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1 Sexuality in marriage PART SET Dr MargiAnne Isaia, MD MPH PCC DrAnneenthusiasticLife 4

2 CONCEPTS “Our brain is our largest sex organ”. “Sexual desire is part of our interpersonal communication system”. “It reflects our longing for pair-bonding and expresses an eagerness to exchange meaning with another person through sex”. David Schnarch, PhD “Passionate Marriage”, 2009

3 CONCEPTS “The intensity and depth of our involvement in sex while we’re having is part and parcel of our sexual desire”. “Sexual desire is eroticism in action” and “is partly determined by our culture”. “Some aspects of sexual desire problems are inherent to the system of marriage and can’t be fixed, rebuilt, or resolved; they are part of marriage’s people-growing machine”. David Schnarch, PhD “Passionate Marriage”, 2009

4 CONCEPTS “If you want to keep desire alive in your marriage, your continued differentiation must keep pace with your partner’s increasing importance”. ”Mutuality involves one partner sacrificing his or her own goals to facilitating those of the partner, but the sacrifice enhances both people’s functioning”. “Hugging till relaxed is an elegant and simple tool for connection” which means “standing connection with another.” David Schnarch, PhD “Passionate Marriage”, 2009

5 CONCEPTS “The solution to marital problems isn’t becoming more heartless or hard- hearted. It’s taking better care of your own heart”. David Schnarch, PhD “Passionate Marriage”, 200 9

6 Understanding the complexity of human sexual desire is essential when addressing sexual desire problems. Biological dimension of the sexual desire combined with psycho-social development perspective brings hope for the couples who struggle with sexual desire problems not related to hormonal dysfunctions. Indeed, “hormones don’t run our desire”. REACTIONS

7 In the same time, for couples who have hormonal and other physical dysfunctions there is hope because “bonding” hormones follow sexual behavior. It means that sexual relations which result in marital satisfaction might be seen as remedies for physical and emotional diseases. In other words, love is the best medicine with the greatest positive actions and no side effects. REACTIONS

8 Because marriage is a system we must expect that partners have different sexual desires and are able to assess how their neo-cortex is involved in developing and creating sexual desire. Partners come from unique social and cultural contexts and they need to be willing to get involved in the process of growing as couple and as individuals, alike. REACTIONS

9 Continued differentiation is a challenging process for both partners. For the partner with a greater level of self-differentiation the capability to develop emotional immunity might result in facilitating his partner’s differentiation. It shifts the couple from “emotional transfusion” status toward mutuality. REACTIONS

10 When people are clear about who they are and what they want to become as a couple they are able to stand for their position and, in the same time, to appreciate and respect other’s position. In order to maintain your own equilibrium while in close emotional proximity you have to become self-centering and self-soothing. Calming yourself could be considered one of the most necessary ability to be developed as earlier as possible in life. REACTIONS

11 In order for children to get this aptitude parents have to model intimacy and interest in physical contact, or children will be taught by life situations. It depends on their choices to comfort and care for themselves, or to look for “emotional crutches”. REACTIONS

12 Ask the partners about their meanings regarding sexual desire. Help them answer to their questions. Be aware of their anxieties during the session. Show the partners that techniques do not make you a lover. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FOR SEX THERAPIST

13 Address the issues related with self-centered and unfinished business from the family of origin. Challenge the couple to use their brain in order to develop and create their sexual desire. Help them see sexual desire problems as part of the system of marriage. Make them become aware of the strength to want and become self- centering. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FOR SEX THERAPIST

14 Motivate at least one of the partners to want to raise his/her level of differentiation. Explain the concept of differentiation stance. Help the couple understand how hugging till relaxed could help in integrating sexuality and spirituality. Discuss the importance of disengaging and connecting on a deeper level. Motivate partners to discover potential in simple hugs in order to deepen their sexual connection. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FOR SEX THERAPIST

15 Discuss common beliefs and myths related to sexual desire. Address the sexual desire in context. Show the common sexual desire problems and their relation with the marriage’s people-growing machine. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION SPECIALIST

16 Analyze the concept of “emotional transfusion” and its outcomes. Discuss the neocortical aspects of sexual desire. Make the couple understand the limits of sex techniques in addressing sexual desire problems. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION SPECIALIST

17 Explain the benefit of hugging till relaxed as a connection tool for the couple. Show its importance in modeling for children present in the family. Equip partners with the knowledge for taking care of themselves. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION SPECIALIST

18 Get them involved in activities that challenge their personal comfort zone in order for them to move from being self-centered to becoming self- centering. Invite them to develop special activities with their children in order to teach them self-soothing techniques. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION SPECIALIST

19 Discuss the concept of self-soothing. Assess behaviors related with self-centered life-style and show the risks associated with it. Provide the student with the information necessary to become self- centering. IMPLICAII PRACTICE CONSILIERUL COLAR

20 Help him in acquiring skills for comforting himself. Teach relaxation techniques if required. Explain the concept of “emotional transfusion” and the risks associated with it. IMPLICAII PRACTICE CONSILIERUL COLAR

21 Make the student aware of his own strengths in order to develop “emotional immunity”, and resist peer-pressure with regard to sexual behavior. Analyze different styles of hugging and let the student choose what he finds appropriate for him. Ask why he chooses this style and address the implications. IMPLICAII PRACTICE CONSILIERUL COLAR

22 IMPLICAII PRACTICE CONSILIERUL COLAR Assess the level of knowledge regarding sexual behavior and look for misunderstandings. Clarify these ones. Teach about the complexity of sexual desire.

23 Make sure the student understands the cortex involvement in sex and why is important to postpone the sexual activity until the right time. Assure him about the importance of having an unshakable center in him. Explain the paradox of boundaries. Show how they block and facilitate intimacy in relationship. IMPLICAII PRACTICE CONSILIERUL COLAR

24 CLASSICAL AUTHOR “Those who regard the marriage relation as one of God's sacred ordinances, guarded by His holy precept, will be controlled by the dictates of reason.” EGW --HL, No. 2, p 48, 1865. (2SM 440.) {1MCP 223.2}

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