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New date night ideas! Pick a suggestion and make a sexy date happen.

happy

So it’s late summer and the schedules are irregular. Life is good but there are lots of family, and social obligations and chores to be done. Planning a date night with your partner may have gotten lost in the shuffle. It’s definitely time to pick a few ideas and plan something before homework and football games take over.

1.Try a honey tasting! As a beekeeper and honey sommelier I definitely eat my share of honey. Honey has been known for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Honey not only is an excellent sweetener, will never go bad, and can prevent wound infections it also can boost the immune system, relieve seasonal allergies, and improve gut health.
Honey also tastes amazing and has unique flavours based on the geographical location, types of flower nectar sourced by the bees and how the beekeeper has harvested the honey. Time of the year impacts the flavor of honeys. Autumn honeys tend to be darkest and most full-bodied but crystalizes the most quickly. This is the time of year that it is most flavourful and has the most aphrodisiac properties. Buy a few different local honeys (honeys from the grocery store is often cut with other ingredients or pasteurized- killing the healthy enzymes). Blindfold your partner and pour some honey into a glass. Using a clean spoon have them taste the honey and describe the taste. You can kiss them and let them nibble a little green between honeys to cleanse their palates. Have them pick their favourite. Then you get to spread it on you and have them continue the tasting….

2. Send them text bombs or random questions. Make them into paper airplanes, leave them on the bathroom mirror or in their wallets. It’s a fun thing to do if you have some time and want to find something out about your partner you don’t know.
`What’s something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do it?
`If you were in a witness protection program, what would be your new name and where would you go?
`If you could get away with a crime, would you? If yes, what would it be?
`Who was your first celebrity crush?
`What’s the worst thing you ever did as a child and what was your punishment?
`What is one thing you refuse to share?
`What are two things you would do if you woke up to find yourself completely invisible?
`If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
`If you could be on the cover of any magazine which one would you choose?
`What song would you sing for your American Idol audition?

3. Find the country fairs! Check out the homemade pies, look at the 4 H club livestock judging, go on a merry-go-round, and take in a local band. This is the time of year and there is one on every weekend.

4. Star gazing with foods you haven’t tried before. We like to try mystery fruits. Things like dragonfuit and lychee
and look up at the night sky. This is the best time of year to do this because there aren’t any bugs. You can also do a tailgate picnic in the evening and watch the sun set.

5. Take one of the couple’s cooking classes. Around here the Loblaw’s cooking schools or LCBO classes are fabulous. There is also one every Tuesday night at the Independent at Bank and Somerset where you get a $10 gift card for the $10 class. Loved their pizza making. Playing with dough was sexy.

6. Make a drive-in movie. Lots of people have those projectors that show off computer screens. It can project easily to the side of your house or even a sheet on the wall. But the fun is doing it outside. Run a “drive-in type movie”. Think Indiana Jones, Grease, or The Martian. Sit in the car and make out during it. There is a reason why drive-in’s never go out of style.

How Facebook and Gaming impact your relationships

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We are all guilty of it. Reading Facebook posts, answering emails, or hitting the next level in Candy Crush while our partners are trying to get our attention. We knew it vexed them. Now it has been shown to make your spouse feel like they are not as nearly as important as another few minutes of gaming or of liking your neighbours garden pictures.

We all know how we feel when we are standing in a store and the sales person answers the phone from another customer while you are looking for service. It makes us feel devalued. But how does it really influence relationships? According to the research, recently published in Journal of Family Economic Issues, wives typically use social media more often than their husbands, but that imbalance does not necessarily correlate with marital dissatisfaction. However, when husbands spend more time on social networking than their wives, they are more likely to report marital conflict and so are their spouses. Gaming, too, seemed connected with marital dissatisfaction. If either the husband or the wife was spending more time playing video games, it was associated with higher conflict, lower satisfaction and higher perceived instability in the marriage.
So is the answer simply less technology?

It turns out one of the best markers to deal with increasing speed of life and more social media and phone interruptions is to schedule date nights. Check out my new list of new date night ideas for late summer early fall. Or if you are local join our fun, zany date night group called The Ducklings that is the fastest growing social group in the city. It’s somewhere between Rotary or Church groups and crazy swingers and is all about being sexy but safe with your partner. Connecting with your sweetie takes work, time and mindfulness. Do something with your partner today that makes them feel important. And do it without technology.

New research shows selfless people have more sex

selfless3So that hot bed of sex research North Bay, Ontario (smile) came out with a great new study this month talking about how kind people get more sex. It’s long been proven that lovers who put their partners first get way, way more sex than those who take care of their own needs first. But now the research out of Nippising University shows that donating blood, giving generously to charity, helping little old ladies cross the street, and being an all round nice person makes you more sexually attractive.
Dr.Steven Arnocky, one of the the studies authors said

“We’ve provided the first empirical evidence that altruism may tangibly benefit mating in humans living in Western industrialized society. It appears that altruism evolved in our species, in part, because it serves as a signal of other underlying desirable qualities, which helps individuals reproduce.”

Previous studies showed that if you add altruism to a man, women find him more attractive. Dr. Arnocky’s study shows how this can translate into the very tangible benefits of more sex. Women especially find men that give back really sexy.

The findings support previous research that focused on food sharing by hunters among non-kin as a form of altruism, which show that men who hunt – and share – meat enjoy greater reproductive success. As well, research has previously shown that individuals report preferring altruistic mates, all else being equal.
The study also found that altruism seems to work more effectively for men in terms of attracting a partner. Altruism, it seems, is a powerful attractant for females, which is obviously good news for nice guys as well as local charities.
One question that remains is: are people more altruistic because they are having sex? Or, are they having more sex because they are altruistic?

