Podcasts covering sexual trauma, sexual violent and healing from any type of sexual trauma.

Sex Spoken Here:  Overcoming Shame

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.

This week I am talking about overcoming shame.

Dr Brene Brown is a shame researcher.  One of my favourite quotes of hers is: ‘Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do’.  Shame is one of the most common issues that clients bring to me as a therapist and as a coach.  People come with shame about their desires, about their past sexual experiences.  They come with shame about their feelings for others and some come with shame and they cannot figure out where the shame has come from.

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.  Shame is toxic.  It comes from conditioning via our upbringing, via our cultural group, via the overarching society.    This shame doesn’t serve a purpose.  It keeps us trapped and makes it impossible for us to live in fullness and authenticity.

The difference between shame and guilt: Shame is ‘I am bad/wrong’ and guilt is ‘My behaviour is bad/wrong’.

When we experience shame, it can last a long time.  It hides in our unconscious and we are not necessarily aware of it until it is triggered.  Our own thoughts can trigger the shame.   Toxic shame most often comes from lots of shame experiences we have as children.  We internalise these experiences and the shame spreads.

‘Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging’ Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW    Dr Brown goes on to say that shame needs ‘three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement.  Shame cannot survive being spoken.  It cannot survive empathy.’

Sadly, our culture encourages shame around sex and sexuality.

Many of us grow up ashamed of our bodies, ashamed of any pleasure we can from our bodies, ashamed of our desires and ashamed of our attractions.    It starts when we first discover our bodies can bring us pleasure and our caregivers find us enjoying our bodies.  All too often, caregivers shame children for touching themselves.  Instead of telling a child that it is wonderful that they are enjoying their body but it would be better to do so in private, parents often become flustered and angry and ashamed and then shame the child.   We learn quickly what our parents, family members, and other trusted adults feel is ‘shameful’ and we internalise that shame.  We feel shame when no matter what we do to modify our desires or attractions, we still experience them.  Many religions instil lots of shame around sexual behaviour, desire and attraction.  They hand down strict rules about when sex is appropriate, what type of sex is appropriate and even when and if pleasure is permitted.    For example, in Judaism, sexual pleasure is permitted and appropriate when you have sex within marriage.  If you have sex outside of marriage, that is considered inappropriate and if you are part of a religious community and this is discovered, one of the tools people have to punish you is to shame you.

Some people never get past this shame and sex becomes an emotional mine field.

They find it impossible to relax and fully enjoy sex.  When they do enjoy sex, they feel ashamed afterwards as well.  Some people find it hard to maintain intimate relationships because of their shame.  They find it hard to be vulnerable with their partners.  Other people finds ways to decrease their shame or only experience shame when they engage in some activities.  They make compromises with themselves.  They ask for forgiveness from whatever higher power or God they pray to.

I was raised with lots of shame around sex, sexuality and desire.   As a result, most of my early sexual experiences caused a backlash of shame.  It took me a lot of personal work over many years before I could experience my desires and any sexual activity I engaged in fully, authentically and without shame.    My current spiritual beliefs see sex as a sacred act and as an act of worship.  Sexual energy is the life energy.  Integrating this energy into self, relationships and daily life is a goal that leads to further spiritual development and enlightenment.    The process to get from shame based sexuality to authentic sexuality without shame can be a long one but the rewards are incredible.

How do you overcome shame?

To do so, you must be willing to be vulnerable, to feel your emotions in full and to walk through them.    Start by grabbing a pen and notebook or iPad or your phone or laptop.  Where ever you can take notes, and dedicate a section to this practice – the practice of feeling your emotions in full, walking through them, integrating them.  Journalling is a good way to pay attention to these feelings.  Hence my suggestion to make a practice of writing about your feelings

To move past shame, you must be willing to change the way you are thinking.

When shame is triggered, you can replace these thoughts with accepting thoughts.  To do this, you must pay attention to your triggers, your thoughts and your feelings.

This is a practice and it takes time.  The more you do it, the better you will become at it until it positive and accepting thoughts will be second nature rather than the negative shaming ones.  For some people, it is easier to note thoughts than feelings.  For others, it is easier to note the triggers for feelings and more difficult to look at the thoughts.  Where ever you start in this process, it is important to note all three: triggers, thoughts, feelings and often to note a fourth column: behaviour.

If you start with triggers: Once you have achieved some success at recognising your triggers, move on to identifying the source of the shame.    Is it a thought that is triggering feelings of being unworthy and bad?  Is it an action?  Something someone else has said or done?

Is the thought or desire or action against your own principles?  If it is, think about whether the shame is really guilt and whether you should be modifying your behaviour.   If not, recognise that this shame is not based in reality.

The next step is to clearly express the shame and all the secrets, unexpressed and hidden thoughts and feelings that the shame covers up.

Shame thrives in the dark so if you shine the light of your sustained non-judgemental attention on the shame it will dissipate.

If you have a safe person to talk to, the next step is to express these things to someone who will listen without judgement and acknowledge you and all that you are saying.  A safe person is someone who won’t judge you, won’t interpret what you are saying, will prioritise the time and the space to listen to you and will hold this space for you for as long as you need it.    They will listen with empathy and their goal in doing so is to support you.  If you don’t have someone in your life who is safe to work on these things with, you might consider a therapist, counsellor, or coach as it is difficult to fully explore shame and get rid of it on your own.

Once you have exposed these secrets and hidden thoughts and desires to the light of day, notice how you are feeling.  If you are feeling lighter and more positive then you know you have just overcome an area of shame.  If you remain uncertain or upset it is likely that some part remains unexplored and/or that there are other connected feelings, thoughts or events that have been triggered by exploring the current material and not yet explored.   If you can identify one of these incidents, thoughts or feelings, you can give voice to it just at you did with the last secret you brought from the shadow to the light.    When you are feeling lighter or better in some way, it is a good place to stop.

Make it a point to get out of your head when you reach that good place to stop.  Go for a walk and notice the beauty around you, listen to some music, watch a movie, enjoy something delicious to eat.  Take your attention from your thoughts and bring it into your feelings, your senses, the world around you.

When you have examined and expressed these desires and gotten rid of the shame connected to them, the next step is to decide if you wish to experience them.  Once you have eliminated toxic shame around a desire or fantasy, you may find the drive to have the experience increases.

Janna had a fantasy about having sex with two men at the same time.  She had this fantasy for as long as she could remember but she had never told anyone about it because it caused her intense shame. She could hear her mother saying that girls who enjoy sex are sluts and that sex was only for reproduction and pleasing your husband.   Janna started seeing a sex coach to help her to move past her shame about her sexual desires.    After working directly on her shame, she was finally able to talk about this fantasy with her sex coach.   Talking about the fantasy no longer made Janna feel ashamed and in fact she felt excited when talking about the desire.   Janna now had the courage to talk with her husband about this fantasy.  She was initially worried about how he would react but she felt reassured when she saw his response to some erotica that contained stories about group sex and specifically two men sharing a woman.  One night Janna sat her husband down and told him all about her fantasy of having sex with two men at once.  George listened and as Janna talked he became more and more excited.  He found the idea so exciting that he grabbed her and silenced her by kissing her intensely.  They continued kissing and progressed to having passionate sex on the living room floor.

Janna and George talked more later that night and George suggested they start to look for a man to join them and fulfil Janna’s fantasy.  Excitement had now completely replaced shame.

