Sex Therapy Calgary post title image showing a man and woman on a beach at edge of waves in passionate embrace kissing

Sex Therapy Calgary: Experience Extraordinary Lovemaking Today!

Counselling Calgary/Sex Therapy Calgary: Watch almost any television show or movie about sexual therapy, and you will very quickly discover why so many people are so uncomfortable with the idea of visiting a sex therapist.

sex therapy calgary psychotherapist filling in questionnaire on psychotherapy session picturePopular movies dating as far back as the 1997 sleeper hit Bliss depict psychologists and sexologists operating in the shadows of ethics and sometimes even directly violating the law. The sex therapy exercises suggested in these films are usually unethical, strange, unusual and embarrassing – typically performed in the therapist’s presence as though that was somehow normal. Sometimes, these sexual counsellors are depicted as extremely sick individuals such as in Hannibal, or, in The Sopranos, portrayed as actively participating in sexual acts with their clients. The majority of these therapists come off as creepy and lacking licensure or specific training. (Or in possession of some strange sexology degree of dubious validity with even weirder theories to match.)

As obviously misleading as those portrayals are, they have profoundly shaped the perceptions of several generations and done terrible things for the reputations of psychologists who work in human sexuality or intimacy-related marriage counselling. So often, this fundamental aspect of our profession is treated with colossal disrespect.

And, as bad as that is, it gets far worse once spirituality enters the picture.

Nearly every Calgary Christian Counsellor or Christian Psychologist who risks offering sexuality counselling very swiftly discovers what it is like to have irate Reverends, priests and other religious leaders calling to rant at them. Many have even experienced those spiritual leaders organizing other faith communities to boycott their practices for ‘crimes,’ such as recommending supportive foam wedges for lovemaking. Stripping them from referral lists for refusing to condemn a client who bought his wife sweaters from the Victoria’s Secret website (Deemed leading clients into pornography.) Shouting wildly over the phone about introducing a client to a lesbian lifestyle resulting from referring her and her husband to a female pelvic floor physiotherapist and a website that sells pyrex dilator sets to treat Vaginismus.

Given that general society thinks that couples sex therapy is borderline unethical and religious society believes that merely doing our jobs is immoral, it’s no wonder Calgarians are 33X more likely to google “Tantra Calgary” and try to seek healing for their sexual struggles in an ashram or meditation centre than to search “Sexologist Calgary.”

Yet, the needs have never been higher for all of the misinformation and drama surrounding this area. The internet has provided us all with ready access to unlimited amounts of (mostly incorrect) sexual materials but offered nearly no help for the increasing numbers of couples for whom lovemaking doesn’t work.

Take a moment and view this short web story describing the three main reasons why lovemaking sometimes doesn’t work:

(Click here to view Sexual Healing’s Web Story: Why lovemaking sometimes doesn’t work, in a separate window.)

Sex Therapy Calgary: Experience Extraordinary Lovemaking Today!

While there are so many reasons people book an appointment with a psychologist for sexual therapy, nearly all of those reasons boil down to one or more of three separate issues:

  1. Members of a couple are struggling with some sort of sexual problem that prevents them from experiencing the lovemaking they dream of.
  2. A person’s individual experience of sexuality has become fraught with pain, internal turmoil and confusion.
  3. Sexuality has become a source of anxiety instead of being a place of bonding and pleasure.

The problems may be generalized, life-long and physiological, or they may appear only in specific situations, usually due to mental or emotional responses to past or more recent experiences. But, anxiety touches all of them. That anxiety is usually the most crucial factor in any sexual struggle, even when considering issues not covered by the above list. (e.g., medical problems with blood flow to the penis)

Another way of saying that is: Extraordinary lovemaking is mostly born of self-regulation and anxiety management skills!

And that’s also why extraordinary lovemaking is so rare.

Sexual intimacy can be frightening:

virgin male hiding under covers in fear pictureIf we trust our popular media, sexual anxiety is something only experienced by virgins who, moments after their first sexual experiences, emerge into the world as strong and sexually confident adults who have now blossomed into the full flower of mature and vibrant masculinity or femininity.

