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Todd - Reasons to Have Sex

Five Ways for Parents to Remember They are Lovers Too

By | Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Dating, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Romance, Sex, Sexy, Successful Marriages | No Comments

Having young or even adolescent children around can put a serious dent in a couple’s intimate life. But it does not have to be that way! With a little thought, planning and attention, parents can be lovers too! Here are 5 ways to bring back that “lover” feeling:

1. Have an army of babysitters ready to assist. Having multiple choices will maximize the probability of actually getting one. Don’t just depend on your mother or mother-in-law. Then go out on a date- consistently!

2. Schedule time to pay attention to each other and communicate about things that really matter to each of you. It is actually best to do it at the same time every night. It can be for as little as 10 minutes per day. Those 10 minutes can help you remember what it is like to be a couple rather than just parents or financial partners. (Spontaneity is overrated in our busy lives).

3. Schedule time for sex. (See words in parentheses above). Make sure it is enough time to be more than a quickie. Slow touch and foreplay is essential to bring back that “lover” feeling.

4. This maybe should have been # 1: Remember what it was like when you experienced your partner and you as lovers whether that was pre-kids or pre-marriage. Re-experience those feelings as deeply as you can.

5. Ask your partner what his or her secret sexual fantasy is. If you have had that conversation before, ask for a new one. This keeps the relationship interesting, fresh and alive.

6. Just like anything else, in order to be lovers, you need to set aside some time and attention for it. The good news is that it does not take a whole lot of time. A little time each day goes a long way!

loveSexBook

I am so excited because my second book,  “Love, Sex and Karaoke- 52 Ways to Ignite Your Love Life” is coming out this week!

This book has been inspired by my own Todd’s Thursday’s Thoughts, which I have been sending out over the years. This book is designed so that you can take these tips (I like to call them golden nuggets of information), that have been edited for this book, and then follow my directions on how to apply each tip.  Applying these 52 ways could significantly improve your relationship.  The idea is for you to have the kind of relationship with your intimate partner that you dream about.  And here is the best news for you!!!

From Thursday, February 27th through March 1st (that is 4 days in this short month), you can get the kindle/pdf version of the book for FREE!

CLICK HERE to get yours today.

It Takes A Hell Of A Lot More Than Love To Make A Relationship Last

By | Committment, Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Love Languages, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Romance, Sexy, Successful Marriages | No Comments

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Falling in love is great.  All the feel good hormones are flowing and there is a state of euphoria that can last for months and for some couples even a little longer than that.  However, eventually, you discover their flaws and rediscover yours especially with the help of a complaining spouse.  Falling in love takes having hormones; staying in love requires emotional fortitude, deeper vision, patience and a developing ability to let go of the negative to make room for even more love.

Staying in love means that there are times that you will feel uncomfortable and even painful feelings.  You will learn things about yourself and your partner that are not pleasant.  You can develop the discipline and strength to feel these feelings fully and then act with choice and preference as oppose to acting out or running away  (fight or flight). It also takes some emotional muscle to listen to negative feedback or even make room for your partner’s inner world and get out of yours for a little while.  Likewise, you need to insist that your partner learns to listen to you as well so that means your partner needs to develop that same emotional strength for you.  There needs to be room for each person to express himself or herself.  I have seen many single people who fell in love and the couple had great chemistry.  The sparks were flying!!!  However, at the first expression of emotional distress from one of the partners, and the other would have some sort of childhood temper tantrum and would be unwilling or unable to handle it. That is NOT love my dear reader; that is an adolescent type of- make me feel good at all times- kind of emotional setup; not the kind of emotional climate you need for a lifetime and ever increasing deeper love and self-expression.

When I married my wife, my emotional musculature was pretty weak when it came to hearing anything negative. We would fight and bicker almost every weekend as well as days during the workweek as well.  As I developed my ability to listen and to make room for my wife’s self-expression, that was when I became more of a true lover. My wife was not and is not in this world to always make me feel good even though I love when she does.  It is my job to handle my feelings as she expressing hers. As David Deida says in his book, “The Way of the Superior Man,” “ Her complaint is the beginning of her pleasure.”  As I developed the emotional fortitude to stay emotionally present as she gave me some negative feedback, I discovered that he complaint dissolved into appreciation and warmth as she had a partner who allowed her to express all that she felt in that moment.  (And it works the same way from the female to the male).

