Welcome to Episode 24 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today’s show is a story about an affair. Marco, a successful businessman, finds himself unexpectedly in the throws of an affair, and is left conflicted about the dilemmas facing his marriage. (Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)
I met Marco on a business trip to the East coast while waiting for my flight. He was alone at the airport bar having a drink when I sat down next to him. Our heads turned toward each other and nodded as a courteous acknowledgement of the other. When I looked in his eyes I could see a kind and gentle soul looking back at me through soft, green eyes with an inviting smile. He was a strikingly handsome man in his mid 40s, well dressed and polished with a sophisticated yet modern air. We exchanged pleasantries and somehow quickly wandered into the kind of conversation you only share with a close friend. As distant travelers passing through the exact same moment in time and space, we were able to share a window into each other’s most private emotions and personal stories. I was touched to be entrusted with such an honor.
Marco was the owner of a highly successful real estate firm in Miami. He was married to his wife of nearly 20 years and they had three children together. But under the surface, his marriage had been in disrepair for over a year in the aftermath of an affair. They had recently gotten back together after a brief separation and were trying to make it work for their children’s sake. To Marco, the thought of separating their family and having his beautiful children grow up without a father living under the same roof together killed him. He couldn’t bear the thought of splitting up their family as the price he would pay to gain freedom, even if it would liberate him to live his truest self unshackled by his experience of marital constraints.
Their downfall began a couple of years ago at dinner, when his mother, after having had too much to drink at dinner, confessed secrets from their family’s past that had spent the last few decades seeking asylum.There was always some distant recollection from his childhood that he never could put his finger on and now he learned why. His father, the principal of a private school, had molested a 14 year old girl from the school he was overseeing, and not only that, but his father was extremely violent to his mother and him as a child.
As one can imagine, Marco was devastated. A flood of memories rushed back to him the more it all sank in. It made sense now why there were always emotional shadows lurking that continued to elude him. When he went to his wife, a Cuban woman raised in a very traditional household, to tell her about the disturbing news, she said, “What are you going to do, sit and cry about it? Be a man.” Marco was crushed. In that instant, he felt as though the person he should have been able to confide in with complete support had shut him down and boarded up her walls.
In the aftermath of processing this kind of emotional devastation, Marco sought the comfort and healing he was needing from an attractive woman he ran into frequently at networking events. Jennifer was fun, spontaneous, and receptive. Marco hadn’t started out with the intention of an affair – all he was looking for in the beginning was just a compassionate ear to listen to all that he was going through. He wanted someone to hear him, to see him, to validate the twists and turns he was experiencing, and more than anything to make him not feel like he was alone. In moments like these that bring us to our knees, we default to our most basic human needs to ground us back to what we know. We go through a grueling process of painfully negating the story we once thought was real, and then mentally reconstructing the entire past in light of a new unsettling truth.
Marco and Jennifer’s affair lasted several months and was possibly the most connected Marco had ever felt physically, and perhaps emotionally, to another person in his whole life. He was able to experience sharing himself with another through sexual intimacy at an extremely deep level, and it was a way to escape his pain of the past and his problems at home. Being with Jennifer brought him back to life.
She was adventurous, curious, and inviting. Jennifer did things with and for Marco sexually that his wife would never even allow a conversation about, let alone actually do them. For the first time since he had been with his wife, Marco experienced the most exquisite blow job. Jennifer loved going down on him and got off on pleasing him. She would kiss and lick him as though he was a dessert to be savored – passionate and sensual, yet wild and adventurous.
The difference in his experience with his wife and Jennifer was that Jennifer wanted sex just as badly as Marco did, and unlike his wife, Jennifer didn’t treat sex as obligatory or as though she was fulfilling her “duty” to him. Marco found acceptance from Jennifer and she indulged his sexual fantasies, which included sex play in bathrooms, at parties, and secretly at work events. Most importantly, it made him feel special that a woman was so entranced by his dick that she couldn’t get enough of it. It was the kind of attention and recognition of his sexuality at its most quintessential level that his wife had always ignored and put to shame.
To Marco, it was nurturing a part of himself that had long been neglected by his wife and restored a sense of self that he desperately needed to feel wanted and longed for. Marco wanted to be with a woman who didn’t just lie on the bed like a manikin in their usual missionary position – remaining uninterested, distant, and waiting for her time to be up. What he wanted was a woman who would come to life when he touched her, someone who couldn’t get enough of him and made him feel vibrant and on fire. Jennifer made him feel alive.
Marco eventually came to a point where he knew this affair had to end. Not only did he end his relationship with Jennifer, but he confessed to his wife. He described his wife’s response to the whole ordeal with just a few words, “As long as you didn’t get her pregnant,” she responded. Her reaction was both relieving and painful, further driving the knife in his wound – deepening his feeling that she didn’t care enough about him to even become jealous or express heartbreak. Thankfully this time he didn’t run back to his lover because he knew that he wanted his family together for his children’s sake more than he wanted a lover.
Marco and I touch base every now and again and I’m happy to hear that he hasn’t engaged in any more extramarital affairs, but it certainly doesn’t prove that his marriage is any better off. His wife continues to refuse going to therapy, and Marco continues to crave the connection of another. My mind conjures questions that I dare not ask him, though I can’t help but wonder – has he considered seeking professional help for his own sake? Has he studied his wife to know what gentle seeds he could plant that would soften her and allow for some open conversation over a period of time? Does he know how satisfied she is in their marriage? What is it that she truly longs for that she’s not getting? How does she self-define her role as mother and wife? What was it that attracted her to him in the beginning, and him to her? Has he tried recreating that in various scenarios? There are countless other questions I want to ask, but the truth is that none of these questions matter if he has mentally passed the point of reconciliation. Although he is still wearing the role of husband and father, he has long been departed from their marriage.
While we will never know the other side to this story and there is much left untold, Marco’s wife certainly deserves the respect and courtesy of acknowledging that she did not deserve to be on the receiving end of his affair. But it certainly doesn’t make her an innocent party either. So too did she break her wedding vows to Marco with the years of neglect, emotional stonewalling, avoiding therapy, and not even being willing to discuss the state of their relationship. And who says she alone gets to control the sexual and emotional intimacy that affects two people, not just one? Hurt and suffering come in many forms in a relationship, and the kind that happens gradually and spanning several years or even decades is oftentimes no less worthy of repentance than the gutting experience of uncovering an affair.
Ultimately, it all comes down to this: the only person in any given situation we have some form of control over is ourselves. And usually, when we change ourselves, we change the other, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes there are forces so great existing outside our control, that in the end, we are left with difficult choices ahead of us.
A relationship is like an ongoing negotiation that is always in flux, subject to addendums and alterations. It will ebb and flow as its creators continue to evolve in life and love. It should also be said that every couple has autonomy to decide what kind of bargain they will strike with their partner, and from the outside that bargain might not always make sense. But we can hope that those living within it can find some sort of balance of happiness and satisfaction that works for whatever stage of life they find themselves in, and above all, that they continue seeking the courage to be honest with themselves and their partner about what ingredients they need to live their best life and truest self.
If you’re the least bit curious to know where your biggest sexual fantasies probably come from, I promise you’ll want to hear this one. On this two-part episode, I explain how and why we create our sexual fantasies by exploring the deeper, pathogenic beliefs that we develop about ourselves in relation to our primary caregivers in childhood, and how something you might least expect is the one necessary ingredient to becoming sexually aroused.
Researchers and therapists theorize that our sexual fantasies are a way to circumvent our deeper, and sometimes hidden, pathogenic beliefs such as guilt, shame, rejection, helplessness, and identification, in order to sufficiently become sexually aroused. They believe that safety is the key to understanding the mysteries of sexual passion. Our unconscious minds prioritize our safety above all else, and our psychological safety is an emotional state that feels just as real as our physical safety. Sometimes our sexual excitement can trigger insecurities that threaten our psychological security, which leads to sexual inhibitions.
