What is Your Communication Style?

Hi Readers!

This week’s article is about the styles of communication. The holidays are on their way. This means more time spent in groups and in conversation. This article will help you identify the 4 types of communicators and will also give you an insight into which is the one we should all strive to be. 

The Passive Person

This type of communicator avoids the expression of opinion or feelings, protecting one’s rights, and identity and meeting one’s needs. Passive people exhibit poor eye contact and slumped body posture and tend to speak softly or apologetically. Passive people express statements implying that: “I’m unable to stand up for my right”, “I don’t know what my rights are”, “I get stepped on”, “I’m weak and unable to take care of myself”, “people never consider my feelings”.

The Aggressive Person

This person communicates in a way that violates the rights of others. These communicators are verbally or physically abusive, or both. This is born from low self-esteem, often caused by past physical or emotional abuse, unhealed emotional wounds, and feelings of powerlessness. Aggressive people display a low tolerance for frustration, use humiliation, interrupt frequently and use criticism or blame to attack others. They use piercing eye contact and are not good listeners. Their express statements imply that: “The other person is inferior, wrong and not worth anything”, “The problem is the person’s fault”, “They are superior and right”, “They are entitled and the other person ‘owes’ them”, “They will get their way regardless”. 

The Passive Aggressive Person

This communicator uses a communicator style in which the individual appears passive on the surface, but is really acting out of anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind the scenes way. Usually they feel powerless, stuck and resentful. Alienated from others, they feel incapable of dealing directly with the object of their resentments. Rather, they express their anger by subtly undermining the real or imagined object of their resentments. Frequently they mutter to themselves instead of confronting another person. They often smile at you, even though they are angry, they use subtle sabotage or speak with sarcasm. Their statements imply: “I’m weak and resentful so I sabotage, frustrate and disrupt”, “I appear cooperative, but I am not”. 

The Assertive communicator

This is the ideal communicator to be. This person communicates in a way that clearly states their opinions and feelings and firmly advocates for their rights and needs without violating the rights of others. This is born from the individual’s high self-esteem. Assertive people value themselves, their time and their emotional, spiritual and physical needs. They are strong advocates for themselves while being very respectful of the rights of others.

Assertive people feel connected to other people. They make statements about their needs and feelings clearly, appropriately and respectfully. Feeling in control of themselves, they speak in calm and clear tones, are good listeners and maintain good eye contact. They create a respectful environment for others and do not allow others to abuse or manipulate them. Their statements imply: “I am confident about who I am”, “ I cannot control others, but I can control myself”, “I speak clearly, honestly and to the point”, “I know I have choices in my life, and I consider my options. I am fully responsible for my own happiness”, “we are equally entitled to express ourselves respectfully to one another”. 

To become an assertive communicator, you need to be confident and have good self-esteem. If you need and want to learn more, check out our articles about confidence, self-esteem and purchase our Guide to Self-Love e-book.

Be kind to one another

Julia, Sexologist.

What you Should Know about Desire

Hi Readers!

Have you heard about the two ways one can start to feel desire? Many of us will have experiences where we felt both of these. That being said, some people feel more aligned to one than the other. 

So…what are the two ways to feel desire? In no particular order:

Spontaneous desire

This is when you feel sexy without external stimulus. It’s less about the environment being explicitly sexy; it can feel like your desire came from nowhere, spontaneously.

Responsive desire

This is when you begin to feel sexy only after some of the things that turn you on start to happen. This can be a physical touch, a change in environment, etc.

Culturally, and thanks to our friend Hollywood, there is way more emphasis on spontaneous desire. Guess what?? It doesn’t happen like the movies and TV series, AND. THAT. IS. OKAY. 

Many situations, environment, life events impact our desire such as parenting, mental and physical health, trauma, stress… I’m sure you can continue this list. 

By not taking these circumstances into consideration, we end up putting too much pressure on ourselves / our couples and are not conscious that these factors play a big role in our desire. 

Desire doesn’t have to be 0 to 100. There are another 99 numbers in between. 

Be kind to one another. Be kind to yourself. 

Julia, Sexologist

“It’s time to move on from thinking of sex as a drive”

Hi Readers! 

I have been reading the book Sex Ed, A Guide for Adults by Ruby Rare. Check it out! It’s worth a read! 

