3 Ways to Put the Fun Back Into Your Sex Life — One May Surprise You!

(Sampled from my official Huffington Post blog)

Sex is about a lot of things, sometimes different things to different people. Despite many years of working with couples of all ages, races, and personality types, I am still amazed by how much the meaning of sex can vary from person to person.

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That being said, most people seem to want some similar outcomes from their sexual relationships. Jordan Gray, a relationship coach, says that all people want to feel loved and to feel safe. He believes a war is being waged against women’s self-esteem, sexuality and safety from a very young age. I would agree with him.

Because women have so many dis-empowering messages being sent regarding their sexuality, they need to have a safe space where they feel they can trust their partners.

While I believe that men also need to trust, because they are generally the aggressors in our society they feel less of a need for safety.

Mr. Gray also feels women need to feel seen, to know that you hear them and are aware of their emotional states. Men need to understand that this doesn’t mean they are asking to have you fix their problem, but just to understand their feelings. Of course, women want to feel sexually desired. Men want this as well…..

Click HERE to read the full blog post –

Women and Power – in the Workplace and in the Bedroom

This week, I heard a very disturbing report from a foreign correspondent about how the Chinese are reacting to news of Hilary Clinton’s candidacy for President.

It seems that the Chinese Internet is abuzz with hate mail, calling her an “old witch” and many far-worse things.

imagesWhen the interviewer asked the correspondent why the Chinese feel this way, he said there were two reasons.  One was the fact that as Secretary of State Ms. Clinton was very hard on the Chinese government.  The second was that in China, women are viewed as having value only as sexual beings or if successful and powerful, it is thought to be because they are “manly”.  In other words, they have no intrinsic value as women, but since men are inherently strong and worthwhile, powerful women must be “manly” (having qualities of men).

What is so upsetting about this is that it negates any value for a woman as her own person, with her own abilities and mind.

All around the world right now, women are being badly mistreated and their worth ignored. They are considered to be objects and abuse is acceptable.  How can women expect to have self-worth and feel good about themselves when our societies keep trying to move backward in time and take away their personhood?

I believe that women must start to believe in themselves and each other to develop a true sense of self-esteem.  If they haven’t been given this as children from loving and caring parents who respected them, they must get it elsewhere.  Often women treat each other with disdain, siding with men to hurt or abuse other women.  Things like stoning or other violent punishments in many countries often involve other women as well as men.  This is because these women have been basically brainwashed to believe what the men have told them.  They are afraid to stand up to the men as they then may be harmed as well.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.01.32 AM 2I think we need all the strong women we can get in the world.  Women can start by taking some risks in their everyday life.  They can try being in charge in the bedroom sometimes.  Many women are too afraid to even ask for what they want sexually for fear of alienating the man in their lives.  If your husband or significant other is so threatened he can’t handle your expressing your wants and needs, then he needs to deal with his problem, it’s not yours.

Powerful women are not a threat to confident men, only to insecure ones.  Learning to see yourself as a separate and unique individual who can function independently is an important first step towards true independence. A sense of independence is something that is inside you, not something that is given to you by someone else.

Encouragement and support are essential and can come from anywhere or anyone. Reaching out to girlfriends or family members is a good start.  Finding something you believe in is equally important.  You will gain strength if you are working to accomplish something you value and care about.

Single or Married – Do Women Have a Choice?

There is a new book out (which I haven’t yet read) by Kate Bolick called “Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own”.  The author’s background is impressive.  She is a contributing editor to The Atlantic, a freelance writer for Elle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Also, she is single.

I read an article about the book in The Washington Post and a couple others as well.  What I found so interesting is that this woman who is clearly very successful and quite attractive has found it very difficult to make a choice to be single.  I completely understand this, as it is a topic I indirectly deal with in my book, “Sizzle”.  I believe that our culture, even in 2015, still puts heavy pressure on women to grow up, find a man and marry, and then to have children.22696026-Break-up-ending-relationship-between-husband-and-wife-Couple-in-divorce-crisis-Man-woman-unhappy-hol-Stock-Photo

While this is a perfectly acceptable route to take if it is what one wants, my experience as a psychotherapist has taught me that many women, if not most have never really chosen this.  They followed the path shown to them by family, friends, Church or Synagogue, and society at large.  Few women I have come across at any age have really examined their own lives and feelings to determine what they felt was best for them.  Many marry and then a few years later, or in some cases, many years later, come to me saying they feel empty and unhappy and not in control of their own destinies.  They look back to the time they married, and feel they had no choice.  They would have been looked down on, ostracized, for picking a future as a single woman. They cite fear of a future by themselves and pressure as the reasons they married.

Many women have told me they fell in love with their husbands, but now realize that they could have lived together for a while and then gone their separate ways.  They did not have to make a lifelong commitment and end up angry and unfulfilled.  They say that they wanted to travel, see the world, and explore different parts of themselves that the boundaries of married life and children did not allow.

