Empowerment, inspiration and creativity in all aspects of your life

As a counsellor specialising in sexual and relationship issues one would think that I hear all sorts of outrageous stories about my clients’ sexual experiences. And I do. Some would think it’s the dream job; talking about sex all day- what more could I want? And, well, yes it’s true, it is my dream job and I love it. But aside from all of this I also hear endless stories about individuals and couples that are looking for more in aspects of their lives that don’t seem to have anything to do with sex. They don’t just come to sessions wanting to heat things up in the bedroom but they often talk about issues that go much deeper.

Believe it or not a lot of the work I do involves the exploration of issues that go right to the core of my clients’ sense of existence on this earth. Deep huh? Yep. And they occur on multiple levels. The first level is clients’ dreams for their romantic relationships such as wanting a richer and deeper sexual connection with their partner, improving intimacy and exploring with their partner. The second level involves deeply personal issues such as the development of self-esteem, self-exploration (in whatever form that may take!), greater consciousness, spirituality, assertiveness skills, the search for happiness and even finding inner peace.  And the third level deals with life skills and challenges such as reaching financial security, finding the dream job, achieving a balanced lifestyle, good health, pursuing studies, hobbies, travel and friendships. It’s a lot to deal with and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all struggled with some, if not all of these issues in our lives.

What I’ve found is that for many of my clients (and myself included!) to feel truly empowered, inspired and creative in their sex lives they often need to work on many of the aspects just described.  I’ll give you an example. John presents for counselling with erectile dysfunction. His wife complains that they don’t have sex any more and even when they try he struggles with his erections. Hmmm…seems a simple case of Erectile Dysfunction. But when I dig a little deeper, John reveals that he has been working 60-hour weeks in the same job for 15 years. When asked why he keeps doing it he answers “because, well, what else is there to do?” 6 months ago he was diagnosed with depression and his doctor warned him that if he didn’t change his eating and exercise habits he would become a candidate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. After some time working with John and his wife, he was able to feel strong enough to change his work schedule, invest in his health, make more time for his family and have a healthier, more fulfilling and connected sexual and relationship with his wife. It took some time and lots of dedication, but John is a happier man for it now.

We all have room to grow, evolve and become more empowered, inspired and creative. 

Signing off.

Christina

5 tips to relationship bliss all year round

OK, so it’s that time of year again and whether you’re in a relationship or not there has probably been some thought put towards Valentine’s Day and being in love. Maybe you’ve even dedicated some thought towards your current or past relationships and pondered over how healthy, happy, functional and connected you’ve felt with your partner. Maybe you’re excited to celebrate with your lover, or maybe you cringe at the thought of yet another boring, empty and awkward occasion. And this is precisely what I like about Valentine’s Day; it provokes many of us to think about our relationships and where we stand in them. And while for some it can be a very happy and loving time, for others, Valentine’s Day shines a very painful light on their own personal and relationship struggles. I find that if we consciously dedicate time and energy towards our relationships throughout the year, February 14th simply becomes yet another occasion to express the love and connection that we’ve already been nurturing for the last 12 months.

So here are 5 tips on how keep the love juices flowing all year round:

Be intimate. And this doesn’t mean have sex. Intimacy is when you can be at that deepest level of connection with your partner. It is when you can be truly vulnerable with your partner and reveal who you truly are by sharing personal information and experiences, your views on life and your emotions and feelings. It can also be expressed non-verbally through a soft touch, a knowing glance, an exchange of energy or a shared sexual experience. And while it’s not always comfortable to be at this deepest level with your partner, living intimately is the glue that keeps long-term committed relationships connected, interesting, fulfilling and satisfying.

Talk, Talk, Talk. Being able to talk to your partner about anything that is going on for you is a super important skill when in a long-term relationship. And when it comes to sex, research has shown that there is a positive relationship between increased frequency and quality of couple’s talk about sex and their level of sexual satisfaction. We’re all unique individuals and have our own communication style and idiosyncrasies, so it’s essential to learn about how your partner communicates both verbally and non-verbally so you connect with them in the ways they understand.

Work through any difficulties or issues in the relationship. This means that if there is something that’s bothering you about your partner that you let them know in a soft, loving and regulated way. A great place to start is by sharing your feelings using “I feel…” statements. And if things are getting a little out of control seek the help of an experienced qualified therapist to guide and support you.

Create the perfect lovemaking environment. Making an effort to create and recreate the ideal environment for sexual connection is a must. Consider some of the following and remember to talk to your partner about any changes before you make them.

Location- Where do you like to make-love? Can you shake it up a little?
Timing- Is there a preferred time for sex? Do you prefer the morning, afternoon or evening?
Privacy- Is there a lock on the bedroom door? Are there children or other family members around?
Sounds- Are there noisy distractions? Will other members of the household hear any sexual activity? Why about some relaxing music?
Smells- Are there any particular aromas that you like such as scented candles, perfumes or burning oils?
Lighting- Do you like soft lighting, a fully lit room or no light at all?
Clothing- Are there certain items of clothing that you or your partner like to wear?
Erotic stimuli- Movies, toys, aids, lube and anything else you like...
Activities- Are there activities that you both enjoy doing together? E.g. dancing classes

Have fun.  We can all get bogged down in the routine of life. Having fun, being playful and having a light-hearted approach with our partner not only contribute to the health of our relationships but also to our own personal happiness. Brainstorm 10 fun and enjoyable activities with your partner and block them into your calendar so you don’t forget to do them!

In short, by regularly and consciously investing in your partnership, you’ll feel those warm, fuzzy and squishy love feelings expand into your relationship all year round.