The author brings a great perspective about sex drive, or what people call sex drive. Ruby says that sex is a motivational system and that we are drawn to sex because it’s fun, enjoyable, and pleasurable. We are not biologically driven to it to keep us alive the way we are with food and water. 

“To my knowledge, no one has died of horniness” – Ruby Rare

I like the perspective she brings to the table. By seeing sex as a ‘drive’ it implies that humans need it day-to-day to survive. This is not the case. Sex should only happen consensually and when people are in the right headspace. 

Ruby showcases a dual control model that was developed in the ‘90s by Eric Janseen and John Bancroft at the Kinsey Institute. It is about what physically happens to our bodies when we get turned on. This model is made up of 2 systems.

The accelerator

The excited one. Whenever the accelerator picks up something sexy, be that a thought or something happening in the real world, it sends signals from the brain to the genitals telling them it’s ON.

The brake

The inhibited one. This sounds negative, but it’s actually incredibly important. Your brake is working most of the time, noticing all the things around us that are unsexy, be that danger, risk, discomfort, or an inappropriate setting.

Sex isn’t as simple as driving. You cannot simply turn something on or off. As much as the sexy things need to be turned on, the not-so-sexy things need to be turned off. 

Be kind to one another, 

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

Violence in romantic and intimate relationships between men

Physical, psychological, economic, verbal, and sexual violence in romantic and intimate relationships between men.

Hi Readers!

I wanted to share with you a training day I attended a few years ago run by REZO, a Quebec, Canada-based charity. They were running a project called VRAIH (which is a play on words VRAI, which means TRUE in french. Violence dans les Relations Amoureuses et Intimes entre Hommes)

Before we dive into the facts and study findings from VRAIH, here are 2 questions to test your knowledge:

1- True or False?

Violence in a romantic and intimate relationship between men doesn’t exist.

Answer: FALSE – In fact, there is more violence in a homosexual relationship than in a heterosexual relationship. It was found that this is the 3rd most prevalent problem after HIV and drug & alcohol consumption in the gay community. 

2- True or False?

Violence in intimate relationships is the same for homosexuals as it is for heterosexuals.

Answer: true & false – let me explain: 

The type of violence is the same; physical, psychological, economic, verbal, sexual, etc. But the way it manifests is different. For example, if two people, who identify as men in a romantic relationship, are in a fight it may be portrayed or interpreted as a fight between friends or roommates and not be escalated or handled in the same way as a fight between a couple by observers and sometimes even the police. 

Different forms of violence

The below are some of the ways the different forms of violence may manifest themselves:

  • Economic violence: the charity was explaining that it is often seen in a relationship where one man is older and wealthier than the other that money is used as a way of controlling the other person – this is also a form of domestic violence. 
  • Verbal: using homophobic words towards one another.
  • Psychological: 8 times out of 10, there are threats about ‘outing’ someone to friends and family.
  • Physical: different types of aggressive acts to ‘correct’ the way the other acts 
  • Internalized violence: the feeling of discomfort and self-disgust.
  • Sexual: sexual practices or touching that is not desired or wanted.
Intersection

There is also another dimension to add; intersection.

This is where a person’s sexual orientation crosses with another element/aspect of their life: 

  • It can be sexual orientation and ethnicity; therefore add on racism
  • It can be sexual orientation and serological status; HIV and phobic acts against people living with HIV 
  • Sexual orientation and transition journey; transphobic. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sexual violence against trans* people.

I hope this information gives you the courage to speak to the police or call your local domestic violence charity if you see something that doesn’t seem right or if someone confides in you.

Human relationships may be complex, but violence has no part in them.

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

Join the Sex-Positive Movement

Hi Readers!

Have you ever thought about being sex-positive or wondered if you already are? 

Do you believe consensual sex is a healthy part of life, and that we have the right to experience pleasure how and when we choose to? 

Do you believe everyone has the right to access inclusive sex education and sexual health services? 

Do you support others’ sexual desires and practices, even if they differ from yours, provided they are done safely and consensually? 

Do you believe we each have the right to take ownership of our bodies and sexual choices? 

Are you committed to having a healthy attitude towards sex, even if you don’t feel 100% there yet?

If you answered yes to all these questions, you have a sex-positive mindset! Whoop whoop!

