VIDEO: The “typical” scenario when we work with couples is that the woman complains about communication and the man complains about sex. Every now and again we are greeted by a refreshing experience outside the “usual” where the man has a major gripe about how his woman talks “at” him instead of with him. It’s in those “a typical” moments that we experience the dynamism of human relationships and are reminded that communication maybe different between men and women but it’s valued by both nonetheless. Just as communication is valued by both….SO IS SEX. In this video we help a woman out who says her man ain’t quite “hittin it” right and she doesn’t know how to tell him.
By Shelley Sommerfeldt, Psy.d.
Why is it that the one thing we desire and seek most- intimacy, is also something we greatly fear? As human beings, we are innately attracted and driven to be with others, but we also keep people at a distance without allowing them to see our vulnerability and be fully exposed to them. Is it something that we are taught from our families, our parents, society? Is this intimacy that we are seeking, or is it connection?
It seems that connection and intimacy tend to be used synonymously with little attention to what these two words really mean and how they apply to our own relationship. Being connected in a committed relationship is very different than being intimate. This commitment does not automatically provide intimacy, but it does allow for the foundation to build and discover intimacy. Commitment is based on the attraction and feelings we have for another, but intimacy is a place we can be with our partner that is something and somewhere very different. It is a place of openness, vulnerability, defenselessness, and most importantly, a place of self-awareness.
The idea of self-awareness is that we can maintain our own individual identity while also maintaining the identity of the relationship. It is the ability to look within ourselves for how we contribute to problems in a relationship and to see what role we play. Taking responsibility for our own actions and contributions to the problem can be quite difficult. Our initial reaction tends to be blame on our partner and focus on what he or she is doing wrong. We could sit down and write a list of things we dislike about our partner, but could we write a list of our own? Being self-aware and having the ability to focus on ourselves, including our faults, is challenging, and reaching this higher level of awareness is difficult. First, we must be able to explore and admit our own contributions to a problem and then set goals for our own personal change. This is defenselessness, the ability to search within ourselves and not blame our partner, to set our defenses to the side while we make a choice to change ourselves, and to put our own words into action.
Self-awareness allows for us to be separate and individual, which are key components to intimacy. These components describe our ability to be our own person while in a committed relationship with someone else. It is our ability to survive when we are alone and to be willing to risk what feels safe, yet be emotionally available and loyal to another person. When we are able to separate and be our own individual, we actually value the time we spend with someone else and have a different identity when we are a part of a “couple”. We are each unique individuals and have separate interests and passions. This state of being separate and individual gives us the confidence and self-esteem to be able to strongly stand next to a partner and commit to a healthy intimate relationship. We are more willing to show our vulnerability and be open about the person deep inside only few know.
The journey to building intimacy in your relationship is life changing and thus evokes fears, doubts, and uncertainties. Change can create uneasiness; however, when couples find themselves in a state of commitment without intimacy, lacking passion, or stuck with repeated arguments, then the fear of change seems worth the risk.
Dr. Sommerfeldt is a clinical psychologist practicing in Hermosa Beach, CA. She specializes in individual & couples psychotherapy & treats a variety of issues: depression, anxiety, grief & loss, body image, parenting, relationship difficulties & overall personal growth. She received Bachelor’s in Counseling Psych from Texas A&M, Master’s in Family Psych from Hardin Simmons & Doctorate in Clinical Psych from Alliant International University.
By Derrick Lane
When it comes to orgasms (pun intended), the majority of sexually-active people know about a handful of types of climaxes: vaginal, clitoral and oral. But you might not know about some of the more weird ways to climax.
Here’s the list:
1. Exercise: Performing a few core moves can lead to you rocking your socks at the gym…or on the go.
2. Nipple play: For a few women, all it takes is a little stimulation of the nipples to release oxytocin, the chemical responsible for the vaginal contractions of orgasm, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup.
3. Mind: According to some experts, it’s possible to get yourself off just by thinking the right thoughts…or reading a sexy novel…or watching a thought-inspiring sexy movie.
4. Yawning: This particular orgasm requires the antidepressant clomipramine. One of the side effects of the drug is the orgasmic yawn.
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By Linda and Charlie Bloom
Emotional intimacy is a foundational aspect of all great relationships. The word “intimacy” refers to the experience of being fully seen and comes from the Latin “intimus” meaning innermost. When we share this experience with another, we feel whole, complete, and at one with the world. Yet we often fear that which we most desire, and in the case of emotional intimacy this is all too often the case. Intimacy requires an unmasking of our public image and a disarming of the defenses that we normally utilize to protect ourselves from the vulnerability that exposes us to the possibility of pain, rejection or hurt feelings. This desire to experience the feelings of deep connectedness is often the primary motivator for engagement in romantic relationships. Consequently it’s not surprising that so many of us find ourselves in the conundrum of both desiring and resisting deep connection in our lives.
Fortunately, despite these ambivalent feelings and desires, it is possible to bring greater intimacy (both in terms of quantity and quality) into our lives. The experience of intimacy is not one that can be brought forth by demand, but can be invited to arise when certain conditions are in place in a relationship. These conditions include:
Feelings of emotional safety: When we feel trust that our partner supports our well being and has no unspoken or unacknowledged agenda we are less likely to feel the need for the emotional protection that inhibits openness.
No incompletions: Incompletions occur when “unfinished business” is neglected, causing both partners to feel uneasy or fearful of activating unresolved differences. This can promote feelings of anxiety or defensiveness, which inhibit vulnerability.
Responsibility: When someone feels the need or the desire for more intimacy, it’s helpful if they can take responsibility for taking the initiative to make that desire known to their partner rather than believing that if the other doesn’t initiate contact that they are not open to it. Repeated failure to connect can result in feelings of resentment or frustration that could diminish the depth of appreciation and affection in the relationship. It’s always best to express one’s desire without blame or judgment.
Shared intention: This refers to an understanding on the part of both partners to agree upon a time in which they can be together with a shared intention of experiencing a deeper connection and greater emotional closeness. This intention can be overt or implicit.
No distractions: It’s important that both partners trust that there will be no interruptions to the time that they have set aside to experience closeness with each other. This means shutting off the phone, the TV, closing the bedroom door, and deactivating anything else that could distract them from the experience of being fully present with each other. Real intimacy means giving your full and undivided attention to each other during the time in which you have agreed to be together.
Sex? Intimacy may or may not include sex. When there is a prearranged time for it, it is helpful if there is an understanding as to whether the experience will be sexual, non-sexual, or open to the possibilities. There should be no coercion in this negotiation, although gentle persuasion is fine, provided that it’s done respectfully and the persuader can take “no” for an answer.
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At some point in our lives we all desire intimacy. Not just physical intimacy…but mental, emotional, and spiritual intimacy. It’s a true knowing that we are connected, wanted, needed, and loved that we are looking for. This type of intimacy transcends physical touch. So it’s no surprise to us that LisaRaye has decided to do something different in an attempt to experience deeply abiding intimacy. She says, “I really want to know what it feels like to be touched by someone with a mental touch and not a physical touch”.
She shares with cocoafab.com
“I’m in a new place. I’ve tried everything but celibacy, and I really want to know what it feels like to be touched by someone with a mental touch and not a physical touch,” she shares. “I want to know what it is to build the foundation of the friendship for real, to have my best friend and not because we’re just intimate, but because we’re mentally intimate. So I’m waiting for that person to come into my life. And when I get myself together, I know God is gonna bless me with that, because I don’t want to come with extra baggage. I’ll come with some, but it’s not fair to him to come with a whole bunch.”
“When men meet me, they’re in awe of the image. I’m so turned off by that. Automatically I’m like, ‘Boy move.’ You know what I mean? Baby, bye. Because now you’re not gonna give me a real chance because you’re like, ‘You do look good in person.’ It’s like, ‘OK. How many times can I say thank you? But you don’t know I can be a great friend? You don’t know I can cook. You don’t know that I’m a nurturer. You don’t know that I prefer to stay at home and watch a movie and pop my own popcorn.
So I want someone to know me, to learn me. I want to start dating the man that I’m gonna marry. I want to start having some fun with someone that I know I’m gonna be with. I don’t play any games. I’m too old for that. I’ve been there, I’ve been around the block. I’m cultured, I’ve done a lot of things. I’m famous. I have money. I am polished, you know what I mean? I am a woman and I need a man, not a boy. I don’t want to be a teacher. I’m not trying to be your mother, I want to be your significant other.”
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Dear The Ma’ats…. I have a issue, and really need some good advice… I met this guy about 5 months ago and am really feeling him… he’s 48 and I’m 45.. we’re both on the same page as to wanting a future together…He’s really good to me… he’s very affectionate, romantic, always concern with how Im feeling and tells me that Im his future wife…..and so on…. So whats the problem…. well about a week ago we finally became intimate…I love how passionate he is, he’s a great kisser… BUT….when it came down to the love making… well that’s another story… I first caught a glimpse of it, I was like… ummm…. well, maybe its not the size that counts….and maybe he isnt fully aroused… well as things go on and we proceed to become intimate, I realized..that that was that! and was over within no time…So I told myself, “maybe it was just a fluke, so we gotta do it again, then it will be better 🙁 quite dissapointing… I’d never seen something so small on a grown man before…but anyway… my question is… What do I do… I have this GREAT man that will do anything for me, but sexually… It’s not working…although he says we can talk about anything..I do realize that, THAT could be a sensitive subject for some men….and realistically, there’s really nothing he could do about what he has to work with.. So do I continue on with a great guy who doesn’t satisfy in the bedroom…Or just end it… am I putting too much on the sexual part of our relationship?? PLEASE HELP… BLAM FAM what do yall think?
When was the last time you took a moment to give your partner a passionate kiss? Far too often we get away from remembering how important physical touch is to the health and vibrancy of our relationships that we can go days, weeks, months, and maybe even years without taking a pause and placing a passionate one on our partner’s lips. Blam Fam..we do it every day and we hope this video serves as a gentle nudge encouraging you to incorporate a sweet kiss into each and every single day. Pucker up : )
By Zoe Hicks
I want to preface this by saying that although there are no typical couples, there do tend to be intimacy stages in a relationship. Within the grief process, according to the Kübler-Ross model, we have denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
These stages do not always happen in this particular order. We may have anger, then denial, then acceptance, then bargaining, and then depression — then circling back around to acceptance. Grief and intimacy seem to be made of the same fabric — the intensity, the dullness, the gains, and the loss all mirror one another.
So without further ado, I bring you my five stages of intimacy in a relationship.
The 5 Stages of Intimacy
“OMG, I just met the love of my life.” “He is perfect. I want to marry him.” “I can’t believe we have so much in common.” “He is great in bed.” “I cannot wait to see him again.” “Oh I should eat something. I am going to vomit.”
Oh, the sweet, syrupy stage of infatuation. It’s so wonderful and so difficult to resist. Hormones and logic rarely coincide, so we find ourselves doing things like checking email 12-24 times an hour, not eating, going to get our nails done at midnight, buying pajamas to match our bedsheets…
Infatuation makes your dopamine levels soar, producing a full-body euphoria that causes humans to seek out sex again and again. To wit, brain scan studies show that the brain duringorgasm is 95 percent the same as the brain on heroin. Your brain cannot, biologically, maintain the high of infatuation: You will fry.
The infatuation will ebb and flow at different points. The sex will not always be that good … it may get better, or it may get worse. But all those lovely feelings of that first initial swim in the cool crisp pond of falling in love: How many movies could we watch about that? Billions. It’s pure poetry. Love magnified; a revisit to the warm womb of security. Then, the negotiation between security and autonomy, that life-long struggle, crawls in and we begin to land.
The landing from that fantastic flight can be the scariest part. We see things a lot more clearly. There is a great article along the lines of, “The day you wake up and say you have married the wrong person is the day that your marriage truly begins.” Meaning, this is the day where the veil of infatuation has lifted and the 20/20 vision of everyday living comes in. “Wow, she is neurotic.” “OMG, he tells the worst jokes.” “I didn’t think about him at all yesterday. I hope we are okay.”
The landing can be light and sweet, or rocky and discombobulating. But eventually the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella must run home before the stage coach becomes a pumpkin and her dress returns to rags. Landing! Oy, so bittersweet.
This stage happens when all the to-do lists of life come toppling into the relationship and before you know it, conversations are focused on things like who’s doing the laundry, your boss, or the crazy mother-in-law. During the burying stage, other things — like, oh, life — begin to encroach on your beautiful oasis of a relationship.
Burying is not always bad; it’s a sign that the relationship is real and weaves into your everyday existence. The important thing to remember here is to “unbury” yourselves. Take tango lessons, go relive your first date, go have sex in public, buy some sex toys, tie yourselves up to bedposts, grab the whips … Do something that allows real life to take a break and the gentle, sweet intimacy to resurface, bringing us to the next stage.
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by Kristen Mark
The statistic that CNN reported indicating over 40 million Americans were stuck in a sex rut and more than half of Americans were dissatisfied with their sex lives would leave one to believe that maintaining a good sex life isn’t that important to the majority. I recently analyzed some data that made me think the opposite – maintaining a good sex life is very important to the majority.