I think that the adage that kindness and manners matter and that mean people are profoundly unattractive crops up in all aspects of relationships. This study is a good reminder that it is not what you look like but who you are that attracts a partner of quality.

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Next boudoir date. September 11th, 2016. Look back at your hot self when you are 80!

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Sunday, September 11th, 2016 11-6 pm
Boudoir Photography and party with champagne, great food, friends, chocolate and sexy pictures!

We love doing boudoir. It’s becomes magical. Women feeling beautiful, empowered and we watch them find thier authentic sex selves. Anyone who has done them raves about them. We get top, professional makeup application (Annie Lefevre blows everyone away with her art and skill), and Nicky Murphy photographer (who regularly charges over $1500 for her shoots) will be doing this to give you the pictures of a lifetime. Usually a $2000 shoot all in. By turning it into a party (with economies of scale) we can do the event for $150 per person.

Look back on yourself when you are 80 and see how hot you really were! Do it for yourself, to torment the guys who might possibly see them with your beauty or give it as a for-his-eyes-only gift. Sexy couple photos are also welcome if you would prefer to do them together.

Mimosa’s, (champagne and orange juice) chocolate, and the sexiest photos you can imagine! It’s safe, discreet, private, and super fun!

Women or couples, it’s sensuous (but safe), erotic and fun. Participants can wear whatever they would like (bring it with you) and you have time for one change of outfits. You have a private area for photo’s and it’s all relaxed and discreet. Professional makeup artist Annie Lefevre will be there to transform you. You need to have your own hair done when you arrive. It all happens in Westboro 81 Pooler Ave. on Sunday, September 11th, 2016. So pictures, food, and community!

Bring something yummy to share and I’ll make up pitchers of our trademarked sangria and mimosa’s. We have limited room for photos so it is a first come first serve. Cost is $150 which includes makeup, photo shoot, and two photographs. You may purchase the library of 20 other shots (the ones where you aren’t blinking) directly from the photographer for an additional $50.

Given that there are upfront expenses, you need to pay in advance here, or commit to paying in cash and NOT BAILING! Given that we have to commit to the photographe and makeup, we need 10 days notice to cancel once you commit or you will be billed for missing the event.





Read about past boudoir reviews here!

Every woman needs a picture where they look and feel truly beautiful. And every couple needs to have sexy shots together!

No matter your age, size or ability.

If you want one of those shots you can look at when you are 80, still hot for each other and goosing each other around the anniversary cake then this is the day for you. Think relaxed, loving, elegant with Ottawa’s premier boudoir photographer. If you’ve never had a sensuous photo of you and your sweetie taken, give it some thought. It’s unbelievably intimate and you can look back on yourself as the hot hot couple or have something to embarrass your kids with. We provide professional make up application, martini’s and fantastic food samplings along with a romance picture that will last a lifetime. All for the insanely low price of $140!!! You get private time with the photographer in any outfit and any poses that makes you feel sexy and comfortable.

You bring whatever outfits you want to wear. Or have it clothing optional. It can be anything you feel sexy in. I’ve taken my picture in nothing but a Sens jersey. Smile. We also share food so bring a dish of munchies to pass around.

Space is limited and I’ll pass out appointment times. Affordable, fun, and gentle. I guarantee it will be your sweetie’s favourite photo and you’ll look at it together over and over again. Send me an email to suem@rogers.com if you are interested in participating.
Price is $150 (either cash in person with a firm commitment, or below) and includes make up, drinks and lots of fun stuff.

Read some testimonials!

I suggest this for everyone. It’s a lot of fun, and very affordable for those on a budget! Leila

Hi Sue,

I wanted to write and let you know how much I enjoyed Sunday. It was a fabulous opportunity to have photos taken, and I was delighted to participate.

But more, you gathered a wonderful community of women, and it was so good to be part of it. Circles of women are so important- to be in a group that is multi-generational, and supportive, and have the opportunity to visit, and share and just be, is priceless.

Thank you for creating such a welcoming and open space- the location was wonderful, and I appreciated the well-orchestrated and low-key event. It was easy to relax and lovely to have the space and quiet to actually visit with people and get a sense of who they were.

And oh my, I can’t wait for the pictures!

Hugs,
Tracy

Sue invited me, to her Boudoir shoot (just in time for the holidays – great gift for hubby) and with slight hesitation jumped at the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and into my birthday suit! Literally.
Met several like-minded beauties over hors d’ouvers and a few bevvies. Make up was beautifully done and then: Lights. Camera. Action! Nicole is a wonderful photographer who was easy to work with and made me feel at ease!
Cheers to you Sue – the effervescent hostess. What a great way to spend a few hours. Looking forward to seeing my husbands face when he opens up his ‘special gift’! xo

Thanks again!
C

I’m so happy with how these turned out. Lisa did an awesome job of capturing the good bits and leaving out the ones I wasn’t too keen on. Love the way I look in them.Thanks again for organizing.

“To everyone involved in the photoshoot – to Sue for organizing and so much more, to Annie for the excellent makeup and to Lisa Marie for the superb photos. I had a fabulous day and enjoyed every minute of my shoot. I was a tad nervous as never having done this before but I am glad I did. I would highly recommend doing this type of session to anyone that is looking for that extra little ego boost and even if you are not. It does the spirit good!

