Living with Anxiety

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Anxiety is isolating and can feel like it is eating you up from the inside. The physical manifestations can be debilitating and exhausting. If you look closely at anxiety, you can begin to see that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical symptoms all interact and combine to keep our anxiety going. Things like mindfulness, distraction techniques, CBT skills can assist with alleviating it. However it's important to get to the root cause. Talk to a friend, family manner or therapist to understand yourself better and what is triggering it. 
Suffering in silence with anxiety only exasperates it. 

Period Sex

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I get that having sex on your period isn’t for everyone and that's ok. But there is some serious stigma related to it, and really periods aren’t anything to be ashamed of. They’re natural. They happen every month. They’re just a part of bodies and life still happens! So here are some myth busting facts for you:
*Orgasms are pain relievers! This means climaxing while on your period can actually reduce cramps!
*There isn't as much blood as you think there will be- yes there maybe some but its not much different to any other bodily fluids that occur during sex.
*Period sex can actually be shortened due to the contracting of your uterus lining. *Some women become more aroused during their time of the month.
*Worried about getting blood on the sheets? Shower sex can change that! Please don't fall...
*Periods are natural, we still live in an a world where there is embarrassment and shame related to them-which is ridiculous. This needs to change, and to start that change we need to talk about it. Period.

Disclaimer: as much as I'm advocating for period sex (mainly destigmatization) PLEASE remember that you can still can contract STIs so do use protection.

Talking Porn with Young People

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This day last week the @thisisleika panel spoke about porn and sex education. 
We all were of the consensus that sex education needs to incorporate it. Including areas such as pleasure, consent, relationships and sexuality. Currently porn is easier to access than sex education and that's not going to change anytime soon. By the age of 9 many kids already have stumbled onto it. So start by having the conversation. There are really great resources out there to assist, such as #thepornconversation developed by the amazing @erikalust www.thepornconversation.org. @katemoyletherapy also did a piece this week for #ageid, the link is in her bio. 
We can't ban crappy porn but we can talk and teach our young people, so that they may feel empowered and comfortable. 

What is Consent?

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If you are unsure what defines consent here is an outline from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Centre: "Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says "yes" to sexual activity with other persons. Consent is always freely given and all people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say "yes" or "no" or stop the sexual activity at any point." 1.When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen EVERY time. 
2. consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact.
3. Sexual assault can happen in marriages not just one night stands.
4. Finally remember you can withdraw consent if you no longer feel comfortable.

Remember sex without consent isn't sex.

Break Ups

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"If you love someone and you break up.."
When a relationship ends, it can be immensely heartbreaking. Negative emotions are often demonised and we are made to feel as though feeling sad, angry and hurt is not good for us. That's not the case. You are perfectly entitled to experience and go through these emotions. Talk to people:friends, family members, your therapist.
Whatever happened, remember you are loved, you are important, you are beautiful, keep that heart on your sleeve.

The Function of Relationships

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If we use relationships to make us wiser, kinder and more compassionate, we can actually change how they function. We can have the relationships and lives we've always dreamed of. Look after each others soul and personal growth. Committing to helping, supporting and loving each other. It is only when you are living through love and kindness with each other that your relationship will truly flourish. 

Supporting your Spouse

Supportive actions often spell the difference between success and failure. One way to be an encouragement to your spouse is to be a supportive partner.
By being supportive, your actions and attitude will show that you believe in your partner and want the best for them

Support and motivation will allow you to grow individually but also flourish as a partnership. Why do we choose to commit to spending the rest of our life with partners? Not because it’s easy. One of the MANY reasons is that we have someone that supports us through our life journey. Someone who will always be there for us, to believe in us, appreciate, and support us in both the good and bad. Working on supporting each other will build on your foundation as a couple.

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Intimacy

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Intimacy is at the heart of a strong relationship. Intimacy is about being able to be free, to be your authentic self with them. It's a deep emotional bond that is normally reserved for just one person. Ideally, sex in a loving relationship should come from a place of love and connection. The two are interconnected intimacy builds sex and sex builds intimacy. When one is struggling, the other is also.
If you and your partner are having difficulties couple therapy can really assist.

