THE TRUTH ABOUT MEN WHO DON’T HAVE SEX FANTASIES

man asleep on computerThe other day I was talking with a friend whose two children were going through predictable stuff – the yuckiness of the opposite sex, trouble with Social Studies, and the usual overload of growing up in today’s world.

Theirs was a constant motion of soccer, electronics, friends, and school.  My colleague was in constant motion, too:  monitoring sleep overs, checking in with other parents, and attending school and athletic events whenever possible.

“Getting enough” wasn’t about sex; it was about sleep.

The importance of a healthy family came through when my friend talked about making brownies for PTA, teaching bike riding skills, kissing boo-boo’s, pacing the ER, laughing at dumb jokes — and mostly being in awe that growing up happened so quickly.

My friend sounded guilty saying that much as the children were loved, parenting sometimes got tough.  There was guilt in wanting what had nothing to do with children — private, grown-up things.  There was resentment that evenings melted into helping with homework and enduring the logistics of bedtime when there was laundry to do and lunches to pack.

To be sure, there was disappointment, anger, and frustration that personal time was lost among responsibilities to work, the kids, and home.

I’d never met those kids but I knew how they felt as surely as if we’d had a conversation:  one look at the myriad photos on my colleague’s phone said it all.  So when I was out shopping last week for Mother’s Day cards, I was disappointed, but not surprised, when I couldn’t find a card that expressed my special admiration.

And I wondered: what kind of Mother’s Day card do his kids get for him?

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Coach specializing in couples work, especially with those relationships impacted by invisible disability.  She has a firm belief that the quality of a couple’s relationship has significant impact on a family’s health.  With experiences as a 7th grade teacher and as a therapist working with adolescents Kathe considers herself “mom” to hundreds of kids.  She and her husband David live in Colorado where they teach Couple Communication Workshops and are both mom to kitties Petey and Lucy.  Discover more about Kathe Skinner at http://www.CouplesWhoTalk.com where you can sign up for a free, curated, weekly e-newsletter. 

©2016, Being Heard, LLC

 

 

YOUR SEXUAL FANTASY INCLUDE THE PERSON ON THE NEXT PILLOW?

Rachel Friedman, sometimes called the

Rachel Friedman, sometimes called the “Paralyzed Bride” became a quadriplegic after a freak accident at her bachelorette party. She recently did a sexy photo shoot to make the point that the disabled are still desirable and sexual.

We’re into fantasy when it comes to sex.  For most of us, we found head candy in a hidden magazine stash or a suggestive romance novel.  Within adults’ lifetimes, though, there’s been an explosion in readily available sexual images.

No wonder couples get into relationship trouble when the expectations built around sexual fantasy get confused with who’s really on the next pillow.

Despite the (sometimes problematic) changes in what’s okay to portray, have we changed enough that sexual images that include disabilities’ realities — like ostomy bags — are fantasy-worthy?

Or is it just gross, which was one person’s reaction to Rachel Friedman‘s photo shoot.

Lots of us believe that people with physical disability are asexual, maybe because the thought of them having sex is a turn off.  After all, sexual fantasy is about perfect bodies doing perfectly acceptable things perfectly. Reality’s a bummer.  It’s a drudge; it’s hard; it’s not glamorous; it’s too often too tired and too often grumpy.  It farts, too.

Reality’s what’s unpleasant to look at; graphic disability’s just part of it.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in couples work, especially with couples whose relationship is impacted by chronic illness/disability.  She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for almost 40 years and lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, David, and their hooligan cats.  Find out more about her at www.coupleswhotalk.com or at their Couple Communication Workshop site beingheardnow.com.  

© 2015 Being Heard, LLC

A FATHER’S DAY FANTASY

hefner and twinsFantasy’s a powerful thing.  It fuels the head trip of desire and compels the illusion of feeling good, even when there are no hands on.   Multi-billion dollar industries – from publishing to prostitution to porn – start here first.   

But how does the brain distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined?   Scientists’ hypotheses point to the involvement of different areas of the brain and the multi-directional processing among them.  

Sexual fantasies are a solo adventure usually leading to release through orgasm.  For some the mind’s eye is enough to induce a significant physical event like orgasm.  Actual visual stimulation is so powerful that doctors’ offices getting sperm samples provide men with sexually explicit magazines as a way for patients to get it up and over with.   Humans are not alone:  Species that are down the evolutionary ladder from us also purposely seek out ways to feel good “down there”.  Elephants rub, monkeys twiddle away the hours masturbating, and male dogs lust after people’s legs.

Sometimes fantasy goes wild and boundaries are blurred, creating a new “reality”.  One example is the substitution of social bonds created by in-person interaction with texting, sexting, and hook-up sites.  We’ve always looked for love in the wrong places but it’s easier now; you don’t have to take a shower to “chat”.  Carried to extreme, fantasy never becomes reality:  the lure of being anyone you choose, often without consequence, is a strong inducement to stay impersonal.

It’s long been known that our brains are hardwired for pleasure, with specific neural pathways acting as highways.  As with anything pleasurable, the possibility of overindulgence, abuse, is possible.  While most brains have stopping, or surfeit, mechanisms, other brains are glitched to go wild.  Especially worrisome is the effect on young brains of unrelenting and ever-more-present societal messages about sex.  Young brains are not yet equipped with that Jiminy-Cricket-battle between the super-ego and the id; with this age group (and for some adults), the id wins almost every time.  Understandably there is concern for young people among parents, educators, and the mental health community.

The mental health and medical communities are concerned about the rise within the broader population of sexually identified mental health diagnoses as well as the rise in sexually transmitted disease.  It’s no longer unusual to know someone with herpes; it’s even been authoritatively predicted that in ten years over half of women and 40% of men will have contracted genital herpes.

Fantasy enables our addiction to the belief that if we can imagine it, we can make it real.  It sounds snappy when Sony says it, but those are dangerous words.  Not only because that’s not always true, but because it shouldn’t always be true..  Powerful as it is, sexual fantasy is just that.  Many of us are still hanging with Freud rather than updating our belief that it’s abnormal not to fantasize when bringing about orgasm. 

In praise of sexual fantasy: 

  • Leads to sexual activity, conjoint or solo, and that’s a good thing;

  • By inducing orgasm the body rids itself of stale sperm, an evolutionary advantage;

  • Orgasm reduces blood pressure, aids sleep, counts as exercise, lowers heart attack risk, lessens pain;

  • Can infuse a dulled relationship with newness;

  • Takes us on a journey we probably otherwise wouldn’t be capable of;

  • Stimulates creative thinking;

  • Enables us to practice social skills;

  • Offers an escape from criticism that may induce self-consciousness or an inability to function sexually;

  • Makes us feel good about ourselves, powerful, potent, and desirable;

  • Enhances relationship;

  • Mostly, sexual fantasy Is fun.

Sex is the adult version of play and fantasy is our way of looking forward to playing.  As thinking beings we need fantasy, daydreaming, and imagination as a pathway to our best self.  Fantasy is a pleasure in itself. 

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist whose private practice focuses on couples, especially those whose relationship is impacted by visible or invisible disability or illness for whom sexuality is often a significant issue.  It’s probable that childhood exposure to an overly enthusiastic dog is the reason she’s a cat person.  Then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  With their two hooligan cats, Petey and Lucy, she and her husband David live in Colorado Springs where she maintains a private practice and where she and David co-instruct Couple Communication Workshops.  

Copyright 2015, Being Heard, LLC