How To Love Forever
Explore the endless possibilities of Love, Romance & Sexuality. Hosts Heather & Marco seek relationship wisdom to share wit you. Intimate, fun & outrageous!
Tuesday May 24, 2022
TO BREED OR NOT TO BREED: The Pros & Cons Of Having Kids vs. Not Having Kids
Tuesday May 24, 2022
Tuesday May 24, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we explore the biggest decision you can probably make in your life
We dive into parenthood, looking at the landscape of it in culture and in personal life.
We see how parenting has evolved from a social obligation to a personal choice.
And we lay out a list of reasons you just might want to skip the Parent aspect of a long term relationship
And reasons why you would want to embrace it.
On today’s episode we are breaking down one of the most important choices you can make in your life, and how it impacts your relationship and the world
This important choice is whether to become parents.
This might sound ominous, and it is a topic that instantly causes controversy, especially in family circles. Who hasn’t nervously sat through the “when are you having a baby” interrogation, innocently administered by everyone from strangers at the grocery store, to casual friends, to your own anxious parents?
So often, there’s this expectation when you are in a deep, committed relationship, that the next logical -and required- step is to start a family of your own.
It’s a social script. It isn’t a real requirement in life, and really it never has been. Sure, in the agricultural age or earlier, the more kids you had the better, so the choice became more enforced, and the expectation became codified through law or religion. But we live in a different age.
Thanks to science, children have a far greater chance of survival into adulthood; not just in the developed world but throughout most of the developing world too, children have far fewer fatality rates than in ages past. In fact, child mortality rates in the US alone have gone from 46% in 1800 to 0.7% in 2020https://www.statista.com/statistics/1041693/united-states-all-time-child-mortality-rate/
Higher standards in the world of health, education, and even the relative liberation of women’s roles in much of the world have brought about a Golden Age of baby-making. It used to be your child had a 1 in 5 chance to see adulthood. Nowadays it’s closer to a 1 in 5 chance that they won’t. Just since 1990 alone, the child mortality rate (under 5 years old) has halved, and the childhood survival trend is still growing.https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality
All to say that a New Normal is here: Whereas the past dictated that we personally must procreate or humanity itself could face extinction, there are now enough people in the world, making enough babies, that we can truly see the wonders of parenthood as a personal choice we have the privilege of making, and not as a cultural obligation.
But we are just at that turnover point in history where that is becoming true, only in the last couple of generations has the personal idea that you could choose not to become a parent started to take hold, and there’s still plenty of stigma surrounding that choice.
Socially speaking, there really is a kind of dividing line between parents and non-parents. Parents normally seem to just assume that you want the same for yourself. And in social spheres, distance can grow quickly between friends who are parents and friends who are childless. This isn’t all due to conscious choices or some prejudice, a lot of it is logistical; lives become very different between the two groups. Priorities change, life-rhythms change…
Before we go further, I want to make clear that this isn’t a talk where we tell you you have to have a baby. We are also not telling you you shouldn’t have a baby. As usual, we strive for more nuance than that.
We are exploring the pros & cons of each choice, and illuminating both paths in an attempt to help clarify what each choice entails.
We honestly believe that this is a sacrosanct personal opinion, as important to the stability & health of your relationship as it could be for the stability & health of world.
Either is a path not to take lightly, and it isn’t for us to judge which is right for you. If you feel you’re at some sort of crossroads and have to weigh the options, we hope our little chat can help with that.
Getting started:THE PROS & CONS OF PARENTING:* Forget traveling! * I don’t mean the easy vacation, although that becomes harder too. * Talking about climbing the Himalayas, backpacking the amazon… * The risks are greater, and the cost is multiplied by having to bring kids (or not bring them, also a cost) * Just the logistics also get harder too. The baby seat, the potty breaks, the airplane trips… (train them way early, like 6 months or younger) * Harder to do an adult thing on a trip (like a cocktail in the lobby bar) if you have kids with you. * Caveat: it can be great to show kids the world, but it will be a lot harder and some stuff will be off-limits (lion safari? not kid friendly)* Career takes a backseat * especially women for stupid reasons (maternal expectations etc) * middle-age mothers are the most passed-over-for-promotions employee group (expectations of days-off requests, childcare issues etc). * Younger women are overlooked because they’re expected to take off on maternity leave * prejudiced & sexist, but it is what it is. If you start a family, expect some glass ceiling action.
* Watching your child develop is a miraculous experience * from the first time they open their eyes to when they get their first driver license or diploma, every step & milestone is a unique wonder * These are memories you’ll cherish forever* The physical warmth of being a parent is euphoric * from baby snuggles to adult hugs, it’s an emotional ride unlike any other
* Your Social Life “ENDS” (makes a dramatic metamorphosis) * childless friends still invite you to stuff you can no longer attend * Deep intelligent chats over a glass of wine with no interruptions? Nope * Over time, it’s likely that your social group will morph into parents-only (& neighbors at that) because they’re the ones most suited to be your friends, same logistics, regardless of what else you may have in common.* Alone Time becomes a thing of the past * babies crying, kids demanding attention throughout the day and well into the night. * If you enjoy privacy while spending time on the toilet, becoming a parent often whittles down that little moment of peace to almost nonexistent. * taking off time for oneself becomes a logistical improbability, even as it multiplies in necessity
* Lifelong companionship * Always a friend when grocery shopping * sharing unlike any other sharing * “who’ll take care of you when you’re old”* “Training” a child to become a conscious person helps you develop too * every new experience -the ocean, a carnival- is brand-new to them and can be new for you too * Teaching a child to be kind, hopeful etc can remind you to be the same.
* The EVER PRESENT state of parental anxiety * the nagging fear that you’re fucking up your kids * Am I being neglectful? Am I being too Helicopter? * Should I try to enforce healthy habits, or will it backfire & they rebel? * Do we let the kid play sports, even though there could be injuries? * Do they need more from me? Less from me? * Are their friends good or toxic? Am I toxic? * will they do drugs or engage in unhealthy stuff? * who’s that guy in the white van parked near the school? * Kid alone in the house, you constantly check on them * kids go on a weekend trip with friends, you go crazy for 2-3 days * The worry never seems to end. Some people say it’s what defines parenting* The end of a good night’s sleep * kinda related to the Constant Worry, some sleep loss for that * also, just normal: diaper changes, teething agony, nightmares, late night feeding, wanting to sleep in your room between the two of you… * It’s hard to imagine sleeping for more than a few hours until preschool starts
* Tax breaks! * you can get thousands in tax credits just because you’re a parent * I’m sure it doesn’t offset the costs of having a child but every bit helps* You & you partner evolve together * your life is no longer only yours * your relationship w your partner becomes about more than just you two * Not always the case, but in a healthy situation is quite likely * Helps keep arguments & differences in a larger perspective
* THE MONEY * From the moment they’re born they start to suck up your savings * diapers, day care, formula, clothes, flu shots, the right lunchbox, then the right shoes, then the right outfits, then sporting gear, braces, piano lessons, pizza with friends, field trips with the choir team…. * Raising the average American child to 18 costs $272,000. That’s more than the median cost of an American home https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/090415/cost-raising-child-america.asp * this does not count college. College is another cool quarter-million * Amortized over time, the savings from not having a child can be huge. If responsibly invested, that 272K amount over 18 years could become more than a million dollars. https://www.budgetworksheets.org/invest/invest.php?amount=250,000 * People ask: “who will take care of you when you get older?” a million dollars gets you a decent amount of elderly care. People who are trained in dealing with elderly, and not “obligated” because they’re family.* And what about the physical impact bearing a child and then laboring to bring it into the world has on one’s body? * Stretch marks, swollen breasts, then saggy deflated breasts, and if you’re able and choose to nurse, you may have the great joy of dealing with cracked & bleeding nipples, breast milk needing to be pumped on the regular, and highly embarrassing leaks if you weren’t quite as on top of it as you had thought. * Speaking of nursing, (while amazing for the baby’s health and the connection you share with them), it also increase the depletion of calcium from the mother’s bones, so you may have osteoporosis to look forward to in later years. * Oh, and if you want to nurse but aren’t able to get the infant to latch or if you aren’t able to produce enough milk to sustain them, then you have the great joy of battling the shame of feeling like a “failure of a mother”. * Then there’re all the hormone changes, hair growth, hair loss, morning sickness, swollen ankles, the risk of high blood pressure, heartburn, loss of bladder control, potential tearing of your perineum if you have a vaginal birth, or the super fun scarring and recovery from having a cesarean. * And what about your relationship? Will having a child augment the magic you already share with a partner? Or will it change it completely and not for the better? Being parents is a TON of work and not every person, couple, etc. are built to withstand the strain, the stress, the energy, and resource heavy requirements that raising a child to adulthood entails.