Anxiety Disorder

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An anxiety disorder is a condition characterised by high levels of fear or worry that get in the way of your average day.
Common anxiety disorders include problems , difficulties in social situations, excessive worry that is difficult to control, stress over issues such as relationship problems and fears of specific events or objects (phobias).
Common symptoms range from tummy aches or headaches, irritability or easily upset, feelings of panic, sleeping problems, frequent reassurance seeking, muscle tension and concentration problems. If you are suffering with anxiety the first step is to talk about it. Sharing with a partner, friend or family member can ease the burden and possibly gain some insight and perspective. Therapy can greatly assist, especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

Low Desire in Women

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Loss of desire, also known as low libido. Can affect women at certain times of life.
There are many obvious times such as during pregnancy, after having a baby, during menopause. However some women experience most of the time. 
Low libido can have a range of physical or psychological causes, including:
*Stress
*Depression
*Excessive drug use or alcohol.
*Medication side effects
*Hormone issues (drop in testosterone)
*Relationship issues
And many more reasons. If you are struggling with low libido it is worth visiting your GP in the first instance. They can assess for any physiological aspects. If ruled out sex therapy can help assist you in reconnecting with your sexuality and help with any relational issues. 

Sex and Communication 1

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New research finds that comfort with sexual communication is directly linked to sexual satisfaction. Alongside this: People who are more comfortable talking about sex are also more likely to do so while having sex, the researchers found. Expressing yourself sexually tends to be easier during sexual activity as guards and barriers tend to be lowered. After all, people who are uncomfortable asking their partners to wear a condom may be at higher risk of having unprotected sex and exposing themselves to sexually transmitted infections. Which would reduce the fear of pregnancy or STI's and increase an individual feeling relaxed....not to mention the all important intimacy! So try to communicate and express yourself honestly. This will lead to a happier sex life 💗.

Rapid Ejaculation

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Sexual dysfunction is any physical or psychological problem that prevents you or your partner from getting sexual satisfaction. Male sexual dysfunction is a common health problem affecting men of all ages, but is more common with increasing age. It's estimated 1 in 10 men has a problem related to having sex, such as Rapid (premature) Ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. 
There are many treatment methods including medical, surgical and therapeutic. However it should be understood that this is about treating the individual and what is right for them. If you are concerned attend your GP clinic in the first instance. They should be able to guide you in the right direction.

Mindful Masturbation

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Masturbation is a great form of #selfcare that is fun, healthy and cheap!
In keeping with the theme of mental health it is also important to point out that masturbation can cause issues for some people. I often ask clients three questions which allow me to gain an understanding as to whether support is needed: 
Can you cut down on your masturbation? Is it having a negative effect on your life and relationships? Do you feel shame/guilt following masturbating? 
If none of these apply to you then happy masturbating! Otherwise there are many specialists out there that can support you. 

Uma Thurman

Reading the piece in the @nytimes with Uma Thurman today I was really struck by one of the final paragraphs.

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When you tell your child that they were harmed because another person likes them, you’re connecting pain with love. That not only normalizes being abused, but also abusing others.

This then perpetuates further into adult relationships and normalises cruelty and unkindness from partners. If love is patient, kind, understanding, and compassionate, then surely love is not cruel, mean and violent?


Sex and Communication 2

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Sex and communication: If you feeling awkward or exposed talking during sex, a good way to commence communicating is to try it before being in the act. You could start the conversation about something you've my have had a dream about, day dreaming about or a fantasy you've been thinking about trying. You could start by leaving a note or even a text. Putting yourself gently out there is a good way to start. It's dipping your toes rather than diving straight in! 

Therapy Challenges

This was one of the first things I learnt about therapy, from my own personal therapist.

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When something feels uncomfortable to explore, you should focus on it. Talking about painful material in therapy is beneficial because this brings the material into the present where it can be looked at and understood.  This is the time to feel uncomfortable so that your therapist can perform the psychological surgery that needs to happen for you to feel better later. Draining an infection is never pleasant, but it is necessary.

Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short term gain at the price of long term pain.


Sex and Communication

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Sex and communication: If your partner struggles with communicating with you during sex, some positive reinforcement might help. Telling your partner how amazing they are, good they look and how much you enjoy being with them. Comment on certain aspects that you do get genuine pleasure from. This also can be said after sex when your partner may even be caught off guard. Knowing that you think of them can really help boost confidence levels.