Queerplatonic

Situationships: Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

Situationships: Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

 

Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

If your mental health is causing you to struggle in your friendships, this is the how-to guide on responding when your friendships are struggling. 

Most common friendship myths: 

  • Friends do not move to cities, states, and/or countries to be with each other.
  • They do not celebrate anniversaries or special moments within their relationship.
  • Friends do not love as strongly as romantic partners. 

In one way or another, open communication is needed in all friendships, situationships, partnerships, and relationships. 

Queerplatonic is an umbrella term for relationships that differ (or “queer”) away from the platonic; therefore, bending the rules on what is considered acceptable or not. 

No two queerplatonic relationships are exactly alike, yet they break the idea of what is “normal.”

 

Queerplatonic situationships or friendships may (or may not):

  • go on “dates” or celebrate milestones
  • be emergency contacts
  • have shows together that are “theirs”
  • dedicate songs to one another
  • give each other cards
  • be physically affectionate; such as hug or cuddle often
  • kiss each other (on the lips, top of the head, forehead) 
  • live together or share a bed
  • plan vacations together 
  • partner exclusively or non monogamous
  • care about each other’s opinion of romantic partners

Typically, a queerplatonic relatedness values intimacy and loyalty.

If you are having difficulties in one of your queer platonic relatinoships, outline what would make it feel better. 

Discuss what your needs are and what you may be desiring. 

 

Example of Healthy Conversation in Friendships: 

At times, our friends will feel something is happening with us, and they may check in. If a queer platonic friend checks in, and says something like “I feel off. Are you mad?” that will likely cause reactions in the person they are speaking to. 

No matter what the bond, first responses to personal statements may feel uncomfortable or even unhealthy. 

In a healthy connection, saying something like:

“the part that is showing up is disappointed you are not understanding me. The story I am telling myself is that I am not clear and confusing. I am not feeling off in a blaming or disappointed sense towards you. I feel frustrated internally that as evidenced by your responses, you are not understanding me. This reminds me of when I was a child… so that has me pull back and that’s probably why you feel something is off.” 

Then, give them an appreciation of “thank you for checking in.” 

 

Followed with an attuning question, “what is going on for you when you hear me say this?” 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

 

Communication exercizes for couples

Communication exercizes for couples using Inner Aspects Method

Communication exercizes for couples using Inner Aspects Method

 

When you think of Communication exercizes for couples, you often think of what your partner could do to be better. 

Sometimes, we can sit with our couples therapist and ask for exercises, yet we think that our partner is in the wrong. 

A part of you may be young and scared to show that you too have messed up, and feel something like “Am I safe to say this?” 

Or you could have a part of you that is a rebellious teen saying, “you know, my partner made me go to this therapy session, but I really don’t want to be here.”

Think about all these various parts of you and bring up a picture that represents what your inner aspects look like. 

What’s actually going on inside your mind? 

Who is in bed in your head? 

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM) created by Francesca Gentille is a way to bridge between the personal, the clinical, and the deeper subconscious parts of self. 

The method behind the IAM model is life-changing, personally and professionally, as you start to incorporate its principals. 

For those looking to bring this into their love life, and for clinicians looking to experience this with your clients, you are able to dive deeper into communication exercizes for couples and yourself! 

In the inner aspect method (IAM), participants discover that life follows intentions. 

While having the intention of integrating this into your life, it became clear that it is important to continue growing to the next level. In communication, and in collaboration. The reason we need to practice is because we were mostly trained in communication that was demanding, commanding, criticizing, complaining or coercive. 

This Dominator form of communication is normal yet does not value consent, sovereignty, and / or collaboration. If we want a world of empowered consent within couples relationships, we must train ourselves to utilize language in a new way. 

This will take practice. 

As we practice, we get the results we desire. 

In the OLD Dominator Model we communicated to be heard, get our way, get what we wanted. Who cares if the other person is hurt by that, or didn’t consent? 

In the NEW Model of communication we communicate to achieve collaboration, connection and to look for the win/win. 

It isn’t healthy communication if only one partner is heard, happy, and/ or satisfied. 

Use phrases like: 

  • I’m noticing…
  • A part of me….

Energetically, choose to: 

  • To be Centered & Open.
  • What Inner Aspects have the “microphone” and are speaking for you? 

In Nonviolent Communication, we take the war out of words. 

Do not use: 

  • ACCUSING: 
    • You did this! 
    • She said this. 
    • You did too! 
    • He yelled at me. 
    • They did it first. 
    • You violated, betrayed, used me. 
  • BLAMING: You made ME do or say it.
  • GUILTING: If you hadn’t done/said X, I never would have done Y. 

If you have any questions about technology addiction for yourself or others, let us know. Take your life to the next level through personalized sessions using Text Therapy.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Being Understood

The Importance of Being Understood Instead of Right Fighting in Relationships

The Importance of Being Understood Instead of Right Fighting in Relationships

 

A common issue we hear from our clients is communication, their lack of being understood and “right fighting” for a particular perspective. 