In order to explore our sexual fantasies a bit more sufficiently than just a superficial skimming of each one, I’m breaking this topic into 2 episodes: today’s episode will be about how and why we create our sexual fantasies by exploring the pathogenic beliefs that we develop about ourselves in relation to our primary caregivers as children, and the second episode, which I’ll talk about next week, I’ll be covering a range of sexual fantasies and how each one relates to the pathogenic beliefs we developed in childhood, allowing us to create an emotionally safe context to become sufficiently aroused.
These episodes are not meant to be all-inclusive, but it will certainly give you an overview that will serve as a foundation for getting deeper into our psyches. And an important distinction I want to make is that I am not a field expert on this subject however, the information that I am presenting to you is a combination of theories from the book: Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies, written by Dr. Michael Bader, a psychologist and psychoanalyst with over 30 years of clinical experience, along with some of my own coaching and personal experiences sprinkled in. My intention is to bring this information to you in an easy to understand way that might light a path for you to start exploring in greater detail what some of your sexual fantasies actually mean.
With that said, let’s start by asking the relevant questions: what are pathogenic beliefs, where do they originate, and how do they take shape?
Let’s go back, way back to childhood. In order to acclimate to life, since our earliest days as a baby, we start to experiment and establish “maps” of our world. At first, we do so knowingly and unknowingly. We specifically look at the kinds of scenarios, experiences, and people that make us feel safe or, in danger. The “maps” catalogue our cognition, emotions, and behavior and they mold our temperament and our personality. They help us navigate within the world and affect how we see ourselves, how we see other people, and how we should behave in the world in order to survive and thrive, and more importantly how to avoid danger.
The maps, or beliefs, that we create early in life, construct our perception of reality and what we believe is moral. Those early beliefs aren’t expressed in words- they are sensorial, motorial, and procedural combined together with verbal maps which are usually hierarchically structured. This is where we formulate our thought pattern where if X happens, then Y comes after. Like, if my mother is depressed, then she will sulk in her room all day. Or If my father is absent, it must mean he doesn’t love me.
The beliefs we develop as children are incredibly powerful. Even if or when we modify or create new beliefs as adults or adolescents, the ones from our childhood are particularly entrenched within us. The reason is that as children, we are completely and 100% dependent on our caregivers and therefore our sense of safety and well-being is directly dependent on them. At that age, we are them, and they are us – there is no separation. They ensure our survival. The emotional and motivational systems at that stage are so powerful because our livelihood literally depends on the quality of the relationship with our caregiver, and therefore we will do anything we can to preserve that relationship. Psychological research shows that babies without an attachment to a caregiver are more frantic, chaotic, and depressed.
We need to see them as benevolent, good, fair, and righteous, so if there’s conflict, we think they’re right and we’re wrong. And what’s more sad, is that children believe that whatever way their parents treat them is how they deserve to be treated. They internalize the messages given by the parent and must adapt accordingly. We’re very intuitive as children, picking up on their mood, tone, and other situational clues, but never register them consciously. All of the implicit messages and explicit messages we receive from our caregivers become the foundation of our core beliefs. And what’s more, is that our beliefs are also influenced by brain’s limited emotional and cognitive development at that point. By that I mean that we take the insufficient evidence and experiences that we have, and we begin to draw conclusions about them (accurately or not accurately) and we incorrectly blame ourselves more than we deserve, and we overgeneralize based on the lack of information we have.
Forming an insecure attachment with a parent creates feelings of danger. If our parent becomes neglectful, cold, distant, angry, intrusive, anxious, weak, unhappy, or rejecting for example, it threatens the child’s feeling of secure attachment and the child feels anxious, registering it as a sign of danger. In order for the child to regain that feeling of psychological safety, they will do whatever is needed to reestablish better conditions. The child doesn’t realize they are doing it, it’s felt on an intuitive level, and is quickly associated with a bad feeling. But children don’t have the emotional skills to repair the relationship, so instead they change themselves, which is the only thing they have control over.
We all have an innate need to know that we matter to someone else, that we’re admired, and that we feel competent and strong enough to master challenges. We also want to know that our parents can maintain their own boundaries regardless of whatever our needs are. We need to know they can love themselves and each other.
The needs that we have, however, are expendable when it comes to the need for psychological safety. We will alter and suppress our desires, wishes, needs, and feelings instinctively in exchange for repairing conditions that can help bring about the safely we crave. That is our human ability to adapt to our surroundings.
So I’ll give you an example from my upbringing. My dad couldn’t keep a job and my mother struggled to take care of the 5 of us, and early on we slept on the bare floor and went to bed with empty stomachs sometimes. So I developed a belief that deprivation was the normal way to live, and it’s been one I’ve had a hard time getting rid of.
We also experience our reality through a moral lens, meaning that we start to think that love and nurturance is forbidden, that it’s asking too much, or that we’re not allowed to have it. We not only accept the neglect, but we also turn it around to make it appear as though the fault is our own, not our caretaker’s. So we frame it through the perspective of, we’re too needy, instead of, my parents just can’t give it to me. It’s as though we’re saying to ourselves, “it’s okay, I don’t need much anyway, and come to think of it, I probably don’t even deserve it”. This is why sometimes we, or our partners, don’t ask for things. Specifically, we don’t ask for things that are just for us. We might ask for something functional, maybe task-oriented like washing dishes or paying the bills, but if you notice, we don’t ask for things that would bring us pleasure, like a back rub, or a massage, or some time alone to unwind. This might be because we’ve grown up with the belief that we’re asking too much and are not supposed to ask for those things because it’s excessive.
We’re essentially taking responsibility for our parent’s shortcomings and the treatment we received, and unknowingly creating theories to substantiate it. In fact, several years ago I met a woman who told me that when she was a very young teenager, her mom and dad had invited this person’s then-boyfriend to come live with them, and actually sleep in the same bed with her! And her teenage boyfriend raped her, and got her pregnant. And decades later even as a grown woman, she refused to acknowledge that her parents were complicit in what happened to her. In fact, she developed a very co-dependent relationship with her parents that she was very protective of and even defensive.
Pathogenic beliefs are the irrational, self-defeating beliefs that interfere with our ability to have healthy relationships with others, stemming from some degree of trauma in our past. The four main strategies tied to each of our pathogenic beliefs are: compliance (with the parent and the belief), identification (with the parent who showed it to us), rebellion (against the parent and the belief) and counter-identification (with the parent who showed it to us).
The problem with pathogenic beliefs is that they’re extremely difficult to change, not impossible, but they’re very stubborn. Think about it, we give more authority to the experiences and information in our surroundings that confirm our beliefs (also known as a confirmation bias) – specifically with regard to the beliefs that protect us from any perceived danger. And even more so, by changing those beliefs, there’s a lot at stake: if we dismantle our pathogenic beliefs, then we risk losing or damaging the relationship with our caregivers, or we think we might hurt them, and by doing so, consequently we would have to face just how much they’ve hurt us. And to keep that relationship in tact, we resist acknowledging those things. It can be devastating to shatter the beliefs we’ve clung so tightly to since childhood. Our world can feel like it’s falling apart. This is what is called trauma denial. It’s an act of self-preservation, it’s a very sophisticated way of deluding ourselves when there is too much at stake. And it becomes even more powerful when we’re dependent on the person.
In this context, when we find ourselves in a relationship with a person who actually loves us, our minds pay more attention to the messages or perceptions that confirm the negative beliefs we already have about ourselves and what we feel we merit, thereby discrediting any positive incoming messages that might contradict our belief system that in a sense, keep our world intact. This was certainly the case for me in my first couple years with my partner, where because I was searching for negative criticisms about me that I was stupid, unbeknownst to me at the time, I would recreate the same feeling of shame and rejection that I felt as a child when I was called stupid. And looking back on it now, I can see that I actually got a sense of pleasure from feeling that way as an adult, but what I know now is that my brain was actually searching for that next hit of neuro-chemicals that it was so used to getting as a child as my brain’s way of keeping that synaptic connection wired to the emotion I was experiencing.
