January/February 2016View All Issues
I suspect that no matter how sophisticated we become about sex in the abstract, there’s some half-hidden, unacknowledged suspicion within most of us that sex—or at least the way we personally experience and think about it—is peculiar, if not downright bizarre.
The Unspeakable Language of Sex
Why Are We Still so Tongue-Tied?
If you’re like most couples therapists, you know how to help partners communicate more clearly, handle conflict with less uproar, and connect more emphatically. But 50 years after the so-called sexual revolution, many therapists are still unsure about how and when to talk about sexual issues. In our obsession with pop sexuality, we’ve vastly overestimated the power of sexual acts while vastly underestimating the feelings associated with them. Read More
The Mystery of Eroticism
Rethinking Conventional Wisdom
It’s long been the conventional wisdom among couples therapists that if couples fix the emotional issues in their relationship, their sexual lives will improve. However, good intimacy doesn’t guarantee good sex. Couples today are confronting a new frontier in the basic understanding of what marriage is all about. Since most of us grew up in sexual silence, therapists need to ask more probing questions when it comes to doing good couples therapy. Read More
The Dance of Sex
If you’re going to help a couple get closer and really learn to work harmoniously with one another, whether in bed or anywhere else, the key is helping partners experience bonding moments that open them to becoming emotionally accessible to each other. If you can do that, their bodies will follow, and sex will almost always improve. Read More
The Case for Porn
Porn is polarizing. Porn is confusing. Porn can be alarming. For therapists, porn can push us out of our comfort zone and trigger negative countertransference. But one thing is for sure: porn is everywhere, and it’s here to stay. But this doesn’t mean that we’re being overwhelmed by an epidemic of “porn addiction,” as some people suggest. Porn can play a big role in achieving “rec-relational” lovemaking, and it doesn’t have to take away from a secure attachment. Read More
The Sex-Starved Marriage
A sex-starved marriage isn’t about the number of times per week or per month people are actually having sex. It’s one in which one spouse is longing for more touch, more physical closeness, more sex, and—here’s the rub—the other spouse is thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just sex.” But it’s a huge deal because it’s really about feeling wanted, loved, and connected. It places the marriage at risk of infidelity and divorce. Read More
Transforming Sexual Narratives
From Dysfunction to Discovery
Inside Hookup Culture
Are We Having Fun Yet?
In Search of the Big Story
Learning to Ask the Beautiful Question
This March, poet, storyteller, and philosopher David Whyte—this year’s Symposium keynoter—returns to Washington DC to share his wisdom. Whyte specializes in helping people make sense of their life’s journey in a way that ordinary psychology can’t. In his latest book, he uses redefinitions of some familiar words to jog us awake and say, “Open your eyes! Watch! Listen! Smell! Pay attention!” Read More
The Remarriage Triangle
Working with Later-Life Recouplers and their Grown Children
The Art of Presenting
Understanding What Your Audience Needs
Losing Our War on Stress
It’s time to reconsider our approach
Who’s the Grown-Up Here?
Helping parents abandon the “buddy” system
The Last Dance
Awakening a Mother’s Joyful Spirit