Dr. Diana’s return guest, Dr. Ashley Mader, is well versed in differentiation. It is no surprise that differentiation issues are played out in the sexual area. What is differentiation? It involves learning to balance your individuality (separateness) with your emotional connection to someone else (togetherness). Standing on your own two feet—rather than trying to merge with your partner or lose yourself in love—may lead to the best sex you’ve ever had!

 

Dr. Diana and Dr. Ashley are both experts in aging and sexuality. They spoke about Gail Sheehy’s idea—in her book Passages—that sometime around age 50, the man becomes more romantic and the woman becomes more assertive. We must not mistake genital prime for sexual prime! Dr. David Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage focuses on how you don’t work on your marriage; your marriage works on you. Marriage or being in a committed relationship is the ideal arena in which to become clearer about who you are so that you can contribute to and enjoy a better partnership.

 

In addition to conducting her private practice in Amherst, MA, Dr. Ashely is in her third year of graduate school at the Bowen Center at Georgetown University. Dr. Bowen’s philosophy is that we may have unresolved emotional attachment issues with our family of origin. We may have to toggle between our emotional and intellectual selves. Back to Schnarch because this is important: You give up the fantasy that the other person is going to complete you. So your goal changes from getting someone to love you to being someone capable of loving. Dr. Diana’s book Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine is especially timely, and can help with this process.

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