 

Many couples will say in a session “we can’t communicate.” 

 

Clinically, this may signify that the therapist will “translate” each individual perspective within the psychotherapy session.

 

Often, it isn’t about “being right;” rather, it is about not understanding or hearing, and thus, an individual is missing out on their needs of being understood, seen, and heard.

 

Yes, we can teach mirrored reflective listening, empathic and non-violent communication, yet at the core, all human beings have an innate desire to be heard and seen. 

 

As humans, we communicate ALL the time, through verbal and non-verbal ways. 

 

It is often not that we do not know how to communicate; it’s that we are not collaborating or using compassion in the ways we communicate with one another. 

 

Therefore, we are right fighting, instead of collaborating in connection. 

 

Right Fighting

 

Most often, I notice people in relationships who are focusing on “winning” or being “smarter” or “right.” I see this in romantic relationships, parent child relationships, friendships, etc. I often say to the people I am working with “I am wondering why you feel like you have to convince me” or my personal favorite “I am not a judge or jury!’

 

Usually people are surprised when I say those things and try to redirect them in session to have other goals (such as connection, problem solving, or conflict resolution).

 

All too often in our culture we are more focused on being heard than hearing what the other person is saying. This is usually rooted in our own personal traumas or feelings of powerlessness in our life. So instead of focusing on fixing the issue, we get stuck in the “facts” and our own perspective.

 

I call it “right fighting” and others call it “gridlock” or something else. Either way, it is one of the most common dynamics I see between people in my office. We are all guilty of this. I know this is something I have worked extremely hard on, myself. It is not easy work, but it is important work.

 

Inner Aspects Method (IAM) for Being Understood

 

One of the most transformative ways to support is utilizing a trauma-informed approach such as the Inner Aspects Method (IAM). 

 

IAM is an identity-affirming, trauma-focused approach used to increase insight to the various parts of our personality. Mostly, it helps us understand why we act the way we do. It focuses predominantly on bringing consciousness (or presence of mind) or awareness to what we are doing and why we are doing it.

 

At the core of the IAM model is compassion and collaboration, which ultimately enhances people’s connection to themselves and others. 

 

When an individual slows down what is happening to notice the aspect of themselves that is engaged, it provides more clarity. When this happens, individuals are able to notice the need under their emotions and thoughts, and then have a choice. The choice can be to alter and adapt a new strategy.

 

For those specifically engaged in “right fighting,” recognize that “being right” is a strategy you are using because a need is not being met.

 

Compassion Instead of Shame

 

There is nothing wrong with you, it is important to notice you have a choice in finding another strategy though… a strategy that can connect you.

 

When each individual in a disagreement is able to connect to their underlying need not being met, it allows for faster conflict resolution. 

 

When realigning the goal from “being right” to connection and collaboration, there is greater ability for joy, attunement, and respect. 

 

Finding a strategy to effectively and adaptively meet all needs is a healthier model of engaging than most individuals have been taught. 

 

The goal of this is that the “problem is the problem,” rather than the person. 

 

If you want to be right more than you desire to resolve the issue, that may be something to look at in individual counseling. 

 

Recognizing the line of what is your responsibility and what is others is important in addressing issues about communication. So, use these tips to make long-lasting relationships work. 

 

Strategies to Improve Being Understood:

 

Here are some quick tips on how to address this issue of right fighting in relationships right now!

  • PAUSE what you are doing and SLOW down!
  • Take a deep breath! There is a body of research describing the importance of taking a deep breath to help calm your physiological reaction 
  • Take a break if you need to. 
    • During this break, find an alternative strategy to calm your body. 
    • Consider a stretch, a calming app, meditate, listen to music, write, drink some water, do something active.
    • Note: this break should not be TOO long – no more than 30 minutes ideally
  • Reflect on what need is not being met.
  • Find a way to communicate that to others and ask yourself “which part of me am I responding from?”
  • Refocus your goal in the conversation to connection, collaboration, or conflict resolution
  • Slow the conversation down
  • Reflect back what the other person is saying – this is validation. VALIDATION IS NOT AGREEING it is just showing someone you are listening
  • APPRECIATE, LISTEN, REFLECT, BREATH, RESPOND
  • Rinse and Repeat as needed

STOPP Skill

If you cannot self regulate within the 30 minute break, please reach out to a mental health professional to help.

 

If you are interested in learning more about engaging in the IAM, we are happy to help you.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

real sex

Real Sex Begins with a “Yes”

Real Sex Begins with a “Yes”

 

When it comes to real sex, it begins with enthusiastic consent in the form of a “yes.” 

 

If you are waiting for a no, this isn’t the type of real sex we are talking about. 

