Sexy passionate couple lovers in studio. Woman hands embracing naked nude man. Love and passion.

The Surprising Impact Money Has on the Sex Lives of Older Women – Huffington Post

Independent ladies, we’ve got some really good news for you. A new study says that if you’re an older woman, one who is highly educated and earning a good income, chances are you’re having some of the most satisfying sex of your life.

Research led by a McGill University doctoral candidate says that for women, education and money seem to bring women a sense of power. (Sorry guys, the same didn’t apply for men.)

“Women are at a more disadvantaged position in society and having those social resources, as well as economic resources, improves their satisfaction,” Xiaoyu “Annie” Gong, the study’s lead author, told the Toronto Star. “They’re definitely more empowered in the relationship, which leads to higher satisfaction.”

The findings, which were presented this week at a Canadian conference, analyzed data from a study of over 3,300 older men and women, aged 55-85, as part of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project in the U.S. The respondents self-reported information about their sex drives and level of sexual satisfaction.

Women with higher income not only reported greater sexual satisfaction, but also higher sex drives.

“Having higher education probably gives them more power in the relationship, allowing them to ask for what they want and, therefore, they would have higher satisfaction,” Gong said in a talk at Congress 2016 on Thursday.

While married people, both male and female, were more likely to report sexual satisfaction, money and education helped women’s happiness in the bedroom regardless of marital status.

Interestingly, the authors note, money and education didn’t really affect men’s sex lives. Men’s satisfaction, they found, was tied to their own health and how often they had sex.

“Education and income increases one’s resources [and] that may help to improve one’s experience in the bedroom,” Gong said.

The findings come on the heels of other recent research which suggests middle-aged and older people’s sex lives are anything but vanilla. Another recent Canadian study found that older people are not only regularly having good sex, they’re also feeling more adventurous than they did a decade ago.

Courtesy of The Huffington Post

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phone Christina on 0435 438 899 or you can skype


Marriage -Alain de Botton’s musings

IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us.

We go to great lengths to avoid it.

And yet we do it all the same:

We marry the wrong person.

Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”

Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect.

The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities.

Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Our partners are no more self-aware. Naturally, we make a stab at trying to understand them. We visit their families. We look at their photos, we meet their college friends. All this contributes to a sense that we’ve done our homework. We haven’t.

Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.

For most of recorded history, people married for logical sorts of reasons: because her parcel of land adjoined yours, his family had a flourishing business, her father was the magistrate in town, there was a castle to keep up, or both sets of parents subscribed to the same interpretation of a holy text. And from such reasonable marriages, there flowed loneliness, infidelity, abuse, hardness of heart and screams heard through the nursery doors. The marriage of reason was not, in hindsight, reasonable at all; it was often expedient, narrow-minded, snobbish and exploitative. That is why what has replaced it — the marriage of feeling — has largely been spared the need to account for itself.

What matters in the marriage of feeling is that two people are drawn to each other by an overwhelming instinct and know in their hearts that it is right. Indeed, the more imprudent a marriage appears (perhaps it’s been only six months since they met; one of them has no job or both are barely out of their teens), the safer it can feel.

But though we believe ourselves to be seeking happiness in marriage, it isn’t that simple. What we really seek is familiarity — which may well complicate any plans we might have had for happiness. We are looking to recreate, within our adult relationships, the feelings we knew so well in childhood. The love most of us will have tasted early on was often confused with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his anger, of not feeling secure enough to communicate our wishes. How logical, then, that we should, as grown-ups, find ourselves rejecting certain candidates for marriage, not because they are wrong but because they are too right — too balanced, mature, understanding and reliable — given that in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign.

We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy.

We make mistakes, too, because we are so lonely. No one can be in an optimal frame of mind to choose a partner when remaining single feels unbearable. We have to be wholly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to be appropriately picky; otherwise, we risk loving no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us that fate.

Finally, we marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us: Perhaps we were in Venice, on the lagoon, in a motorboat, with the evening sun throwing glitter across the sea, chatting about aspects of our souls no one ever seemed to have grasped before, with the prospect of dinner in a risotto place a little later. We married to make such sensations permanent but failed to see that there was no solid connection between these feelings and the institution of marriage.

Indeed, marriage tends decisively to move us onto another, very different and more administrative plane, which perhaps unfolds in a suburban house, with a long commute and maddening children who kill the passion from which they emerged. The only ingredient in common is the partner. And that might have been the wrong ingredient to bottle.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we find we have married the wrong person.

We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.

WE need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will (without any malice) do the same to them. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for.

This philosophy of pessimism offers a solution to a lot of distress and agitation around marriage. It might sound odd, but pessimism relieves the excessive imaginative pressure that our romantic culture places upon marriage. The failure of one particular partner to save us from our grief and melancholy is not an argument against that person and no sign that a union deserves to fail or be upgraded.

