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  • The Relationship Center [MyCounselor.Online] was perfect for our marriage at a very critical time. The crisis was handled and the issues that had to be addressed were brought to the forefront. Each issue was dealt with to resolution before working on the next one. The honest approach and no-nonsense no excuses accepted approach was right on. The skill of the staff was key to our success. The skills that we were given have made our marriage better than it has ever been. Our time with TRC [MyCounselor.Online] not only saved our marriage but made it amazing.

    Tim F
  • My husband and I have been going to TRC [MyCounselor.Online] for about 6 months and have gained valuable resources and tools to help our marriage. Rachelle is a great person and very knowledgeable. I would recommend TRC [MyCounselor.Online] and Rachelle to others.

    Cassandra B.
  • Our marriage was so horrible we thought Josh Spurlock would surely give us the green light that there was no hope and encourage us to go our separate ways. At least that’s what a previous counselor in town had told me to do. Instead, Josh used biblical principles to bring hope into a very dark, bleak situation. We saw Josh on and off for approximately three years. It took a lot of work to have the marriage we do today, but it was worth every penny and every session we attended with Josh. Josh is a phenomenal counselor. It was easy to even talk about those embarrassing, tough topics with him. God really used The Relationship Center[MyCounselor.Online] to restore our marriage. Anything is possible when you’re willing to get help, implement what you’re being taught, and add Christ as the third party in your relationship. Instead of being a single Mom to three kids, I now have the marriage I only thought existed if I was with someone else. It really is unbelievable.

    Jackie W
  • I would like to thank Josh for his help in building a strong biblical foundation in our marriage. It is normal to experience situations that cause difficulties in your marriage, but having the courage to step out and ask for help from a faith centered therapist such as Josh can help ensure that God’s plan for your marriage is revealed. Josh Spurlock is a true man of faith that honestly cares about your marriage and is committed to taking a biblical approach to therapy in an effort to equip you with the tools that are essential for continued success and years of mutual understanding and happiness.

    Kirk P
  • Absolutely TOP NOTCH! These guys are the best of the best. SO good at what they do and being able to hear what you are not saying. They don’t want to keep you sick in an effort to collect money. Their hearts are truly at the center of Jesus and healing. It’s changed my life. I’ve gone for 5 or more years and I’m still there. Best money and decision I’ve ever made in an effort to change my life and relationships. I’m so grateful for the investment Rebecca and Shaun have made in my life and the confidence and encouragement the two of them have given me. Both are equally special! Exactly what I needed for my process.

    Chelsea B
  • Investing in christian counseling made all the difference for us. We had come to a point in our marriage where we were not communicating with one another. We had kids, careers, schedules and routines, and felt we were functioning well enough. What we didn’t have was a connection to one another. We each approached situations from our own perspective never taking time to realize how that impacted the other, or how we had come to have that perspective in the first place. The counseling process allowed us to reconnect with ourselves and to one another and provided tools for us to use when we weren’t with our counselor. We consider it one of the best investments of time and finances we have ever made! We would recommend the counseling process and our counselor Rachelle Colegrove without hesitation.

    Brian & Julie U
  • I have been going to Melissa for a little over a year now and I can honestly say it is one of the highlights of my week every week. I feel that she has helped me through so much already and is extremely easy to talk to about anything. I really appreciate her listening and offering me wisdom every time I see her. I don’t know how I would’ve managed getting through this past year of my life at times if I had started going to The Relationship Center [MyCounselor.Online]. Also, I am so grateful that they worked with me financially to find something that fits my tight, college budget. I definitely tell everyone about this place when they ask me about where to go for counseling. Thank you so much.

    Noelle R
  • Web-based interventions compared to non-Web-based interventions showed an improvement in outcomes.
     
    A University of California meta-analysis concluded that Web-based interventions compared to non-Web-based interventions showed an improvement in outcomes in a meta-analysis of 5 studies. The primary focus was self-care and self-management interventions to encourage individual's behavior change in the presence of a chronic illness or condition necessitating knowledge sharing, education, and understanding of the condition. 
    — Journal of Medical Internet Research http://www.jmir.org/2004/4/e40/
  • The effects of online psychotherapy outlasted the results of face-to-face counseling
    A University of Zurich study divided a group of 62 patients in half and found that depression was eased in 53 percent of those given online therapy, compared to 50 percent who had in-person counseling. Three months after completing the study, 57 percent of online patients showed no signs of depression compared to 42 percent with conventional therapy.
    — Journal of Affective Disorders https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091255.htm
  • Online therapy significantly lowered the number of hospital visits among veterans.
    In a four-year Johns Hopkins study that included close to 100,000 veterans, the number of days that patients were hospitalized dropped by 25 percent if they chose online counseling. This is slightly higher than the number of hospital visits experienced by patients who used face-to-face counseling.
    — Psychiatric Services

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Resources

The Affair Recovery Guide Part 1

It could be your worst nightmare to wake up one day and discover the love of your life had or is having an affair. Your spouse having an affair could be something you saw coming. For others it [...]