* You become super-motivated * a friend once told me that having his son motivated him to excel in his business like no other thing ever did. * you’re responsible for the life of another human, so in most healthy situations, you’re really motivated to reach a higher level of success & stability so you can successfully raise the kid, if nothing else.* When you age, you won’t be alone * parenting 2.0 is being a grandparent, you get to replay the good parts without the risk or responsibility * when old age incapacitates you, others may be around to help you settle into your softer, slower life * A friend has told me that the end of life isn’t so scary anymore after having children, because something of her will continue
It’s wild how touchy this personal subject can be, like perfect strangers act as if they had a personal stake in the matter of you & your family plans.
Yeah, like it’s anyone’s business but that of you & your partner(s)
But ultimately, this is one of the most intimate & private choices you & your partner can make together
Elon Musk has stated concern about the lack of population growth in the modern world, says “population collapse” will be a problem not population explosion. Because of how it affects economics & industry.
It’s probable, but maybe a more childless future will be a thing society adjusts to, like we adjusted to every other change in the modern world.
Bottom line: If you have an innate, burning desire to become a parent, please do! Those are the kind of parents that are needed. Chances are you’ll be exemplary parents, and will get as much from your parenting experience as you give to it.
But if you don’t burn for it, and just feel you “should” be a parent for no reason other than it is vaguely expected, take a deep look inside. Your parents or friends passively harassing you, or the expectation of your church, culture, or society simply isn’t enough reason to embrace a journey as deep and life-changing as this one.
We have the privilege these days to truly consider whether that path is the right one for ourselves as individuals, and also as couples. Two partners need not necessarily become parents. Some people like their relationships just the way they are, without some huge metamorphosis changing everything.
We do. We like it just the way it is, and we personally envision ourselves happily growing old together without children, grandchildren, and all that. It’ll take conscious planning, and determination to live a satisfying life this way, but it would take the same if we decided to have children, because that is what any satisfying life requires.
If you’re thinking of having children because it’ll “help you stay together”, THINK HARD. This is a red flag and children do not fix relationships. Sometimes, children entrap you in relationships that never should’ve gone that long.
But if that pull to parenthood is natural in you, and you’ve thought deep & long about it, and both of you feel it is the much-desired next step, then good luck to you!
And if you choose not to become parents, we will see you on that around-the-world adults-only cruise!
Tuesday May 10, 2022
SEXY SPACE HACKS: Tips For Maximizing The Sexual Potential In Your Home
Tuesday May 10, 2022
Tuesday May 10, 2022
(NOTE: We have 3 episodes to go before we bring this show to a close. The journey has been very informative and we’ve made many friends along the way. However, our current life has so much activity in it, and demands on our time. It’s not like it was in the middle of the pandemic. We may pick up this podcast series again in the near future, but it really is up to you dear listeners. Let us know in comments or emails if you get enough benefit from this podcast for us to continue serving you.)
IN THIS EPISODE, we make it smell good.
We make it look good.
And we show you how to make your space feel good.
So you can feel oh-so-good!
We are breaking down one of the most important variables in your love life, your environment and how to make it better.
Today’s episode is a complement to our other 2 episodes in this vein, Tips For Spicing Up Your Love Life, and Tips For Having More Sex. This 3rd episode concentrates on the things you can alter in your physical space to make lovemaking more likely, more enjoyable, and more frequent.
This might sound kinda silly and not worth bothering with, but trust me- hacking your space can really help you level up your love life.
There are some pretty commonly-accepted turn-ons and turn offs in life. And even though people’s preferences vary a lot, it is certainly true that making changes in your home environment, bedroom environment, or wherever you prefer to make nooky will definitely help your chances.
So we compiled a list of what works, without getting too in the details, since the details will change from person to person, and sex partner to sex partner
We strove to reduce these tips down to general elements to ponder on, so you can decide how you best manifest their value in your life.
* Make it smell good * We mean clean of course, but also try different scents you & your lover both enjoycandles, incenses, sprays, oil lamps, aromatic dispensers are available * 1999 paper by Alan Hirsch and Jason Gruss published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine and Surgery suggests sex and smell have a long association:“Historically, certain smells have been considered aphrodisiacs, a subject of much folklore and pseudoscience. In the volcanic remnants of Pompeii, perfume jars were preserved in the chambers designed for sexual relations. Ancient Egyptians bathed with essential oils in preparation for assignations; Sumarians seduced their women with perfumes. A relationship between smell and sexual attraction is emphasized in traditional Chinese rituals, and virtually all cultures have used perfume in their marriage rites. In mythology, rose petals symbolized scent, and the word ‘deflowering’ describes the initial act of sex. * ….“The prominent connection between odors and sex among diverse historical periods and cultures implies a high level of evolutionary importance. Freud suggested that odors are such strong inducers of sexual feelings that repression of smell sensations is necessary to civilization.” * Studies have shown that the scent of lavender directly increases alpha waves, which acts to reduce anxiety, therefore easing the capacity for amorous and erotic interactions * There’s also a ton of material about the relationship of personal scent (perfumes colognes) and how they’re designed for sexual arousal. Check out this essay https://www.girvin.com/sexual-flavors-designing-sexuality-in-scent/
* Play sexy music * https://www.aimm.edu/blog/how-does-music-affect-your-mood * According to this blog we came across on the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media, “It was discovered that music can release dopamine in two main places in the brain, the dorsal and ventral striatum. When you are having a pleasurable experience, such as listening to your favorite song, these areas of the brain light up.” * Turns out that the rhythm of the song you're listening to can even influence your heart rate, so when people sing together, dance together, or make love with each, their breathing can become synchronized, which can obviously help stimulate positive emotions. * Choose a playlist that both (or all) of you enjoy that also encourages sensual movement of your bodies. Whatever that means for you. We enjoy deep house, sultry blues, classic jazz, or artists like Alt-J, Leonard Cohen, or even Thomas Dolby.
* Control the lighting * https://blog.specshoward.edu/blog/how-lighting-affects-mood * https://www.tcpi.com/psychological-impact-light-color/ * As any photographer or videographer will tell you, it is ALL about the lighting. It can make a princess look like a troll, or toad look like a super sexy lizard. So, take a look at your space, is it welcoming? Or does it feel more business like? * If it feels like you’re at the dentist’s office about to endure an hour of invasive brain grinding pain, you need to make some changes. * Are there multiple lightbulbs in one fixture? If so, consider unscrewing all but one of them. * Are you able to use or install a dimmer switch? Repeat after me: dimmers are our friends. (repeat) * What about the table lamps? What kind of vibe are they giving off? Grab a warm colored scarf to dim the light and help create a more welcoming glow. (And always check what kind of lightbulb it is. LEDs are fine to have fabric near, but if you have old style incandescent bulbs you won’t want to risk setting your lamp on fire. That’s not the kind of heat we’re talking about!)
* Rearrange furniture * It’s all about flow. Are you bumping into things while you’re trying to give off a sexy vibe? * Feel free to move things out of the way. Extra chairs, a table, etc. Giving yourself room to easily move through the space removes stress & complications from enjoying the moment. * Do you have some pieces of furniture that could be great for sexy time, but they’re stuck behind a lazy boy? Move that shit! Taking control of your space is always a great way to encourage a yummier vibe.
