” How do I know if I have had an orgasm?”

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Yep,  I said it.  I have seen many women of all ages, races and cultures who have come to me for various reasons over the years, reasons unrelated to sexual issues, yet somewhere in the middle of our therapy session they blurt it out, like ripping off a band-aid; ” I don’t think I have ever had an orgasm how would I know?” Tears usually follow then embarrassment.  Most always, they have never told a soul, they are too embarrassed. Not even the ones who they have been married for 25 years or more, or their boyfriend or girlfriend who they have been dating or living. They usually have not masturbated and if they have, “Nothing happened”. I usually follow with: “You would know if you had one, but you can get there “.

Believe it or not this vignette is not as unusual as you think. Woman of all ages from 18-60 often keep this as a secret. I even treated a lesbian who was 28 years old share with me that when she was involved with men, and she had dated men all her life, and even briefly married, she had not had orgasms until she was with another woman. Of course that makes sense, she was with someone who had the same equipment, who taught her about her own body.  My point, is that as women, most of us have never discussed details of being a woman with our mothers, even as adults. I applaud the moms out there and there are some, who aren’t afraid or intimated to discuss these issues with their daughters.  And there are lots of women who have very open and frank discussions with their moms about questions they have or concerns about their bodies and sexual topics. Boys and men?  In my experience, it so much more normalized. We often say as parents ” You know, Johnny is taking awfully long showers nowadays, he is at that age if you know what I mean” (wink). I have found, that VERY few parents discuss with their girls  how to understand or get to know their bodies. Of course most parents discuss whether or not to get on birth control, whether or not to have sex and at what age, pregnancy issues, and they’re monthly cycle.  Don’t even get me started on STD’s.  But how many mothers or fathers for that matter talk about it with their girls? Is it permitted? Is it taboo?  Is it assumed that it’s not needed? 

I generally encourage my female clients with these concerns to go buy the book ” Our Bodies Ourselves”.  Initially printed in 1971, and still a highly popular book in its 9th publication and in 26 foreign editions. It educates about the female anatomy, female sexual health, sexual orientation, childbirth reproduction, mental health, menopause, etc. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a daughter to give to them as a gift. Even if you think your daughter will say: “Mom? Really?”. Trust me there is a lot of mis informed  woman and men out there who have learned from their peers, in  the area of sex, STD’s, and things you would not imagine. I have had several young girls who started their period who unknowingly inserted a tampon in their ass because they didn’t know where to insert it or how, and were not taught anything different. 

So in short, for those out there who feel alone in this area, or who don’t feel sexually empowered, go buy your self a vibrator, educate yourself and get to know your body. It’s your body and it will listen to you.  If you have a partner,  ask him or her to explore with you when your ready, what you like and what you don’t like. Its better than your husband or partner becoming angry or frustrated that they are not pleasing you, if they even know.

Simple Rules for Communication

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It’s hard to know how to argue. We learn from our parents, and if that tells you anything like most of us, it’s a skill that requires learning. If you follow these basics I promise you that communication becomes easier. I’m talking about how to talk not solving the issue itself.

1. No Name Calling: Do I need to list these? Nah

2. No Interrupting: Let the other person finish. Interruption when a person is trying to share their view STOPS the process and doesn’t allow the other person to be heard. Bite your lip. If you are talking or thinking about what to say next, you are not listening.

3. No Character Assassination:  These are allegations that the person you are fighting with might be a bad or unpopular member of his family, have a bad relationship with his or her friends, co-workers or children or is not respected by his colleagues.  Or that he/she had issues with his or her X that was similar. Not nice, not needed.

4. No Physical Violence: No hitting, throwing of objects, punching, scratching, spitting, you get it.

5. No Leaving the Room: Unless you are going to give yourself a time out to cool off, leaving in the middle of an argument is a power move and avoidance. It makes the other person feel unimportant, disrespected, and cut off. If you feel things are not getting anywhere and escalating, tell the person you’re arguing with that you need time to cool off AND (this is key) TELL THEM WHEN YOU WILL RETURN TO FINISH THE DISCUSSION AND WHEN It should be within 24 hours at the latest. An hour or two would be best. Or if you’re really good 10 minutes should do. Otherwise the topic never gets fully discussed and goes subterranean. Only to come up another time, most likely in the middle of your next fight

6. No Switching:  This occurs a lot when I see couples and it sounds like this:  

Person A ” When you leave stuff on the floor in the bedroom, it makes me feel irritated. I have asked you to work on this and you keep doing it! ”  

Person B “OMG are you kidding me? You leave your dishes everywhere in the house, your one to talk”.