Depression In Women

Women are two times more likely than men to experience depression. In fact, about 20% of all women will experience depression at some point during their life. This article will educate you about [...]

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Is your marriage in crisis? Afraid it might be without change? Get help addressing communication, infidelity, sex, and other issues.

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Depression Counseling

Stop letting depression control your life. You can be happy. You can look forward to your life. Start now.

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Life & Relationship Articles

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Does Online Counseling Therapy Work?

Sure it’s easy to access and easy to use, but does online counseling work?

That’s the burning question when it comes to online counseling / therapy. Various forms of online therapy have been in existence for over a decade now and the research is coming to the conclusion: 

YES, online counseling / therapy can be as effective in helping people reach their goals as in-person therapy. 

Experienced Clinicians & Educators Are Advocating Online Therapy

As a result of the research and their own experience, well known and respected researchers and educators in the field of therapy have become believers in online approaches to therapy. In this 2016 interview Dr. Irvin D. Yalom, professor of psychiatry emeritus at Stanford University and author of many therapy books, best known to me for his work The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, talks about why he has become a proponent of online therapy. 

If I talk to an online counselor is it the same as an in-person therapist?

Online counseling is not “the same” as in-person therapy, just like talking to a loved on on Facetime or Skype is not the same as talking with them in person. A lot of research shows that it is, however, just as effective as in-person counseling. So while it feels different than sitting in the same room with your counselor, it can help you reach your goals for counseling just as well. Clients report that they still feel close and connected to their online counselor, some even report feeling more comfortable because they control the environment they meet their counselor in. 

The research on the effectiveness of online counseling therapy speaks for itself.

  • Web-based interventions compared to non-Web-based interventions showed an improvement in outcomes.
     
    A University of California meta-analysis concluded that Web-based interventions compared to non-Web-based interventions showed an improvement in outcomes in a meta-analysis of 5 studies. The primary focus was self-care and self-management interventions to encourage individual's behavior change in the presence of a chronic illness or condition necessitating knowledge sharing, education, and understanding of the condition. 
    — Journal of Medical Internet Research http://www.jmir.org/2004/4/e40/
  • The effects of online psychotherapy outlasted the results of face-to-face counseling
    A University of Zurich study divided a group of 62 patients in half and found that depression was eased in 53 percent of those given online therapy, compared to 50 percent who had in-person counseling. Three months after completing the study, 57 percent of online patients showed no signs of depression compared to 42 percent with conventional therapy.
    — Journal of Affective Disorders https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091255.htm
  • Online therapy significantly lowered the number of hospital visits among veterans.
    In a four-year Johns Hopkins study that included close to 100,000 veterans, the number of days that patients were hospitalized dropped by 25 percent if they chose online counseling. This is slightly higher than the number of hospital visits experienced by patients who used face-to-face counseling.
    — Psychiatric Services
  • Five hundred patients assigned to either live video counseling or in-person care showed equal rates of recovery.
    A Canadian study shows that online therapy delivers the same satisfaction at slightly less the cost. Patients in Ontario, Canada were assigned to face-to-face or live video counseling and experienced statistically the same clinical outcome and level of patient satisfaction. The only difference was that the cost of providing the online service was 10% less per patient.
    — American Psychiatric Association
  • Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy helped reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder with effects that lasted until well after the treatment had ended.
    Online therapy may be an efficient way to provide PTSD treatment to a large group of people. A pilot study compared the effectiveness of online cognitive behavioral therapy and in-person supportive therapy in 45 Defense service members suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the September 11th attack. After eight weeks those receiving online therapy showed greater improvement. Six months after their first meeting those who had received online therapy continued to show improvement, in direct contrast to the in-person group.
    — American Journal of Psychiatry
  • After six weeks people with symptoms of depression improved significantly who received online counseling. 
    In one randomized controlled trial published in BMJ, 525 people with symptoms of depression were randomly assigned to receive online CBT; to consult a website that offered information about depression but no actual treatment; or to a control group involving weekly phone conversations with trained interviewers about lifestyle factors that could increase the risk of depression. After six weeks, depressive symptoms improved significantly more in people who received online CBT than in those in the control group.
    — BMJ http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5627
  • Internet-based therapy shown as effective as traditional face-to-face psychotherapy for depression and anxiety.
    In a large review published in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers analyzed the results of 26 randomized controlled trials of online CBT for people with depression or anxiety. Two of the eight depression studies, and almost all of the anxiety studies, included some input from a therapist. Online CBT was found to be effective in 23 of these studies, including six of the eight studies that focused on depression. Overall, Internet-based CBT was as effective as traditional face-to-face psychotherapy for depression and anxiety.
    — Medical Journal of Australia
  • In a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers compared four randomized controlled trials of online CBT for mild to moderate depression. The results suggested that online CBT can effectively reduce symptoms of depression.
    — British Journal of Psychiatry
  • In a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers compared online CBT to online interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). IPT is most effective for people whose depression is the result of a stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one. Researchers randomly assigned 1,840 people with depression to receive four weeks of online CBT. Online CBT significantly reduced depressive symptoms.
    — Journal of Medical Internet Research
  • In a study of people with panic disorder published in BMC Psychiatry, researchers randomly assigned 113 individuals to online CBT or in-person group CBT. Those who participated in online CBT received feedback from a therapist after completing each of the 10 weekly modules. Those in the group CBT treatment met with two therapists for two hours once a week for 10 weeks. Both online and group CBT reduced the frequency and severity of panic attacks, with no significant differences between the two treatments.
    — BMC Psychiatry
  • The Huffington Post published an article about research done by the Department of Veteran Affairs entitled 
    Telemedicine No Less Effective Than In-Person Therapy For Vets With PTSD. Peter Kane, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison said the study was able to show that, at least in the VA health system, effective PTSD treatments can be successfully delivered in multiple ways. “Patients with PTSD could be treated effectively in the clinic or by using home based telehealth,” Kane said. The findings are especially important given the common barriers that make it harder for those who need these services to access them, he noted. “Studies such as this one may change how mental health services are delivered in general, not just for PTSD or within the VA system,” Kane said. “It may be the case at some point in the future that mental health clinics may offer home based telehealth as an alternative to traditionally clinic-based care.”
    — Huffington Post & Department of Veteran Affairs http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796716301966