* Hide away clutter * Much like rearranging furniture can contribute to a yummier vibe, so does reducing the clutter visible in your environment. * Are there stacks of documents on your dresser? Does looking at them make you think of all the bills you need to pay and various tasks you need to tend to? How sexy do they make you feel? Probably not very. So, find a logical place to pop those docs where they’re not messing with your sexy mindset, but you will also remember to take care of them before they’re due! * Same with piles of laundry, kids toys, dirty dog bed, etc. Simplifying our environment helps declutter our minds as well, making us more relaxed and better able to enjoy quality time with our partner/partners.
* Good air flow * seriously, stuffy air can get funky, which may get distracting. * Also, OXYGEN. It helps you stay alive, and more importantly is key for staying active. Also quite useful for achieving orgasm, particularly for us women folk.
* Have the tools handy * Last thing you want is to have to stop and run across your home to rummage around for a condom * or a vibrator * or the ceiling-mounted sex swing * Have a little container nearby with the basics, lube, condoms, dental dams, whatever you personally use. * A pretty little box under the bed (or by the sofa) with the larger items & toys is a great addition
* Give yourself time * It may not seem like it, but time is also an element in your environment. * are you always rushed? are dishes piled up high? Laundry hanging off the ceiling fan? * remember to schedule time to set the mood, using all the above ideas * it will reduce the amount of stress you have about getting it on to have taken the time to set the mood, and still have the time to enjoy the moment with your partner(s)
Those are our tips for hacking your space to be more sex-friendly. We feel that for a majority of people, they could be helpful in creating a livelier, more active sex life.
Obviously, everyone’s personal level of sexual need is different. There may be some listeners to our podcast for whom sexuality isn’t even a necessity.
But we are speaking from our own experience of course, and in the knowledge that we are a relatively average couple, who just happen to think about these things a lot, and feel that these ideas can help others who have roughly the same level of libido as we do, regardless of orientation, preference, or kink.
Which is why the list was so… generalized, so you could pop your own preferences and details in there as you desire.
Did you enjoy the list? Is there anything in it that maybe you had not thought about before? Are there any thoughts you have on the matter? Do you have any other suggestions we didn’t mention? Let us know in an email or in the comments!
Tuesday May 03, 2022
Tuesday May 03, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we share our conversation with war veteran now therapist, Mark Cunningham.
Mark sheds some light on what it is like having witnessed battle and what he learned from it that now informs some of his work with patients as he develops his couples counseling practice.
He explains what a soul wound is.
And he reveals what his secret wish would be if he happened across a magical genie in a bottle, and you might be terribly surprised to find out what it is!
We were honored to interview Mark Cunningham, a couples counselor & sex therapist with specialization in healing trauma, helping other veterans through it, and guiding individuals and couples through the often difficult task of piecing together their lives after painful events occurred.
The interview proved to be a rare look into a therapist’s own process within their practice, less shop-talk and more personal insight.
As such, it became less a conversation about relationship techniques, and more of a glimpse into what happens in the mind of the counselor or therapist themselves.
We also touched upon Mark’s history of military service, and in what ways his personal story impacts his work, both in relationship counseling and personal counseling for vets dealing with trauma.
He shares some techniques he learned along the way, such as contact statements and emotional focusing, which help his clients get in touch with the store of emotions trapped within their physical bodies.
He describes his upbringing, and how it affected his vision of sexuality & love. And he even shares what happened when his mom discovered his porn stash. And he discloses how that search for his sexual/romantic identity led him though some questionable avenues before finding the right path for himself.
Tuesday Apr 26, 2022
DISASTER POP: Crappy Love Songs And Their Terrible Advice!
Tuesday Apr 26, 2022
Tuesday Apr 26, 2022
We are back from our two-week break! We had a very nice time! And we took a 100% complete break from all things podcast! But we missed you. Thanks for sticking around!
IN THIS EPISODE, we are digging into the crates, we are revisiting some popular love songs in the history of pop music. It’s a playlist of dysfunction, codependency, and even mortal danger.
We get critical with the lyrics to determine exactly what love lesson they’re trying to teach you.
We had been thinking of what to do after our break to ease us back in a fun way, and we came up with the idea to break down some love songs
You know how, you’re listening to a love song, and it sounds all pretty and then you REALLY listen and it’s kinda… wrong? Like the Stalker Song aka Every Breath You Take by Sting
So we decided to hunt through the decades of Pop and find songs that had that quality in common; Bad Love Lessons.
There were a lot of examples, it was hard to choose from so many!
but we decided to bring out just 2 examples from each decade, starting in the 1960s and ending in the 2010s, and to address them chronologically, and ring the shame bell as we parade their messages naked in front of you
It’s a little sad that these songs, beautiful as they are, are promoting what should generally be considered unhealthy relationship habits. But we can appreciate the art of songwriting even if we don’t agree with the lyrics right?
They’re still good songs, just not songs you should consider healthy life lessons. Sing them in the shower all you want, just don’t try to emulate their relationship strategies because they’re nothing but trouble
Here are, subject to all our snarky criticism, some Great But Shitty Love Songs!
(ALRIGHT BMI OR WHATEVER MASSIVE CORPORATION OWNS THE RIGHTS TO THESE SONGS: Our inclusion of snippets of each song in this podcast, and our narration of the lyrical content therein, constitute quoting or excerpting a work in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment, and are protected as Fair Use under U.S. Copyright Law, Article 17, Code 106,https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/106 SO DON'T SUE US BRAH)
60sRunaround Sue- Dionhttps://www.lyrics.com/lyric/2128/Runaround+SueShe took my love then ran around, With every single guy in townNow people let me put you wiseSue goes out with other guys
* His problem: Emophilia - tendency to fall in love too easily, fast, and often* https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/slightly-blighty/202102/do-you-fall-in-love-too-easily * His response: Slut-Shaming* https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/slut-shaming/ Slut-shaming is the practice of disparaging women, and occasionally men, for acting in a manner that violates “norms” regarding sexually appropriate behavior. These denigrations, which are often double standards, range from criticizing women for wearing sexy clothing or having multiple sexual partners to blaming sexual assault and rape survivors for their attacks. This can be very traumatizing to a woman, just ask Amber Rose.
When a Man Loves a Woman- Percy Sledgehttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/percysledge/whenamanlovesawoman.html* Classic case of PEDESTALLING: Needing someone who is unattainable so you can blame your unhappiness on not having that person, instead of confronting the actual source of it. https://www.dmarge.com/2021/08/pedestalling-dating-trend.html* Also a pretty good dose of codependency: “I gave you everything I have, Tryin' to hold on to your heartless love, baby, please don't treat me bad.”
70sJust the way you are- Billy Joel https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/3214162/Billy+Joel* the story: this man is telling his longtime partner that they don’t need to change anything…* It’s a tricky song where the sentiment begins in a positive but then it turns subtly sour & controlling* anxiety over personal evolution : “don’t change for me, *or* for you”* refusal to engage in deeper conversation, just “talk to” her, not with her.
Hopelessly Devoted To You - Olivia Newton-John https://genius.com/Olivia-newton-john-hopelessly-devoted-to-you-lyrics* Codependency: Losing your identity in a relationship fantasy* Obsessive: chasing a relationship when it’s clear the other person isn’t into it. * https://psychcentral.com/health/why-men-give-up-their-identity-in-a-relationship#causes* Some possible causes for losing your identity in relationships might include: * lack of boundaries * low self-esteem or self-worth * shaky sense of self * codependency
80sSaving All My Love For You- Whitney Houstonhttps://www.lyrics.com/lyric/30043958/whitney+houston/saving+all+my+love+for+you* The story: a woman is being led around by a married man, she’s fixated on him & dedicates herself to his pleasure* Low Self-Confidence* Low Integrity* Self-delusional* Lack of proper emotional support….. the a dog or some shit.