Paul had fantasised about being spanked since he was a teenager.  He wasn’t sure why this fantasy caused him to feel shame but he was aware that it did.  It was his most powerful fantasy but every time he thought about it, the shame was so intense that he felt as though he were going to cry.    Paul and his boyfriend went to a birthday party for a friend and the birthday boy got a spanking at the party.  Michael noticed Paul’s reaction to the spanking and how turned on he was but when he brought it up to Paul, Paul shut the conversation down immediately.    Michael asked Paul to come to a coaching session with him to talk about their sexual fantasies so they could learn how to communicate better.  During the session, Paul finally talked about the shame he felt when he had these sexual desires.  When it was clear that Michael was not only not disgusted by him but was very turned on by him, the shame began to lift.    After some further work on their communication, they were able to agree to enact this fantasy and both reported having a great time.

Ridding yourself of shame does not mean that you will choose to enact the desires or fantasies that triggered the shame in the first place.  However, once you have rid yourself of the shame, you will be able to make a choice.

Being bold, being honest, being authentic are skills.  The more that you practice the more likely they will become strong skills and develop into positive habits.    If you are not able to get rid of the shame by working on your own or if the shame keeps returning, you are likely to experience better results if you work with a sex therapist or a sex coach.  Choose a therapist if you have a lot of issues in your past and know that you will need to examine these in depth.  Choose a coach if your focus is primarily on clearing up feelings and thoughts, learning new skills, becoming comfortable in the present and planning for the future.

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. For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://the-intimacy-coach.com/and click the button that says click here! on the contact page.

Please leave a review on iTunes and stitcher if you enjoy the show.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Sex Spoken Here:  After  #metoo Recovering from Sexual assault

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 Carolin Hauser-Carson, German trained Naturopathic Doctor, Humanistic Psychotherapist, and Family Constellations Facilitator, is the author of the book Blossom – 7 Steps to Sexual Healing and the upcoming book The Pleasure IQ. An internationally-recognized speaker and teacher on the subjects of spirituality, healing, and women’s empowerment for almost two decades, Carolin combines her knowledge to help women (and brave men) to have love-filled lives that flow with a sense of ease and amazing results. Her work is based on the intersection of where the human body and experience meets past–and even ancestral–trauma, and shows how each individual’s authentic and true self is the source of one’s own good – a place of unlimited abundance, creativity, courage, and joyful existence.

Carolin talked about the #metoo phenomena as being both helpful because shame has been lifted so that people can speak out but also sad because it seems to be polarizing men and women.

She talked about how trauma impacts your energy and your soul and that healing happens by healing your nervous system.  She compared it to the electrical system melting or burning out as a result of the trauma.  She spoke about the energy being leached away and causing chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease and exhaustion and that healing the trauma brings the energy back and heals the body so these conditions no longer cause exist.

She talked about her book Blossom which is a self-help book to engage in this type of healing.  It starts with understanding the impact of trauma on the body, then learning to access feelings again and to feel them in the body.  As the work moves on, there is a particular tool that heals heals the energy system and she spoke about how powerful this is.  She said that using this every day has turned her entire life around.

Carolin does a lot of work with people in groups – and runs retreats each year.  She spoke about the power of group work as people who are on similar journeys learn from each other, support each other and bear witness.

Carolin said that healing from trauma does not need to be complicated.  And that putting one good tool into practice and doing it every day is enough.  She likened it to going to the gym and working on your muscles and that doing this daily creates great sometimes monumental changes if one is persistent.

Check these links:

https://www.womenintheflow.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/carolinhauser

Twitter

https://twitter.com/carolinhauser

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. For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://the-intimacy-coach.com/and click the button that says click here! on the contact page.

Please leave a review on iTunes and stitcher if you enjoy the show.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Travelling – please enjoy this reboot of sex love stories 1

Sex Spoken Here: Sex Love Stories 1 Intro and My Story

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 I am starting a series that is different from the ones I usually do.  Since I started this podcast, I have covered different topics to do with sex, sexuality, gender and relationships over two or three weeks, looking at each topic in moderate depth.   In this new series, I am interviewing people from all walks of life about their journeys to sexual authenticity and integration.  Different people are in different places on their journeys.  Some are close to the beginning, others in the middle and still others have reached a place of authenticity and integration and their journeys are focused on more pleasure and more learning.    For each story, I’ll give a short summary and I will provide some advice or tips for further learning or help if you need it with any of the issues talked about during the story.     It is my hope that you will see yourself somewhere in these stories and you will gain support and inspiration from them.  Some of them are really hard in places and they also contain great joy.  Your sexual journey is as unique as your lip print (which is as unique as a fingerprint – as is your nose print, ear print and your eyes).

My journey is a long one, so grab a cup of tea, coffee or your favourite tipple, any nibbles you choose and get comfortable.  When you listen to these stories, try to listen without judgement.  Reflect on your own story and each unique piece that makes you authentically you.

Many people believe that all good stories begin ‘Once upon a time’ but that beginning is for a fairy tale and my story starts in the real world.   As a pre-teen, my fantasies were about having a master and living in a bottle like the show I Dream of Jeannie.  I created a decorated a bottle to live in.  I didn’t know why I wanted this, I just did.

By the time I reached my teens, the fantasy was more detailed.  There were Masters and Mistresses, and other slave women (for that is how I saw the genie).   I was sexually precocious for a number of reasons that I will leave for another day.  At 13, I was desperate to lose my virginity but I was ashamed of my desire.  I got it in my head that doing so at 13 would be too young and therefore make me a slut so I decided to wait until after my 14th birthday.  I had a boyfriend at the time and I made him wait until 10 days after my 14th birthday.   Before my birthday, I discovered the joys of blow jobs.  I loved the feelings that giving a blow job gave me.  My boyfriend counted himself lucky.

My boyfriend’s parents were divorced.  He was 16 and lived with his mom.  She didn’t mind him bringing me to his bedroom.  As a result, I lost my virginity in a comfortable room, in a clean comfortable bed, with Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon album playing on the stereo.  We used condoms and he was careful to work on arousing me before the first penetration.  There was nothing at all traumatic about the experience.  It hurt a little but within a few minutes it was feeling good.   It was a great entry to the world of fucking and I have been grateful for this ever since.  When I finally did experience traumatic sex, I knew that sex could be seriously good which meant I knew it could be again.

Shortly after this, I had my first proper girlfriend.  I had fooled around with some of my female friends earlier – kissing here and there, an occasional fondle.  S was my first real girlfriend.  With her, I discovered the joys of eating pussy.  At that time, I preferred to be the one giving not receiving.

My desires to be forced, to be a slave, to be told what to do, just increased as time went on.  At 14, I got involved with Perry who was 18 while I was at summer camp.  He worked in the kitchen and I was a camper.  He was so sexy and wrote poetry.  He would read to me.  It wasn’t long before my parents broke us up.  The age difference was the main reason.  I had not even entered high school and he had already graduated and was headed to university.  Perry introduced me to proper erotica.   As I was and still am a voracious reader, I was in heaven.  I was relieved to see that there were other people like me, who had cravings like mine.  None of my friends who I tried to confide in understood my cravings at all.  I would end up feeling shamed when I spoke about my desires so I quickly learned not to speak of them.  I also loved sex and had no desire for a monogamous relationship.  This had me labelled as a slut very quickly.

The girls I got involved with didn’t want me to be with boys.  The boys I got involved with wanted me to bring the girls I liked home so they could watch but weren’t happy if I saw them separately.  High school was filled with experimentation and promiscuity.  I did not feel good about myself, however.  I had accepted what others were saying – that there was something wrong with wanting the things I wanted and something wrong with wanting sex with more than one person and something wrong with wanting boys and girls.

I read the Story of O and Return to the Chateau.  At 15 while at summer school, I saw the movie.  I also saw the movie Swept Away with Giancarlo Giannini.  I read 9 ½ weeks.  But I still hadn’t yet had a relationship that included much more than pushing my head down when I was giving head.