That is the kind of relationship I hope you can develop; one in which you and your partner can express all that you want to each other and sill maintain emotional contact with each other.  That is what I help couples do every day in my office or on Skype.

Patience is also required because we cannot always have what we want immediately.  Two people are just that- two different people with different wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses.  Accept the interruptions, delays and disappointments that are inevitable when two people are developing a life together.  Then find ways to let go and forgive yourself and your partner for those times when pain emerges.  You need to feel and experience your pain fully and then practice letting them go; soften those tense muscles, quiet that racing mind, and allow love to reenter.

Developing a deeper vision means that you see beyond the flaws into the innate beauty of yourself and your partner. You develop a relationship with your partner’s soul as well as yours.  You appreciate the humanness of your partner and appreciate the growing up process a committed relationship beckons you to experience.

Yes, relationships are difficult at times.  The irony is that once you accept that basic truth and stop resisting it, relationships become far easier to navigate.  The best news here is that as you develop the emotional fortitude, deeper vision, patience and the ability to let go and forgive, the rewards are huge.  My 30 year marriage and well as what I have seen in thousands of couples I have helped proves that growing up and developing the abilities I am discussing here leads to a deeper joy and sense of meaning.  Lasting love truly is worth the effort!

 

 

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7 Small Ways to Love Big In Your Relationships

By | Love, Love advice, Relationships | No Comments

Relationships as we know take work and sometimes they can be very stressful, challenging and frustrating. However, that can also be pleasurable, rewarding, loveable and soothing.  If you want more of the latter, here are 7 small ways to love big in your relationship:

  1. At the absolute minimum, once a week, think of something that you like about your partner and tell him or her. Doing it daily is even better.  Marital happiness depends on having more positive comments than negative in the relationship.
  2. However, a good thing to do is ask your partner for negative feedback.  Give your partner permission to express difficult or painful feelings and listen well.  Your partner will love that you are making his or her inner feelings and experience a priority.
  3. Smile admiringly at your partner.  Throw in an “I love you” for good measure and for no particular reason.
  4. Be willing to get interrupted by your partner. When spoken to, take your eyes off the computer and look directly into the eyes of your partner.  Focus on her or him.  You can always return to what you were doing.
  5. Plan a date, a weekend, even a romantic walk on the beach.  Tend to the relationship on a consistent basis.
  6. Be interested in your partner’s dreams.  Ask what would be meaningful to him or her and how you can facilitate that happening.
  7. Cuddle, hug and kiss your partner a lot. You may have a lot on your plate such as parenting, working, etc, but  remember that you are lovers and act like you did when your were courting for a portion of the evening, weekend, etc.

 

 

3 Things Every Married Person Needs to Know About Sex

By | Relationships, Romance, Sex, Todd’s Thursday Thought | No Comments

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There are three things that stand out when I think of what married people and those in long term relationships need to know about sex.

  1. Don’t wait to be”in the mood.” As a radio host that I heard once said, “If my wife waited to be in the mood to have sex with me, I would have it every February 29th!”  Yes, in the beginning of relationships and even in the middle of relationships there are times when feelings drive us to the behavior.  Sometimes though, we need to “just do it,”whatever “it” is and let the feeling follow.  The key is to keep the relationship sexual on a consistent basis.
  2. Be honest about your wants, preferences and fantasies.  Don’t play it too safe.  If that is a problem for one or both of you, come see me in person or on Skype.  Risk and variety are important in a long term relationship.
  3. Sex is NOT about performance; it is about connection.  The outcome is NOT as important as the process.  Be loving, be close and have an adventure.  The size of the man’s penis or either person’s orgasm is just NOT as important as being fully present as each person enjoys the physical connection.

So married people and those others in long term relationships- Have fun having sex!!!  These three tips will help!

Todd - Reasons to Have Sex

Great Communication = Hot Sex

By | Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Love Languages, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Romance, Sex, Sexy | No Comments

Verbal and nonverbal communication is a portal for hot sex. That may sound like a bold statement but it is true. As a marriage and sex therapist with many years of helping couples rekindle passion, healthy communication is the missing link for hot sex.