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You- Michael Boltonhttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/michaelbolton/howamisupposedtolivewithoutyou.html* The story: A man is secretly in love with a woman, who has now found love with someone else & is moving away. He’s distraught & potentially entertaining suicidal thoughts.* Lack of proper communication: maybe she would’ve been into it if you told her, st00pid* Need for external validation: manifested the extreme value he places on a thing that doesn’t actually exist
90sDream Lover- Mariah Careyhttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mariahcarey/dreamlover.html“Dreamlover, come rescue meTake me up, take me downTake me anywhere you want to, baby, nowI need you so desperatelyWon't you please come around?…I just want someone to belong to”
* the story: a woman is desperately waiting for a lover to come rescue her from her loneliness and is willing to do anything they want, as long as she can belong to them forever.* This shit is so “I’m a pretty princess and I need to be rescued by a knight in shining armor”, without taking any responsibility for developing one’s self.* placing your value on whether you’re in a relationship* relinquishing sense of self & autonomy* And if you are constantly getting “deceived”, then that begs the question: what sort of behavior/patterns are you engaging in that you are consistently getting involved with people who lie to you? Are you choosing to ignore the warning signs because you would rather believe in a pretty fairy tale?
How do I live without you – LeAnn Rimeshttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leannrimes/howdoilive.html“If you ever leave,Baby you would take away everything good in my lifeAnd tell me nowHow do I live without you?I want to know,How do I breathe without you?If you ever go,How do I ever, ever survive?”
* The story: a woman is so codependent on her lover that she threatens them with her inability to survive without them.* Honestly, where do I start? Everything good? Everything? You don’t have anything in your life that isn’t based on that one person?* This reminds me of the Einstein quote we came across on that statue of him in a Mexico City park, ““If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” It’s up to us to create fulfillment for ourselves; not our lovers, our spouses, our children, or any other person who happens to exist in our realities. Does sharing a connection with them bring joy, fulfillment, and overall yummy feelings? Yes, of course. HOWEVER, those connections cannot and should not be our sole sources of meaning. It’s too much responsibility & weight for them to uphold, they will inevitably crack & crumble if we * Also, using this kind of manipulation to keep your lover by your side isn’t going to keep your relationship healthy & happy.
2KsUnderneath It All- No Doubthttps://www.lyrics.com/lyric/6596012/Lady+Saw/Underneath+It+AllYou're really lovely, Underneath it allYou want to love me, Underneath it allI'm really lucky, Underneath it all…You know some real bad tricks And you need some disciplineBut, lately you've been trying real hard And giving me your best……And when it's really bad, I guess it's not that badRap verse: …Aside from your temper, Everything is secure…You've used up all your coupons And all you've got left is me And somehow I'm full of forgiveness, I guess it's meant to be
* The story: a woman is singing how her lover is actually pretty great, underneath all of the bad things…* Ok, so this one is a little more deceptive than some of the others, which is exactly the point. * Once again, the protagonist is caught up in bullshit fairytale fantasy * The main clues for me were: * “underneath it ALL”- wait, how much sewage are you having to wade through to get to the good stuff? * bad tricks & “needing discipline”? Is your partner a puppy you just rescued from the shelter? * lately trying real hard- Lately? So… there is a continued and probably prolonged period where they weren’t trying? Weren’t working to be the best version of themselves possible, like one deserves in a true partner? * Obviously, we are all imperfect beings and simply cannot be the ideal versions of ourselves all the time. The emphasis is on whether that is our goal and our conscious choice on the daily, no matter how far from the mark we might actually fall. * aside from your temper, how bad is the temper??? * “…Used up all your coupons… all you’ve got left is me”- refer to previous rant on creating fulfillment/sense of meaning in our lives separate & non-dependent on our partners. * “And somehow I’m full of forgiveness, I guess it’s meant to be”- seriously, WTF??? Again with the fairy tale/soulmate/destined to be together bullshit.
A Sky Full of Stars- Coldplayhttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/coldplay/askyfullofstars.html“'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of starsI wanna die in your arms'Cause you get lighter the more it gets darkI'm gonna give you my heartI don't care, go on and tear me apart”
* the story: this man is so enthralled by his lover that it seems they can do no wrong, and he wants to sacrifice himself to being torn apart by them.* lack of self esteem* “pedestaling”* loss of self
2010sBlank space – Taylor Swift I'm dying to see how this one ends Grab your passport and my handI can make the bad guys good for a weekendSo it's gonna be forever Or it's gonna go down in flamesYou can tell me when it's over If the high was worth the painGot a long list of ex-lovers They'll tell you I'm insane'Cause you know I love the players And you love the game'Cause we're young and we're reckless We'll take this way too farIt'll leave you breathless, hmm Or with a nasty scar Got a long list of ex-lovers They'll tell you I'm insaneBut I've got a blank space, baby And I'll write your namehttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/taylorswift/blankspace.html
* The story: this young woman is meeting another potential lover and has no care for whether it’s healthy & long lasting, or whether she hurts them and leaves long lasting scars instead.* self destructive tone* already comfortable with sabotaging the potential relationship* treats her lovers as disposable* And yes, I know this song was written in response to Taylor Swift’s frustration with all the media coverage of her dating life. So when viewed from that perspective, it’s quite satirical & an enjoyable middle finger. But that doesn’t excuse the possibility of it having a lasting negative effect on those who listen to it. They may not know the backstory, heck they may be too young to understand both satire and the complexities of adult relationships. Instead they may simply enjoy it as a rock love anthem with a message that repercussions don’t matter.
Stay With Me- Sam Smithhttps://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/samsmith/staywithme.htmlGuess it's true, I'm not good at a one-night stand, But I still need love 'cause I'm just a manThese nights never seem to go to plan, I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand?Oh, won't you stay with me?, ‘Cause you're all I needThis ain't love, it's clear to see, But, darling, stay with meWhy am I so emotional? No, it's not a good look, gain some self-controlAnd deep down I know this never works, But you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt
* the story: this man has a one night stand and is already so emotionally dependent on this person that he is already begging them to stay and keep his pain at bay.* emopathy, meaning he falls in love right off the bat without actually knowing the person he is supposedly in love with & * sex addiction because he is using sex as a crutch
Tuesday Apr 05, 2022
Tuesday Apr 05, 2022
(NOTE: We’ll be off the air for the next two weeks celebrating our wedding anniversary!
It’s lucky #12, bunnies! So you know we have to make it special.
Yup, we take our romance quite seriously. We will be back as of Tuesday, April 26th where we will be taking on Shitty Love Songs. )
Masturbation! Is it healthy? Is it harmful?
IN THIS EPISODE, we talk about touching ourselves.
We answer 7 questions & address the changing attitudes toward this hard, slippery subject
We share why it’s good to engage in self-pleasure, and ways it might be bad so you need to cut it out.
& we give both vagina owners & penis owners some great hands-on techniques for making that alone time extra special!
Masturbation is a touchy subject (ahem), with opinions ranging from the religious, to the scientific, the psychological to the spiritual, and everything in between.
Some feel that it is cheating, some claim it a sin, and some just think it is unhealthy for our reproductive systems. Are they right?
Or is it instead a healthy way to release some pressure, relieve tension, and stimulate a rush of happy chemicals all while enjoying some intimate time with our own bodies?
Cum with us as we answer 7 questions about masturbation!
1. Is it Healthy for men to masturbate? What about women?In short, yes. Masturbation has many many benefits for both men and women with the release of endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin that result in:* better quality of sleep* stress relief* mood booster* reduces sensation of pain* can improve quality of sex * gain a better understanding of what works for you* mutual masturbation with a partner is a great way to be intimate without risk of pregnancy, STIs, etc. Or it could even be a fun alternative to mix things up and add more variety to your love life.
Specifically for men, masturbating 1-3 times a week (especially if not having sex to completion with a partner) has been shown to improve erectile function, maintain healthy sperm production, and it may even help lower the risks of prostate cancer. This study even says to ejaculate 21 times a month to decrease your risk https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19520362/ejaculation-and-prostate-cancer-risk/
In regards to women flicking the bean, there are even more reasons for us to pleasure ourselves on the reg! It supports vaginal health due to increased blood flow, increases our base level of arousal, helps to relieve cramping, causes us be more sensitive to all the yummy sensations, and it can even mollify some of the more painful side effects of being pregnant, such as lower back pain or mild contractions.