I went off to university at 17 in the autumn of 1980.  I was registering for English classes when I saw a lithe man with long hair, a goatee who was smoking a pipe.   I fell for him before we even spoke.  His presence struck me and when he introduced himself, I was stammering.  J and I began a relationship shortly after.  Our sex had more than a little power exchange.  There was some breath play and lots of intensity.  It was electrifying.  This was what I had been fantasising about since I was 9.   Our relationship was cut short by his live in girlfriend just before the end of my freshman year.  By this point, I was a bit less ashamed of my desires.  Some of them had begun to feel just a part of me.  I didn’t feel bad about my love for men and women.  I no longer beat myself up because I often loved more than one person at the same time.  I still felt pressure to fit in to my parent’s model of relationships but I was away at university so I felt a degree of freedom to experiment.

I started sophomore year with a re-newed relationship with J with D’s agreement.  This was my first proper foray into an ethical non-monogamous relationship.  It fit me beautifully.  I was thrilled to be able to be honest and I certainly didn’t want one partner.   The first semester was filled with exploration and lots of seriously hot sex.  I still had a small amount of shame about my desire to engage in rough sex and to be dominated, but I was feeling better and better about myself.

At the end of May, D introduced me to Alton telling me ‘I think you two will really hit it off.’.  Alton was 26 years old and I was just 19.  He was tall, slender with burnt sienna skin, a long-ish brown fro with a small white stripe – reminded me of a lightning bolt.  His eyes were captivating and his voice hit me right in the pussy – deep, smooth, liquid with plenty of bass.    The attraction was immediate.  We went out for a bite after work.  Alton drew all sorts of information out of me during that first talk.  I was unsophisticated and didn’t see how he was leading me.    By the time the evening came to an end, I was lost.  He took me home, kissed me goodnight and arranged to see me the next day.

Alton told me that women he dated had to agree to obey him or he didn’t get involved.  He promised we would go slowly and if there was anything I truly did not want to do, he wouldn’t press me.   He was one of my fantasies come to life.  It didn’t take me long to agree.

The next night, Alton came over and we had sex for hours.  It was hot, intense sex.  He was very large so it took me being extremely aroused to manage his size.   When I gagged on him, he pulled back, helped me to relax and try again.  It got easier to manage his size even when he was controlling the action. Orgasm had mostly alluded me during fucking and or having any kind of penetrative sex and my male lovers to that point didn’t eat pussy.  Orgasm with Alton felt easy.  His hands pulling my head back, his teeth on my neck and breasts while he pounded into me just seemed to work.

This was 1982 and I used a diaphragm for birth control so I didn’t use condoms.  I was careful to make sure my diaphragm was inserted properly.  I didn’t want to get pregnant.  I didn’t worry much about disease as I believed all the myths of the time about catching diseases and most of the things I might catch were relatively easily curable.  I was like most of my peers.  We felt invincible.

After a few days, Alton stopped leaving my place in the morning.  He didn’t move stuff in but he stayed.  10 days after we first went out, we headed out for a drink and his attitude was more serious.  There was an edge I hadn’t seen before.  I didn’t know that he had a cocaine addiction.  In fact, he used intravenously. I didn’t know he was withdrawing and that was making him really ratty.  I didn’t have access to money to give him.  My bills were paid by my parents.  My extra money came from the same job that Alton had – telesales.  I was a supervisor in the office, checking the sales made by the others.

We got to the bar and Alton began to interrogate me.  He asked questions about my other lovers.  He demanded details about what I had done, how I felt.  He told me he didn’t believe that I was committed to him.  He told me he thought I was a fake, not really submissive, not really willing to obey.  I felt confused, hurt and also scared that he would leave.  I was having the best sexual relationship of my life and I had strong feelings for him.  I didn’t want to lose him.  By the time we left, I was feeling off balance.  We were half way down Brookline Ave when he pushed me into a doorway and down to my knees.  He demanded I suck him off.  I was overwhelmed, frightened and a little excited.  My hesitation was met with a growl of ‘Obey!’.  I did and when he finished, he dragged me to my feet and we headed back to my flat.

From that evening, things changed.  Alton was rough and mean in his handling of me so at the end of the day, I said no.  I told him I wanted him to leave.  He laughed at me.  He came for me with a closed fist and began to beat me.  I was shocked, then I struggled but it did no good.  He was far stronger than I.  I screamed but no one came.  Eventually, I just took the beating.  When he finished, I couldn’t put my legs together as my thighs were too bruised.

For 5 days, Alton kept me captive.  He beat me repeatedly.  He raped me repeatedly.  He humiliated me.  Twice he choked me until there was no breath in me and I died.  When I came back it was to him pounding on my chest and giving me mouth to mouth.  He fed me nothing.  He poured alcohol down my throat.   Friends came to see me but I was too afraid to say what was going on directly.  I tried using code.  I was convinced he was going to kill me.   On the 6th morning, Alton got up, showered and dressed and told me he was going out and I wasn’t to talk to anyone or to go out.  An hour after he left, J came by and found me shaking and weak.   My face was covered in little red dots (called petechial hemmorhages) because he burst all my capilliaries strangling me.  The bruising on my vulva and my inner thighs was so severe that my skin was black.    I told J that I needed to get away, that I was in danger.  I packed a gym bag with socks, a t-shirt, sweats and butcher knife, a set of hand cuffs and my jewelry and my journal.  I wouldn’t tell J where I was going.  I was afraid Alton would find out.  I told him I would let him know when I was safe.

I went into Cambridge and was lucky that a good Samaritan found me wandering aimlessly and took me to a café and bought me a meal.  I had no money with me.   He helped me contact D and she met me at the hospital.  The rape exam is a story for another time.   As is the story of the police, preliminary hearing and the eventual plea bargain because the DA was afraid to try to prosecute rape when I had slept with Alton consensually before.

I developed PTSD after this event.  Probably no surprise.  I entered therapy quickly with a lovely older man who was a Jungian analyst.  I remember very little of the contents of the therapy except that I remember a warm non-judgemental presence who helped me to be able to breathe and continue my studies but who was unable to help me get rid of the nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and the intense shame that despite all that Alton did to me, I still wanted rough sex and a dominant partner and there were some things that he did to me that I would fantasise about.

I found myself attracted to older men who had an edge.  These were Vietnam veterans who had PTSD. It was a strange coincidence.  I was now 20 years old and there wasn’t anywhere where I came into contact with veterans.  But I was involved with three in a row. All of them were 16 years or more older than I.   All of them were dominant but only with the last one did I enter any kind of stated power exchange relationship.  My liasions with women during this time were fleeting.   And all of my sexual relationships were tinged with shame.

I graduated from university and re-located to North Carolina where I met S.  This was my next power exchange relationship and I fell into it without really knowing what was happening.  I spent the next year exploring the dynamics of a dominant submissive relationship.  There was just one problem.  I couldn’t surrender.  I wanted to so badly but I couldn’t let go.  Orgasm eluded me as it had mostly since Alton because orgasm meant losing control.  I was fine if I was masturbating because I was safe.  With a partner, orgasm was nigh on impossible.  In the autumn, I left North Carolina for graduate school in clinical psychology in California.

