Swoon Podcast: Your Body is a Wonderland - Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

Episode 6 – Your Body is a Wonderland - Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Do you have a hard time staying present during sex? Are you distracted? Worried about performance? Or focusing on your to do list?

In today’s podcast Gina and Julie share tools and practices to help you stay present and experience more pleasure in and out of the bedroom.

This episode covers:

  • Sign the petition asking Psychology Today, the largest online therapist directory, to add a third gender option to their search filters. 

  • What it means to get out of your head and into your body.

  • Different ways anxiety, distraction, multitasking or focusing on performance creates more stress and pressure during sex.

  • The ways embodiment can make sex more enjoyable and connecting.

  • Tools or rituals to get in your body – Sensual walk.

  • A practice you can use when you feel distracted (or your mind is busy) during sex.

  • How presence can lead to more pleasure.

MEMORABLE QUOTES IN THE PODCAST

On being in your brain vs. being in your body -

“I often work with people who are operating from the neck up. They are not connected to their body. Sometimes they can't feel sensation in their body. Sometimes they are so wrapped up in the swirls and whirls and rollercoaster that is going on in their brain that they can't feel if they are turned on, they can't feel desire, they can't feel pleasure, because they are so in their brain. “

“I think our brains are really important. I don’t want you doing math with your vagina. There are things we really need our brains for. However, there are times our brain get in the way – distraction, multitasking, anxiety, making a to do list while your partner is kissing your neck - there are times that being in our brains keep us from the full spectrum of pleasure.”

On the times if doesn't feel OK to be in your body -

“It's unsafe for some people to be in their body. I get migraines and when I do, I don't want to be in my body. It's so painful and if I just sat there and felt my pain, that's not going to be helpful for me. What I always have to do afterward is come back into my body the next day. And I have a ritual around that.”

“It's not a problem to not be in your body. Sometimes it's too painful to be in your body. We also need to know how to get back in our body.”

On pleasure and presence -

“What is your goal for sexual connection? Is your goal something that is actually serving you? If the goal is connection, orgasm or erection might not matter. If the goal is joy, or pleasure, there are a lot of pathways to achieve those goals that aren’t always as specific as 'I have to have this kind of sex', and 'it has to look this way' and 'it has to take this much time.'”

“Our minds work like a tribe of playful monkeys. If you are going to train them, yelling at them isn't going to help much. But if you are gentle or playful with them you are far more likely to have success and far more likely not to stress yourself out.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Action Steps from the Podcast

Focus on Sensuality -

Connect with your senses in a nonsexual way.

What are you seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling?

Practice this with food or in the shower.

Bonus Action Step - Shift to a mindful kiss

Notice, did you actually connect with your partner during your kiss. Were you present?

Your Swoon hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast: I Want You to Want Me: Higher Desire Partners in Relationships

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

I WANT YOU TO WANT ME: Higher Desire Partners in Relationships

Being the high desire partner can seem like a simple problem form the outside, but people living this experience will tell you it's not that easy. You want to connect, share passion, and get your needs met, but you need to be careful to do it in ways that don't add pressure to what can often be a tense situation.

Let Gina and Julie help you understand how to handle high desire in mismatched desire relationships, in loving consensual ways.

This episode covers:

  • They ways “higher desire” can affect an individual and a relationship

  • Many of the factors that can influence how much desire someone experiences

  • The difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire 

  • Practical tools you can use in your relationship or with yourself to explore willingness, pleasure and desire

Memorable Quotes in This Episode

On the inner experience of the high desire partner -

“High desire partners often experience an intense inner struggle, where on one hand they know they are entitled to have desire, and they know there's nothing wrong with asking for what I want, but at the same time I'm tired of always being the one to gets things started... so I either feel like I am pressuring someone all the time, or I take it personally.”

On our culture and sex -

“Sometimes we have a tendency to talk about sex like it's not important or it's base. We tell people to focus on love more. There's something wrong with you if you have a lot of desire. You're not enlightened if you have a lot of desire. So there can be shame around this.”