Sources:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DozICXlrvN0&t=842s
  • https://www.healthafter50.com/mental-health/article/online-therapy-is-it-for-you
  • https://www.breakthrough.com/why/effectiveness

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Is There Hope?

It could be your worst nightmare to wake up one day and discover the love of your life had or is having an affair. Your spouse having an affair could be something you saw coming. For others it could be a bomb was dropped out of the blue. Regardless of how you found out about the affair, it is PAINFUL. To know your husband or wife was potentially touching, kissing, holding hands with, saying I love you too, or having sex with another person is devastating.

You may obsess over the details of what might have happened and at the same time not want to know any of the details at all. It is possible you do not want to know what happened because knowing the details would make it even more painful. Or you could not stop thinking about what he or she did.

It is possible you have spent hours or even days checking phone records, Facebook messages, emails, credit card statements, text messages, etc. to find out what happened. It is common for someone who has just discovered their spouse has been unfaithful to experience a time of shock, disbelief and rage.

To be betrayed in this way is devastating, so devastating you may not know where to start to pick up the pieces of your marriage or if you should even try. When emotional and physical affairs are combined research shows that 45% of men and 25% of women have engaged in sexual infidelity.

Here are some of the common phrases heard from men and women who have discovered their partner had an affair:

  • How could this happen?
  • Was I not good enough sexually?
  • Am I not attractive enough?
  • Am I not romantic enough? Am I not skinny enough?
  • Am I not witty enough?
  • Am I just boring?
  • What do I do now?
  • Do I get a divorce? Separate? Work it out?
  • Who do I talk to about this?
  • If anyone knew would they judge me or us?
  • This will ruin our reputation of being the “it” couple everyone views us as.
  • What really happened?
  • Did they have sex?
  • How often did they have sex?
  • Where did they have sex?
  • What positions?
  • What was he or she wearing?
  • Did they have sex with them the same day they had sex with me?
  • Does my spouse have an STD?
  • Do I have an STD now?
  • What else has my spouse been lying about?
  • I need to find the person whom my spouse had the affair with and talk to them. Maybe it will help me.

All of these thoughts are very normal and the questions need answers. Many of the answers can be found in this article series. Some of them you’ll need to work with an experienced affair recovery counselor to figure out.

It is important to take the time to gain an understanding of what happened. When you learn your spouse has just had an affair you may feel as though everyone is looking at you to see what decision you will make next. You may believe you are on some sort of timer to make a decision about your relationship today or tomorrow. This is a false sense of urgency. You may have friends say to stick it out with your spouse or to leave him or her. You may have your kids in mind and thinking about what they would want you to do. All of these factors contribute to the difficulty of making a decision. Instead of being impulsive, take some time to think about the decision you want to make.

Allow yourself to hurt, feel the pain and process it. After that begin to decide what you want to do. Consult with people you trust who are not biased and seek professional help.

What if my spouse isn’t interested in getting help?

We often get the question “What if my spouse isn’t interested in saving our marriage, or getting help? Is there any hope?” The answer is a definite YES. While you can’t make your spouse want to save or work on a marriage you do have 100% control over 50% of the relationship.

Many times we start work with one spouse only to find the reluctant spouse later willing to engage the process after they start seeing a difference in their partner. It doesn’t always happen, but it certainly does happen often. Part of the mechanism at work here is that God is interested in repairing and reconciling relationships. When we get on board with what God wants to do, we find that He is able to accomplish things we never could.

Another component at work is that families and relationships are what we call “systems.” That is, like a mechanical watch, with all its gears and springs, the pieces of a relationship react with each other. Just like turning a gear in a watch a different direction is necessarily going to change the way the watch works, so changing one part of a relationship will necessarily change the way the relationship functions. It’s unavoidable. Now, that doesn’t mean it will be easy or your spouse will come around to your way of seeing things. It just means things will be different and can be better.