I found myself looking at the photos over and over as you all helped in bringing out a side that I never saw in myself before. I thank you all for this.”
Sylvie

Hi Sue , thank you so much for inviting me to the shoot today! It was really nice meeting the other ladies. The food was really delicious. The make up artist was very thorough and sweet and professional, very impressed! The photographers were fantastic, they really knew what to suggest for poses, and they were fun, relaxed and worked together smoothly. I can’t wait to see my photos and everyone else’s, let me know what’s involved in seeing them? All the woman will be so happy too, you really put up a great afternoon for us, we really appreciated the work and time it took to pull out all the stops, you rock girl! Have a super work week, let’s keep in touch and will hear from you when you know how we can get our photos.
FP in Ottawa

What a great day! Thanks for making me feel so comfortable. I can’t wait to see the pics from yesterday now! She said 2 to 3 weeks – but what was the deal with her in terms of what we get to have? I’m curious to see all of them lol – but I trust she will select the best shots to share with us.
HS

Thank you so much! I had an absolutely amazing day yesterday. So many terrific women, all so supportive of the adventure!

I have to say that I left your house feeling like I could take on anything–My husband thinks I was at the best baby shower ever!

I cannot wait to see the photos–I’ll share some with you!

Have an incredible week–thanks again,

Hi Sue – I just wanted to share the pictures I got – I am so so happy – the one of me lying down – my FAV!!!

I am definitely getting the disk now – even accepting my ‘curvier’ look in the black outfit.

Thank you soooo much for organizing it, hosting it and for BEING YOU!

Hugs,
H

Hi Sue!

I’ve received a few of my photos and wanted to share.

Thanks so much for the day–one of the best things I’ve ever done.

The photographer has been awesome!

One photo here, another couple on the way!

Let me know what you think!

Take care,
L

Hi Sue,

I want to say a big thank you for a mega fun afternoon! I met some wonderful ladies in which we were all there for the same reason – to feel better about ourselves and acknowledge that through great photos!! This was my second boudoir experience, but this type of setting was more relaxed and fun then being in a studio! I sooooo can’t wait to see my photos! A BIG thank you to Annie for your fabulous makeup and to Jennifer for making me feel comfortable and sexy! I’m sure that will be reflected in my photos. And thank you to Sue for your hospitality. I had so much fun!!!
Denise

Hi Sue,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to do the boudoir photo shoot. It was a great afternoon. The company was great, as was the food and drink. It felt so decadent to have Annie do my make-up for me. The photo shoot was fantastic! I had been a little anxious as it was my first time but Jen’s calm professional manner put me at ease. She had ideas and was happy to accommodate my ideas as well. The photos were fantastic! I looked beautiful, strong, and sexy- what more can anyone ask for? I wasn’t the only one to appreciate them.  I would recommend this opportunity to any woman; it’s worth it! Thank you!!

The Hugo and why the prostate needs some stimulation

hugo

After the Father’s Day weekend I was reading about the money raised for prostate cancer research and was taken aback by the current Canadian statistics about men and their troubled prostates. It turns out that prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the 3rd leading cause of death from cancer in men in Canada.

It is estimated that in 2016:
• 25,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. And close to 5,000 Canadian men will die of prostate cancer this year.
We have a family friend of twenty years who is six weeks post-surgery to remove a particularly aggressive form of prostate cancer. As he said in his usual off the cuff way, “the prostate is a small organ that most men don’t pay nearly enough attention to until it bites them in the ass”.

The truth is that if men live long enough they will all have problems with their prostate. Most men have an enlargement of their prostate as they age (no one is really sure why) and pound for pound the prostate can hold the most toxins in the body. A number of years ago I was at a urology convention and went to a lecture on prostate cancer prevention. I’m usually frustrated at urology conventions because urologists are so focused on the penis and surrounding tissues they often forget to look at the actual person. But this particular lecture was memorable. For preventing prostate cancer most of the advice was what you would expect. Eat well, exercise regularly, get both blood (PSA) and digital (the rubber glove check) tests. The lecture also emphasized the importance of weekly ejaculations. There is a very strong correlation between an increase in prostate cancer and men who don’t ejaculate. It goes back to “keeping those pipes clean” and getting rid of the toxins. I often write prescriptions that say “must masturbate more”. During the urology lecture there was a much older East Indian urologist who commented that he was taught to offer prostate massage (as part of his residency in India) for men with an enlarged prostate. He said he had rarely heard of prostate stimulation mentioned as a possible tool to help with prostate troubles in North America.

I know how much men hate the dreaded “ bend-over-and-cough” prostate exam by their doctors. I can’t imagine my partner willingly letting an elderly urologist massage his prostate.
Fortunately, there is an easier way.

Lelo the Swedish toy company has come up with an outstanding prostate stimulator. It’s called The Hugo, and it’s this slick, black toy that is easily inserted and vibrates directly on the prostate. I’m sure they did lots of design research, as it is the perfect size, shape and intensity to give the prostate an immediate “wow”. Lelo is known for their research. Getting feedback from actual users is what differentiates a great toy company. It is a wonderful toy to help with anal sex (for both men and women). I spoke with a woman who borrowed her husband’s Hugo to help relax herself before anal sex. It is an ass toy and it is easy to insert.
My favourite feature is the separate remote control that comes with the Hugo. That way you can change the settings and speed of the vibrations in your partner’s rectum while having your feet up. The range in surprisingly far. That means you can control the type of stimulation from the other side of the room if necessary. That certainly appeals to any partner’s dominant nature.