On knowing when high desire is a problem -

“There are a small number people on one extreme end of the spectrum where their desire, boundaries about sex or impulse control about sex are interruptive in their life, they can't make it work, they betray relationships, they don't respect the boundaries of others because they can't manage their sexual impulsivity BUT that is one small end of the spectrum.”

"Is it causing you emotional strife or relationship problems?"

"Is it negatively impacting your life?"

On sex and love -

“For some people, sex and love go together and that's really important. But for some people, it doesn't and that's okay. ”

On exploring desire -

"If I believe the only way for me to get my sexual needs met is to have sex with a partner that can put a lot of pressure on a relationship... When we focus in on only one pathway to pleasure and stop playing around."

"It's okay to like other stuff."

"One of the most important ingredients for a great sex life is curiosity and a willingness to explore."

Resources Shared in This Episode

Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel

Mating in Captivity TED Talk, Esther Perel

Action Steps from the Podcast

Explore different ways of being in your body and connecting sexually with yourself and/or with your partner.

Esther Perel Reflection Activity

Take a piece of paper (or use your computer) and draw a line down the middle (creating two columns).

Write "Love" at the top of the left column and write down your first responses to the following questions.

"Love is..."

"When I think of love, I think of..."

"When I love, I feel..."

"When I am loved I feel..."

"In love, I look for..."

"I wish I experienced love as..."

On the top of the right column write "Sex" and write your immediate associations to the following prompts.

"Sex is..."

"When I think of sex, I think of..."

"When I desire, I feel..."

"When I am desired I feel..."

"In sex, I look for..."

"I wish I experienced sex as..."


Now take a few minutes to look at your responses. Notice any similarities? Notice any differences? How do you feel after looking at your lists? Do you wish you had different responses?

Your Swoon hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Socioeconomic Privilege and Polyamory: What I've Seen in 12 Years

Hi team! I recently got an interview request for a magazine I think you’ll enjoy reading soon. And, as with all interviews I know some of my words will be lost in editing and interpretation so I thought I would share the questions I was sent and my responses here for your review.

As always let me know what you think. Would you have answered the questions differently? What would you add to these responses?


THE QUESTIONS

  • In your experience working with consensually nonmonogamous people, do they tend to be of higher SES (more educated, wealthier, more liberal, probably whiter), or is it a myth that people in these alternatives relationships are all like that?

  • If your clients have been of higher SES, why do you think that is? What's the connection between nonmonogamy and SES?

  • One theory is that higher SES people may have more time/ resources to pursue non-monogamy. Has that been substantiated with any data/ research that you're aware of? How much more time and resources do you need to be non-monogamous versus monogamous?

  • Conversely, why might someone with lower SES be more inclined towards monogamy or traditional relationships?

  • It's also possible that there's a relationship between privilege, power and advocating for your sexual/ relationship needs. Have you found this to be the case? Do people with more privilege feel more comfortable discussing and exploring sexual interests that might fall outside the mainstream? 

  • Why/ why not does the connection between SES and nonmonogamy matter?

MY RESPONSE

In 12 years supporting consensually non-monogamous (CNM) populations I have seen clients spanning the spectrum of income, class, and privilege. I've seen CEOs, politicians, celebrities, judges, lawyers, sex workers, and entrepreneurs making six and seven figure incomes and I've worked with baristas, students, social workers, performers, writers, and many others living on minimum wage and/or government benefits.

It is a total myth that CNM folks are white from a higher SES. I think that myth is informed by the stereotypes we hold about what non-monogamy looks like.  For starters CNM exists in all cultures around the world, but is called different things and plays out in different ways based on cultural norms.

Even in the US, loving relationships and family networks of all kinds exist but our main cultural narrative often ignores the experience of POC as a whole, and of course that extends into our understanding of CNM. 