 

Actually, unless there is a deep “yes” from others, most people are not interested in the sexual situation. 

 

There is a caveat for those who are partnered for over 3 years though… sometimes, these partners are used to hearing “no”. Therefore, when it comes to sex, they will take any sign as a yes. 

 

If you think about it though… seducing ANYONE requires the receiving partner’s WILLINGNESS to receive initiation. If they aren’t a yes, they aren’t interested.  

 

When You Check In With Your Partner, You Have To Be Sure That They Are WILLING!

 

If they are acting numb, avoiding you, or even making up excuses, there is no consent to be engaging with them. If you aren’t getting the real sex you need, it may be time to have a discussion about sex therapy or a change in the relationship. 

real sex

In AASECT supervision to become a certified sex therapist, it took me two years to learn that “without willingness, there is no way.” 

 

Not even the best of lovers can begin with approaching real sex and pleasure with someone who has a resistance to trying. 

 

If your partner(s) is/are not willing, remain curious. Remain appreciative of your partner and curious instead of expecting something and then being critical. 

 

They may come around. Sometimes clients report the more curious they are, the more willing their partner has become. 

 

Therefore, check in mind, heart, and genitals. 

 

See if there is a YES or a NO to real partner sex.

 

If you want MORE than a YES or a NO. Then please use the YES spectrum below, a scale of 0-10, to see how each part of you feels when it comes to giving a “yes.” 

real sex

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.

The Inner Aspects Method

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM):  A Methodology to Improve Communication and Satisfaction in Couples

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM): A Methodology to Improve Communication and Satisfaction in Couples

No one can make you do anything as an adult, unless there is physical force. Don’t believe it? Think about it…

Now is an intense time; locally, domestic violence is up 20%.

It’s time to learn a new way to teach others how to communicate.
Using the Inner Aspects Method changed my life and revolutionized how I practice with my clients. 
See a brief demo here: https://youtu.be/oxAOkI0clyI

If you are desiring to dive deep into therapeutic practices with your online or in person clients clients,  using the inner aspects model, created by Francesca Gentille, will help! 

The Inner Aspects Method

There are many couples counseling techniques: 

  • Imago Therapy
  • Gottman Method
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Couple-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) for Couples

The problem with these models is that it misses the pervasive cultural trauma that most of us have. So, if you aren’t looking at  childhood traumas and cultural conditioning of romantic relationships within the media, you are missing out on how to help couples. 

Actually, the problem is in the interaction with others, and specifically the systemic dynamic within the romantic partnership.  

We compare ourselves to what we see online, hear in music, or watch. We believe that other romantic relationships are going better and that they are having a more passionate intimate life, so then we begin to justify our learned behaviors (yelling, shaming, avoiding, and criticizing). 

Even if the best intentions in romantic relationships are acted out of fear, resentment, judgment, scarcity, or rage, these strategies for connection do not result in long-term positive outcomes for individual success or relationship sustainability. 

However, empowered strength with compassion, learning boundaries, and working on building new skill sets is what the Inner Aspects Method can help you model. 

For Counselors and Therapists

When you counsel your clients, do you wonder how clients justify the shaming, blaming, and yelling? Or, do you question that they criticize their partner or relatives in front of you? 

When in a “child” part of us, we believe that our only option is verbal violence, or even physical aggression. 

Even though our clients often assume that they know why someone said or did a certain thing, that is not true and is often a sign of black and white thinking patterns – the thinking of a young internal wounded part of ourselves, and even an inner rebellious streak we have. 

Refresher! 

No one can know for certain what is in the heart and mind of another. 

Most of us were not trained in how to listen with care and compassion to the variety of our own Inner Voices and diverse feelings and intentions. Even in graduate programs, sometimes, the nuances of working with the inner psyche is not addressed. 

This model helps clinicians uncover for themselves, and their clients, new skill sets! 

  • Collaborate for wins
  • Make requests that get responses
  • Express a boundary with compassion and firmness
  • Find the solutions to problems that trauma in childhood may leave behind

Conclusion

In this model, we can teach our clients to give empathy and compassion while holding compassion for their partner. Therefore, we can look for the win-win.

The most inspiring couples in therapy collaborate in uncovering, discovering, and recovering the many INNER ASPECTS that they have on the inside. Learning to bring love, understanding and compassion to themselves as a foundation for how they interact with their beloved.

If you want to learn more about these techniques to apply to your own life and your practice working with individuals and couples, please click this link to learn more.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Conversation Starters For Couples

Conversation Starters For Couples

Conversation Starters For Couples

 

It can get pretty awkward in a dynamic, so we created conversation starters for couples as a way to keep the intimacy alive. 

 

In the beginning of being a couple, conversation starters are more about getting to understand what you both are looking for out of a partner. Then, as you bond, conversation starters are continuously important to increase a sense of spark between you. 

 

No matter where you are in relating, a purposeful conversation starter can help you get closer and increase your level of intimacy. 