 Ms. Bolick tells us about five women from literary history that were her inspiration.  Each took her life into her own hands and pursued her own dreams.  She discusses how single women have changed their role in society’s order, and how much this role is determined by political, economic and cultural conditions in the society at any given time.

imgresI am not seeing enough independence of thought and decision among women today and it bothers me. While they have made great strides in the workplace, expectations for them by men and our culture seem to be stuck where they were a hundred years ago.  There is clearly still a stigma to being an unmarried woman into your thirties and beyond.  People try to “find someone for you” and encourage you “not to give up” as though your singleness is an illness or a blot on your desirability.

People seem unwilling or unable to recognize that this might be a choice a woman has made because she wants the freedom of this kind of lifestyle.  They also don’t seem to understand that choice is a fluid thing, not stagnant.  You can choose one thing at one point in your life then choose the opposite later.  There are also many choices in between.  A woman can be married, single, live with someone else, live alone but be in a relationship, or she can have an affair.  I am not making any judgments about these choices, merely stating that they exist in the real world.  They are options apart from marriage.

The choice (or lack of it) about marriage is closely connected to choices about sexuality.  Women have allowed themselves to be put in structured roles as to their sexuality.  As a result, I see many very confused women who are embarrassed, ashamed or angry with who they are sexually.

We are sexual beings.  It is a major part of our identity.  If we are taught to deny it, how can we feel like complete human beings?  How can we have the confidence to give ourselves to someone else physically?  How can we feel really free?

Finally, it’s not about being a single woman or a married woman.  It’s about having the freedom and strength of character to make your own choice.

Art Imitating Life or the Other Way Around?

I saw a very lovely movie Sunday night – 5 to 7 – written and directed by Victor Levin.  In addition to being really well-written (always a joy to a fellow writer) it was a very interesting and somewhat personal movie for … Continue reading

What Are You Really Seeing When You Look at a New Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

You’ve met a new woman – maybe at Starbucks or at a party.  She’s smart, very pretty and best of all, she seems to like you.  You’ve taken that first step and asked her out for pizza.  Now you’re sitting … Continue reading

Older Women, Younger Men: A Short-Term Trend or a New Definition of Relationship?

In this post, I’d like to explore a few different aspects of relationships between older women and younger men.

For many people, the first thing they think of is the term cougar.  Courteney Cox brought this term into the mainstream with the title of her TV show, Cougar Town.  As a relationship specialist, I was very interested in seeing this show when it first began, but I’m sad to say I was very disappointed.  Rather than tackle any real issues of substance that these kinds of couples face, the show was just another superficial comedy.

In a New York Times article by Sarah Kershaw back in 2009, she wrote about “Rethinking the Older Woman-Younger Man Relationship”.   “The term cougar raises hackles among women who say the image of a wild animal, however sleek and beautiful, prowling for victims – or an army of Mrs. Robinsons on the march for men young enough to be their sons – is demeaning.”  Demi Moore who was married to fellow actor Ashton Kutcher for many years, was often described as a cougar, but so have sex-starved women slinking through bars for young men to satisfy nothing but physical needs.

Director Sam Taylor and Actor Aaron Johnson have a 23 year age gap in their relationship

Director Sam Taylor and Actor Aaron Johnson have a 23 year age gap in their relationship

Ms. Kershaw gives us many more details about cougars, from the Urban Dictionary definition to what sociologists are saying.

I believe that the time has come for all of us to recognize the value in these kinds of relationships.  Older women have lots of life experience, are often more financially secure and have achieved many of their professional goals.  They don’t need a man to take care of them; they can take care of themselves.  Younger men appreciate and respect that, and also often feel that these women can teach them much about life.  The older women appreciate the enthusiasm and spontaneity of younger men, who often pull them along to try new things and take risks they might otherwise not take.  They also are usually less competitive with women than equal or older age men tend to be.  This is from my experience as a therapist working with these kinds of couples.

In her web site EmpowHER, Pink Wrangler states that a young man, Michael, 28, when questioned about why he was attracted to older women said, ” women in their twenties are a) quite boring, b) quite unintelligent, c) only wanting to settle down into some kind of marriage situation, and d) really not bringing much to the table.”  She then asked him the top three things that appealed to him about older women.  His response -“Sexually, they know specifically what they want.  That helps a younger cub that is not necessarily inexperienced but may lack direction and confidence in terms of how to please a woman.  A younger woman in her twenties probably doesn’t know herself or what she likes so she wouldn’t be able to communicate it”.

These kinds of relationships can work – they just may take more effort than many traditional relationships.  Also, the men and women need to understand what they are likely to have to deal with.  Friends, family and society may make things difficult, trying to make them feel guilty or wrong for caring about someone when there is a large age difference. 

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Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon

Many celebrities have made these relationships work.  Check out Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, 11-year age difference, or Robin Wright and X-Men actor Ben Foster, 14-year difference.  There’s Tina Turner and Erwin Bach, 16 year difference, Hugh Jackman and Deborah-Lee Furness, 13 years apart.  There are many more, including lots of briefer relationships that Hollywood’s A-list actresses such as Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Anniston have had. They claim that the relationships broke up for reasons other than the age difference.

Based on the couples I have worked with as well as lots of new data, I believe that the older woman – younger man is going to become a much more common and accepted kind of serious and committed relationship and is here to stay.