Folks outside CNM relationship structures also often imagine stereotypical polyamory or open relationships are one big orgy, or happen annually at Burning Man, or look like scenes from Eyes Wide Shut.  While all of those options exist they are far from the norm in CNM and are certainly not the only way folks make consensually non-monogamous relationships work.

All of that said, the ways people enact their non-monogamous arrangements and the supports and spaces they can access vary widely based on SES.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Many of my higher SES clients frequent sex parties and/or clubs that require private membership for entry.  The membership costs $150-$550 per night for a couple for certain events. $550 is monthly rent for some of my clients with less economic access.

  • Other higher SES clients I support frequent international events, spas, cruises, festivals and resorts catering to specific kinds of sex play, kink, and/or swinging.  These events are FAR outside the range of possibility for other clients of mine who cannot take time off work, let alone afford that kind of travel.  

  • Even our local Sex Positive Portland meetup group is difficult to access for clients who are single parents working multiple jobs.  

  • So on the other end of the SES spectrum I have quite a few clients who cohabitate with current and former partners because it's not wise to separate their family's finances or childcare network.  Many of these folks fit into a larger polyamorous web of families supporting one another- some of whom are romantically and/or sexually-linked, and some who are not but are still highly committed to lifelong partnership.

As far as privilege and advocacy, yes there is probably some privilege and entitlement at play with my higher SES clients, however, I often see them far more consumed by fears of being outed as CNM than other clients.  For many, their social, career and political status can be threatened if people in their community discover their relationship status.

I have clients who are on the board of major corporations, who have run for elected office, and who are well-established conservative church leaders who all have healthy CNM relationships but fear their family's well-being would be threatened if they are found out.  

Of course, that fear spans the SES spectrum because nearly all of my clients over the years have spoken out about fears others would find out. And it is more complicated for folks facing multiple layers of oppression. Meaning, if you are already concerned about job security because you are lower SES and POC, being outed as CNM often only adds another layer of worry.  

The one deviation from what I've seen is, I do find that often out members of the LGBTQ community manage this fear with a little more easily as they have already survived one coming out process (and often learned a lot from the experience). 

So, in summary, it is a myth that CNM is a rich white people thing, but (just like nearly everywhere else) more SES privilege affords more access to options and flexibility. I hope that helps!


Madison sex therapy | Gina Senarighi

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She coaches online clients all over the world and leads retreats in the U.S.

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

BONUS EPISODE: Swoon Podcast Questions from our Listeners

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


BONUS EPISODE

We’ve truly enjoyed sharing what we think everyone should know about sex and intimacy in relationships- but now it’s time to hear from some of you. Julie and Gina gathered questions on instagram and their erbsides from the hundreds of listeners who’ve already tuned in to create this bonus episode answering three listener questions.

Listen here:


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast: Let's Get It On: Keeping Desire Alive in Long-term Relationships

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

LET’S GET IT ON: Sexual Communication for Couples

Most long-term couples experience something called desire fatigue (the slow decline of sexual connection and/or activity the longer you’re together) but most couples don’t want to accept low desire as an inevitability.

In today’s podcast Gina and Julie explore the common contributors to desire fatigue in relationships and the understanding you need to overcome this very common issue.

This episode covers:

  • How to create lasting desire in long term relationship

  • What happens when passion seems to fade in your relationship?

  • While it's very common for desire to shift over time, there are things you can do to keep the desire and passion alive in your relationship

  • How desire, fascination and autonomy can go hand in hand

  • The ways we shift as we cohabitate or spend more time together

  • The importance of being really clear about your expectations for time spent together

Memorable quotes in the podcast

On being in a relationship:

“In the beginning you'll stay up all night long having sex even though you have to work in the morning and then go to work without taking a shower and smelling like sex because you don't care. And then over time you say, “Are you kidding me? It's 9:00, I have to go to bed! I have to work in the morning.”

“The emotional intimacy can parallel the sexual intimacy. I know some folks who will stay up all night talking - “Oh you love broccoli, I love broccoli! We have so much in common. This is so exciting!” And then a few years down the road, broccoli isn't as exciting any more”

“Earlier in a relationship we are more invested in our individuality...we are more autonomous and that both fuels me personally, makes me feel confident and alive...and over the course of a relationship I might start stripping away some of those things to spend more time with my partner.”