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy. It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling. We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not “normal.” We should learn to accommodate ourselves to “wrongness,” striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners.

Alain de Botton (@alaindebotton) is the author of the novel “The Course of Love.”


Oral Sex – is it evolutionary?

Going Down today in the USA.

Oral sex hasn’t always been acceptable to discuss in public. In 1997, the  Clinton – Lewinsky sex scandal shed light on the discrepancies that exist between oral sex and intercourse. The then 22-year-old White House intern kept in her possession a dress that still bore the semen stain that came from her giving oral sex to former President Clinton. Examination of both the semen sample and a sample of Clinton’s blood confirmed the semen came from the president.

However, Clinton denied allegations and recited the popular phrase: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Meanwhile, in an interview with Barbara Walters, Lewinsky described her actions with Clinton as merely “fooling around.” Or, in other words, oral sex was just child’s play.

This scandal added to the misconception that oral sex is not real sex. Often young women are psychologically pressured into giving oral sex because they’re sold this story – that it isn’t really sex. Oral sex has evolved to be just as or even more common than vaginal sex among sexually active adults and teenagers, with it’s benefit of no pregnancy.

Historically oral sex, specifically fellatio, was seen as a social stigma, and was even considered a felony in 48 US states in 1950. However, it slowly evolved to become acceptable within marriages and known as an act more intimate than intercourse although it was not until the 1970s that oral sex was deemed socially permissible for unmarried couples to engage in.

So, how did humans come to adopt this sexual behavior?

The Uprising Of Oral Sex: The Animal Kingdom

Researchers have speculated oral sex has several evolutionary roots in heterosexual relationships.

After all, when it comes to sex, we are all animals, according to a relationship and sex psychologist Dr Walfish.“When you look at people having intercourse, it’s all about movement, noise, grunting, pleasure, speed, and losing oneself to orgasm as animals do.”

There is evidence that a type of chimpanzee called bonobos engages in fellatio, but this is infrequent and usually among the young. Because fellatio among bonobos is considered part of play, primatologists believe fellatio emerged as part of play rather than as part of sex since humans share up to 98% of their DNA with bonobos

The Evolution Of Fellatio,

A 2009 study observing fruit bats and their sexual behaviour suggests they exhibit similar human-like mannerisms when it comes to oral sex. The female fruit bat performs fellatio on the male to increase the duration of intercourse. This boosts the penis’ rigidity to make the erection last longer. At the same time, the female’s saliva may increase lubrication, according to the researchers, which prolongs sex.

Researchers theorize this effect has been transcended onto humans. Evolutionarily speaking, they believe fellatio will help a man’s erection last longer and improve thrusting during intercourse.  The extra arousal that fellatio can provide may be helpful in readying them for insertive sex — making the penis that much firmer, for instance.

Fellatio has also been linked to reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections in male fruit bats. Saliva functions as an antibacterial and has antifungal, anti-chlamydial, and antiviral properties. After intercourse, fruit bats regularly lick their penises, which are believed to increase reproductive success and could provide an evolutionary explanation for fellatio in humans.

So, can oral sex also protect your offspring? Perhaps? Evolutionarily speaking, fellatio could have come about to ensure survival of the fittest via the birth of a healthy offspring.

The idea that “going down” on a man can help women prevent miscarriages sounds like fiction, but researchers suggest the science is real. A 2000 study found that with prolonged exposure to proteins in a mate’s semen a female’s immune system will acclimate to his sperm, as will a developing foetus. Women who regularly expose themselves to their partner’s semen, especially by mouth, help their immune system get used to the sperm.

In other words, because many of the “foreign” proteins in a woman’s immune system will come from the father’s genes in her body, her baby will be more likely to accept them with regular exposure. Typically, disorders during pregnancy stem from a woman’s immune system viewing a foetus as a “foreign body.” Although unconventional, swallowing semen could help carry pregnancies to full term, according to this study.

The Evolution Of Cunnilingus

Some hypothesise that, similar to fellatio, cunnilingus helps keep partners faithful. A 2013  study questioned 240 men in committed, sexual, heterosexual relationships to observe whether they perform oral sex to boost their female partners’ satisfaction with their relationship, thereby decreasing the probability she will cheat and potentially get pregnant by another man. The research showed that men who were most likely to report getting their partner to orgasm during oral sex were more likely to think their woman was sought after by other men. According to this study men are more eager to please partners who they believe have better options and thus may perform cunnilingus to keep their mates from cheating. Also cunnilingus before intercourse can improve the experience of intercourse for women, if it increases the degree of arousal she feels, which in turn will often make the difference between boring or even unpleasant intercourse and satisfying intercourse.

Oral Sex: What’s Your Pleasure?

