I have the honor of working with many people who have been abused physically, emotionally and or sexually. Our culture teaches us to “forgive and forget” and in fact those who don’t are often shamed for not taking the high road. Society says to forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones, and turn the other cheek. For people who have been abused or traumatized, forgiving isn’t necessarily the answer. The truth is you can choose to accept what has happened but you don’t have to forgive whoever has harmed you unless you so choose to. Forgiving is a very personal choice not to be influenced by what you think you “should” do. There is no shame in accepting what has happened without forgiving the perpetrator. The power comes when you can make your reaction to what happened be a choice. That’s the difference between being a victim and being a survivor.
Help make history by signing the DSM Revision Petition now! The diagnoses in the DSM-IV-TR still subject
people who practice BDSM, fetishes and cross-dressing to bias, discrimination and social sanctions
without any scientific basis.
Sexual attitudes and behaviors change over time, i.e., it was only 100 years ago that masturbation was thought to cause blindness by the same medical community that is responsible for writing the 800 page DSM today. Do you really want the government in your bedroom determining what is and is not a healthy form of sexual expression?
In addition to my private practice as a sex therapist I also testify as an expert witness as well as conduct diversity training for large corporations. Labeling people as mentally ill can have a tremendous impact on child custody cases, employment matters, and security clearances. For mental health professionals such as myself who are open and affirming to all forms of sexual expression between consenting adults, I can say with certainty that this is a very important issue and I hope every person who reads my blog will help by signing this petition. In 3 minutes you can make a difference.
We need 3,000 signatures, but we only have 2,200 now. If you don’t speak up and call on the American
Psychiatric Association to adhere to empirical research when revising the diagnoses in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), then the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work
Group won’t make a meaningful change.
To sign, go to: www.thepetitionsite.com/1/DSMrevisionpetition
You can make your signature anonymous on this secure petition site so it doesn’t appear on the Internet
or when the petition is delivered to the APA.
Over the years I’ve had wonderful therapists and I’ve had awful therapists. Most of my colleagues range from good to gifted. Unfortunately, I also come across therapists that I wouldn’t let pet my cat, let alone work with one of my friends. There is not a week that goes by that I am not asked how to select a therapist. I write a monthly column for AccessRx — a leading men’s health blog and decided to comprehensively tackle the issue in the hopes that it will help people know what to look for. A good therapist can help you heal while a bad therapist can do permanent damage. If you would like to learn more about how to make one of the biggest life-choices that you will ever make, you can read my article at the AccessRx.com blog. Look for the article called “Sex Whisperers: How to Select the Right Sex Therapist.”
We’ve all done it. ”If only my partner would do X, Y, or Z, our relationship would be so much better.” With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the following story by Valerie Cox as much as I do…
“A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”
With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude,
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.”
(Story contributed by the world’s great son, Ki Cannon)
Last Thursday at a Georgia night club, partygoers decided to dance in their underwear. Thank goodness the Atlanta Police Department (APD) stepped in and saved the crowd of adult patrons from themselves by arresting them. If not for APD, consenting adults might have seen each other in their underwear. Doesn’t JC Pennny spend millions each year with footage of beautiful models wearing sexy lingerie in their prime time TV ads? Thank heaven that APD was alert to the danger and even called in the “Red Dog Unit” which is generally reserved for gang violence. Perhaps the police were concerned that the dancers might be packing Uzi’s underneath the elastic of their undies. Ultimately, 62 patrons and 8 employees were cuffed and forced to lay face down on the ground. What were these rebels being charged with, you ask? Indecency. Indecency, really? Haven’t the APD guys ever ever been to the beach or looked at a Sears Catalog? I wonder if the Atlanta DA will go for the death penalty against the CEO of Victoria Secret. Are our tax dollars really being spent on this nonsense? In Atlanta, apparently we are when it comes to gay bars. As the men were roughly being forced to the ground, they were also on the receiving end of anti-gay slurs and excessive force. Can you imagine people at a straight club in an upscale part of your city being treated this way? Of course not. This is discrimination against a sexual minority and it should bother every American. In this great country it has to be okay to be white or black or mexican or asian or gay or straight, or god forbid, even left-handed. In case you were wondering, “The mission of the Atlanta Police Department is to reduce crime and promote the quality of life, in partnership with our community…(and with values of) Dedication, Professionalism, Integrity.” Whoops!
