I often hear stories from men and women who discover their partner has sexual secrets. Sometimes those secrets involve pornography, sometimes they involve infidelity, sometimes they involve fantasy or sexual preferences. The individuals who share these stories with me often feel betrayed because the expectations they had about the sexual agreements within their relationship were not kept. The first problem to address is that most of the time, these sexual agreements were unspoken.
I want to encourage couples to make these unspoken agreements spoken. All couples should talk about their expectations for their sexual relationship. In order to facilitate this discussion, here are six principles that constitute healthy sexuality. Spend some time with your partner and discuss each one, what it means to each of you as individuals and how it relates to you as a couple. (One word of caution, avoid having this discussion during or after sex. Those times are likely to bring with them heightened vulnerability, which if the discussion is difficult in any area, can lead to increased defensiveness and conflict. The discussion will go much more smoothly if you schedule it for another time.)
Consent in this context means that someone has given permission for something involving their body to occur. Are there sexual behaviors in your relationship that you’d like your partner to ask specific consent for each time? Are there sexual behaviors that you don’t feel your partner needs to ask first? Talk about these, and create clear guidelines to shape how consent looks in your relationship. Remember that feelings about specific sexual behaviors can change, and it’s okay to change your sexual agreements in the future.
Non-exploitative means that one partner does not take advantage or manipulate the other into sexual behaviors. This includes using power dynamics to coerce the other person. Are there behaviors that one partner participates in hesitantly? Use this opportunity to talk about what those behaviors mean to each partner. If there are exploitative behaviors in your relationship, this is an area where reaching out for help with a therapist may be necessary to resolve them and set healthy boundaries.
3. Protection from STIs, HIV, and Unplanned Pregnancy
If either person has had previous sexual partners, have they been checked for sexually transmitted infections or HIV? What is the plan surrounding birth control?
Are both partners able to be fully honest about their sexual history, and is there room in the relationship to honestly discuss fantasy and sexual preferences?
5. Shared Values
Creating sexual agreements are crucial for couples, and the largest part of the discussion will likely revolve around values. What behaviors fall within your value systems as individuals and as a couple? If there are value differences, can you create workable compromises? If there are value conflicts within a relationship, a professional can help explore resolutions that feel workable to both partners.
6. Mutual Pleasure
Sadly, many individuals grow up with the idea that sex is something men like and women tolerate. When this is the background, women can feel used and resentful about sex, even when they’re otherwise happy in their relationship. Breaking out of this mindset is going to be difficult if the couple has not found mutually pleasurable sexual activities. If one partner wants a specific type of sex exclusively, and the other partner doesn’t enjoy that activity, neither partner will be able to truly experience the kind of sexual relationship that is fulfilling and strengthens the relationship.
If after reviewing these six principles, you find some areas that you and your partner need help with, schedule an appointment with Alice today. 801-944-4555.
Learning to love yourself is probably the greatest work that you will ever do. Loving yourself means just as you are willing to rescue someone else, you are also willing to rescue yourself.
Learning to love yourself is a quiet thing. When you gain the desire and practice eliminating negative influences, attitudes, and people who bring toxicity into your life, you will begin to love your self as well as you love someone else.
Learning to love yourself has a ripple effect. The more you are willing to love yourself the more others you associate with will be able to love themselves. Loving yourself is a work that can only be done by you. Each time you decide to “not beat yourself up” you are inspiring and giving others permission to be kind to themselves.
Albert Ellis stated, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” When you embrace your own unique self and conquer self- hate and doubt, you are helping yourself and others to get rid of unstable, unhealthy relationships.
Have you ever pondered about your need to be needed by others? Are you sacrificing your wants and needs in order to please someone else? Do you usually put yourself last, and do something just for you only if you have extra time left?
Taking time for self-reflection can assist you to determine what areas where you are having the greatest difficulty treating yourself well. There are many consequences that you will experience when you don’t love and care for you! Some of these include: Keeping yourself from being in healthy relationships that could nourish your body, mind, and soul. Preventing yourself from living up to your full potential and discovering and nourishing the individual gifts that make you uniquely you. Not being able to pursue a chosen career or life dream. Not taking good care of yourself, your spirit, mind, and physical body. Not having loving fulfilling relationships with family, friends and others.
