Monthly Archives: May 2011
There is a good chance that you will find sections of The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 offensive. As a therapist, I’m here to bring lots of new points that one may not like at first but that are important for change. This book falls right into that wheelhouse. The basic premise of how heterosexual couples typically interact can easily sound politically incorrect in our current social context. However, the science, long term data, and reality pretty much solidify the notion that men and women (that are attracted to one another) often create standardized gender roles.
Hence, similar stories can be heard from couples in my office on a daily basis. Many men in long term relationships come in stating that they feel taken advantage of, treated poorly, and do not have the sex life they desire. All the while, these men dote on their spouses, provide a steady income, parent their children, and are all around good individuals. Or the opposite happens, that a man gets so frustrated with feeling mistreated that he totally disconnects and becomes a full on jerk to his spouse. Either way, I sit across from them with a heavy heart thinking time and time again about how they confuse turning a woman on sexually with being a good provider.
Here is a bit of generalized truth — most heterosexual women are wired to want a male partner that is great at caring for her (potentially her children as well) AND is dominant enough to sexually excite her. The concepts are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, Athol Kay’s book explores the nature of how to balance the alpha male parts that often make a woman sexually excited along with the beta qualities that are crucial for a prosperous long term relationship. One doesn’t have to be a cruel person to make his partner want to have sex, just like one doesn’t have to be treated poorly to have a loving romance.
Now before you start assuming I’m advocating men being violent and women being doormats, how about considering that my profession is to create a context where individuals can locate a pathway towards success This all brings us back around to Athol Kay. He wasn’t some guy who naturally was some arrogant bad-boy and his wife was not an ignorant pushover. They were (and are) two regular people with a relationship, mutual respect, careers, children, and life goals. They love each other and seek a long term monogamous relationship. Completely standard for the understanding of heterosexual romance. If you wanted more details, you can read about his ongoing love affair, struggles, and triumphs at his blog at http://www.marriedmansexlife.com
The Married Man Sex Life Primer is a realistic look at how a man within current societal norms (read: a nice-guy-personality) comes to terms with the fact that acting in more “high value” way makes his wife happy and sexually excited. The book works through the basic science of heterosexual male/female chemistry, interactions, and expectations that traditionally generate a long term sexual relationship. At no point does Athol ever pretend that this whole process of becoming more alpha male is easy for him. Consider for a moment your own preconceived notions about what it means to be a male nurse in our society and add that to the author’s background. Kay’s natural approach to things is from a care-taking mode and he had no intention of being mean to his wife, even if he was going to have a better sex life. In fact, he was often shocked and confused by his wife’s reactions to his more dominant presentation. However, the book takes you along his journey towards integrating the science, emotion, and results of his balance between high value alpha actions and beta value response for a beautiful shift in romance with his wife.
There are many striking ideas within the book but one of the main themes appears to be that for a heterosexual man to create an erotic context for his wife it requires him to become her lover, with all the under and overtones of what that term means. Just as often as the sad husband sits across from me, his lonely wife tells stories about how she just wants him to pay attention to her. And truthfully, beyond hormones this is a huge factor in how affairs get started. The female just wants to be heard, flirted with, and treated in a way that desires her presence. Women obviously play their part in relationship troubles by becoming unaffectionate and overly demanding. Still, like in all things change can only happen within not at another person. Kay puts it like this: “My approach is that husbands need to find out how to become sexier to their wives and that will trigger her sexual interest. So rather than trying to ask her to change, you need to change for the better. The obvious solution is to step in and act like her lover would.” Sage advice, indeed.
This work is not ground breaking new information (as most of it is evolutionary psychologically based), yet Kay’s ability to cast an honest view on these dynamics is refreshing and important. If you agree or disagree with his premise on male/female roles within marriage is really besides the point, because he himself advocates not just one approach but whatever it personally takes to make yourself and you relationship better… and I think this is something we can all agree upon. The Married Man Sex Life Primer can be used as a way to jump-start your intimate relationship again. However, it feels more like a way to generate change within men that have lost their personal focus. And no matter what gender or sexual relationship you choose to explore, it will always feel sexy to be around a person who is confident within themselves and has a vision for their life ahead.
The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 by Athol Kay
In my next set of posts on evolutionary psychology I’ll be addressing terms like gender and sex roles, high value and dominance. I’ll discuss at how these ideas can manifest themselves in ways that promote positive growth rather than blindly accepting societal defaults and assumptions.