 

How Long Have You Identified as a Couple? 

 

The days, weeks, months or years of being in a couple sometimes determines what you share with them. However, some couples go deep quickly!

Conversation Starters For Couples

If you just met a few days or weeks ago, consider asking questions about how much time they have in a week. Consider asking what they believe a romantic relationship is. 

 

At this point, you’re still getting to know one another and you can’t really tell if they are someone that is worth trusting yet. 

 

It even becomes more difficult when you’re meeting someone for the first time because you are worried what they may say.

 

Conversations at this point may range from general questions about your partner, such as:

  • What are your hobbies and how long have you done them?
  • Did you get nominated for a superlative in high school? 
  • What is your view about a long-term relationship without intimacy?
  • What are your goals for the next 6 months, and then 5 years? 
  • How long have you had a best friend?

 

If your relationship has gotten to a point where you can trust your partner, asking them some more intimate questions is important. 

 

Do you trust them to tell you the truth when asked certain questions?

 

Before starting a conversation with your partner, be sure that they trust you enough to share information. Especially when you’ve been together for months. 

 

The truth is, some people may be too reserved to start a conversation because they aren’t sure of what their partner would think of them or if there was any sense in what they’re saying.

 

Starting an intimate conversation is often a great way to tell if you’ve gained their trust. Pay attention to how they react when you ask specific questions. 

 

Do a reflection of your conversation and write down more questions to ask them.

 

You don’t need to put down the questions in your journal. Yet, you may want to put it in your notes on your phone to remind yourself of the important information. 

 

Naturally, lots of information will be exchanged during the answer and question sessions, and your personalities, or multiple inner aspects, will be exposed.

 

The situations, environment you are in, and which inner aspect you are in or “what mood you are in” could be some of the factors that will determine the kind of questions you’ll ask. 

 

Do They Like To Laugh?

 

You might have experienced a situation when a person took a humorous expression, question or conversation too personal. This is totally normal because we view things differently as humans. 

 

Now, before asking a controversial question, ensure that your partner will not find it embarrassing or take it too personally. 

 

If your partner takes some discussions or questions personally due to past experience, you shouldn’t judge them. It may be a reminder of a bad experience, and it’s better to know what their triggers are so you can discuss them when the time is appropriate. 

 

As you progress in your relationship, they may have grown enough to share some things with you without feeling triggered by it. 

 

Conversation Starters for Long-Term Couples

 

As stated earlier, some conversation starters for couples are for the beginning of your relationship, while some are for long-term relationships that are in the decades. 

Conversation Starters For Couples

You can write down a few of our conversation starters for couples in your cell phone to discuss later! 

 

Below are some typical conversation starters in a romantic relationship, where you’ve both bonded and shared some intimacy over the years or decades. 

 

These are the type of questions you ask at a romantic date or when spending a great time together:

  • Do you remember what I wore when we met? 
  • What is the wildest adventure you’ve ever had?
  • What attracted you to me?
  • When does foreplay begin for you? 
  • What have I done to make you feel loved since we met?
  • Do you remember the best thing about our first date?

What to do During the Conversation

 

Doing the following will help you understand a lot about your partner and who they are:

 

Keep to the aim of the conversation.

 

  • Now that you know when to ask some questions and what to ask, the next thing you should do is keep to the aim of the conversation. Do not make the mistake of going overboard or losing focus, because then neither of you may feel heard. 
  • The aim of your conversation with your partner is to bond and build intimacy. If you’re not sure about your partner’s acceptance of who you are, you may find it hard to give out some information about yourself. 
  • So, you need to be incredibly sure that you’re ready to do this and not withhold any vital information that may hurt later.
  • It’s better to let them know who you are, even when you think they won’t accept you. 
  • If someone can not accept you for who you are, then, let them take a walk.

Watch Their Reaction after the Questions

 

Now that you have both shared some information to help you bond, is your partner’s behavior the same with what they told you? Or is their lifestyle a total opposite of what they said? 

 

When you watch their actions closely, you will find out if your partner is omitting truths or unable to follow through on their word. 

 

The truth is, some people may find it hard to tell you everything about themselves until you are decades into the relationship.

 

You will discover some new things about your partner as you get through various life stages together. 

 

Don’t Forget Context!

Remember that you are both two different people coming from different backgrounds and upbringings. 

 

So, you need to do a lot of talking to know about your partner. Ask about what growing up was like and their belief system. What about considering how well they get along with their friends and / or siblings?

 

Don’t be left thinking “this isn’t the person I married.” Instead, use conversation starters for couples no matter what stage of relating you are in. Helen Fisher researched this and her findings are fascinating. To summarize, we need conversations starters during dating, falling in love, and attachment. 

 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Valentine’s Day – Secrets to Having The Best Sex

If you want to understand how to have the best sex, this is the blog for you.