Switching STOPS the process and will easily send you both onto another million tangents that you both are angry about. Lots of couples do this. If you want to bring up an issue bring it up SEPARATELY or at another time. Not this time.

7. No Abusive Language:  In other words no cuss words or vulgarity. It’s easy to say things like this when we are angry. The only thing this does is give us release but in doing so, it  shows disrespect toward the other person and STOPS the process. Use words that mean the same thing. I know it’s hard to find another work for “fuck!”   (My personal favorite), there are a zillion other things you can say when things are heated.

Sex and Women

Simple Rules:
Don’t expect to have sex with your woman if your fighting, and/or she doesn’t feel emotionally close to you or your not tending to her emotions by listening.
You may get a few romps in, but most women, not all, simply don’t want to have sex if they are angry,
pre occupied, upset or feel distance from you.
Solution: INTIMACY ❤️
Lay with her, talk, ( and please also about things she is interested in and it only has to be for a few minutes) hold hands, rub her back,stroke her hair.
BUT DO NOT attempt to have sex with her at this juncture!
I have heard and from woman of all ages  “When he holds me or when I try to be affectionate to get emotionally close he expects to have sex, so I just kind of push him away and tell him  ” Umm we are not having sex” .

You want sex?
Learn to talk, practice holding hands, looking at her with loving eyes, ask how she is, play together, this builds intimacy which creates awesome sex.
If a woman feels important to you and loved and listened to, she will want to please you and want to be pleased.
Good sex starts with our biggest organ our brain.

“…you never don’t listen to me! “What?”

Listening . It means SO much MORE then “repeating back” the words the other person has verbalized . It is an act of getting outside yourself, putting your feelings aside, your erroneous thoughts aside, like the grocery list, a call you need to make, your sweater is itchy, etc.  we all know when someone isn’t “really” listening don’t we?
Be present emotionally, be honest, about it. And please have good eye contact, & body language, share your support by asking what the person needs to feel supported and what they need what can you do? ASK.
What you and I need may be very different from what Mr A needs or Mrs X needs. One person might want a hug. Someone else might simply appreciate you asking and that’s enough. Another may need you to demonstrate verbal support by telling them something hopeful.

If you don’t know what to say try, fake it. The words are not as important as the energy behind the intent and your sincerity. And most people? They can tell if you give a damn. I hear it everyday. Doesn’t matter what you say or do. If you really aren’t emotionally present, they feel it. And if you grew up in a home where there was alcoholism, emotional abuse, or mental illness, you can bet you have what I call A
“Super Power”.  A keen instinctual ability to lock on to bullshit. And 99% of the time be right about your gut.
More on that later…
Relationships, friendships, marriages, sibling relationships, co workers and even potential employers are all impacted by your presence, or lack of.

Listening isn’t just being able to repeat the words. It’s making a connection to someone who has reached for you. It’s real, its about THEM. NOT you. Be a good listener. Don’t give advice, or judge, or make a new campaign to “help them” fix unless they ask.
Just listen. Control your need to fix. Just listen. Let a little silence occur in the conversation it’s ok, that’s a moment, your there with them. Your present. And when your present you have given them the best gift ever. You. It doesn’t get any better then that.

” Honey can we talk ?”

When you need to have a conversation with your boyfriend or husband remember this: keep it to 5-7 minutes.
One thing a man hates to hear is:
” we need to talk” or ” can we talk”
As many men have told me they immediately begin to tune out to the possible surge of emotion and informational details about your feelings and thoughts. It’s overwhelming to them and often they are unsure what exactly to tend to in your processing. So please ladies
” hey can we talk it will only be 5 min promise” then you will have his full attention.

What is this Purple Couch?

I am a licenced psychotherapist in the Washington, DC area in private practice. In my office, I have a dark purple velvet couch folks love to sink into before they share how i can help them. Many of my clients over the years have said “Dr. T you shoukd write a book and call it the purple couch” Well, I’m not a doctor, and they know that, but seem set on calling me that anyway. I thought starting a blog might be a nice start. Feel free to peruse and comment. I love hearing from you.

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Any unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to thepurplecouchblog.com ® or Theresa M. Perfetto, LCSW, P.C. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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