1
Feb


While the subject of infidelity has always been of interest, modern changes in technology and social arrangements have made the issue more complicated than ever.

One prominent change, of course, is that almost all environments in America are now mixed-gender: workplaces, shopping malls, gyms, cultural and social institutions.

In addition, technology has given us many new ways of communicating and connecting erotically with others, such as the telephone, VCR, computer, Internet and digital camera. Thus, questions such as “is it an affair?” and “is it infidelity?” are no longer easily answered.

For example, say you’re having phone sex with a paid stranger, or cyber sex with someone you just “met” online. Your mate walks in, sees this, and becomes hurt or angry, accusing you of infidelity. In the hundreds of stories I’ve heard like this, responses range from “it isn’t sex, so I wasn’t unfaithful” to “since it didn’t involve touching, don’t be upset.”

When couples bring such a dilemma to me, I never define whether one of them has been unfaithful. Such a judgment can only be made in the context of an agreement. Clearly, some couples have a contract in which even looking at a Victoria’s Secret catalog is a violation. Other relationships tolerate even erotic touching of others, as long as there is no emotional involvement. So the first — and scariest — question is how each partner interprets the couple’s fundamental agreement.

Couples in distress frequently ask me what kind of arrangement I think they should have: strictly monogamous, slightly open, technologically open (cyber-sex OK, neighbor-sex forbidden), etc. This is another question I rarely answer, although I encourage people to talk about what they really want, as opposed to what they’re willing to settle for.

Ultimately, the actual agreement couples reach is less important than the fact that both partners agree to it enthusiastically, and feel optimistic about keeping it. People who feel pushed into accepting a relationship that’s either more or less restrictive than they want often find themselves undermining the agreement, consciously or not.

Couples who have the courage to face their disagreements in this area eventually end up with a stronger relationship — whether with each other or with someone else.

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Category : Blog
25
Jan


Health issues affect our sexuality in a variety of ways, including hormones, chronic pain, stamina, depression and body image. One of the most common health issues affecting our sexuality is prescription medication.

Most medications have side effects. When these are minimal or trivial, we ignore them. But some side effects are major. And when they affect your sexual functioning, ignoring them is difficult.

The most common unwanted effects that drugs have on sexuality involve reduced desire, limited arousal and inhibited or impossible orgasm. Here are common sexual side effects of some popular medications:

Antidepressants:inhibited arousal and orgasm

Antihypertensives: inhibited erection

Anti-inflammatories: inhibited erection, difficult orgasm, increased skin sensitivity

Ulcer medication: limited desire, inhibited erection

Birth control pills: limited desire, decreased lubrication

Like most things involving sex, doctors and patients don’t talk much about the sexual side effects of drugs. In fact, physicians don’t even discuss it much with each other, although issues like Viagra and AIDS are beginning to change that.

Since doctors don’t routinely raise the subject, you have to. Just as you might ask if a drug you’ve just been prescribed will make you drowsy or give you gas, ask if other patients experience sexual side effects from the medication you’ll soon be taking. Don’t worry about making your doctor uncomfortable: s/he’s just hired help, remember?

When you and your doctor work together, the sexual side effects of drugs can be decreased or eliminated. Several strategies can accomplish this:

  • Change to a different brand of drugs, or one that works differently.
  • Take an additional drug to reduce the first one’s sexual side effects.
  • Change the way you take the drug. For example, take it in the morning instead of the evening, or six days a week instead of seven.

Physicians and pharmaceutical companies have still not learned that sexual side effects are an important reason that people don’t take their medicine the way they should. It’s up to us to educate the health-care industry about the importance of sexual side effects, so that professionals will talk about it and think about it much more than they currently do.

If we don’t push them, why should they think that change is necessary?

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
18
Jan


Apologies are offered and accepted regularly in successful relationships. The question is, what are you —or your partner—apologizing for?

Meaningful apologies can have several different goals:

  • Acknowledging a partner’s pain
  • Acknowledging your role in that pain
  • Implying you’ll try hard to avoid doing the hurtful thing again
  • Requesting a resumption of warm feelings

Not every apology, however, is meaningful. When people say “I’m sorry,” and don’t know what they’re sorry for, the apology is a mere formality. It neither examines the present nor addresses the future. But people do it because they feel uncomfortable with a partner’s resentment or hurt, or they’re eager to resume friendly relations. An apology seems like the entry fee.

Similarly, people often say “I’m sorry,” but then explain why you’re wrong to be upset, or why they aren’t responsible for your pain. They make excuses: “I was really tired” or “things happen.” Such an apology acknowledges your discomfort, but does nothing to assure you that things will go differently next time. There isn’t much solace in this apology.

We should hesitate to accept such apologies. If the apologizer doesn’t know why you’re upset, and can’t give you confidence that he probably won’t do the same upsetting thing again in similar circumstances, why should you comfort the apologizer? By accepting an apology, you’re saying that he’s taken responsibility and you’re ready for reconciliation to begin. This removes the healthy pressure for him to examine what he’s done, the nature of the relationship and your respective needs.

On the other hand, some people take advantage of their status as the wronged party. They drag out the process of describing their wound: “If you don’t know, I’m not saying.” Sometimes they even deny they’re upset: “What’s the matter?” “Nothing.” These strategic moves are part of a power struggle, typically played by people who feel powerless.

Couples need terms of reconciliation, sanction and surrender for the myriad of conflicts, hurt feelings, passive hostilities and thoughtlessness that litter a relationship. People need to see these structures and routines as tools to make life smoother, not as things to use against each other.

Apologizing is an ongoing, normal activity in healthy relationships. Sometimes it’s an event, sometimes a process. Used in perspective, with an appropriate dose of humor, it can deepen intimacy.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Category : Blog
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