The more you grow personally and spiritually the more likely it is that you will act more lovingly in all your relationships. This will ensure that the 50% of the relationship under your control is the best it can be. In response, often times we see reluctant spouses become more interested in pursuing some changes of their own.

But I don’t have any feelings for my mate, why should I think my feelings would change?

Not having feelings at this point is normal. It’s common for either spouse to have lost all desire for their mate when a marriage is struggling. In fact, it maybe even worse than that, often it feels as if it’s less than zero and the thought of your mate touching you or you having to touch your mate is repulsive. Even so, there is a strong probability those feelings will come back, but not without some changes on both parties parts.

Now look, let’s get real. People can and do change. The very fact you have different feelings today than you did on the day you got married is proof that you can change. In fact, if on that day someone had told you that you would change and come to the point you couldn’t stand to be near your mate, you would have laughed and said it would never happen. So when I tell you that you can change and find a strong desire for your mate again, then you’ll laugh and say it couldn’t happen, but your wrong, it can happen.

The challenge, however, is that negative change can happen with little or no effort, but positive change takes effort on our part. If you’re not willing to do the work, then you’re right, change won’t happen. But if you’ll get the necessary help then it can.

Why bother, it sounds like too much work?

Imagine being able to have a marriage where there is mutual respect, mutual caring, mutual honesty, love, and passion. If you could have that type of marriage, why would you settle for an empty, lonely room?

Divorce is a nightmare, and while that may seem like the only path out of your dilemma, it’s not true. Research shows that it takes about five years to recover from divorce, but less than two years to move beyond even infidelity in marriage. And it will only take 90 days to get your marriage back on the right track. Why wouldn’t you spend 90 days to see if you could save yourself five years of your life?

If you have children, then for their sake at least explore whether you can work it out. The impact of divorce on children is staggering; not only does it complicate their lives, but research indicates it puts them at higher risk for all sorts of life problems, it impacts their future quality of life, and literally takes years off their life expectancy.

For your own sake, if you are the type of person who believes in the institution of marriage and never imagined yourself as part of the divorce statistics, then personal integrity would suggest you explore working through your marital problems, even if it’s infidelity.

Research on emotionally focused couples counseling shows that 3 out of 4 couples (~73%) who engage professional relationship counseling to reach a place of satisfaction with their relationship.

Approximately 70% of couples engaging in therapy report staying together after an affair and of these couples approximately 50% state their relationship is stronger than it was before the affair. (Getting Past the Affair).

The process of feeling better normally takes 18-24 month but in the scope of the next 20 years of marriage, it is a short investment of time. The choice is really up to you. In our experience as therapists, when both spouses engage in therapy and work hard that they have stayed together.

The Right Way To Heal

Similar to cleaning out a gunshot wound there is a process for healing when an affair occurs during a marriage. Putting duck tape over the wound may make the blood stop from oozing out of you for a few minutes, but will not heal the wound. In the same way there is a process for helping couples and individuals to navigate through after effects of an affair, so that they can move on and have healthy, functional, and fulfilling lives moving forward.

Millions of people have experienced affairs. Fortunately, because of this, there are materials and trained professionals out there to help couples to navigate through the pain of affairs. You may feel as though you can make it through by yourself, but there is a better and more effective way to move past the pain. Seeking professional help to assist you personally or to help you and spouse navigate through the pain may be essential in helping to heal.

A trained therapist will help you to recover from the affair and will help you to navigate through the trauma. It also will help you to understand what happened and why. Lastly, it will help you to make decisions where to go and what to do during each stage of recovery.

We have therapists who specialize in affair recovery and can to help you navigate through this tough time in your marriage.

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Top 10 Reasons Married Women Don’t Want Sex

Why Married Women Don’t Enjoy Sex

As a sex therapist, I spend a lot of time with couples that are having difficulty in the sexual part of their relationship. Most of the couples I see are coming to me, at least in part, because the wife is not interested in connecting sexually as frequently as her husband (though 1 out of 5 times it’s the opposite). 

When I start assessing the situation I usually find a combination of the following 10 causes for low sexual desire in women. They are all generally related to violations of the pleasure principle. Fortunately, they can all be treated with a high degree of success. 

Pleasure Principle

All barriers to sexual desire for married women are usually related to the universal Pleasure Principle. The pleasure principle is simply this: We desire to engage that which we enjoy. We do not desire to engage what we do not enjoy. 

It’s because of the pleasure principle that I never have a deep burning desire to be poked in the eye. I don’t enjoy it, so I don’t crave it. Each of the barriers to a women’s sexual desire make sex not enjoyable for her. If it’s not enjoyable, why would a woman want it?

