated by algorithm, and the whole thing brought down by hackers—exposing not just the criminal business behavior, but the email addresses and IP information for millions of accounts, both real and fake. This ultra-modern story is also a reminder that the human heart hasn’t changed. I’m not talking about the good old-fashioned greed of unethical businessmen. I’m talking about the customers. People still want to connect. People still find…

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What’s “Natural” About Sex?

The New York Times Magazine has a great opinion piece this week about how “natural” doesn’t have a specific legal meaning. We now live in a world in which “natural Cheetos” and “100% all-natural chicken nuggets” are for sale. The anti-vaccination nuts deride medicines that are “unnatural,” forgetting that the goal of all medicine is to defeat nature. Anti-gay folks talk about “natural [i.e., heterosexual] marriage,” as if marriage isn’t an artificial institution like baseball—and, like baseball, is played differently in different places and subject to periodic rule changes (insert favorite rant about the Designated Hitter or former laws against…

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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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Camille Paglia: Wrong About Sex Ed

We never know which Camille Paglia is going to show up: brilliant intellectual, freelance anti-Christ, or tunnel-visioned provocateur. It was the latter Paglia who wrote a recent piece in Time Magazine cleverly titled “Put the sex back in sex ed.” Of course, we sex educators have been urging this for decades. But that’s not what her article is actually about. She says we should inject gender politics into sex education. As a bonus, she also exposes her ignorance about a number of common sex education issues. Harking back to the world of Leave It To Beaver, Paglia demands that “The…

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