Blogs relating to sexuality, sexual orientation including bisexuality, power dynamics, LGBTQ+

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Reboot: Sex Love Stories: TJ

Sex Spoken Here: Sex Love Stories 3:  TJ

Welcome to my virtual therapy room!  I am Dr Lori Beth Bisbey and this is Sex Spoken Here. Remember that this podcast deals with adult themes so if you don’t have privacy you might wish to put on your headphones.

Today is the third instalment of the sex love series.  I have invited my husband, TJ Scott is retired teamster who worked for 26 years at Omega Cinema Props, the largest privately owned prop house in the US. He is a part time percussionist and artist.  He currently works at Otford Boarding Kennels in Kent, UK.

I asked TJ to tell me about his background and culture.  TJ describes himself as an African American military brat and a southerner.

TJ spoke about his first sexual awakening at age 5 and his first experience at age 7 playing more than just doctor with a 9 year old friend of his sister’s.  He spoke about losing his virginity – twice.

TJ spoke about being a bisexual man, being polyamorous and being kinky.  He spoke about a first marriage where sex was only happening if he was role playing one of his many Dungeons and Dragons characters.  When his first wife refused to have sex with him without the role play, the sex in the marriage ended.  He spoke about his second marriage where sex never really happened.

TJ spoke about being in our marriage – being able to express all of his sexual sides and that he looks forward to exploring more together in the future until we are two old and wrinkly raisins in the bed telling folks to go away because we ain’t dead yet.

Today we spoke about masturbation, bisexuality, virginity, Baptist culture and the impact on relationships, BDSM, sexless marriages and non-monogamy.  If you were triggered or if this resonates with you, do email me. In addition to emailing me at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com for more information, you can find resources on the podcast pages as part of the podcast notes.

Check out these podcasts and blogs for more information:

B is for Bisexual

Sexless Relationships 1

BDSM dating

Virginity

D/s Relationships

Polyamorous D/s Relationships

You can find TJ’s art at:

https://urceleb.deviantart.com/

Thanks for joining me for Sex Spoken Here with Dr Lori Beth Bisbey.

Write to me with suggestions for the show, questions you want answered at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com, follow me on twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Check out my YouTube channel: Dr Lori Beth Bisbey. I have a TV channel on the BonBonNetwork For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://the-intimacy-coach.com/and click the button that says Schedule Now! on the contact page.

Please leave a review on iTunes and stitcher.

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Sex Spoken Here: Non-monogamy with Cooper S Becket

By popular demand, here is a re-issue of my April 2017 interview with Cooper S Becket about non-monogamy and bisexual men.

Welcome to my virtual therapy room!  I am Dr Lori Beth Bisbey and this is Sex Spoken Here.  Remember that this podcast deals with adult themes so if you don’t have privacy. you might wish to put on your headphones.

Joining me today is Cooper Beckett.

Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.

We started by talking about swinging and spoke about the swinging culture in the late 70’s early 80’s and how that went underground after the AIDS crisis began.  Cooper talked about the new renaissance that has existed since the internet has boomed and how much easier it is for people to find each other.  We spoke about the normative swingers – heterosexual male and a bisexual or bicurious female.  Cooper talked about how much more he has enjoyed having parties that are sex parties instead of swinging parties where there is a larger cross-section of the non-monogamous community.

We spoke about the invisibility of the bisexual male and Cooper talked about the fear that heterosexual males demonstrate when confronted with male bisexuality but also about the attitude from some of the gay community that there is no such thing as bisexuality.  I agreed that this was also my experience and both of us spoke about the importance of identifying loudly as bisexual to educate others about bi-invisibility.  Cooper spoke about the prevalence of people who are ‘broken’ in some way in alternative communities and made it clear that he wasn’t talking damaged.

The example he used was the larger number of people with chronic illness who are seen in these communities and he suggested that people who have chronic illness look for things to make them feel less miserable and so explore more.  We spoke about how research in this area would be fascinating and he spoke about the need for research on prostate orgasm (as there is a suggestion of a correlation between regular prostate stimulation and lower levels of prostate cancer) but that there is no research money for any research on sexuality.

Cooper’s book, Approaching the Swingularity has just been released.  Click the link to purchase from his site http://www.coopersbeckett.com.  (Though it can also be purchased on Amazon.  As he is an independent publisher, purchases from his site give him more of the price so please consider purchasing directly).  You can also find him on twitter @coopersbeckett.

Thanks for joining me this week for Sex Spoken Here with Dr Lori Beth Bisbey.  Write to me with suggestions for the show, questions you want answered at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com, follow me on twitter @drbisbey.  Are you ready to find out what turns you on?  If so, take the test! https://the-intimacy-coach.com and press the button that says ‘Take the Test’.  I look forward to seeing you next week with a new sex love story about polyamory and marriage.