Side note: To help you understand these 10 reasons I need to define for you the 2 types of sexual arousal. The first is subjective arousal. This is the awareness or feeling of being horny / sexually aroused. The second is physical arousal this refers to the physiological changes that happen in the body as it becomes sexual aroused (dilation of the pupils, increased heart rate, blood filling the genitals, increased body temperature, perspiration, increased genital sensitivity). It is possible to have one kind of arousal without the other, and each can lead to the other.

1. Fatigue

Men and women are different. One of the differences is in the way fatigue effects sexual arousal in women. Both men and women’s physical arousal is affected by fatigue, but women’s bodies are affected to a much greater degree. If a woman is exhausted physically, her body won’t respond with physical arousal, which means she won’t want or enjoy connecting sexually. If you don’t enjoy connecting sexually – you won’t want to connect sexually.

[Learn more: Overcoming Fatigue | Better Sex For Women]

2. Hormone Cycle

A woman hits her sex hormone peak in late teens to mid-twenties. As this starts to trail off over time, there’s usually still a hormonal surge that happens 1-3 days a month right around ovulation. The body says “Hey, I’m about to drop an egg, go find your man so you can fertilize it.”

It’s pretty normal for a mature married woman to the only experience what we call initiating desire (ie. a spontaneous desire out of the blue) a few days a month during this hormonal surge. The rest of the month it is very normal for a woman to connect sexually out of receptive desire. We’ll discuss these further in an article on overcoming the Hormone Cycle for better sex.

[Learn more: Overcoming Your Hormone Cycle | Better Sex For Women]

3. Anorgasmia

An inability or difficulty achieving orgasm, that’s what Anorgasmia means. If you’re not experiencing sexual climax and release when you connect sexually, that significantly impacts the pleasurableness of the experience. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy sex at all or that it’s even normal to orgasm every time you connect sexually. Sexual frustration from a lack of release, however, does diminish the sexual experience- especially if it’s chronic. If unaddressed it will likely leave you feeling less and less interested in sex as time goes by.

[Learn more: Overcoming Orgasm Obstacles | Better Sex For Women]

4. Lack of Emotional Connection

Sex is an emotional experience. God designed sexual desire to lead women into an emotionally intimate relationship and to enjoy sexual expression in the context of an emotionally safe and connected relationship- i.e. Marriage. If a women’s marriage doesn’t feel safe or if she doesn’t feel emotionally connected to her husband, she’s probably not going to feel a desire to be sexually vulnerable with him.

Being disconnected doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad relationship. Couples who love each other very much and are safe with each other can get emotionally disconnected just from the busyness of life getting in the way. If we’ve been too busy to nurture the relationship, then we’re probably emotionally disconnected.

If we do have serious communication difficulties or breaches of trust in the relationship, it’s unlikely that we will ever have a healthy, passionate, sexual relationship until this is addressed.

[Learn more: Emotional Connection | Better Sex For Women]

5. Physical Pain

Does anybody desire physical pain? If you do, you should probably see a counselor about that, it’s not healthy. If sex hurts, I mean really hurts not just a little rough in a playful way, you’re not ever going to desire it. Nor should you. In fact, if you “play through the pain” you can do serious long-term damage to your sexual relationship by pairing pain with all things sexual and romantic in your brain. That pairing can even bleed into an association with your spouse in general, which can lead to resentment and loss of respect for your spouse.

[Learn more: Overcoming Pain | Better Sex For Women]

6. Trauma

If you have had negative emotional experiences associated with sexuality, this can significantly impact your sexual desire. Examples of sexual trauma that might impact your sexual desire include:

  • Feeling pressured by a boyfriend to have sex when you weren’t comfortable doing so.
  • Being sexual in ways that left you feeling guilty or ashamed at an earlier time in your life.
  • Having been touched or made to act in sexual ways as a kid that made you feel uncomfortable by friends, siblings, babysitters, a parent, or another adult.
  • Sexual experiences that have been painful physically or emotionally.
  • Being forced to engage sexually when you didn’t want to by anyone, including your spouse.
  • Exposures to pornographic materials as a kid.

[Learn more: Overcoming Trauma | Better Sex For Women]

7. Fear of Pregnancy

If you really don’t want to become pregnant sometimes the fear of becoming pregnant can get in the way of desire. This can be true even if you are taking steps to prevent pregnancy.

[Learn more: Fear Of Pregnancy | Better Sex For Women]

8. Body Self-Consciousness

Feeling attractive/sexy is an important driver for a women’s sexual desire. If you don’t feel sexy, you’re probably going to have difficulty desiring to engage sexually. This is different than men, who are more driven by how attractive they find their spouse then how attractive they think they themselves are.

If you feel uncomfortable with your body or believe it is unattractive this is going to get in the way of you wanting to be naked with your spouse. This can also take the form of you lacking confidence in engaging sexually. If you are afraid your attempts at being sexy will come off as awkward and embarrassing, you are more likely to avoid sexual encounters.

9. Sexy = Dirty

Growing up we can sometimes receive the message that sexual desire is lust and only promiscuous girls want sex. This belief that sex is slutty/dirty and that you are bad for having sexual feelings, especially as a single person, leads us to feel bad about the sexual part of ourselves. Pleasing God and being horny are seen to be incompatible.

