It was such an honor to tell my story on Annie's podcast. Since then, I've been met with an outpouring of support and connected with disillusioned therapists and budding sex educators from all over the country. Each conversation was powerful and I got to hold space for my colleagues much like I hold space for clients. I listened to tearful stories of being overworked in community agencies. I encouraged people not to trust our enemies and to find better supports as they take the leap of faith into private practice. If you're a therapist or educator reading this, then I"m going to distill the top 5 points I've been giving out for the past two weeks into something digestible.
1. Don't Throw in the towel
My aging clients all want help with reclaiming the sex of their youth. Men who cannot last long and women who experience dryness want to be turned on immediately and stay on. Parents of all genders usually experience a time in their sex lives where they have to start having sex in order to get into the mood, not get into the mood in order to have sex. Surgeries, spinal cord injuries, and illnesses will also mean that we may need to negotiate with our disabilities an physical pain before we negotiate sex with our partners. No wonder so many couples just chuck the baby out with the bath water and say "to hell with sex. It's too much work." Sex therapy can help you have even better sex than when in your youth, it's just not going to be the same. First, you have to accept these basic 11 principles:
It Is All About Sex
I have heard many clients try to justify their unwillingness to adjust to a change in their sex life with statements like "Sex isn't everything. this period of time has shown me I can live without it." Yes, you will not literally keel over and die from no sex, but it actually can prolong your life! The good enough sex (GES) model encourages the idea that sex is an integral part of a couples comfort, intimacy, desire, pleasure, eroticism, and satisfaction.
"I don't know. I love sex and all but… do you think I'm kinky?"
You probably are if one or more of the following appeals to you:
You like many people realize that there is a great big world of sex and sexual activities that you may be willing to explore but feel a little like you're out of your element. Sexual Abuse & Sex Solutions is here to help you navigate your way back on course. I want to shape your own brand of sexual being, whatever that may look like, even if it does not include BDSM.
Step 1: Develop the Right Vocabulary
Sleep can be elusive following a sexual assault for many reasons. You may have a lot of anxiety causing you to toss and turn. Sexual assaults can also trigger bouts of depression in people who regularly struggle with the disease. I have also worked with people who were afraid to sleep because sleep is a very vulnerable state of being. They may logically know that being assaulted again is unlikely, but their body has not yet caught up to that realization.
Some common symptoms of post-traumatic stress may be experiencing symptoms of hyper-vigilance, or being on high alert all the time. This may look like being unable to go to sleep without a partner or a trusted pet. You might be methodically checking locks and doors several times and losing prime sleep time due to this routine. Another common symptom of post-traumatic stress can be nightmares. Your mind may re-experience parts of the assault while it is trying to process what has happened to you. However, this processing will get interrupted because scary dreams often jolt us awake. It like putting a penny on a record player and watching the song skip back to the beginning. Therapy can help you remove the penny. In the meantime, just improving sleep can relieve a lot of stress and improve your ability to function in your day. Here are some tips to gaining back an hour or two of precious ZZZs.
1. Don't Count Sheep
This is one of the biggest sleep myths. Counting sheep in your head, or counting anything, is over-stimulating. Similarly, rehearsing what you plan to say or get done the next day only serves to exasperate insomnia. If you want to get to sleep try concentrating on light reading or listening to a mindfulness exercise on Youtube instead.
Sexpert & psychotherapist, Quandra Chaffers, presents Sass-y comments on love, health, and relationships--Comments too tangential or racy for the therapy room.