INTEGRATED WOMEN’S SEXUALITY Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa,MS,LPC Presentation for BOULDER INTERFACE May 18, 2011 Background and Credentials • • • • • • • • • • • Master of Science Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling Licensed psychotherapist in Colorado 35 years experience in the mental health field Certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming Advanced training in (“Brainspotting”), EMDR, Eriksonian Hypnotherapy and other techniques 33 years teaching yoga and meditation Workshops in Women’s Sexuality 44 years experience in spiritual practice CDs on various topics: Emotional Intimacy, Fear, Anger, Motivation On the staff at Thayer Group for Women’s Care 5-time presenter at Interface Myths and Misunderstandings: for Men and Women What are some of the myths and misunderstandings that women have and that men have about women’s sexuality? Differences in Sexuality Recent advances in neuroscience and brain imaging provide valuable insights into the differences between male and female sexuality. These can inform our understanding, and help therapeutic strategies and interventions. Women’s Sexuality Diagram l Men’s Sexuality Diagram l A lady goes to her priest one day and tells him, “Father, I have a problem…. I have two female parrots, but they only know how to say one thing.” “What do they say?” the priest inquired. “They say, 'Hi, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?‘” “That's obscene!” the priest exclaimed. Then he thought for a moment. “You know,” he said, “I may have a solution to your problem. I have two male talking parrots, which I have taught to pray and read the Bible. Bring your two parrots over to my house, and we'll put them in the cage with Francis and Peter. My parrots can teach your parrots to praise and worship, And your parrots are sure to stop saying . . that phrase . . in no time.” . “Thank you,” the woman responded, “this may very well be the solution.” The next day, she brought her female parrots to the priest's house. * As he ushered her in, she saw that his two male parrots were inside their cage holding rosary beads and praying. Impressed, she walked over and placed her parrots in with them. After a few minutes, the female parrots cried out in unison: “Hi, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?” There was stunned silence. . Shocked, one male parrot looked over at the other male parrot and exclaimed, “Put the beads away, Frank. Our prayers have been answered!” All kidding aside, sex can be: • • • • • • • • The answer to your prayers Cozy Ecstatic Boring Traumatic Confusing Off-putting Healing The Hidden Need: What Your Clients May Not Be Telling You… Unless You Ask • 33 to 50 % of women experience orgasm infrequently and are dissatisfied with how often they reach orgasm. • Performance anxiety is believed to be the most common cause of orgasm problems, and 90 % of orgasm problems appear to be psychological in nature. -- Orgasmic Dysfunction, Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, September 2002. (Various studies differ.) The Hidden Need (continued) • 10 to 15 % of American women have never experienced an orgasm. • Only 35 % of the female population will orgasm during intercourse. • Reasons for failure to climax include: sexual ignorance, sexual anxiety, and fear of letting go. • A sexual response is a complex blend of many physical and psychological variables. • What a woman expects, how she believes she should respond, and how she thinks she should act, will all impact how she experiences, behaves during, and reports her orgasmic event. -- Pathways to Pleasure, Robert W. Birch, Ph.D., Sexologist and Adult Sexuality Educator, 2000. The Hidden Need (continued) • 15 to 20 % of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which experts define as a sexless marriage. — Newsweek • 20 to 30 % of men and 30 to 50 % of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today • 65% of Americans rate their sexual satisfaction as only just above average. 30% are generally “dissatisfied” - PRNewswire INTEGRATED WOMEN’S SEXUALITY • A therapeutic model that incorporates 17 factors that affect a woman’s sexual response as an overview. • An approach that is spiritually respectful…results-oriented...comprehensive • These 17 factors interact, overlap, and change over time. Some are important to the client, some are not, but it’s important to assess each one. • Most of the factors are above the neck. • The model creates a systematic way of looking at all the overt and subtle factors that affect sexuality in complex ways. • Though it is a simple model, clients often find it surprisingly helpful. Possible Goals • • • • • • Resolve issues of self-doubt and betrayal Understand what is right and comfortable Identify areas for personal work Serve as a springboard for further work Create a healthier sexual relationship Improve the overall relationship. The Therapeutic Process During the assessment phase of the process with the patient/client, as the therapist, I: • Establish rapport • Gain understanding of what the client is experiencing now • Help the client define what they would like to experience • Gather information about their personal, sexual, relationship, and trauma history that affects their sexuality • My primary therapeutic modality is Brainspotting. Factor #1: Time, Privacy and Environment • This is a pretty simple factor but one that is sometimes overlooked. • Is the couple making time for sex in their lives? • Is the environment conducive to intimacy? • Are they worried about the kids knocking on the door? • How does the issue of spontaneity v. planning come into play? Factor #2: Pregnancy Issues • Does either partner fear pregnancy, even if it is not logical? • Does the choice of contraception distract? • Any past experiences of pregnancy or abortion that create hesitation or trauma? Factor #3: Health and Vitality • Good sex requires good cardiovascular health. • Does each person feel energetic and alive in general? • Is it possible that drugs, alcohol or prescription medications are affecting the sex drive? • What are the stress levels and how does it affect sex? Factor #4: Hormonal Issues • What are the client’s hormone levels and could this be a factor? • Is the client