How much do you know about counselling and therapy?

Hi Readers!

Since there is some confusion/misunderstanding between counselling and therapy, I’ve prepared a simple guide for you. 

The similarities between counselling and therapy are:
  • Development of a healing, safe and therapeutic relationship between the professional and the individual
  • Effective for children and adults
  • Used to understand a person’s feelings and behaviours
  • Addressing issues with the goal of improving a person’s life

Although there are similarities, there are also some important differences. 

Counselling:
  • Short to medium term process to find solutions for the present problematic situation an individual is experiencing
  • Focused on a specific situation
  • The counsellor provides guidance, support and education to help the person identify and find their own solutions to the problematic situation
Therapy:
  • Long-term process to find solution to a recurring problematic situation
  • Exploring past issues that may be contributing to the present problematic situation
  • Focused on the bigger picture; how patterns of behaviour are affecting the individual’s life 
  • In-depth focus on internal thoughts/feelings leading to personal growth

I hope this has helped you better understand the difference between counselling and therapy.

Be kind to one another

Julia, Sexologist

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Intimacy

Hi Readers! 

This week’s article is about intimacy and alternatives to sexual intercourse. In a world so focused on penetration, its important to explore what is beyond that. I’m sure you can find something amazing. 

Everyone lives their sexuality and intimacy in their own way, whichever way suits them best, however they feel comfortable. 

What does intimacy mean to you? (Yes, you need to answer this question now.)

How do you define intimacy? (Yessss, you need to answer this question, too.)

The concept of intimacy is defined in different ways. Sometimes, we think of intimacy as two people having sexual intercourse. Intimacy can be defined by nudity or solo sexual practices, like masturbation. For some, intimacy only refers to the sexual organs. 

For others, intimacy encompasses emotional proximity, sharing, self-revelation and specific experiences related to intimacy. Intimacy is about well-being, confidence in connection with affection, perception and cognitive state before, during and after the exchange of intimacy. This is what I want you to think about and figure out (if you haven’t explored it yet). 

Intimacy is a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.

Sexuality is one of the core elements of what it is to be human. When we speak of sexuality, we speak of biological sex, sexual identity, sexual roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is also expressed with thoughts, fantasies, beliefs, relationships, roles, practices, behaviour, and desires. 

What are alternatives to intercourse? 

– Being physically close and intimate  

– Touching, stroking, oral sex

– Kissing

– Massaging

– Talking

– Holdings hands, holding each other 

– Taking a bath together 

– Using sex toys and other accessories 

Communicate with yourself and/or your partner about your needs, fears, worries, feelings, what you like and what you don’t like. You may feel a little nervous at the start the conversation, but that’s okay. Your partner may feel the same way. Figure it out together, learn together. 

In early 2021, we will be publishing an intimacy course that you will be able to purchase if you are interested in diving deeper into the subject intimacy. We will explore the components of intimacy and skills to better integrate intimacy into your relationships. 

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist 

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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Parents of trans* children

Hi Readers!

In this week’s article I would like to focus on the needs of the parents of trans* children. We mostly focus on the child going through a transition and the impacts and effects it has on their lives – and rightly so! They are the ones that have to deal with a lot of opinions (which they did not ask for), looks, questions, etc. But we also need to think about the parents of these children. They too will get those looks, questions, opinions, etc. They also have needs and will want and need to be supported. 

If you have a friend or family member going through this transition, keep these tips in mind as your friend or relative might not be ready to speak to a Sexologist or Psychologist yet, but they will really appreciate your support. And if you, reader, are a parent of a trans* child, know that I am here for you.

When they’re ready, these parents will want to talk through the experiences and prejudices they are facing as they go through this journey with their child. Lend an ear. Listen to them, hear what they are saying. You will learn so much about what a parent and child are going through during this time. This may also be helpful if you want to be an ally and explain to others that are around this family how they can help rather than being judgmental. 

If you are not equipped with this information, you may want to help them find the information they need about trans*, the different terms, information and clarifications on the steps there child will be going through, deconstruct and demystify all the myths around trans*. In the UK, Mermaids has existed since 1995 to support trans and gender-diverse children.

Parents may want to have discussions with the school and other environments their child may come across to make sure it is a smooth transition and that it is a safe environment for their child. 

Parents of trans* children may feel a sense of guilt, questioning their parenting skills, etc. They will want to talk about their own feelings regarding this; people’s judgement, gaze, questions, concerns, etc. There will also be a stage when they will talk about their child’s future, how they see their child, etc. All you need to do is be supportive and listen. Be present! Show up for your friend or relative.

All parents react differently. In some cases, one of the two parents may be in complete shock and may not want to hear, participate or accept any of this and it can be an additional barrier for the parent and the child. 