There are many men that are curious about prostate stimulation but hesitate. They worry about being clean enough (something women understand) but also stress about it being “unmanly”. There is certainly lots of baggage in the North American culture about ass play and male-receptive penetration. As Charlie Glickman says in his book “ The Ultimate Guide to prostate Pleasure”, “If finding the prostate didn’t involve going up his ass, it probably would not be so much of an issue- it would be viewed as no different from playing with any other part of the male equipment. Especially as prostate massage can be viewed as both stimulating and healthful.”

So if you are concerned about your prostate, want to play with it (or your partner’s prostate) then I encourage you to go for it. The research is fairly conclusive that massaging that walnut shaped gland between your testicles and your anus will help prevent prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) or even prostate cancer. It also might feel particularly good. No matter what knowing about those squishy boy parts is a public service. So next time you are online or at your local sex shop have a look at the Hugo and add it to your wish list. Remember it’s good for you.

Body Image, Hormones and Boudoir

body image 88As someone who has had more than her share of weight and body image challenges (I have lost over 180 pounds at one time) I continue to research the correlation between hormones, libido and body image as one of the major focuses of my practice. The need to come to terms with the body you have and be gentle with it is something I preach with clients. It’s hard to feel sexy when you are beating yourself up. So a few times a year I host a body image group that ends in a boudoir shoot. With lots of champagne and chocolate. So we have a group starting Tuesday June 14th from 7 to 9:45pm. If you are struggling with weight, body image, hormones and feeling sexy then come join us for three weeks of the best speakers in the city on finding your sexy self.

Small group to kick those crazy messages about your negative body image to the curb for good! Free with your extended health benefits. A boudoir session (with a seriously discounted price) will happen at the end of the workshop so you can find your sexy self.

I believe that all women have body image issues. It’s an issue I see coming up again and again with women in therapy. I see women who have been married for years, have children whose husbands have never seen them naked. I see women who hate their bodies despite having a body I wish I had. I see women for whom food is still the enemy. And ones who think they are too fat to have sex.

There is such a need to re-claim our bodies, start seeing our toes again, and feel sexy in the process that I am starting a women-only 2 hour weekly group starting Tuesday, June 14th 2016 for 3 weeks. It’s going to be small, proactive, and empowering. Think cutting edge information on hormones, weight, and nutrition. Its about learning to love yourself and find your sexy self in the process. The previous groups become have been magic. We connect, we get to the root of these very chewy issues, and we reclaim our intimacy. Amazing speakers, a tremendous amount of material, and a whole new you before the holiday food frenzy begins. Space is very limited. Send me an email now at suem@rogers.com if you’re interested in yourself again.

Balance your hormones, get support and lose weight.
A new women-only support and information workshop that will offer up new solutions and creative ways to connect hosted by Sexuality and Relationship Therapist Sue McGarvie.

The 3 week Workgroup starts Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 for women who want to gain confidence explore sexuality and body image issues and meet like-minded friends.

Is your sexuality diminished because of body-image issues? Well, for many people, its hormonal imbalances that are causing the weight gain. Any woman who has craved chocolate before her period understands the link between food and hormones. Where do you get support that doesn’t make you feel “like nobody understands?”
Clinical Relationship Therapist, Talk Show Host and Hormonal Expert Sue McGarvie has a new program to balance your hormones, and help you feel better about your body.

And Sue should know. Sue lost over 170 pounds simply through hormonal balancing and an understanding of personal bio-chemistry. Her bestselling book The Libido Diet, outlined the specific steps that let her lose half her body weight. Sue is committed to losing that last 40 pounds herself and wants to bring in all the best experts to help model a new support program of fun, love and acceptance.

Find out what you may be missing for real change in a supportive, group environment that brings together Ottawa’s best experts in health, weight loss, hormones and body image.
AT LONG LAST, SOLVE THE BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND BECOME YOUR SEXY SELF.

A month of four Saturday mornings starting June 14th for 2 hours. 7 to 9:30 on Tuesdays. $300 total with full insurance receipts.

81 Pooler Ave. Refreshments
Group support, hormonal solutions, and the latest in sexuality and health information. Be informed and supported.

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Testimonials about the previous groups! Gee Thanks!

Thank you for an amazing experience with our women’s group. It has opened up new doors for me, in ways I could not have imagined. For the first time in ages I feel like I am in control and I can make my dreams come true! I will miss our weekly group but hope to continue my work- moving forward! Thanks so much.
H

Thanks Sue! I loved our group.
I had fun today. Feel much better than I did when I arrived. Thanks for your great company and inspiration. S

Once again, I really benefited from the Saturday woman’s group. A very unique but beneficial service!
Thanks,
B

Sign up now! Full receipts will be provided at the first session!

$300




Low Libido Syndrome. Why men experience a decrease in desire for sex

The desire to get naked, horizontal and sweaty with our partners (potential partner or just a hand and some time alone) should be something that happens at regular intervals for everyone. Sex is the third most common physical need behind the need to eat and survive, and the need to connect and have a clan. You may not have the desire just after you have run a marathon or have the flu, but for most couples sexual desire and activity bubbles up in our bodies at least once a week.

If you are not feeling the urge to jump your sweetie, and are failing to feel the urge to be physically close it might be time to have a look at what’s going on. If you have a low desire for sex, especially if your relationship is strong and loving you might be suffering from low libido syndrome. I see lots of people who remember the sexy person they used to be. And their partners certainly remember that they used to be interested.

