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How Porn Really Affects Relationships

By | Creating More Passion in Marriage, Dysfunctional Family, Great Sex, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, Sex, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

Todd - Reasons to Have Sex

This is my last piece on porn for this month’s theme.  I am a marriage and sex therapist, as you know.  I am open-minded, relatively liberal when it comes to sexual matters and I live very much in the gray.  But I work with people daily who are having relationship challenges.  When porn is being viewed regularly, it becomes a negative force the great majority of the time.  When it comes down to it, porn just does not seem worth it.  Now, there are exceptions; I have worked with couples where porn has enhanced their already dynamic and connected sexual relationship.  It is just one more way the couple plays with each other.  However, far more of the time, there is secrecy, shame, disconnect, regret and guilt; definitely not a potpourri of pleasant feelings!

Worse yet, I have seen wives traumatized by the partner’s use of porn, possibly due to her own beliefs or early childhood issues.  I have seen compulsive porn users have porn interfere with their health, their work and most definitely their marriage.  So, for most of us mere mortals, it is better to become aware of what drives this behavior and find healthier solutions.

As I have said recently, porn often leads to secrecy where the man acts and feels like a guilty little boy when caught. This mother/son pattern is destructive to healthy attraction and sexuality.  If a couple wants to use porn, I say by all means enjoy it; however, get educated, be aware and for sure- be transparent with each other.   What I have seen far more often is that when a partner ceases to use porn, his (usually it is a his and not a hers) willingness to be a sexual initiator and sexual responder with his partner significantly increases.  When one closes all solo sexual exits, it can help push the person to have that duet sex which may require more work, more attention and more flexibility but can be far more rewarding.

One more thing I would like to let you know about:

You are worthy of love, happiness, and a beautiful life. Today, I’d like to give you the chance to listen in on one of the most transformational conversations on love and happiness that I am a part of this year.

My friend, Cole Bombino, an international Self-Love Coach and Yoga Teacher, has invited me to the The Self-Love Secret! The Self-Love Secret is an incredible special collaboration of experts who want to support you.

Cole asked me and over two dozen others (authors, speakers, thought leaders and experts on love) to join in on a conversation that will show you exactly how you can create a life filled with confidence, freedom, and loving relationships this year using out greatest tips to cultivating self-love and trust.

The Self-Love Secret

And guess what, I’m inviting you to join The-Self Love Secret for Free : http://theselflovesecret.com/ToddC

You’ll get special access to some of our lifetimes greatest leaders chat about cultivating:

  • Confidence
  • Happiness
  • Freedom
  • Loving Relationships
  • And MORE!

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to listen in. There is no better mission than the one to spread love.

This is our gift to you. Say yes to yourself, and join me for this transformational free event. Your life is sure to shift into that love you have always known was possible.

Play a Sexy Game with Your Partner

By | Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Intimacy, Love, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Romance, Sex, Sexy, Soulmate, Todd’s Thursday Thought | One Comment

This is recycling of a previous Thursday thought. I chose this one because I feel that it is very important to be playful and adventurous with your partner.

Sexy Game

 This weekend, play a stripping game with your partner.

Come up with some trivia questions what you each believe your partner has at least a chance of knowing the answer to.

Make sure that you know the answer.

If your partner answers the question right, you take off an article of clothing.  (Make sure you have enough articles of clothing to make the game last a while).

If your partner gets the answer wrong, he or she has to take off an article of clothing.  What you do when one of you is totally naked is totally up to you!

And one more thing I would like to let you know about:

You are worthy of love, happiness, and a beautiful life. Today, I’d like to give you the chance to listen in on one of the most transformational conversations on love and happiness that I am a part of this year.

My friend, Cole Bombino, an international Self-Love Coach and Yoga Teacher, has invited me to the The Self-Love Secret! The Self-Love Secret is an incredible special collaboration of experts who want to support you.

Cole asked me and over two dozen others (authors, speakers, thought leaders and experts on love) to join in on a conversation that will show you exactly how you can create a life filled with confidence, freedom, and loving relationships this year using out greatest tips to cultivating self-love and trust.

The Self-Love Secret

And guess what, I’m inviting you to join The-Self Love Secret for Free : http://theselflovesecret.com/ToddC

You’ll get special access to some of our lifetimes greatest leaders chat about cultivating:

  • Confidence
  • Happiness
  • Freedom
  • Loving Relationships
  • And MORE!

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to listen in. There is no better mission than the one to spread love.

This is our gift to you. Say yes to yourself, and join me for this transformational free event. Your life is sure to shift into that love you have always known was possible.

Here’s to Getting the Love You Want!