When a child is going through a transition, the parents also have to deal with questions from family members and friends and they often find themselves explaining what’s going on repeatedly. This can be tiring and frustrating. So, if you are a family member or friend of parents of trans* children, please be respectful. Give them space. Let them know that you are there for them (if you are actually there for them and not just wanting information…) Just knowing that they have a support system will help a lot. 

There will be a grieving phase as they are losing a child and gaining another. Even though that child may still like the same things, have the same personality, it is not the child that they brought into the world. It is all part of the process. 

And don’t forget that even during all of this and while working through their own feelings, questions and emotions, they will have to support their child and be with them through their process. 

If you are a parent of a trans* child and would like to talk, please contact to set up an appointment. 

If you need any additional information, please contact me on depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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IVF treatments and the impact on your sexuality

Hi Readers!

Today, I would like to discuss the impacts In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) may have on your personal sexuality as well as your couple’s sexuality and intimacy. 

For those of you who may not know what IVF is or what in entails, here is a short summary. In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is one of many techniques available to help individuals and couples with fertility challenges have a baby. In the laboratory, the medical team and technicians take an egg from the woman’s ovaries and fertilise it with sperm. Once the egg is fertilised (embryo), it is returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop. This technique can be used with the eggs and sperm of the couple or person going through IVF or the eggs and/or sperm can be from a donor. 

There is some medication that needs to be taken with this process. Many women will have reactions to these. The side effects may include: (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ivf/risks/) (if you are going through this and these symptoms are persistent and worrying you, you should call your fertility clinic) 

– Hot flushes 

– Feeling down or irritable

– Headaches

– Restlessness

– Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (very brief explanation: excessive response to taking the medicines. Possible bloating, nausea, and swelling of the abdomen. When severe, blood clots, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, dehydration, and vomiting are possible. Deaths are rarely reported.)

So, you can imagine that if a woman is feeling any of these symptoms, she is probably not in the mood for sexual activity. Same goes for the partner who is going through this with her. While they are not going through the physical effects, they are supporting the woman and will be sympathetic towards her. Also, most of the time, the couple is so focused on making this work as they want to have a baby that this will probably have an effect on each of their individual sexualities. These processes and procedures take a lot of mental and physical space. If your fertility clinic offers counselling services, you should take them. You and your partner will be able talk about the changes that are happening mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually. It is a good idea to also speak to each other about how you are feeling; your fears, worries and good thoughts. Communication is key! 

This may seem easier said than done but it is in your benefit and your couple’s benefit to not let the stress and anxiety of wanting a baby to interfere with the areas of your lives that you have chosen to share, especially the intimacy that you share. Life gets very busy and some people get lost in the hustle and bustle. 

It can be fun and beneficial for you and/or your couple to set one day a week aside to talk, to do an activity or just reconnect with yourself and/or your partner. Having a Board Game night or trying new recipes, taking a bath together, going to a painting class, anything really. Just something that you love doing together (or alone) to reconnect and relieve the stress you are each feeling as you progress through this new chapter in your lives. 

Intimacy does not only mean sexual intercourse or any typical sexual activity. It is also the romance, the vulnerability, the communication, the tenderness, the peacefulness. I will be sure to write about intimacy in the weeks to come. 

I hope this has helped you understand this subject a little more. 

If you have any questions please contact me via email depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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Sexual Orientation

Hi Readers!

Today’s blog post is all about sexual orientation. We will look at the definition as well as different terminology.

What is sexual orientation? It is the term used to describe an individual’s sexual, psychological and emotional feelings of attraction towards another person. In other words, sexual orientation is a person’s affection and sexual attraction towards other people.

Before we look at sexual orientations, I would like to explain Heterosexism. This is the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that this sexual orientation (heterosexual) is superior. For example, asking someone who identifies as a boy, “Do you have a girlfriend?” “When are you going to bring a nice girl home?” You know what I am talking about…. Be neutral when asking these types of questions, for example: “Do you have a special someone?” “Is there someone at school or at work that interests you?” These questions are open-ended and neutral and will show the person you are asking that you are open minded and don’t have a heteronormative mindset. We need to be sensitive and aware that some individuals, young or old, may be questioning their sexual orientation or might be unsure of their sexual orientation. Being a neutral and inclusive friend or family member, can make the person feel at ease and feel comfortable to be themselves.

Children, teenagers and adults who get to the stage of wanting to tell someone about how they are feeling want to be able to speak to someone who will not judge them and will remain silent until they are ready. In most cases, the individual will choose someone they know who is an Ally. Being an Ally is someone, regardless of their own sexual orientation, who supports the human, civil and sexual rights of sexual minorities.

We also know and hear the term Queer. This is an umbrella term used by some to describe members of the LGBTQ+ community. The term has been reclaimed by members of the community from previous derogatory use but some members of the community may not wish to use it due to its historic connotations. Queer is also linked to 1990s Academic Queer Theory and for this reason, as well as is reclamation, is seen by many as inherently political. When Q is seen at the end of LGBTQ+, it typically refers to queer and, less often, questioning. (Brook, November 2019). The term QPOC/QTIPOC, stands for Queer People Of Colour or Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Colour. Queer people of colour experience intersecting oppressions based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.