This is especially true for those who grew up in a very religious home. Sometimes the message that “sex is holy” is interpreted to mean that sexy feelings or the desire to engage sexually any way other than “missionary style” is a sinful corruption of God’s design for sex.

What follows is feeling bad about yourself any time you experience sexual feelings. So you learn to shut down your sexual feelings. This tends to get in the way of desire for sex.

10. Busyness

Work, kids, church, groceries, dinner, laundry, Bible study, small group, friends, family, Facebook….sleep. Who has time or energy for sex? Even on vacation, we’re running from one activity to the next. Finding time or mental focus for romance is harder than it sounds.

You’re Not Alone and There is Help.

If you find yourself in any of these bullet points, you’re not alone. There is a reason they are on a top 10 list – because they’re common. They’re also treatable. Many people just like you have struggled with these things getting in the way of their sex life. As sex therapists, we know how to troubleshoot your difficulties and help you with a plan to overcome them.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles on how to overcome each of these common reasons for low sexual desire.

Curious why sexual desire seems to change for a woman after marriage? Check out this article: Why Women’s Sex Drive Declines After Marriage

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Why Sex is So Important to Men

In 4 out of 5 marriages, men have the higher sex drive and are the primary initiator of sexual experiences. If you are in one of these marriages this comes as no surprise to you. It may seem like your husband is constantly wanting sex and acts like a wounded puppy dog if you’re not in the mood. It begs the question: Why is sex so important to my husband?

It’s the way God made him. 

He came from the factory this way. That’s how God made him. It’s actually part of the whole created in God’s own image thing talked about in the Bible. You see a man’s passionate and unrelenting pursuit of intimacy with his wife reflects God’s passionate pursuit of peoples hearts. When we were still completely disinterested in Him, He loved us and pursued us, wooing our heart that we might be in an intimate relationship with Him. 

Repeatedly in the Bible God uses the marriage relationship, husband and wife relationship, to illustrate the kind of relationship he wants to have with people; He being our husband and us His bride. In this relationship, God is always interested in connecting intimately with us. There’s never a day of the week or time of day or any place that He isn’t willing to connect with us if we make the time to do so. You’ll never get an “I’m too tired, come back later” message from Him. 

There’s also this amazing metaphor for the intimacy that God desires to have with us displayed through intercourse. In every other religion, God is out there somewhere and we are trying to get to god. In Christianity, the message of the Gospel is that God came for us, and when we embrace Him he literally indwells our body, alive inside of us. This closeness of relationship is mirrored as a husband literally indwells his bride’s body through intercourse when she accepts him. 

Sex is a primary way a man emotionally bonds with his wife. 

Again we’ll blame God for this since in His perfect wisdom God designed your husbands body to release the bonding hormone oxytocin in enormous quantities when experiencing orgasms with his wife. Wives experience this too, but men do so 400% more. 

You may be familiar with oxytocin if you have vaginally delivered children. The synthetic form, Pitocin, is often administered during baby delivery to move labor along. It’s because of the massive amounts of this bonding hormone in your blood when your baby arrives that doctors believe you want to snuggle with your baby instead of killing it after all the pain it caused you. It’s also the hormone that triggers a nursing mom’s milk let down when her baby nuzzles and causes the feeling of closeness when your kids snuggle on your lap while you read them a story. 

God wired your husband so that when he connects with you sexually, the skin to skin contact and hormone release with orgasm would create deep emotional bonding between he and you. It’s this oxytocin flood through his body that also makes him very sleepy after sex. In the absence of regular oxytocin events like sex, your husband will be emotionally disconnected from you. 

Sex is a huge part of a man’s identity.

In more than 10 years of therapy I have yet to have a man sit on my couch and say “Josh, my wife only loves me for my penis. Sex, sex, sex, it’s all she wants. It’s like she doesn’t even care about me as a person. All I am to her is a walking penis.” Now maybe that guy exists, but I’ve not met him yet. I have, however, had many wives express the sentiment concerning their husbands – that they feel their husband isn’t interested in them as a person, only as a sex object. 

This idea is foreign to men because their sexuality is very much integrated with their identity. While women experience their sexuality as largely separate from their personhood. For a man, to reject him sexually is a rejection of his personhood. 

Sometimes I illustrate this with a story about the best and worst anniversary card ever given. The story goes like this:

A husband decides to write his wife an anniversary card to express his undying love for her. It reads, “Darling, you are so beautiful and I find you so sexually un-resistible that if you were in a coma and we could never have another conversation but we could still have sex – I wouldn’t mind a bit, I’d keep you around so we could keep having sex.” 

How do you think that wife felt? How would you feel? Not very good probably. Quite possible the worst anniversary card ever, yes?

Now, take that same anniversary card and have a wife give it to her husband, “Darling, you are such a stud and I find you so sexually un-resistible that if you were in a coma I would keep your body around so I could keep having sex with you.”