Throughout graduate school, I took reckless sexual risks.  I hooked up with strangers to try out various kinks and BDSM.  Looking back, I’m lucky that I was not injured or killed.  I was in therapy during this time, still trying to get my PTSD symptoms to go away and deal with the resultant depression.  They did not.  Hypervigilance had me walking round the house at night, checking all the windows and doors repeatedly.  I lived with G for a year and he taught me that orgasm was much more likely if someone was eating my pussy.    I had a couple of girl friends who added evidence to this lesson.  I hooked up with J, G and T from university and indulged in group sex.  I spent time on Compuserve and on bulletin boards talking with people who were Masters, slaves, tops, bottoms and into all sorts of kinks.  I went to private parties and underground clubs.  I met K and had a whirlwind romance with elements of all of my desires and it ended badly.  I got involved with a woman who insisted that I was truly a lesbian and that the reason I was sexually unsatisfied was that I hadn’t found the right woman.   She wasn’t the right one.  (This has happened a lot – both men and women have felt the need to explain to me that if I found the right insert gender here I would be het or gay or monogamous or I wouldn’t want kink)

Then I met my first husband at a conference on PTSD and a treatment method called Traumatic Incident Reduction.  His accent did me in.  He was tall with dark hair, moustache and pale skin.  Extremely good looking.  I was on the rebound.    The initial sex was good though very vanilla.  There was no orgasm for me but I enjoyed the sex.

I signed up to experience TIR and spent a week working intensively with a facilitator.  It was nothing short of miraculous.  At the end of that week, my symptoms of PTSD were gone and most of them were never to return. (I still have some hypervigilance in certain situations and get tactile defensive).  I had my energy back.  I was no longer depressed.  I could sleep.  No more flashbacks.  3 months later I agreed to marry Stephen and 3 months after that I was living in the UK.

Stephen was alcoholic.  I hadn’t really understood that until he went into withdrawal before our first wedding date and ended up in hospital with a gastric bleed.  He agreed to stop drinking and did for three years.  Those three years were a nightmare.  Alcoholics who stop drinking are crazy for the first year or two of recovery depending up on the severity and length of the addiction and whether they are working a program.  He was not.  Our sex life was sporadic and not satisfactory for either of us.  I remember clearly when I complained that he didn’t wait for me to even get close to coming, he said that he didn’t care if I came as long as he got his.  When Stephen started drinking again, it got worse.   I had sex 12 times in 8 years.  I finally left.

I met up with N, 4 months later.  He gave me permission to play again.  After 8 years of no sex and at 35 years old, I was back out in the single world.  I did some personal spiritual work and personal development work that left me feeling comfortable with my desire to submit, surrender, be dominated and even comfortable with my more masochistic desires, feeling comfortable with my desire for non-monogamy and happy in my bisexuality.    I told N that I was finally ready to go back and explore BDSM and the rest of my kink.  We enjoyed swinging together and have stayed family to this day.    6 months later, I met my second husband, F.

In hindsight, my hormones were driving my choice of F.  He is 12 years younger than I and was happy to be a stay at home dad.  He was relatively inexperienced sexually and it was quickly apparent that we weren’t sexually compatible.    But my hormones drove me forward.  I wanted a baby and time was running out.  This was not conscious!  Before we married, we clearly made a contract about ethical non-monogamy.  We decided that we needed to talk with each other before seeing another person and that each of us had the right to say we didn’t want a relationship to begin or continue.  F wasn’t interested in any of the kink that captivated me but I wasn’t concerned because I could find other partners to meet those needs.    In theory, it should have worked well.  In practice, it was a disaster.

I had my incredible son and became very ill.  My sex life with F was non-existent.  I began to explore again following the terms of our ethical non-monogamy.  I caught F lying about an online hook up and making plans to bring her to our home when I was away on a business trip.  He apologised and said it wouldn’t happen again.    Two years later, he had a real life affair that lasted over 6 months.   He told me when the husband of the woman he had the affair with threatened to tell me.   We separated 6 months after I found out about the affair.

I spent time in 2004 and 2005 at sex positive and BDSM events in the UK. Time I spent running round with a pro Domme and a pro Master and their pro slave really got me to a place where I felt totally comfortable with all of my sexual self.  I finally felt that I was able to express myself authentically, congruently and with no apologies.

I was in a relationship when I found out about F’s affair.  I continued to pursue this relationship and 6 months later headed to a spirituality conference.  I met TJ, my current husband at this event.  We talked a lot and the electricity was apparent throughout but we didn’t act on it.   We maintained our friendship through FaceBook at first and then through Skype calls.  We had lunch when I visited my boyfriend three months after we first met and this led to our first kiss (He threw me over the bonnet of the car in the midst of a main road in Hollywood.  The kiss was so hot we stopped traffic).  Ours was a power exchange relationship from the start.  We spent time talking and negotiating and being clear about the form we wanted our relationship to take.  4 months later I accepted his collar.  This was in 2009.

In 2010, we attend our first public kink event together.  It was at this event that I met a butch woman with whom I would have a tumultuous two year D/s relationship.  He was there with his wife and the four of us got along really well.  It was 2011 before we managed to hook up and the relationship started with lots of promise.

In 2010, TJ and I started attending an annual BDSM event for POC which lead to attending an annual sex positive BDSM event for POC.  We have developed a circle of friends some of whom are playmates.  We have had the opportunity to play in public, play as a couple with another couple, indulge in some threesomes.

When my relationship the woman I met in 2010 ended in 2013, I entered another relationship with a woman I was close friends with to that point.  I have maintained a number of relationships with women since that time.   I adore my woman only time.

I finally live in congruence.  My sexuality is expressed authentically and I am free to continue to learn and explore.   I no longer have any shame about who I am or how I choose to live my life.  I love my husband, my beloved girlfriend, my friends with benefits.  I love attending sex positive events and trying new things even at the age of 54.   I am grateful to all of the people who have walked a part of this journey with me, including Alton, without whom I would not be the person I am today.  Alton forced me to look at myself from all angles, to learn to love every part of myself because I could not recover from what he did with me otherwise.

Today I talked about sexual trauma, dominance and submission, BDSM, kink, bisexuality and non-monogamy.  If any of these areas resonate for you and you need some help with any issues that arise, email me at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com and I can provide you with resources for further learning or set up a discovery session to talk about what might help you further.

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.

For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://the-intimacy-coach.com and go to the contact page click where it says ‘click here’ to schedule.

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Sex Spoken Here:  Sexual Harassment, #metoo and the impact on current society from flirting to parenting

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.

When the headlines broke about Harvey Weinstein, my first response was an internal sigh that in the 21st century men still feel free to oppress women.   As more and more women stood up to say #metoo, I found myself filling with rage as it became clear that this was the status quo rather than an anomaly.

Then as the allegations spread to other prominent men in Hollywood, in politics my rage turned to despair at how pervasive the harassment and intimidation is.

Initially, this played out over gender lines.  Prominent men sexually harassed women.  The focus was on entertainment and the arts and then it moved to politics.    Everyone agreed that this happened in companies and corporations too.    Then the allegations from men began.  Thus far these allegations have been against other men.  However, I have worked with many men who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by women over the years and women as well.

This is because sexual harassment is not about sex.

It is about power.  Sir John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton’s best known remark was ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men’.    Is this so or does power just tend to bring out a person’s pre-existing ethical standards?   Research suggests that power allows the true self to emerge.   Other research highlights the paradox of power which is that the personality traits that allow the person to gain power seem to disappear as soon as control is gained.  To gain power, you have to court the favour of the people who can put you in power.  However, people in power have more choices.  They are less likely to consider the position or situation of others as they did when they were trying to gain power.  This is, in part, because they are not expected to consider others.      When someone gains power, other people are often seen in terms of what they can do for the one in power and if the battle for power was a harsh one, they can be seen as the spoils of war.

Why else does power corrupt?  It inflates the ego and encourages us to act from unconscious or subconscious desire.  It grants license to act decisively seemingly without a concern about the consequences because people in power can feel they are insulated from responsibility.   People become hypocrites.  They may know the right thing to do but power allows them the ability to more easily rationalise unethical behaviour.