The evolutionary roots of cunnilingus and fellatio are open to interpretation, however, engaging in oral sex is a way to stay connected to your partner. It’s often considered very intimate, even more so than penetration.  The act is purely selfless because you give while receiving nothing in return. This shows you care about your partner and their needs, not just your own.

Perhaps oral sex doesn’t have an evolutionary purpose, or perhaps it does, but one thing that’s clear — once you relax and let go, you only have more pleasure to gain, and less to lose

Courtesy of  Medical Daily USA May 2016

Fashion shoot Sexy blond stylish girl looking at camera. Two men in black suite standing on the background

Infidelity- Renegotiating The Contract

We in the Western world tend to enter relationships with bankers, landlords, employers having looked at, and agreed to, a contract that is “a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable at law as a binding legal agreement”.

However, we enter a form of relationship contract with our Other and assume, naively, that there will be commitment, love, trust and individuality in the relationship, YET the contract is rarely negotiated?

In fact most of us enter relationships without ever considering the intrapsychic conflicts that exist. We strongly desire intimacy yet want our autonomy; we want to be known by the Other and yet fear being really known; we want novelty in our sexual relations and yet we yearn for predictability.

Our unconscious sometimes finds a way to overcome these conflicts by infidelity or sexual betrayal. (Other more socially approved ways might be overworking, depression, overly enmeshed with parents/children, obsessive money making,etc).

There are different infidelities and they all impact.

The so called ‘emotional affairs’ where there is no sexual consummation doesn’t mean that there isn’t eroticism; it may also reveal the emptiness in the relationship, or the desire to feel attractive; however it also leaves the partner not understanding and feeling on the outer. This ‘affair’ almost always reveals truths that neither partner wants revealed.

The Internet can easily separate and isolate partners. There is the potential for an Internet erotic connection without acknowledging a violation of the ‘assumed contract’. Online ‘affairs’ betray or push away the other partner and can leave them feeling misunderstood.

Following an infidelity, when one partner usually feels betrayed, negotiating a true contract, whilst tedious and painful, may be a part of resolving an affair. It is critical to want to recover from the betrayal – and even this may take time.

For the ‘ betrayed’ there are still responsibilities. You are not entitled to revenge nor punishment. It is not OK to tell the kids, or the neighbourhood, nor is it OK to damage property, have a ‘revenge’ affair, harm the partner’s career or harm oneself.

For the ‘betrayer’ is there intended change and if so how, why, when and what? The betrayer is not required to divulge everything! They do require empathy, an acceptance of reality, and an allowance of time for the betrayed– particularly around sex.

In the contract what do you both, as betrayer and betrayed want in your renegotiated contract? In this you both need to be really honest or you are planting seeds for future dissatisfaction and alienation. Does one or both of you want to reconcile? Under what conditions? Is sex going to differ? Is there a joint vision of the future relationship? If you want to change how are you both going to create it? Why are you staying together?
You both need to own your contract.


If you would like to talk confidentially to Christina

for a FREE 15 minute consultation phone 0435 438 899

Rinocerontes apareamiento

What Gets Talked About In Sex Therapy?

We Have Mis-Matched Sexual Desires

The most commonly reported problem in sex therapy is called ‘desire discrepancy’: one partner wants sex more often than the other and in a more erotic way. In the beginning of a relationship, the higher desire partner probably kept the erotic energy going in the marriage and it was fun and sexy. After a while, if you’re the lower sex-drive partner, it can feel annoying and even manipulative to have a partner who is constantly looking for sex when you aren’t.  Sometimes it’s just because the sex isn’t that great; working on discovering the kind of sex both partners want can improve the performance and eroticism of their sex life. Or it could be that there’s tension and frustration in the relationship and it’s leaking over into the erotic part of the relationship. If that’s the case, it’s a hard climb over that kind of resentment in bed. But talking about what’s bothering you can actually bring you closer and make you more inclined to want to make love.

I Can’t Orgasm The “REAL WAY”

Women sometimes tell me they wish they could climax the ‘real’ way — through intercourse. The clitoris, however, not the vagina is the centre of sexual and pleasure nerve endings. In fact, only about 15-20 percent of all women can climax during sexual intercourse and even then they require lots of vibration, manual or oral stimulation to get them close. For those who still want to try likely positions, I recommend two with good G-spot-penile contact: Either woman-on-top at a 45 degree angle or woman-lying-on-her back on a relatively firm surface with her hips rocked up (for instance, with her knees hooked around his elbows).

Performance Issues

When a man is in a relationship, the most common performance problems are premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED). In both instances,​ ​the men end up with strong​performance anxiety which can cause them to avoid sex and intimacy. Women whose partners are dealing with ED may feel insecure that their partners are no longer attracted to or desirous of them.  To move beyond performance anxiety, men need to focus on their own bodies and pleasure and worry a little less about their partners. Learning to focus on pleasure, relaxing your body and your breath and letting yourself enjoy the experience help tremendously. If you are his partner, it’s essential not to take it personally and to be gentle with him. Supportive partners who do not require that their partners function perfectly all the time have the best chance of resolving these issues.

