Women don't come with directions and men seldom ask for them, so it should come as no surprise that sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman spent part of her recent Oprah appearance demonstrating how map-making may enhance a couple's love-making, as part of a five-step approach to better sex. Here is an exercise you may want to try at home if you or your partner a) feel sexually unsatisfied or b) cringe and/or laugh upon hearing the word "penis."
Only Madonna, Ritchie, a marriage therapist (and perhaps a therapist's nosy administrative assistant) will ever know whether the former couple really drew up a "love pact." But it does perk our interest. Should we all have one of these? Are they only for the rich and famous? With the right guidelines, can they improve—and in some cases—save a marriage?
Couples who struggle to keep their relationship sexy (and if there's a couple out there that doesn't struggle with this, please stand up) often find themselves at a loss for solutions. All of the elements are there: love, trust, intimacy. Only the passion is lacking. Cue revolutionary couples therapist Esther Perel. She will tell you things like "More intimacy can lead to less sex" and "The fear of loss is essential to love." Her frank talk for couples looking to reignite their passion has made her a semi-celebrity, and she's appeared on Oprah and the Today show to discuss her acclaimed book, Mating in Captivity. And now, for the price of an hour-long therapy session, you can get Perel for an entire day.
The National Enquirer says that Britney and Kevin are trying to reconcile via couples therapy. As awesome as that would be, can the Enquirer be trusted? That John Edwards thing really makes this a toughie. We'll just hope that they are and call it a day. Also, Billy Bob Thornton is still good buds with Angelina Jolie, per Billy Bob.
At the age of 42 with two children in elementary school, Mary Ann Lowry was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. Lowry explains her husband had a hard time coming to terms with her illness. "He frequently used verbal abuse to try to convince me to be healthy," she says. "The therapists tried to help him see that sickness, death, pain…are part of life. He couldn't come to terms with my physical limitations and despite their best efforts the therapists weren't able to break through the hard core resistance to accepting my health situation. When I finally had to leave work and go out on full disability, he was not able to support the decision." Despite the money, time and effort spent in counseling trying to work on their marriage, it failed. Lowry and her husband went to individual and couples counseling on and off for 11 years and still the marriage ended.
If you are tired of your relationship and want to take a break, sit down with your partner and work out the rules. Clearly communicate the goal of the separation and the expectations. Can he have sex? Can you? Should you have sex with one another? Will you go out on dates? All of these are key questions that should be decided upon before you leave the relationship. The author outlines six simple rules for a separation and how do decide the limits in order to make your separation successful. Pick a clear starting and end date. Decide on clear boundaries. Communicate with one another. Figure out the finances. Should you have sex? Make your separation a clean break.
Aaron was tall, handsome, brilliant, funny—everything I wanted in a lover except reckless. Indeed, the kinkiest thing about him was his luxuriant Jewish boy's 'fro; I loved to run my fingers through his curls. He was raised to be a suburban gentleman in the conservative 1950's and went to college in the liberated 70's—which may explain why he wasn't bitch-slapping me while pretending he was a pimp and I was his hooker, or playing the principal punishing the naughty schoolgirl sent to his office, or acting like a kidnapper tying up his naked, quivering victim. Instead, he put his ardor into his work while making sweet, calm, comfortable love to his wife once every week or two. Or three. Okay, a few years into our marriage, we sometimes went an entire month without even a quickie.
Marriage is not going so well for my husband Rob and me. Our fifth anniversary approaches, and we haven't had sex in more than a year. We've buried our feelings about that deep. We also avoid talking about finances and children, and anything else you could file under the category "future hopes." When marriage promises so much more—stability, growth, intimacy—why am I content to stay put? While for better or worse we ignore our deep-seated issues around sex and money, we enjoy laughs together and keep each other amused. Life without him would require me to find new fun. So I'm biding my time, and meanwhile being kind to myself and gentle with Rob. After I've put in a good-faith effort in couples therapy and saved a bit more of my own money, I'll reassess. But for the near future—six months, a year, maybe two—here are the ties that bind:
A researcher at Clark University is out to prove that thoroughly examining relationships is the best way to strengthen them. He has a $5 million grant and a few years to do so. Is he on the right track?
Occasional bickering is one thing, but constant fighting is another. Especially if you have the same argument over and over. Below, how to know when it’s time for a professional intervention. A new baby at home? Stress leading you to avoid your partner? Marriage counseling might help.