French philosopher Paul-Michel Foucault addressed the relationship between power and knowledge by looking at power dynamics and how they are used as a form of social control.  He emphasised that power changes our thinking drastically and that this in turn changes our behaviour.   If we are to address the pattern of sexual harassment in our society, we must address the changes in thinking that power creates.  In order to make any substantive changes, we have to deconstruct our long term ways of thinking about men and women, about the benefits of power, the permissions that power grants in any industry.  We need to look at the perceived rewards of reaching a place of power.

We also need to look at our definitions of personal boundaries.

These are the limits and rules that people create to identify acceptable and safe ways for others to interact with them and behave towards them and how they will react when other people violate those boundaries.  Boundaries are made up from our beliefs, attitudes, past experiences and societal norms.  Jacques Lacan saw these boundaries as layered in hierarchies from the societal boundaries, to smaller cultural subgroup boundaries to family boundaries and then to those of the individual.

These two concepts (power and boundaries) are central to the issue of sexual harassment.  From present society, the idea that a person in power has a right to violate personal physical and sexual boundaries pervades many workplace settings.  ‘He’s only flirting’ or ‘He doesn’t mean it’ are frequent excuses for boundary violations.   The lack of swift action when boundaries are violated only serves to keep these beliefs in place and strengthen them.    There is a saying ‘Strong fences make good neighbours.’  This is essential when talking about boundaries and rules in relation to appropriate behaviour in the workplace and sexual behaviour in the workplace.    Relationships work best when everyone knows what the boundaries and rules are in advance and agrees to them.

Sexual harassment works because it undermines respect, shames the person who is being harassed and diminishes his or her power.  Sexual harassment controls using fear and shame.    To get rid of its power, the fear and shame need to be broken.    Speaking out is step one to ending the fear and the shame and to setting clear solid boundaries.

One of the problems highlighted is the multiple meanings conveyed in our language and how we often don’t speak about sex and love directly.  This can lead to misunderstandings.  In addition, men and women communicate differently.   Joking about sex is a more male form of communication.    A number of people have suggested that perhaps harassment isn’t actually as prevalent but that there are just lots of misunderstandings. Unfortunately, this is bullshit.  People in power have used sex and sexuality to harass throughout history.

As an adult, I need to take responsibility for my boundaries.

There is law in place to address harassment now and although the journey of taking a complaint to court is an awful one, it is still a remedy available to me.  As an adult, I need to be clear about setting my boundaries and speaking out at the first sign of violation.  If someone flirts with me and I find this uncomfortable, I need to say so and I need to make sure that my behaviour is appropriate as well.  It isn’t OK if I flirt and then complain about someone flirting with me.

How do you set boundaries when you haven’t ever really learned the skill?  First examine your own experiences of being a victim of boundary violation or harassment.

  • Sit down and think about the first time you experienced a boundary violation or sexual harassment.  How did you feel at the time?  How did you react?  Did you confront the person who violated you?  Did you tell anyone else?  Were there any sanctions?  How did you feel about the sanctions?  Does this incident still impact you today?  If so, how.  What needs to change to stop the impact?
  • Think about the next experience if there is one and ask yourself the same questions. Notice if you see a pattern of responses, reactions and if you have any new insights.
  • Next think about the times when you violated someone’s boundaries or sexually harassed them. Most people can find one experience where they violated someone’s boundaries. How did you feel at the time?  How did the person respond?  How did you feel when you understood that you had violated their boundaries and/or sexually harassed them?  Did you apologise?  Did you make amends?  Were there consequences?  How did you feel about the consequences?  Does this incident still impact you today? If so, how?  What needs to happen to stop the impact?
  • Next set new boundaries. To do this you need to figure out what your boundaries are.   I realise this sounds obvious however lots of people don’t pay attention to what they are comfortable with and uncomfortable with.  They allow others to make the decision until they feel violated and then they are upset and unsure as to what to do.
  • Write out your boundaries in relation to different settings. For example, you note that you don’t like to be hugged by people who you do not know well so you set this as a boundary for all settings.  You note that you don’t like to be touched at all by anyone you don’t know so you choose not to shake hands when you meet people.
  • Start practicing implementing your boundaries. Notice your own response as you do.  The more you practice the easier it will become.
  • If your boundaries are violated, practice handling the situation calmly and firmly.  Pay attention to the impact on you and the other party.

When you have completed these steps, you may gain new insight into your patterns of experience and this may lead to positive changes in feeling and behaviour.   If you find that you are still impacted by these experiences or if you see a long pattern of experiences, you may benefit from some specific therapy or coaching sessions to clarify the on-going issues and resolve any that are still problematic.

I have noticed that the focus on women being victimised via sexual harassment and sexual assault in other settings and the incidence of sexual abuse has led to some drastic changes in boundaries in school settings in particular and in workplace settings.    The pendulum has swung to the opposite pole in some settings.  Touch is no longer acceptable at all since all touch is seen as sexual and a violation of individual boundaries.  This trend is very worrying.  Touch is a necessary part of human life.  Lots of touch is healing and appropriate.  Teaching young children to see touch as inherently sexual and to see most sexual touch as ‘inappropriate’ will lead to a generation of adults who have even more shame and more issues around sex and sexuality.    It isn’t necessary for this to happen.  It is possible to create healthy boundaries around touch, sex and sexual curiosity without adding shame and fear to the messages.

Sexual curiosity is a normal part of sexual development.

First young children (as young as 18 months) discover their own bodies and experiment to see how their bodies respond.  Then young children become curious about the bodies of others.  Children of 3 and 4 will ask both same sex and opposite sex parents to see their genitals and ask questions about genitals if they do see their parents or siblings.    Responding with anger will create shame and upset.  There is nothing wrong with curiosity.  It is easy to teach a child that certain things (like masturbation) are to be done in private without shaming the child.

 

As children become curious, they become curious about their friends as well.  ‘Playing doctor’ and ‘playing house’  usually involve looking at each other’s private parts.  In the 1960’s and 70’s, children who were caught were told they shouldn’t do this but they were not severely punished.  Most adults understood that this was a normal part of development.  Sometimes it progressed to a kiss, sometimes a bit of touching but in a friendly way and without any coercion.    Adults sometimes shamed their children when they caught them but tended to do this on a mild level as it was not seen as serious.  It should not be seen as serious.  Healthy curiosity is positive.  Telling a child that being curious about someone’s hair, ears, or colour of skin is OK but being curious about their penis or vulva is not OK only serves to give a message that there is something different, shameful or wrong about those parts of our bodies.  Playing doctor or house is usually a co-operative activity.  The only time that adults should get concerned is if there is coercion or a child is trying to insert objects into the other child’s vagina or anus.  If you shame the child, you will teach the child that sexual exploration and questions are to be hidden, that there is something inherently ‘wrong’ with sex.   When we teach them that something is wrong with sex and their bodies, we set them up for boundary violations later on.  When we are shamed, we find it harder to speak up for ourselves.   When we see all parts of ourselves as positive, we find it much easier to react when someone treats us with disrespect or tries to violate our boundaries.    If I love myself and respect myself, I am far less likely to allow you to disrespect me.  If you do, I am much more likely to stand up and speak out.

When we try to criminalise normal sexual behaviour, we create problems for later.