A sex-positive mindset is about encouraging yourself and others to enjoy their sexuality. This involves a lot of conversation about pleasure but also fighting for better education and access to services for ALL. Unfortunately, there is still so much inequality and injustice around sex and we still have lots of work to do. It’s about recognising the challenges and feeling confident to ask for support to face them. Remember that this is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen overnight.

This concept is not new. Reich brought this up in the 1920s and it really emerged in the 1960s with birth control & women’s sexual autonomy. This revolution was happening at the same time as the rise of gay rights, feminism, and civil rights. 

It has been slowly growing since then, but it in the last decade or so it skyrocketed. What happened about a decade ago? Social media! It is a great tool for education – it just needs to be used properly. That being said, these social platforms are not sex-positive as they treat these subjects and concepts as “sensitive subjects” and censor them.

The point is, sex positivity is not about having loads of sex or not having any boundaries, it’s about raising awareness and de-stigmatising what social media and society have created around sex and the taboos; people are more comfortable talking about their finances than they are talking about sexuality which is at the center of humanity. Think about that for a second. 

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

 

paypal.me/juliasexologist

Understanding the Concept of Sexual Currency

Hi Readers!

I recently read the book Mind the Gap by Dr Karen Gurney wherein she introduced me to the concept of sexual currency. I thought it would be of interest to my readers to learn more about this concept. This concept describes the way stimulating, non-genital touching within romantic relationships helps us relate to our partners as sexual beings. This plays a big part in relationship satisfaction. 

Dr. Gurney explains that sexual currency is the sex science terminology used to refer to the use of sex as a bargaining tool or the relative value of a person’s sexuality. 

In the early stages of a relationship, sexual currency is typically [at] extremely high levels. Couples spend large amounts of time kissing, making intense eye contact, hand-holding, complimenting, touching, giving affirmations about desire, flirting, being suggestive by looks, comments, texts and emails and being physically close. 

As Dr. Gurney explains, sexual currency differs from physical affection as the touches have an erotic feel. Sexual currency is about attraction and desire whereas physical affection can be had with family & friends, i.e. a hug. 

As relationships become more established, we generally settle into other, more sustainable ways to co-exist, as well as new habits. After the first flush of lust, the intensity of those early feelings subside to pave the way for less obsessive and maddening feelings. 
Sexual currency is about the culture of our relationship, and what’s good about culture is that it is fluid and shifting, depending on how the people within it act. If you are reading this and realizing that you and your partner only ever passionately kiss as part of sex, and never at any other time, or some other aspect of relating to each other mainly as flatmates or co-parents rings true, then the important thing is that you can create a change in this culture easily by starting to do something differently.

If you are seeking to restore, maintain or improve your sexual currency with your partner, you can find our workbook here

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

What You Need to Know about Miscarriage

Hi Readers,

This week’s topic is miscarriages. This is a topic that we don’t particularly talk about even though miscarriages are much more common than most people realise. Among individuals that know they are pregnant, 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in a miscarriage. 

The NHS states that there are many more miscarriages that happen before a person is even aware of their pregnancy. While losing 3 or more pregnancies in a row is uncommon, it may affect up to 1 in 100 people.

Preventing a miscarriage

Most miscarriages cannot be prevented. That being said, avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs while pregnant while maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of a miscarriage. 

Causes of a miscarriage

There are many reasons why miscarriages happen. Unfortunately, the cause is not usually identified. Most of the time, miscarriages are not caused by anything the person has done. 

Some researchers think that most miscarriages are caused by abnormal chromosomes in the baby. If the baby has too many or not enough chromosomes, it will not develop properly. 

Symptoms of a miscarriage

The main sign of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, which may be followed by cramping and pain in the lower abdomen. *if this happens to you, please contact your GP or your midwife*

Most GPs can refer you to an early pregnancy unit at your local hospital straight away, if necessary. If the pregnancy is at a later stage, the person will be referred to a maternity ward. 

Be aware that in the first 3 months of the pregnancy, light vaginal bleeding is relatively common. This does not necessarily mean that there will be or has been a miscarriage. 

If symptoms of a miscarriage are present, the person will be referred to the hospital for tests and an ultrasound scan.

If a miscarriage is confirmed, the person will need to speak to their doctor or midwife to manage the end of their pregnancy. Tissues will usually pass naturally in 1-2 weeks. Other options include the medicine option to assist the passage of the tissue or minor surgery to help remove the tissues if the person does not want to wait.

Post miscarriage

A miscarriage can be emotionally and physically draining. Every person is different and will deal with it differently. 