I Want To Spice Up Our Sex Life But My Partner Isn’t Interested

People frequently tell me they want more variety in the bedroom. As time goes on, partners may express more desire for novelty or feel more comfortable letting their partner know they have certain activities they want to explore. While one partner might enjoy getting a few slaps on the behind or experimenting with anal play, the other may not want to try. A sex therapist’s responsibility is to assess and possibly promote openness to change and reveal the underlying tensions that the couple may not be discussing initially.

Before Baby Sex

Couples seek sex therapy soon after having babies, sometimes because the woman feels too loose and says she can’t feel him inside her.  Kegel exercises with twenty reps three times a day can improve the muscles in the pelvic floor. If she wants quicker results, there are medical devices such as the Apex which inflates to fit and does your Kegel exercises for you through gentle electric stimulation. Of course there is more to satisfying sex than just intercourse, such as mutual masturbation, oral sex and incorporating sex toys into their sexual pleasure

I Have A Lower Sex Drive Than My Wife

I frequently see couples where the man is confused about why he doesn’t want to have sex and the woman is the frustrated one. Without a clear answer, I end up asking a ton of questions trying to decipher why. If it’s because he feels too dependent or too close to his partner, distancing is the goal.  Most commonly, men complain to me about not getting the loving contact they want. He may feel she goes through the motions, treats sex like a chore, or just lies there when he wants more love, contact, emotion and presence. Women sometimes make the mistake of thinking their partners are just trying to satisfy a biological need and treat sex in a perfunctory manner, to ‘please’ the guy. But this shuts men down; they want more passion than that. I remind couples that passion requires engagement, expression, eye contact and trying to really feel. It’s more than touch.

I Have A Lower Sex Drive Than My Husband

Many women tell us that they either have never felt much desire or their desire has dropped considerably over the course of their life or relationship. There can be many underlying reasons why women are experiencing low desire. They might have had a lot of negative learning in their lives telling them that they were not supposed to want sex, they might not have been able to express their main fantasies or changing sexual desires to their partner or they might be feeling emotionally disconnected. This problem can often lead to sexless marriages or relationships. In the case of low desire, women need to get back in touch with their bodies and learn to ask for what they want. It can take time to address and requires patience, understanding and a willingness to learn on the part of their partner

My Partner Is Ill But We Want To Maintain Our Physical Connection

Couples often need help when one of them gets sick. For instance, a cancer patient might feel too broken or undesirable for sex, while their partner feels helpless. I encourage them to do different kinds of touching such as cuddling, massaging with feather light strokes, kissing and even just holding hands regularly. Bathing together can also be a healing experience that helps reduce strain on joints, relax muscles and increase blood flow. For something more sexual, if the person is sick feels self-conscious or insecure, I recommend he or she blindfold their partner and make love to them so they feel less self-conscious.

Stuck In A Sexless Relationship

Oftentimes a low sex or no sex marriage happens when a couple finds themselves in a rut of distraction or avoidance. They are distracted by work, by young kids or the business of everyday life. Whoever was the traditional initiator of sex stops initiating. The non-initiating partner waits, hoping things will get back to ‘normal.’  To get out of a low sex or no sex rut, talk to your partner. Throw out some ideas that you are wondering’ about — for instance, ‘I am wondering if we are both so tired at night that we should try for morning sex?’ Keeping your statements vague and phrasing them as ‘wonderings’ takes the pressure off and makes whatever sexual issue you’re avoiding easier to talk about. The truth is, it’s not your fault or theirs. Your sex life belongs to both of you.


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Courtesy of some great USA sex therapists.

Addiction way out problem sign. Prevention and cure addiction problem concept.

Is sex addiction really an addiction??

Sex Addiction is in the news.

In recent years sex addiction has found itself in the spotlight in the media and pop culture.

Tiger Woods’ 2010 sex scandal culminated in an admission to struggling with sex addiction. Many films in the last 15 years have centered on sexual compulsiveness and addiction. Movies such as “I Am a Sex Addict,” “Shame” and “Thanks for Sharing” depict darkly comic protagonists who pursue prostitutes, infidelity and secret masturbation sessions.

Even Netflix has joined in with the recent release of romantic comedy series “Love.” Tthe series follows the protagonist Mickey as she struggles with various addictions — ranging from narcotics and alcohol to love and sex. Mickey even attends SLAA: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

Despite sex addiction’s entrance into popular culture, this particular pathology remains controversial among psychologists and professionals in the medical community. Following Patrick Carnes’ 1983 publication of “Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction,” experts began working to devise therapies and many treatment centers opened their doors to struggling sex addicts.


