Valentine’s Day is not a Hallmark Holiday

I always love Valentines Day. It’s the day to celebrate being lovers and giving presents to each other to enhance the intimacy that you share. Sounds like fun to me. A day of romantic pleasure, full of sensous delights. It’s important to communicate your expectations regarding what you would like to have happen on this […]

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How to Have a 5.1 Surround Sound Sexual Experience

Before there was 5.1-surround sound music reproduction there was something called monaural or mono. One speaker, one channel of sound being reproduced on a record player, that’s all there was back in the day. Then stereo sound came out in the 1960’s which was a major sound reproduction development. Now we have five and six […]

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What Makes Someone an Effective Listener

One major problem in most personal relationships, whether between husband and wife or between parent and child, is the inability to effectively listen to each other. This isn’t surprising to me, given that the skill of effective listening isn’t taught to most people. Yes, taught, because there is nothing “natural” about being an effective listener. Effective listening requires […]

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How to manage your anger constructively

So often my clients tell me how angry they are about some aspect of their life. Usually it involves their husband or wife regarding something that they have done or didn’t do in their relationship. I ask them where they direct their anger and they usually say at him. “ I tell him over and […]

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10 Things I Learned From My Dad

Imagine my dad as Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting meets the Dude. He’s a psychologist and a part-time professor of Human Sexuality at local community colleges and a totally mellow, zen master who loves tennis, gardening, his doggies, loud music and optimal sound, home repairs, Napa Cabs and Zins, and the occasional White Russian. […]

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How to Practice Vulnerability

To practice vulnerability, an individual needs to understand the risks involved, the downsides, and hopefully the positive payoff of being vulnerable in a personal relationship. The main reason you want to be vulnerable in a relationship is that it allows you to experience emotional and sexual intimacy. Without taking the risk of being vulnerable, intimacy […]

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How to Be More Assertive in Your Relationship

Understand that assertive communication creates a stronger bond and deeper intimacy To learn how to be more assertive in your personal relationship I think it’s important to understand the other two options of behavior that our culture offers. The first common option is passive behavior. Being passive is the outdated, traditional expectation of how women […]

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How long should you wait before dating after a breakup

“How long should I wait before dating after a break up of a relationship?” is a question that I am frequently asked by my patients. I don’t think there is one right time frame that applies to all individuals. It is more about the individual’s emotional comfort level with the idea of dating again and […]

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How to Overcome Possessiveness

The need to be possessive of a partner regardless of the reason is related to the need for power and control within a relationship. At the root of the need to control a partner as it relates to their involvement with other people in their lives is the jealous partners fear of abandonment. This fear […]

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How to Receive More Love In Your Life

The first question to ask an individual is do they believe they deserve to be loved? Some people believe they have to earn it or do something in order to be loved. They can’t just be loved for who they are in the moment, because they believe they aren’t good enough. They believe they need […]

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When Your Partner Takes You For Granted

When Your Partner Takes You For granted When you believe your partner is taking you for granted you need to see how you are enabling this condition to exist? Remember, you can’t get your partner to do anything in terms of behavioral changes. This would only result in a power and control situation, which is […]

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How can separations help improve marriages

1. Separation in marriage is a useful change when staying together is only making things worse between. It’s a way to stop the negative reinforcing experiences that are only destroying the couples relationship. It’s a way to stop the hemorrhaging of the love they have for each other.   While they are separated they can […]

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“How to get what you want without nagging”

The first step in getting what you want in an intimate relationship is to effectively communicate your desire in an adult/assertive manner. Usually people express their desires or wants in a parental/aggressive style. Most adults don’t respond well when they are talked to as if they were a children. The typical response is anger and […]

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What Does Fair Fighting Mean

“Fighting fair” within the context of an intimate relationship is a topic I have addressed on many occasions during my forty-year career as a marriage and family therapist. I find the concept of “fair fighting” problematic. The central problem I have with the concept is the use of the word “fighting” in reference to communication […]

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Marriage Rules That No Longer Apply

These are what I call the shoulds of Marriage which are stated and unstated rules that govern the roles of being a wife and a husband. They are a scripted computer program that is embedded in our heads in this culture that become operative once we say “ I do” and walk into the institution […]

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‘How to Encourage a Man to Be Emotionally Vulnerable with You