Low sex drive is a common problem and by far the most frequent issue I see as a sex therapist. It can get worse as we age. For women, there is an expression “that libido is never improved with menopause”. Oprah speaks often about low libido on her channel and mentions that “diminished libido impacts close to 30% of the North American population”. We understand that with female cycles, low libido is a significant female problem. The truth is that low libido impacts both genders. Many people have this belief that men want sex all the time. Although I speak to many men who could happily have sex every day, I also see guys who have lost that loving feeling.
Low sex drive or low Libido is present in a lot of men, but very few admit it. In my practice, I see 80% women and 20% men. But I do see a lot of men. This is because they have the opinion that it is not a male issue and that they should be all over the partners daily. Their sexual prowess and virility is directly linked to their confidence as a man. Low Libido in men takes place due to a number of reasons and causes. Some of them are listed below.

male libido
• Depression

Depression is a major psychological issue that can reduce your sex drive, especially if you are on the SSRI anti-depressants. Doctors may not tell you that there are often huge side effects with anxiety and depression medications. Anti-depressants also affect your ability to reach orgasm. The other issue is that depression leads to not feeling great about yourself and the biochemistry of serotonin and dopamine imbalances can leave you in a serious funk. You don’t feel like doing much, including having sex. There also might be something that has happened that is taking up tons of brain space. Work stress is a common cause. I see men with big jobs who find their interest in sex goes down when their work stress goes up. It’s why holiday sex happens more easily and is generally more erotic.

The truth is that you cannot attain the needed level of sexual attraction when your mind is stuck up with other issues.

• Alcohol and Drug Usage

All kinds of addictive substances increase the chances of low libido. Men who have been regular drinkers or drug users are rarely able to provide the needed level of satisfaction to their female partners. Smoking (especially the ones grown under grow lamps and rolled) has a serious negative impact on libido and erections. The warning on the cigarette package that smoking makes you limp is not a myth. If you are smoking dope stopping is a great first step. Get some milk thistle at the health food store and detoxify your liver. Have no more than 7 drinks a week and start thinking about abundant health.

• The low testosterone factor

Low Libido has been linked to the deficiency of testosterone. A number of diseases cause the deficiency of testosterone in the human body, including high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and excess of weight, diabetes and a lot of other health problems as well. According to medical research, there is a direct proportionality relationship between diabetes and low testosterone. People who have diabetes are more likely to develop the low testosterone issue. Similarly, people who have low testosterone are more likely to have diabetes in the future stages of their life. Sometimes low testosterone is caused by injury. I’ve seen a number of men who have had a hockey puck to their groin or a soccer ball in the testicles and who have then experienced diminished sex drive and low testosterone. Sometimes when you do blood work there are some men who have low testosterone and have no known reason. But they get what I call “the grumpy old man syndrome”. These guys are quickly turning into their fathers and grandfathers and lose their interest in sex, sports and become couch potatoes. If men are putting on belly fat, fall asleep after dinner and aren’t having the ambition they used to it’s time for a blood test to check the levels of testosterone and free testosterone. Adding testosterone (the best kind looks like hand sanitizer you simply apply to your forearms) can turn these problems around within a month.

• Low Libido can be a relationship issue
When I see men in my office who aren’t interested in sex with their partners I offer up a checklist to determine what might be the reason. Besides the physical issues such as low testosterone, men might be getting their sexual needs met elsewhere (too much porn or visiting the massage parlors etc.) or they might simply not be into their partners. Men think they should be interested in sex no matter what. I believe that men are as emotionally sensitive if not more so than women. If your partner has disappointed you, or you are fighting, then you simply might not be interested in being intimate. And although it might be hard to admit, there might be an attraction issue. As the sex therapist Esther Perel says, “fire needs air”. If you are busy raising kids together and feel like “friends that co-parent” you might need a little mystery put back into the relationship. Read my blog on date nights and spend some time doing the things you did when you first fell in love. The flames of intimacy needs fanning and attention sometimes. Spend some fun, sexy, and intimate alone time with your partner and see what comes up.

• Low Libido has physical as well as psychological reasons

Low libido can be due to physical reasons, psychological reasons or a combination of both as well. As an individual, you need to discover the reasons why you are experiencing a low sex drive. For instance, if you are facing this problem due to psychological reasons like depression, you need to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist. However, if you do not have any psychological issues and you are suffering from a decreased desire have a look at some other factors including relationship problems, pornography usage, and food choices. If you are facing low sex drive, burying your head in the sand doesn’t help. What I do know about low libido is that it doesn’t magically get better. You may need help to drill down to the actual causes of the problem. By getting proper treatment, you can get that strong love back again. Consider an initial appointment either in person or by skype or phone. Usually I can diagnose the issue quickly and it often can be treated in one or two quick sessions. Send me an email at sue@sexwithsue.com and we can tackle this issue in the next 48 hours. I care, and low libido is my specialty.

How to work with relationship deal breakers

What are relationship deal breakers?

I was polling a group of single Duckling women recently and asked them what they could and couldn’t live with in a potential partner. I had the usual answers like “no substance abusing”, “gainfully employed”, and “doesn’t live in his parent’s basement and talk into a pretend communicator”. But there were also more nebulous ones like “I need him to be sexually open and a little kinky”, “he can’t want to move in- I need my space”, and “I need him to have his own teeth and be able to get it up occasionally without duct tape and popsicle sticks.”

