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Erotic Intelligence

Reconciling Sensuality and Domesticity

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - America, in matters of sex as in much else, is a goal-oriented society that prefers explicit meanings, candor, and "plain speech." I often suggest an alternative with my clients: "If you want to create more passion in your relationship, why don't you play a little more with the natural ambiguity of gesture and words, and the rich nuances inherent in communication."

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VIDEO: What Infidelity Looks Like

All Types of Cheating Have This in Common

Tammy Nelson

Of course, sexual affairs are red flags for infidelity, but there are common elements that make any outside relationship an infidelity. Sex therapist Tammy Nelson explains what they are and how to spot them.

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Esther Perel's Secret to Weathering an Affair

Two Ways Couples Who Bounced Back Made It Happen

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - For several years, I've been contacting couples I've treated to find out more about the long-term impact of the infidelity that brought them to therapy. What were the useful shock absorbers that sustained the couple? Did they think that therapy had helped? I identified three basic patterns in the way couples reorganize themselves after an infidelity.

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VIDEO: Joe Kort on Doing Your Best Work with LGBTQ Clients

The Myth of Sex Addiction, Common Mistakes, and More

Joe Kort

Is the sex addiction model doing more harm than good? What's the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity? And what are the most common mistakes therapists make when working with LGBTQ clients, and how can you avoid them? Sex therapist Joe Kort answers these questions and more.

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Can Open Relationships Work?

How to Know When They're Right (or Not) and How to Set Ground Rules

Rick Miller

By Rick Miller - Even for healthy couples, opening up a relationship in a way that’s not destructive is hard work and requires a great deal of communication around what is and isn’t acceptable. Yet even with these guidelines established, helping couples navigate this territory is a challenge. Here are some best practices.

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Is Consensual Nonmonogamy Right for Your Clients?

...And Why Nonmonogamous Couples Tend to Avoid Couples Therapists Like the Plague

Margaret Nichols

By Margaret Nichols - In past decades, the only alternatives to involuntary celibacy in a relationship were affairs or divorce. But increasingly, people, including therapists, are recognizing there’s another option: consensual nonmonogamy. The idea isn’t new, but nonmonogamy is threatening to a lot of therapists for the same reason it’s threatening to most people: we instinctively want to believe that these unconventional relationships are flawed.

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Esther Perel’s Growing Cultural Presence

Expanding the Conversation on Couplehood

Lauren Dockett, Rich Simon

By Lauren Dockett and Rich Simon - By questioning some of the fundamental premises of traditional marriage, couples therapist Esther Perel has become, at least for the moment, psychotherapy’s public face and most quotable voice. But what is she saying that’s so intriguing and makes her stand out from all the other relationship experts our field produces?

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Can Open Relationships Ever Work—and When Should Therapists Support Them?

Helping Your Clients Create a Relationship "Contract"

Rick Miller

By Rick Miller - Partners who are basically healthy as individuals and stable as a couple may benefit from an open relationship. Even in our highly sexualized society, alternative arrangements such as open relationships may seem alien and intimidating to many people, but as therapists, our challenge is to be less prudish and frightened by potentially negative outcomes.

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VIDEO: Making the Case for the Emotional Man

Pat Love Explains Why We Need to Rethink the "Empathy Gap"

Pat Love

Have you ever wondered if some men in your practice are simply unable to listen, connect, and empathize with their partners? According to Pat Love, it’s more likely that our definition of empathy is just too narrow.

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How Affairs Can Reveal and Even Heal Relationship Dysfunction

Tammy Nelson's Three-Step Process for Recovering from Infidelity

Tammy Nelson

Even though our ideas about sex and sexuality have greatly advanced over the last half-century, our culture still holds a double standard about infidelity: we still tend to pathologize women or shame them for having affairs. In my view, far from being evidence of pathology or marital bankruptcy, a woman’s affair can be a way of expressing a desire for an entirely different self, either separate from the marriage altogether or still in it. By understanding this, therapists have an opportunity to help troubled couples create a new relationship with better communication, fuller intimacy, and realistic hope for a better future together.

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