pregnant or nursing? • Is the client in perimenopause or menopause? Factor #5: Physical Attractiveness • How does the client feel about her body? • How does she feel about her partner’s body? • How important a factor is this for either of them? • How does culture affect this? Factor #6: Knowing Personal Sexual Needs • • • • • What kind of sexual stimulation does she like? How has this changed over time? Does she understand her libidinous cycles? What is the best/worst part of lovemaking? Are each of them open to learning more? Factor #7: Knowledge of Each Other’s Sexual Needs • • • • • Are they sexually compatible? Does she feel he is a good lover? Can they talk openly about sex? Personal empowerment Sexual options questionnaire to elicit more specific information. Factor #8: Is He a Considerate and Patient Lover? • This has to do with “sexual good manners” • Is sex too rushed for her (includes male lover’s ability to delay orgasm)? • Is her lover sensitive to her needs? • Does sex feel safe and cozy? Factor #9: Playfulness • Sex can be relaxed, light, silly, goofy. • Is there freedom to move sexually, to experiment, to relax? • Are they playful in other areas of life? • Can they laugh about things? Factor #10: Comfortableness with Sexuality • • • • What are the client’s fears about sexuality? Is there any trauma associated with sex? What aspects of sex are embarrassing? What were her family’s attitudes about sex that were internalized? • Cultural messages? • Religious messages? Factor #11: Family History • What is the parents’ relationship like? • Was there sexual abuse in the patient’s history or extended family history? • Were there conflicting or negative messages about sexuality? • Any skeletons in the closet? Factor #12: Physical Trust • Is there cuddling that is enjoyable to both? • Is the partner’s touch relaxing? • Does she intuitively want to open to him? Factor #13: Emotional Trust • Is there consistent kindness in the relationship outside the bedroom? • Do they like and respect each other as friends? • Are there any affairs or betrayals? • Would she want her best friend to marry someone like this? • Is she trusting/mistrusting in general? • Does she think she can disconnect sexual response from emotions (“3 date rule”)? Factor #14: Feeling Loved and Accepted • Does the client feel free to “be herself”? • Can she openly share the different facets of her personality with him? • Does he make her heart sing? • Does she feel radiant and beautiful with him? Factor #15: Feeling Loving • Does she love him? • How would she describe her feelings for him? • Does her anger towards him about anything else interfere with being sexual? • Are there any other unresolved issues? Factor #16: Committed Relationship • Does the relationship feel safe and stable to her? • Are there overt or subtle fears of being abandoned? • What could break up the relationship? • What is the history of keeping relationship promises? Factor #17: Vibrational Harmony • Is there an easy flow of energy between the two partners? • Are they on the same wavelength? • Does it feel good to just be together? • What about the intangible quality of the relationship? Relaxation and Excitement • • • • • • Physical relaxation Emotional trust Comfortable environment Stress management Committed relationship Confidence in contraception • Sexual knowledge of each other • Surrender • Abundant hormones • New relationship • Freshness of existing relationship (mindfulness) • Experimentation • Exciting lover • Physical vitality • “Forbidden fruit” • Building and holding a sexual “charge” More thoughts on the Relaxation/Excitement model • Yin/Yang • Notice how both are important for orgasm and sexual satisfaction. • The balance may be different with different lovers. • The balance may change over the course of the relationship. • The balance even changes during one lovemaking session. The Therapeutic Process • Going through this therapeutic process helps the client identify the causes of their sexual experience being less that optimal. • The focus of the therapy is determined by which of the 17 factors need healing. It may shift as we continue the process. • “Optimal” is a life-long quest. Brainspotting • “I’ve had a scream inside my head for 54 years beginning with being sexually abused at age 5. After gentle work in one Brainspotting session, the scream is finally silenced. It’s a miracle.” • “…Release of sympathetic overdrive” (Fran Hamilton, M.D.) • “I definitely noticed a reduction in…pervasive anxiety.” • “The process itself was amazing. I really felt my brain repatterning and balancing itself physiologically” Sexuality Manifesto • Sex is an important part of my life. • I have the right to say “no” at any time and for any reason. • My sexual experiences are safe…physically, emotionally and spiritually. • I deserve to be cherished and honored. • I will work towards my sexual healing. • True sexual freedom occurs in the present moment. • Sex is a natural, healthy expression of love. • Sex is an integral part of my spiritual life, a gift from God. Where do we go from here? • I believe that Integrated Women’s Sexuality offers a broad perspective that includes many aspects. • If you believe your patients, clients and parishioners could benefit from my approach, I invite you to share with them the “healing wheel” and my article on “Low Libido”. • On a personal level, you can discuss these 17 factors with your partner. • I invite you to visit my website: SatTaraTherapy.com Thank you • Sexuality is a beautiful and important part of life and relationships, and it deserves our focus and attention. • I hope this presentation has been helpful in clarifying the various factors that influence a woman’s sexuality. • Thank you for attending this presentation and for your kind attention. Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa, MS, LPC Women’s Integrated Sexuality Topics for Further Consideration for the “Afterthoughts” from 9:00 to 10:00 • What did you learn today? • Can sexuality support spiritual practice? • How does religion support or not support healthy sexuality? • What are areas of growth for you? • What would you like to ask your partner? • When and how should sex begin in a relationship? • How has your sexuality changed over the years?