As we grow up, we’re all taking these beliefs with us into adulthood as though this is the way the world naturally functions. We don’t pause to think, for example, oh hey, maybe I’m extending myself so much at work because I secretly want my boss to be pleased with me because I’m substituting them for a parental figure that didn’t sufficiently parent me…. That might or might not have been my own example. LOL. If you are particularly introspective, like I am, or have benefited from therapy, then you won’t realize how deeply your past is affecting your present.
So let’s talk about 4 main emotions that Michael Bader says we use sexual fantasies to counteract. They are: GUILT, WORRY, SHAME, and REJECTION.
Let’s talk about guilt and worry first. Guilt and worry are major inhibitors to sexual excitement. With guilt, almost always comes worry. We feel guilty when we hurt someone, and therefore believe we are bad. The worry comes from feeling anxious that this important person is weak and easily hurt.
Everyone feels guilty about something, no matter how healthy your upbringing was, whether it’s guilt for making lots of money, or being selfish, or too independent, or being too distant from your family of origin, for example. There’s a conflict in the feeling of being independent and making your own decisions as an adult and what your early caregivers might want or expect from you. We might feel guilty that we escaped a dysfunctional family or a really horrible environment or community. It’s like we unknowingly believe that our gain is another person’s loss, and so we develop this survivor’s guilt for leaving them behind and as a result, we put limits on how happy or satisfied we’ll allow ourselves to be. And not just that, but we also somehow think that by being too happy or successful that we’re actually hurting the ones we left behind. This is natural, and our subconscious way of resolving this guilt and worry in this particular context lies in our sexual fantasies.
Women, for example, deal with guilt a lot. The role they’re socialized into is being a relationship manager, the one who is sensitive and nurturing to the needs of others, specifically their partner, and that their worth as women comes from being emotional givers. And not only that, that their worth is also inextricably linked to being objects of desire instead of being the ones desiring others. They are taught that those are their social responsibilities, which historically have been exclusive to women. This leads to a pretty big challenge for women to yield to their sexual impulses because they are taught to tend to the needs of others, thereby perpetuating the guilt that they should not be looking to themselves for satisfaction and gratification, that they should be focused on fulfilling the needs and wishes of others, particularly their partner’s. When they are so emotionally attuned to others, their guilt prevents them from being sexually ruthless or selfish enough to actively seek out what would really bring them pleasure. What is good for the emotional relationship, is often what impairs the sexual relationship. The ingredients that make for a healthy and strong companionship, such as selflessness and being very emotionally attuned to our partner, are often what undermine sexual excitement, which comes from a certain amount of selfishness and ruthlessness.
To bring this to concept to life I’ll use an example. In Michael Bader’s book, Arousal: The Secret Logic of Fantasies, he talks about the case study of a very powerful, feminist woman named Jan (who was married to a kind, sensitive man) continually fantasized about a big, bulky custodian coming into her office late one night to empty her trash cans. As he lowers himself below her desk to take the basket, he runs his hand up her leg beneath her skirt and grabs her crotch. Then suddenly, he takes her, picks her up and roughly places her on top of her desk, spreads her legs, holds her hands over her head, and rips off her panties. He confesses how long he’s wanted to fuck her, and begins to ruthlessless fuck her with his huge cock. And she makes sure to note that he’s a real asshole, he just takes and takes, and doesn’t give a shit about what she wants. Now, in real life, Jan detests men just like this, and in fact would be completely traumatized if she was raped, but in her hidden fantasies, he’s the only one that can bring her to orgasm, even since she was a teenager. She had begun to internalize that maybe her choice in a feminist career was really covering up a hidden longing to be dominated by a powerful man, and she started to feel like a phony. As Bader learned in his sessions with her, Jan’s fundamental view of men was that they were really “paper tigers”, creating a guise of strength and power, but were actually weak and fragile. Bader articulates that unless our adult selves consciously try to reconstruct our beliefs about masculinity and femininity as we become more educated, the power of our earliest constructions about ourselves and the world are not easily eradicated. And what Bader learned was that underneath it all, Jan believed that her fullest, truest expression of sexuality would intimidate and threaten men, and so far, men had proven her suspicions to be right every time. She would test and criticize them, but feel guilty for doing it. It was a vicious cycle because each time she felt guilty for belittling and hurting them, it would make her want to provoke them even more so they’d stand up for themselves. As it turned out, the hidden meaning behind Jan’s rape fantasy, was that she was creating this huge, giant man who was impervious to being hurt by her, thus subverting the guilt she felt for being such a powerful woman. By imagining a man who is powerful enough to take what he wants, it reassures her that she can take what she wants. After that realization, Jan deliberately worked on her view of men and was able to see her husband’s sensitivity in a different light; she reframed it, and was able to enjoy him sexually. Even though she didn’t stop having the fantasy, she would on occasion cast him as the ruthless stranger.
You should know that domination fantasies, involving both the top and bottom positions, are very common among both men and women. There is a plausible theory that societies fraught with guilt and shame around sex, the ones implicitly and explicitly communicating to women that they are sluts for seeking out sexual pleasure, have a higher number of women fantasizing about being raped. The reason is speculated to be because in order to subvert the guilt and shame that inhibits her from feeling okay enough to become sexually aroused, is that in her fantasy, she is not the one seeking out sexual gratification, she is the one receiving it without being given a choice, thereby tricking her own brain into believing that she is receiving it against her will and therefore cannot by definition be a slut or promiscuous. Isn’t that funny, see how that works? Additionally, if our society discourages women from being aggressive, assertive, and ruthless, it might be another reason why fewer women feel comfortable assuming the dominant role versus the submissive role in S&M play.
Now, let’s move on to shame and rejection. In this context, what do we mean by shame? If guilt comes from a feeling of something you did, shame comes from a feeling about who you are. We feel shame when we feel revolting and disgusting. Rejection comes in to play when we feel judged from the outside, and with it we experience self-loathing and unworthiness. All of these emotions kill any sexual excitement. Shame and rejection make us want to curl up into a little ball and hide from the world, whereas sexual excitement elicits play and outward exploration. In order to overcome these contradictory emotions, our minds create an internal mental theatre where for a fleeting moment we no longer feel shamed for who we are, but instead we feel desired for who we are. In our fantasy, someone is becoming sexually aroused and excited precisely because of our presence. In our fantasies, we are negating each of our self-defeating thoughts by counteracting and subverting them. We vindicate ourselves of unworthiness, helplessness, guilt, shame, and rejection through a carefully crafted fictitious performance.
To put this into context, I’ll give you another example from Bader’s book. He was working with a woman named Esther, who was dealing with some internal conflict she was having about her body, namely shame, and a feeling of unworthiness that no one, not even her husband, would want to have sex with her after having several children. In a private moment, she divulged a sexual fantasy that she imagined when she touched herself alone. Her fantasy took place around a huge festival like Mardi Gras, and inside the venue she was getting fucked by two guys on stage. In her fantasy, she was a young woman. The MC came over to broadcast in very intimate detail what was happening with her and these two guys, or really in her mind, what was being done to her. She was on her back and the MC was encouraging the audience to observe certain parts of her body, and she noted how increasingly turned on the audience was getting as they leaned in to watch. This fantasy was particularly arousing to her because she was able to undermine any ideas that her body was disgusting, in fact, it was so highly desirable that not just 2 men at one time wanted to fuck her, but the MC and an entire audience did, too. The emphasis on the detail being described about her body by the MC indicated that her body was that much more worthy of noticing such detail. Not only that, but after more exploration, Bader discovered that she had struggled with feelings of shame and rejection from her father as she grew up, and equated his emotional distance with her and her mother compared to the closeness and satisfaction with her 2 brothers as a sign that some aspect of her femininity made him reject her. The authoritarian figure in her fantasy, the MC, represented her father who, in this context, made sure to pay special attention to the literal markers of her femininity, thus reaffirming her womanhood and validating her self-worth enough for her to become sexually aroused. When she married, she felt as though she exchanged sexual freedom for marital security, and had internalized that no one would want an aging mother compared to the youthful beauty she once was.