In a Psychology Today article (October 2015) they cited a poll from a singles dating site and the list included; Disheveled appearance, lazy, too needy, lacking a sense of humour, bad sex, too much tv or video games, blunt, doesn’t want kids, and low sex drive.
I think I would add to the list, poor oral hygiene, selfish in bed, no sense of humour and has that “smell of desperation” about them as disastrous in a dating situation. Even if they appear initially attractive.
There are many factors that lead to the creation of deal breakers. Some people are turned off by simple things like a walking style while other factors are complex such as double dealing.
You should ask yourself the following questions before dealing with problems so as to get an overview on what your deal breakers are.
1. What are the most common deal breakers for men?
• Health – some people are not hygienic and have bad smell and other suffer from STI’s.
• Dating behaviors – this involves being with multiple partners or pre-existing relationships.
• Negative personality traits – most avoid people who are untrustworthy, are abusive or uncaring. Men seem to have trouble with overt drama, meanness, lack of interest in sex, talking too much, and indecisiveness. As I tell women who are wondering what men want, they want a kind woman who looks good, who rolls with situations and who likes sex and is sexually open.
2. How can we deal with the relationship breakers when meeting a potential partner?
• Know what you want.
Most people know the deal breakers in advance while others don’t recognize them until they encounter the hurt. Know what you can’t tolerate, “set the bar” above this and settle for nothing less. Grow from the lessons leant from past experience.
• Understand expectations
Set your hopes high and go into a date with an open mind. Understand that nobody is perfect and there’s a difference between being impossible to please and being picky.
• Take time to know the other person first
Learn to acquaint yourself with the person before becoming romantic; it can save a lot of frustration.
• Talk to a therapist
When it comes to understanding what is important to you in a potential relationship have a look at why previous relationships haven’t worked? Are you clear about how you want to be treated? Can you teach partners how you want to be treated? Do you have a list of what’s important and your values when choosing a potential mate? If you are having trouble, or are constantly attracted to the wrong partner it may be time to get some help. I see lots of both men and women who are struggling to find love and keep hooking up with Mr. Bad Boy, or Ms. I-Hate-Sex. If you aren’t clear about what you are looking for and your absolute no-no’s then you may be destined to keep making the same relationship mistakes over and over. Send me a note (suem at rogers.com) and let’s talk about quick and effective therapy to get you matched.

Coping with deal breakers can be very frustrating but it is difficult to avoid them. Many people mesh while others don’t. As long as you stay cool, know what you want and be patient, you will finally get your match.
But what happens if some of these qualities are not initially apparent? Relationship deal breakers in existing relationships are things like being passive/aggressive, being dismissive of your feelings, or controlling your access to your friends and family. If you are in a relationship and the relationship isn’t working for you it may be time to ask yourself if any of the following list of qualities applies to your relationship.

• You are the only who is unhappy
• To make the relationship better, you work harder to make things work. You restrain your personality to avoid any conflict from arising.
• He/she hardly meets your needs while you meet theirs.
• You do away with all your friends just to make your partner happy
• Your partner cares less on how you feel and is not remorse about anything dealing with your needs.
• He/she never listens to whatever you say and sees you as a product of their fantasies. He/she finds it difficult to see you as your own person with feelings, thoughts and own motivations.

So if you have been unhappy in your relationship for longer than the last six months and if any of the above list resonates with you it may be time to really look at how well you are being treated in your relationship. Dealbreakers are just that. Things you can’t live with. The best thing to do is stop burying your head in the sand and address it or get out of it. What I do know is that partners who are behaving this way will not magically improve. It’s your life, and you need to teach people just how you want to be treated.

deal breakers2

Why joining a community will help you live longer.

Ducklings(1)It has been long understood that as human beings we need to be surrounded by people who like and understand us. We need to be touched, and we need basic human contact. Having a community of people we can count on to have our backs when something goes wrong has been essential for survival. Traditionally it has been our family, extended family and neighbours who have made up our clan. These folks have a common background and can relate to who we are. But it turns out that community is even more than that.

Harvard University has done arguably the longest study on adult development in history. It’s still going strong and there is a great Ted Talk done by psychiatrist Robert Waldinger who is the study’s fourth director. Harvard has spent 75 years asking over 700 men what makes them healthy and happy. Every two years they asked men (aged from their teens right through to their nineties) where they are in their lives and what was important to them. By talking to them and their families, and asking them to share what really mattered, the clearest picture of what they valued throughout their lives has been created. The study went beyond surveys. These men had their brain’s scanned, their blood tested and their medical records examined. After 75 years, they have tens of thousands of data points.

The key message that has come out of this study to date is that good relationships keep us healthier and happier. And good relationships don’t just make us a little more joyous and more likely to age well, but fundamentally improve our health and happiness. “Forget wealth and fame” says Waldinger, “good relationships are what has the most impact on our happiness.” There were three take-aways about relationships that came through in all of this research. As you might assume, social connections are good for us and loneliness kills. People who are connected to family, friends and community live longer and are healthier. Adults who are lonely have a declining brain function, their health starts to decline in midlife, and they live shorter lives. The second important insight is that it doesn’t matter how many people you have around you, it’s the quality of those relationships. Constant conflict is very bad for our health. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships are protective. And relationships can mean a significant partner, groups of partners, communal living, groups of friends etc. It absolutely shows that the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. Waldinger stated that“ participants who were the most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80 no matter what their cholesterol numbers or other health markers looked like”. Lastly the study found that good relationships don’t just affect your health, they also affect your brain. If you can count on the people in your life to have your back you are most likely to keep your marbles as you get older. It’s an anti-dementia protocol. The people who fared the best were those who leaned into relationships and found their community.

We are seeing this in action in our community group we started called The Ducklings. A community is any group of individuals connected to each other by like interests. The Ducklings are a local, adult group for people who want date nights and fun, sexy adventures. We think it’s a gathering of new friends that’s a little saucy but warm, friendly and giving. We have been astounded at how fast people have joined. They are signing up in droves looking for a safe group in which to get to know new people. With the Ducklings, the goal is to try and be a little sexy so it’s edgier than a service club like Rotary. But it stays well on this side of socially appropriate and the emphasis is on having a safe environment.