 


Five Ways to Keep Porn from Damaging Your Relationship

By | Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, Sex, Sexy, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

keep porn from damaging relationship

Those of you that are reading my blogs regularly can see that in the month of April, I am writing about porn and its affect on relationships. It is a “juicy” topic that evokes a lot of reactions in people. Today, I will list the 5 ways to keep porn from damaging your relationship. First, I want to include much of what I wrote in last week’s blog as a prelude to my list.

I am a sex therapist. I do not believe that we should demonize the shadowy sides of our psyche including our collective desire to view porn. The porn industry is doing just fabulous and probably will continue to flourish. Here is the problem with porn. Life and committed relationships in particular beckons us to grow up. Growing up involves discriminating- including what we focus on and what we put in front of our eyes. I am all for enjoying porn with your partner if it is a mutually agreed upon venture. Being a prude does not make for a good sex therapist or a good lover.

However, let’s put our relationship first. Let’s do the harder thing and share our fantasies with our partner. Let’s decide to be big people who can discuss the tough, uncomfortable subjects and decide as a couple WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. Secret porn leads to shame, a parent/child dysfunctional pattern and even porn addiction. In addition to putting your relationship first, put your emotional wellbeing first.  If one let’s porn pull him in, what he is focusing on is not leading to the emotional and spiritual development that one can achieve in life.

If porn is used by the couple as dessert, that is fine. When porn becomes the sexual entrée that is problematic especially when done in secrecy. Discriminate what you put in front of your eyes and be careful with porn if you do utilize it in your sexual relationship with your intimate partner.

Here are the 5 ways to prevent porn from damaging your relationship:

1)    Treat porn like getting food at McDonalds or Jack in the Box. It is easy, convenient and quick; however, it can fill up your stomach with non-nutritious food and make healthier food (that also can taste real good), less desired. Personally, I eat at those places if I am in Banning on the way to Las Vegas or if I am in a real pinch for time.  Otherwise, I will take Whole Foods any day!

2)    Appreciate the way your neurobiology works. If you continually expose yourself to porn, your neural pathways in the brain will get accustomed to that stimulation and possibly could make your ability to enjoy natural sex with your intimate partner decrease.

3)    Make your connection to your partner more important than immediate gratification. As long as this is your priority, porn will not be the damaging influence if this were not your priority. What we decide to value, we put our energy, focus and attention on.

4)    Find creative pursuits and make sure that these pursuits (or your work) are something that feels compelling to you. I have seen over and over again that when people find their life’s passion and go after it, they are less likely to delve into addictive type behaviors including compulsive porn watching and masturbating. Boring lives can be a risk factor for going after this type of instant gratification. (You do not need have an addictive type personality in other areas to get hooked on porn. Its easy access and powerful neurochemistry effects can hook a person who does not have an overall addictive nature).

5)    Understand, accept and embrace the flawed human sexuality we all have. Most if not all porn depicts the sexual characters as amazingly easy to arouse, to have orgasm and to do “it” for hours on end. In real life, sex can be a beautiful way to focus on the inner and outer beauty of ourselves and our partner with all our flaws- pimples, cellulite along with a whole lot to learn about sex. Myths of sexuality that lead people to feel very judgmental, a need to perform well and feel inadequate can be supported by porn. Challenge this societal ignorance by reading about what healthy sexual attitudes, expectations and behavior are out there. One of my favorite books I recommend to men is “The New Male Sexuality” by Bernie Zilbergeld. There is a lot of other excellent material out there as well. Also, check out some relevant blog articles on my website- www.toddcreager.com.

How to Porn-Proof Your Marriage

By | Cheating, Committment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

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My attitudes have changed through time about porn.  I would never say I am “anti-porn” but I would say I am against a porn-centered sexuality for anybody. So, even though I do not take an extreme position on this subject, I like where my heart and mind is going regarding this challenging area of life.  This comes from years of experience with couples as well as my own relationship.

I am a sex therapist. I do not believe that we should demonize the shadowy sides of our psyche including our collective desire to view porn. The porn industry is doing just fabulous and probably will continue to flourish. Here is the problem with porn. Life and committed relationships in particular beckons us to grow up. Growing up involves discriminating- including what we focus on and what we put in front of our eyes. I am all for enjoying porn with your partner if it is a mutually agreed upon venture. Being a prude does not make for a good sex therapist or a good lover!

However, let’s put our relationship first. Let’s do the harder thing and share our fantasies with our partner. Let’s decide to be big people who can discuss the tough, uncomfortable subjects and decide as a couple what we want to do when it comes to our sexual practices including the use of porn. Secret porn leads to shame, a parent/child dysfunctional pattern and even porn addiction.