Sex Addiction is not a pathology.

Although plenty of people seek help for love and sex addiction, no such diagnosis exists in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM) which is used by psychologists and psychiatrists to make diagnoses and prescribe treatments. During their most recent update of the DSM to its fifth version, the American Psychiatric Association — due to insufficient peer review — rejected two independent proposals for inclusion of “hypsersexuality,” the preferred terminology for many experts.

Those diagnosed by certified sex addiction therapists report sexual compulsions that they are unable to control despite negative consequences. Sex addicts may obsessively view pornography, even in inappropriate situations where they are likely to get in trouble, for example at work. They may be incapable of resisting sexual opportunities, masturbation and engage in sex for pay activities whether it is over the phone, online or in person.

As these behaviours progress, the person may feel a “high” that acts as an escape from problems or emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, the consequences of guilt, embarrassment or ruined relationships only serve to facilitate increases in disorderly sexual behaviour, and the vicious cycle continues.

Is there Love Addiction?

Love addicts, on the other hand, find themselves intoxicated by seduction, the initially overwhelming infatuation of the “honeymoon phase” in relationships and lust. Individuals identifying as love addicts may exhibit destructive patterns throughout intense, painful, insecure or co-dependent relationships. Once the rush of a new connection dissipates, they may grow bored and seek new relationships. These unsuccessful relationships often recreate themselves as the love addict struggles to create lasting feelings of attachment.

Experts explain the phenomenon of sex and love addiction by reinforcement of intimate behaviours with positive chemical reactions in the brain. When lovers have sexual encounters, hold each other or even share emotional intimacies, the brain responds by flooding the body with oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. Oxytocin — the “cuddle chemical” — reinforces trust, dopamine creates positive feelings in our reward and pleasure centres and endorphins create a rush of excitement and satisfaction. Treatment for love and sex addiction includes a 12-step program, cognitive-behavioural therapy, SLAA meetings, group therapy and inpatient or outpatient programs.

Various behaviours apart from sex and love — breastfeeding, exercising and even eating chocolate — also release these chemicals into the bloodstream. The simple fact is that any activity associated with these happy neurotransmitters has the potential to become addictive, since they create powerful reinforcements for behaviour. Sceptics of sex and love addiction argue that these risky behaviours likely stem from related but more legitimized disorders, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or dopamine deficiencies.

Culture often shames people who struggle with sexual impulse control by labeling them “promiscuous” or simply incapable of commitment. But if one struggles with sexual compulsions, help should be sought. Regardless of whether or not sexual addiction should be characterized as a legitimate disorder, there is no disgrace in seeking assistance to create healthier, happier relationships. Find a sex-positive therapist and fight to erase stigmas surrounding mental health issues, especially those surrounding sex.

If you would like to talk confidentially for 15 minutes free

please phone Christina on 0435 438 899


Courtesy of Badger Herald

Afterplay in action

The importance of ‘Afterplay’ in relationships

Foreplay and afterplay in relationships

We are familiar with the term foreplay – but who talks about afterplay?

What happens after sex in your relationship is as important as what precedes it – or even the act itself.

Many see penetration or the act of orgasm as the “point” of sex or the “main course”. If overly focused on these activities they can miss out onmany pleasures  not covered by these actions. Research states the time spent in penetration is only about 4% of the average sexual interaction, and for most people the period of orgasm is less than a minute’s worth of pleasure – a tiny percentage of sex.

So if that is our focus, we may be overlooking something?

The time taken to warm up the body’s arousal mechanisms, to connect with your partner and to allow yourself to relax into (and get aroused into) a physical and emotional state where you are ready to allow more intimate contact with another person is essential to good sex. Anticipation of the act is often at least as enjoyable as the act itself, so creating a good build up is important.

The ‘trust’ and/or ‘cuddle’ hormone – oxytocin

Whilst orgasm is great, it is in the minutes following sex that we can really alter our body’s experience and the impact it has on our relationship. In the post coital haze that follows a positive sexual encounter the body is awash with neurochemicals. Oxytocin (the bonding or “cuddle hormone”) is released during sex and helps us to feel connected with our partner.

Eastern philosophy has a poetic explanation for why men fall asleep faster than women. Woman is likened to water “slow to come to a boil and slow to cool down afterward.” Man is equated to fire, in that he is “quickly ignited and speedily extinguished.” 

And the not so good hormone -‘dopamine

Unfortunately as well as oxytocin being released, dopamine is also produced and although this has a short-term positive effect (making the brain feel satiated and giving a short-term sense of well-being), its levels quickly reduce, leading to withdrawal symptoms and irritability. Some scientists argue that the reason we lose desire in long-term relationships may be because we come to associate sexual intimacy with the feelings of annoyance which can arise from low dopamine levels, thus causing us to avoid sex. Many people counter this by going out and finding new partners to feed their dopamine habit whilst avoiding the irritability feelings which may be put onto a regular partner.