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A Practical Primer for Overcoming Shame

We experience shame when we cannot own something we have thought, felt, or done or some part of ourselves. Guilt can be appropriate when we have done something we know is wrong and harmed ourselves and/or others. It serves the purpose of getting us to look at the wrong and highlighting the wrong so that we can make amends, change our behaviour.

LGBTQQIAA+ Where do I fit in?

When I was first coming out, the acronym was LGB and even then, B was not much talked about.  In graduate school there was the Lesbian and Gay student organisation and I remember being invited to a party early on but not feeling comfortable since I wasn’t gay.  As a bisexual woman, I was not sure where I fit.  I wanted to attend events that gave me the opportunity to meet women but when I would say I was bisexual, there was an atmosphere.

By the time I came to the UK, T was added to the acronym to recognise the Transgender folks as LGB was not an adequate description.  Q was added to represent both Queer and Questioning in 1996.  These are very different identities!  Questioning is as it sounds – people who are questioning their sexual identity.  On the other hand, Queer is an umbrella term that is used to describe people who are either not heterosexual or not cisgender.  However, queer can be more of a world view than an identity (click on the highlighted word Queer for a discussion of this).    Sometimes people use two Q’s so that Queer and Questioning are added.  Since 2000’s many people add I for Intersex and A for Asexual.  And some use A for Ally – those people who support all the people who fall under the LGBTQQIA + rubric.

bisexual

How do you figure out where you fit best?  And what does it matter?  It matters how you understand your own sexual and gender identities as well as your attractions.  It helps to be able to explain to others you meet as well.    There are some other ways of looking at gender identities, sexual orientation and attractions that might make it easier to figure out where you fit.  I like them because they create more detailed picture that allows for more people to find themselves in the model being presented.  This increases the ability to communicate between groups of people and also increases the information that can be given easily to allies and professionals we interact with on a daily basis.  Research highlights that when a group is invisible, poorer services (like health care) are available.

You can look at gender identity as running from genderqueer (or non-binary) through to male or female.  The way you express your gender may be different from how you identify.  For example, I can identify as a woman and express my gender in a butch (or more masculine) manner.

For the next continuum, you can look at your sexual orientation or the people who you are attracted to.  This can run from straight through asexual, bisexual, pansexual and to gay.  For the next continuum you can look at the expression of your sexual attraction.  You can move from monogamous through to monogamish to non-monogamous to polyamorous to relationship anarchy.  Expression of sexual attraction can also be measured on a continuum that looks at how often you wish to have sex from rarely to all of the time and on a continuum that looks at power dynamics in your relationship from dominant through to switch through to submissive.

bisexual men

Are you confused?  If so, perhaps some examples will help.

John is biologically male.  Their gender identity is non-binary and they use the pronouns they, their, them.   They express their gender differently at different times.   They are heterosexual in orientation.  (They are attracted to women.)   John likes lots of sex.  John is polyamorous.  Finally, when it comes to power dynamics, John switches depending upon partner and situation.

Rachel is biologically female.  Her gender identity is female.  She is bisexual in orientation (attracted to men, women, genderqueer, transgender).  Rachel is monogamish.  She prefers to have one central relationship where there is very limited permission to have sexual experience outside of the relationship.    When it comes to power dynamics, Rachel is dominant.

Dara is a transsexual male.  His gender identity is male.  He also identifies as transgender though he has already transitioned.  He is gay in orientation (attracted to men – cisgender and transgender).  He practices relationship anarchy.   When it comes to power dynamics, Dara is submissive.

All of these identities can shift over time.   I find it useful to have clients spend some time thinking about how they identify now and how they have identified in the past.  This can help people put issues from the past into better perspective and also frame current issues differently.    Just because identities can shift does not mean that they will shift.  I like to remind people not to make assumptions about other people.  Most people prefer to be asked.  It can feel awkward to ask someone about their attractions but with practice it gets easier.    Asking is far more respectful.

bisexual women

Where do you fit in?  Here are a few questions to help you consider what letters identify you.

  1. When you think about yourself, do you see yourself as male or female or sometimes one/sometimes the other or neither?
  2. What pronouns resonate for you?
  3. When you fantasise, who do you fantasise about? Are they always the same gender?
  4. Do you want to find one romantic and sexual partner to share your life with?
  5. Does the idea of only one sexual partner for the rest of your life feel stifling?
  6. When you fantasise do you like to be the one who is in control or do you dream of surrendering to someone else? Maybe this changes depending upon your mood?

If you find it difficult to come up with single answers to these questions, don’t worry.  You are not alone.   These can be very deep questions.    There is no problem with exploring and trying various ideas out to see what feels best to you.

If you find that you are really confused, it can help to see a therapist who is experienced working with gender and sexual diversity.

