According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in six U.S. men have experienced sexual violence, and 17% of those men develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In my years practicing therapy, I’ve found male survivors face unique challenges to recovery, yet hesitate to get the help they need.
The question is why.
For one, we don’t hear much about male sexual assault survivors, although one study found sexual assault history was common among both women and men, reported by 25% of women and 16% of men surveyed. The research participants also faced similar long-term problems, regardless of gender.
Continue reading Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Face Unique Challenges to Recovery
With the #MeToo movement dominating the headlines over the past few months, many of us have had to ask tough questions about our own experiences of gender, power, and relationships. While women have taken the forefront of the movement, it’s also been a moment of reckoning for men.
The movement has not only provided an opportunity to confront more obvious acts of violence, but also how gender roles influence the way we treat one another in our own lives and relationships. This means confronting the role of toxic masculinity in our lives and relationships.
Continue reading How Men Can Confront Toxic Masculinity (+ Why It’s Important for Mental Health)
If we were to ask pop culture what the ideal relationship looked like, most of us would expect an image of fireworks in the sky with that one and only person who completes us. Romantic comedies may be uplifting, and love songs beautiful, but much of what we learn about relationships early on sets us up for unrealistic expectations.
The result? We never feel like our relationships are good enough, and may doubt if we’re deserving of love.
Holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate these worries. Social media often makes it seem like everyone else is coupled and in an ecstatic state of love. If we’re partnered, we may wonder if our relationship is as good as everyone else’s seems to be. And if we’re single, we may feel even more inadequate.
Continue reading 7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day
Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow, that person’s miserable! They need to get laid!”?
Well, that comment may be offensive and unnecessary, but it isn’t completely wrong. Sex may not be a cure-all (though I wish it were) — but it can have a measurably positive impact on your mood, as well as your physical health!
Continue reading 6 Ways Sex Is Good for Your Health
We know that women face a number of challenges to achieving equality. In the boardroom, we face the wage gap. And in the bedroom: The orgasm gap.
Researchers (and everyday people!) have found that a gap exists between the frequency with which men and women experience orgasm, especially during heterosexual sex. Specifically, women consistently have fewer orgasms than their male partners.
Continue reading The Psychology of the Orgasm Gap
Sex is wonderful under the right circumstances, but it can turn into something not-so-great and unhealthy when it becomes a way of acting out, or a coping mechanism for other, deeper issues.
Especially when your mental health isn’t on it’s A-game, your sex life can get out of whack.
Here are some less than ideal decisions around sex one can make … and how to avoid them.
Continue reading When Is Sex Bad For Your Mental Health? (+ What To Do About It)
We’ve all been there — finally connecting with a person we pined after for months — feeling the exhilaration, the desire, the ravaging. Regardless of the quality of the sex itself, in that moment we feel wanted, desired, and sought after. But then what?
What happens when they ghost you, or communicate that it’s not the best fit? What if, after you date long term, they desire sex less often?
Continue reading Sexual Self-Worth is About More Than Just Sex. Here’s Why
The summer I was nineteen, I researched and wrote a travel guide to Italy, journeying from Venice to the Cinque Terre armed only with a sundress and my handy dandy Macbook.
It sounds pretty ideal, and it was—except for the constant, terrifying, enraging sexual harassment. From being groped on the train to being kissed non-consensually by hostel owners and bartenders, the summer left me tan, skinny, with killer calf muscles — and with a feeling of total disconnect from my sexuality. After months of constant, unwanted attention and physical violation, I felt that my sexuality had become a weapon used against me rather than something for my own pleasure.
Continue reading Having Healthy Sex after Sexual Assault
Sexual incompatibility can range from a minor annoyance for some couples to the death-knell of a relationship for others. No matter what value you place on chemistry in the bedroom, though, the general rule is that if a problem is ignored, it grows in significance and leads to increased anger and resentment on both sides. If the following issues describe your relationship with your partner, I encourage you to start an open discussion with them about the role of sex and sexual compatibility within your relationship.
1. Your Partner Finds Sex “Silly” or “Unimportant”
When couples have a disparity in sex drives, that is one dilemma. The troubles really start, however, when one partner dismisses or discredits the other’s need for sex. If you are thinking your partner would even take issue with the idea of sex being a “need,” that mindset likely points to a problem. Continue reading 7 Signs You May Be Sexually Incompatible With Your Partner
My wife is sick. Stage Four sick. I must hurry home and relieve her parents who have been caring for her since I left for work at 9 a.m. and for our three-year old son since his pre-school day ended at 2 p.m. It is 6:30 p.m., but I am not rushing through the front door.
Instead, I am lying on a massage table in the back room of our local nail salon, trying not to audibly cry as my masseuse works on the knot under my right shoulder blade. The knot is excruciating, but that is not why my tears soak the paper cover of the table. I do not know her name, but I do know that she always works on Tuesday nights and I know this as well— she does not tie back her thick dark hair. My wife had thick dark hair before the chemo.
I cannot define this desire; this deep longing for another woman’s hair to tickle my back. Is this a form of adultery? Of exploitation? To pay a thick-haired stranger to soothe me in this way? Do I take advantage of my wife’s parents? Do I neglect my son who is scared and sad and needs me to come home? Because I will be late. I will blame my boss or the subway or the rain before I cop to this 20-minute reprieve. I am ashamed. I am defiant. But I know what I need. Continue reading Defiant Desire: Grappling With My Sexuality in Widowhood