In this case, Esther was doing what so many women do in cultures that place such a heavy emphasis on youth and beauty. She was using external reassurances to disprove any self-doubts she had. For some of us, this looks like climbing the corporate ladder to achieve success and status, curating an image of wealth and affluence, or creating an illusion of grandeur to the outside world. As Bader says, “external riches compensate for an internal poverty of self-esteem.” For this particular woman, her external riches came in the form of men’s sexual desire for her. By eliciting and indulging men’s fantasies, she was able to temporarily nullify the shame and rejection she felt from her father, but as her youth faded, she was still in the end, inevitably left with the root of her problem.
For those of us who can see ourselves in Esther, how can we possibly expect to not experience the decay of our outer shell? Slowly but surely, our focus needs to be on the overlooked and underappreciated sexual interest of our partners, finding value and worth in other places that give us a feeling of being desirable, and being more sexually playful in general so that we can put it in a more appropriate rank in the hierarchy of our lives.
That’s it for today everyone, but stay tuned for next week’s episode where I’m covering specific sexual fantasies, such as S&M, master/slave relationship, asphyxiation, group sex, and rape fantasies just to name a few. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get notified of new videos. Have a great week.
Welcome to Episode 20 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today, my online dating connoisseur is back to tell about a couple of her more surprising encounters, namely a couple of suitors’ preferences for coprophilia (a sexual affinity for defecation, i.e. poop) and homoeroticism (a same-sex erotic attraction, but not necessarily acted upon).
These are 2 distinct topics we discuss, and therefore have nothing to do with each other in this context so they shouldn’t be equated together. This conversation is both comical (when we need some relief – no pun intended), and an honest conversation about some common sexual fears, fantasies, and cultural stigmas that deserve some examination and understanding.
These are some of the points that we cover on this episode:
When attempts to share one’s fantasy with a potential lover go wrong, very wrong
One of the less common types of anal fantasies: defecating on another person and/or being defecated upon
Acknowledging that one person’s fantasy can, and often is, another person’s aversion
The common stigma of male homoeroticism, which seems to be a double standard for many women who accept female sexual fluidity, but reject any inclination men may have for other men
We talk about why that may be, and how it’s linked to masculinity as a whole
We also touch on a few of the underlying emotions that sexual fantasies are thought to counteract and how deeply rooted those beliefs about ourselves run
If you enjoyed this episode, share with a friend or leave a review on iTunes!
Welcome to Episode 19 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today’s episode is another erotic story about a hot college student named Russ who finally hooked up with his sexy gym crush late one night after a sweaty workout.
Russ was a young college student who always made time for a late night workout after studying and working all day. His apartment complex had a 24 hour gym so he was usually there by midnight and exercising alone, which he preferred, at least he thought he did. After getting used to being in the gym alone, one night an attractive girl showed up a little after he did. When she walked in, their eyes locked and they both felt the electricity between them. Russ was already 2 miles in on the treadmill and a bit sweaty, but she didn’t seem to care. He smiled at her, and she smiled back. Russ couldn’t help but notice her enticing beauty and fit body. She started stretching and he hopped off the treadmill after he finished his warm up, got some water, and finished the rest of his routine. She started bending over and stretching, and he could not take his eyes off her. Not wanting to creep her out, Russ tried to keep his eyes to himself. She was still running on the treadmill when he was finished his workout, but they locked eyes again, smiled and said goodnight to each other as he walked out the door. The next few nights at the gym were similar, the sexual tension was building and palpable. After seeing her there a third night in a row, he struck up a conversation in between pull-ups and stretching. They chatted casually for a few minutes before she told him she was 23. He suspected she wasn’t being truthful because she made it a point to state her age and she looked closer to 30, but Russ didn’t care. He’d always found the idea of older women exciting and sexy. Russ didn’t make it back to the gym for another week. The next night he went, she was already there before she usually arrived. And once again, the gym was empty except for them. She approached him and confessed that she thought she would see him there the past few nights, sounding playfully disappointed. After finishing his workout for the day, Russ hopped on the row machine to do his cool down cardio while she was on the treadmill… he was right behind her. She was wearing running shorts that showed a little too much ass, the kind that let her cheeks peek out at the bottom. Watching her ass go up and down from behind was just what he needed to finish up strong. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her. The deeper she got into her workout, the more sweaty she was, and the less he could look away. She caught him staring a couple times through the reflection of the window, but everytime she caught him staring, she would pull her shorts up a little higher each time, letting them creep up inside her ass more and more. It was like she was putting on a show just for him, knowing exactly what she was doing. Russ couldn’t help but cut his cardio short so he could shower and relieve himself. As he walked out the door he said goodnight, and she enticingly looked back at him with a lustful smile. The next day, Russ got to the gym at the same time he usually did, but cut his routine short in hopes of catching another show from his new friend. Sure enough, there she was on the treadmill with short shorts that were skin tight and a tank top that hugged her curvy body perfectly. This time, he was a little closer behind her on the bike to see the tantalizing view of her running. Her body was soaked in sweat, and to his enjoyment it was completely arousing. She hopped off the treadmill with her back to him, and pulled her shorts up making them travel up further between her cheeks. She spread her legs, bent down to stretch, and Russ was mesmerized. He couldn’t look away, he didn’t want to, and he was pretty sure she didn’t want him to either. She stood up and looked back at him, smiling. At this point, he didn’t bother to hide the fact that he was staring because he didn’t care. She sat down on the machine next to him and started pedaling. When she sat down next to Russ, he breathed in deep, trying to catch a whiff of the beauty sitting next to him. Her scent was intoxicating. Her pheromones were driving him crazy, and she knew it. She looked over at him, then down in his lap, pausing to see what she was doing to him. Russ was so hard, bulging in his shorts. She looked up at him lustfully. She stretched her arms over her head, breathing harder, and making Russ melt wearing her tight tank top in that sexy pose. He couldn’t stop staring at her succulent chest, and she liked it. He took another deep breath through his nose and felt like he was getting high just off of her scent. Everything she did was mouthwatering. Russ thought to himself, “damn, this girl is as freaky as me.” He felt like an animal and she was his prey… They finished their workout out at the same time and started talking, one conversation led to another, and she asked him to walk her up to her apartment so they could keep talking. On the walk to her place, she admitted that she found him very sexy and he told her the same. Russ complimented her gorgeous body, and emphasized how much he enjoyed working out behind her. She playfully asked if he liked her outfit and turned around showing off her perfectly shaped ass. Russ nodded in agreement, there were no words. They made it to her front door and she teasingly asked if he wanted to exercise again, hinting at what was coming next. She opened the door, pulled him in by his hand and Russ knew it was game time. Stumbling inside her apartment, Russ pinned her against the wall holding her arms over her head and started kissing her, making out intensely. She walked backwards towards the couch without unlocking her lips from his and keeping her tongue in his mouth. He threw her down and pulled off her tight shorts, exposing her sexy red thong. Her body was still glistening with sweat, and he loved it. He pulled his shirt off and kissed his way down between her thighs. Russ lifted her legs up in the air and she pulled her legs in toward her torso. He kissed her hot pussy over her panties, they were soaked with all her sweet juices and her body’s sweat, which only made him harder. The smell of her wet pussy was incredibly delicious. He pulled her thong to the side so he could go down on her. He ate her pussy while he pulled down his shorts and started stroking himself. After enjoying her sweet taste for a few minutes, he got up, peeled her thong all the way off and slid inside of her. He thrust his cock in and out of her while she kept her legs pulled up and spread apart, stroking her clit. So aroused by all the foreplay, she moaned loudly with pleasure, finishing within a few minutes. Her loud moaning just kept turning him on even more… he felt himself growing inside of her. Finally, she ordered him to cum on her. Hearing her say that was so erotic that he uncontrollably erupted on her stomach. They laid there for a few minutes bathing in ecstasy and swimming in the passion of what had just happened.