On the honeymoon stage:

“In the beginning there are also the chemicals going off in our body, which are hard to replicate. The brain scan of someone on heroin can look the same as the brain scan of someone who is in love. Love is a drug for a lot of people. And if you know anything about drugs, you need more of a substance to get the same high. How do I get more of you? Eventually, I'm not going to feel as high. And that's a bummer for a lot of folks.”

On the ways desire fades:

“Comfort and stability are very good things for a relationship and many of the practices that build those up, also eat away at the heat portion of the relationship – the mystery, fascination, intrigue.”

“Think about the other areas of your life – your dream job or dream home or dream city or a shiny new car or new toy or cell phone, something that you've been pining for - and you get it and it's awesome, but it's not as awesome for the rest of your life. Part of our nature does that. Something is shiny and new and exciting and over time, it's not that we don't value it any more, we just aren't as lit up by it any more. Those chemicals aren't going off.”

“Some of it is the newness and uncertainty and some of it is that new phone has started wearing sweatpants and watching Netflix every night. Part of it is that we also put more energy into showing up and being present for each other in the beginning.”

On relationships taking work:

“Life requires energy. Anything that I want to have in my life long term requires energy and intention.”

“We have this idea that relationships should be easy without work, that causes a lot of us to think we can not invest much energy there, which can then lead to our partner feeling neglected”

RESOURCES SHARED IN THIS EPISODE

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

Esther Perel TED Talk - The secret to desire in a long-term relationship

Reminisce about one your favorite erotic shared experiences.

Set up a time you can be fully present. And share a story about a time you felt connected and erotic.It doesn’t have to be about sex. Paint a picture with your words. Share the details. What did it feel, smell, sound, look or taste like? This can remind you of a time there was a lot of heat and desire. And it can give you ideas about things you can reinvigorate or bring back from earlier times in your relationship. Take turns. And as the listener, hear your partner with warmth and engagement.

Your Swoon hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

SWOON: Tell Me Somethin' Good: Sexual Communication for Couples

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

TELL ME SOMETHIN’ GOOD: Sexual Communication for Couples

We can't keep talking about sex without talking about how we talk about sex."

This week Gina and Julie, two Portland, Oregon-based sexperts break down everything you need to know about sexual communication in relationships.

This episode covers:

  • Most people struggle to talk about sex without conflict in relationships

  • How to ask for what you want

  • When, where and how to talk about sex in a way that works best for connection

  • How to flip the story you're telling about sex in your relationship from "this is hard" to "we still got it"

  • What's the best way to start a conversation about sex that doesn't leave you feeling rejected

Memorable quotes in the podcast

On why we don't talk about sex:

"Very few people get great sex ed in the first place... very limited info on the facts of how bodies work... and then how to communicate what you like or don't like- that kind of vulnerability - very few of us have any skills training in."

"The vulnerability of asking for something that is meaningful to me is vulnerable. And the more meaningful it is the riskier it feels to ask."

"Often people don't come at the first sign of challenge. By the time they come to me, talking about sex is a problem. Every time they talk about it it's a fight... The only time they talk about it is when they fight and what happens then, in order to avoid a fight is people don't talk about it anymore."

One baseline recommendation from the podcast:

"Everybody needs to talk more about sex. And talk more with better boundaries. Like where or when is the best time to bring this up?"

On reading each other's minds:

"There's a romanticizing that happens around being able to read each other's minds and someone just knowing what we want without even saying it. That seems to be the gold standard. And that is why we don't have sexual communication."

On trust and sexual communication:

"There are very few things in a relationship more reinforcing of trust than me being vulnerable and it being received with warmth."

Resources Shared in This Episode

Action Steps from the Podcast

Create a before, during, and after communication practice for your sexual connection.