She may not be Bill Clinton, but she is definitely one of the most important people in the field of sexuality. Dr. Patti Britton is the Immediate Past President of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). www.aasect.org. Past President’s of AASECT read like the “Who’s Who” of sexuality professionals. AASECT is the leading organization that certifies sex therapists throughout the world. As I was thinking about the honor of having Dr. Britton appear on our show, I couldn’t help but think back to the elation I felt the day I learned that my 75 page application to become an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist was approved by the certification committee. In addition to adherence to a strict code of ethics, AASECT Certified Sex Therapists are required to meet a long list of educational, experiential and clinical requirements. Few people are better equipped to discuss any sexual concern than Certified Sex Therapist, Dr. Patti Britton. I hope you will join us for what promises to be an excellent show. For more about the show: www.sexandintimacyshow.com. To learn more about Dr. Patti Britton: http://www.yoursexcoach.com/
Hard Days, Soft Nights…
As men’s age goes up, some uncooperative penises go down. As we age sex can often be different. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. I had an older couple in my office today who are learning to redefine what sex looks like for them as they age. I couldn’t help but think of my two favorite bulls here in the majestic foothills of Colorado. There was an old bull and a young bull. They stood together looking down at a herd of well groomed heifers. The young bull declared, “I’m going to run down there and get me one of them cows.” The old bull thoughtfully replied, “I’m going to walk down and get them all.” The moral of the story for our aging population; less can be more!
Sending gays to therapy to become “un-gay” has been a hotly debated topic within the mental health community for many years. One school of thought (from a very tiny school with even smaller thoughts) is that homosexuality is a mental illness and that gays should undergo “reparative therapy” in order to become heterosexual. The American Psychological Association (APA) representing its’ 150,000 professional members, said yesterday that after an exhaustive review of 50 years worth of studies, even if gays wanted to become straight there is no credible evidence concluding that reparative therapy is effective. As a clinician who has worked with countless people of every sexual orientation, I can say with confidence that sexual orientation is not a choice, but rather a clear case of nature over nurture. The only people that need repair are the people who impose their moral values on others, pathologize those who are different than themselves, and claim there is only one way to live in this life.
Judgemental therapists give me a headache. Most therapists are compassionate, skilled, emapthic, loving, kind, supportive and nurturing. Several times per year however, including today, a new client sadly told me they were judged by their former therapist because said therapist wasn’t comfortable with the client’s sexual practices. That is maddening to me! As a member of the helping professions our vary ethos is to ”first do no harm.” Fortunately, just when my gaskets were about to blow, a dear friend sent me this lovely quote from one of our former professors. The following quote from Dr. Epp reminded me of just how many extraordinary people there are in our field, when she said: “I am a sexologist and that means I’ve given my life to the scientific study of organized information about sex. Just as I wouldn’t judge daisies over roses if I were a botanist, I don’t judge sexual behaviors.” ~ Janice Epp, PhD — You go, girl. BTW: Dr. Charles Moser wrote a book entitled Health Care Without Shame. His book is difficult to obtain these days, however our health care system would be a kinder, gentler place if Moser’s book was required reading for all health care professionals.
Everyone has heard of the 7 year itch. In clinical terms there are actually three stages of a relationship that are at higher levels of risk for divorce. Years 7, 15 and 25. During those times it is easy to focus on the problems. I like the approach that my colleague Tammy Nelson (seen right) takes which is to focus on the strengths of a relationship, or what she calls the “Waking Up Stage.” When couples learn to re-connect the spark can live on for the long term. In her book, Getting the Sex You Want, Tammy says, “When you crave more passion in your relationship, you really crave move depth or intimacy.” If you want to hear Tammy live, you can tune in to The Sex & Intimacy Show this Thursday, July 23, 2009. www.sexandintimacyshow.com