Category: Hot, Healthy and Horny

Love Versus Sex: Romantic Beliefs That Destroy Your Sex Life

By Margie Nichols, Ph.D   Jack Morin says the thing that derails the sex life of long-term couples is the romantic myths they adhere to.  Below I’ve listed the most common myths we associate with love.  Take the test below: Read the following assertions- check which ones you believe: If he/she loves me, he/she will • know how to please me sexually without my saying or showing • always be turned on to me when I’m turned on to them • know instinctively when I DON’T want sex and not ask • be able to keep my level of sexual desire high no matter how long we’ve been together • be able to make sex hot under any conditions • never be attracted to anyone else • never masturbate, view porn, or engage in sexuality, even solo, that does not include me • never fantasize about anything or anyone else, especially during sex with me • always gaze into my eyes during sex • never ask for any sexual activity that makes me anxious • always like any sexual activity I want • be easy for me to turn on and give pleasure to • make me come; come at… Read more »

What Ails Women: Most Common Female Sexual Issues

By Margie Nichols, Ph.D. What ails women?  The short answer is – that elusive thing called desire.  The most common reason that women seek therapy for sexual problems is ‘lack of desire,’ which sometimes means – “the thought of sex with ANYONE leaves me cold” and other times means “the thought of having sex with him/her leaves me cold,” And desire problems can’t be fixed with a pill, not yet, anyway, maybe not ever.  Research shows that women have really different sexual patterns from men – oh, and by the way sexual orientation really doesn’t have much to do with this.  For the average woman, sex can be a high maintenance endeavor, with desire not as automatic as for men.  The conditions have to be right, she can’t be too tired or distracted by responsibilities, and she’s got to already feel close to him.  Not only that, but women seem to need more diversity, mystery, drama, whatever you want to call it — they usually can’t do the same ole’ same ole’ every time and still get terribly aroused.  Moreover, that fantasically lusty feeling both partners feel at the beginning of a relationship – it can drop off pretty dramatically… Read more »

Advice From The Sexperts: Why Sex Therapy? How Can That Help?

In the video I explain a little about the difference between sex therapists and ‘regular’ therapists – i.e., licensed psychologists, social workers, counselors- including marriage counselors.  In a word: sex therapists are specialists.  You wouldn’t go to your family physician if you needed heart surgery, and you don’t go to a counselor for help with sexual problems if they aren’t trained and certified as sex therapists.  We have to learn about the medical side of sexual dysfunctions and master the special protocols indicated for treatment of each problems.  Even licensed marriage and family therapists – the people you would most expect to have this training – are ignorant about healing dysfunction. The trouble is, many ‘generalist’ therapists don’t KNOW that they are ignorant.  Sex is still such a taboo topic that it isn’t addressed much in psychotherapy.  All of us, including therapists, grow up in a culture which is at one time exploitative of sex and on the other hand avoids open, realistic, frank talk about sex.   The ‘rationale’ for not talking about sex in therapy is that many therapists are taught that sexual problems are the result of relationship problems.  Solve the couple issues, the sex problems go away…. Read more »

What’s Love Got To Do With It? More On Sex, Love, And Relationships

By Margie Nichols, Ph.D. In a previous post I wrote about Jack Morin’s research on long-term couples who still have regular, satisfying sex lives.  Like Morin, in both my career and personal life I’ve seen great relationships with lousy sex and vice versa.   I’ve seen high passion give way to boredom, but sometimes – I’ve seen couples whose sexual relationships grew, evolved, and stayed satisfying and even transcendental.  And I agree with Jack’s conclusions that the biggest obstacles that prevent couples from maintaining a vibrant sex life are overly romanticized myths about sex, love, and relationships.  So in this post and several others I’m going to start unpacking the most common – and destructive – fairy tales we’ve  absorbed from the culture. Here we go, in no particular order: Maintaining  a good, regular sex life is crucial to a relationship.   Yes, even though I am writing here about how to have a good sex life – the above statement is a myth. There are plenty of sexless marriages.And they aren’t all unhappy.Some involve arrangements for one or both partner to get sex outside the relationship; in others, where both partners have low sex drives, sex simply drops out of the… Read more »

Sex Tips From The Experts: Passionate Long Term Couples

By Margie Nichols, Ph.D. Years ago Jack Morin wowed the field of sexology with his book “The Erotic Mind.”  He created a new paradigm for sexual arousal that explained why sex can be particularly hot if it is taboo, forbidden, unattainable, and why couples seem to lose interest in sex the longer the relationship goes on – even if the relationship is great otherwise. Now, Jack is unveiling the results of a project he began in 1996: interviewing couples together ten years or longer who still have sex at least once a week and report that the sex is satisfying and enjoyable, and at times memorable.  Morin has analyzed the data from almost 100 of these couples representing heterosexual, gay male, and lesbian couples.  And, he has compared them to couples who experience sexual distress, specifically lack of desire after some time together.  I had the opportunity hear him speak at a conference in March 2012 and will hereby attempt to summarize his results.  All credit to Morin, all mistakes are mine.:) FIRST THE TAKE HOME:                                      MORIN’S SUMMARY:  The greatest obstacle to a ‘hot’ ongoing sex life is the romantic mythology that surrounds our beliefs about sex and love.  Overall,… Read more »

