This is Why Communication is so Famous!

Hi Readers! 

This week’s topic is communication but more specifically, communication within your couple. It is imperative that you do not lose sight of the fact that the role of communication is to make the relationship stronger, not to break it. 

A few tips to consider before starting a healthy and calm conversation with your partner:

  • Let your partner know that you want to talk about topic X. Set a time and a place that is comfortable and possible for both of you. 
  • When you are stressed about something, it is easy to get defensive. Try some breathing exercises prior to the conversation to help calm yourself.
  • As they say… honesty is the best policy! Be open about your fears, concerns, and desires with your partner.
  • Give your partner a chance to express themselves and use active listening skills like repeating what your partner said to ensure you understand. Do your best to validate your partner’s feelings with words of understanding. Listening to another person is about them, not you. Put aside your point of view, thoughts, opinions, and reactions while they are speaking. They need to be heard as much as you do. 
  • The conversation should have open-ended questions. An interaction consisting of yes / no questions would not be a conversation. 
  • Know when you need to stop talking. If the conversation starts to get heated, it is probably time to wrap it up and conclude. Remember why you started the conversation. It wasn’t to start an argument. If things are constantly difficult, it may be a good idea to get in touch with a couple’s counsellor. 

Unfortunately, the reality of most conversations within a couple is one party gets blamed /victimised more than the other. Avoid lapsing into attacking, accusing, criticising, or blaming your partner. Talk about yourself. Beginning a statement with “I feel that… I think we should……” instead of “You are doing….”

There is a difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Hearing simply happens. Listening however is something that one consciously chooses to do. Listening requires concentration so that the brain processes meaning from words and sentences. Listening leads to learning. This isn’t always easy. The normal adult rate of speech is 100-150 words per minute but the brain can think at a rate of 400-500 words a minute, leaving extra time for daydreaming or anticipation. 

Listening skills can be learned and refined. Active listening allows you to be sensitive to the multiple dimensions of communication:

  • The occasion of the message: what is the reason why the person is communicating with me now?
  • The length of the message: What can the length of the message tell me about its importance?
  • The words chosen: Is the message being delivered formally? Or with slang?
  • The volume & pace: What clues do the loudness and speed give me?
  • The pauses & hesitations: How do these enhance or detract from the message?
  • The non-verbal clues: What do eye contact, posture, or facial expressions tell me about the message?

Please remember to stay respectful, open, honest, calm, and have compassion.

You can also purchase our Couple’s Intimacy Workbook here to help you and your partner improve, maintain or restore the intimacy in your couple. 

Be kind to one another, 

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

Help us keep this blog going! There is so much more to come. You can also purchase self-help workbooks in our shop!

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For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

How Stress is Affecting your Sex Life

Hi Readers!

April is Stress Awareness Month. Starting in 1992, this is a national campaign to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society. 

Dealing with stress can affect your sex life and relationships. When stress is applied, the body must react and change in order to cope. It does this through a release of hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, which can cause a decrease in your libido. There are also psychological effects, being stressed about a multitude of things can impact your mood and a busy mind can distract you from wanting sex and lower your libido. Stress can also affect your lifestyle; some people deal with stress by smoking, drinking, overeating, forgetting about self-care, and exercising. These choices will influence how you feel about yourself and interfere with your sex life. 

If you suspect that life stress is putting a damper on your libido, the first thing you should consider is stress management. Changing the way you perceive and digest stress can help you manage it better. There are many known strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety to ensure they won’t have an impact on your sexuality: meditation, high-intensity exercise, yoga, journaling, and aromatherapy are just a few examples.

It is also recommended that you look at the health of your relationships. If there are stress and conflicts within those relationships, it may have an impact on your libido. It is important that you are communicating with the other person in your relationship. Try to understand the challenges you face together rather than being against each other. Spoil alert! Blaming one another doesn’t get you anywhere and you won’t find a solution that way. Be conscious of how you are getting your argument/point of view across. Using “ I feel….” or “I would like…” rather than “you did this…” and “you are so…”  * stay tuned for next week’s article about communication to learn more. 

Pick up a hobby together. Exercising together can be a fun way of spending time together. Make time for each other during the week. Practice just being together, with no pressure to have sex. A lot of couples tend to put pressure on sexual intercourse, but sexuality and intimacy are so much more than that. Focus on sensations and experiences rather than focusing on sex. For example: hugging, mutual massages, taking a bath/shower together.

Practice self-care and self-esteem, they make a difference in your sex life. If you don’t feel good about yourself, it will transpire in your sexuality and you won’t feel like having sex and being intimate with your partner.  

Our Intimacy Self-Help workbook and our Couple’s Intimacy workbook are available to purchase. 

Our Guide to Self-Love workbook is available to purchase here

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Julia, Sexologist Blog

Help us keep this blog going! There is so much more to come. You can also purchase self-help workbooks in our shop!

£5.00

 

For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

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

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