The case in Wisconsin earlier this year when a 6 year old boy was charged with felony sexual assault on a 5 year old girl for playing ‘butt doctor’ with her is a perfect example.  The children were found playing.  She had her panties around her ankles and he was touching the outside of her bum.  The mother of the girl went to the police and the district attorney decided to charge this child.    I would laugh at the absurdity of this but the consequences are enormous.  The boy, if convicted, would have to register as a sex offender from when he was 18 years old.      The little girl was not upset.  The game was consensual.  What message are we giving this boy?  He is told he is ‘bad’ not that his behaviour is bad.  He doesn’t even understand why everyone is so upset with him.  Nor does his friend.  Her mother is very upset but she doesn’t understand why.  She, too, is shamed.    He is likely to develop anxiety at the least and he could develop symptoms of depression.    It will likely effect his sexual development which up until that point was healthy.

It isn’t difficult to tell the difference between sexual assault/abuse and playing doctor.  If a child is forcing another (usually much younger) child to engage in sexual acts or play, this is abusive.    If a child is upset by being touched or looked at and the other child does not stop, this is abusive.  Otherwise, it is experimentation.    We need to consider the messages we are giving our children as we work to teach men and women more equitable ways of relating to each other and to teach them to stop using sex and sexuality to control and denigrate others.   Pay attention to the specific education you give children around sex, gender and sexuality.

Today I spoke about sexual harassment, sexual assault, boundaries, violation of boundaries, ‘playing doctor’ and teaching children about sex, sexuality, gender and boundaries.  If you were triggered or if this resonates with you, do email me. drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com .

Related resources:

How to Support a Partner Who Has Experienced Sexual Trauma

4 Steps to Having Open and Honest Talks about Sex with Your Kids

When is the Best Time to Tell Your Kids About Sex?

20 Things Not to Say to Sexual Abuse Survivors

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 if you like the show. The next four people who leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher will receive a 10% discount on any of my services.

 

 

Sex Spoken Here: Sex Love Stories 1 Intro and My Story

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 I am starting a series that is different from the ones I usually do.  Since I started this podcast, I have covered different topics to do with sex, sexuality, gender and relationships over two or three weeks, looking at each topic in moderate depth.   In this new series, I am interviewing people from all walks of life about their journeys to sexual authenticity and integration.  Different people are in different places on their journeys.  Some are close to the beginning, others in the middle and still others have reached a place of authenticity and integration and their journeys are focused on more pleasure and more learning.    For each story, I’ll give a short summary and I will provide some advice or tips for further learning or help if you need it with any of the issues talked about during the story.     It is my hope that you will see yourself somewhere in these stories and you will gain support and inspiration from them.  Some of them are really hard in places and they also contain great joy.  Your sexual journey is as unique as your lip print (which is as unique as a fingerprint – as is your nose print, ear print and your eyes).

My journey is a long one, so grab a cup of tea, coffee or your favourite tipple, any nibbles you choose and get comfortable.  When you listen to these stories, try to listen without judgement.  Reflect on your own story and each unique piece that makes you authentically you.

Many people believe that all good stories begin ‘Once upon a time’ but that beginning is for a fairy tale and my story starts in the real world.   As a pre-teen, my fantasies were about having a master and living in a bottle like the show I Dream of Jeannie.  I created a decorated a bottle to live in.  I didn’t know why I wanted this, I just did.

By the time I reached my teens, the fantasy was more detailed.  There were Masters and Mistresses, and other slave women (for that is how I saw the genie).   I was sexually precocious for a number of reasons that I will leave for another day.  At 13, I was desperate to lose my virginity but I was ashamed of my desire.  I got it in my head that doing so at 13 would be too young and therefore make me a slut so I decided to wait until after my 14th birthday.  I had a boyfriend at the time and I made him wait until 10 days after my 14th birthday.   Before my birthday, I discovered the joys of blow jobs.  I loved the feelings that giving a blow job gave me.  My boyfriend counted himself lucky.

My boyfriend’s parents were divorced.  He was 16 and lived with his mom.  She didn’t mind him bringing me to his bedroom.  As a result, I lost my virginity in a comfortable room, in a clean comfortable bed, with Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon album playing on the stereo.  We used condoms and he was careful to work on arousing me before the first penetration.  There was nothing at all traumatic about the experience.  It hurt a little but within a few minutes it was feeling good.   It was a great entry to the world of fucking and I have been grateful for this ever since.  When I finally did experience traumatic sex, I knew that sex could be seriously good which meant I knew it could be again.

Shortly after this, I had my first proper girlfriend.  I had fooled around with some of my female friends earlier – kissing here and there, an occasional fondle.  S was my first real girlfriend.  With her, I discovered the joys of eating pussy.  At that time, I preferred to be the one giving not receiving.

My desires to be forced, to be a slave, to be told what to do, just increased as time went on.  At 14, I got involved with Perry who was 18 while I was at summer camp.  He worked in the kitchen and I was a camper.  He was so sexy and wrote poetry.  He would read to me.  It wasn’t long before my parents broke us up.  The age difference was the main reason.  I had not even entered high school and he had already graduated and was headed to university.  Perry introduced me to proper erotica.   As I was and still am a voracious reader, I was in heaven.  I was relieved to see that there were other people like me, who had cravings like mine.  None of my friends who I tried to confide in understood my cravings at all.  I would end up feeling shamed when I spoke about my desires so I quickly learned not to speak of them.  I also loved sex and had no desire for a monogamous relationship.  This had me labelled as a slut very quickly.

The girls I got involved with didn’t want me to be with boys.  The boys I got involved with wanted me to bring the girls I liked home so they could watch but weren’t happy if I saw them separately.  High school was filled with experimentation and promiscuity.  I did not feel good about myself, however.  I had accepted what others were saying – that there was something wrong with wanting the things I wanted and something wrong with wanting sex with more than one person and something wrong with wanting boys and girls.

I read the Story of O and Return to the Chateau.  At 15 while at summer school, I saw the movie.  I also saw the movie Swept Away with Giancarlo Giannini.  I read 9 ½ weeks.  But I still hadn’t yet had a relationship that included much more than pushing my head down when I was giving head.

I went off to university at 17 in the autumn of 1980.  I was registering for English classes when I saw a lithe man with long hair, a goatee who was smoking a pipe.   I fell for him before we even spoke.  His presence struck me and when he introduced himself, I was stammering.  J and I began a relationship shortly after.  Our sex had more than a little power exchange.  There was some breath play and lots of intensity.  It was electrifying.  This was what I had been fantasising about since I was 9.   Our relationship was cut short by his live in girlfriend just before the end of my freshman year.  By this point, I was a bit less ashamed of my desires.  Some of them had begun to feel just a part of me.  I didn’t feel bad about my love for men and women.  I no longer beat myself up because I often loved more than one person at the same time.  I still felt pressure to fit in to my parent’s model of relationships but I was away at university so I felt a degree of freedom to experiment.

I started sophomore year with a re-newed relationship with J with D’s agreement.  This was my first proper foray into an ethical non-monogamous relationship.  It fit me beautifully.  I was thrilled to be able to be honest and I certainly didn’t want one partner.   The first semester was filled with exploration and lots of seriously hot sex.  I still had a small amount of shame about my desire to engage in rough sex and to be dominated, but I was feeling better and better about myself.

At the end of May, D introduced me to Alton telling me ‘I think you two will really hit it off.’.  Alton was 26 years old and I was just 19.  He was tall, slender with burnt sienna skin, a long-ish brown fro with a small white stripe – reminded me of a lightning bolt.  His eyes were captivating and his voice hit me right in the pussy – deep, smooth, liquid with plenty of bass.    The attraction was immediate.  We went out for a bite after work.  Alton drew all sorts of information out of me during that first talk.  I was unsophisticated and didn’t see how he was leading me.    By the time the evening came to an end, I was lost.  He took me home, kissed me goodnight and arranged to see me the next day.

