I’ve just received final approval for my research project – hooray- and now I need couples to be my research participants.
The fancy, academic title for my research is:
The transformative potential of optimal sexuality within a relational context.
What this means in everyday language is:
Does having a great sex life develop you as a couple and as individuals, and if so, how? read more...
The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I've just turned 60 and have been married over 35 years to a very good lady who loves me, but over the years has lost interest in sex. These days, she would happily have no sex at all, and so my advances are almost entirely rebuffed. The problem is I can’t find release myself – I’m not able to masturbate (perhaps my Catholic upbringing has locked in some guilt that stops me). My question has two parts: Is having regular erections without release bad for my health (eg my prostate)? And then… what can I do? If I can’t change my wife’s mind or learn to self-pleasure, I’m afraid I’ll start looking outside my marriage." read more...
I am really interested in human sexual potential. What is truly great sex? And why should we aim for it?
Well, most sexological research seems to have been focused more on quantity than quality. There’s a big focus on functioning genitals, with the assumption that if he’s erect and she’s lubricating, well, off you go then, that’s all you need for sex.
More recently there is more attention placed on pleasure, which is great, but again, it tends to focus on quantity rather than quality. How many orgasms are we having and how big are they?
But I work a lot with people who do have functioning genitals and satisfactory orgasms, yet they still say there’s something missing, that there’s got to be more. And yes, there is! I believe our human sexual potential has a lot more to do with depth and transcendence than in functioning genitals and quantifiable orgasms. read more...
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I am 45 years old and have been single for 8 years since my marriage ended – I’ve been so busy raising my two kids and working it wasn’t really an issue. But now I want back in the dating game. I hate the fact that if I died tomorrow my ex-husband would be my last sexual partner. Question is… how on earth do I do it? Dating sites just don't do it for me, they seem too risky. I don’t have any physical issues, but I’m aware my body isn’t what it used to be. So how do I get my confidence back? I’m not necessarily looking for a relationship - just some action!
I’m sitting in bed writing this, having just had breakfast in bed brought to me by my wonderful lover. It was just a cup of tea and toast, nothing flash, but what a difference it’s making to my day! It’s a small thing, but it’s a significant thing.
It’s the sum of these small things that set the quality of your relationship. Equally, it’s the sum of small neglects that stultify a relationship, flat-lining it. When a relationship flat-lines, there’s generally not a lot of sexual desire.
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "My husband and I don't 'make love' any more, we seem to just get it over with. We've been married for 15 years and are pretty happy, all things considered. But we both work, and we have two young kids (both under 10), so there's not really much time or energy left over for a raging sex life. I don't necessarily want 'firework-sex' all the time, but I do hope we can get back to being more tender, more connected, and yes, do more cuddling afterwards! Where do we start?" read more...
If you want to be healthy you know there are some basic things you need – like regular exercise and the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Without these, you’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s the same with relating well, there are some basic things you need every day to stay loved-up and connected. Let’s call these ‘vitamins for your relationship’. These practices will help keep your Couple Bubble strong. Without them you’re going to be pretty wobbly as a couple.
Here are the two key ‘relationship vitamins’ that I believe are vital, and that I prescribe for all my clients: one that you ‘take’ four times a day and one that you ‘take’ once a day.
1: Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups
The first type of vitamin is what I call Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups. These are focused, brief connections when you meet and part. Usually these are at four critical points of the day: when you wake up, when you part in the morning, when you greet in the evening and when you go to sleep. (Obviously those times are different if you’re both at home or are shift workers, but the same principle applies.)
At these times you need to make sure you have a quality connection, even if it’s only for a few seconds. To do this you:
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get bored and boring, in all aspects of our relationship, including sexually, we become a slave to our preconditioning.
There is so much pressure on penises. The poor things are supposed to rise to attention on command, stay hard for hours, only ejaculate when desired - and if they can’t do that, then the sex is considered poor, he has 'failed'.
A client of mine who'd done my Blackbelt in the Bedroom seminar for men said that afterwards he had the best sex ever.
He said: “I applied everything you taught us. I made every stroke count. It was unbelievable!”
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