Archive for 2010

24
Nov


Midlife Myth: Your sex life has seen better days, and decline is all you have to look forward to.

If sex is just about raging hormones and feats of stamina, youth takes the prize.

But there is so much more to the complete picture of sex and intimacy, says Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld, author of The New Male Sexuality.

Zilbergeld believes the following are more important than age:

  • The quality of openness, sensitivity and communication in your relationship.
  • The ability to focus on both giving and receiving.
  • The level of comfort and trust shared by you and your partner.
  • Your ability to be “present in the moment” without letting expectations or goals rule you.

With experience can come ever-increasing pleasure. “The lucky ones who have had the benefit of a sensitive, longtime partner — or a number of such partners — know they can keep growing sexually,” says Zilbergeld.

From a “performance” standpoint, there is a difference between young, old and those in between, says Zilbergeld, an Oakland-based sex therapist who currently is working on a myth-busting book about sex in later life.

“What is important is to be a great lover, not a great performer,” he says. “That takes years or decades to get really good at it.”

People in their early adult years tend to leave a lot to be desired in the “great lover” department, he adds.

Zilbergeld alludes to a study of middle-aged people in which nearly four out of 10 rated their sex not as equal or inferior to when they were young adults, but as “better than ever.”

Naturally, there are important health considerations that may be thrown into the mix. But healthy adults of all ages have the ability to grow sexually.

Bottom line: Sex is more about relating and mutual pleasure-giving than about objective standards of performance.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
23
Nov


Enlightened couples are coached to perpetually ask: “how does that make you feel?” We’re taught to believe that an intimate relationship is about active listening and highly evolved communication — all the time.

While we shouldn’t throw those ideals out altogether, sometimes couples say crappy things to each other. And so what if they do? Maybe it’s time we reined in our New Age urge to say everything just so, and learned the fine art of letting it go.

In a close, healthy relationship, off-color comments are more likely a reflection of a negative mood than a true crisis, according to Richard Carlson, a psychologist and author of You Can Be Happy No Matter What.

Let’s assume for the moment we’re not talking about a pattern of hostility, or true passive aggressive behavior that shouldn’t be ignored.

There is a reason unfortunate remarks are a normal part of couplehood. When you live with someone through it all — solving problems together, traveling together, sleeping together and cursing the bills together — you experience the person sans social politeness.

“The more time we spend with someone, the more likely we are going to see them in their low moods,” writes Carlson.

Don’t overanalyze the specific words and phrases made offhandedly by your mate, urges Carlson. “So often, just letting others alone while they are in a low state of mind is all they need,” he says. “The last thing they need or want is someone questioning or arguing with them.”

Not every imperfect exchange needs to lead to a therapy session, says self-esteem author Jerry Minchinton.

We tend to be more courteous and sensitive around the people we don’t know so well, he says. This is because nearly all occasions with friends and acquaintances are by definition more formal and circumspect than those with a loved one.

When we stop worrying about politeness and flattery, we start to get at the good stuff. “[Heated discussions] aren’t all bad,” asserts Minchinton. “Getting the raw material — even if some of it has to be discounted — means you are at a deeper level.”

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
17
Nov


Reader Question:

I used to have an active sex life, but lately I have no interest in sex with my girlfriend. Part of it may be because I feel criticized and unappreciated by her. She often compares me to ex-lovers. I’ve turned to magazines and fantasies to fulfill my needs. Is something wrong with me or what?

My Answer: Your question seems to be, “Since I’ve been feeling sexually pressured I’ve lost my desire for my partner. What should I do?”

This is a common experience. Of course it’s alarming. But it’s only confusing because, like many people, you assume that your sexual desire for someone should remain constant in the face of strong, repetitive, unpleasant emotions. This is simply unrealistic.

You mention many reasons to be turned off to your girlfriend: feeling criticized, unappreciated and compared to ex-lovers. I’m sure you feel angry, hurt, powerless and defensive.

Notice, however, that your sexuality has not turned off altogether: You still masturbate and fantasize about other women. It sounds as if you are functioning quite reasonably under the circumstances. You feel sexual, but you hesitate to connect sexually with a girlfriend with whom you don’t feel safe.

There is important information in this experience. When you stop desiring someone — or your body stops cooperating — there’s a reason. It’s a good sign that you’re sensitive enough to be so bothered by the hostility and lack of intimacy in this relationship. What should you do? First you need to decide if you want to try to repair the relationship. If you do, ask your girlfriend if she will do it with you. If she insists that the problem is all you, or demands that you fix it yourself, ask her again — urgently and without criticism. If she still won’t agree to work with you, the relationship is shot and it’s time to move on.

If she is interested in working on things with you, a couples counselor may be able to help. Go see one right away. Fortunately, there’s plenty two people can do without a counselor. Talk honestly about the kind of relationship you each want. Talk about what you need from each other. Talk about what gets in the way of giving that to each other.

For example, you can tell her that you love sex with her, and imagine having it, say, once a week or so. If this contrasts too drastically with what she wants, it’s time to separate. But if she’s interested in great sex about once a week, or you can imagine wanting sex more often when you’re feeling close, then you two can talk about how to create that. In your case, feeling accepted for exactly who you are and establishing friendly ways of talking to each other are important aspects of feeling sexually alive and available.

This kind of conversation is often difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. But grown-up relationships cannot thrive without such conversations. The only alternatives are an angry, drama-filled relationship, or a very quiet, lonely house.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
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