If you have experienced any of the consequences as stated above, if your relationships are not fulfilling and you are unable to set healthy boundaries, and tell others “No,” Consider making an appointment with me to discover how to gain the desire and the tools to truly LOVE and Carefor YOU!
Make a new choice.
I can assist you to love yourself and have healthy, fulfilling relationships with others.
Sharon Salzborg declared, “One must endeavor to love oneself abundantly.”
Don’t wait. If you aren’t willing to care for yourself, who will?
We’ve all heard the statement, “find a successful man, and marry him. You’ll live happily ever after. And you’ll have everything a girl can desire!”
But is that actually really TRUE?
So true that you would be willing to invest your entire future on this fairy tale belief you learned as a child?
Here are 4 startling reasons that should give you pause. And if you’re already married to a successful man, reason to shed a concerned tear or two:
1-He Loves His Office
Now this one may seem a bit obvious. He loves his career, and he’s good at it (if you wondering, ask him and he will likely tell you with some bravado about how good he really is). As a result, he just has to spend long hours at the office. You’ve even told yourself that he’s doing it for you and the children. But is that really true? And does it make you feel any better about your future?
While the workaholic thing may have seemed rather obvious, struggles with daddy may come as a bit of a shock. Does this successful man that appears to have all the bases covered struggle with daddy issues? Yup. Your handsome husband that seems to be the rock that no one can penetrate? Yes indeed! He is likely using excessive work hours to hide from his past and the deep feelings of loss he experienced from his disconnected father.
3- He Doesn’t Like Himself
Although he won’t probably cop to this, all that charm that he seems to be able to call on at parties may not be real. His ability to close those business deals may be just a cover. Successful men often are unable to look inside. Why? Because they don’t like what’s inside or they’ve never really looked there. They’re also fearful that others will discover that they’re really not all that secure. As a result, they must work harder to cover their insecurities and fears that they will ultimately fail.
4- The Stage Sucks
Being a successful man comes at a cost. This cost often shows up in how he treats his family. Being on the stage requires that he gives ALL to things that ultimately don’t really matter. While wives and partners want his total attention, he can never really provide it. He’s constantly thinking of bettering himself through work. The problem is that he’s like the gym addict who believes that one more hour on the treadmill will make him feel better about himself. The perplexing challenge is that when you don’t like yourself on the inside, all the sculpted abs in the world will never be good enough. EVER!
You may actually be asking yourself, “who would want a man with these challenging issues?” while simultaneously thinking, “you just described my husband.” Well, what’s a woman, wife, or partner to do?
Three Things That Can Really Help
1- Get off the Treadmill!
Success is like a treadmill. It’s quite easy to get on one but difficult to get off. Being on the treadmill of success will never produce true happiness. Getting off that treadmill requires concerted effort on the part of the success addicted male. This focus includes learning to live a balanced life. One with healthy boundaries that become rock-solid as they’re gradually implemented. One that includes consistently putting his wife or partner highest on his list of critical priorities. Nice!
2- Seek Counseling
Searching out a solid therapist with experience in working with overachieving males may seem obvious. The challenge is that it will also seem weak to a success-saturated man. The daddy issues mentioned earlier likely included the “success at all-costs” mantra so common in men. Counseling that includes a huge focus on putting the past beyond the “rear view mirror” is critical.
3- Look North NOT South!
In other words, look to the future, not the past! Most relationships where successful men avoid key responsibilities is that they will continue to hide at work until reality sets in. That awful moment where what really matters in life has passed them by. Don’t allow it! You can’t change yesterday, but you can certainly change today. And more importantly, tomorrow and your future by being home and totally “present” tonight!
Michael Boman, LCSW is a clinical therapist at Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City. He has many years of experience assisting men and their wives/partners get their relationships back on a healthy track. You can schedule an appointment with Michael by clicking here. http://www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/archives/doctor/michael-boman-lcsw
Saying no to friends, neighbors, even family makes us feel guilty. Why is it so hard to say a confident no? Nearly two-thirds of women I’ve surveyed report having difficulty saying no when asked to do something they don’t want to do. Here’s today’s fun discussion on Studio 5 with Brooke Walker on why you don’t need to feel guilty when you choose to say this simple little word…no.
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