Popular Topic - Sex & Sexuality

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Marriage at the Turning Point

The Affair as Crisis and Opportunity

May/June 1989
Back in the 1950s, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Hollywood's perfect young couple, shocked their fan-magazine public by divorcing after Fisher's scandalous affair with Elizabeth Taylor. In those innocent times, lots of people, myself included, took this spectacle very seriously.

Getting the Message

Five Classic Patterns of Infidelity

May/June 1989
Craig Johnson had only slept with Karen three times before his wife discovered he was having an affair. He doesn't think much about Karen any more, but his wife Ruth will never forget her.

In the Marriage Zone

When We Are Two

November/December 1988

Marriage is the most dangerous form of love. Count the casualties and you know. It turns many people to stone. We all have seen that. Our society is cracking under the weight of many stone-lives. We all know that. But will we, or will we not, discover all that a man and woman can be? Marriage is not the answer, but it is the most demanding way to live the question.

Editor’s Note

January/February 2016
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.
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The Unspeakable Language of Sex

Why Are We Still so Tongue-Tied?

January/February 2016
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.

The Mystery of Eroticism

January/February 2016
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.
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The Dance of Sex

January/February 2016
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.

The Case for Porn

January/February 2016
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.

The Sex-Starved Marriage

January/February 2016
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.
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Transforming Sexual Narratives

From Dysfunction to Discovery

January/February 2016
Therapists too often ignore the importance of the longstanding, often unconscious stories that partners carry with them into their sexual relationship. Helping them share these stories with each other can open the pathway to erotic discovery.
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