You’re likely to hear this guy telling his friends around the locker room “You’re never going to believe what my wife said….it was the nicest thing she’s ever said to me…”

The reason for this is that men’s identity and sexuality are so integrated. To accept a man sexually is to accept him. To reject a man sexually is to reject him. Often times women will say this to their husband, thinking they are paying him a compliment: “Honey, I love you so much, appreciate you as dad, and enjoy being married to you – if we never had sex again, I would be OK with that, I just don’t need that part of our relationship – it’s you that are so precious to me.”

A man hearing this from his wife feels about the same as a wife feels hearing, “Honey, I love having sex with you so much, if we never have another meaningful conversation, if I never have to hear your voice again, but we can keep having great sex – I would be OK with that, I just don’t really need that whole conversation part of our relationship.”

Most wives would be crushed hearing this – husbands feel the same. Only, instead of expressing it in tears men tend to express hurt in the form of anger. They may blow up or just shut-down and withdraw from the relationship. 

It’s a big way he feels affirmed and accepted by you. 

Since a man’s sexuality is such a big part of his identity it’s also a significant way he feels affirmed and accepted by his wife. Words, acts of service, quality time, non-sexual physical touch, and sometimes gifts all matter – but none of these love languages replace a man’s longing to feel wanted sexually by his wife. Nothing says, “I love you, thank you, I think you’re great” to a man quite like “You’re a stud and I look forward to having sex with you.” 

The entire pornography and illicit sex industry is built on the exploitation of this powerful reality for men. Porn and illicit sex is never rejecting, always affirming, and always want’s you sexually. While this is a fantasy and no real woman could ever live up to this, it illustrates what they know about a man’s heart. Every man want’s to be found sexually desirable by his wife and to feel accepted/affirmed sexually by her. 

Men and women are different by design. 

Men experience their sexuality differently than women. While this may be confusing to wives, it’s not because men are broken or defective – it’s how God made us. Believe it or not, the differences are actually complementary. 

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How to Make Your Wife Cry | a Christian Man’s Guide to Sex

Sex is God’s idea, true enough. Most of us, however, did not get a very good education about sex from the church or our dad’s for that matter. Our ideas about sex came from everywhere but the Bible. We were lead to believe that sex was great fun, but like all things that are great fun were also dirty, nasty, sinful, and wrong. Which makes you wonder why we are supposed to save it for the one we love.

If sex is so great and it’s God’s idea, why are Christians so quiet on the matter?

This article is far from comprehensive, but it’s a good start to a quality, accurate, and Biblical guide to sex for Christian Men. The resources referenced go into a lot more detail and I highly recommend you pick up a copy. I don’t care how old you are, you’ll learn something and it will make your love life better (even if it’s already great).

(You have to watch/listen to the video to get the title.)

Things for a man to consider about sex:

  1. Competing, achieving, arriving, scoring, hunting, and winning are natural inclinations for men. Sex is not about conquering, achieving, or scoring; sex is about relating.
  2. Love, passion, and intimacy are not about winning or losing; they’re about how you play the game.
  3. Sex doesn’t just happen; you make it happen.
  4. Men connect and feel loved through sex; women desire sex as the consequence of feeling loved and connected.
  5. A wife is validated by her husband’s sexual interest if that is expressed through connection and affirmation rather than pursuit or expression of need.
  6. The combination of male constancy and ever-changing, complex femininity is the key to keeping sex alive in marriage.
  7. Couples who connect physically daily will have more frequent and more enjoyable sex.
  8. Time allotment formula for a successful marriage: 15 minutes per day + 1 evening per week + 1 day per month + 1 weekend per quarter= successful marriage
  9. Since a man’s need for connection is not felt like a woman’s, go her way. Accept your wife’s greater need for nurturing.
  10. When you genuinely attend to your wife, her heart will open to you, and her sexual attraction to you will increase.
  11. Sexually, a woman has both more complex body parts and more complex bodily responses.
  12. For a woman, both physical arousal and emotional readiness are necessary for her to proceed to intercourse and orgasm
  13. You both win when she learns to listen to her body and go after what she needs.

    Formula: The husband adores his wife, his affirmation ignites her passion, and she invites him sexually.

  14. KEY CONCEPT: Keep your pace lagging behind your wife’s pace in both activity and intensity.
  15. You can never know whether what worked last time will work this time.
  16. Marriage is a license to freedom without demand; marriage is not a license to possess and control.
  17. When you’re mentally outside looking in as you play in the game of sex, you will lose.
  18. The secret to stopping spectatoring: Remove all demands for response and focus on the enjoyment of your bodies.
  19. Whenever sex becomes goal-oriented, the body’s response will be affected negatively, and enjoyment will be stifled.

Cliff Penner, Ph.D. and Joyce Penner, M.N., R.N. (Penner & Penner) are some of the most trusted experts in Christian Sex Therapy. Many of the concepts in this article can be found and expounded on in Cliff’s book The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex.

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What is Christian Sex Therapy?