When I give a seminar about creating emotional intimacy, I am often asked about how a woman can get her husband to open up and communicate about how he feels with her. I can hear the frustration and pain in her voice from not feeling emotionally connected to her husband and the loneliness that comes […]

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What Does Intimacy Mean to a Man

As a man, I have my own personal gender experience to use as a reference point  in answering this question, but I can’t represent the views of all men. I also have my professional experience as a marriage and sex therapist of forty years to use as well when addressing this question. The popular attitude […]

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Men Who Are Emotionally Dependent, But Don’t Want You to Know

Typically, when I ask audiences who they think is more emotionally dependent, men or women, they usually say that women are more dependent, though some say men are more dependent. When I ask them why they think women are more dependent, they say it’s because women are more emotionally expressive than men. This is often […]

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Ways to Bring Back The “In Love Experience” Within a Long Term Committed Relationship

  Often people ask me: “Is it possible to fall back in love with my partner now that the novelty factor has worn off?” I answer sure it’s possible to bring love back, but you have to know what you are doing and there must be at least some emotional life left in the relationship. […]

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You Attract What You Exude

Love Starts With You, Love Yourself First Its so easy for self-help books to tell us to love ourselves or no one else will love us. Actually loving oneself is a much tougher task to tackle. Self love or self esteem is the primary foundation for any kind of healthy relationship with friends or significant others. […]

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Being Assertive the Only Style of Behavior That Works in a Relationship

When it comes to how to behave within the context of a intimate relationship most people only really know two choices. The first is being passive and the other aggressive. These are generally the only two styles that are modeled for us when we are children by our parents. The problem today is that neither […]

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Emotions Are the Life Force That Keeps a Relationship Alive and Passionate

When I have a couple setting in front of me when doing couple’s therapy I often use the metaphor that there are arteries that are between them and what flows in those arteries are their emotions. Emotions are the blood of their marital relationship; it’s what keeps it alive just as the blood flow in […]

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How to Just “Be” and Just Relax with An Experience

For so many people it’s difficult to just relax and enjoy whatever pleasurable experience they may be having. This is especially true for men. We have been psychologically conditioned with beliefs that our parents feed us when we were adolescents that play havoc on our ability to relax as adults. We were told these beliefs: […]

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Jealousy and Possessiveness Have Nothing to Do With Love

For many people being jealous in various degrees is viewed as being normal within a healthy loving relationship. Many people interpret jealousy as a demonstration that an individual loves their partner. Their partner may positively validate the fact that their partner becomes jealous. The problem is that usually jealousy and possessiveness increases over time to […]

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Emotional Sobriety: the Key to a Passionate Love Life

The concept of sobriety usually comes up in the context of alcohol or drug addiction. I like to use the concept in the context of emotions: emotional sobriety. Emotional sobriety is achieved when an individual is capable of expressing their emotions. When someone uses alcohol or drugs like marijuana habitually, usually she is using these substances as a […]

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“I Want”: The Communicative Phrase That Creates Intimacy Within A Committed Relationship

Some people have heard the term “I messages,” but I am not sure they truly understand their psychological significance. There are actually three different “I messages” that I teach to couples and students. The first, and the only one that I have heard taught, is using “I feel” statements. For example, one might say “I […]

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The Plateau Stage, the Ultimate Sexual & Intimate Pleasure Zone

Masters and Johnson discovered the four stages of the human sexual response for both men and women. The four stages being excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. There are specific physiological changes that occur in each stage. Understanding these stages helps in being able to create a great deal of sexual pleasure for yourself and your […]

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He Say’s He Loves You, But It Doesn’t Feel Like It!

Over the years of clinical practice I have often heard women patients tell me that their husbands tell them that he loves them, but they say they don’t experience their love. This conflict between what their husband tells them and how they act leaves them confused. What I tell them is that their husband is […]

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Why are we so critical of ourselves?

So often in working with patients during a therapy session I tend to hear a lot of critical self-talk. It’s as if the individual has a critical parent figure on their shoulder getting all over their case about how they didn’t do something right or how could they have been so stupid to do what […]

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When a Sexual Relationship Becomes Goal Oriented

We live in a very goal oriented society, not that this is such a bad thing except when this approach to life intrudes into our sex lives. People have financial goals, personal goals or academic goals, but when we have sexual goals they can wreck havoc on a sexual relationship from just making it predictable […]

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