As you may know, society tells you pleasure is shameful and not acceptable. Apparently, sex and pleasure are for practical purposes only, like having a child. 

This is simply not true though. 

What ends up happening is that many people grow up confused on what the best sex can even be.

Often, in our practice, we are askedhow do I get better sex in my life?”

First, know that you deserve to have sexual needs and deserve the best sex. 

My goal is for all people to communicate more effectively, especially around sex and asking for what they want as the best sex. 

Let’s start here: best sex

  • What do you consider sex is? 
  • What does sexuality mean to you? 
  • When does foreplay begin? 
  • How long does sex last for? 
  • How will you know you are satisfied and are having the best sex?
  • Have you actually had the best sex of your life already?

If you come see us at the practice I own, Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT), you will know that these are key components we want to understand to get you to your goal of the best sex possible. 

Similarly, is the best sex about orgasm, partnership, or something else? 

Not everyone has sex for the same reason every time they are engaging in what they consider sex is. 

Therefore, understanding WHY you are having the sex and what NEED you are trying to fulfill in it is often an important place to begin processing what the best sex will look like for you. 

Give yourself 15-30 minutes to reflect on your sexual fantasies, your desires, and your curiosities. 

Then record them either in writing, a video on your phone of you reading them or stating them, or record a voice memo for yourself. 

Think about where you like to be touched, and possibly how you like to be held.

  • With what pressure? 
  • For how long? 
  • With fingers or a massager?
  • Who is doing the holding and does that matter? 
  • Where would you want partner(s) to touch?

For those of you who do not want to analyze sex, remember that sex happens in multiple quadrants – according to the late Gina Ogden. Emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual. 

For those of you who don’t know where to start because these questions and concepts seem foreign, and you like to experience things in your body first, feel free to try this. 

Set a timer for 15 minutes. 

Slowly build sexual energy by facing a partner – cross legged or comfortable standing. If you are doing this solo, do it in a mirror. 

Make eye contact and establish a connection. Make sure to face one another, with your lips slightly open. Remember, try to inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. 

Easy best sex tip: lock into your lovers breathing as a quick way to connect during sex. 

It’s the easiest way to figure out the flavor of sex they are interested in. 

Continue with long, deep breaths. Be curious in your mind, even if you are alone, about what next. 

You can end just like this or you can continue with a partner, or with self touch on your arms, belly, or thighs. 

It is not about orgasm. It is about touch, breath, or eye-gazing to wake up your body! 

Our heart has 5 times the magnetism of the brain. I believe I learned in sex therapy school that 90 to 95% of serotonin and 50% of the dopamine (or 500 million neurons) is stored in the brain and the gut… which is 5x the number of neurons in the spinal column). 

Being in connection with our hearts and emotional openness in the moment is the goal of the best sex, for me. What is the best sex for you? Have you spent enough time thinking about it? 

Being tuned into what is going on inside yourself and, if partnered, at the same time as you are holding that the other person is doing this as well. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists!

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your relationship and ignite your sex life at What We Do. Call or text us at 203-733-9600, or make an appointment.

Aphrodisiac Foods for Valentine’s Day

There are many different types of aphrodisiac foods in the world, and some of them tend to get us more in the mood than others. 

Aphrodisiac foods are those foods that are commonly associated with increasing one’s sensual and sexual drive. 

A date night might be low key and be about getting away for a night, while sometimes, couples enjoy a more celebrated culinary adventure. 

Food can lay the groundwork for the after-dinner celebrations for many couples.  

Below are some of the more commonly known foods:

One of the most commonly known aphrodisiac foods is Oysters. 

Aphrodisiac Foods

Whether you have them on the half shell, Rockefeller, or simply once a year for Valentines Day these are known to boost libido in both men and women. 

Urban legend has it that Casanova once seduced a consenting virgin by sliding an oyster from his lips to hers. Yum! 

Oysters contain tons of zinc, a mineral important in the production of testosterone and sperm production. Plus, they contain dopamine – one of my favorite brain chemicals.

Pumpkin usually gets all of its attention when the leaves change, and everyone is needing their Pumpkin Spice fix for the year. Enjoying a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a slice of Pumpkin Pie will get you enough fiber and potassium which is great for stamina. Magnesium is also found in pumpkin and is also great for calming nerves and muscles.

Avocados get a great reputation because they are a healthy source of fat for the body. A sexy fun fact about your favorite $2 add-on at Chipotle: the Aztec word for avocado is “ahuacatl,” which means “testicle.” 

And… besides their sex-thetic appeal, avocados also contain high levels of folic acid, vitamin B9, and vitamin B6. All of these vitamins are great for providing your body with more energy and are also known for increasing testosterone production.

A Fun Drink!

When we think about celebrating this next aphrodisiac “food” seems like the most obvious. Champagne is commonly associated with celebrating the New Year, Engagements, Weddings, and other special events in a couple’s life. 