We have not learned how to communicate effectively when in emotional pain because we never saw our parents do it. This leads to a disconnect between the partners. Women all around the world seem to agree that when they feel disconnected, their libido goes out the window. Good news is that we can go retrieve it!

There may be a biological basis to this. For one, the hormone oxytocin(called the cuddle hormone) is elevated in females, it leads to happier moods, more libido and even more intense orgasms. So what raises a woman’s oxytocin? Research seems to indicate that sharing feelings elevates oxytocin. So men- let’s start talking!

I have seen couples who have not had sex for years, communicate painful feelings in my office and they leave feeling heard and listened to for the first time in a long time. Often, the next session they come in and report all this great sex they have had in between sessions. Coincidence- I think not!

More about communication and sex in an upcoming Blog.

 

Love

Why You Should Stop Searching for Your Soulmate

By | Dating, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Soulmate, Successful Marriages | No Comments

To be honest, I like the word “soulmate” and I use it.  However, I may define it differently than a lot of other people. The way a lot of people use this word “soulmate” is- “this is the perfect person for me” or “there is someone out there who will be the one.”  There is no perfect person out there.  The person out there is flawed and you probably will fall out of love (hopefully just temporarily) at times.  Then when you do the work of the relationship, develop yourself personally and (hopefully) have a mate who also is willing to grow up and improve, you will have a flawed, yet deep and meaningful relationship.   And you will fall back in love and every time you fall back in love, it gets a little deeper.  That my dear reader is an example of two soulmates!

 

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From Good to Great: Going for the Gold Medal in Your Intimate Relationship

By | Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marriage Advice, Sex, Successful Marriages, The Five Love Languages | No Comments

There was a book written years ago titled “From Good To Great.”  It was a book about companies that were doing ok but then made some changes to put themselves over the top in terms of profit as well as becoming a sought after place in which to work.  I see the same concept applying to the couples I see every workday. I understand that most people call me when they are in a crisis; that is human nature.  Most people are not running to see me when things are ok and relatively pleasant.  People tend to go on with their busy lives without giving their “good enough” relationship some thought about how to make it great.

Here is my appeal to you.  Since I am totally convinced that almost all of us have it within us to make our relationship great then why not learn what to do and then do it?!!  Before writing the major keys of how to take your relationship from good to great, first I want you to do an exercise by yourself.

Close your eyes, take a few relaxing breaths and ask yourself what would make your current relationship absolutely great, fantastic, unbelievably phenomenal.  (If you are not in a relationship right now, then modify this exercise to imagine a future relationship that would be this wonderful).  Imagine it, see it, feel it, breathe it.  Then open your eyes and write down what you just experienced in your imagination.  Ask yourself if you are willing to embark in a process to make as much of that imaginative experience comes true.  If you say “Yes” to that question then you are ready to reads the rest of this article.  If you said “No,” ask yourself what stops you from saying Yes.  Do your best to get to Yes.  Don’t give a whole lot of energy to any cynical or skeptical thoughts that I am sure will be there.  Most of us limit ourselves so much due to self-limiting thoughts and feelings.  If you really are ready to take your relationship to the next level, I suggest you ask your partner to do the exercise as well.  Then sit down and listen to each other’s Relationship Vision.

(Note to reader here-If either of you have a difficult time coming up with a Relationship Vision, please come see me so that I can help you overcome obstacles to that vision.  This piece alone usually can be done in just a few therapy/coaching sessions.)

Once you have each other’s relationship vision, the vision that when actualized would now allow you to enjoy a great relationship, it is time to get to work.

Here are 3 keys steps to fulfill this wonderful journey.

1)   Practice often feeling what it feels like to feel that good in your relationship.  Walk around with that feeling in your belly and heart as much as possible even BEFORE things change significantly between you.  This is a very important piece because we actually unconsciously stay in emotional ruts with our partner as if the status quo is like a magnetic hole into which it sucks us.  It takes some conscious imagining to get used to a different feeling.  Sometimes I have couples remember how they felt when they were enthralled with their partner or when they could not wait to see their partner during courtship.  I ask them to remember those feelings and re-evoke them inside of themselves through these memories.   As the feelings change, you may begin talking and acting in ways that already begin creating that great relationship.