2. Can it be harmful?Just like anything, if it is done to excess, of course it can be harmful to our well being. For example:
* If you are a man and have too strong of a grip while masturbating, it can decrease sensation sensitivity, especially with a partner. So it is recommended to adjust your grip when you spend some time alone, to allow your member to feel more sensations.* You could also cause your penis to swell if you whack it too often, so if that starts happening you might want to give it a bit of a break.* If you use toys and don’t clean them properly you could earn yourself a lovely bacterial infection, and same goes with hands! So if you have a vulva, make sure that anything you plan to stick or allow in to your vagina has recently been sanitized, with a high quality toy cleaner, or a plain old thorough washing with soap.* Masturbation addiction is real and can create a lasting harm. Chasing that dopamine and endorphin high has led to people losing their jobs, negatively affecting their relationships (both intimate & platonic), and dropping the ball on life’s assorted responsibilities. If you have found yourself canceling plans to stay home and have a wank, if you find yourself unable to refrain from rubbing one out in a public or generally frowned upon environment, if you aren’t able to enjoy sexual intimacy with your partner because you’re comparing it to your solo flights, you may be addicted to masturbating. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Ashera DeRosa says ”If you’re finding it hard to control where and when you masturbate or are feeling alarmed about your fantasies or the kind of porn you are seeking out, it would be helpful to unpack this with a sex-positive therapist” There are resources for help, and plenty of healthy alternatives for relieving some pent up frustration if you are concerned things are getting out of balance.
3. If I’m in a relationship, is it cheating on my partner?Of course it depends on your relationship agreements, some consider it cheating for their partners to experience sexual pleasure with anyone other than themselves. However, we are of the mind that that is generally shortsighted, selfish, and comes from a place of deep insecurity. We are all born with our own sex life, dormant in our genes and ready to bloom in adolescence. We would’ve had our own sexual identity regardless of the whether we met our current partner. I’m gonna say it as bluntly as I can: They Don’t Own You. If you have an agreement to exclusively enjoy partnered sex with them it’s fine, but your body is still your own. You decide whether restricting your self-pleasure is part of your relationship agreement, but I can’t think of any logical reason why it would be considered cheating.However, there are times when you might already have an agreement in place with your partner, especially if you are attempting to impregnate your female wife. If you are both wanting to make a baby and you spend your precious semen into a hankie instead of her fertile womb, she very well could have a valid reason to be upset. Or if you made plans to enjoy some intimate time together but you forgot and wanked it just a few minutes earlier, that will definitely cause some disappointment. As always, it is crucial to maintain open & consistent communication with your lover in order to avoid (as much as possible) roadblocks and upsets such as these.
4. How do I talk to my partner about it?* Carefully. There’s a lot of reasons you may hesitate, there’s all kind of risks: fear of judgement or conflict, lack of a sex-positive understanding, indoctrinated shame, religious reasons, embarrassment, believing myths about self-pleasure… it can be intimidating. Show empathy & respect.* Casually. It’s such a charged topic, better not to be too dramatic about it. There’s a kind of conversation guide here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/should-i-tell-my-partner-i-masturbate#how-to-bring-it-up * Bravely. There are good reasons to chat w your partner about self-pleasure. It can help strengthen your relationship. It can help you learn more about what you really like, improving your sex life. Sharing that intimately can be a really sexy bonding experience. It can help remove the feeling of “obligation” your partner may have if they think they’re responsible for all your orgasms. This eases stress & opens the door to more lighthearted fun sex. Also, consider telling them your self-pleasure habits don’t reflect a dissatisfaction with your partner’s sex life, both things are valid & separate.* Optionally. You don’t have to. And you don’t have to divulge all your self-pleasure secrets. It’s your own private sex life, you decide who to let in & how far.
5. When is it not a good idea?* This should be pretty simple, but any place or time where you could be causing harm to yourself or others. * Masturbation is a private act and the only time others should see you do it is if you both (or all) consent to it.* If your responsibilities, social life, or general life balance starts to suffer, you may need to ease back, and/or seek professional help. There is no shame for needing help, we all need a helping hand sometimes.
6. What does “God” say about it?* As you probably know, most of the worlds religions either outright prohibit male masturbation, or strongly discourage. However, the roots of those prohibitions are all about “wasting” semen because the primary directive is to procreate (farms take a lot of hands to work and the infant mortality rate used to be brutally high). So unless you aren’t needing to save that seed to knock up a human woman this week, we think you’re probably ok to give it a tug.* As for human women, most religions have next to nothing to say for or against masturbation. It’s almost like they don’t think we’re sexual beings who enjoy pleasure or something. However, there are some more progressive sects across the board that recognize the importance of the clitoris for sexual pleasure, so they think it’s just fine to flick the bean, as long as it’s with the peen. Penis. Penile penetration during heteronormative coitus.* If you subscribe to a religious view that prohibits self-pleasure, then you will have to decide what you do, how you do it, and if you do it at all. Here are How To Love Forever headquarters we feel that there is no shame or sin with helping our bodies feel the best they can, with whatever tools or techniques are at our fingertips. We adhere to the principle of Love is Love, and that includes Self Love. But you’re going to have to make that choice for yourself.
7. How do I do it?
For Vagina People:* Find time and a private place where you are unlikely to be bothered for a little while. If you can, lock the door!* You might want to light some candles, tidy up, and otherwise make the space more sensual, especially if you’re kind of new to this.* Wash your hands as well as whatever toys you plan to use.* Recommended accoutrements: vibrators, lube, nipple clamps, stimulating topicals, anal plugs, and many more. If you want to try out new toys, you can always see whats available at your local “adult novelty store” (sex shop), or maybe it’s time to plan a fun sex toy party with a group of girlfriends. Those can be a great way to ease into being more adventurous, and you don’t have to make your purchases in front of everyone, just the rep.* If you haven’t already, grab a mirror and take a look at yourself down there. There are guides a-plenty both online and in bookstores if you need some help figuring it all out. And you might feel weird about it, but you really do need to know what you’re working with.* Then start experimenting! Grab some lube, and start touching yourself. Caress your clit, your labia, finger your opening, massage your breasts, pinch your nipples, try out a vibrator, maybe a dildo. Are you standing up and bending over the counter? Are you laying down on your bed? Are you maybe squatting to find that elusive G-spot? Are you realizing you could use several more hands working in concert? (fun fact, this is when I start to feel bad for straight men. this shit takes work!)* In the meantime, how are you stimulating your brain? Do you have porn on? Are you reading smutty erotica? Looking at hot photos? Or maybe just using your potent imagination?* Whether or not you climax is not necessarily the point, especially when you’re first getting started. It’s about getting in touch with your body, enjoying some alone time, and finding out what you enjoy. And hopefully you’ll have a great time relieving stress and finding a sensual release!* Always make sure to pee after any kind of sex, even solo sex. It helps avoid painful bacterial infections later on.* If you want to find more info, here are a few sites that have some great pointers, you’ll find them in the description:
FOR PENIS-PEOPLE: Here’s a fun list of ways to get it on with yourself:https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a19530843/masturbation-secrets/ * Try varying your masturbating position* Vary up your grip & speed* Switch hands* Try doing it after your exercise* Perineum play, it’s a real thing.* Experiment w anal stimulation* Use a vibrator on your dinger* Use toys, experiment with devices like fleshlight etc.* Bring your balls into the mix* Use a cock ring or testes cuff* Practice edging* Masturbate with a partner* It is not recommended to masturbate prone, or face down. It puts a lot of strain & pressure on the base of the penis, and could also make it difficult to enjoy penetration with a partner.
Some links for your perusal:
https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/masturbation-guide https://www.healthline.com/health/masturbation-side-effects https://www.christianity.com/wiki/sin/masturbation-a-sin.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v51vSE3zSko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLf3hnxUaY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU3JqoUDkjA https://www.healthline.com/health/masturbation-side-effects https://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/a20730536/health-benefits-of-masturbation/
Tuesday Mar 29, 2022
10 TIPS FOR HAVING MORE (& BETTER) SEX!
Tuesday Mar 29, 2022
Tuesday Mar 29, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we share 10 hot tips to enjoy more sex.
We offer suggestions for setting the stage, becoming more conducive to sexuality, and working to earn it.
(& We share with you our 3 favorite C-words)
We love sex! Sex is good. And good sex is even better. And since so many people in the world feel similarly, sex is used as the motivating factor for much of what happens in our society. It’s used to sell just about everything, from crap we can buy to our personal self esteem. It’s also incredibly important for the vast majority of relationships to stay healthy and for the people involved to feel a deep sense of connection with each other.