In addition to putting your relationship first, put your emotional well being first. If one let’s porn pull him (or her) in so that it becomes too much of a focus, it is not leading to the emotional and spiritual development that one can achieve in life.

If porn is used by the couple as dessert, that is fine. When porn becomes the sexual entrée that is problematic especially when done in secrecy. Porn-proof your marriage by:

1)  discriminating what you put in front of your eyes and give your precious energy to and

2)  decide to be brave and open up with your partner (and hopefully vice versa)  (NO SECRETS!)

If you need help with this problem, I can help. Feel free to contact me so that we can make sure that porn does not infect your committed relationship. I will be writing more on this topic in the near future!

Is Watching Porn in a Relationship Really Considered Cheating?

By | Cheating, Emotional Infidelity, Infidelity, Intimacy, Love advice, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Porn, Pornography, Toxic Relationships | 8 Comments

relationship difficulties

Cheating involves putting intimate energy into another person. Being physically present with someone outside of the committed relationship is one way of putting intimate energy into another whether it is emotional or physical intimacy ( or both). Also, texting, emailing, phoning, chatting on the web and soliciting on the web with live people are all ways of interacting with others that betray the committed relationship. A secret is always involved when it comes to cheating.

Porn often is done in secrecy and that, I would say, is not healthy for the relationship. If there is porn, it is better for there to be an openness about it but that topic is for another week. However, porn that does not involve direct contact with a 3 dimensional human being is not cheating. In this scenario, you are not saying or doing things with another person that should only be reserved for your committed partner. Ask the typical betrayed partner who just found out the partner cheated with another person if it feels the same as if he or she just caught the partner watching an x-rated video. Both situations may make the partner feel pain, but the degree of betrayal does not compare.

The slope is not as slippery either with porn. For example, flirting online has a likelihood of leading to more intense cheating, much more so than watching porn can lead to more serious problems. I am not saying that watching porn will not lead to more problems; it could. I am saying that the likelihood of porn being a slippery slope is less than beginning intimate interactions of any sort with a real live human being.

Keep in mind that this article is not saying that porn is good (or that it is bad). The article is merely stating the opinion of a person who has worked in this field for decades- porn is not the same thing as cheating. I would LOVE to hear your comments on this debatable topic.

3 Ways - Relationship

Bickering, Yelling, Withdrawing, Suppressing – Sound Familiar?

By | Conflict Resolution, Coping, Counseling, Dysfunctional Family, Family Relationships, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Successful Marriages | 3 Comments

Ask yourself- are you more of an inflamer or a shutting downer? An inflamer is one who tends to get agitated when upset, raise one’s voice, get anxious, get aggressive, talk faster, etc. For example- the inflamer externalizes his or her upset or anxiety and may put others on the defensive. A shutting downer is someone who tends to withdraw, get quiet, numb oneself with TV or computer, stonewall and/or avoids. He or she internalizes his stress or finds a way to not feel it. (“I feel fine” is a common sentence of a shutting downer who does not reveal a whole lot about his or her inner life).

If you are an inflamer, you do anything you can to practice self-soothing activities such as deep breathing, meditation, self-soothing internal dialogue, muscle relaxation exercises and physical activity. If you are a shutting downer,  you do anything you can to connect with yourself and your partner. Locate your inner feelings, look deeply into your partner’s eyes (to see if feelings emerge), express feelings of all kinds (both pleasant and unpleasant), seek a support group and practice imagining your heart area opening up. The shutting downer will do everyone well by expressing more and the inflamer will do everyone well by regulating emotions more effectively.

Sometimes a good therapist or coach can help both kinds of people reach these goals. I have seen many partners change their lives for the better when they did what they could to overturn these automatic responses that end up keeping couples stuck. I wish you success with this. It will change your life!

7 Signs You Came from a Dysfunctional Family

By | Dysfunctional Family, Family, Family Relationships, Uncategorized, Videos | One Comment

According to relationship experts, 50% or more of people maintain toxic relationships. Those who were raised in a dysfunctional family, are much more likely to be in these toxic situations.

When you come from a dysfunctional family, it is likely that you will carry some baggage from your childhood into your adult relationships, and end up having to deal with these issues at some point in your life.

One of the first steps towards fixing these dynamics is to dig deep and look into your past.

Watch this video to learn the 7 Signs You Came from a Dysfunctional Family.