First try integrating conversations about your dreams, desires, fantasies, and positive sexual memories with your partner, without making an immediate request.

Then work on talking during your sexual activity by asking lots of questions requesting permission and consent so you get input on what works for your partner- and to heighten the experience of connection and intimacy for you.

Try to incorporate a yes-and approach to help sexual energy keep flowing between you and your partner. Instead of just saying no, try to re-direct the energy to what you want more of.

Finally, start practicing sharing a "highlights reel" with your partner soon after you are sexual or have sex where you share the things you liked that you just shared. The more specific, the better.

Your Swoon hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Therapist Referrals & Great Relationship Coaches

I’ve been fortunate to meet so many incredible providers over the years I wanted to share some of their information here for anyone who wants support for their mental health, and personal or professional growth.

Of course, I am taking new clients, but I am also not the right provider for every client in every situation. If you want or need help I recommend auditioning a few different folks to see who’s style, training, and expertise feels like the best fit for you.

If you want to work with me, contact me here for a free consultation to see if my work is a fit for you. And here are some other incredible folks I recommend talking with.


Changes to My Coaching Practice

Hello!

I'm writing this note to update all of you readers about some changes in my practice this spring. 

As many of you know, I am expecting a baby this summer and plan to take time away from seeing clients July-August of this year.  However, due to an unexpected personal change, my in-person practice is moving out of state even sooner (my family is all healthy- don’t worry, it’s an exciting change). 

I am still seeing clients in my NE Portland office until May 1, 2019.  If you'd like to meet in person (even for a one session check-in), please reply to this email so I can be sure to get you on the schedule. 


After May 1, I am still open to supporting you in a variety of ways. I will list them below. Even if you never sign up for a program or meet with me please know I am available to offer resources and referrals anytime. You can reach me using this email (gina@ginasenarighi.com), you can find me on facebook here or here, on instagram, or on either of my websites (nonmonogamous.com or ginasena.com). 

I am grateful to all of you for being a part of my professional journey in Portland.  It’s been such a blessing to get so much community support for the work I do, and so have so many incredible local people share their intimate lives with me.

You are all in my heart no matter where I live or practice, Gina

ONGOING COACHING/COUNSELING OPTIONS

ONLINE COACHING & COUNSELING

First, I will continue to see clients (as I have been) online using Zoom video conferencing services until July and again in the fall. 

IN PORTLAND, OREGON

If you'd like to get support from a Portland-area provider there are several I highly respect listed here. I'm also open to hopping on the phone for a quick chat to help you connect with a provider if you have specific questions about finding someone who can meet your unique needs. 

COACHING FOCUS AREAS

SOLO RELATIONSHIP COACHING

I will continue supporting folks as individual clients who are interested in changing relationship patterns. These hour-long sessions have been instrumental for lots of folks who are just starting dating after a break up, who need help asking for what they need in partnerships and/or who are thinking about ending a relationship.

PREMARITAL COUNSELING
I am still offering premarital/pre-commitment counseling online if you or anyone you know might be interested in focused support around a shared life commitment. These sessions have been helpful for folks who want an integrity-fueled plan for the future without a specific religious dogma attached.

SHOULD WE BREAK UP?

I'm also still offering discernment counseling online for folks considering breaking up who want to process that in a compassionate way. Some people call this “conscious uncoupling.” Whatever you call it, think of this an a kind or friendly alternative tho the way most people view breakups. Feel free to refer folks you know who might be interested here.

NON-MONOGAMY, POLYAMORY & OPEN RELATIONSHIPS

I still support tons of people considering consensual non-monogamy and/or practicing it for a long time. I’ve helped thousands of clients decide if, when, and how consensual non-monogamy is a fit for them. Read more here.

SEXUALITY COUNSELING FOR PASSION, INTIMACY & DESIRE

I’ll be finishing up my Sex Counseling credential later this year. This has meant helping people overcome common sexual dysfunctions in relationships and in long-term relationships overcoming desire fatigue.  Info on that can be found here.

WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

FREE MONTHLY MASTERCLASS

I've been hosting a monthly free relationship tune-up call every month for the last year.  You can find information about them here.  Please sign up right away if you're interested, they tend to fill quickly.

RETREATS

POLYAMORY 101 RETREAT

I'll still host my Polyamory 101 Annual Retreat in Portland (and soon I'll have an online version).  You can sign up to be invited here.

LESBIAN COUPLES RETREAT

I also have a Lesbian Couples Retreat in the works for later this year. Sign up here to be invited.

ONLINE CLASSES

BOUNDARIES

I teach a course in Healthy Boundaries for relationships a few times each year.  If you're into it, check it out here.

JEALOUSY

I offer an online course on Jealousy Management a couple of times a year.  You can sign up to get notified when registration opens here.

TRUST TUNE-UP

Finally, this year I am offering my Trust Tune-Up e-course in a few weeks. You can sign up to be invited here.

FREE RELATIONSHIP RESOURCES ONLINE

FREE CONVERSATION STARTERS

I send a weekly set of conversation starters for couples via email and if you are not already receiving it you may want them, you can sign up to get those here.  I also send this list weekly-ish updates with free worksheets, reflection guides, and relationship resource recommendations.

PODCAST

My podcast Swoon launched last week. We'll share information on sex and intimacy and action steps for relationships there once per week. It's available on any of your favorite podcast platforms (I'd love it if you left a review).

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

There are lists of my favorite books on relationships shared online here and right here.  I HIGHLY recommend them as supports even when you're in a good phase (some may be familiar to you already).

FREE TOOLS AND RESOURCES ONLINE

I offer a free relationship resource toolbox you are welcome to use anytime (save this link) filled with worksheets, guides, videos, and reading materials. I also have one tailored for non-monogamous and sex-positive relationships. If you haven’t already signed up for access you can do so here and here.

BLOG ARTICLES

Finally, I have two related blogs you can check in on anytime full of advice, resources, and ideas about relationships, communication, and intimacy.

Read them at nonmonogamous.com/blog or ginasena.com/blog today!


SWOON: I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That: Low Desire Partners in Relationships

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

sex therapy madison | wisconsin sex therapist

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE BUT I WON’T DO THAT: Low Desire Partners in Relationships

A lot has been said about low desire partners in relationships. It’s one of the most challenging and misunderstood dynamics in intimate partnership. So knowing how to sort the junk form quality information is critical.

Let Gina and Julie help you understand why low desire occurs even in healthy loving relationships, and what you can do to address it.

This Episode Covers

  • They ways “lower desire” can affect an individual and a relationship

  • Many of the factors that can influence how much desire someone experiences

  • The difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire 

  • Information about the Human Sexual Response Cycle and a new way to look at arousal and desire

  • How “practicing willingness” instead of “waiting for desire” can change your sexual experience

  • Practical tools you can use in your relationship or with yourself to explore willingness, pleasure and desire

Memorable Quotes From This Episode:

On low desire - 

“It's easy to go to that place of 'I have low desire and something is wrong with me', rather than 'my life is super full and complicated right now and I'm not able to access my desire because so much is going on.'” 

“Our whole culture reinforces this - if one of us has lower desire that means I'm broken, you're broken or we're broken – that's just not really true, there are so many factors that affect our desire”

On spontaneous desire - 

“Spontaneous desire is how most of the people I talk to expect desire to show up – it's typically what we experience in the beginning of relationships or see in the movies.”

On responsive desire -

“One of the questions I'll often ask folks is, “If you do have a sexual experience together – what happens afterwards?” The person who identifies as having lower desire will often say, 'That was so much fun, remind me how much I love that!'”

“Responsive desire is when our bodies or brains are feeling something that feels good, desire kicks in in response to that.”