Aphrodisiac Foods

Champagne is about getting in the mood rather than the actual science behind the bubbles. In fact, studies have shown that for women, limited amounts of alcohol can increase subjective desire and potentially lower inhibitions. Larger amounts or chronic consumption can reduce libido and overall health. Therefore, skipping the alcohol is my suggestion. 

Back to Foods!

Another food to try is asparagus. Why? Because it has a high amount of vitamin E which can increase blood and oxygen flow to the genitals. Similarly, asparagus has high levels of potassium, linked to sex hormone production. Plus, if the suggestive phallic shape of the food helps get you in the mood, then excellent!

Salmon is our next food and has many health benefits not only for your sex drive. Many studies have shown salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for your libido. Hence, why you keep seeing it all over vitamin bottles. 

In terms of helping your libido, it is supplying the building blocks for production of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Salmon is more commonly found on daily menus in restaurants, but it is very common to find it on special holiday menus.

A Spice!

Saffron is commonly used for coloring and seasoning food, and it’s known as the world’s most costly spice. The history of saffron as an aphrodisiac dates back to Cleopatra, who reportedly bathed in saffron-infused milk for its aphrodisiac qualities. 

Recent studies have also shown that saffron also helps increase sperm motility in infertile men and can decrease some of the sexual side effects from taking certain antidepressants.

Hot Chilies is a broad category of different types and heat levels. Capsaicin, is the stuff responsible for making chili peppers spicy. Scoville units is another way to determine how spicy a pepper will be. 

Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings on the tongue, which releases epinephrine or adrenaline. This is the chemical that increases your heart rate to release endorphins. We recommend eating them and not actually rubbing chili peppers on your partner’s body for optimum enjoyment.

A Fun Treat
Watermelon is also high in citrulline, a phytonutrient, that increases the amount of nitric acid in the body. With the increase of nitric acid it increases blood flow, blood vessel relaxation, and sexual arousal. 

If you have any more tips on foods, feel free to comment below! 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.

Looking to Amplify Your Eros During COVID19 – Sex is Complicated During the Pandemic

Looking to Amplify Your Eros During COVID19 – Sex is Complicated During the Pandemic

NYC.gov wrote a guide on safe sex during the pandemic!sex gets complicated during the pandemic

Looks like self-pleasure is in style again…welcome back to the renaissance.

Laying around naked all day, working on my computer, wouldn’t be so bad if I actually resided in an actual American Utopia.

Due to COVID19, the guise of “happy” couples and families has been lifted.

As we grieve yet another loss of life, especially for people of color, it is more evident that we are in a trap of the pursuit of happiness, with no promises of ever achieving this state. 

Surrounded by Thanatos (death) energy, the Clinical Sexologist in me ponders way too often what is going to happen as we are distant from others physically, and then do not have skills other than distraction for intimate connection.  

For example, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine or watching the sunset is not as exciting, after yet another day in quarantine bleeds into the next. 

A professional tip of mine is to consider trading your “usual” Zoom happy hour for something more curious… something more erotically challenging.

Eros is one of the Greek words that translates loosely into “passionate love,” or “romantic love.” This led to the English translation of erotic which I have learned from my undergraduate studies in philosophy and Western Civilization is the human “life energy.”

Therefore, I suggest you begin looking for your LIFE energy during this time, because it matters! 

Why? 

Systemic grief is everywhere…especially for New Yorkers. It’s sadness and mourning over destroyed routines, lost jobs, and ill loved onessex gets complicated during the pandemic

When the impact of the COVID19 pandemic isn’t felt on a personal level, we grieve for what was lost. Sometimes adults even report missing their daily coffee shop visit and dating life.

Everyone is living through some level of discomfort, pain, loss, stress, or anxiety; everyone is looking for comfort, and coping the best they can.

What I’m hearing a lot these days from clients is concerns over the challenges of not working, working from home, and anxiety about furloughs.

Similarly, those who were working from home before now struggle with feeling less productive, as they juggle homeschooling their kids and living in relative chaos within their family system.

There’s also the adjustment of spending way more time with your partner or spouse.

Who wants to admit that they need a break and want to see less, not more of this person?

Quarantine For Couples

The couples I met with were forced into quarantine quickly with differing expectations of what it would look like.

Some of my clients report that their partner is stuck in “porn land,” using masturbation to destress.

Others find themselves in escalating arguments, yelling at each other in front of the children, or dealing with the ineffective silent treatment when resentments arise.

There are no bars to retreat to, no happy hours or trips to the gym that offer an escape. The situation is constant and present.

I resist the urge to tell them about non-monogamous folks, widows, or couples who don’t live together yet or don’t plan to. 

How must it feel to go months without intimate touch from another person?

These individuals are often living a single life and truly are feeling isolated. 