2)   Related to the last sentence of # 1, make yourself responsible for making this relationship from good to great.  What skills do you need to develop in yourself?  Do you need to listen better?  Do you need to practice being more comfortable with your body so that you don’t hold back sexually?  Even if you see problems with your partner, focus on what YOU need to do.  Let’s see the affect your changes have on your partner.  Look at your relationship as a gymnasium to develop your emotional muscle.  Embrace the challenge and don’t think about the outcome.  Let the outcomes flow naturally out of the changes you are making.

3)   Find out your partner’s love language.  Ask your partner what would make him or her feel loved.  I mean REALLY LOVED.  Probably what would make your partner feel REALLY LOVED is different than what would make you feel really loved.  Understand and accept that you both are different.  Make it your project to have your partner feel immensely loved by you.  You do not need to feel “in the mood” to speak his or her love language.  One of the greatest relationship myths is that to have a great relationship, we should just do what comes natural and easy for us without even thinking about it.  That is some major BS right there!  Falling in love is easy; it takes no effort to “fall.”  But to make a relationship go from good to great and to “fall back in love over and over” takes going out of your way.  It takes working on skills you are not very good at.  And it takes speaking to your partner in a love language that is most different than yours.

Within you are the power, courage, and creativity and love to make your relationship great.  I am here to help you do that if you want that (and who wouldn’t) I mean- how good can you stand it???? Your intimate relationship can be a source of ever-increasing love and pleasure if you get your fears and obsolete self-limiting ideas out of your way.  You do not need to be in crisis to improve your relationship.  I say GO FOR IT!!! And enjoy the gift that can be yours- the gift of an intimate committed sexy, loving passionate relationship.

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5 Things People Don’t Do in a Healthy Relationship (# 4 is crucial!)

By | Committment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Sex, Successful Marriages, Todd’s Thursday Thought | No Comments

As much as I like to talk about what you can do to have a phenomenal intimate relationship, it is also helpful to look at what you don’t want to do if you want that rewarding intimate experience in a long term relationship. Here are my top 5:

  1. Don’t go with your first reaction when your partner has a complaint about you.  It will probably be defensive and unhelpful.  It is better to take a few breaths and look for any validity or truth in what your partner is confronting you about.  Focus on that and be empathetic.
  2. Don’t judge the relationship as bad or not worth it if you are going through some tough times.  All long term relationships go through tough times and it is when you develop the emotional muscle through those tough times that the relationship can get really good!
  3. Don’t let yourself be busy all the time with no down time.  People that are always pushing themselves, not saying no to social requests or even their children every once in a while, burn themselves out.  The partner becomes a last resort and over time this relationship can develop into a roommate situation as opposed to being two lovers.
  4. Don’t stay in judgment about your spouse.  Practice focusing on why you liked your partner in the first place.  Remember your initial attraction.  Look for all the things your partner does to show love and effort into the marriage and family.  You do not need to suppress your negative feelings and opinions; just focus more on the reasons you and others like your spouse.
  5. Don’t avoid sex and don’t do the same thing in sex over and over again.  If you are not enjoying your sexual relationship on some consistent basis, get some assistance and see what the situation as well as internal blocks are to having more pleasure in the bedroom (or kitchen or anywhere else in the house).

Look over this list and take an honest look at your behavior and I would strongly suggest to make decisions to focus on one thing at a time to change.  Experimenting with new ways of doing and thinking can do wonders for your intimate connection.

Toxics

Three Toxic Patterns in Relationships Healthy People Avoid

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Counseling, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

Remember that YOU decide how you are to be treated; nobody treats you a certain way without YOUR permission! Here are three relationship patterns that people who are taking care of themselves avoid or “leave the scene” as soon as they discover it.

  1. The other person needs you to have only happy feelings.  There is no room for any negative or painful feelings.  This person wants and needs you to bolster his or her low energy or low self esteem.  You have a right to the full spectrum of human feelings.
  2. This other person cannot tolerate having to compromise or yield to your request or preference.  It is his or her way or the highway.  You deserve someone who can soothe oneself when you do not satisfy this other person.  Relationships are about taking turns, give and take and mature negotiation.
  3. The converse of # 2 is toxic as well.  This is the person who never has a preference.  What you hear a lot is- “Whatever you want” or “Anything- I’m easygoing.”  This may feel great at first but a healthy relationship is comprised of 2 strong people who express their wants and feelings and learn to deal with conflict.  If you want a relationship that is full of passion and energy for the long haul, you want someone who is a force to be reckoned with and not an emotional marshmallow.