Let’s start with what sex therapy is not. Throw out of your mind anything you ever learned about sex therapy from TV, the movies, or the guy who knows a guy who went to sex therapy with his wife. Sex therapy is not about hyper-sex-maniacs and the latest greatest sexual technique from the revised edition of the kama-sutra.

Sex therapy helps individuals and couples enhance sexual fulfillment and/or resolve sexual conflicts and problems. Solutions can vary from simple education to more extensive counseling around complex or longstanding issues. Strategies are tailored to the goals of the individual or couples seeking help. Sex therapy maintains ethical boundaries and is sensitive to the personal values of the client. Techniques include relationship and intimacy enhancement, strategic reading, specific behavioral interventions, therapy groups and referral/consultation with other professionals. Sex therapy can be a catalyst for healing and enrichment in the crucial sexual component of intimate relationships.

It’s about learning to enjoy, be comfortable with, and feel good about the sexual part of your life. The truth about sex is that it is God’s idea and He wants us to know how to enjoy His good gift best. God wants us to be free from hurt, disappointment, guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy so that we can be free to enjoy His gift of sexuality.

Sex therapy is for normal people struggling in the sexual part of their life. It’s about helping people who experience…

Could you benefit from Sex Therapy?

  • Lack of Sexual Fulfillment – are you just not enjoying sex or are you having difficulty experiencing orgasm?
  • Pain from Sex – is sex painful for you either physically or emotionally?
  • Feelings of Inadequacy – do you feel inept or not good enough as a lover?
  • Pornography or Sexual Addiction – do you struggle with using pornography or acting out sexually in ways that you’re ashamed of?
  • Sexual Abuse, Trauma, or Rape – do you have emotional wounds from being mistreated or exploited sexually?
  • Same-Sex Attractions – do you experience distressing same-sex attractions, question your gender, or wonder if you might be “homosexual” or “gay”?

There are many reasons why normal people can use some help in the sexual part of their lives. Don’t let fear or embarrassment keep you from getting help and learning to enjoy God’s gift of sexuality to you.

 

So why Christian sex therapy?

Christian sex therapy makes sense because sex is God’s idea. God created humans, and He created them as sexual creatures. He knows how our sexuality is meant to be and how it’s enjoyed most. God wants us to be at peace with our sexuality and enjoy it to it’s fullest potential.

While God created our sexuality to be something wonderful and reflective of Him, it can be the source of unbelievable pain. When God’s gift is violated or distorted by personal choices or at the hands of others, the results are hurt, shame, and loss of relationship. Sexual consequences, injuries, and struggles can be devastating. Yet, there is hope.

God is redemptive. This means our God wants to bring healing to the hurting and broken places in our life, including our sexuality. The counselors at MyCounselor integrate the Truth of God’s word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, with the best of information the professional sex therapy field has to offer. The result is Biblically Christian professional sex therapy to help you experience peace, healing and satisfaction in the sexual part of your life.

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The “good Christian” with a Porn and Sex Addiction Problem

Your church is full of men who struggle with pornography and masturbation.  Statistics tell us the issue is absolutely rampant, and perhaps one of the most critical issues facing today’s church.  Perhaps you can relate with Gabe’s story.

Porn Addiction in Christian Men

 

Gabe: “The Good Boy & Porn”-

Gabe  grew-up in a Christian home with both parents present.  The family went to church together, read the Bible, and prayed at meal times.  Mom and dad made sure he and his siblings were taken care of in a stable environment.  In fact, looking back, stability was a primary focus for the family.  Each person knew their role and worked diligently to fulfill it.  It played out in daily interactions like a well-choreographed dance.  Conflict was not something Gabe remembers, not because his family was perfect, but because it didn’t happen.  It was the kind of family most people would hope for, and that is what confuses Gabe.  For his part, Gabe was a friendly kid, a bit introverted and socially awkward at times, but well liked.

Starting in high school, he began looking at pornography and masturbating.  At first it was once in a while then becoming more frequent.  Each time he felt tremendous guilt and shame.  He would pray and seek God to help him let go of this behavior.  The path down to the alter at his church was well-worn, as Gabe brought his secret sin to God again and again.    There were was a significant, emotionally charged moment in youth group, where teens were asked to write down on paper the sins they had been struggling with, and then symbolically throw them into a fire barrel, where the flames consumed them.

Gabe did well for a time, but then, fell again, finding himself back doing what he despised.  He guarded the secret more closely than ever, feeling a bit trapped and jaded.  He wanted desperately to be free, but it hurt too much to let himself get his hopes up that change was possible.  Now, as a young man out on his own in the work world, he masturbates while looking at porn and can’t stop.  He wants deliverance, after all, he can’t get married and still be doing this, or maybe having a wife will make the problem go away.  It’s overwhelming and Gabe is losing hope things can change.

Are you Gabe?… God will help…help sometimes looks like a professional counselor.  The Relationship Center is a Biblically Based, Clinically Proven Counseling Center specializing in helping men with pornography and sexual issues.  Contact us today to get started on your journey.  

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