Russ still looks back on that unforgettable night with excitement and pleasure, recalling specifically the way the smell of her sweat and pussy lit him up inside and made him want to devour her. He was so aroused by the scent that since that night, sometimes he makes it a specific request for his woman to not shower before he goes down on her. The smell of an aroused woman in her natural aromatic state is often one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs for many men, and to many women this turnon is incredibly sexually appealing to find in a partner. It can be powerfully freeing when a woman can relax and embrace this magnificent part of her feminine essence and especially when it drives her partner to a primal state of wanting to the point where she becomes irresistible.
That’s it for today everyone. Stay tuned for next week’s episode where I bring back my online dating connoisseur to tell us about a few of her more surprising moments, one of them having to do with an anal play fetish. See ya next time.
Welcome to Episode 18 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today I’m talking with singer/songwriter, Albert Angarita, about how sexuality, relationships, dating, and marriage is changing in the millennial age with more access to information, educational tools, and historical archives that allow us to make better decisions in life and love. We discuss power, privilege, and expanding our consciousness to become more evolved as human beings. My guest Albert Angarita is an incredibly talented bilingual Spanish singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, writer, poet, public speaker, and martial arts/taekwondo champion. Watch the video of our conversation on my YouTube channel by clicking here. The audio recording can also be streamed via your favorite app.
These are some of the ideas we cover:
Let’s talk about destigmatizing sexuality as a culture compared to some of the other countries that have better sexual health outcomes and how this relates to raising children and educating them early on about sex, anatomy, and relationships.
Do you think millennials have grown up with more sex-positivity and acceptance of sex as a spectrum compared with earlier generations? (LGBTQ, sex openness)
Do you think millennials use less derogatory terms, like “fag”?
And what about with gender roles and egalitarianism?
What sex practices do you think millennials consider “normal” these days?
Do you think for millennial women there is a heavy emphasis on “performance” during sex (ie knowingly or unknowingly trying to recreate what’s see in porn – because what feels good doesn’t always look good/what looks good doesn’t always feel good)
How do you think guys tell the difference between a woman’s “performative” orgasm and a real orgasm?
Do you think millennials struggle with loneliness?
The power of education, access to podcasts and books, and the globalization of information to understand different models of living and loving around the world
This isn’t mean to be a comprehensive conversation, but hopefully it will encourage you to have conversations like this with people in your life. Check out the video conversation – it’s much more interesting to watch than to hear!
Welcome to Episode 17 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today I’m talking with Dr. Melvin Lee Phillips, a Licensed Psychotherapist based in Washington, DC. who treats patients and couples facing chronic illness and sexual dysfunction. His upcoming book, Sex & Love When You Are Sick, addresses strategies to overcome shame and the sexual limitations experienced from the illness by reclaiming a sex life that works, and, it will help the couple develop a “new normal” for their relationship.
1.) What inspired Dr. Phillips to write Sex & Love When You Are Sick?
2.) When couples are battling a chronic illness, what does this mean for their sex life?
3.) How can we keep a partnership from being neglected due to a chronic illness?
4.) What are some others factors associated with chronic illness other than just chronic pain?
5.) What are some tips that you can provide to couples who suffer from sexual dysfunction due to chronic illness?
6.) When will the book be published and where can listeners sign up to pre-order a copy of the book?
ABOUT THE BOOK, Sex & Love When You Are Sick
A satisfying sex life is one way of feeling healthy when so much of the couple’s life has changed due to a chronic illness. Sex & Love When You Are Sick will provide couples with strategies to overcome shame and the sexual limitations they are experiencing due to illness by reclaiming a sex life that works. Couples will learn to acknowledge loss, cope, and build a relationship with the illness. This book will help the couple develop the “new normal” of their partnership. Experiencing a chronic illness can be earth-shattering. Individuals who are chronically ill often experience extreme emotional distress. The ability to engage in occupational, social, and recreational activities can be limited and the negative impact on one’s sex life can be devastating.
Sexuality in a relationship involves a wide mix of feelings and emotions and when both the individual and their partner are together battling a disease, the future of their intimate lives becomes uncertain and both partners feel that loss. The ill partner feels overwhelmed and shame about the changes in their sexuality. Suffering from a chronic illness may mean not only restricting sex but also experiencing a reduced desire for sex. This can sometimes be the most difficult part of a chronic medical illness. They may feel less attractive, less confident, and concerned about how their body works and adapts to an illness. Both partners can become plagued with anxiety due to the worry around reduced sexual activity, and the changes in desire and arousal caused by the illness and its symptoms.
When experiencing a chronic illness, some changes may be physical, such as the changes with one’s body, side effects from medication, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, and pain. The sick partner may experience psychological changes such as depression and anxiety. Most of all, there is constant fear around sexual ability and sexual performance. Physical intimacy is paramount to the quality of life, and that need does not decrease with an illness; it is still important when living with a debilitating disease.
Chronic illness can have profound negative effects on a relationship and sexual satisfaction. With a life restricted by pain and illness, Sex & Love When You Are Sick will inform readers that sex can be a powerful source for comfort, pleasure and intimacy. Sex & Love When You Are Sick will equally apply to readers who are in heterosexual, gay, lesbian, transgendered, kink, and polyamorous relationships.
ABOUT DR. PHILLIPS:
Dr. Melvin Lee Phillips, Jr., is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Dr. Phillips has worked in several mental health and substance abuse treatment settings including outpatient community mental health, inpatient treatment, and private practice for the past 12 years. He is a speaker and has lectured on topics including preventative services, anxiety and stress management, caregiving stress, depression in the elderly, mindfulness and cognitive strategies for chronic pain, ethical decision making, and the assessment of mental disorders. He has published in the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, conducting a research study on LGBTQ-Affirmative Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Understanding Program Directors Views. He holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. In addition, Dr. Phillips holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Norfolk State University and is an adjunct professor in the Master of Social Work Program with the School of Social Work at Western New Mexico University. Dr. Phillips currently has a private practice in Washington, DC. Where he treats chronic illness and sexual dysfunction.
Dr. Melvin Lee Phillips, Jr., Ed.D., LCSW, CSAC
Licensed Psychotherapist (DC, MD, VA)
Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (VA)
Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling & Consultation
Welcome to Episode 15 of F*ck Like a Woman. Today we’ve got a sexy story for you about a young personal trainer and his boss having sex at the gym, where he learns exactly how to please this older woman.
Nate had just graduated from high school the summer before he started working at Macho Man’s Gym. It was the only workout facility his small town of 3,000 people had to offer, and Nate would soon became the face of it. Macho Man’s was the kind of the place where locals went to hang out for hours at a time since there wasn’t much to do around town. And because of that, it attracted not only hot bodies, but sex, too.
Nate had the kind of presence that was strong, serious, and silent, which drove the ladies fucking crazy. He was mysterious and yet perfectly humble, never hitting on girls who were clearly into him. Nate was the guy who had no idea how sexy he actually was. In fact, he had been training in his school’s gym for a few years and had developed a fisique enviable to most bodybuilders, which is why he was even more lust-worthy when he didn’t wear the typical string tanks that other bulky guys wore. Girls and women alike enjoyed imagining what was underneath his clothes, seeing his muscular body peaking out from his shirt. But Nate grew up in a very religious home where humility, austerity, and minimalism were held in very high regard. And because of that, he never really noticed how many women lusted after him.
The very first day Nate walked into Macho Man’s gym to start his membership, he looked up and his heart stopped for a moment as his eyes landed on an aerobics instructor striding across the floor in a skin tight blue leotard. Her name was Candy. She was more than 10 years older than Nate, and had a magnetism about her that his heart couldn’t deny. As alluring as the outfit on her tight, perfectly toned form was, it was nothing compared to how fast his heart raced when he looked into her soft, brown eyes for the first time. He was overwhelmed by how much confidence and power resided within her eyes, looking right back at him, seeming to possess a quiet authority he found himself shying away from.
After that first initiation with his new crush, he was in the gym every day, sometimes twice, toning his delicious body underneath his sweats. Over time, he learned Candy’s name, that she was in her 30s and managed the gym, and to his delight, exactly how many different leotards she had for teaching aerobics class. His favorite leotard was a white one that his eyes and shorts often strained to see through. Her curvy body bending over and stretching was almost too much to bear some days.