Alton told me that women he dated had to agree to obey him or he didn’t get involved.  He promised we would go slowly and if there was anything I truly did not want to do, he wouldn’t press me.   He was one of my fantasies come to life.  It didn’t take me long to agree.

The next night, Alton came over and we had sex for hours.  It was hot, intense sex.  He was very large so it took me being extremely aroused to manage his size.   When I gagged on him, he pulled back, helped me to relax and try again.  It got easier to manage his size even when he was controlling the action. Orgasm had mostly alluded me during fucking and or having any kind of penetrative sex and my male lovers to that point didn’t eat pussy.  Orgasm with Alton felt easy.  His hands pulling my head back, his teeth on my neck and breasts while he pounded into me just seemed to work.

This was 1982 and I used a diaphragm for birth control so I didn’t use condoms.  I was careful to make sure my diaphragm was inserted properly.  I didn’t want to get pregnant.  I didn’t worry much about disease as I believed all the myths of the time about catching diseases and most of the things I might catch were relatively easily curable.  I was like most of my peers.  We felt invincible.

After a few days, Alton stopped leaving my place in the morning.  He didn’t move stuff in but he stayed.  10 days after we first went out, we headed out for a drink and his attitude was more serious.  There was an edge I hadn’t seen before.  I didn’t know that he had a cocaine addiction.  In fact, he used intravenously. I didn’t know he was withdrawing and that was making him really ratty.  I didn’t have access to money to give him.  My bills were paid by my parents.  My extra money came from the same job that Alton had – telesales.  I was a supervisor in the office, checking the sales made by the others.

We got to the bar and Alton began to interrogate me.  He asked questions about my other lovers.  He demanded details about what I had done, how I felt.  He told me he didn’t believe that I was committed to him.  He told me he thought I was a fake, not really submissive, not really willing to obey.  I felt confused, hurt and also scared that he would leave.  I was having the best sexual relationship of my life and I had strong feelings for him.  I didn’t want to lose him.  By the time we left, I was feeling off balance.  We were half way down Brookline Ave when he pushed me into a doorway and down to my knees.  He demanded I suck him off.  I was overwhelmed, frightened and a little excited.  My hesitation was met with a growl of ‘Obey!’.  I did and when he finished, he dragged me to my feet and we headed back to my flat.

From that evening, things changed.  Alton was rough and mean in his handling of me so at the end of the day, I said no.  I told him I wanted him to leave.  He laughed at me.  He came for me with a closed fist and began to beat me.  I was shocked, then I struggled but it did no good.  He was far stronger than I.  I screamed but no one came.  Eventually, I just took the beating.  When he finished, I couldn’t put my legs together as my thighs were too bruised.

For 5 days, Alton kept me captive.  He beat me repeatedly.  He raped me repeatedly.  He humiliated me.  Twice he choked me until there was no breath in me and I died.  When I came back it was to him pounding on my chest and giving me mouth to mouth.  He fed me nothing.  He poured alcohol down my throat.   Friends came to see me but I was too afraid to say what was going on directly.  I tried using code.  I was convinced he was going to kill me.   On the 6th morning, Alton got up, showered and dressed and told me he was going out and I wasn’t to talk to anyone or to go out.  An hour after he left, J came by and found me shaking and weak.   My face was covered in little red dots (called petechial hemmorhages) because he burst all my capilliaries strangling me.  The bruising on my vulva and my inner thighs was so severe that my skin was black.    I told J that I needed to get away, that I was in danger.  I packed a gym bag with socks, a t-shirt, sweats and butcher knife, a set of hand cuffs and my jewelry and my journal.  I wouldn’t tell J where I was going.  I was afraid Alton would find out.  I told him I would let him know when I was safe.

I went into Cambridge and was lucky that a good Samaritan found me wandering aimlessly and took me to a café and bought me a meal.  I had no money with me.   He helped me contact D and she met me at the hospital.  The rape exam is a story for another time.   As is the story of the police, preliminary hearing and the eventual plea bargain because the DA was afraid to try to prosecute rape when I had slept with Alton consensually before.

I developed PTSD after this event.  Probably no surprise.  I entered therapy quickly with a lovely older man who was a Jungian analyst.  I remember very little of the contents of the therapy except that I remember a warm non-judgemental presence who helped me to be able to breathe and continue my studies but who was unable to help me get rid of the nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and the intense shame that despite all that Alton did to me, I still wanted rough sex and a dominant partner and there were some things that he did to me that I would fantasise about.

I found myself attracted to older men who had an edge.  These were Vietnam veterans who had PTSD. It was a strange coincidence.  I was now 20 years old and there wasn’t anywhere where I came into contact with veterans.  But I was involved with three in a row. All of them were 16 years or more older than I.   All of them were dominant but only with the last one did I enter any kind of stated power exchange relationship.  My liasions with women during this time were fleeting.   And all of my sexual relationships were tinged with shame.

I graduated from university and re-located to North Carolina where I met S.  This was my next power exchange relationship and I fell into it without really knowing what was happening.  I spent the next year exploring the dynamics of a dominant submissive relationship.  There was just one problem.  I couldn’t surrender.  I wanted to so badly but I couldn’t let go.  Orgasm eluded me as it had mostly since Alton because orgasm meant losing control.  I was fine if I was masturbating because I was safe.  With a partner, orgasm was nigh on impossible.  In the autumn, I left North Carolina for graduate school in clinical psychology in California.

Throughout graduate school, I took reckless sexual risks.  I hooked up with strangers to try out various kinks and BDSM.  Looking back, I’m lucky that I was not injured or killed.  I was in therapy during this time, still trying to get my PTSD symptoms to go away and deal with the resultant depression.  They did not.  Hypervigilance had me walking round the house at night, checking all the windows and doors repeatedly.  I lived with G for a year and he taught me that orgasm was much more likely if someone was eating my pussy.    I had a couple of girl friends who added evidence to this lesson.  I hooked up with J, G and T from university and indulged in group sex.  I spent time on Compuserve and on bulletin boards talking with people who were Masters, slaves, tops, bottoms and into all sorts of kinks.  I went to private parties and underground clubs.  I met K and had a whirlwind romance with elements of all of my desires and it ended badly.  I got involved with a woman who insisted that I was truly a lesbian and that the reason I was sexually unsatisfied was that I hadn’t found the right woman.   She wasn’t the right one.  (This has happened a lot – both men and women have felt the need to explain to me that if I found the right insert gender here I would be het or gay or monogamous or I wouldn’t want kink)

Then I met my first husband at a conference on PTSD and a treatment method called Traumatic Incident Reduction.  His accent did me in.  He was tall with dark hair, moustache and pale skin.  Extremely good looking.  I was on the rebound.    The initial sex was good though very vanilla.  There was no orgasm for me but I enjoyed the sex.

I signed up to experience TIR and spent a week working intensively with a facilitator.  It was nothing short of miraculous.  At the end of that week, my symptoms of PTSD were gone and most of them were never to return. (I still have some hypervigilance in certain situations and get tactile defensive).  I had my energy back.  I was no longer depressed.  I could sleep.  No more flashbacks.  3 months later I agreed to marry Stephen and 3 months after that I was living in the UK.

Stephen was alcoholic.  I hadn’t really understood that until he went into withdrawal before our first wedding date and ended up in hospital with a gastric bleed.  He agreed to stop drinking and did for three years.  Those three years were a nightmare.  Alcoholics who stop drinking are crazy for the first year or two of recovery depending up on the severity and length of the addiction and whether they are working a program.  He was not.  Our sex life was sporadic and not satisfactory for either of us.  I remember clearly when I complained that he didn’t wait for me to even get close to coming, he said that he didn’t care if I came as long as he got his.  When Stephen started drinking again, it got worse.   I had sex 12 times in 8 years.  I finally left.