That belief would be laughable, if it weren’t so damaging and painful.

In truth, taking off our clothing and learning about how human bodies and genitals work is the easy part. Experiencing 18 square inches of genital surface tissue rubbing against another does not make anyone into a man or a woman any more than it results in anything approximating instant confidence.

For most people, their first experience of sexuality is more humbling than anything – a place where we learn how little we actually know. Our next few experiences may involve less fumbling and more physical pleasure, but that only reveals how little the physical mechanics of sex matter in the overall experience and how boring and mechanical sex can become if it’s just a physical act.

We learn that our most important sex organ is between our ears instead of our legs, and that’s when the fear kicks in.

Why? Because unless sex is deeply intimate, it’s more appropriately termed f**king.

Sexual Intimacy is really pronounced “Sexual In-To-Me-See.” Some authors have stated that up to a full third of our personhood is sexual. While that may be open to debate, no one can deny how deeply our identities are shaped by gender and sexuality, nor that our sexual fantasies play a crucial role in shaping our entire sense of self. Many have pointed to the force of our sexual and relational drives for bonding and attachment, describing an inseparable linkage between them and our deepest sexual fantasies. Sex only works by way of intimacy.

We are innately sexual beings – it’s not just what we sometimes do; it is who we are.

Nowhere is that sense of sexuality as identity more critical than in lovemaking. And, nowhere is it more terrifying to express.

We primarily know and express who we are as sexual beings by way of our fantasies. While organized religion may treat sexual fantasy as the root of all evil, it’s far from a design flaw. Those fantasies are nearly the only way we share that third of our personhood with our partners. They are the only way that third of our personhood can be loved and that third of our needs can be met.

Happy intimate couple in bed with woman laying across man's lapThose fantasies allow us to share in the exploration of our sexual dreams, our wishes and our intimate needs with another and are the most important way we keep sexual desire alive in long-term relationships. When we fail to share those parts of ourselves, our desire becomes inhibited, and both partners become ever more dissatisfied with lovemaking.

But, sharing those fantasies is intensely vulnerable.

Our society is dangerously sex-negative. Oh, we tolerate sex for purposes of reproduction, but we deny, repress and denigrate those who seek to enhance sexual arousal or pleasure for its own sake. Erotic ideas that inflame sexual desires are labelled sinful by fundamentalist religion and branded as illegal and lacking in redeeming value by the state.

All of the above is carefully excluded from nearly all of our children’s sex education classes, which rarely will even acknowledge through gritted teeth that sex actually involves pleasure.

We tolerate an internet flooded with petabytes of footage featuring all combinations of naked people having sex, just as long as they stay far away from all of those anxiety-ridden fantasies and those guilt-provoking longings and desires we so deeply fear.

Virtually none of us arrive at adulthood without a shame, fear and guilt-saturated sense of sexual-selfhood. And, experiencing extraordinary lovemaking is impossible unless we are willing to share our sexual selves.

Rejected woman alone in the dark hugging herselfWhen we expose our sexual selves to another, we allow them to explore our desires, our hurts, our visions, our hopes and our pasts within an erotic context. We expose ourselves in the hope that our partners will treasure, accept and cherish the precious parts of our inner world that we share.

But, if our sex-negative society has taught us nothing else, we have all learned that what could create the most intense arousal and bonding we will ever know could also be a theatre for the most devastating rejection.

So we go silent, as our anxiety makes lovemaking into an erotically-devoid pursuit of mechanical perfection.

Sex Therapy Calgary: Taking Steps Towards Extraordinary Lovemaking.

Learning to Tolerate Anxiety:

Extraordinary lovemaking starts with the realization that the feeling of anxiety does not automatically mean that we must run away and the understanding that fear can be tolerated for the greater good. Sometimes, this requires learning breathing techniques or steps of progressive relaxation. In more extreme cases, sensate focus exercises are necessary to help get over the initial hurdles, but all of this accomplishes the same goal:

We are creating the ability to face anxiety and dial back panic to remain engaged in the erotic encounter, so a more in-depth exploration can begin.