Soon, he applied for a job at Macho Man’s Gym, and shortly after was scheduled for an interview with this intimidating and sexy goddess. He was nervous, but somehow made it through without tossing her on the table and ripping off her leotard.
Not long after getting hired, Kevin, a friend from the gym, took Nate out for drinks at a bar. Nate was still underage, but looked much older so he didn’t get carded. Unbeknownst to Nate, Kevin was actually having a fling with Nate’s coworker, Stacy. So when Stacy and Candy walked through the door, Nate was completely caught off guard. He was nervous, not only was she smoking hot, but she was his boss, and he wasn’t sure how to interact outside of the gym. When Stacy and Candy went to the bar for more drinks, Kevin filled him in on all the details- that Stacy was breaking it off with her boyfriend to be with Kevin, but he hadn’t told anyone except Nate so he had to keep it quiet, and that Candy had about a dozen guys trying to date her at the gym.
After a few more drinks, they all went back to Kevin’s place to keep the night going. Before long, Kevin and Stacy disappeared into another room leaving Nate and Candy alone in the master bedroom. The excited energy between them was piercing through their timid flirting, and the sexual tension was mounting. Candy touched his arm playfully as they joked back and forth, and Nate got a surge of lust when he looked into her eyes, and he was overcome by his primal desire for her. Months of watching her full breasts bounce as she taught step aerobics, of watching her long muscular legs and tight ass flexing and swaying as she climbed the stairs to the exercise floor, and finally all the increasing desire exploded inside of him as he rolled her onto the bed, straddling and passionately kissing her, their tongues finding each other. Her hands slowly glided over his body, firmly grabbing his ass and slowly moving closer toward the front of his pants. But to their disappointment, they were soon interrupted by Stacy needing to leave. Nate’s hard dick was throbbing, thinking about what almost happened. He had to relieve himself a few times in the shower after she left, wishing it was Candy stroking his hard, wet, cock.
A few nights later as he was closing up the gym, Nate realized he was finally alone with Candy. They walked upstairs to turn off the lights, knowing they were alone, and she shoved him up against the door, dropped to her knees and slid his pants down, freeing his quickly growing erection and took his dick all the way into her mouth, sucking and licking along the base, looking up at him to see how he liked it. She ripped his pants off from around his feet, then stood up to pull his shirt up over his sexy muscular chest before peeling down her bright red leotard, slowly freeing her soft, sumptuous breasts. She led him to the aerobics floor where she grabbed and kissed him, entangling their naked bodies together on the floor.
Emboldened with the powerful energy of this enticing older woman, Nate wanted all of her. Every inch was pure heaven, so soft and sweet, her skin smelled and tasted like candy, living up to her name. He’d never been so enraptured by a woman, a full-bodied, sensual, voluptuous goddess, not just a girl from his high school. Kissing down her neck, onto her breasts, he felt her nipples growing harder in his mouth, and then, down to her navel he traveled.
Stripping her leotard off her waste and down her legs, Nate 69’ed her as he straddled her hips. Starting at her inner thighs and kissing inward until his lips and his tongue found the delicate sensations of her warm, growing clit, his tongue slowly drifted down further between her lips, landing on her warm, wet pussy. She took him into her mouth and Nate was completely overcome with lust, desire, and emotions he’d never felt before. As he continued to caress her clit with his tongue, she began to moan louder and dig her fingernails into his back. As her pleasure mounted, her moans turned into screams, and finally, her body exploded into one massive orgasm, squeezing his cock inside her tightening pussy. Nate grew so excited feeling her throbbing climax, that he pulled out and came all over her round, sweaty breasts.
For Nate, the combination of pain, pleasure, and knowing what he was doing to this sexy, older woman, who was more experienced than him, was enough to make his whole body erupt. Knowing that he could make a woman like that experience pleasure to that degree left him on cloud 9. It was exciting and thrilling for young Nate to experiment with an older woman to see what she liked in bed, what made her wet, what made her body shake, and how much she loved being teased. And to his surprise, that relationship turned into more than just sex; it taught Nate the intricacies of a woman’s body and exactly how much pleasure and seduction could lead to so many full body orgasms with the instruction and guidance from a true sexual goddess.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode where I talk intimately with a man who became paralyzed from the waste down in a car accident, and how he’s navigated sex after such a huge life change. See you next week.
Welcome to Episode 16 of F*ck Like a Woman. On today’s show, I talk candidly and openly with a man who became paralyzed from a car accident, leaving him in a wheelchair, and how it’s reconstructed his sex life.
Today’s conversation is an important one, because seeing sex through another person’s eyes is vital to our expansion of human development. And not only that, it’s important to stop and remember that desire stems from the mind and eroticism from pleasuring the senses, which is why we mustn’t assume that a person living with a disability or a health condition of some kind isn’t interested in sex or in pleasure. Abled people forget or assume that people with disabilities or health conditions aren’t having sex. Now, the parameters and circumstances will differ per person and of course they also have their own levels of sexual interest that are unique to them as an individual, but overall, they can and are, having 3somes, fuck buddies, and whatever else abled people are doing. Don’t forget that sex isn’t defined by penetration – there are a dozen different ways you can have sex without a penis being inserted into a vagina or anus. And within the span of people with disabilities, you will see that they’re also interested in playing with sexual fantasies, fetishes, kink, or alternative lifestyles. But perhaps most importantly above all else, is that everyone needs to be touched, to be held, to be embraced by another human being. Human connection through physical touch is a vital part to our existence and to our mental and psychological health.
I hope that today’s show opened your eyes a little bit more to see another side of the human experience, and to give some context to how another person lives out their sexuality in their unique circumstances. Feel free to leave a comment on my page or share the episode with a friend. See ya next time.
Today’s episode is about an open, consensual non-monogamous couple who shares their story about ending their dying marriages, finding new love in an exciting and sometimes unnerving journey of sexual openness, and what they’ve learned from transitioning from serial monogamy to an open relationship. I recommend listening all the way through no matter what relationship style you’re in because there are nuggets in this episode we can all take away from their story about how to respect your partner’s wishes, how to communicate what you want, and finding excitement in planning your sex play. And after our conversation, I’ll give you my closing thoughts on non-monogamy.
But first, I want to make sure everyone listening has a clear idea of the variations within non-monogamy. I’ll quickly go over 6 different kinds of non-monogamy.
Cheating – this is where both partners have not consented (side note: there are a million different definitions of what actually constitutes cheating these days and as of yet there is no universally agreed upon definition),
Polygamy- a form of marriage consisting of more than two people,
Open relationships- which is really an umbrella term for consensual non-monogamous relationships, which includes a primary committed relationship with secondary relationships; the primary couple either plays all together with the secondary playmates or separately as individuals, or both. The primary couple always remains a priority even if they engage with their secondary companions. There are usually specific rules, expectations, and communication between everyone involved, and open relationships come in lots of varieties and may evolve over time to meet the needs of the people involved. Examples of open relationships could be: swinging, monogamish, polyamorous, and anarchistic relationships.
Swinging- there are many variations within this definition, but in very broad terms, it involves committed couples consensually exchanging partners specifically for sexual purposes.
Monogamish- is a term popularized by Dan Savage to describe couples who are primarily monogamous, but allows varying degrees of sexual contact with others, which vary per couple. Examples of this could be agreements like, one night stands are okay, or kissing and groping with clothes on is okay, or sexting is okay but no real sex, or sex on business trips is okay to name a few.
Polyamory and Polyfidelity- Polyamory is a relationship style that allows people to openly conduct multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships simultaneously, ideally with the knowledge and consent of all involved in or affected by the relationships. Polyfidelity is similar, except that it is a closed relationship style that requires sexual and emotional fidelity to an intimate group that is larger than two.
