long term relationships

Swoon Podcast Episode 10: She Drives Me Crazy: Attachment Styles 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:

Episode 10 – She Drives Me Crazy: Attachment Styles in Relationships

Are you repeating the same patterns over and over again in relationships? How you bond with your early caregivers can affect how you partner and show up in relationships.

This episode covers:

  • What “attachment style” means.

  • How your early attachment influences your relationship patterns.

  • The 4 main styles of attachment.

  • How knowing your attachment style can help you feel validated about the choices you make in relationship.

  • The different areas of your relationship that can be affected by your attachment style – intimacy, conflict, sex, communication, expectations and more!

  • Stan Tatkin's language for attachment – Anchor, Wave and Island

MEMORABLE QUOTES IN THE PODCAST

What is attachment style - 

“Attachment theory is the vitamins of couples therapy work. You want to know about it”

“There is so much about relationships I wish we learned in school!”

“There's not a hierarchy of good attachment and bad attachment, like “you're a bad person if you have this time of attachment.” This is all created when we are little. And it can shift and change over time. Our primary attachment style is imprinted from early on.”

On early attachment -

“I first learned about attachment in graduate school. It's a very big part of our education especially if you are working with families and couples. A place it really started to resonate with me was when I was becoming a mom and focusing on my kid's attachment. And wanting to be able to be a secure base for her. Sometimes when I talk about attachment with people they say they understand that it is what a parent does with a kid, but they don't realize that that creates the person who is going to grow up and attach with another person and that can affect how we show up in relationship.”

On the ways attachment style affects your partnerships-

“Our attachment style can lie dormant but it gets heightened in certain moments and it really gets heightened when we move towards one another or move away. That can be global or very specific. Leaving for work, or going to bed at the end of the day, or leaving on trips, or coming together, or moving in together.”

“How you view intimacy and how you view partnership is influenced by your attachment style. How you deal with conflict. What your attitude toward sex is – what it represents for you. How comfortable you are coming together or not – the distance you keep or the lack of space you want to have. Your ability to communicate your wanting and your needs. And the expectations you have about your relationship or about your partnership – can all be influenced by this stuff that was imprinted ages ago! It’s so wild to me! The conditioning that starts so long ago, that is a foundational building block, then becomes a foundational building block for our relationship too.”

“When we have different styles then it can be really challenging for people because the very thing I need from you to feel comfortable is something that isn't comfortable for you potentially, or the thing that feels kind of typical or normal for me is a stretch for you. How do we meet each other? How do we meet ourselves sometimes? How can I better understand what you are wanting and needing and how can you better understand what I want and need as well?”

On attachment style and dating - 

“For the folks that are single or dating – I strongly recommend they learn more about attachment because then they can not only know their attachment style, they can have a better idea about what kind of attachment style will best resonate with them or serve them depending on how they want to shift and grow in their lives.”

The Anxious and Avoidant couple - 

“Partner #1 'Why can't you tell me you love me more often?' Partner #2 'Why can't you trust that I love you?'”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind - and Keep - Love  by Amir Levine  

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner's Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship by Stan Tatkin

Wired for Dating: How Understanding Neurobiology and Attachment Style Can Help You Find Your Ideal Mate by Stan Tatkin

Action Steps from the Podcast

Really look at your rituals of connections and separateness throughout the day.Create connecting rituals – usually morning and evening work well.

How do we greet each other in the morning? How do we say goodbye? How do we greet each other at the end of the day? And how do we say goodnight? What feels really good for both of us? 

Play with that idea of separateness and togetherness – moving towards and moving away.

Your Swoon hosts

Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD 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 Episode 9: Rock the Boat - Breaking Out of a Sexual Rut

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 9 – Rock the Boat: Breaking Out of a Sexual Rut

Most long-lasting couples end up in some kind of sexual routine and lots of them ultimately find themselves in a sexual rut. They can feel uninspired, bored, disconnected or generally un-sexy and that’s where it can become a problem.

In today’s podcast Julie and Gina focus on the ways couples end up in a sexually stuck place and a few ways you can break out of routines that no longer serve you.

This episode covers:

  • How to break out of a sexual rut in your relationship.

