What is conscious sex therapy?
Dear Dr Nekia,
I know that you offer one-on-one and private counselling sessions on relationships, marriages, and sex therapy, but I did not know that you offered something called conscious sex therapy. What exactly is it? How does conscious sex differ from regular sex therapy, and how do I know if it would work for me? There are so many new age therapies going around that it is hard to know what to choose and what works and what doesn't.
What Is Conscious Sex
Dear What Is Conscious Sex,
Sex therapy is based on the mental, emotional and physiological responses to sexual stimulation. It analyses key data and patterns of behaviour — from arousal through to engaging in sexual acts of gratification and after — in order to formulate a therapeutic plan to help individuals who need advice or intervention of some sort.
Conventional sex therapy follows set rules and guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. Conscious sex therapy builds upon that foundation by including such factors of arousal as a person's belief system, environment, experiences, group identity and overall personality or personal identity in therapy sessions.
In this way, the counsellor is able to bring the client to a place where he or she can make sexual, romantic and relationship choices based on conscious decisions instead of trauma, emotions, instant gratification and autonomic urge responses. Being so aware of your sexuality may seem tedious and cumbersome. It may seem as though it would get in the way of the enjoyment of sex, but the opposite is true. Once we begin to explore and understand who we are as sexual beings, we open the door for us to create and experience healthier, more satisfying relationships, marriages and sex lives.
We do not realise that many of our choices, much of our heartache and our ability to be satisfied as well as our ability to satisfy others, is rooted in the unknown or unrealised parts of ourselves. They act as blind motivators to our thoughts, emotions and actions which determine our path and shape our reality. So many of us are closed to the idea of intimacy and emotional connection to someone of the opposite sex that we treat having feelings like a disease to be avoided.
The very popular term “catching feelings” reflects this notion of togetherness being like a virus that makes us weak and vulnerable. Avoidance allows us to believe ourselves in control and better off; the truth is that our paralysed emotional states are negatively affecting non-sexual opportunities and life experiences.
Relationships, especially sexual relationships, play an immeasurable role in what we perceive to be our destiny. If we learn more about our sexual nature and how to harness and use our sexual power, we could create positive change not only in the bedroom but in almost every area of our lives. Conscious sexual counselling and therapy has a fourfold aim: to guide the client towards sexual fulfilment, to bring them to a place of acceptance of their sexuality, to heal the effects of traumatic sexual experiences and to guide the client so they're able to effectively use their sexual awareness to enhance all areas of their lives.
Each client has the freedom to choose which step is most important to them or to choose to progress through each step to gain complete sexual empowerment.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I just found out that my boyfriend slept with my sister. They both say that it happened before we met, but I can't help feeling that we no longer have a future together because of it. I am just so very turned off by even the thought of it.
My friends say that I shouldn't let their fling stop me from being happy, but I cannot imagine marrying someone who has had sex with my sister. It feels like sharing. We have been together for a little over a year and I feel betrayed that they didn't tell me this from the beginning and instead acted like they didn't know one another. Do you think that we could ever get past this?
Dear Feeling Betrayed,
To answer your question: yes, it is possible to get past this. Even though it does not seem like it right now, your relationship could move on into a happy space. However, this cannot happen as long as you are harbouring feelings of distrust, resentment and jealousy.
Allow yourself to explore all of your emotions to determine how you truly feel about the situation. A big mistake that many of us make when we face troubling situations is that we deny ourselves the process of emotional progression. This denial actually stunts our ability to process, make sound decisions about and move on positively. It means we carry the situation forward, creating a trail of failed attempts at success in happiness and relationships.
Do not put pressure on yourself about how you might feel in the future. Who knows whether the relationship will lead to marriage or not. The truth is that you do not know how you will feel that far down the road but if you stick with your current feelings of disapproval, marriage will be out of the question anyhow. You have every right to feel betrayed, however while your sister and your current beau shared a sexual connection and experience, this does not take away from your relationship with him. It could be that they did not know how to bring themselves to disappoint you. It could be that they wanted to just keep their involvement a secret, and it could be that they intentionally sought to deceive you for their own selfish reasons. You may never know the real reason but whatever the case, do not allow your feelings to take permanent root in your heart.
Whether you decide to stay together or exit the relationship, whether or not you choose to trust your sister again, remember that rooted seeds of distrust and resentment can affect even the most innocent of relationships to come; do not rob yourself of these. The idea that you are now sharing your potential husband with your sister is understandable but not really accurate: a relationship based on love that blossoms to the stage of marriage goes far beyond a sexual encounter or two. At this point, trust and honesty should be your focus because without them, love cannot exist. Take a breather and take some time to sift through your thoughts and emotions before making any major decisions. In the end it will be up to you and him whether or not your relationship survives. No one else will truly matter.
Dear Dr Nekia,
My mom raised me as a single mother. I am her only son and have had to be the man of the household from a very young age. She always took care of me, but I felt that I had to step up to the plate and be there for her and my sisters. My father died when we were all little and my mom never moved on or remarried, until now. I knew she was seeing someone but she is now going to marry this guy. Even though I have a family of my own, I still feel very protective of her. I don't like the idea of some guy coming around acting like he has a say in our family affairs or my mom's life. My wife says that I'm being selfish and am overreacting and should just support her. So do you think that she is right?
Can't Take A Back Seat
Dear Can't Take A Back Seat,
I believe that because you took on the important and serious role of being the man of the house from such a young age, that you have made it a part of your identity. In this I can see how difficult it may be for you to let go of this position in your mom's life. As women and moms, I do not think that we really understand or appreciate the male's nature to protect or fill a leadership role within a household. If we did, we would do a far better a job at providing an environment where our sons do not feel the need to fill such shoes at tender ages.
There are many reasons why a male child feels the need to rise up to the position of head of the family so I will not get into that at this point however we as adults, single mothers and mothers in abusive relationships especially, need to be more aware of the environmental motivators that shape the development cycle of our sons. I believe that your father dying, rather than choosing to simply leave the family, contributed to the void that motivated you to this position.
Even though you are having a difficult time with letting go, I want you to realise that it is important for you to allow yourself to be relieved of this burden and for your mother to be happy with a man who is her peer. I am not saying that you should leave your mother's potential happiness completely in the hands of her intended husband, nor am I saying that you should take a back seat to this man. What I am saying is that you have reached a point of transition in your life and if this man has not proven himself to be untrustworthy, you should work alongside him to ensure your mom's wellbeing. This will take time but as long as you remain open to the process, you will hopefully reach a place where the family can be led by two loving and capable men. This will benefit your wife as well; you will have more energy to focus on the family that you created together. The reality is that a fully functional and cohesive family unit that involves members of multiple generations is always the most secure for all.
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