Let’s look at other terms of sexual orientations:

  • Heterosexual: A person who is physically and emotionally attracted to someone of the opposite sex. 
  • Homosexual: A person who is physically and emotionally attracted to someone of the same sex
    • Gay: this word refers to both male and female who are attracted to the same sex. Although this word is most used for men. 
    • Lesbian: A female who is attracted physically and emotionally to other females. 
  • Bisexual: A person who is attracted physically and emotionally to both male and female.
  • Pansexual: Someone who is emotionally, sexually, and/or physically attracted to others regardless of gender identity.
  • Polysexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to many genders. 
  • Asexual:  Someone who experiences limited or no sexual attraction, interest or desire. (You can read my blog post on Asexuality here) 
  • Allosexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction, desire or sexual interest directed at other people. The opposite of asexual.

There are two terms that may be confusing to people who think that if a man has sex with another man, they must be gay. The answer is No. The term is MSM, Men who have Sex with Men. Some men do not identify as being gay. They just have different sexual practices. This term is also used for women. So, WSW, Women who have Sex with other Women but do not identify as lesbian. They just have different sexual practices.

I hope this article has helped better understand the some different terminology.

If you have more questions please feel free to contact me on depetrillojulia@gmail.com. I will be more than happy to chat with you.

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

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Gender Identity

Hi Readers!

Happy Monday! It’s great to be back on this platform. Today we are learning about gender identity! Let’s begin!

Gender Identity is a person’s internal sense or feeling of being male or female. This feeling may not be the same as one’s biological sex. To understand gender identity, you need to understand the difference between the terms sex and gender.

Gender is what you feel you belong to and may differ from the one you were assigned to at birth, based on your genitals.

Sex is about the genital and reproductive organs (penis, vagina, uterus, testicles, etc.), it is about the secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts, beard, hips, etc., it is the distinction between female and male.

By contrast, gender is the pronoun you use to speak to a person (him/her, he/she), it is the different social codes like the appearance, clothes, makeup, etc., it is the distinction between feminine and masculine.

Unfortunately, these terms are very rigid and binary. To be able to include and represent all of the diversity of gender identities, sexes and gender expression, we need to look at this in a more fluid way. Think of it as a horizontal ladder that represents diversity and so much more than just two options. Below we will look at gender identity, sex and gender expression. The words below are used to facilitate the reading. You can be anywhere on any of the ladders simultaneously as these 3 terms are mutually exclusive. If you do the exercise now and put a dot on every line where you are situated today, it may not be the same answer in a few days or months. Some individuals have a different response every day.

Gender identity

Woman                                                 Gender fluid                                           Man

Sex

Female                                                    Intersex                                             Male

Gender expression

Feminine                                               Non-binary                                  Masculine

There is an entire vocabulary to describe gender identity – let’s look at a few:

  • Bigender: Someone who identifies with two genders i.e.: male and female.
  • Cisgender or cis: When your gender matches the sex you were assigned at birth.
  • Gender fluid: when your identity moves around on the gender spectrum
  • Gender neutral: someone who doesn’t identify with any gender
  • Gender non-binary: Someone who doesn’t fit into the binary gender (male/female)
  • Gender fluid: When your identity moves around the gender spectrum. 
  • Gender expression: The way in which a person’s expresses their gender identity, typically through appearance, dress, and behaviour. 
  • Intersex: People whose biology doesn’t easily fit into male or female. This can include genitals, chromosomes or hormones. 
  • Polygender: describes people who have multiple genders at once. 
  • Transgender: A person whose gender identity, outward appearance, expression and/or anatomy does not fit into conventional expectations of male or female. 
  • Transsexual: An old fashioned term for someone who goes through, or wants to go through, gender realignment. This is why we use the word Trans* as it an umbrella term to describe people whose gender identity doesn’t line up with their assigned sex at birth. Also, if someone tells you they are a woman and would like you to use the pronoun she/her and her preferred name is ____. Respect that please. That person will really appreciate the fact that you are respecting their wish and you are not judging them.
  • Two-spirit: some Aboriginal people identify themselves as two-spirit rather than as bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgender. Historically, in many Aboriginal cultures, two-spirit persons were respected leaders and medicine people. Before colonization, two-spirit persons were often accorded special status based upon their unique abilities to understand both male and female perspective (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011). 

I hope this has helped you understand some of the different terms that are out there and helped your mind to grow a little …. If you have any questions please contact me on depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

We are here to help you grow. To improve, maintain and restore your sexual health. To help keep this blog going, any contribution will be helpful.

£5.00