  • Why diversifying your sexual interactions is good for your relationship.

  • How to start a conversation about what you want in bed.

  • Where to find inspiration if you need help coming up with ideas.

MEMORABLE QUOTES IN THE PODCAST

On why you got in a rut in the first place - 

“There’s nothing wrong with having a few go-tos… and for people who are feeling stuck or uninspired with that it’s good to have ways to expand your routine.“

“We create a routine because it works for us we find something that works and we’re like‘I want to do this again because I want to feel this way again’ so we keep repeating and keep repeating and keep repeating it.”

“We do what works because it feels safe, we know if we do it this way we’ll maintain orgasm and we fear if we change it we’ll lose everything.”

Why routine is a problem -

“It feels so stuck and people feel shame around it, like it means they’re boring or not sexy or not inspired. You can get sucked into that energy and get sucked into a hold of gloom about it.”

“Sometimes we fall into routine to protect ourselves from vulnerability… our routine instead of supporting connection protects us from that vulnerability.”

On bringing up your needs -

“There is nothing wrong with having fantasy or desire or wanting to try something new.”

“Sometimes a desire or idea lands on our partner like a request. You can run to a place of request and start implementation and problem solving and miss the opportunity to honor the vulnerability of my bringing it up.”

On finding inspiration -

“Sometimes people have ideas but they’re afraid to share what’s outside the routine. And sometimes they’re like ‘I don’t even know what we would do differently. This represents what sex is for me and I don’t know what else is out there.”

“You may not be into the most extreme ends of BDSM Play but you might want to be nibbled on or even whipped cream play could be something you’re interested in…. so this list is great to spark ideas EVEN IF BDSM isn’t something you consider part of your interest.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Sexual Communication Episode Link

Sexual Self-Reflection Journal

Consent Worksheet for Relationships

BDSM Checklist

Action Steps from the Podcast

Seduction Bowl

Have a conversation with your lover about things you want to try during sex. A full list of things you’d be interested in doing if your partner was down right now.

These things can be very simple: lights on instead of off, undressing each other, etc not the most intimidating fantasies you have. Only include things you’re both on board and ready for.

Cut the list into strips of paper and put them into a container for inspiration in the moment.

So if you find yourself lacking inspiration in the moment of trying to initiate sex with your partner you pull one of these slips of paper out and do it.

Sexy Bucket List

Any items from your seduction bowl that take more time, preparation, or learning put on a sexy bucket list so if there is a day when you have more time to prepare or plan for an act you can do it with due diligence.

Your Swoon hosts

Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD 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 Episode 8: Honey, I'm Home - Division of Labor & Connected 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:

Episode #8 – Honey, I'm Home - Division of Labor & Connected Relationships

Do you and your partner fight over the roles and responsibilities in your relationship? Does the division of labor feel equitable? Are you clear about your expectations?

In today’s podcast Julie and Gina talk about one of the most common sources of conflict in relationships – Division of Labor! They'll share tips for exploring your default roles and ways you can create a system that works better for your relationship and lives!

This episode covers:

  • The division of labor in households and relationships.

  • The way our culture or family of origin influences our default roles in relationship.

  • Different types of labor or contribution in relationship – primarily emotional, physical and financial.

  • The conflict or resentment that can arise around division of labor or relationship contribution.

  • Examples of how you and your partner can “weigh” different tasks in your relationship to help things feel more equitable.

  • The importance of checking in about roles and expectations to make sure your division of labor is still working for your lives and your relationship.

On division of labor -

“For a long time the main way I saw it come up with people was specifically talking about chores around the house and the things that keep the household running...in the last year or two it's come up more about “the big picture of the relationship” - the hopes and the dreams and the goals. Who's keeping the relationship moving forward.”

“Sometimes the work that goes into creating a family or a life or a team, some of it's really tangible. What’s the financial investment? What are the hours invested? Who's doing physical labor? And some of it isn't necessarily tangible - the management functions of tracking, coordinating or overseeing or planning...it's harder to name these things. So sometimes folks I see get in conflict over this because they are striving for an equal balance, that feels really important to them, they want that, but one of them tends to have greater strengths in one area and one has other skills. We each monitor our contribution and try to measure our partner's contribution to whatever our defaults are.”