If you would like to discuss sexuality and sexual orientation further,  book here for a free 30 minute consultation.  For my podcast Sex Spoken Here series on non-monogamy, start with part 1 here.   Write me here with any questions.

When Does Female Sexuality Peak?

I remember clearly being told that I wouldn’t come into my fully bloomed sexuality until I hit the age of 35 as women didn’t peak sexually until they were older.  As I was enjoying myself then, I didn’t really think about when I might ‘peak’.

As I started seeing more clients who wanted help with their sexual lives, this was a topic I thought more about.   I see women in their 30’s who have not yet experienced a sexual peak.  I also see women in their 30’s who feel their best sex is definitely behind them.    So I began to wonder if the idea that women don’t reach their sexual peak until their mid-30’s was a myth.

Unless it is in the consulting room or amongst really close friends, when people talk about their sex lives they talk of the best times.  I listen to lots of people wearing rose tinted spectacles, looking at only the positives in the past, present and for the future.     Clients come to me and talk about their struggles with sex and sexuality so I had their stories to draw on.  Close friends were willing to talk more frankly too so I had their stories to draw on.

sexuality

Research seems to suggest that actually sex for women in their 30’s is extremely conflicted.    In fact, sex for men and women in the 30’s age group is often problematic.    There is a difference between married (or partnered) women with children and single women.  Female sexual drive is very connected to hormone levels.  When women are in their 30’s they are right in the middle of their child bearing years.  The biological clock is no myth!  The intensity of the drive to procreate should not be minimised.  Many ‘accidents’ occur in the 30’s.  Many single women suddenly become partnered (and often inappropriately so) and find themselves pregnant.

The drive to have lots of passionate sex is highest at ovulation.  For married women and women with children,  after ovulation passes there is little hormonal drive.  It appears that things may be a bit more stable over the month for unpartnered women.  Once women have children, the additional stress can cause a severe dip in libido.

Why am I talking about libido?  Because libido is what drives us to seek out sexual experiences.  If you have no or low libido, you may not even think about sex.  You won’t seek sex out.  When libido has completely gone, you probably won’t be upset by not having sex or opportunities for sex.  Low libido can be caused by stress, a number of health problems, various medications (some antidepressants, some blood pressure medications), low testosterone (in men in particular) and low oestrogen (in women).  Low libido is a big problem for menopausal and post-menopausal women that is rarely talked about in detail.  With most causes, there is a lot that can be done to bring libido back and when libido comes back so does the possibility of an exciting sex life.

When does female sexuality peak?

For women, sexual desire and sexuality is intimately linked to emotional elements.  Research continues to highlight that women become turned on more via their minds and emotions than by a pretty/hot/sexy visual.  Women who are stressed lose interest in sex.  If there are emotional issues in the relationship, women will find it really hard to connect sexually.  Women find men who are emotionally available very sexy, for example.    Many women find intelligence very sexy.  This isn’t to say that men don’t also find these things sexy but rather that men tend to look at the physical form first.  Also many men will use sex to create emotional closeness whereas many women need to feel emotionally close in order to become physically close and have sex.     As a result, it appears that women have a variety of sexual peaks during their lives.  Rather than have a sexual prime in the 30’s, many have one in the 20’s and then another in the 40’s and 50’s.

Scientists don’t agree about the depth or description of ‘normal’ sexual response in women or whether women even have a sexual peak.  Rather than being upset by this information, I encourage you to see it as liberating.  This means that however you are is fine.  Seek help if you are not happy with your sexual drive, desire or any aspect of your sexual life.  Seek help if you and your partner are not well matched or are having sexual issues.

when does female sexuality peak?

There are currently no particular drugs to increase female libido.  There is no equivalent to Viagra for women. A number of researchers have suggested that lower levels of testosterone after menopause are responsible for the drop in desire.  Lots of drugs are being trialled but thus far nothing has worked well enough with few enough risks to be brought to market.  However, there are quite a few doctors who are prescribing testosterone off label to increase female libido.  I know a number of people who have taken testosterone for this reason.  They have all reported increased sexual desire. They have also reported a variety of side effects including some increased facial hair growth, some increased hair loss, increase in anger and acne.  It is thought that part of the reason for high levels of side effects is that the dosages are too high.

When libido is not being negatively influences by low testosterone or low oestrogen, there is evidence that many women who have decided not to have children and/or are post-menopausal experience a sexual prime.  Sex is not related to procreation at this stage and is primarily for pleasure, love, power or other motivations.  Cindy Meston and David Buss found 237 reasons in their 2009 book Why Women Have Sex.    Is this THE sexual prime for women?  After listening to women and looking at the research, I think not.