We’re Coming Back. Here’s What We’ve Been Busy With 10/5/2011

The Institute for Personal Growth, the premier outpatient mental health organization with three offices in New Jersey and New York City, has launched a Postgraduate Sex Therapy Training Program. The Program, based in Highland Park, NJ, currently has fourteen residents, seasoned psychologists and social workers who are participating in intensive training to become certified sex therapists. Dr. Margaret Nichols, founder, President and Executive Director of IPG, is an American Board of Sexology Diplomate and Certified Sex Therapist of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). IPG is an official training facility for AASECT, and Dr. Nichols runs the new AASECT-sanctioned program with the help of the four other AASECT Certified Sex Therapists on the IPG staff. As the ‘Age of Viagra’ makes it more acceptable for the average person to acknowledge and seek help for sexual problems and dysfunctions, sex therapy is becoming an increasingly important specialization. In fact, IPG has not been able to keep up with demand. AASECT, the international certifying organization for sex therapists, lists only thirty sex therapists for the entire state, and five are at IPG. The Postgraduate Sex Therapy Training Program increases the number of IPG’s sex therapy specialists to nineteen,… Read more »

Sex Tips For Vanilla Couples From The Leather World, Part One

by Margie Nichols,Ph.D. I hate these kinds of articles- my eyes glaze over when I see them– and so this is the first time I’ve written one. But I think my advice might be slightly different from what you’ve have heard before.   For nearly thirty years, my two main professional specialties have been sex therapy and working with sexual minorities. So I have an unusual breadth of experience knowing about people’s sex lives – all kinds of people, all kinds of sex lives. For a long time, I’ve believed that the two types of couples who sustain the hottest sex lives over the long haul are couples with open relationships,and kinky couples. Both types of couples fight the buzz- kill of familiarity with novelty, but in different ways. (If you read Sex at Dawn, which I reviewed in my last blog piece, you’ll see why this is THE eternal problem and paradox of monogamy). But BDSM couples – many of whom are monogamous- seem to effectively combat SCS- Sexless Cuddling Syndrome- which seems to afflict a large proportion of vanilla couples. BDSM couples cuddle AND have hot sex. Let’s face it, the modern egalitarian couple shares interests, responsibilities, and… Read more »

Natural And Unnatural Sex: Sex At Dawn, By Christopher Ryan And Cacilda Jetha

Review by Margie Nichols, Ph.D. What is ‘natural’ in human sexuality? It’s not a trivial question: what is ‘natural’ is assumed to be normal, and by tenuous extension, what is ‘unnatural’ is inferior, deviant – ab-normal. We take it for granted that the ‘purpose’ of human sex is reproduction, which privileges heterosexual penile-vaginal intercourse as the most ‘natural,’ ‘preferred’ form of sexual behavior. And we assume that humans have always lived in pair-bonded nuclear families (remember the cartoons of male cavemen clubbing women?), an assumption that implies that monogamy is ‘normal,’ while multi-partnered sex is deviant, or at least evolutionarily irrelevant. Our judgments about sex, and we have many of them, have been shaped by the Bible, for the religious, or Charles Darwin, if we look to science for enlightenment. Increasingly, evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, and others interested in sexuality historically and cross-culturally are challenging Darwin’s beliefs about sexuality (Soon I’ll post a blog on “Best Books About Sex In My Professional Lifetime”). Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality adds to the literature of this vibrant and interesting multidisciplinary group of dissenters. Christopher Ryan is a research psychologist and his coauthor (and wife) Cacilde Jetha a psychiatrist. Together… Read more »

Sex Tips From The Leather World, Part 2

By Margie Nichols, Ph.D. First, let me say a little more about decoupling sex and love. Because, imho, the source of many of our sexual difficulties is our sloppy sentimentality about sex and love. The reason we personalize our partner’s sexual behavior so much is that we are viewing sexuality through lenses distorted by false assumptions. Read the following assertions: If he/she loves me, he/she will • know how to please me sexually without my saying or showing • always be turned on to me when I’m turned on to them • know instinctively when I DON’T want sex and not ask • be able to keep my level of sexual desire high no matter how long we’ve been together • be able to make sex hot under any conditions • never be attracted to anyone else • never masturbate, view porn, or engage in sexuality, even solo, that does not include me • never fantasize about anything or anyone else, especially during sex with me • always gaze into my eyes during sex • never ask for any sexual activity that makes me anxious • always like any sexual activity I want • be easy for me to turn… Read more »

The Good Enough Life: Reflection For 2011

by Margie Nichols, Ph.D. In the sex therapy field there is a wonderful concept put out by my colleague Barry McCarthy called “good enough sex.” Modeled after the old psychodynamic concept of the “good enough mother,” it proposes that people’s idealized visions of what should be – the perfect mother, the perfect sexual experience, the perfect partner – get in the way of enjoying what they ‘really’ can have. I think we need a concept of the ‘good enough life.’ I’m a boomer who has been around for a while, I came of age in the sixties, my life has been almost a caricature of a sixties lefty chick. Among many, many other adventures I’ve had in my life, good and bad, I weathered losing countless young gay male friends from 1983 through 1996, and in 2004 I lost a child, my daughter Jesse, not quite ten years old at her death. Whatever ills aging brings, it also, if you’re lucky, brings perspective. After my daughter died I felt I never would be happy again. For quite a while I felt I was living primarily for my other children. Only in the last year or two have I reached a… Read more »