“When we think of that big picture thing or the emotional labor, I think of the computer tabs you have open in your brain. And sometimes your partner doesn't even know that they are there. But somebody's got to have them. And I talk to people who are so beside themselves - 'How do you think this household runs? How do you not know this?'”

“In my partnership, my partner loves to do the dishes and I hate it. I hate it! I would rather throw out the dishes than do the dishes honestly. So it's been beautiful! I haven't done dishes in 10 years.”

On our default roles and expectations -

“The reason this comes up all the time in sessions is that it's usually something that we set up on default without a lot of talking about it or without a lot of intention and almost never do we have a system in place to check in with each other about how's it going.”

“We often create this system out of default. Like what our family taught us. Or what culture teaches us....Or what used to work for us but not longer fits with our lives.”

“You'll end up in defaults, potentially with resentment, if you don't have a way to talk about the ways the contributions sit right now and if you don't have a way to check in as they change.”

On division of labor equality -

“I like to tell the couples I work with, If you are aiming for an equal split, If you don't feel like you are doing more than your fair share, you are not doing your fair share. There is just so much to do!”

“Our culture hasn't done a great job of teaching half the people in it to take care of their home or their belongings. I've worked with a lot of men who are like, “I would like to help out, no one really taught me how to do this well and I feel like I'm letting down my partner all the time when I try...”

“There are some things that we sometimes just have to do to manage a life or a household or a team that neither of us are good at and neither of us want to do. Nobody wants to clean the cat box. Nobody wants to wrap the gifts for Christmas and still sometimes those things have to get done. So how do we do it in a way that feels like it honors not not our strengths but also honors the things we are avoiding or hate doing?”

On the importance of having a process to talk about your roles, responsibilities and resources -

“We need space to have these conversations. Yes, focused space. I think about how often in long term relationship or couples who are doing lots of coordinating and managing, you can read their tests and the beginning stage texts are 'La la la you're so cute. Tell me about the things you like' and the longer they are together the texts are like 'Can you pick up cat food? Did you remember the _____ I'm running late ______.' It's just not very cute.”

“In an ideal world we can sit down and have this beautiful conversation about who's going to take on what and how we got there, but there is all this pain wrapped up in this stuff too.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

How to Share the "Mental Load" of Chores With Your Partner

You should’ve asked

Women Aren't Nags—We're Just Fed Up

Action Steps from the Podcast

Have a regular management meeting 

Check in about Resources, Roles and Responsibilities

What are the resources you are contributing? What are your shared resources?

What are your roles (give updates about what is falling under your role or ask for input)?

How are you feeling about your responsibilities?

Household Management Meeting Template for Couples

Your Swoon hosts

Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD, 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: Light My Fire - Erotic Fire 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: Episode 7 – Light My Fire - Erotic Fire in Long-Term Relationships

Do you feel disconnected from your partner? Does it feel like it takes a lot energy to initiate sex (or show up for sex)? 

In today’s podcast Julie and Gina talk about tending the erotic fire in your relationship. As away to keep the romance, intimacy and passion alive in your relationship

This episode covers:

  • What it means tend your erotic fire 

  • Things you can do to connect to your own sexual fire.

  • Ways you can keep the erotic connection going in your relationship. 

  • How touch, flirting, seduction, and active engagement can help you feel connected between and during sex.

  • Finding small ways to have sex or sensuality or pleasure on your radar in between sexual encounters.

LISTEN IN

 

MEMORABLE QUOTES IN THE PODCAST

On tending your erotic fire - 

“People can have a sexual encounter and then if there isn't a thread or erotic fire in between encounters, the next time it's time to have sex you kind of have to gear up for it...to get into the sexual realm can feel like it takes a lot of energy.”

“If you've ever built a fire, it takes a lot of energy to get it started from scratch. And if it goes out, it takes a lot of energy to build it up again. But if you have a fire and it dies down a bit, it's easier to build it back up again.”