Being a Duckling gives members a chance to try out new, fun activities about town. Initially couples came because they wanted a place to have fun with their own partner without the worry of planning new date ideas. And for singles, it was about getting out with like-minded potential partners. For anyone new to the city they often don’t have any real connections beyond work. And it’s lonely. You go from work to home. Work to the grocery store to home. If you can’t make friends, life gets very narrow. And as the Harvard study has shown, even people with a significant relationship need community. As therapists, we believe that one person can’t meet all your needs and it’s unrealistic to expect them to.

Beyond the healthier and happier reasons that Waldinger and his team has outlined over the last 75 years, what specifically can the Ducklings or other community groups do that is so important? A community of people with the same interests share intimate conversations, social events, and deep relationships. Having a strong network of similar people presents options for a night out. It gives you a friend to call when times are rough or simply someone to laugh-out-loud with on a Friday night.

Your community tells you when something is working – and when something isn’t. Without a community you won’t receive positive feedback or get reined in when a behavior becomes an issue. It is part of the continuing socialization process of fitting in. As human beings, we need a sense of belonging. Community is where we find comfort in difficult times. What’s interesting for us as therapists is that the group becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. Meaning that the group takes on a life of it’s own and connections happen. Life gets better for the members in many ways that wouldn’t have happened without the group existing in the first place.
So the moral is find your people. We invite you to come and be a Duckling (www.wearetheducklings.com). But if we are not your people then find the group that is. Your life will depend on it.

Intimacy. Why it may be the biggest sexual problem of all.

intimacy10I spend much of my day talking about the challenges and mechanics of sex. Low libido, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, sexual addiction, fetishes and inorgasmia are the bread and butter of a sex therapy practice. I see singles and couples who are trying to find their authentic sexual selves and figure out why things aren’t working the way they should. There is an expression that states, “sex is perfectly natural, but NOT naturally perfect.” Sex therapy is about finding out what you need sexually and what you can do to get it. Specific sexual problems are often treated quickly after a half dozen sessions. If you focus on solutions you can quickly see yourself being successfully sexual. Where clients get stuck however is in the area of intimacy.

Intimacy problems can be hard to define for some people but it’s really about the lack of a deep, meaningful connection with a primary partner. And if the connection isn’t there, a blockage can occur to prevent the kind of sexual lives that everyone is striving to have. A lack of intimacy can leave you unfulfilled sexually. There is no emotional link that makes sex magic. The number one thing couples in relationship therapy seem to crave is a partner that “gets them”, and who works on increasing closeness. For sex it works both ways. Intimate couples are safe enough with each other to be wild in bed, and being creative in the bedroom can open you up for more intimacy in your relationship. Sex shows us in our most vulnerable selves and allows our partners a chance to see us.

I know a lot of people that think intimacy is only physical sex. And due to the constant barrage of sexual images in modern culture, it’s not surprising why people believe this. However intimacy is much more than sweaty bodies.
Wikipedia defines intimacy like this. “Humans have a general desire to belong and to love, which is usually satisfied within an intimate relationship. Intimacy has a huge effect on individual health and well-being, positive emotion, and self-esteem. Within the close relationship, intimacy is associated with satisfaction, security, and stability.

Psychologist Lori Gordon says this about intimacy.
“Intimacy, I have come to believe, is not just a psychological fad,
a rallying cry of contemporary couples. It is based on a deep biological
need. The truth is that couples have never learned
reliably how to sustain pleasure in intimate relationships. The
difference is it never mattered so much before.”
Modern civilization does a good job getting our basic needs such as home, health, food, and safety covered. But we are rarely taught the skills that allow us to connect with someone close. We don’t live in clans anymore. Lots of people aren’t in church groups and we often live far away from our families or childhood communities. We fall through the cracks and don’t have people who truly know us.

Yes couples want to connect sexually, but they also want to be touched, understood, listened to, confided in, support each other when life is hard, and generally be each other’s best friend. The challenge of working, parenting, supporting an extended family, along with the basic challenges of communication and gender differences has many couples confused and unsatisfied emotionally. Skills like communication, empathy, compassion, and intuitive understanding aren’t taught in most high schools. And they are skills that really should be.
Partners want their significant other to heal all the hurts that the world inflicts on them. So what can couples do to make those intimate shifts that everyone seems to be craving?
I have five suggestions that have come out of watching couples who are genuinely striving for true happiness and contentment.

1. I’ve realized that attracting someone who is comfortable with intimacy begins with our own ability to be truly intimate with ourselves. Can you articulate what you want from a partner? Can you get quiet (all that mindfulness stuff) and figure out what you need? It’s really hard for a partner to meet your needs if you don’t know what they are. Get quiet, make a list of all the qualities that you need in order to be fulfilled. Then figure out how many of those needs you can ask your partner to fulfill.

2. Try something called Active intimacy. Intimacy is an action feeling. It comes from touching (hold hands, rub your partner’s head etc.). It comes from listening and giving your partner your undivided attention. And it comes from doing things together. If you can’t remember the last time you planned a date for your sweetie then it’s time to look on Groupon for a date activity in your city. And then make it as sexy as you both can handle. Making your partner feel special should be a top priority.

3. Take a deep breath and work on being vulnerable. Most couples are not allowing themselves to be vulnerable with their partners and find themselves not being as honest as they could be when talking about what they really need. Sex is a great example of this. Asking for what you need in the bedroom can be really insurmountable for some people. When we guard ourselves in relationships, it’s often because we feel that we have to protect ourselves from being hurt by the other person. Such fear does not invite intimacy. Instead, it invites disconnection.