On exploring willingness - 

“Sometimes if you can really show up and not be stressed about what it is supposed to look like or what is going to happen next and just engage and tune into your body and your pleasure and the present moment it will potentially lead to something else because the arousal has kicked in, your body is starting to warm up, your brain is starting to warm up, you're feeling really connected and then that desire kicks and you want more – not all the time, but often, that's what happens for folks.”

“It's important for us to know our “nos” so we can truly know our “yeses”.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

 Nothing is Wrong with your Sex Drive

Basson Model

Action Steps

Make Out!

First define what counts as making out so you and your partner have similar expectations.

Set a timer and make out for 5 minutes every night – if kissing for 5 minutes is a struggle, find a way to connect for the remainder of the 5 minutes.

This exercise helps cultivate a willingness to show up and be affectionate.

You can also have a solo practice for exploring willingness.

Touch yourself in a way that doesn't focus on orgasm. If you typically focus on your genitals what's it like to focus on other parts of your body? Can you experience new pathways of pleasure that don't involved the parts of your body you typically focus on?

If you have a vagina and would like more ideas about how you might explore your body, OMGYes is a good resource.


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

SWOON: Don't You Want Me Baby? Mismatched Desire in Couples

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

DON’T YOU WANT ME BABY? Desire Mismatch in Couples

Join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, two Portland, Oregon-based sexperts in a conversation about the most common sexual issue couples face: mismatched sexual desire.

Learn why couples face different levels of desire and take home a tool to help you connect, even when it’s not easy.

This episode covers:

  • The most common issue folks come to couples counseling to discuss: mismatched desire.

  • How common is it to have a different libido from your partner?

  • How desire fluctuates and changes over time and in different contexts.

  • How to navigate the brakes and gas pedals with your lover to have a more fulfilling sex life.

  • How to be more turned on by life and lit up from the inside.

  • Two excellent resources to learn more about relationships with unequal desires.

  • One tool to connect with your partner even if you have different desires.

Memorable quotes in the podcast

Julie on the way it feels to have mismatched desires in a relationship:

“This comes up in all kinds of ways, and typically somebody feels bad about where their level of desire is. Sometimes it’s the person who wants to try a bunch of things, they might feel shame around it- ‘Why can’t I just accept what I already have?’ and sometimes if someone is experiencing a lower level of desire in terms of frequency or wanting any sex in general they feel bad like there’s something wrong with them.”

 

Gina on the impact of mismatched desire in relationships:

“Either we take it personally, either the low or higher desire partner or both take it personally, ‘I’m broken’ or there’s something ‘broken’ about us or our relationship because our whole cultural narrative about shared desire tells us over and over that if your relationship is healthy you should intuitively read your partner wants without speaking out loud and naturally flow into a bedroom and want the exact things and the exact same time, climax together and desire it again at the same frequency on a regular basis. 

And if not, our whole culture tells us there’s something wrong with your relationship. But the truth is mismatched desire is actually much more the norm.“

“The quality of your relationship can’t be judged on the levels of desire you share.“

 

On the goals of sex therapy for couples with mismatched desire:

“ 'Sex is easy. Sex is natural. It should be spontaneous. I don’t want to talk about it, that ruins the vibe.' There are all these ideas in our brains about what we think it’s supposed to be and then we try to measure our actual experience to a fantasy and then we feel horrible.”

“Sex is easy, sex is natural is the goal of every couple who comes into couples work. The truth is it doesn’t align all that often for folks BUT it can be easier, we can make talking about it feel much more natural. And as much as we’re saying it’s very very common to have it not line up with your partner every time, there are lots of things we can do to make it feel easier and more natural with your partner.”

 

Resources Shared in This Episode

Emily Nagoski, TED Talk: The Keys to a Happier, Healthier Sex Life

Emily Nagoski, Come As You Are (Book, Kindle, and Audiobook)


This Episode’s Action Step

Create a Desire Diary


Track the things you desire. Not only strong or big desire, also hints of desire or the moments when you feel a little piqued interest or craving.
Track the moments when you feel sexy and confident or embodied.
What do you notice?
Do you see any patterns?
Be curious about your desire.


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels: