Sheri Winston, author of “Succulent Sex Craft,” returned to the program to again discuss boundaries. Few were taught about boundaries when they were young; therefore, Sheri and Dr. Diana’s conversation reflected remedial education on the topic. Adults need to talk with their boys and girls early and often about sexual ethics, gender dynamics, consent, pleasure, healthy relationships and the risk to them of mixing sex and alcohol. Pleasure is often missing in sex education…and the joy associated with full consent and enthusiasm! But how to get there? Research by the Making Caring Common project showed that in a survey of more than 3,000 18-to 25-year-olds, more than 60% of respondents had never had a single conversation with their parents about how to be sure your partner wants to be having sex with you. It seems as though many parents have abdicated responsibility for talking with their children about sexual ethics and emotional intimacy. Using role-plays, Sheri teaches ways to try out different approaches to saying things. Language is necessary – as is practice, perhaps using  friends for a rehearsal scenario. Acknowledging shyness about the topic – i.e., insisting on using a condom – can help the speaking-up process. If we helped people feel less ambivalent about sex, they could use their words more easily and have much better sex! There is more on Sheri’s website: www.IntimateArtsCenter.com.

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Sheri Winston, author of “Succulent Sex Craft” a full-course meal of sex education delights, knows about boundaries. Reflecting the current national conversations, Dr. Diana and Sheri discussed the emotional, physical, energetic, romantic, sexual, and conversational boundaries. When our boundaries are healthy, we have the freedom to play and explore within them! Sheri offered the principles and skills of boundaries – one’s own and how to communicate and protect them. Few were taught early on about boundaries; therefore, skills need to be developed. These skills include self-awareness, authentic communication (if you can’t talk about it, don’t do it!), and choice. Is a firm “No” needed, a wide-open “Yes,” or perhaps a “maybe.”  Re the latter, if someone says, “I do not want to do this with you,” she may be indicating that she needs more time to check-in with her own needs. The conversation continues next week, a Part 2 with Sheri Winston. We will talk about respecting other people’s boundaries and teaching children about boundaries. Tune-in, call-in if you are listening live. Check-out Sheri’s website: www.IntimateArtsCenter.com.     

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Dr. Mark Schoen is a sex educator and a filmmaker whose website www.SexSmartFilms.com is the Netflix of sex education. Many universities use Sex Smart Films knowing that it  is a sex educator’s dream come true! Parents also need to familiarize themselves with the site. Research shows that mothers and fathers who talk about sex with their kids are more likely to have offspring who share their values. Whether it is a parent or a grown-up in a sexual relationship, it can be argued that simply watching a sexually oriented film is a step in the right direction when communication is a problem. Access to the Internet allows kids to view porn. These films are NOT sex education…They are made for adult entertainment purposes only. We in the U.S. should take some pages from countries like Denmark where versions of sexuality are shown on TV and violence is frowned upon. Dr. Mark now has 615 films on his website under these categories: education, research, and therapy. Also, by going to www.LoveafterWar.org you can see a clip of his upcoming documentary intended to help health care professionals working with vets. Mark told the story of a soldier at Walter Reed coming out of a coma; his first question was, “Is my junk okay?” For all of us, getting more information on sexual health can make all the difference!

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Brad Coates (www.CoatesandFrey.com) provided us with an analysis of the pros and cons of three of life’s most crucial choices: to marry, to re-marry, and to parent. Brad knows all about marriages and divorce because he’s been a divorce lawyer in Honolulu, Hawaii for forty years.  Dr. Diana and Brad discussed this topic. The biggest marital benefits come in high stress environments, and people who are married can often handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t. Marriage may be most important when there is stress in life. It helps to accommodate a partner’s needs as well. Trust is necessary. Does your partner have your best interests in mind? Can you listen nondefensively? We love this motto: “When you’re in pain, the world stops and I listen.” Humor helps too in that it may soothe couples inside and out during conflict. If a couple decides to have a child, parenthood can wreak havoc on their relationship and sex life. Many will stay together and feel stuck in a mild but chronic depressive state sometimes called “depressively married.”  Then there are couples who choose not to have children because they want more pleasure for themselves; in other words, they are hedonists. Here’s the paradox: We expect more from our marriages but feed them less. Check out Brad’s book “DIVORCE with DECENCY” now in its 5th Edition.

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Sexuality and disabilities – especially for injured veterans – are not addressed or explored enough. Dr. Mitchell Tepper, an internationally recognized sexuality educator and disability expert, has collaborated with filmmaker Dr. Mark Schoen (my guest September 4th) in making a documentary “Love after War” (www.LoveafterWar.org)  We discussed the background leading up to creating the documentary, and the physicaldisabilities with the process leading to sexual self-discovery (his book is “Regain the Feeling” – www.DrMitchellTepper.com). Our focus moved on to the invisible disabilities caused by PTSD and depression. A former Army psychiatrist was the first to identify failed intimate relationships as the leading cause of suicide. So many relationships would benefit from having conversations about sexual performance. Often for men, and particularly for former soldiers, the problem can be laden with shame. In the end, the film that Dr. Tepper and Dr. Schoen are making is about compassionate love. Please listen for more inspiring details! 

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“Sex is something you do, sexuality is something you are.” ~ Anna Freud.  Stephen Snyder, M.D., author of LOVE WORTH MAKING – HOW TO HAVE RIDICULOUSLY GREAT SEX IN A LONG-LASTING RELATIONSHIP(www.LoveWorthMaking.com), helps us move beyond the compartmentalizing of our sexual selves. The focus of the program was on his Chapter 5 “The Art of the Easy” and Chapter 6 “Two Roads to Orgasm.” The discussion reveals some deep, important ideas…Dr. Snyder is brilliant! He summarizes with this --  three things are essential for good sex:  Mindfulness, sex is all about paying attention.  It’s all about the present moment.  And it’s all aboutbeing without judgment (that is, acceptance). This show really will help you enjoy love worth making!

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Romantic relationships evolve at life’s different stages. Bard Coates is a divorce lawyer who authored “Divorce with Decency” now in its 5th Edition. www.CoatesandFrey.com.  Brad and Dr. Diana discussed the Millennials (born 1980-1995) and how many are embracing the “new monogamy.” A growing number of couples are reconsidering the terms of their commitment – sometimes it’s referred to as negotiated monogamy. “Monogamish” is the term coined by Dan Savage a popular sex columnist. When I work with couples considering opening their marriage, I get both partners to come clean about what they feel emotionally capable of handling. Brad talks about Millennials “hooking up”… allowing for physical pleasure while avoiding emotional risks. We also discussed pornography. When the man (95% of the time it is the man)) views porn in secret, it is often linked to relationship dissatisfaction. Acceptance of  porn by both partners may help their relationship in terms of their expectations and their communication. The “Paradox of Choice” prevails for many – having too many choices – including in the on-line dating world. Moving up to Boomers (born 1946-1964), Brad spoke about the frequency of “Gray Divorces. The 50 plus group has seen their rate of divorce surge 50% in the past 20 years. Brad will return September 18th for a Part 2. Tune in!   

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Dr. Alex Avila, a bestselling author award-winning psychologist, spoke with Dr. Diana about one of his books “Guy Types – 4 Ways to Find the Love of your Life.” Dr. Avila combines social networking withMyers-Briggs Type Compatibility to suggest the four guy types: the MEANING SEEKER (NF), the KNOWLEDGE SEEKER (NT), the SECURITY SEEKER (SJ), and the EXCITEMENT SEEKER (SP).Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)”: Sensing types are most at home in the world of “what is.” They prefer facts and observations. Intuitive types prefer the world  of “what if,” with its hunches, conjectures and infinite possibilities.  Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): Thinking types make decisions based on logic and principle.   Feeling types base their decisions on emotions and values. There is so much more. Tune in for a fascinating program!  www.GuyTypes.com

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Stephen Snyder, MD, author of “LOVE WORTH MAKING – HOW TO HAVE RIDICULOUSLY GREAT SEX IN A LONG LASTING RELATIONSHIP” was my guest for a third time. We mainly discussed two core relational concepts: ATTACHMENT and DIFFERENTIATION.  Dr. Snyder speaks of “enactment” where you unconsciously get another person to play a part in a misunderstood drama. Attachment is part of this because a genuinely adored as a child will grow up expecting people to adore them.  This is often described as secure attachment. Someone who felt unloved will often be attracted to partners who don’t love them. People who have anxious attachment style crave intimacy and closeness; but they may have a harder time telling someone what they want and they may withdraw. The avoidants are all about doing things on their own and enjoy calling the shots. They may worry that being committed to someone will mean a loss of independence. When it comes to differentiation, Dr. Snyder first talks about Dr. Murray Bowen who studied families who were “poorly differentiated.” These are families who get wrapped up in each other’s emotions – and so everyone is anxious most of the time. Then he spoke of Harriet Lerner. Her book from 1985 is a classic “The Dance of Anger” and it describes taking responsibility for your own emotional well-being in a relationship. Dr. Diana and her guest then focused on Dr. David Schnarch’s work who says great sex is not about how your body looks or how you position it. It’s about your frame of mind and emotional connection with your partner. He proclaims that you don’t work on your marriage, your marriage works on you because it may well force you to confront yourself and your own issues. There is so much more! Please listen to the podcast and check out  my guest’s websitewww.LoveWorthMaking.com   

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David Steinberg (www.DavidSteinberg.us) writes about The Myths of Monogamy in his book “This Thing We Call Sex.”  Dr. Diana and David spoke about monogamy and affairs – the latter often a fallout of monogamy. The myths include that monogamy is the natural order of things, people who act on desires will be punished, and those who adhere are morally superior. What meaning is attached if one’s partner is attracted to someone else? Often the one who is betrayed, asks, “What’s wrong with me?” Instead, an affair may reflect a form of self-discovery, a quest for a new or lost identity. When we commit to a partner, we commit to a story. Yet we can remain forever curious: What other stories could we have been a part of? Affairs may offer us a view of those other lives…Affairs may be the revenge of the deserted possibilities. We agree that if couples could bring into their marriage, their partnership, one-tenth of the boldness and the playfulness that they bring to their affair, their relationship might feel quite different. David Steinberg is articulate and wise! Please tune-in for a thought provoking program.

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