I collaborated with colleagues from Good in Bed in partnership with Pure Romance, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health to conduct a survey and collect data from over 4,800 men and women on a variety of “what if’s” regarding sex and relationships. When I was analyzing this data, I quickly began to notice a theme in the results; both men and women were really willing to go the extra mile for their sex lives to flourish.
Here are just a few examples demonstrating this trend I observed in response to the survey (note: participants could choose more than one response option, so not all numbers will add up to 100%):
What Would You Do If…
- Your partner wants you to try something that makes you feel sort of embarrassed in bed: More men (53.2%) than women (39.8%) would indulge their partner, and both women and men would give it a try (66.1% of men and 77.0% of women).
- You find out your partner watches porn regularly: 63.9% of men and 46.8% of women would ask to watch it with them.
- Your partner wants to watch porn with you: 75.5% of men and 69.1% of women would say go for it – that porn spices up a relationship, and 35.8% of men and 31.8% of women would want to look online for porn together.
- Your partner wants to engage in BDSM behavior: 24.2% would think about it and 54.9% would have a discussion with their partner about it.
- Your partner wants to have a threesome: Although more women (37.3%) than men (15.1%) would say “absolutely not”, the most common response from both men and women was to talk through it (41.7% of women and 48.2% of men), with thinking about it indicated by 28.0% of women and 35.8% of men.
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Viewer Question: Hello,
My husband and I have viewed a few of your videos and enjoy your viewpoints or should I say appreciate them. We consider ourselves to be sensible, realistic, honest, sick of the craziness in the world and loving. We’ve been together for 23 years and married for 20. We have two sons, one of which is grown and disabled and now we are dealing with my mom who is experiencing some mental challenges. We have a highschooler, one of us is underemployed (works once or twice a week) due to job loss a couple of years ago and the current care for our oldest son. Because the situation worked out where I have the full time career etc., admittedly I have many demands and sometimes feel like I am juggling a lot. Often in addition to my career and being the current breadwinner, I also teach on the side to meet some of our needs. We don’t get caught up in this so much but naturally hubby wants desperately to find reasonable employment and finish school, yet find security for our son!! LONG STORY THERE!
Financial stress: we have that, mortgage woes: we have that, exhaustion due to meeting the needs of our son and life: got that….and the list goes on. We even get your communication challenge discussions, because sometimes we have that problem too. Hubby depression: been there on and off for the last 8 years, with the last two being horrible. He is not happy with his career life. Church attendance strain due to hubby’s new weird work schedule: problem!!! Me having meltdowns on occasion…PROBLEM!
Now what we manage to do to keep all of this together is have mini dates, dinner nights, concerts, coffee outings, cuddling, talking, car talks, and plenty of laughter in our home. We can call each other on the phone and flirt, text flirt, reminisce about the past and definitely enjoy our boys. There’s a lot of love in our home even in the midst of the stress. What is missing is what I will call our sex life!!! Our sex life is nearly null and void. Are we intimate in other ways? I would say yes. Even if we flirt and kiss cheeks, grope, etc. we don’t get to actual good old sex. On top of that ( no pun intended) my husband has asked me if I have an office relationship, and he’s acted suspicious etc. he recently acted suspicious about one of my white co-workers, that quite honestly I wouldn’t be attracted to if I were down with the swirl!! Just because I mostly enjoy the work I do, does not mean I would destroy a marriage over some nonsense!!!
Yes we heard your talk on cheating too! Hubby agreed with your points by the way. With our busy lives we have challenges but cheating is not on my mind! Hubby reiterates often that he would never accept me going outside of this marriage and he loves me and that he is just going through a difficult time. I understand, even though I am stressed.
So we are under stress and need to get back to a sex life. Our teen son is observant as all get out so it makes it even more of a challenge. I think he’s listening! ANY SUGGESTIONS? We just can’t seem to get it together. I think I count once or twice in the last 8 months, and I’m scared that I don’t even remember. When we do finally have sex, it’s not that great unless its some spontaneous living room moment when the boys are at their grandparents, and now that is as rare as an eclipse. Heck if we weren’t so broke we’d rent a room!!!
Yes we are attracted to each other, and love and adore each other. As an example we had a bit of foreplay last night after going out to dinner without the boys, but the looming drama around my ill mom who I hospitalized this morning and the nosy teen put a damper on that! We try to have mini dates once a week and an evening date at a concert or event once every 4 to 8 weeks! Just to give you an idea, I think I’m fairly young at 41 and hubby is 46….God willing we have too many years to love each other to be at this point.
Please offer us some suggestions.
Thank you for your time! Peace and love.