They don’t have the option to touch their partners and often report to me being extremely “touch depleted.” 

One example would be a young widow, now living alone. She states, “I have not even been able to give or receive a hug from another in sooooooo long….” 

As a sex therapist, I suggest self-pleasure and lubrications. She states, “honestly I am in no mood… AND I know if I change the action, a changed feeling can follow… I will try it.” 

Often, it is easier to cope by reverting to old behavior patterns, withdrawing or becoming hypervigilant. 

It is easy to become disheartened at a time like this, especially when there is a clear divide of how individuals are being treated.

There are a few things I’d like to emphasize to any readers struggling to maintain intimate connections while staying at home in the face of such disruption. The first is that we have to accept there are different levels of erotic connection.

sex gets complicated during the pandemic

Don’t hold yourself or your partner to past standards that are now unrealistic. There aren’t any romantic date nights in the city that involve great restaurants and wonderful drinks that phase effortlessly into amazing sex.

We have to accept that reality has shifted. 

The stress of the pandemic makes it easy to forget sex as a priority. 

“There’s too much going on right now,” you may tell yourself as the days go by without intimacy. 

Your partner will understand, right?

The danger here is when days turn into weeks. People dealing with stress often resist sex because they feel like it shouldn’t take so much work. They want flirting, foreplay, and all of the other non-verbal signs that lead to sex.

I can tell you that the desire for connection and flow with other humans is still very prevalent, even during a pandemic. You’ve got to find a way to make it happen. That could mean scheduling at home date nights on the calendar or creating codewords with your partner to let them know you need something to happen ASAP. Get creative to keep sex going.

Of course, sex should never be a chore, particularly for people feeling depression, anxiety and grief over the current situation. If you need to put eros on hold, for now, that’s appropriate.

Another thing I’m working with many of my clients in Connecticut and New York is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s interesting how much guilt is attached to taking care of ourselves. I talk to people every day who feel bad about needing a break from kids or their spouses. They think it reflects poorly on them, that they are somehow selfish or not “handling it all.”

Online, we’re bombarded with articles like “10 Things You Can Do to Be More Productive in Quarantine” and the like. We’re stuck in a culture of shame where people who are sad or searching for comfort are told to “be disciplined” and “do more!”

This is a common form of toxic positivity that we all need to be wary of. The endless pressure to stay positive and look on the bright side pushes people struggling deeper into themselves and their grief. 

It’s ok to be down, and it’s ok to talk to someone about it.

I saw this firsthand as one of the responders in the Sandy Hook shooting years ago where trauma and terror were visceral and lasting. Sometimes, the urge to offer encouragement needs to be squelched so people can grieve.

If you’re feeling pain from your past life and the things you miss, it’s ok to live in those feelings for a while.

It’s normal to long for your emotional connections and erotic lifesex gets complicated during the pandemic

Don’t simply tell yourself “everything’s fine” when it isn’t.

The final thing I’d like to touch on is the importance of honesty in our relationships.

Now, more than ever, we must start from a radically honest position with our spouses, partners, and any other intimate relationships.

Fight the inclination to say everything’s fine when it’s not.

Not everyone can be connected, grounded, and gracious all the time.

Be honest with yourself and find the courage to tell your partner what you need before stress makes things worse.

That’s the best way to avoid non-threatening communication and raging emotions.

Going through this experience can help all of us become attuned to what we need and how we can discuss emotions in a healthy way.

I’m using telehealth in my practice to stay connected and keep seeing clients who are struggling. I began offering text and video therapy sessions to hear them and help them with strategies in real-time.

I’m fortunate that early last year I started thinking through telemedicine, as I saw where the trend was going. My clients wanted more accessible lines of communication outside of our regular on-site, one-hour meeting each week.

Yes, it is fair to say remote therapy isn’t perfect, though I have to accept that it may be the new normal for a bit.

Video and text therapy sessions have ramped significantly since quarantine began. We are all interested to see how things play out as we begin to normalize – whatever that means.

This pandemic is changing so much about how we communicate and interact with others.

As we grow closer to understanding our own needs, we have the capacity to listen to those we care about.sex gets complicated during the pandemic

Remember, lean in compassionately, with yourself, and with those struggling through this with you, if it is safe to do so. Give yourself the love you need to survive and thrive.

And if all else fails, follow the nyc.gov guidelines on being your own safest sex partner!

If you want to know more, Amanda Pasciucco (she / her) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Continuing Educator, and the owner and founder of Life Coaching and Therapy – a group private psychotherapy practice located in West Hartford, CT and providing services internationally. 

She has helped transform the intimate lives of those struggling with infertility, sexless relationships, low-desire, arousal, orgasm, and penetration problems.

She provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. Contact her to amanda@lcatllc.com or visit her practice website www.lifecoachingandtherapy.com.

If you follow these tips, you’ll ensure your vibrators are always ready for fun when you are!