One survey https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com/sexual-dry-spells/ found that people in relationships who are sexually inactive (without identifying themselves as asexual) were more prone to feelings of sadness & depression and self-images based on unattractiveness.
familiarity can be injurious to the sex drive, we get used to each other. It becomes more of a challenge over time to inhabit that original state of constant attraction to your partner and that desire for sexual connection. So you gotta take matters into your own hands. Grab the bull by the horns. Be deliberate, find ways to generate that state of desire between you two (or three or whatever)
To help make it easier for sexy motivation, we did a bit of internet browsing that we also compile with some methods that have worked well for us, and turned them in to a handy dandy guide for youse guys.Without further ado, here are Heather & Marco’s Top 10 Tips for Having More (and better) sex!
1.• get revved up! • erotica, porn, dirty talk, etc. • your sex drive is dependent on stimulation and conditioning, so help it be strong • invite eros into your life and be mindful/focus on making your love life grow2.• talk about it! • Lack of communication is often what leads to sex droughts in a relationship • your wills & wont’s • your secret fantasies • how you self-love • what is your right level • work through the puritan programming & fear of judgement around it • men & women have very different sexual expectations, learn to strike a balance3.• work out regularly (get fit) • developing a relationship with your own body helps develop one with your partner’s body • the endorphins we get from a good workout help make us happy, which not only turns us on but also makes us more attractive. • by staying healthy and fit, we stay physically attractive to our partners, and to ourselves. You know, confidence!4.• masturbate! • self pleasure is key for knowing what feels good to us • it helps keep all those yummy chemicals rushing through our bodies, so we’re more inclined to be turned on by our partners. • relieves frustration & tension, making us less grouchy to those around us. • but be open & non-judgmental. this is intimate/delicate territory5.• schedule it • may not sound sexy, but life gets in the way. • so tell your lover, “tonight, we are going to have a snack, take showers, and then win the date”. BOOM. • set a weekly date! but balance the dryness of scheduling it with flirtation & playfulness, don’t turn it into another chore6.• set a sexy scene • hack your environment to make it conducive to amorous activity • What does that mean? Look around you. Is it super messy? Does it smell bad? Is the lighting harsh? • tidy up, light some candles your lover enjoys, shut off or throw a scarf over those ugly ass lights. • grab the lube, the condoms, the toys, whatever you enjoy including in sexy time to have ready and easily at hand, cuz having to leave the room to hunt things down invariably puts a damper on the mood!7.• get out and have a new/exciting experience • dopamine rush can help reset your libido • dopamine & other brain chemicals are directly linked to physical attraction • your level of “extremeness” will vary, but do something that makes your heart pound • bonding over exciting new activity helps spark arousal8.• take a sex class and dedicate the weekend to trying out your new skills • so many kinds of classes! • how to perform oral better, for men and women. • bondage, like Shibari, if that excites you. • even if it turns out not to be a kink, or even if you don’t learn a whole lot from it, it’s about making a conscious effort
9.• masturbate in front of each other (eek!) • for the truly adventurous • shows your partner what turns you on • a level of trust and vulnerability to share such a personal intimate moment with each other • allows your partner to see what you like & how you like it • but be open & non-judgmental. this is intimate/delicate territory10.• clean yourself up. • Shower! • remove unwelcome hair from your cracks & crevices, or anywhere that the extra friction may not be appreciated. • Even if you aren’t intending to leave the house, you can still dress up and take extra care with your grooming. • It shows your lover that they matter and that you want them to find you attractive.
BONUS• compliments, caresses, acts of service, hugs!… • appreciation breeds appreciation • verbal encouragement helps confidence • confidence is sexy
it comes down to the 3 C’s• chemicals• confidence• consciousness
truly, we need to be conscious of how much more sexual activity we want to enjoy, so we talk about it, & we set the space for it.And we want to be our best sexual self, so we get fit for it, we do things that generate the chemistry of it.and we become aware that to be confident is to be attractive, so we work to deserve that and to facilitate the same confidence in our partners.
Tuesday Mar 22, 2022
RESILIENT TO ANTIFRAGILE - The Secret To Building A Strong Relationship
Tuesday Mar 22, 2022
Tuesday Mar 22, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we explore three levels of relationship strength; fragility, resilience, and anti fragility.
We see how these states differ from one another, and how that relates to the strength of one’s relationship.
We discover how chasing happiness can make you miserable.
& We touch on ways we can get past relationship challenges and emerge stronger from them.
Books! Click the Amazon links below to get these great books for your library. They're affiliate links so a percentage of your purchase will go toward helping our show, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!“Antifragile” by Nassim Nicholas Talebhttps://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Nassim-Nicholas-Taleb-audiobook/dp/B00A2ZIZYQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2L0YEF4GTW0R9&keywords=antifragile&qid=1647893662&s=books&sprefix=%252Cstripbooks%252C242&sr=1-1&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=f7be86d63273fd6ef54cfe567f045e6a&camp=1789&creative=9325
“Happier, No Matter What” by Tal Ben-Shaharhttps://www.amazon.com/Happier-Matter-What-Cultivating-Resilience/dp/B092B95X4N/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=tal+ben-shahar&qid=1647894048&s=audible&sprefix=tal+ben%252Caudible%252C329&sr=1-1&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=4363786ce7217d4437d5da53b85f704f&camp=1789&creative=9325
“Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment” by Tal Ben-Shaharhttps://www.amazon.com/Happier-Tal-Ben-Shahar-audiobook/dp/B000RNKHKI/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=tal+ben-shahar&qid=1647894048&s=audible&sprefix=tal+ben%252Caudible%252C329&sr=1-2&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=ebb4a6bedc661cfeb1d67ff0ca70fc97&camp=1789&creative=9325
* What Is Resilience? * Simply put, resilience is the ability to experience pain, challenges, or stress and then find a way to bounce back.
* How is it different from anti-fragility? * anti-fragility was coined by author, mathematician, & risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book, “Antifragile”. * According to Taleb, anti-fragility is the ability for a system to grow or benefit from unforeseen events, mistakes, or chaos. * And according to author & former Harvard professor, Tal Ben Shahar, anti-fragility is resilience 2.0. Resilience 1.0 is withstanding stress, whereas the antifragile becomes better because of it.
• Some of the common characteristics of resilience:
• resilient people know that “shit happens” * helps one to avoid feeling discriminated against when adversity occurs * instead of “why me?”, think “why not me?”. - Shit happens to everyone * “shit happens” removes ego from the equation, it’s simple statistics* resilient people are good at choosing where they place their attention * focus on what they can change and accept what they can’t (that’s the essence of Stoicism btw) * Stoicism is about training yourself to handle worst case scenarios by contemplating on them with emotional detachment and practicing skills to deal with any situation effectively. Stoicism removes the fear (and hope) of your anxious thoughts about the future and allows you to accept the inevitable hardships and final end that all humans face. It does this by building up your mental fortitude to accept the present moment and the randomness of the next hour, whether it is one of pleasure or pain. Therefore it is a philosophy of acceptance, no matter who you are and where you are in life. * Seneca was a rich dude who practiced non-attachment & visualized tragic scenarios, to be prepared against them * (Stoicism is in a way a philosophy about building resilience. Resilience is a precursor to antifragility)) * don’t diminish the negative, but have worked out a way to tune in to the good (benefit finding) * make an intentional, deliberate and ongoing effort to tune in to what’s good in your world * generally optimistic- focus on the big picture, don’t allow slip-up to ruin day, focus on gratitude, and live in the present* stay open minded and flexible * open to new ideas, opportunities, etc * recognize that the greatest opportunities come when there is a lot of upheaval* ask themselves “is what I am doing helping or harming me?”
* The happiness paradox * from Tal Ben Shahar * pursuance of happiness causes unhappiness and tends to lead to depression (valuing happiness) * happiness is best pursued indirectly
Tuesday Mar 15, 2022
Tuesday Mar 15, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE we dive in to the deep dark waters of experiencing trauma.
We break down the many ways trauma can affect not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us, and our most important relationships.