These are the topics we discuss:
How they transitioned from serial monogamy to an open relationship (consensual non-monogamy)
How they communicated their wants/needs to the other when beginning the relationship
Their experiences having sex with others separately to having sex with others together
What recommendations they have for couples looking to open discussions with their partner
Respecting your partner- their desires, their wishes, and their sexual fantasies
My thoughts on monogamy & ethical non-monogamy, and what we can take away from this intimate conversation
When I listened to James and Ellen, what stood out was their mutual sense of respect for each other and their deep consideration for the other person’s feelings. They put more intentionality and pre-meditated planning into their love lives than most “by-default” monogamous couples. And I would argue that they have even more communication and emotional intimacy than just about every monogamous couple I’ve ever known. And it makes me think, when lovers stop taking sexual exclusivity for granted, they see that their partners don’t really belong to them at all. Yes, they have entered into some sort of romantic arrangement and committed themselves to each other, whether it be an implicit or explicit agreement, married or not married, but there is a deeper awareness that their partner’s sexual desires aren’t simply confined to them. The interesting part to me is that even in open, non-monogamous couples, there are still aspects that mirror monogamy, such as the exclusivity of the heart. But one difference that stands out to me, is the conscious and deliberate act of choosing one another time and time again, which tells me that they are staying awake in their relationship. They’re not becoming complacent and drifting asleep on auto-pilot. There is a symbolic renewal of the relationship after each encounter with other playmates. I think this is something that most “by-default” monogamous couples don’t give enough thought to, which often leads to a slow deterioration of their sexual and emotional glue that once bonded them together.
Now this doesn’t mean that because we’ve talked with one open couple that they represent how all open couples are, but it certainly speaks to the degree to which an open couple must delve deeper into their emotions and expectations so as to not break a level of trust and bondedness that is no longer under a false guise of being guaranteed as it is portrayed in monogamy. The beautiful thing with all of these discussions of non-monogamy is that we’re now seeing more examples of how others have tailor-made their relationship agreements from the ground up to suit their individual needs based on where they are in their life journey, how much and what type of sex they want, and finding the right amount of sexual freedom and emotional stability that best fits their life.
There is a simple fact of life that monogamous couples usually want to deny and ignore, and that is, the presence of the 3rd. This represents the presence of all other sexually appealing others, I say others because it’s not confined to just humans anymore – it includes robots, sex toys, digital screens of porn, and sexualized cartoons. The 3rd represents an outside force or person that exists and lurks all around us, appealing to our sexual interests regardless of how much we sometimes wish it didn’t. When we acknowledge its presence, we are in a way, taking control of how we let it direct our emotions and insecurities, thereby using it as a tool to elicit more passion and connectedness rather than letting it consume us with jealousy and fear.
Relationship agreements are living agreements. Partners must continually be engaged in each chapter of writing their own story, adding and removing according to their wishes and needs, otherwise relationships and even love, can and often do die. If fear is what’s holding you back from having the conversations that your relationship necessitates in order to survive and thrive, like inviting the presence of the 3rd, then I encourage you first to think about how healthy is your relationship. Be as honest with yourself as you can. If the dynamics between you and your partner are not already strong and stable, then adding other lovers into your sex life is only going to fuck up your relationship even more, especially when you get to the part about outlining boundaries, because once you cross a line you didn’t know you wanted crossed, then you’re really in deep shit because there’s no undoing that deed.
But if you’re in a stable and committed relationship with 2 emotionally mature and emancipated individuals, think about the conversation as a process, possibly a slow process, one that requires patience, discussion, listening, and speaking from the heart. Your partner and you should be granted the opportunity to take it in bite size pieces if needed, let it sink in, and then have a discussion about it. Understand that some people need more stability and some people need more freedom. And that can be a delicate contract to negotiate, but having empathy for where they’re coming from is key. There are an infinite amount of shades of grey when it comes to playing with the idea of an outsider, whether it be going to a bar and seeing how many people hit on your lover while still choosing to go home with your own, or teasing your partner that someone hit on you at the gym, or browsing an online dating app together to imagine what kind of lovers you think would be fun to invite home even if you don’t go through with any of it. Get creative, because you might find that you don’t need a full execution to ignite more passion and eroticism into your sex life. Sometimes just the idea is enough. I hope this was helpful and if someone you know might enjoy this, feel free to share it with them. Have a great week, everyone.
I love my life. I am surrounded every day by two of the universe’s most beautiful souls – my husband and my child. I have an amazingly creative, fun, and inspiring family. But it has been a long journey to get to where I am today. My childhood, like many of you listening, was marked by pain, destruction, and trauma, which unequivocally altered the way my life has unfolded. That trauma, especially the kind of trauma that happens within the first 5 years of life, particularly the 1st year, had such a monumental impact on how my brain reacts to stress and consequently my behavior and choices, that I am a different person today because of it. I didn’t realize it then, but these early years had MAJOR influences in how I dated, how I had sex, and how I chose my life partner. I have spent the majority of my life introspectively trying to figure out why I behave and think the way that I do until I started studying the well-documented effects that trauma and chronic stress have on brain chemistry, behavior, and long-term health outcomes. And ultimately what I learned was that before I can move forward with my life in a holistic, positive way, I must first acknowledge the trauma and, dare I say appreciate the pain, before I can ever achieve self-actualization. By ignoring my trauma, it’s like having a hole in my bucket of sand, thinking I can somehow reach the moment of fullness without addressing the gaping hole at the bottom.
My goal in doing this episode is to take you along with me on this journey of self-actualization to learn from our past mistakes as human beings, to mine for nuggets of universal wisdom, and to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit in all its strength and power. The reason that we need to walk this journey together is that it is imperative that we educate ourselves and rescript our lives to stop the inertia of passing on our damage from one generation to the next. Our children and our youth are all we really have to carry on everything that humankind has worked so assiduously to achieve. My hope is that through this podcast, together we may find the courage to live up to our highest expression of humanity, and in doing so we can find light, love and hope in our own lives.
All my life I had told my life story in terms of monumental moments of pain, destruction, and sadness… all the way up until just a few months ago when I had a great awakening. This great awakening happened as I prepared to tell my story to you all in preparation for my first podcast episode. As I recounted all of the moments and experiences that had shaped my life, I realized something so monumentally paradigm shifting that inspired me to reshape how I wanted to frame this podcast, and that was this: my entire existence has been sculpted by angels and miracles that drastically altered the very trajectory of my life. The weight of this paradigm shift of illuminating the magnificence of this divine intervention filled my heart with such immense gratitude that I burst into tears.
I quickly grabbed a pencil and paper and started bullet pointing in numerical order the miracles and angels that had changed the trajectory of my life. Interestingly enough, when I finished writing and counted up each angel and each miracle, there was a perfect total of 10 – 5 angels and 5 miracles. I realized that this was the single most important page I had written all year long during a transitional time of documenting aspirations, brainstorming business ideas, trying to manifest my desires, and striving to find my calling. And then I realized that these 10 signs held a profound message to me: I am worth something, I am loved, and my life has meaning. These were my 10 signs from God.
Before I tell you my story, I’d like to preface it by saying that my hope is that you find comfort that you are not alone in your struggles and to remind you that within all of us lies the common thread of humanity at its core: the longing to be seen, to be heard, and to be loved. There are more people than you know who can not only relate to you, but will accept you with all your bag of troubles, just as you are. No one in the history of the universe will ever experience life from your exact vantage point. People all over the world throughout every continent, every historical time period, and of all ethnicities, genders, and classes share parts of this story and of your story. We are more alike than we are different. It is precisely because my story is relatable that I wanted to share it. There is always power in sharing our story because in it, we as fleeting incarnated spiritual beings, get to see one more angle of humanity to expand our minds, our hearts, and our souls. Lastly, in order for you to understand why these angels and miracles have been such blessings to me, I must weave it into the darker context of my life. But take heart, for with that darkness there is light. And in order to fight darkness, we cannot fight it with more darkness, we must become light and then transcend the darkness.
My very first miracle happened long before I was ever born. It happened when I was just half of a being, an egg buried deep inside my mother’s ovary, accompanying her to a doctor’s visit where she was scheduled to get her tubes tied so that her 4th child would be her last. She was about to get called in by the nurse, when she had a voice from within speak to her, telling her to get up and leave. In a moment of attunement to her higher self, she listened. She picked up her purse and walked out the door. Not long after that day, she became pregnant with me, her 5th and last child. Had it not been for my very first angel who gave me life, my mother, I would not be here today.