4. Communication. Can you speak your mate’s language? As I say in therapy “use your words”. Your partner can’t know what you want, or what upsets you without you telling them. Understand how your sweetie feels loved. And then do more of it. Don’t assume what they need. Talk, eye gaze and really pay attention to what your love is telling you.

5. Make appreciative noises. As Lori Gordon says in her article about intimacy, “rarely in long-term relationships do we talk about what we appreciate in our partner. Communication is limited, yet it is not possible to sustain a pleasurable relationship without that. I have found that most couples
need to rediscover what it is they value in each other.”

If intimacy is the missing link, and more connection and couple time is what most people are craving, then what’s stopping you from reaching out today?

 

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Happy New Year – Why you need to dream big this year

Mindfulness. It was last year’s buzz word in pop psychology. Mindfulness was about being present, meditating, and focused on managing your emotions. It was the topic de jour among self-help circles. For those of you who don’t go to yoga or read Psychology Today, mindfulness is about living in the moment. The Coles notes version says that “by focusing on your breathing you can stay present and not let your brain lead you down the path of negative self-talk. You can get behind the waterfall of emotion” Respond to life rather than react. It’s really about self-awareness of managing your own mood and being a grownup.

I describe mindfulness as focusing on living an intended life- not simply running in place every day. The New Year is often a time to reflect on what you want for your life. More than resolutions, it’s the focus on goals, dreams and values (either alone or with a partner). The New Year is a great time to evaluate where we stand, how life is going, where we want to be, and what we want to achieve in the year(s) to come. We know we’ll never match the perfect, ideal image we have in mind for ourselves, but we try to improve—eat less meat, less sugar, walk more, go to the gym, spend more time with our family and friends, read more, and spend less time on our phones.

I push clients to focus on dreams- rather than on areas where they have failed year after year. We don’t want to keep beating ourselves up or repeating the message that we aren’t cutting it. If your resolutions aren’t goals they don’t motivate you for long. And then we feel diminished for not meeting them. Leadership coach Madhu says that “The tradition of New Year’s resolutions simply normalizes and perpetuates this misguided thinking”.

Instead, focus on gratitude- all the amazing things you have in your life, and pick one big picture item that lights you up. It’s about finding your passion or something you want to do that actually inspires you. Last year for Blaik and I it was about building community. We launched the Ducklings (www.wearetheducklings.com) and we are making more friends than either of us ever imagined. For some people it’s learning to dance, speak Spanish, be an amazing parent or grandparent or simply having way, way more fun in 2016. You are far, far more likely to achieve goals when they are framed as dreams rather than a resolution involving something you feel inadequate and guilty about.

As a sex and relationship therapist I constantly pitch finding and living a life of intimate connections. I really believe that the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. It could be my bumper sticker. That phrase along with; “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”, and “dream big” is my wish for everyone for 2016.

Why adults are still craving intimacy and the desire to stay sexy into middle age.

We as Canadians have always prided ourselves on our ability to be flexible, inclusive and to be open to both new ideas and changing times. Never has this been more necessary than in recent years. With households (often blended) requiring two working parents with irregular work schedules, kids in all sorts of programs often requiring travel –think hockey families- and more opportunity than ever to have spare time consumed in new and exciting ways, it is not a surprise that intimate time is at a premium and that the same old time spent between the sheets isn’t enough to capture our attention. Simply put, we as a nation are craving more interesting ways to spark our relationships. We are questioning whether the intimacy that the previous generations shared will see us through. The fifty plus percent divorce rate suggests not.

So if one or both partners in a relationship draw this conclusion, what is the next step? We (my husband Blaik and I) tested a theory during 2015 and were blown away by the results. It was kind of a “if we build it, will they come?” sort of thing. We set out to build a sassy and flirty club for couples and singles along the lines of monogamish. Monogamish is a relatively new term for couples who want to expand their sexuality and intimacy in a safe and fun way that allows for shifting into that “outside your comfort zone” area while maintaining the integrity of the relationship. Think being allowed to flirt with other people, perhaps visit a nude beach with a gaggle of like-minded friends or attend a sexy dance where you may enjoy multiple dance partners all with the approval of your primary partner.

We created a meet up group, sent out a newsletter, organized a few events and stepped back. Boom! 1500 people signed up in the first 9 months. We outgrew venue after venue. We added more events and they sold out. The club grows by 5 people per day. It is astounding the number of adults who want to be seen as sexy by their peers. And it goes without saying that they would rather do this with their partner’s involvement than behind their partner’s backs. We discovered that if you provide an outlet for couples to express the sexiness together in a manner safe to the relationship, they are all in. Their intimacy as a couple grew substantially as they remembered just how attractive their own partner was and could be.

Our experiment had other interesting spin-offs. As the community grew, volunteers came forward to both help out with the workload and offer their personal expertise. In other words, it was developing a life of its own. It has become a large part of many people’s lives and has become their social network. It has sparked relationships and people sign up for events months away because it gives them something to connect over and talk about.

The experiment needed a name and the club became “The Ducklings”. The website (www.wearetheducklings.com) was launched and more events are being posted each week. If you are interested in seeing the results of an experiment devised last March, you are invited to join the group and attend the January James Bond Casino night and dance. Laughter, hot costumes, sex appeal, and great fun from a bunch of regular Ottawa couples who simply understand that if you aren’t using that inner sexiness then you are losing it. And if you are using it, your own relationship becomes that much hotter which promotes deeper intimacy. These days, we all can use some of that.

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