There are many other toxic patterns that healthy people avoid and these were three that I see often in my practice. Be clear what you want, set boundaries and get out of any relationship where any of these three patterns continue.  Of course, the relationship optimist I am says- confront the person and if things change or the person gets into a therapy or coaching situation where it can change (i.e.- he or she takes your feedback seriously), you can definitely see how the story ends.  People are not necessarily chained to their toxic ways!

5 Healthy Relationship Dynamics That You May Think are Toxic

5 Healthy Relationship Dynamics That You May Think are Toxic

By | Conflict Resolution, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Sex, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

There are many myths about what makes a relationship great and living out these myths can be dangerous.  In this article, I outline some relationship dynamics that many of my clients thought were toxic when actually they were healthy and necessary for a long, hot marriage.

Here are the top 5 Healthy Relationship Dynamics that you may think are toxic:

  • It is healthy to have attraction to others outside your committed relationship.

As a matter of fact, having sexual feelings and attractiveness to others can be a catalyst for sexual behavior between the intimate couple.  Yes, you may have eyes only for him or her while you are courting and there are different hormones in play at that time.  However, after the “honeymoon stage,” these hormones shift and it is natural to find others attractive.  So, you may have eyes for other as well.  As long as you do not spend too much time “eyeing” or thinking about these other people and as long as you do not act on these feelings, your relationship will be in good shape.  Unless, that is, if one of you try to force your partner to only have eyes for you forever and place that unnatural burden on the partner.  Let your partner have those attractions and feel those feelings so that your partner can let those feelings go and put all his or her intimate energy into you.

  • Couples should fight and have conflict.

Those that keep trying to keep harmony and adapt too much eventually lose their passion.  If you want to experience who you are and be yourself in the relationship, it is inevitable that you will sometimes rub each other the wrong way; it is inevitable that you will disagree or have strong and polarized feelings about someone or something important in your life.  Allow conflict to exist.  Yes, you may need to compromise and yield at times; however this is not done without some struggle.  There is always the tension between being true to our own wants and needs and yet being sensitive to our partner’s.

  • There will be things you do not like about your partner that will never change.

It is perfectly ok to not like some qualities, traits or behaviors of your partner.  Of course, if one of these traits is absolutely impossible to accept at the core of your being, then you may need to think twice about the relationship you are in.  But most of the time, we just unnecessarily judge the heck out of our partner and our relationship instead f just accept and enjoy the big picture.  It is even possible to enjoy the flaws of your partner, seeing them as cute or unique.  It is part of what makes your partner human.  Believe me, you probably can dig up a few flaws of your own!  If not, your partner will help you find them!

  • Your sex life will probably go through its ebbs and flows; ups and downs.

You’re both human and you both get affected by each other and many other aspects of your environment.  Then add in hormonal changes life transitions and losses and intermittent (or chronic) physical problems, and your sex life may suffer at times.  Of course, see what you can do to rekindle passion, (I would be happy to help you with that).  But allow for the rising and the falling of libido, interest and arousal.   Even the author of “The Long Hot Marriage” has had some sexual highs and lows in his 30-year marriage.  It is normal and it is part of the human experience.

  • It’s good to get away from each other.

It is only then that you can bring something back to the relationship.  Too much time together and not enough space between you will erode the passion and your own inner spirit.  Spend time with friends separate from your partner.  Spend time in solitude.  Find activities that do not include your partner.  And then when you merge with him or her, really enjoy some positive intensity between you.  In other words, be separate to be close.

There you go.  These five behavioral patterns that can be misconstrued as toxic are not only “normal” but necessary for a long hot marriage.  If you want to learn more about these relationship changing ideas and how to apply those ideas (and more) to make your marriage phenomenal, I highly recommend buying my book, The Long Hot Marriage at the link below:

The Long Hot Marriage

http://toddcreager.com/store/the-long-hot-marriage-book/