Being the youngest of 5 children, I had to overcompensate for my size in order to really make my presence and my wishes known. I didn’t know it then, but my drive to be heard coupled with my temper magnified my defiant spirit and my tenacity to speak my own reality. My father was absent, distant, and scary. My mother knew without a doubt she wanted lots of children, perhaps it was her calling. The first part of my life was shaped greatly by two things: poverty and abuse. I witnessed terrifying physical abuse toward my mother and bathed in the volatility and explosive atmosphere it created every day of those early years. One of my first memories was my mother shuffling us into the hallway to protect us from my dad’s escalating anger that quickly turned physically violent while he screamed at her for hiding a credit card that her great aunt gave her to pay for necessities. I remember being absolutely terrified hiding there in the hallway. My dad also threw things when he got mad. One time it was a glass jar of tomato sauce that he hurled right at my mother; luckily, she dodged the jar and it hit the front door, spewing red sauce everywhere, an image of red so perfectly matching his rage. Growing up experiencing and witnessing that kind of volatility on a regular basis dramatically changed my very biology, specifically my brain’s ability to regulate my stress response, leading to a very short fuse.
Neuroscientists who have studied the brain over the last 20 years, have learned how fear and trauma influence the developing brain, specifically its the organization and structure. It’s become increasingly clear that experience in childhood has more impact on the developing child than experiences later in life. In fact, by the age of 3, the brain has reached 90% of adult size, while the body is still only about 18% of adult size. Learning this helped me to understand why I’ve experienced problems with memory and absorbing new information at school, which are hallmark signs of trauma. Chronic trauma also elevates a child’s resting heart rate over time, which increases the risk of heart disease and the probability of cancer. It also leads to an increased probability of both perpetrating sexual assault and being the victim of it. If there was emotional neglect in your childhood, it can severely affect your ability to bond and attach to a partner in the future, leading to some major relationship problems. Many of you might know about the well documented “cycle of abuse”. The cycle perpetuates itself by being passed down from generation to generation. As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people”. Well, that’s true for all types of abuse – physical, sexual, and emotional – unless someone within the cycle makes a conscious and deliberate effort to stop the cycle from repeating itself. And regardless of however far back my family’s history of trauma goes, I’ll be damned if gets passed on through me.
As children of abuse do in some fashion or another, I picked up some very destructive habits from these formative years. I’ve always thought that the one thing my father left me before he moved away was his temper. Moreover, I came to believe that I was worthless, that I was dumb and insignificant after repeatedly being called a “stupid thing”, internalizing that I was less than human. Because of the unsafe and chaotic nature of an abusive childhood environment, I grew up with a heightened fear of danger, constantly scanning people’s body language, tone, and word choice as a survival mechanism to perceive danger while I still had an opportunity to escape it, even if it was just psychological.
In the years leading up to my parents’ divorce, my dad worked odd jobs mostly in television and radio while my mother took care of the 5 of us kids. With 7 people living in a very tiny house, we had to get creative about our living spaces, oftentimes shuffling my sleeping quarters between a coat closet and the living room. My father’s scattered earnings were unreliable as he sometimes squandered them on frivolous things like a television while we went to sleep at night on the bare floor, sometimes with an empty growling stomach. Thankfully my mother was smart and hid small bits of cash her relative sent her in the mail so that she could make payment plans in order to afford doctor visits and medication for us. Not realizing at the time how blessed we were to have angels watching over us, we survived off food stamps, hand-me-down clothes from the church, and a couple caring relatives who helped my mother prepare for the divorce. My mother knew that when the divorce request came, she’d have to be prepared for my father’s explosive temper. So she made arrangements with my step grandmother Maggie, my second angel, to come stay with us during that time so that there was at least a witness to deter him from acting on any violent impulses. She was kind and gentle, trying to make that time as smooth as she could. When the cork finally popped, my dad threatened to kill my mother if she tried to take full custody of us, which in hindsight is ironic, given that he was pretty much a vapor in the wind shortly after their divorce. In fact, I haven’t seen him in over 15 years, which only goes to show that the real proof in believing someone is in the doing. Without Maggie there, who knows what might have happened to us all.
To give you some context as to why this matters, the American Journal of Public Health states that “femicide, the murdering of women, is the leading cause of death in the US among young African American women aged 15 to 45 years, and the 7th leading cause of premature death among women overall. American women are killed by intimate partners (that is husbands, lovers, ex-husbands, or ex-lovers) more often than by any other type of perpetrator. The murder of intimate partners accounts for approximately 40% to 50% of US femicides but a relatively small proportion of male homicides (5.9%).”
Now, one might think that the chapter of abuse would be over at this point in my story once my parents’ divorce was finalized, but survivors know better. The cycle of abuse is like a weed, coming back over and over until you treat it at its roots and stay vigilant in your pursuit of elimination.
It also leaves in its wake a feeling of precariousness not easily remedied. My mother was the closest thing I had to feeling safe, secure, and bonded. Symptomatically I was plagued by nightmares, usually about my mother either getting shot and killed or about her trying to kill us. After meeting a man at a divorce support group, my mother started dating and taking weekend trips with him. Before one of her trips, she gave me a locket that had her picture inside. It was meant to comfort me before leaving me at my dad’s apartment. I remember feeling immense sadness and pain. It felt like I was being abandoned by the one caretaker I had. I’m certain that’s why I have so much empathy for children who are separated from or abandoned by their parental figure, especially in cases like human trafficking, child marriages, foster care, or our country’s dark history of enslavement. I was outraged this summer when all those children at the US/Mexico border were getting separated from their parents due to the ‘zero tolerance’ policy. I could feel their fear, their terror at not knowing what was going to happen to their mothers and fathers, and worse – if they would ever see them again. It was heartbreaking, and it felt unsettlingly like our government had just publicly kidnapped thousands of children without a shred of empathy.
A few years later, my 3rd angel had already made financial arrangements for us. A relative of ours had written us into her will knowing the impact it would have on our lives. She had bequeathed us a small enough endowment that enabled us to move out of our tiny house and into a moderate middle-class neighborhood. It was the beginning of new opportunities, a different lifestyle. We were stepping into a new class status and the evolution of seeing the world differently began in that house. Nevertheless, the reverberations of the abuse in the aftermath of my parent’s divorce were strong enough to carry over into our new home. Without much further detail, I will leave it at this: the emotional and physical abuse, manipulation, silent treatment, arbitrary humiliation in front of others, and suicide threats among other forms of psychological control, were still cycling throughout our home life.
I will keep the rest of my story for another day, but I wanted to leave you on this note with a quote from Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading psychiatrist, speaker, and author on childhood trauma: “The most important property of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain relationships. These relationships are absolutely necessary for any of us to survive, learn, work, love and procreate. Human relationships take many forms but the most intense, most pleasurable and most painful are those relationships with family, friends and loved ones. Within this inner circle of intimate relationships, we are bonded to each other with ‘emotional glue’ – bonded with love.”
I will never discount the validity of my struggles and the beauty in the contrast that came with them. But the equally important piece that was initially missing from my story was the gratitude and the recognition to the angels and miracles that carried me from one life chapter to another. I wholeheartedly believe that those angels and miracles were manifested not by my own hand, but rather by God. And when I say God, I’m not limiting this word to just religion. I’m speaking about the omnipotent energy force that connects all things, the higher intelligence, the Force, Source Energy, the Universe, Life, or God, whatever you wish to call it. I’m talking about the force of all goodness in life. And I’m certain that most people, if not all people, have at one point or another felt its presence in their lives. I believe that at the root of this force, there is pure love. When I finally connected the series of miracles and angels that had touched my life, I saw pure love. And I realized, the universe was looking out for me all along.
To learn more about Dr. Bruce Perry or childhood trauma, go to childtrauma.org.