Tag Archive | sex

Can You Totally Trust Your Partner?

Morning After Christmas Party

I often receive emails on the topic of trust so I think this might be a good time to talk about it. This is especially so as the Christmas season is upon us and for so many organisations this is also the time of the office Christmas party with potentially lots of alcohol and sometimes a little too much “merry”.

Trust, as defined in the dictionary, is the reliance of one person on another for honesty and sincerity in their relationship. Everything is open for discussion and, as a committed couple there is an expectation that as no subject is taboo then also there is an expectation that both of the couple will say what the truth is for them even when this might be hard to say.

So when we feel we cannot trust our partner, is that saying more about us or is it saying more about them?

My hunch is that maybe it says something about both of you.

Our distrust of another may well be about our own insecurities. While we might say we expect truthfulness from another we actually might find it difficult to be truthful ourselves and consequently not really believe that it is possible to get that from the other.

Alternatively it might be that if I have grown up with dishonesty, either between my parents or from my parents to me, then it is also more likely that I will be unsure about the ability of someone else to be totally truthful in their conversations with me.

The alternative of course is that your partner has already done something which was less than honest leaving you suspicious of their every word and action. If your relationship has come to this then you are in serious danger of losing your relationship unless you do something about it and quickly.

Where these two possibilities might intersect is at the place where, if you already have a distrust of your mate, then they actually might act upon it as they feel that they’re dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.

What can you do about it?

If you feel that the issue is more about you then go and speak with a professional about it. You might benefit from doing some personal psychotherapy. In this case the therapist may explore some of your early life history to discover the past experience of your distrust.

The process would be similar if you are the one struggling to stay honest. The reason for this might also be discovered in exploring your past.

Once you know where it came from you can then do something about it.

If on the other hand you are married to someone who has behaved in such a way that no longer deserves your trust then you need to talk about it as quickly as possible either with your spouse or with a Couple’s Counsellor.

The Couple’s Counsellor will help both of you in articulating what your concerns are about hearing or telling the truth assisting you to communicate this to each other. This is because it is only in the truth that you will find true happiness and a promise that your relationship really can make it to become a long-term committed relationship.

If you don’t have access to a Counsellor try this exercise:

Make a time with each other to sit and talk. Choose one of you to have the entire stage first. You are “The Speaker”. That means that for whatever time you have chosen you get to speak without interruption other than for the other person clarifying what you are saying or to ask questions to help both of you get as clear a picture as possible about what it is “The Speaker” has chosen to speak about.

The other of you is “The Listener”. Your job is simply to listen. This must be without judgement or response in defence of yourself. That means that the other person can say whatever they want while you remind yourself that this is only their opinion even if you don’t agree with it.

And whatever you do, and whatever it is they say, just keep listening. And when I say listen I mean really listen: with your head, hour heart and your spirit as you just might be surprised at what there is to learn.

Try it one way and then next time you come together it will be the listeners turn to become “The Speaker” and the speakers turn to become “The Listener”.

This is what a real conversation is. As we speak and listen we will come to hear the truth and maybe even rediscover the trust that might have been lost making it once again the glue for a truly healthy, loving relationship.

Remember you were designed with two ears and one mouth for a reason!

So until next time – Relate with Love

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It’s a Hormone Thing

It's a Hormone Thing

Generally men are turned on sexually more easily than women. Men are also turned on more easily by sexual stimuli, including fantasy. And in addition nature also causes a build-up of sexual tension in a healthy male which will seek any means of release. This build-up of sexual tension actually begins again immediately after ejaculation. In the younger man this sexual tension can return quickly but with age it usually takes longer for this to happen.

Men not only turn on faster they can also complete the full sexual response sooner. Ejaculation can occur on penetration or even before. Male orgasm, however, is another matter – that takes longer and requires a man to learn to control ejaculation and to want to explore a fuller involvement of his total self.

Women are turned on more by appropriate conversation and touching within a relationship filled with emotional warmth and love. But, just as for a man, this response, and the accompanying sex drive levels, can vary from woman to woman and from time to time.

These different means of building sexual desire can be one reason why, particularly, a woman’s desire might be blocked if she feels distrust of her partner or anger towards him. This however is not isolated to women, men can also be put off if the conditions aren’t right but generally less so than for women.

While on average the male orgasm is not as strong as in the female, it is none-the-less a part of the experience for some men – those who are willing to take the time to allow the sexual tension to build up, and who love being with their partners, will also love the experience of surrendering to those strong sensations of ecstasy. For these men, the driver is their love for their partner and for the quality of their sex rather than the frequency.

Also men are generally not multi-orgasmic as are many women. Women take longer to reach the peak of excitation where for many, orgasm occurs. After orgasm, many women who remain high on the plateau stage can have second or even more orgasmic experiences if they wish.

There are also many women who have great difficulty achieving orgasm and some who never do, and perhaps never will.

For many women orgasm, however, is not what having sex is about. Rather it is about being emotionally and physically connected to another human being in as close a way as possible.

Some of the things that will influence how responsive a woman is to a man’s sexual approach are the physical environment the couple find themselves in. The environment must be conducive to love-making and all of her senses are employed in deciding this – color, temperature, sounds, aromas and the degree of privacy afforded them so she can feel safe in a place without interruption. The tone of the male voice and how he communicates with her and touches her, as already discussed, will also be a mood maker or breaker.

The lesson here is to ensure that you keep talking to each other about what you like and don’t like during sex and not just during the act but in all aspects of your relationship. For all you men reading this, your lesson is this: don’t be in a hurry to have sex. Give your woman time to feel like sex. When I’m working with a couple I generally suggest to the men that they should allow about twelve hours for a woman to work up to sex, so be super nice to her and she’ll reward you generously.

The lesson for you women reading this is: help your man out. Don’t make it a guessing competition about what you need – let him know exactly what you need to ensure that you will “feel like it” when the time is right.

Most of all for both of you: make it fun. Sex is a form of play – you can’t play when you’re upset or stressed. Get rid of all that and enjoy being together in this very special way with your whole heart, body and mind.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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The Sex-Stress Barometer

The Sex-Stress Barometer

Many people, and maybe reasonably so, use their sexual relationship as a barometer of what is going on in the rest of their relationship. Consequently if the sex is great then some people conclude, though sometimes incorrectly, that the rest of their relationship must also be great. Similarly some people decide that if the sex is not working then nor is the rest of their relationship.

My belief is that even though how you are sexually may be an effective barometer it should never be considered the only way to assess the health of a relationship.

This is because there will be times in everyone’s life, because of stress or other factors, that their libido levels may drop, or even disappear altogether. They may simply be too tired to make sex good for themselves or for another, or their hormone levels are irregular, or even that there is some other physical condition, such as the development of prostate cancer, that prevents the person, physically or emotionally, from being fully present sexually.

These issues should always be considered with care and in the knowledge that with time and support, all of them can be worked through to revive the couple’s sexual relationship. Sometimes we have to just stop trying so hard and know that being intimate with someone is not just about the sexual act, and that it can be equally enjoyable to just be close physically to another, whether this is in bed, in the bath, or just by touching each other in a loving way as you brush past them.

The most important point to note in all of this is that sex should never be allowed to become boring or be used to push someone into something that they do not wish to do.

Therefore, it is important that you regularly explore new ways of connecting with each other, using all of your body and all of your senses, and by enjoying what the exploration of those things can generate for you.

It may also be important to note here as well, that your sexual attraction to another may be linked to your ‘script’. In this regard as your family and community reacts towards sex then this may also become your unconscious instruction and subsequent belief about sex. So if you are born into a family that sees sex as “dirty” or only for the purpose of reproduction then that may affect your belief about sex. Similarly if you have been sexually abused as a child then that may also impact on your belief about sex.

On the other hand if you were raised in a family that believed sex should be freely talked about and practiced, in an appropriate way, then that will also affect how you then respond to sex as you enter into adult relationships.

The most important thing to remember here is that as you grow personally, and start to modify, or even change, your ‘script’ beliefs about sex, it opens for you the possibility of seeing your partner in a new and different light, thereby creating an opportunity for every sexual experience to also be new and different.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Great sex is vital to the continuing development of all great relationships and vice-versa; having a great relationship will ensure that the sex is also great.

Men and women often think that sexual responses and satisfaction are reflexes that automatically leap into action once the right buttons are turned on or when the light is switched off.

In truth, sexual response is most likely to occur when we have taken the time to ensure that the ‘conditions’ for sex are just right. These conditions are about what increases our sexual interest and responsiveness.

Maybe I can describe this best by using the analogy of driving a car. When I drive my car, that is; if I want to get to my destination safe, well and happy, I’ll need certain conditions to be present. I do this automatically without thinking about it, most of the time.

For example, I sit in the front seat with my hands on the steering wheel, not in the back seat or in the trunk. I keep my eyes open; I drive on the correct side of the road, not through a muddy paddock or down a cliff. When it is raining I use the wipers, when its dark I switch on the headlights. I put my feet on the pedals, using the brake to stop and the accelerator to go ahead. I use my blinkers and ensure there is petrol and oil in the car and organize a regular service. If I neglect to do any of these things I would not expect to have a good driving experience. These, then, are my conditions for a great driving experience.

Similarly, you all have your own conditions for great sex and they may be different from those of your partner. Consequently, in your relationships, it is important for you to know yourselves well enough to know what those conditions for great sex are. And, just as importantly, you also need to be curious about what conditions make sex great for your partner.

We mostly know our own conditions for great sex because of our past experiences, positive and negative. To ensure we get our conditions for great sex met then, it is essential for us to let our partners know what things really turn us on and what things really turn us off. Some of you would like to believe that your partner should just know this. But guess what? They can’t unless you tell them.

It is important to regularly check this and then, with your partner or on your own, experiment with something that may be new, to see how that might also feel for you. This is what will keep the sex not just great but novel and exciting every time you come together. And of course ditto for your partner. They say; ‘variety is the spice of life’, and in great sex, especially over the many years of a relationship it is absolutely essential.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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True Love, Lies and Deceit

True Love Lies and Deceit

Is it possible for someone to truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit?