I’m happy to share my blog today with the wonderful guest writer, Valquerie. She is a local advocate for intellect, sexual acceptance, and all around healthiness.
Adjusting to your new cult status — by Valquerie
So I get excited about things.
I’m really excited this past year and a half about Narcotics Anonymous — you know, the whole 12-step recovery thing, replete with the Higher Power and all the jargon. Dang, I love it. My whole life has changed. I am a new person. Growing, learning every day. A new lease on life. I can finally stay clean AND have a fun, fulfilling life. Who knew? You would love it, too! You should totally come to a meeting — even if you don’t have a drug problem! That’s how amazing it is.
A few years back though, it was the Landmark Forum. Later it was Tantric Sex; Gurdjeff and Dogma 95 filmmaking; Anarchist World Agrarian Revolution. No, but this is really it!!!
Let’s face it: I get excited about things.
So it doesn’t really work, make sense to most people, or get me very far in conversation to declare my latest be-all and end-all thing as the ultimate one anymore, especially to people who have known me for a while — Mom, you reading this? So I am working very hard to adjust to my status as a happy, healthy, thriving cult member.
Yeah, so, for the sake of this piece, a cult is just a group of really happy people who are so excited about what they’re doing that they tend to look really weird to people on the outside and their everyday internal cult activities may not actually stand up to scrutiny from an outside observer — i.e., if you come in, take what we do out of context, try to intellectualize it, or argue it away, you very well might technically win that argument! A cult such as this may have strange jargon and customs and tend to inspire a zeal that at its best is inspiring and beautiful and at its worst can be off-putting.
I hope you will allow me poetic license with the word “cult” because that’s where my analogy stops. I want to be clear that I’m not trying to take lightly the serious problem of real cults that ruin people’s lives, separate them from all friends and family in order to take advantage and weaken individuals and rob them of all wealth and will. The real deprogrammers out there who I’m told deal with these things…well, I’ve only heard about them.
I did meet a guy once — we were all hanging out at the student union on campus and decided to go rent a cheap motel room and watch the Playboy channel and stay up late. This guy was with us but we realized the next morning after dropping him off on State Street that none of us actually knew him!?! He turned up in the newspaper as one of the kids that committed suicide wearing Nikes in preparation for an alien aircraft which was supposed to arrive behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Really sad story of a lost soul. I’m sorry, if you knew him.
So let’s leave that aside and get back to the everyday cult that I believe harmlessly attracts and gets us intrigued and excited and really appears to us and to others to be doing us some good; nonetheless it’s hard to talk about it with outsiders, even friends and family, too much; and as much as people can get that it seems good for us, they don’t tend to want to hear about it as much as our fellow cult members want to talk about it, or as much as we have the capacity to go on and on about it, given the chance.
By the way, yoga is my other new cult. I can’t imagine life without it. And I can’t imagine how I got by without it before now, or how you are getting by without it as we speak!
What mechanisms are at work here? I genuinely care about others and want them to experience what I have. I see other people suffering and want them to suffer less. I think that if they could just experience what I am experiencing, they could feel as good as I do. But it’s very arrogant of me. It’s very judgmental. It’s very grandiose. I am then trying to map my own experience onto another person and imagine that their path is exactly mine, that this juncture in their life is the same as mine. Just because I think I see a blind spot or area where someone might be struggling doesn’t mean that I know that person or have answers for that person where they are today. On the other hand, with a natural self-expression, an organic approach, perhaps a difference can be made?
If my favorite cult has taught me anything of value, it is that I am not perfect, nor shall I expect myself to be. Shall I hold perfection as a standard for others? How about not. How about a very healthy dose of acceptance and love for myself and others? Sometimes my zeal to share and convert and insist that someone needs my cult’s solutions can simply send the message that I am judging this person as deficient and lacking, bad and wrong, and holding myself up as the greater and more evolved. Uck; I do not want to hang out with that judgmental person; don’t call me back and keep your cult off my lawn!
What’s been working for me with NA — a group that has never asked me for a dime, has helped me get closer to my family and friends, has contributed so much to my recovery from some pretty serious drug addiction — is just to get that it works for me and it works for a lot of other people I know, many others I simply know of, that it might work for you, and it might work for someone else.
I heard it said that one should “share the fruit, not the tree.” I imagine that to be shining brightly and being as awesome as you can, being generous and kind, loving and inspiring as you can. Then there’s always the little tag line or simple endorsement you could drop casually, or share in moderation with concerned parties. It seems important to find a balance between proselytizing and stinginess — so that you are equally willing to share your experience as you are to walk away without mentioning it.