“Different people have different erotic templates or different things that get them in the mood to have sex and help them feel ready...for some people, that includes things that are not sexual, feeling connected outside of sex. I talk to a lot of people who say, 'I feel disconnected, I can't have sex and their parter is like 'well I feel disconnected so we need to have sex, that's how I feel connected” Thinking about the erotic fire or thread allows us to do things that help us feel engaged so that when we are ready to have sex we're not going from 0-60, the engine is already a little big warm.”

On compartmentalization -

“We often compartmentalize sex from other parts of our life and it feels like it's over there and I have to get in the mindset or prep for it.”

“Some people pack their sexuality away...especially people who have careers or jobs where it feels inappropriate to be sexy. They pack that part of themselves away and they keep it packed away until it's time to have sex...and then what do you have to do? You have to unpack it and put it back on.”

On Foreplay -

“Foreplay begins as soon as sex ends or as soon as the last orgasm is had. If you are viewing your relationship and your sexual connection through that lens, the way you interact on a daily basis is going to be different. You may be more mindful with your words. You may be more attentive to your partner. You may prioritize different things. Because all of it...it becomes this entire dance about eroticism and connection.”

On putting energy into your relationship - 

“Are you showing up for date night the way that you showed up for your third date? Or are you showing up for it, kind of half-assed without a lot of excitement?”

“Relationships and sexual relationships require energy...and some people don't like that. There is still this pervasive idea that sex should be spontaneous and easy, our connection should be spontaneous, it shouldn't require any work or effort or planning or attention. I very much disagree with that idea. I see a lot of people who hope that's true and then end up not having any sex.”

“Do small things regularly and get a huge payoff.”

On tending your own erotic fire - 

“Whether or not you are in a relationship, it's important to explore your own erotic fire. What are the things that keep you connected to who you are as a sexual being?”

“Sometimes the things that make our heart beat really fast, those are the things that make us feel a little bit alive.”


Resources Shared in This Episode

BDSM Checklist Worksheet


Action Steps from the Podcast

Make a list of 10 ways you can tend your own erotic fire.

Then start doing the things on your list.

**Bonus homework - If you are in a relationship – 

Make a list of 10 ways your partner can attend the erotic fire between you.Each person does this and then you share your lists. Where is the overlap? What is different? Start doing the things that stoke your partner's fire and they will start doing things off your list.


Your Swoon hosts

Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD, 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: 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

Dr Gina Senarighi, PhD, 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:

Why I Love LGBTQ Love

This year I'm celebrating 15 years supporting LGBTQ relationships professionally. It's been my joy to support hundreds of queer relationships through commitments, trust repair, communication struggles and more.

Y'all are pretty fabulous.

Here are ten things I love about LGBTQ love:

1. Because most of these folks have had to do a little reflection about how their love is different than most the folks in their life they're often more self-aware in partnership.


2. LGBTQ couples are far more likely to create balanced plans around their household responsibilities (this isn't just my expertise, this is a well-researched fact).


3. Children of LGBTQ couples do better in school, get more involved in their communities, and step into leadership more than others (this is researched, not just my opinion).


4. LGBTQ couples are far more jealousy-resilient for a large variety of reasons (again, there's plenty of research to back this up, beyond my experience).


5. More often than heterosexual couples these folks are willing to get creative sexually to get their needs met (again, this is well researched). 


6. More often than not these couples are willing to talk openly about their sexual needs (you know, and then they get them met) (again, this is well researched).


7. More often than other couples, LGBTQ partners are able to navigate open relationships with care.


8. LGBTQ folks are more likely to wait to marry/commit until they've explored some personally. This creates a possibility for more emotionally mature relationships.


9. More often than others, LGBTQ folks plan meaningful commitment ceremonies shaped around their unique core values (I just like these).


10. LGBTQ couples are more likely to use humor and humility in healthy ways in conflict (this is well-researched, not just my opinion).

Again, thank all of you who have shared your personal paths with me over the years. It's an honor to support your love.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Gina Senarighi LGBTQ Couples Counselor
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online. 

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

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

An Accurate History of Marriage?

I spend lots of time in sessions talking with folks who wonder why some of the most common ways we do committed relationships doesn’t work for them.

Why do we do marriage for love, and what is love anyway? What happens when love changes over time?