Why Emotional Cheating Hurts More For Women Than Physical Cheating

By | Cheating, Emotional Infidelity, Infidelity, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Sex | 4 Comments

Sad woman on bed with her husband in the background

Cheating is hurtful, period. Cheating means there is a secret, a double life of some sort. However if you are asking me, a marriage therapist who has worked with thousands of couples dealing with infidelity, what hurts more – physical or emotional cheating, I have a clear answer. Emotional cheating hurts more; actually significantly more. Betrayal is hurtful enough; however when the female believes that the male has deep feelings for another woman, that hurts even deeper. Most women thrive on the emotional connection with their partner. That is the foundation of their aliveness; not the sexual connection.  The sexual connection flows directly from the emotional connection. I have seen women respond painfully but overall not as painfully when they hear the words -” I had no feelings for that woman; it was pure sex.” Not good but clearly not as devastating for most women. Feel free to agree or disagree and respond with your own comments back to me via email or posting.

Top 3 Reasons Why Women Cheat

By | Cheating | One Comment

Todd - Reasons to Have Sex

Both genders are totally capable of cheating on spouses.  However, why a member of a particular gender cheats might be different than a member of the other gender.  So, what are the top 3 reasons women cheat?

  1. The woman does not feel enough of a priority. She feels that she does not matter to the male partner. She feels that the partner never or rarely even thinks about her. Then she meets up with a man who gives her some attention and sparks could fly.
  2. She does not feel that her partner enjoys her company. He does not seem to desire or like her both in and out of the bedroom. Somebody comes along who finds her funny or likes some of her other qualities and it becomes obvious to her that she feels desired in a way she has not felt from her husband in a long time.
  3. She does know her partner very well in at least an intimate way. Also, he does not know much about her. There is very little meaningful conversation. Basically she feels emotionally disconnected. A man comes along who is curious about her and she has her first deep and meaningful  conversation with a man in a long time. One thing can easily lead to another.

Feel free to comment and let me know other reasons that you think women may cheat other than my top 3.

 

relationship difficulties

When One Spouse Strays Should the Other Spouse Stay?

By | Cheating, Committment, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Family, Family Relationships, Infidelity, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Toxic Relationships | 2 Comments

I could only imagine that when one partner strays, that the question- should I leave or stay almost always comes up. There are those couples where the cheated- on partner says “No way” and immediately ends the relationship. Likewise, there are those rare couples where the cheated-on partner knows that he or she is not going anywhere and wants to work on the relationship.  However, more commonly there is some ambivalence.  It is difficult to stay because the foundation of trust has been broken.  It is difficult to leave because of a myriad of reasons- a long history together, children, familiarity, money, and more.  That trust issue though is a big one and one that ultimately will have to be worked through IF the couple has even a chance of surviving and thriving after an affair.

So, should the other spouse stay?  If the betrayed spouse stays, is that being a fool, a wishful thinker or even worse than that- a pathetic figure asking for more heartbreak?   Typically, that is what other family members or friends might say.; for example- being quick to say something like- “Just walk away from that jerk (or bitch).”  However, if we tune into the complexity of the soul of the betrayed partner, we right away can empathize with the gray area of that decision.  As a marriage therapist who deals with infidelity all the time, I ask both people to face the truth, their own inner truth.  I want them to look deeply at what led to the affair and what might be the best solutions so that this kind of pain (of betrayal) has a minimal chance of happening again.  That could mean breaking up or that could mean creating new and healthy patterns that make this relationship more infidelity-proof (Of course there are no guarantees) and ultimately more satisfying.

Here are some questions the betrayed spouse could ask to decide whether to work on the relationship or work on getting out of it:

1)   Is the cheating spouse willing to end the affair entirely (no communication period)?

2)   Is the cheating spouse willing to go to marital counseling?

3)   Is the cheating spouse showing willingness and an ability to look deeply at the underlying reasons that led him or her to make the choice to cheat?

4)   Does the cheating spouse show a willingness to change some patterns that would lead to better problem solving and make it less likely for that person to repeat the infidelity?

5)   Do I have energy on trying to make this work even if I am in pain?

6)   Do I want to hang in there and do the work it takes even if I have to make some changes as well (which is usually the case)?

7)   Am I willing to go to marriage therapy to make this work?

If the answer is ‘Yes’ to all 7 questions, it might be your decision to try to work it through.  However, if it is not unanimously ‘Yes’, the marriage may not be viable.  There are not manuals that tell you exactly how to decide that. Even the 7 questions I made as well as my comment those 7 questions are just signposts that could be used as an assessment tool for these situations.  Ultimately it is about following your heart and intuition.  Your close friends, your family members, your clergy and your therapist are not the ones who ultimately make that decision.  They can help you communicate, heal and process your pain and thinking.  The decision is ultimately yours that culminates from your unique process.