So as long as your cult is not harming you or anyone else, I say enjoy your new cult status. Bask in the excitement of your new zeal. May your cult be as fulfilling to you as mine has been for me.
Well, now that all that’s been said, I would love to hear about your new cult — as long as we both remember that your mileage may vary, as may mine.
“Take it Easy,”
There are many moments where we feel defeated and unsure about how to move ahead. Life appears to be stacked against us and we really just want to run away to a cabin somewhere in the Wisconsin winter woods. This is what Justin Vernon did when his band and romantic relationship both ended one after another. In case one might not think that is enough, Justin was quickly there after bedridden with mono for three months. Lonely and stuck in every way possible, Vernon took his sadness and turned it into something beautiful. He wrote a painfully exquisite song about the experience.
The song pours out the emotional turmoil and eventual truth that so many of us live through. It can feel like a death of the soul when you experience betrayal. Frozen within the heartache that seems to never go away. It can be overwhelming to take on the simplest tasks. Depression hits you when the last thing you feel you can do is handle more hardship. Not only do you feel like you have to take on the world, you also can feel like you are in a battle with yourself.
And yet, there is something magical that happens when we are cut to the quick. We begin to learn about ourselves and our character. The hard-won understanding of our being is not something that happens upon us in an instant. It isn’t that sorrow feels good, but it is that sorrow brings forth a greater sense of self. When we allow ourselves to mourn and grieve parts of what we had wanted and expected, we then allow for that space to heal. We have the choice of letting that past pain calcify within us or transform it into a holding place for the opportunity to treat ourselves and others more respectfully.
Consider how you might take inspiration from someone like Justin Vernon and allow yourself to develop a powerful new sense of emotional range. Allow those authentic response to become a catalyst to empowered creativity!
“This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization
It’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be…
Safe with me”
You are encouraged to listen to this lovely cover of the song. It will still your senses.
(Should auto-load if not press the play button, for free listening.)
I spend a ton of time reading, thinking, discussing, and implementing topics that have to do with power dynamics, evolutionary psychology, seduction, mental health, and emotional authenticity. They all flow for me into a sex positive approach to therapy.
I have been a student of Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP for over 10 years. From those trance-induction building blocks, I learned about Speed Seduction (the older term). Ross Jefferies was really the only person at that juncture combining the ideas of natural rapport with sexuality. I was intrigued and actually am proud to say that I had numerous conversations with him. At the time, it was ground breaking concept formation to marry these two obviously similar seeming schools of thought.
Yet, there was a problem area with all this new exciting information. The thorn in my psychological side with Speed Seduction was often the same concern I later had with the emerging PUA communities. It all seemed so harshly negatively based. I would read these people (mostly men at that point) talking about picking up women and it was a very pump-em-and-dump-em kind of system. There was little to no discussion about seducing from an emotionally authentic way. The focus was to build a man up by diminishing the self-esteem of a woman (remember this was all single hetero male focused).
Side Rant for clarification – I have no problem with people engaging in sex casually or otherwise. I’m all for being primal- spiritual- kinky -romantic (or a zillion other variations) sexually. I’m even an avid supporter of using your personal skill set, trance-rapport techniques, science, and any positive physical features one has to attract another person. In fact, I often work with many clients on these very things. However, the difference is I specifically do so from a positive-consent-based foundation.
Everything I saw was focused on feeling good about yourself by making another person feel less than. I’m all about the truth of determining value based on your own personal values and social mores. Yet, when you are acting in a way to belittle another person to get them to have sex with you it just seems shady. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, but I am saying there is some lack of personal integrity. If one is working to establish high-value (as most seduction techniques express as a goal) I never saw the high value in lying or being cruel. It feels a bit like a crude hack as opposed to a well thought out positive sculpting process.
It seemed obvious to me that you would want to be seduced or seduce another by lifting up their self respect…even if your intent is for a one night stand. I just kept thinking that if you can’t seduce someone into wanting to date or have sex with you and have them feel better about you and themselves afterward, it doesn’t seem like you did a very good job. However, I appeared to be the only one thinking this. And basically the hetero female population that was paying attention to seduction culture was just outraged and dismissed it all. Both sides seemed to say it was an all or nothing system. I felt stuck within my own world of knowing the value of these ideas but still not having a delivery system that was uplifting.
So time went on and The Game was published. Pick up artistry began to gather a bit more attention. By this point Mystery and a few others were riding on the coattails and creating a more up-to-date community for seduction. The trend was to make things look a more palatable for the general public and even open up the marketplace to women. It was a step in the right direction as far as I was concerned. I felt personally intrigued and continued to use many of the techniques in situations…but nothing felt healthy and positive enough to share with clients.
Then a friend, who also studies seduction personally and for business use, recommended The Authentic Man Program. I was thrilled to see people using the rapport skills in a non-shaming way. They were taking all the NLP, psychology, and sexuality concepts and rolling them together. It made my heart sing. Finally, there was something I could recommend to clients. I took the courses online and learned a lot. I really enjoyed Bryan and Decker. They felt like honest people using these ideas in a healthy way. I recommended the classes in person or online to clients. One small problem is that it is expensive. Not every client that could benefit from their ideas was able to be exposed to them. The search continued.
More time passed and another friend was looking into David Deida’s work, so I happily joined in the fun. Deida’s ideas had a wonderful sensual and spiritual feeling to them. They were direct in the evolutionary psych components and incorporated the piece of creating a higher sense of purpose as a way to seduce. He also came from a perspective of being in a long-term relationship. I loved stitching as many elements as possible into the fold. And now I had at least one author that I could recommend and felt comfortable sharing with clients. However, there were a few small concerns. If the client was not naturally leaning towards being introspective, open to some spiritual elements, or already had a base for seduction skills …it was a bit too much to take on for the first round. Clients reported that there was some good stuff but didn’t exactly resonate.
I had yet more conversations (well really me complaining) about this weird gap in teaching these ideas to others. A friend came to the rescue and started a blog about seduction within long-term relationships. I felt like I was finally able to reliably send clients to a site that I trusted would be smart, relationship safe, and that was teaching these combined principles. Then due to the very hectic schedule of the author, the blog was simply not going to continue due to lack of time to commit to it properly. My heart sank… would I ever find the right mix for this approach to suggest to my clients?
It was becoming some sort of personal mission without consciously realizing it. However, now I was fully aware and had no idea where I was going to find the time to write this book, but I figured it would need to be done. It would go on the list with the other projects I’m working on.
Then one day it happened…. there was this blog…. Married Man Sex Life by Athol Kay. A man saying the things that my clients had said: all the things that they were afraid to admit to themselves, all the things they felt shame about expressing to others, and all the things they resented and loved about dating and sex and marriage. It was a real person who happened to be so smart and honest that it was almost impossible not to side with him. He wasn’t a jerk, he wasn’t single, and he didn’t naturally come to all this understanding with a dominant personality. Kay was providing this knowledge base and it felt worthy of suggesting to a few clients. The feedback was awesome and I just kept thinking about how great it would be if this guy would just write a book. These core ideas are actually really important and of course it would make my life easier if someone would put all of it together nicely packaged so I could just tell clients to go get the book.
And then just like that… there was word that his blog was going to be turned into a book. I began to get more and more eager for the release of The Married Man Sex Life Primer. It was going to happen, I was finally really and truly going to have material worthy enough for clients. My standards are exceedingly high and so were my expectations of his work. Athol Kay had managed to seduce this therapist who loves teaching seduction into wanting to read his book, review it, and hopefully recommend it to clients.
In Part 2 of Seducing the Seducer … I’ll share how I read the book in record time, got to talk with Athol Kay about his work, and my review of the book The Married Man Sex Life Primer. And for the record, no one paid, asked me to, or even encouraged me to ever seek out this information, interview, or blog posts. This is all about my interest in the field, being a therapist, and knowing that many of these ideas help others.
I pay to have a woman tell me what to do at least three times a week. She is my trainer and a dynamo of energy, insight, and positivity. I lift stuff and jump around and pretty much grumble with a smile on my face the whole way through. She coaches me along as I make sarcastic comments and encourages me to push beyond what I feel comfortable with for the sake of strengthening myself.
Last week she was watching my form and then suddenly stops me. Her expression was focused and her tone was serious. I got a bit nervous as normally she is rather bubbly. She goes on to explain that at one point she had a trainer who taught her a really important lesson. Her trainer mentioned that while she was doing the exercises correctly … she was working too hard for maximum benefit. She continues with visual examples to explain that her body was clinched and tight as she did the movements.
There is the idea that somewhere along the way the mind told her body that in order to do the workout it had to be tense to be powerful. That we can put pressure upon the movement but that it doesn’t have to be from a place of stress. The body will naturally take care of itself and to tense up so much actually makes it harder to get what it really needs. With each move there is a fluidity that allows the body to do what it would like without taxing every other part of the system.
So what is the key to making this efficient workout possible? She said it was simple that as one performs the exercises it is important to relax through the motions and breathe.
It makes so much sense in the rest of life as well. We can think, feel, and experience with a tense level of interaction or we can relax and breathe. Living life is going to still be challenging and some days it might be more difficult to move through. However, if we can shift our perception towards one that allows our mind and body to take a breath… we will have so much more energy to create the strength we really want!
Signalling Theory presents us all with a wonderful data set of human interactions. We can look at how we respond, interact, and influence one another in multiple modes of unconscious and conscious communication.
In fact, Paul Watzlawick has a great way of encapsulating this concept:
“One cannot not communicate.”
Basically that even if you are not actually talking, you are still communicating. We are constantly signaling to one another about who we are, our values, and our ideas. It is pretty much impossible to not share who you are in the presence of another person.
This all matters in how to help people who are nervous about how to engage with another. You might want to approach a person across the room that looks attractive, is someone you want to talk to about a specific topic, or even someone you dislike. Whatever the reason you might feel a bit anxious about the situation. You don’t want to seem manufactured in your conversation but you don’t really have anything to work off of due to the situation.
So what do you do?
First you can make a quick read of the person you are looking to talk with:
What are they wearing?
What do you like about their clothing, style?
How are they standing, interacting with others, or looking at?
If you can hear the conversation they are already engaged within … listen for the main topic being discussed, is it something you know about or want to know more about?
You have so much information just waiting to be considered and you haven’t even spoken to the person yet.
Then what do you do you?
You become curious! You move forward with a quizzical context about the person and let that lead you towards them. Allow the natural human desire to learn more put you in motion and guide you towards learning more!
The information is floating around in your head and you approach the person and you forget everything you were just thinking about. Total blank!
How do you handle the situation?
The one thing that will always get you through no matter how nervous you are with a new person is to ask the person about themselves. Most people are just itching for a reason to share who they are (just like you do or you wouldn’t be interested in approaching them) and will do so gladly if you just ask questions and follow-up questions to their responses.
The signals you send to the person are that you are interested in them, you want to continue a conversation, you are listening to them, and you are investing in who they are as a person. Most of these things go on with each one of us unconsciously however, if you realize that you a great deal of information right in front of you, that you have curiosity which will propel you along, and your key is to ask questions about them… you will be set to approach anyone.
Imagine yourself within an isolation chamber up top a mountain overlooking a beautiful view. The music is playing and you are supposed to come up with an answer within a certain amount of time… and the question is:
What is the difference between isolation and solitude?
We tend to have an emotional response to these ideas. Isolation often feels forced… when we want to be around other people but for whatever reason we can not be. Where solitude has a lofty chosen alone-time feel of desired self-reflection. The elements can be the same… you are by yourself thinking your thoughts and feeling your emotions. But something shifts within your perception. One is scary and sad where the other is wanted and pleasurable.
Curious how similar situations can have such differing feelings within us depending on our perception.
So how does this happen? Well there is a lot of people out there working on the answer to this question. However, one of the main points is that we get to choose. We are in charge of thoughts we put upon a situation. We may not control the emotional response but we do have the ability to go in with an approach that can hinder or help these moments.
For instance, you are in a crowded room and feeling overwhelmed. You an decide that you want to pull back for a moment and regroup. You can physically and or emotionally do this, but it is a conscious choice to take a moment to breathe. You might feel overstimulated by the number of people and data points coming at you. Hence, you are deciding to isolate yourself as a way to gather your thoughts and feel strong about yourself.
Also you can find yourself sitting in your home on a Wednesday night wishing the phone would ring. It won’t. You see yourself moving into a place of sadness. You can decide to allow your own curiosity to become part of a time for reflection. You don’t have to push aside the feelings or create a distraction. Instead you can take this moment to introspect and experience the sensation of being lonely or alone. And then you can consider all of the moments, interactions, and people who care for you on any given day. Being grateful for the solitude you are experiencing now as a way to connect more fully with your own emotional states.
These are just two examples of how to turn you have the ability to turn any and every situation into an experience that works for you. You may want to be by yourself or you may not want to but none of that matters when you get to decide what perception you want to take upon any situation. You are in control of your thoughts and actions. When you know better of what you want, then you do better, and when that happens then you feel better. Deciding for yourself what things mean and having meaning for you is a huge step in gaining the strength and happiness you desire.