Once the symptoms are no longer present and the person is ready, they can begin to try getting pregnant again. 

Having a miscarriage does not mean that it will happen again. The NHS states that most people are able to have a healthy pregnancy after a miscarriage, even in cases of recurrent miscarriages. 

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist.

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

Using Mindfulness to Connect with your Body and Sexual Desire

Hi Readers!

Some of you may know about sensate focus which is about touching and being touched. You can maximize the potential of sensate focus by beginning without any preconceived notions of what you may experience, feel, or how much pleasure it will produce. While using this practice, begin with an open mind, so as not to cloud your judgment about this experience and your feelings.

This practice allows you to be mindful of every touch and feeling you experience. It allows you to feel more connected with yourself and your partner. Becoming in tune with our bodies and thoughts is a great way of turning our attention towards sexual thoughts and feelings and away from distractions.

Practicing mindfulness can create sensations of arousal and desire in people who previously felt completely cut off from their sexual selves. 

The benefit of practicing meditation and then bringing those skills into your everyday life, including your sex life, may allow you to learn to be more present in the moment and enjoy a more meaningful and enjoyable connection with your partner. It may help you let go of distractions and become more aware of your own body and your partner’s.

There are plenty of resources that can help you begin your meditation and mindfulness journey, such as Headspace. 

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

The Impact of Eating Disorders on your Sex Life

Hi Readers, 

Eating disorders can cause a host of issues that may affect every part of your life. One area that is rarely spoken about when discussing eating disorders is sexuality.

For many people with eating disorders, sex is an issue. Low sex drive, lack of self-confidence, and a fear of intimacy can severely impact their sex life. 

Intimacy is usually seen as an indicator of a healthy relationship. However, with someone having an eating disorder, it’s often viewed as a frightening closeness that puts barriers between the person who has an eating disorder and their partner.

People with an eating disorder will naturally display a negative attitude towards sex; they will have more sexual anxiety and reduced sexual satisfaction. This is true for any sex or gendered person who has an eating disorder.

When a person has an eating disorder, sexual dysfunction is a very common side effect. The physiological complications associated with eating disorders are just the tip of the iceberg.

The core features that lie at the heart of an eating disorder; distorted body image, body dissatisfaction, and shame, all inhibit a healthy sexual function, too. 

In many cases, having a sex aversion isn’t always about the physiological barriers, it’s about the psychological ones, too and these negative self-images make it difficult to have sex. If you are uncomfortable with the way you look, engaging sexually is embarrassing and challenging.

If you are someone with an eating disorder, please speak to your GP / healthcare professional, a Psychologist, or a Sexologist. 

My workbook on self-love is one way to help you with your self-image and self-confidence. 

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

What is Sexual Script Theory

Hi Readers!

Do you know what Sexual Scripts are? 

The Sexual Script Theory describes the way in which societal and cultural expectations around sex shape our behaviours and interactions by providing us with clear expectations and boundaries to adhere to. Sexual Scripts are ideas of how males and females are supposed to interact with each other, including how each gender should behave in sexual or romantic situations. A sexual script is a mental story detailing specific events and assigning certain roles (parts that each actor plays in the story; like a movie or TV series).  

These expectations are very gendered and shaped by the media, language, and interactions we have with others. 

Sexual Script Theory is the playing out of social psychology in our sex lives. Although the word ‘script’ implies that these ideas are explicit – and they can be at times in the language we use – they are often implicit, alluded to by stories in the media, folklore, and social convention. 

Below are just a few of the most common sexual scripts in the Western world (Mind the Gap by Dr Karen Gurney):

  • Men are sexual subjects with desires to be acted on and women are sexual objects who gain gratification from being desired
  • Heterosexual sex ends when men ejaculate
  • Women are more motivated by relationship intimacy and closeness in sex than pleasure. 
  • Women’s orgasms are more challenging to achieve than men’s
  • Men show masculinity through high desire and having many partners and women show femininity by sexual restraint
  • Penetrative vaginal sex is the most important sexual act in heterosexual sex

It is important to be conscious of these societal and cultural factors as they can limit/constrain what we believe is possible or acceptable in a relationship. Instead, listen to your mind & body and be open to a world of possibilities that exist to increase the enjoyment of sex and experience of desire. Sex can be whatever you want as long as it is consensual and respectful.

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.