And why do we split household tasks the way we do? How can we create a more egalitarian breakdown than whatever our families modeled? How do we keep equality erotic?

How can we break out of these normative partnerships?

How do we build something intentional instead of defaulting to practices we know don’t work?

One of the first steps in intentional change is growing awareness, and WOW do I have a great resource for you this week. Hidden Brain, by Shankar Vedantam, recently covered the history of marriage and it is FULL of great information about how we ended up with many of the cultural norms about marriage that we currently practice.

Taking a closer look at the ways we practice love and commitment, the practices we consider “normal” helps us use discernment about if and when we want to choose them today.

Listen here:

And let me know what you think. How does knowing this history change what you want to practice? How does it affirm the practices you’ve already chosen? Which parts of this hostory apply to your relationship experiences?


Relationship Tips: Get Their Attention

Communication Patterns in Successful Relationships

Loads of research has been done on the behaviors of successful couples and one of trend holds true: satisfied couples in happy relationships are more likely to bid for attention in a few key ways.

Read on to add these skills in your relationships.

Bids for Attention

We bid for each other's attention all the time.  We do this by gesturing, making eye contact, initiating affection, making a joke, pointing out something.  

For example I might turn to my sweetheart and say, "I really like your shirt."

Successful couples bid more frequently. But there is a second part of bidding that keeps them in a loop of communicating with kindness.  

Receiving Bids From Your Partner

When someone bids for attention we have four real options in our response.  I will give you examples for each.

Warm:  

"Thanks for noticing my shirt babe."  This is a kind or friendly response.  It invites more interaction.

Neutral:

"Oh." This isn't a kind or unkind response.  It doesn't invite more communication or connection, but it doesn't overtly harm the relationship.  However, over time it can divide a couple if it is the only response given.  

Cold:

"Why are you talking about my shirt?!?"  This might be an angry, defensive, or judgmental response.  This response doesn't invite more positive interaction and often leads to disconnection and conflict.  

Often we think this is the most problematic response- but when this response is handled respectfully couples can still grow.  

Non-response:

This is the most detrimental to the relationship.  When someone doesn't respond we feel ignored and we are far less likely to continue bidding for our partner's attention.  This gap in responses starts growing distance between people.

We fill in the gap with our assumptions, resentments and judgments and distance grows.  But sometimes our partner has innocently missed the bid- maybe they simply didn't hear us.  They don't even know how we've been hurt- and aren't able to effectively repair the missed bid. 

Your relationship challenge:

Notice the bids for interaction this week and work to respond with warmth as often as possible.  Notice how it shifts your relationship's energy.   

 


Healthy Relationships | Couples Therapist | Sex Therapist

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Being a supportive partner

meaningful support.jpgsupportive relationships \ support and trust in marriage | how to be supportive

Giving and receiving meaningful support is essential to lasting loving relationships.

Most relationships start out strong, but as time passes fewer and fewer people say they get the support they need from their partner.

The word “support” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  So one way to get more of the love and support you want is to clarify both your request and what you can offer.

Consider the six central themes of support here and ask yourself what you’re really looking for when you ask for help in situations with your sweetie.  You can use the examples here to get clearer with your partner. 

Ask yourself “What does meaningful support look like to me in this situation?” 

Or ask them, “What can I do to show you support in this situation?”

The clearer you become in your request, and in clarifying your partner’s requests, the better equipped you are to meet each other’s needs.

Here are a few more reflection questions to help you get clear. Take a moment to write out your thoughts on each to help you get clear before making requests of your partner.

  • What has meaningful support looked like in the past, in friendships and my family?
  • What actions would be most helpful? What could my partner do to make my experience easier?
  • When do I feel especially cared for in this partnership? What can I apply from that experience to this one? 
  • When do I feel respected in this relationship? What behaviors from my partner foster that feeling?
  • When do I feel most reassured and grounded in this partnership? Are there elements of that experience I would like in this situation?

I created a worksheet to help you dive deeper into this work and get even more clear.  Enter your information below to download it and get access to my full relationship tool library.

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Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

polyamory coach | open relationship counselor | nonmonogamy
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online and in Portland, Oregon. Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

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