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Tips on How to Save Your Marriage – Once and For All!

Tips on How to Save Your Marriage – Once and For All!

 

Relationships are hard and learning how to save your marriage is harder; yet, worth it. This is not to say it is all downhill once you walk down the altar. 

I cannot lie and say it is all rose petals and no thorns, though. 

Marriage is a complex component made up of legal bindings. It also falls under the category of romantic love and wanting your partner to be your everything. 

Sure, you have made it from the long-term relationship title into a completely different one – spouse, or husband, or wife. 

Marriages require effort, communication, and a lot of other things that may be made clear in this article.

Marriage is beautiful, yet sometimes it isn’t measured in years because it can end.

If you happen to find “your person,” having a successful marriage is a process to learn to love for both of you. 

Each couple is unique, and your situation and circumstances are different. 

As much as we would like a fairytale relationship and marriage, our expectations are often underwhelmed.

We are sold what marriage looks like in movies, books, music, and television. However, that is just a snapshot. It doesn’t often show the systemic process of the intense process that marriage is. 

There are different reasons that contribute to a couple drifting apart. Since each couple is different, these reasons range from unfaithfulness to a lack of communication to a desire discrepancy. 

We cannot promise that these tips and exercises will help save your particular marriage, yet it has worked for many of our clients. 

 

Some of the ways to start the journey back to being a happy couple include: 

1.Re-evaluate why you became a couple

The decision to be together did not come out of the blue. Both of you weighed your options and decided it was the best thing to do. This was way back, before the wedding and even kids. Before you said yes to marriage, the question to be their partner came first. Why did you decide on them? On the person you cannot stand now.

Ask yourselves what attracted you to each other. Was it their smile or work ethic? Their humanity or kindness? Their suffering? Their potential? 

This will remind you why you fell in love in the first place. It will have both of you reminiscing on a time before you discovered the flaws you see now. Your partner was once this person, and they can be that person for you if they want to.

 

2.Write down important things

Putting your feelings into words is therapy in itself. You can both write a whole list about your partner. What you like about them and what kept you by their side.

After writing down a list of all the things you appreciate about your partner, see if they want to receive it. 

Write down where you envision your new relationship future. 

Write down the steps on how to get there! 

It is also important to write down where you want the relationship to go, because how can you get somewhere without visualizing it first? 

Are there conversations you both need to have? Are children in your future? 

This will help you visualize a future with your partner, which is the whole point of how to save your marriage.

 

3.Set boundaries

Try telling your spouse what they do that has you feeling insecure. Own it with nonviolent communication. 

  • Is it them staying out late during weekends? 
  • Are they spending less time with you? 
  • Do you need them to help out more around the house?

Example: I feel _____ when I have the thought that you are spending less time with me. I am requesting that we _____. Are you able to do that, or can you offer another strategy?

You need to set reasonable requests, and abide by them as well when you are asked. 

If you ask your partner to be back home by 7 p.m. on a Saturday, you need to ask them what they would like as an alternative strategy for them. Maybe they want you home at the same time, or maybe they would rather when you come home late that you give them a massage. 

This negotiation for a collaboration cultivates trust in both individuals, and we all know the importance of trust in our relationships.

 

4.Show appreciation

Make a conscious note to appreciate your partner’s efforts. 

  • Notice when they change a hairstyle or buy a new article of clothing. 
  • Appreciate when they help out around the house.
  • Give compliments like you just met. 
  • Act as if everything they do is the greatest thing you have seen and watch as your love blossoms. 
  • People like to be noticed for their efforts.

For example, if your husband fixes a leak in the kitchen sink, give him a big hug and kiss and say “thank you. I feel so loved right now.” He will feel great about helping out and do it more often. 

It keeps him happy and provides you with the help you desire around the house. A WIN / WIN! 

 

5.Communicate

Miscommunication is a huge damper in relationships. Couples who do not voice their feelings end up holding a lot of remorse and resent. 

Make clear and respectful communication a huge part of your routine. Talking about your feelings towards your partner helps unburden you. It also allows them a chance to correct themselves in an effort to make the marriage work.

 

6.Do something special together

You can set a day weekly aside according to your schedules. 

  • Spend this day with your partner. 
  • You can decide to get dressed up and go out to a restaurant for a fun date. 
  • You can also decide to stay in, order take out and watch movies all day. 

The important thing is to spend quality time doing something special. Use this time to connect and bond with your spouse and talk about erotic opportunities. 

How to save your marriage requires effort from both parties though. 

Long-term relationships have their struggles and nothing is ever smooth sailing all the time. 

You both need to come to the decision that the marriage is failing and needs some work. 

Avoid talking to external parties about your partner, unless they are trained professionals. 

Address all issues with your spouse within the week, as communication is key.

If you need further help with how to save your marriage, please visit us or another licensed professional marital therapy. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do