We share methods and resources for working through different kinds of trauma.
& We share some modern techniques & treatments, some of which might surprise you.
#traumahealing #lovetips #relationhips #couplestherapy #couples
Some links & references for ya:
Books (click on the affiliate links below to buy from Amazon and help our channel at no extra cost to you!):
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/0143127748/ref=sr_1_1?crid=259CKICJ3L8J4&keywords=the+body+keeps+the+score&qid=1647293987&s=books&sprefix=body+keeps%252Cstripbooks%252C363&sr=1-1&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=a74405be115787b82e9c7a4cdcf2e633&camp=1789&creative=9325
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience - Dr. Brené Brown: https://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Heart-Meaningful-Connection-Experience/dp/0399592555/ref=pd_sbs_28/141-3629085-5543902?pd_rd_w=hrLr9&pf_rd_p=dfec2022-428d-4b18-a6d4-8f791333a139&pf_rd_r=AFR3TRBBHDEGHP97ZTWW&pd_rd_r=a89aec35-6cc8-4e4a-ab1c-94922872b219&pd_rd_wg=cNfTD&pd_rd_i=0399592555&psc=1&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=a2a8d31ad0582e5c531baacc099123d7&camp=1789&creative=9325
Healing Secondary Trauma: Proven Strategies for Caregivers and Professionals to Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Compassion Fatigue - Trudy Gilbert-Eliot, PhD: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1641527560/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=1641527560&pd_rd_w=a2JRz&pf_rd_p=0c758152-61cd-452f-97a6-17f070f654b8&pd_rd_wg=rK04Q&pf_rd_r=MMH5MJVGWPFDWVC01B8C&pd_rd_r=a31e2223-d5b7-4356-8a1c-201a35f8349b&s=books&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzUFAzRkdWSE05TVk4JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTM5NzQwM081QVA5S0Q5QU9BUSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNDE0NzMyMVA4RldVQjRHTkdWSCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbCZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=&_encoding=UTF8&tag=howtolovefore-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=4fbaa8b3612119b268a6535a59d52666&camp=1789&creative=9325
"The Love After War" screening at CSU:https://facebook.com/events/s/alvs-presents-love-after-war-s/3258654744357885/
“I’m just so lucky to walk through this hell with her”. Tommy Vietorhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glb2LEFHX_A&list=PLOOwEPgFWm_NHcQd9aCi5JXWASHO_n5uR&index=4
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (US). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2014. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 57.) Chapter 3, Understanding the Impact of Trauma.
Millán K. “Signs and Symptoms of PTSD”. Black Bear Lodge. Black Bear Rehab. N.d.
Nielsen B. “How Unhealed Trauma Affects Highly Sensitive People”. Highly Sensitive Refuge. 10 February 2020. “Past trauma may haunt your future health”. Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School. February 2019.
Yoder C. “Unaddressed trauma & how it impacts us”. Peace After Trauma. 2018.
Effective psychotherapy is good for trauma patients, not to fix people, to paraphrase Dr Van Dr Kolk, but to be able to acknowledge the terrible scary things that happened and to find ways the patient can fix themselves.
About Bessel van der Kolk: Bessel van der Kolk is a psychiatrist noted for his research in the area of post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. His work focuses on the interaction of attachment, neurobiology, and developmental aspects of trauma’s effects on people. His major publication, Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, talks about how the role of trauma in psychiatric illness has changed over the past 20 years.
Dr. van der Kolk is past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at JRI in Brookline, Massachusetts. He has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world, including Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, Israel, and China.
Check out Bessel van der Kolk's latest book, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” at https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Sco...
What is trauma?
First, comes tragedy, right out of the blue, walloping our hearts, minds & bodies, sending our lives reeling with typically no warning. It could be a terrible car accident, or something that hits us square in the emotions, like being subjected to or even just witnessing cruelties. When we are victims of tragedy, trauma ensues. To be more specific, trauma can be defined as a response that results from exposure to an incident or a series of events that are so emotionally disturbing or perceived to be so life-threatening that it has lasting effects on one’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual balance. In other words, something happens that threatens the very fabric of our lives, and we then get to deal with the very understandable emotional fall-out, potentially for the rest of our lives.
We know this is heavy stuff, but considering that over 2/3 of our population has experienced a traumatic event at one point in their lives, and over 8 million people in the US alone suffer from PTSD, we feel the need to talk about it.And not just talk about what it is and how it can affect us, but also to share some techniques and strategies for dealing with trauma that have been scientifically researched and proven to be effective.We have to remind our listeners that we are not therapists, we are not licensed health professionals in any sense. We are just two more people who have survived traumas, had some pretty intense life experiences and are fortunate to be alive and well enough to speak of it. We speak of it from personal experience not from clinical expertise, and we urge you to not take anything we say in this podcast as legal or medical advice, but rather as personal observations. Sharing is the first step to healing, but if you or a loved one are suffering the effects of trauma, we strongly encourage you to seek out real qualified help, from a professional who will understand your needs and provide you with the tools & guidance to work on healing all of those unseen wounds. And if this episode gives you a better idea of what it is you’re going through and why, and that there is hope for healing with an array of techniques, then we will consider ourselves fortunate to have been able to help someone. To that end, we have included a wealth of resources in the notes of this episode; from books and videos to celebrated practitioners, we urge you to check out the links and begin to map your path to healing.
Ok, so there are many kinds of trauma that can occur. Ranging from some kind of accident, to natural catastrophes, to being subjected to interpersonal violence. It can be a one-time event (like an accident), a prolonged event (such as war), or a series of events ( like being subjected to long-term abuse). Trauma that affects a community or a country is called collective trauma, and being close to someone who has been traumatized can cause it’s own trauma, called secondary trauma. It’s all very real and as you have probably seen in your own lives it can have incredibly long lasting consequences, sometimes generational. In fact, so much of our human history can be defined as a litany of inherited generational trauma. However, since there are so very permutations of trauma, and this is a podcast focused primarily on relationship health, we are going to narrow our focus to what happens when traumatic experiences threaten our romantic relationships, and what we can do to strengthen our connections & heal from the pain we’ve experienced.
In relationships, there are two 2 categories of trauma that will most commonly affect us; life trauma and unhealed relationship trauma.Life trauma refers to those out-of-the-blue occurrences, whereas unhealed relationship trauma refers to when we have not yet fully processed and moved on from trauma occurring within a relationship, often a previous one.So what are the ways we can be affected by these different kinds of traumas?