So how do we counteract the emotional rollercoaster associated with dopamine? The answer is oxytocin. Although after orgasm levels of oxytocin begin to fall, you can sustain them by continuing to maintain close body contact, hugging and holding each other.

Hugs lasting more than 20 seconds have been shown to cause the release of oxytocin and oxytocin is directly related to our ability to bond with another person.

As well as increasing pair-bonding, increased levels of oxytocin have been shown to have multiple positive effects: lessening cravings and reducing addiction, lower stress levels, increasing sexual receptivity, speeding up wound healing and facilitating learning, lowers blood pressure. In fact, it seems to be almost a miracle hormone.

So if you want to maintain desire and deepen your relationship,

don’t let sex end right after orgasm. Hold one another and you’ll see the benefits blossom in your relationship.

The connection between emotions and the body is readily acknowledged. Every massage practitioner will tell you that frequently when you work on a body, the client may not only release physical tensions but also emotions. Emotions are also “felt” in the body.

When clients say “I feel sad/angry/joyful” I ask them how they know that they are feelings these things. The answer is almost always a reference to a physical sensation which they link to an emotion. For example, a client reporting that they feel sad will often state that they know they are feeling sad because of a heaviness or tightness in the chest. When experiencing anxiety, many people will report an unsettled feeling in the stomach or tightness in the throat and so on. We can easily see, therefore, that feelings are not only “felt” as emotion, but also experienced as sensation within the body.

The exact mechanism by which this mind-body correlate occurs has remained unknown. In the last few years however, the first signs of how this process may operate at a physiological level has begun to emerge. The key may be something called fascia.

The connecting tissue of body and mind – fascia

Fascia is connective tissue which lies around muscles, organs and other viscera. In fact, fascia surrounds pretty much everything in the body. Unlike muscles which have a specific function and which reside in a specific part of the body, fascia is like a web of tissue covering the whole body. If you’ve ever seen a chicken breast in a supermarket, the body of the breast (the muscle) is often covered with a white membrane of tissue. This is fascia. Fascia creates a continuous network of tissue throughout the entire body which responds to contractions, trauma or tensions within the body. You can visualise it like a balloon. If we squeeze one part of the balloon, another part will expand to accommodate the extra pressure elsewhere. So it is with fascia. This means that if tension is exerted on one part of the fascia it will be transferred throughout the entire network and “absorbed” by the network of fascia. This explains how damage in one part of the body may cause physical complaints in a seemingly unrelated part of the body. For example an injury to the leg can, after some time, cause pain in the shoulder or arm.

The question remains how does this connect with our emotional state? Understanding how fascia responds is the key to this puzzle. It is understood that muscles actively respond to tension. If they are under pressure they contract. It was long thought that fascia, however, was passively plastic – that is to say it had the flexibility to move when the muscle moved but it did not move of its own accord.

Recent research has offered a different perspective, and one which might be the explanation of this body-mind correlation with emotions. Research has recently understood that a certain type of cells within the fascia actually cause the fascia to contract or release. These cells are called myofibroblasts and they can actually alter themselves to alter the fascia webbings and the connections within it.

What is critical to this research is that myofibroblasts respond not only to mechanical tensions (e.g. contractions in surrounding muscles) but also to neurochemical stimuli. For example, these cells alter their state when oxytocin is stimulated. So could this be the answer to the link between mind and body when it comes to experiencing emotions? If for example, myofibroblasts cause fascia to relax and release tension when oxytocin is detected in the body’s system or if other neurochemicals may cause the fascia to contract this may explain the reason that we feel emotions in the body and not just as cognitive constructs.

Much further research is required before we fully understand the importance and role of fascia in our emotions. However, if this hypothesis is correct the implications for psychotherapy are significant. It might mean that addressing psychological issues without releasing the corresponding somatic (bodily) effects would be looking at only half the puzzle and therefore offer only a partial solution to emotional issues. It would also explain why bodywork therapies, such as Psychosexual Somatics, which address both cognitive and physiological aspects of emotion are so effective and offer such a powerful therapeutic mechanism. It would explain why such an integrative body-mind approach can offer a much speedier resolution to emotional issues than pure talk therapy. In time, our perspective on talk-only therapies may change and we may increasingly come to seek out psycho-somatic therapies which take both cognitive and somatic components of our experience into account.


For a free 10 minute phone conversation

with Christina please phone 0435 438 899

Portrait of happy couple in love posing at studio on gray background dressed in red. Attractive man and woman.

Sex & Relationships

Seeking a Significant Other??


By the time we are grownups most of us know how to go about finding a dentist, a carpet cleaner, a tarot card reader, maybe even a professional hit man (cheaper than a divorce…).
But many of us struggle to find a mate, or even a date.

We typically make one of three common mistakes when starting out on a new relationship:

  • We want to believe that we are in a particular kind of relationship, sometimes against all available evidence to the contrary;
  • We don’t really know what kind of relationship the Object of Our Attention believes they are in and we don’t ask them;
  • We want to immediately replace the person or the relationship that we have just lost ( a trillion dollar insurance industry is built around this concept).

Before you hurtle forward into something new, it is best to look backwards at the results, or the wreckage, of your previous relationship efforts. OK not great, but don’t be discouraged.

What kind of relationship are you looking for this time- and why?

Relationships can be grouped for ease of categorization into a few common categories – but you don’t need to restrict yourself to just one category when all are potentially available.

Possibility 1.

There are many grown-ups who want to get laid but whose life situation doesn’t permit something time consuming, or maybe even public.

As Woody Allen said “Sex without love is a meaningless experience but as meaningless experiences go, it’s pretty dammed good”.

Possibility 2.

A ‘casual relationship’ or a bit of a fling as gran might have said. This is a non-exclusive relationship in which you don’t enmesh your families and close social circles. You’re also not emotionally bound up with each other, just getting dating practice in.

Possibility 3.

A loving relationship, or ‘romance’. This is a longer term pairing with some level of assumed continuity. It is more likely to be exclusive(although not necessarily- you might need to check your ‘s expectations!) and there is a degree of sharing social circles. Feelings are more likely to get hurt if it runs its course and there is breakup.

Possibility 4.

A relationship of mutual convenience. Frankly all relationships are a convenience of some kind or another, but this kind is more admittedly so with endless variations.

Each ‘possibility’works in a different way depending on who’s in the relationship and what they are looking for. While individuals certainly vary considerably in what they are looking for in a date or a mate, it is generally accepted that men’s and women’s preferences are apparently hard-wired and aligned to their gender.

What Do Women Look For in a Relationship?

“I cook. I swallow swords. I mend my own socks. I never eat garlic or onions. What more could you ask of a man?”
Vincent Price in Laura

If you listen in on men’s conversations about women you will eventually hear the long-standing lament, “You never know what they really want!” Too true. It would seem that women are notoriously impossible to please about a host of silly little things. But we’ll let you into a secret. If you get a woman’s Big Wants right, most of her Little Wants evaporate! So, what does a woman really want? Generalizations are sometimes dangerous but most women want:

• A man who can express affection without always steering it onto a pathway to sex. Give a woman plenty of cuddles, kisses and caresses outside the bedroom and she’ll be much more likely to want you, and to initiate sex.
• A man who can make her smile. We don’t suggest that you regale her with “…did you hear the one about…?”. A woman wants a man with a positive, upbeat sense of humor about life.
• A man who is reliable. By ‘reliable’ we don’t necessarily mean ‘predictable’. Reliable means making and keeping commitments, no matter how simple they are. Reliability includes truthfulness. Most women will deal with truth. Deceit and doubt can turn her into a demon. Truthfulness and reliability will earn her respect.
• A man who is romantic, which also means he is a wonderful lover. (Yes, the two are intimately connected in most women’s psyches.) Almost all men underrate a woman’s need for romance. Never underestimate the power of compliments, flowers, candlelit dinners and little acts of attention to really please a woman

What Do Men Look For In A Relationship?

How can we possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want.
Dr Frasier Crane

If you listen in on women’s conversations about men you will eventually hear the long-standing lament, “All they ever want is one thing!” Too true. The collective experience of so many women can’t be totally wrong on this point. It would seem that men are notoriously easy to please. There’s an old adage shared among mature women, “Men are like floor tiles, lay ’em right and you can walk all over ‘em.” But we’ll let you in on a secret. Men want much more than that, although if you look after his Big Wants, most of his Little Wants are easy to fulfil. So, what does a man really want?

• A woman who desires him. It is important for a man to be with a woman who wants him, regardless of the frequency of their lovemaking. In most men it is such a primal need that if he feels he is not desired, he consciously or unconsciously grieves the loss of that part of himself that defines him as a man.
• A woman who respects him. A man wants a woman to admire him for his better qualities, and accept his lesser qualities without constant carping. He knows how to earn the respect of his boss, his friends, and his community. He craves the respect of his woman, too, and he often has no idea how to get it. (Perhaps women should take a leaf out of the handbook of hostage negotiators – always treat your man with respect and he will live up to his better side.)
• A woman who is a nurturer: attentive, perceptive and supportive. Even strong men sometimes need gentle caring – but not in a mother-mimicking kind of way. Many women (especially women with children) don’t know how to give their man TLC without treating him like a child.
• A woman who takes care of her appearance. Yes, he really will love you just the way nature made you (fat, thin, tall, short, double chin, crow’s feet and all) but he does want a woman who makes an effort with her appearance. Reason? He wants other men to notice you when you’re out together and envy him.

