Sex & Relationships: Slow Sex (OM)

I’m beginning to recommend Slow Sex by Nicole Daedone and Orgasmic Meditation (OM) as a suggested “active approach” for couples in search of new desire and arousal. Apart from the technique of OM, and the larger practice of Slow Sex, one of my favorite ideas from the book is that sex is an art, so we cannot “fail” at it. The first chapter is well written, and motivational toward a sex-positive life.

Not A Task

Erotic life is not a “task” unless we, or a partner, make it so. We can choose not to be creative in our erotic mind and sexual life, and we often do. But that is first and foremost a problem of finding creativity in life itself – as a lifelong pursuit. For those in committed relationship, treating it as a “soft” responsibility may make sense, given how important it usually is to emotional life.

Desire And Children’s Security

For those who are parents of children under 18,I am fairly firm in the belief that the childrens’ greatest security lies in the vitality of the parents desire for one another. Nothing is more sacred than the responsibility to parent well. And, parenting does little for real adult desire. The benefits of seeing one’s parents engaged in wanting each other is for many one of the warmest of childhood memories.

Still A Journey

The OM development process is sound in its methodology, involving the partners psychologically in a good if limited or basic way. There is integral use of debriefing both mind and body experience. OM can involve some frustration at certain times, or plateaus, of arousal and orgasmic response. Paired with the pleasure that’s indulged, the plateaus and non-orgasmic frustration, OM can be a valid personal development experience. It might provide in some focusing practice that some women could use to hold their arousal more stably and controllably..

Slowing Down, Noticing

OM focuses on slowing down inside, becoming more body-aware; those are the “meditative” elements. They are intended, like a cross between Tantra and the old “sensate focus” exercises from Masters & Johnson, to directly stimulate the clitoris (OM), and to foster the creative, euphoric and very alive parts of life.

Slow Sex-Positive

The larger “Slow Sex” framework is straightforwardly sex-positive I find ‘slow sex’ values very well grounded in human history and practice. The female orgasm is treated as a treasure that must be cared for and nurtured.  If Slow Sex/OM isn’t for you, it will at least stimulate a discussion of what might be.

Suggested Activities For Partners

I’ve always tried to incorporate suggested activities for couples seeking desire and arousal.  I have employed activities devised by David Schnarch, Esther Perel, Marty Klein and others. None are as directly oriented to genital stimulation

Living Passionately

OM is a modern equivalent of the “sensate focus” exercises that have been widely discredited as sex therapy. Yet the heart of the approach is about inspiring us to live fully and passionately; orgasm is but one (admittedly vital) component.

Who Will Like OM?

For couples who have maintained a relatively warm, if non-passionate, connection, there could be enough resilience, differentiation, good will and nerve to begin OM together.

For some, it will seem like a radical approach, and there’s some truth to that. Others might be put off by the openly heterosexual couple and feminist points of view. Deaden is aware of it and seeks understanding. In “Slow Sex” she also uses a motivational style that can be both annoying and sustaining. That’s part of the competitive publishing market she is in.

Partners Reconnecting

After five years as a book, and longer in the making, Slow Sex/OM remains fresh and well-grounded in what it’s trying to do – to re-connect partners actively and simply through a powerful channel, as part of a life to be reinvigorated with pleasure, new commitment, generosity and creativity.

 

Online Therapy Using VSee Instead of Skype

What Is VSee?

online therapy

 

 

For all online therapy appointments, I use VSee instead of Skype. VSee calls its product a “telemedicine platform”. Unlike Skype, Vsee has embraced the big Federal law known as HIPAA, which governs privacy for individual health information. It offers the legally required service contract to health care professionals, which my office has completed. That agreement is necessary to legally qualify my online video communications as being sufficiently compliant legally for secure online therapy.

For users like myself and my clients, VSee is visually about the same quality as Skype. It is apparently somewhat better encrypted (most security vulnerability is due to local internet access, e.g. wireless network protection, including firewalls.)

Guidelines For Use Of Online Therapy

I make selective use of online video with clients. Most often, I use it with clients who are moving or traveling away from Seattle and wish to continue our work. These are all clients who have been seen for a number of office appointments.

Couples therapy via video is quite unproven as far as any increase or decrease in effectiveness. No public research is available on this.

Preferred Uses

Increasingly, online streaming video is being used for psychotherapy. The research so far shows that this medium is effective for a limited number of psychotherapeutic goals.

I prefer to use it with counseling & therapy clients I have seen in the office. A two-dimensional screen diminishes my view of the client in significant ways. Even the best audio quality loses some important nuance. The containment and consistency of the office setting is lost.

In-Person Appointments

Having some in-person experience is vital to perceiving the video/audio accurately. To begin an intake with video would I believe require more appointments, in order to build a good clinical foundation including the client’s overall presentation (including gait, posture, etc.)

Registering With VSee

Registering as a user with VSee is free. It will download the app that streams the video to your computer. You can create ‘Contacts’ as easily as with Skype.