What a great question this is to get me going for the week

The short answer is this:  NO! Someone cannot truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit. But it may be a little more complicated than that.

Lying and deceitfulness can be a natural response to being constantly tormented, fear of being found out, or from the modelling we get from the most important people around us, generally our parents.

There are also gradients of lies. There are the lies of omission when we don’t tell someone that what they are wearing doesn’t go with whatever, their body shape, the occasion etc.

On the other end of the continuum are the really big lies that have a huge impact on people’s lives, individuals or whole countries, which can and do change the course of history.

My curiosity is pricked when I hear that someone is being deceitful in their relationship. Is this a cold-hearted act of cruelty with no regard for the impact the lie has on another or is it something much more than that?

My belief is that lying is a complex issue that really needs to be viewed not just in the context of the current event but in the context of a whole lifetime of experience.

When we are very young we learn to tell lies as part of socialising us to the norms of society. So we are taught to hold our tongues when we get crushed under the hug of our big, fat aunties and respectfully say ‘thank you’ for the gift that we really didn’t want. We also learn in the process that lying can protect us from being punished, sometimes in very, even too harsh ways. Lying can even become habitual as a way of avoiding the anger of someone in a position of authority over us as well as a means of avoiding the feelings of fear that can go with that.

As an adult we normally grow out of this behaviour as we meet with other adults face to face, in truth and in good will, to manage our conflicts in an adult way no longer needing to resort to old patterns of behaviour. Sometimes however old behaviours are so entrenched that the habit has become hard to shift. Alternatively the person is triggered to feel the same sort of fear they experienced as a child and respond from an internal child part of themselves rather than an external adult part.

In these situations the lies and deceit are not intended to hurt but become the habitual response of someone who doesn’t yet have the skills to manage themselves in a more mature way.

So to come back to the question at the beginning of this article

Love is a mature adult feeling that is pure and clean with no unresolved issues attached to it. So to truly love another implies that you are fully there with this person in the most vulnerable way possible. This means that your heart, soul and body are open and exposed without any defences. So to put it more simply, love and lying simply cannot be present in the same moment.

While we are humans, and we will slip up, for us to be truly in love with another requires us also to be truly honest. If we cannot be truly honest then we can’t possibly truly love because instead of being there fully in the present we are being held back by something from our past that will need resolution.

So if you are being lied to and hurt constantly by your partner and they are unable, or unwilling, to do what it takes to change then you really do need to think about the long-term viability of your relationship.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Ten Reasons Why People Cheat and What to Do About It

Ten Reasons Why People Cheat and What to Do About It

Betrayed By A Fiancé/Fiancée?

I receive many emails asking about the meaning of affairs and what to do when you catch someone out. This question is one that comes up regularly both in my rooms as well as via email. In this post I will try and put my thoughts down about what I understand about affairs when they happen and what you can do about them.

Let me first define what an affair is and what an affair is not. For me, and you may agree or not, an affair is when someone creates a relationship with another person, with or without sex, in which that other person becomes the centre of their attention at the expense of their partner.

An affair is not a “one-night stand” where someone gets carried away in the moment and has a sexual encounter with someone outside of the marriage/relationship. Both, however, may be considered equally a betrayal and unforgivable to the other party in the relationship.

When someone has been caught out in any kind of unfaithfulness some of you have simply decided to walk away and others have decided to forgive and move on. There is no right or wrong way to respond to this. It is up to each of you to decide how significant the indiscretion is to you and decide on how you yourself should best react.

Often the actual decision made is more likely based on your personal value system. For some of you, when someone betrays you, it feels like the worst thing that they can do and there is no room for stepping away from the hurt or the loss of trust. For others of you there is such a strong value in your love and commitment that you will find a way to forgive even this most unforgivable of betrayals.

In either situation it seems to come down to which value is the strongest – the value around love and commitment or the value around fidelity.

When someone has been unfaithful it is worth pausing for a moment to take a look at why they may have done it before deciding what the best course of action is.

Reasons for being unfaithful may include:

  1. Fear of committing to one person at the exclusion of all others
  2. The behaviour was modelled by a parent or someone close to the person
  3. Curiosity, especially for the inexperienced, of what sex might be like with someone else
  4. Boredom in the current relationship
  5. An escape from reality into fantasy
  6. A lack of, or insufficient, intimacy in their marriage or relationship
  7. A way to experiment with sex that might not be welcome in their marriage
  8. A spontaneous response to the moment with or without alcohol or other drugs present
  9. A way to exhibit a position of power over another person
  10. An escape from an otherwise tedious or unfulfilling life

Once you have ascertained what might be behind the betrayal then you can make the best decision about what to do about it. You may ultimately decide it is totally the responsibility of the wrongdoer or you may decide that you have to take some responsibility for what has happened as well and change some of your own behaviours.

My belief about this is that when two people truly love each other and are totally committed to their partner then unfaithfulness simply does not have a place. Instead when there are issues they will talk them through until they get a resolution.

And a word of advice: if you ever find yourself in a situation where there has been an infidelity, I would really encourage you to seek professional counselling before making any decisions you may come to regret.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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