(How does it affect us?)* physically drained from constant stress responses * fight/flight/freeze response is an automatic state now * toxic relationships are stressful for mind & body alike * constant stress can cause inflammation, heart attack, chronic pain, arthritis, weakened immune system* dissociation: disconnected from the world or your life * head-in-the-clouds, non-presence * feeling your life is a movie you’re watching on a screen (simulation) * disrupted perception memory processing & emotions * like the traumatic event is still happening.* mental exhaustion at a chemical level * adrenaline & cortisol are supposed to be short-term * chemical overload: can’t concentrate, can’t remember, can’t sort out feelings * frustration can be a constant* trust problems * doubting people, even ones you know & love * walls, non-belief, paranoia, doubting people’s motives* risk junkie, taking chances to evade the bad feels * sensations (rush) you can finally feel * self-destructive rushed like sex & drug addiction * any way to clear your mind of the nagging problems you can’t address* a constant feeling of shame * GUILT: feel bad about something you did * SHAME: feel bad about who or what you are * much self-blame about things not working out better * living in regret & “if only” thoughts * guilt/shame overload can worsen physical/psych effects of trauma* physical reaction to emotional triggers * trauma “nostalgia” * some small stimulus bring an outsized reaction * amygdala produces neurotransmitter Acetylcholine * shortness breath, sweating, anxiety, sickness when smell, shaking in a topic of conversation, nervous convulsing * potential for violence* risk overeating, overproduction of adrenaline, anxiety etc can be further risk factors that make matters worse
How does it affect those around us?* it can be generational, * meaning the effects of trauma can be passed on from parents, grandparents, etc, through dysfunctional interactions & training children to view life through a lens that the world around them is not safe and may never be safe.* potential substance abuse & other abuses can cause havoc in family, work, friends* partner can experience secondary trauma * also known as vicarious trauma * experience many of the same effects as the person who was injured: fear, exhaustion, helplessness, hopelessness, anger, anxiety, etc.* it can generate its own ptsd* untreated ptsd, the effects get worse over time
How can we process & manage it?There are two schools of thought about trauma; 1) it can be cured (removed) 2) it cannot be cured, only treated & the mind/body rewired to circumvent it.The key is to find something that allow the sense of deceptiveness & self-loathing to be controlled* notice the incongruence between the stimulus (situation) & the response (your whack-ass flipout)* Always remember that healing doesn’t work in a straight line* be kind to yourself. healing, self-love, self compassion, patience* try a therapy like EMDR (eye movement desensitization & reprocessing) * patient recalls traumatic event, therapist makes them follow fingers with eyes * seems like b.s. but the results speak for themselves * changes the brain circuitry to interpret your currently reality from different POV * allows people to let go of long-ago events, no longer in the now* try things like Yoga * deepen your mind-body connection, raise awareness * greater relationship with your internal sensory system * allows us to minimize the focus on our round and round thought process, while feeling more connected to what our bodies are actually feeling. and if our body feels safe in the moment, that can help train our brains to be less “on guard”. * According to Dr. Bessel van der Kolk it’s proven more effective for ptsd than any of the studied drugs (prozac, zoloft, many others)* try things like Theater & Movement * playing different roles in your body can help your relationship to yourself * “playback theater” is a movement that uses this premise * but all theater can be ecstatic and cathartic * We did the John Gilkey “Idiot Workshop”, where he pushed us to dig deeper for expressions of ourselves we typically aren’t comfortable portraying. I had a breakthrough when I burst out that I didn’t want to be “cute” any more. After letting that sit with me for a few days & weeks, I realized that I had been filling a de facto “cute” role all my life, largely due to how it helped keep me safe. But now that I’m stronger & more confident, I don’t need to keep that as my primary identity. There are so many facets to who I am, and I no longer need to limit myself to what used to keep me safe. * Aristotle argued that tragedy cleansed the heart through pity and terror, purging us of our petty concerns and worries by making us aware that there can be nobility in suffering. He called this experience 'catharsis'.* try things like Neural Feedback (no really!) * electrical/photon impulses into the brain can be like a neurochemical hard-reset * shaping the brain to have a different configuration, open to new input* try things like Psychedelic therapy (guided MDMA sessions for trauma) * legal grey area * gaining traction * gotta be legit, psych-guided, not just trippin’ at a friend’s house * (ok maybe there’s some benefit to the friend’s house trip but come on) * a meta-view can be achieved, a removal from the traumatic experience * * (we have friends) * BOTTOM LINE: DIFFERENT PEOPLE REQUIRE DIFFERENT APPROACHES. If you are working through trauma, you may find yourself drawn to one of these methods, or you might benefit from incorporating several of them. And it can change, both as you make progress and also as you move through different phases of your life. the main goal is to recognize what you’re struggling with, accept that needing help is nothing to be ashamed of, and start finding ways to heal your wounds.
Speaking of healing wounds, we had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Cunningham, a military veteran and therapist based in Fort Collins CO. We will be sharing the full interview with you all later in the season, but we wanted to do a public service announcement in this episode because Mark is helping to promote a documentary called “Love After War”, produced & directed by sexologist Dr. Mitchell Tepper. “Love After War” introduces the viewer to veterans and their partners who have had to fight the battle to save their relationships after suffering catastrophic injuries dealt in combat. It’s heart-wrenching, candid, and inspiring, so we hope you get a chance to support the film.
Mark is hosting a special screening at Colorado State University on March 29, 2022. If you’re listening to the podcast right after it came out, that means you have two weeks to make plans! And if you aren’t able to pop over to Fort Collins the day of, you can sign up to get notifications of screenings in your area, or even sign up to host one yourself! The website is loveafterwar.org, and we’ll leave a link directly in the description. So please check it out and support this film any way you can.
Tuesday Mar 08, 2022
Tuesday Mar 08, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we interview director of the STI Project, Jenelle Marie Pierce.
Jenelle teaches us the difference between an STI & an STD.
We learn how many Americans are likely to have an STI at this very moment.
& We see once again how important it is to have honest & courageous communication.
Most people can’t imagine being the one who suffers an infection or injury. We tend to consider ourselves impermeable, unassailable by death or disease. We think we will live forever, in a perfect state, until some tragedy comes around and proves us wrong.
When we become a statistic, of any kind, we become a different person. Suddenly we realize; calamity can strike from anywhere, and oftentimes it’s just dumb luck we weren’t hit with something before now. It can be a loss of limb, or a loss of one of your faculties, or your mind, these things are some of the worst case scenarios.
BUT, what if the thing that attacks you isn’t very obvious, but it *is* laden with massive social stigma? What if you are stricken with something that you think will redefine you in the eyes of a judgmental society? Some illness that society dictates now renders you unwanted, untouchable, unworthy?
We don’t ever wish these things on anyone of course, but they do happen. This is the world of STI’s. It is a dimension of human sexuality that is fraught with fears, misinformation, and stigmas uttered in hushed judgements. It’s a world that no one wants to talk about. But if you’re a person with a love life, or sometimes even a social life, it is a world that exists, and you have a chance to become part of it.
But the world is changing. And not only are there more remedies and treatments available than ever before, there is also a new kind of warrior fighting a fight on this social front. STI advocacy groups are gaining traction around the country, and they aim to dismantle the shame and misinformation around this admittedly touchy topic.
They want to bring it into the light of day, to help dispel the stigma, spread awareness, and facilitate better healing from the damage that can be done to an unfortunate individual by society as much as by the illness itself.
Today, we talk with one of these warriors. She is Janelle Marie Pierce, herself a veteran of this type of common infection, and she is spearheading the fight against both the disease, and the taboo.
We had an enlightening conversation with her, and we feel it is relevant to all those who love, regardless of whether or not you’re one of the unlucky. Which by the way, are a lot more common than you think. How common? Listen in and find out.
Some links for your edification:
THE STI PROJECT, a public outreach group helping to dispel the social stigma around sexually transmitted infections: https://thestiproject.com/
THE HERPES TOOLKIT: A resource for dealing with your newfound reality: https://www.thestiproject.education/herpes-toolkit
NOTE: Ukranian Folk Piano Piece ("Moonlight") in our preamble is performed by Tempei Nakamura ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIJAq-oRFx8 )
Tuesday Mar 01, 2022
Tuesday Mar 01, 2022
IN THIS EPISODE, we get spicy!
We get frisky!
We get fancy!
& We share with you some of our favorite ways to keep your love life blazin’!
Today’s episode is all about incorporating fun ways to keep your romantic lives exciting, even when you’ve been together for a super long time.
You’ve been together for a while now. Say, some years. You’ve become accustomed to each other as your relationship matures. The pandemic didn’t do any wonders either for your sense of joy about each other. You’re committed , but face it, maybe a little bored. Maybe you’re in a bit of a rut.
So what to do? How to spice it up without turning your partner off, or just plain feeling stupid? Obviously, it’s important to communicate to your partner what you’re feeling, and chances are, they’re probably feeling it too.…Here at How To Love Forever, we invested the full might of our cutting-edge scientific research apparatus to come up with a list of fun ways to reinvigorate your appreciation for each other. Because we are #LOVENERDS.
We talked about: public sexy times, playing hooky & reinforcing the romantic narrative of your love story.
We need to be reminded of why we fell in love in the first place, and all the many ways our partners are excite us. Are perfect for us. And help make our lives joyful & fulfilled.
Want more than just 10 hacks? Join our Patreon page for more tips to keep your love alive! www.patreon.com/howtoloveforever we have all kinds of fun extras to share with you! And you'll have our bottomless gratitude for your kind support!
The How To Love Forever Podcast
Explore the endless possibilities of Love, Romance & Sexuality. Join your co-hosts Heather & Marco as they seek out stories and lessons that bring greater wisdom in the arena of Love & Relationships. Interviews with experts & real-life stories, with intimacy, fun & a lot of outrageousness, don't miss a single episode!