Discovering Hidden Treasures:

Lovemaking is about the exploration of sacred ground. Perhaps our partner reveals one of his or her most private fantasies, or maybe we stumble upon some previously unexplored literal or figurative erogenous zone. Still, lovemaking progresses only when that which we have discovered begins to be used to enhance pleasure and the tension of sexual arousal. (When we see tension as something to be immediately released, we devalue the treasure we have discovered and never discover how great an intensity of arousal we can create for our partner.)The goal of all calgary sex therapists: Sunset photo of a couple standing on the edge of a beach in the waves kissing in a passionate embrace

Lovemaking is about intentionally taking advantage of these discovered treasures of intimate awareness and experimenting with them to learn how to maximize the impact so that the highest levels of emotion, eroticism, physical arousal and other tension may be explored in our partner. While physical penetration and release may eventually occur, this is the beginning of a more metaphorical penetration and orgasmic release of tension in the soul.

Sex Counselling Calgary: Sex as a form of therapy.

Of course, there is something profoundly healing in the simple experience of lovemaking with a partner fascinated enough with us to enjoy attempting to create that intensity of sexual tension, but that is only the beginning. Again, our society sexually socializes us to develop guilt, shame and fear, and, as fantasy is revealed, it is infused with such. The guilt, shame and fear carry an inherent tension of anxiety that, rather than being erased or controlled, is embraced in the erotic encounter.

As we risk losing control and embrace mystery, we receive the gift of understanding, acceptance and cherishing in those shame and guilt-inducing parts of the self. That gift cancels the power of the societal rules that created the guilt. It dissolves the internalized pain that became the sense of “badness” and deserved mistreatment that is shame, allowing the recipient to be ever more naked and loved.

Erotic Transformation:

While risky behaviours and multiple partners may offer a quick gush of fear that can imitate the intense rush of relational acceptance experienced through deep vulnerability, they ultimately ring hollow. Truly intimate sexuality is empathy in action. It’s a stage upon which hidden parts of the person and veiled desires and longings may be played out, jointly experienced and accepted.

As those secret parts of the sexual self are revealed, acceptance strips those fantasies of their capacity to create anxiety. The obsessive dreams which created shame, fear and guilt are transformed into a sense of validation, empowerment and worthiness in relationship and often cease to plague the person as they did. Thus, the person is changed, and new fantasies emerge to be explored in future lovemaking experiences.

Monogamy: Never making love to the same person twice.

Marriage Counselling Calgary couple kissing on a beach at high noon with high surf in the backgroundOne of the most common tropes in stand-up comedy is the idea that sex in marriage is repetitious, tedious, dutiful and bordering on prostitution, at least for women. Obviously, some marriages disintegrate to the point that this is funny, but most research shows they represent a small minority. In reality, the exclusive bond of a permanent relationship is the perfect context for the best sex ever – but only if it is done right.

Though few will admit it, all of us are wired to long for sexual novelty. At least some animal part of us wants every sexual encounter to be a new and different experience, or, we fear, boredom may set in. However, those who have extensively explored promiscuity will freely tell you that the more partners they have, the more bored they become.

Our desire to never make love to the same person twice is not some evolutionary craving to spread our genes far and wide. It is a testament to how deeply we all long for our sexual relationships to heal and transform ourselves and our partners. Somewhere deep inside, we all know that if that secret anxiety-filled place of guilt or shame-based fantasy could be drawn out, accepted and loved by our partners, it would change everything.

It would change so much that our partners would have a whole new sexual person to explore the next time we made love.

Sexual Healing/Sex Therapist Calgary:

Close up shot of biracial couples hands and wedding ringsSexuality is a lifelong journey, and the best lovemaking is always the result of a complicated journey of self-discovery. The best couples therapy Calgary has to offer will always be an integrated and holistic therapy that sees sexuality as essential to both the success of the relationship and each person’s growth.

So, if you’re done with quick fixes and ready to unlock your capacity to explore and be transformed by the intimate longings of another, then consider reaching out:

Sex Therapy Calgary: Experience Extraordinary Lovemaking Today!

 

 

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