"I'm Not in the Mood." The Usual Decline of Sexual Interest (and what do do about it)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

“I just want a quickie.”  

“I feel used.” 

“I think we should have sex more often.” 

“I think you need to show me more emotional support first.”

“How about just a blow job?” 

“How about a back rub?”

“Why do you always want sex?”

“Why don’t you want it more?”

“God, I’m just so…bored.”

Sound familiar? If you're like thousands of other couples this Valentine's Day, you might be having one of these conversations. We can't all be like Shannon and Morrison in my second novel, Conviction. (Rawr.)

Sexual issues come up often in relationship counseling, and they can be tricky to tease apart, unlike your husband’s legs. (Ba dum dum, ching). While sexual activity is at a peak in early relationships, it tends to decline over time. But why? We surely love our spouse more now than we do when we met them, don’t we?

Why would our sexual desire so reliably go down (and not in the fun way)? There are quite a few reasons, and obviously all of them cannot be discussed in one post. But while this isn’t a universal truth for everyone, there are a few, very common reasons for a loss of desire. And while I will be addressing the ladies here only because I more often see couples where women have lower drives, keep in mind that these roles can be reversed. 

Come with me. (heh) Let’s check this out....  continue reading

Things That Block Orgasm: What Women Need To Know About Serotonin Balance

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships


Serotonin does more than keep depression at bay. This neurotransmitter also allows the rest of the brain to communicate with regions responsible for self-control and planning functions. This may explain why serotonin imbalance has been linked to issues from obsessive compulsive traits to substance dependence 1

But a lack of serotonin does more than regulate impulses and alter mood. Serotonin also plays a big role in sexual function. Without enough serotonin, orgasm may not come as quickly, if it comes at all (pun totally intended)....  continue reading

The Minimalist Guide to Internal Working Models: How Early Experience Shapes Later Relationships

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Early life experiences can shape our later relationships and our emotional profiles. 

Upset that you inherited their father's nose? You may have gotten his trust issues as well.

Internal Working Models of Relationships

Your internal working model refers to how you see the world and predict events. An individual's internal working model of relationships is formed in response to the type of care they receive early on. In essence, early attachment changes how you come to see your later relationships and the amount of trust you have for partners. It can also be passed down through generations because it changes how people respond to their own children....  continue reading

Platonic Friendships, Friends With Benefits and Relationship Complications

Tuesday, November 08, 2016 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

In relationship therapy sessions, there is often another individual in the background, underlying arguments and punctuating negative feelings: the platonic opposite sex friend. Often men and women have difficulty seeing eye to eye on this issue. 

But it isn’t their fault. It’s all part of an evolved mechanism that may lead men and women to see these relationships in very different contexts, either subconsciously or right out in the open. But without understanding those elements, it is difficult to work through them....  continue reading

Reliving the Past: How to Get Rid of Unwanted Fantasies

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

After the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, child care centers across the country noted the emergence of a game called “earthquake,” where children, without provocation, acted out an earthquake scene over and over again, processing the trauma in such a way as to be powerful at the end1.  This is an example of an automatic, impulsive fantasy reenactment, an obvious response to one event that needed to be dealt with. 

But we are more complicated than that in most other areas. Sexual fantasies can run the gamut from “Hey, Baby,” to, “Oh dear, god, why the fuck am I thinking about that!?” because of their tendency to be representative as opposed to literal. For example, donkey fantasies are usually more about..ahem…size and not having to worry about a parter as opposed to wanting to fuck an actual donkey. As a general rule, fantasies may increase pleasure, or on the flip side represent certain unresolved elements of our pasts, functioning to desensitize us to traumas, or helping us to overcome guilt or shame (discussed more here in Whips Chains and Penises, OH MY! Fantasy and the Feminist Argument for Bondage).

But if you are convinced that the fantasies are literal (and sometimes if you aren’t), they can freak you out and become like intrusive thought patterns, an obsession more than a desire, the fear of the thoughts as well as their link to past pleasure driving them to continue, much like what initially happened to Hazel in the book Beyond the Break.

So what to do if a distressing fantasy keeps coming up?...  continue reading

From "I do," to "F*ck off": The Relationship Between Depression and Divorce

Monday, August 03, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

“As a therapist, some of my most satisfying treatments have begun with the suspicion that what looks like martial discord is best   conceptualized as depression in one or the other spouse,” says Dr. Peter Kramer.1 

In other words: “Want to leave? You might be fucking depressed.” 

Okay, okay, so that’s a loaded statement. But it might not be that far off. 

In the circumstance of relationship distress, mood disorders are a common thing. It has long been known that divorce can trigger depression. Part of this is because nearly any life stressor can cause symptoms to worsen in someone who has a depressive history. In men, divorce can even trigger a first episode, though women tend to have had at least one prior to the divorce itself10. In Against Depression, Peter Kramer notes that because women tend to (but not always) have deeper feelings surrounding relationships, they may set themselves up for additional losses inadvertently, which may partially explain the higher rates of depression in women2. Women also have the added burden of economic strain, as their standard of living tends to decrease following divorce while men’s increases. Which sucks giant lion balls and not the tiny shriveled dentist variety. (Asshole poacher burn.)

With the strain of fighting over child custody, the inherent loss of the relationship as well as overall alterations in lifestyle, it is not a surprise that divorce can lead to depression or anxiety. But what if, for some people, the depression comes first and leads to the divorce itself? What if the issues inherent in the relationships were colored by this depression in such a way as to make them seem hopeless leading to separation?...  continue reading