Relationship & Couples Therapy: How Long Will It Take?

Couples seeking relationship and couples therapy in Seattle sometimes ask a particular question when we set up a first appointment on the phone: “How long will couples therapy take?” I’d like to discuss some common reasons for that question, and then offer a different take on it.

The Common Reasons

The usual curiosity behind that question has to do with the duration and financial cost of treatment. Those issues are also about the effectiveness and efficiency of the therapist. As the sayings go, “money does not grow on trees.” And, “time is our most valuable resource.” Yet on that first call, it’s nearly impossible to give an informed or comprehensive response to these questions. There are too many unknown factors.

Prior Therapy

A background for these questions is often the clients’ prior experience in therapy (in Seattle or elsewhere.) Prior therapies may have lost their forward drive, meandered into advice sessions, vague questions about feelings, forgettable homework, excessive therapist self-disclosure, ‘small talk’ or passive listening (the so-called therapist “blank screen.”)1 Difficulties in developing the therapeutic relationship can manifest in many ways:

Communication problems©The New Yorker, January 27, 2014. Cartoonist: Harry Bliss

No Stigma

Couples often feel badly or anxious about being in treatment. The idea of getting as little help as possible seems sensible, avoiding stigma.  I’ll often hear that:

  • the problems are “about communication”
  • the goal is to “fix” the relationship
  • the solution is receiving “tools” from the therapist.

It can sound like a car needing repair due to a constant noise. The actual relationship situation is usually a bit more dire than how it’s originally described. But beginning treatment can soon reveal the depth of the problem and what hope exists for improvement. Even the more superficial start to therapy can soon lead to greater depth and meaning.

Intense Worry, Then Relief

At the other end of the scale, I get calls from partners who are emotionally injured, alienated from each other – and actively making it worse. They wonder if help is even possible, or years might pass before they find a happier, more secure place. Sometimes, “enough” improvement arrives faster than any of us expected at first. 2 The clients sometimes terminate treatment at that point out of a sense of immediate relief, though the amount of personal & relational growth is fairly minimal.

Different Strokes For…

So, I take a different approach to the question of “how long will therapy take?”

My practice experience reveals that the shape of the relationship I build with relationship clients differs according to several factors. Each committed relationship has its own set of stories of personal development. It’s also a story of relational development. Where and how I fit into an improvement in each partner’s functioning is different, even when the presenting issues are familiar to me.

Putting Out “Fires”

Some clients want me to “put out fires.”  They begin treatment, leave when they feel better and achieve some new sense of security. They might return when the next “fire” is burning.  That fire might look different to them, even when I can link the nature of the crises fairly closely.

Long Term Role

Some clients seek a longer term relationship. I occupy a position where I provide a range of interventions. We work together to find linkages between different “issues.” Time is spent with each partner’s personal development, as well as keeping pace with whether, or how, they can raise their level of differentiation.3 The longer term presence of the professional can bring about a gradual but durable change in the interaction between partners. I believe this observation to be mostly true, and, one of the less well understood phenomena in this work.

How Often?

The question “How long will it take?” doesn’t take into consideration “how often?” Typically, I work more frequently with clients early on in the relationship, and less frequently as the relationship develops. But there’s no single pattern: I’ve worked monthly with some couples, or every two weeks, for anywhere between three months and ten years.

Individual/Relational

The duration or frequency of therapy is not the only criterion. Sometimes it’s about the (flexible) structure of how the therapist will influence the client.

Some relationship clients want a therapist that they can work with individually as well as relationally. To my thinking, this requires the most skill and experience that a therapist can bring to the office. Most couples therapists have been taught that they should never give partners confidentiality from one another, or only see them together.4 The fear is that keeping a secret will over-identify the therapist with that client, as well as risk a mistaken disclosure of the secret.

Your ‘Private Space’

The approach that has developed allows for each individual to have their private ‘space’ in therapy. This privacy links to the individuality that partners rightfully retain in a relationship. This way of working is often useful with couples who have lost sexual desire for one another. It can heighten their differentiation, which allows for two secure adults to actually become far closer while being more self-disclosing.

A Helpful Preview?

I hope this provides a helpful preview to people seeking relationship therapy. I mean to address all types of relationships, from 30 year long monogamies to 6 month-old polyamories.  It’s not easy to know ahead of time how our relationship(s) should be structured, much less how long they might last. Yet if you can settle into a form that makes sense to you, it should deepen our common purpose, provide a useful orientation and a clearer contract for seeking and receiving help.

 

 

  1. Clients usually tell me that they did not disclose to another therapist the reasons they suddenly stopped seeing him/her.
  2. Never underestimate the value of a really strong complaint.
  3. an idiosyncratic weblink that fairly deftly positions classic Bowen theory with the advances brought about by Schnarch.
  4. the primary exception is using individual interviews to assess domestic violence