The idea of one sexual peak or sexual prime is outdated.  After all, this idea came out of research on married couples in the 1940’s and 50’s.  Dr Kinsey’s research was ground breaking at the time.  There had been almost no research on sexual behaviour.  Relationship behaviour has changed significantly since then.   There is evidence from an evolutionary perspective that suggests an additional reason for women to have more sex in their mid 30’s to mid 40’s.  Pregnancy is much harder to achieve as women move past the child bearing prime of the 20’s.  In order to achieve pregnancy, often much more sex is necessary.

Women have more than one sexual peak and the peaks are influenced by evolution, hormones, emotions, relationship and family status and stress.   Orgasm creates more sexual desire.  So in times where stresses contribute to decreased desire, I often advise clients to push through the indifference and either masturbate or have sex with a partner.  Reaching orgasm will almost always create a desire for more orgasm which means more sex.  The feel and look of women’s sexuality changes over the life span so rather than looking at peaks perhaps looking at it as a wave with ebb and flow creates a clearer picture.

If you want to explore the tides of your sexuality, email me here or schedule a free 30 minute strategy session with me here.

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When Bisexuality is Seen as a Cop Out, Damage is Lasting

Some say bisexuality, like fibromyalgia, is imaginary.

Both straight and gay find those of us who have attractions to both or all genders difficult to deal with.  People call us greedy, tell us there is no such thing as bisexual, tell us we only need to meet the right  *insert gender here * and we will know who we are.    When we try to be authentic, we are encouraged to return to the ‘down-low’.  We are told we are indecisive or worse yet, the only ‘valid’ bisexual people are those who are 50/50 – attracted 50% to one gender and 50% to the other.

The damage this causes is insidious.  Bisexual people have higher rates of depression and suicide than straight or gay counterparts.   We are more likely to question our sexuality than others and this questioning reduces confidence and self-esteem.   Bisexual people experience biphobia – from both straight and gay folk.  Finding a place where they fit can be extremely difficult.  Despite the acronym LGBTQ, bisexual issues and problems are often not addressed.  It is estimated that 2/3 of people who identify as bisexual don’t mix with the lesbian and gay scene regularly so often research misses the bisexual group.  However, from the research available:

Bisexual people are less likely to come out to siblings, family and friends meaning they are more likely to be isolated.

They are less likely to be out at work and more likely to feel that the LGBT networks are less than helpful.

Bisexual people have higher rates of substance abuse issues

Bisexual people of colour are more likely to experience hate crimes

bisexuality

What causes some of these issues?  Invisibility.

People assume your sexual orientation based on your last or current partner.  Being invisible means that agencies don’t provide for you.  Being invisible means that you don’t have adequate access to support networks and/or you don’t feel welcomed by support networks.  When being invisible translates from your sexual orientation or group to being invisible as an individual the damage is more profound.  If my sexual orientation isn’t seen as valid or my sexual behaviour isn’t seen as valid (but is seen as problematic), then I can cease to view myself as valid.  If I feel invisible, I am likely to feel isolated and unsupported, separate and different and this can lead to depression and ultimately to suicide.

In one study, bisexual women were found to be more 64% more at risk for eating problems than lesbian women.   Research highlights that negative societal attitudes towards bisexuality leads to people feeling more negatively about themselves and expecting more social rejection.

bisexuality

When you tell someone who is bisexual that they are copping out and that they should really just ‘pick a side’, you are telling him that he is a liar.   You are suggesting that he is choosing bisexuality because he isn’t brave enough to live authentically.  This is one of the worst insults a person can receive.  It causes people to question their own needs and desires.  The rejection causes lasting pain.  Some people who are bisexual then try to choose a side and this leads to a host of problems and on-going pain.  There is copious research that highlights the increase in mental health and physical health problems in people who try to live contrary to their actual sexuality.    Staying closeted impacts self-esteem and self-perception.  Closeted bisexual men have been labelled as sexual addicts in recent years.  Wives who find that men are watching gay pornography and having encounters with other men are advised that their husbands are sex addicts.     In fact, this could not be farther from the truth.  These men are bisexual but unable to accept their bisexuality and unable to discuss this with their spouses.  As a result, they are engaging in ever more risky behaviour in order to satisfy their core sexual desires.  Even those who are single can find themselves suppressing their true sexual desires and identity in order to conform to the wider society’s expectations.  It seems that heterosexual or homosexual have become the choices now (rather than simply heterosexual) in many segments of society.  Unplanned promiscuous behaviour is very risky (as unsafe sex is usually a part of this behaviour).

Are there any positives to being bisexual?

Yes there are.  People who are bisexual report feeling more able to create the relationships that work for them. Those who are out and proud feel better able to accept the sexuality of others and to define their own sexuality.  People can be bisexual in behaviour but not identify as bisexual.  People can identify as bisexual and find their attractions are 50/50 and others identify as bisexual and find that their attractions are 90/10.   Bisexual people can be monogamous.  Others are polyamorous.

Those of us who are comfortable in our bisexual skins experience serenity with our self-acceptance.