Mature men have learned (often the hard way) that they really can’t have a permanent sex siren, gourmet cook, devoted helpmate and adoring handmaiden all in one woman. Not even in four women. Sensible men know that if they want someone to watch the game with, someone to sit in a bar in comfortable silence, someone who doesn’t care they haven’t showered and have a two-day growth, then they’ll get that from their men friends. A grown-up man will be happy to be with a woman who meets his basic needs. Most grown-up men know that the secret to a happy relationship is give and take. In his youth, the more a woman gave the more he took. In maturity, the more she openly appreciates what he gives her, the more he will give in return.

Having given consideration to what you want, as a relationship right now, AND in a relationship for now and potentially the future, you are better prepared to get your needs met. Isn’t this what most of us want with a Significant Other??


For a free phone consultation

please phone Christina on 0435 438 899

Recession grips

Relationship Therapy and Recession

“Couples who are worst affected by a recession are eight times as likely to suffer relationship breakdown”

states a UK survey “Relationships, Recession and Recovery”.

Relationship Therapists say Australia is the same.

Data  from over 40,000  respondents was grouped according to the experiences of recession: job loss, optimism for the future, perception of current and future financial situation, working overtime, satisfaction with employment and being behind with bills. Then they assessed how couple relationships fared in each group.

The findings highlighted that couples who suffered negative impacts due to the recession demonstrated greater deterioration in their relationship stability. Also couples who remained in relationships had relatively poor quality relationships.

People can feel they have very little control over what will happen to them in financially difficult times; less money, job insecurity, fear of home repossession, having to cut back and having to make some tough decisions.

Insecurity causes stress – often when stressed or feeling frightened we dump this stress on those who are nearest and dearest to us. People feel stuck and frustrated and this can lead to not sleeping, drinking too much and turning away from family and friends.

Therapists believe there is there worse to come?

The concern is that the full extent of relationship tensions may be yet to materialise. The high costs of separation may preclude some couples seeking separation or divorce until their financial situation improves.

Possible warning signs.

Dealing with changes together is paramount to any successful relationship AND it is normal to feel confused and threatened especially when every change appears negative. Questions like, is our relationship strong enough, will we stay together if one of us becomes unemployed? As a couple are we willing to take on new roles?

Underneath the practical money worries are feelings about control, power and independence. Many couples will have been used to keeping at least some of their money separate. But now one of you might be at risk of losing your job. Your partner will either say something like “Well I can’t support you. You need to get some money or else” or “Well actually, I’ve got enough money. I’ll look after you for a while”. Regardless of gender, some people feel uncomfortable with relying financially on the other.

Unemployment and redundancy doesn’t just affect couples through loss of income; but for the unemployed partner there can be a loss of confidence, a feeling of worthlessness, loneliness and depression.

Research shows men are more negatively affected by losing their job than women. This may be because men often earn more so the loss of income may be more severe; but they may also get a greater sense of worth through their job and therefore feel more stigma if they are not able to provide for their family. Frustration can, at worst lead to domestic violence.

Potential impact on children

Parents often incorrectly think that their children aren’t aware of what is going on however, when relationships are strained,children can pick up on the atmosphere even if they don’t fully understand the issues that are causing it.

When parents are particularly stressed they may become preoccupied and harsher or less involved with their children. Sometimes one parent’s style will have changed and the other parent becomes more protective of the children. This often starts rows about parenting that can lead the children to think they are in some way to blame. It is these arguments that are mostly like to upset children.

As parents we always want to give our children what they want and children know this and often use it to pester us! But in more strained times children’s nagging can become a more difficult issue. Couples may struggle with their feelings around this – one of you may feel guilty that you are not able to afford things children want or you may disagree about what the children ‘need’. So arguments about when limited cash should be spent become a regular feature of day to day life. Many couples are prepared to sacrifice certain things for themselves but find it much harder when it comes to saying no to children.

Getting Help with Relationship Therapy

If you are aware of some of the warning signs don’t be afraid to seek help with your relationship.  Sometimes people worry that going to a counsellor means they are in big trouble or that it’s ‘all over red rover’. In fact, if you go early enough, the opposite is frequently true!

If you find that conflict is difficult to resolve on your own, go and get some help while the issue is still small. Many, many couples enjoy an improvement in their relationships with the boost of a little outside help.

Relationship counselling doesn’t have to be disaster management and can in fact be more useful when it’s used for foundation strengthening. A relationship counsellor can assist you in ways to be more flexible and self-reflective, be better able to look at things from your partners’ point of view and to reconsider your own actions and behaviour, which can lead to the subtle shifts in attitude that lead to resolving problems.


For a free 10 minute  conversation

phone Christina on 0435 438 899