(The following is adapted from  Wendy Strgar, President, Good Clean Love)

Does sex ever begin for you with a mind filled with thought? “I have to do the laundry, sign Julia’s permission slip, make sandwiches for the kids’ lunchbox….”.

Sound familiar?

Maybe your thoughts are based in to to-do lists, as in the example above. Or insecurity oriented, like “Do I look fat? Does he think I gained weight?” Sometimes  thoughts are in the form of anticipation, as in “How long will this take? Should  I fake a orgasm to get it over with? I need this to be over so I can get to sleep!” Anticipation thoughts are future oriented. Thoughts based in the past can also be disruptive. “Last time we had sex I farted.” (Surprised by the example?!)

Any and all of these types of thoughts are what I call ‘trespassers’. The list is not exhaustive, by the way.  These are actual examples though from my office.

Back to trespassing…

Any trespasser will prevent the experience of embodied, delicious sex.

Mind-blowing sex demands your full presence. 100%.

It is impossible to really savor sex  when your brain is busy with its rolodex of thought.

Orgasm is out of the question when the mind is preoccupied with  anxiety or distractions du jour.

How do you quiet your mind?  How do you manage trespassers?

Tomorrow’s blog will offer some ideas. In the meantime, please share your methods!


Sex and the elephant in the room



I routinely ask my patients about sex. When I do, there is a huge sigh of relief or blushing embarrassment.

People seek therapy for lots of different reasons.  Often, the reason for the appointment is sex related, although that may not be initially revealed.

Consider a scenario in which a 30 something year old man reports a lack of interest in sexual interaction with his wife. He recognizes that there is no intimacy, romance,  or meaningful conversation about each others’ desires. Because he wants more depth in his relationship, he is seeking help. He does not know where or how to begin. He wonders if he is gay. He wonders if he has fallen out of love. He wonders if he fears that his wife wants a child before he is ready. He worries he will never be ready.

Another scenario is of a woman in her 40s who feels unattractive and fears rejection by her husband. As a result, she withholds from him.

She withholds sex. She withholds praise. She stays very busy so that she has no time for him.

There is a substantial emotional cost in both case scenarios.

How can a therapist  help?

(And just for clarification sake: A therapist’s role is to provide verbal and emotional intervention. There are strict legal and ethical standards regarding boundaries between therapist and patient. The therapist is not a masseuse or sex surrogate.)

The first step is to feel safe and comfortable in the therapy office.

Building rapport takes time. Developing skills to talk about sensitive feelings and difficult topics in the therapy office paves the way to similar discussions at home.

Learning how to have these conversations is essential.

Sex can be a powerful vehicle to personal growth and is an essential aspect of  a romantic relationship.

A recent “60 Minutes” interview of an unmarried couple in their 90s (who had been dating a few months) smiled when asked about their sex life.

Leslie Stahl asked, “Is sex still relevant at your age?”

The woman smiled, coyly. The man gave a huge grin and immediately and enthusiastically said, “YES!”

My husband and I decided an active sex life may one day be a prescription for a long life. Or at least one worth living!



Tantra? Is that some kind of Spider?

“Tantra” is one of those words that we hear and think we sort of know what it means.

I randomly asked friends, patients, and family for their definition of  Tantra.

Here are three responses:

1. “Kinky sex”

2. “HIPPY shit”

3. “Basically a tarantula spider”

None of the three guesses is correct.

So, what is Tantra?

Tantra is an over 7,000 year old system based in Eastern Philosophy.

Its main purpose is to harness the body’s energies and use them to connect with a higher consciousness.

That does sound esoteric. What does it mean?

Breathing, moving, making sounds, and focusing the mind are basic elements of Tantra.  Applying  Tantric ideas expands the Western definition of  sex. Deep and intense orgasmic experiences become  inherent to the expression of sex in the Tantra world.

But Tantra is about more than sex. It is a spiritual practice based in the belief that all living beings are connected, and that within each of us is the divine. With Tantra practice we develop a higher level of consciousness in everyday life. This  translates to embracing the natural world and finding  meaning in all relationships. The emphasis is on awareness of emotions and behaviors and how we interact with the world. This is why meditation and contemplation of the outer and inner world are so important. Tantric sex is simply applying these greater beliefs to our sexuality.

Tantra practices involve connection with a partner. The practice however starts with the individual.

The individual learns how to have a more joyous, connected  relationship with herself. This sense of ‘oneness’ is part of the preparation for sharing herself with her partner.

With Tantra,  we train our mind and heart to embrace our own sexuality.

Some Tantric practitioners adhere to the overall spiritual philosophy of Tantra. Others, though, do not necessarily devote their lives to a daily spiritual practice. More commonly, people take Tantric teachings and apply them to their life, including to their sexuality.

An example is to see your partner at the ultimate god/goddess of sexuality. Another is to apply breathing exercises to your sex life to enrich your experience.

The Kama Sutra is  a text of Tantric philosophy written 2,000 years ago by  Vatsayana, a religious scholar. The Kama Sutra is a guide to learn specific Tantric sexual practices, including positions.

Tantra is beautiful. You can  apply as much or as little as you would like to your current sexual practices.