I met up with N, 4 months later.  He gave me permission to play again.  After 8 years of no sex and at 35 years old, I was back out in the single world.  I did some personal spiritual work and personal development work that left me feeling comfortable with my desire to submit, surrender, be dominated and even comfortable with my more masochistic desires, feeling comfortable with my desire for non-monogamy and happy in my bisexuality.    I told N that I was finally ready to go back and explore BDSM and the rest of my kink.  We enjoyed swinging together and have stayed family to this day.    6 months later, I met my second husband, F.

In hindsight, my hormones were driving my choice of F.  He is 12 years younger than I and was happy to be a stay at home dad.  He was relatively inexperienced sexually and it was quickly apparent that we weren’t sexually compatible.    But my hormones drove me forward.  I wanted a baby and time was running out.  This was not conscious!  Before we married, we clearly made a contract about ethical non-monogamy.  We decided that we needed to talk with each other before seeing another person and that each of us had the right to say we didn’t want a relationship to begin or continue.  F wasn’t interested in any of the kink that captivated me but I wasn’t concerned because I could find other partners to meet those needs.    In theory, it should have worked well.  In practice, it was a disaster.

I had my incredible son and became very ill.  My sex life with F was non-existent.  I began to explore again following the terms of our ethical non-monogamy.  I caught F lying about an online hook up and making plans to bring her to our home when I was away on a business trip.  He apologised and said it wouldn’t happen again.    Two years later, he had a real life affair that lasted over 6 months.   He told me when the husband of the woman he had the affair with threatened to tell me.   We separated 6 months after I found out about the affair.

I spent time in 2004 and 2005 at sex positive and BDSM events in the UK. Time I spent running round with a pro Domme and a pro Master and their pro slave really got me to a place where I felt totally comfortable with all of my sexual self.  I finally felt that I was able to express myself authentically, congruently and with no apologies.

I was in a relationship when I found out about F’s affair.  I continued to pursue this relationship and 6 months later headed to a spirituality conference.  I met TJ, my current husband at this event.  We talked a lot and the electricity was apparent throughout but we didn’t act on it.   We maintained our friendship through FaceBook at first and then through Skype calls.  We had lunch when I visited my boyfriend three months after we first met and this led to our first kiss (He threw me over the bonnet of the car in the midst of a main road in Hollywood.  The kiss was so hot we stopped traffic).  Ours was a power exchange relationship from the start.  We spent time talking and negotiating and being clear about the form we wanted our relationship to take.  4 months later I accepted his collar.  This was in 2009.

In 2010, we attend our first public kink event together.  It was at this event that I met a butch woman with whom I would have a tumultuous two year D/s relationship.  He was there with his wife and the four of us got along really well.  It was 2011 before we managed to hook up and the relationship started with lots of promise.

In 2010, TJ and I started attending an annual BDSM event for people of colour and their allies  which lead to attending an annual sex positive BDSM event for people of colour.  We have developed a circle of friends some of whom are playmates.  We have had the opportunity to play in public, play as a couple with another couple, indulge in some threesomes.

When my relationship the woman I met in 2010 ended in 2013, I entered another relationship with a woman I was close friends with to that point.  I have maintained a number of relationships with women since that time.   I adore my woman only time.

I finally live in congruence.  My sexuality is expressed authentically and I am free to continue to learn and explore.   I no longer have any shame about who I am or how I choose to live my life.  I love my husband, my beloved girlfriend, my friends with benefits.  I love attending sex positive events and trying new things even at the age of 54.   I am grateful to all of the people who have walked a part of this journey with me, including Alton, without whom I would not be the person I am today.  Alton forced me to look at myself from all angles, to learn to love every part of myself because I could not recover from what he did with me otherwise.

Today I talked about sexual trauma, dominance and submission, BDSM, kink, bisexuality and non-monogamy.  If any of these areas resonate for you and you need some help with any issues that arise, email me at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com and I can provide you with resources for further learning or set up a discovery session to talk about what might help you further.

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.For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://www.the-intimacy-coach.com and click the button that says Schedule Now!Please leave a review on iTunes and stitcher.

I look forward to seeing you for next week’s sex love story.

 

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 I am continuing my series about the care and feeding of the vagina.

Joining me today to continue the discussion is Michele Brookhaus RSHom(NA), CCH, passionately embraces her mission as Yoni whisperer and soother of all things feminine. As Creator of Yoni Bliss, a homeopathic medicinal as well as a personal exploration and healing of both the physical and metaphysical vulva/womb, she fiercely acknowledges the power of the Yoni (vagina) to direct and defend woman’s innate creativity and capacity for unbounded pleasure, wisdom and satisfaction.

20 years a homeopath and healer she studies with world renowned teachers in the fields of homeopathy, energy healing, neurolinguistic programming and other modalities. She loves honing her skills and is a healer of healers and mentor of mentors.

As a thought leader picked up by Huffington Post, Prevention, the Good Men Project, as well as Thought Catalogue, The Vaccine Reaction and Yahoo Parenting, she is tickled to find herself on the forefront of women’s empowerment, helping women remember and find the truth in, and the possibility of pleasure, fun and satisfaction.

Yoni Bliss chose her as CEO (chief exhilaration officer),  because she has come to KNOW that enough is enough. Her own Yoni has rooted her in this knowing. And so she offers not just a product, but classes, retreats, individual sessions both virtually and in person for women wishing to know this for themselves. Sensual, Wise, Satisfied, that’s her call to you.

Michele lives in the Pacific Northwest, and her 23 year old inspirational son does too (though far enough away so she doesn’t bug him too much0  She loves Bikram yoga, Salsa dancing, and listening to her Yoni.

We started talking about the vagina, sex and lubrication and all the things that can impact upon lubrication at different parts of our lives.

We moved on to talking about the differences between women’s vaginas, clitorises and the fact that so many women have no idea that each woman is different.  Michele spoke about the homeopathic remedies in Yonis Bliss – Chamomile that helps calm the nervous system and promote relaxation in particular.

We spoke about the use of arnica (though it is not in this product) to tame pain and bruises and reduce swelling and Michele said she thought it would be interesting to put this remedy in a lube. I said it would be excellent for rough sex, anal sex and BDSM.

We spoke about the days when women’s encounter groups were common and that more intimacy was encouraged and Michele talked about noticing more retreats now that focus on women learning about their bodies, vagina, and their own desire.    We spoke about teaching women in a different way with an emphasis on the sacred feminine, starting from a place of learning their bodies, learning desire, banishing shame and looking at inviting others into their garden, their intimate places.  We highlighted the fact that this didn’t necessarily mean passivity.  Michele spoke of the strong boundaries that Yoni can set and that women have strength that feels different from the strength of men.  I mentioned that inviting someone in does not preclude power exchange, BDSM or rough sex.  Inviting someone in is the place where consent is discussed and given.

We spoke about healing from sexual trauma and creating a healthy sex life and how coaching and body working and energy work methods can take someone beyond the place straight forward talk therapy can take them.

Michele can be found at http://www.yonisbliss.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YonisBliss/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: @yonisbliss

Michele offers a free 20 minute consultation to see if a VIP (very important pussy) day is in order.

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.  For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://www.the-intimacy-coach.com and click the button that says Schedule Now!  Why not join me for my upcoming free webinar 4 Secrets for Arousing and Igniting Your Authentic Sexual Self.  Click the link in the podcast notes to sign up or head to https://the-intimacy-coach.com/4-secrets/ I look forward to seeing you next week for part 3 of this series.