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What is Intimacy?

Expanding The Definition of Intimacy   A lot of people come into my office and talk about having no sex. Yes, that is a lack of intimacy, but sex is only a part of intimacy. They fail to see the part before sex, which is super important too. I’ll ask them questions such as, “how are you with conflicts?” “How are you and your significant other with expressing yourselves?” And their response is, “We don’t do any of that.” There’s the problem. Let’s talk about the stage before sex and what that entails. There are three parts to that. A lot of people have confused or oversimplified the stage before sex. Which is communication. You do need to communicate, but there is a specific way to communicate, which I have broken down into three stages. The stage before sex is crucial. Men tend to minimize it, and women tend to overemphasize it. Communication isn’t just sitting down and babbling. There are three parts of the pre-stage of sex that makes it intimate. First, being able to know what you’re feeling. It sounds simple, but it is incredibly hard for some people. They talk about what they’re thinking, but it’s tough for them to name the actual feeling they are feeling. Telling someone what you’re thinking is different than naming the feeling. We can tell anyone what we’re thinking, but we share what we’re feeling with our significant other, this is what makes it intimate. You have to be able to name what you’re feeling. Example: Some people say,  “My wife came home late, and I told her she shouldn’t be late; it’s wrong to be late.” I ask them to name their feelings, and they proceed to say that the wife was wrong to be late, she shouldn’t be late, and they can’t trust her. The issue is, those are all thoughts. I have to stop some people and name feelings; that way, they can pick the feeling. In this case, it is typically anger. Being able to name your feeling is taking the time to think long enough about what you’re feeling and being able to name the feeling.  Second, is being able to express the feeling — any emotion, anger, sadness, joy, frustration, or hopefulness. We want you to be able to express your emotions in an emphatic way. Emphatic means you’re listening to the other person expressing …

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Marriage Therapy Success Story

From Rocky Shores to Smooth Sailing: Hannah and Joe’s Story in Marriage Therapy “Joe” and “Hannah” knew their marriage was in serious trouble. “We were at the end of our rope,” Joe said. “It was either go to counseling or separate.” Hannah agreed. “Neither one of us wanted to give up. So we decided that if we weren’t going to give up, we needed to find someone to help us fix whatever we could.” Marriage therapy wasn’t a choice that came quickly for either one of them. Joe had an open aversion to therapy and believed it carried a stigma — asking for help wasn’t a good thing. As for Hannah, she’d been to therapy when she was younger, and it hadn’t proven to be a positive experience. “It made me feel singled out, like the only one with problems,” she said. And yet, they knew neither one of them was happy with the state of the relationship. They described their marriage as disconnected and confusing. “We didn’t know what to do,” said Hannah. “We just weren’t happy with each other.” What they did know was they’d committed themselves to find expert help. So Joe went online, and that’s how he found Dr. Dabney. They both agreed she fit the idea of what they were looking for in a therapist, plus, added Joe, “I liked that she had so many testimonials and so much information available on her website.” Their experiences in Dr. Dabney’s office was almost entirely different than what they expected. “For starters,” said Joe, “you do almost all the talking.” Hannah agreed and added, “It’s great that she’s able to listen to you and pinpoint the things you need to learn about yourself. She asks the right  questions and gets right to the heart of the issue.” Said Joe, “She’s not going to ask you to change. She may ask you to adopt a different perspective, but not change who you are. We never walked out of there confused or feeling like one of us was at fault.” Dr. Dabney was so effective. Hannah and Joe estimated that their counseling lasted only about three months, start to finish. One of the best takeaways for both of them is that they aren’t responsible for each other’s happiness. And they learned to adjust their communication accordingly. As Hannah put it, “We used to feel guilty if we made each …

What Do Sex Dreams Mean?

 Most common intimacy dreams, what do they mean? What do sex dreams mean? A lot of people come in scared to death to admit to them or to talk about them. It’s a shame because they’re so rich. There’s so much information in those dreams that help us better understand you or help you understand you. Dreams are not literal Thinking and doing are oceans apart. There’s a huge difference between thinking something and doing something. If you’re afraid of dreams it’s because you understand the basics. Which we talked about here. The dream is you thinking, usually a wish. The dream is usually a fulfillment, that is true. But the idea is not to take that wish literally. Just thinking about something doesn’t literally mean you’re going to go out and do it or even literally mean that’s what you want. To give an example to make that clear, one of the most common intimacy dreams are people coming in and saying they had a sex dream,  about someone who they real-life aren’t attracted to at all. They don’t want to admit the dream, because they think it means, they want to have sex with that person, they don’t love the person they’re with, or they want to cheat secretly. That’s where I have to stop them and say, “It doesn’t really mean that.” Pay attention to your unconscious. We need to be creative and let our imagination unwind. Pay attention to the unconscious, your imagination, your fantasies, your daydreaming- all of that is telling you what’s going on inside, It’s not taken so literally. Oftentimes, what happens when we start getting into it with a little more detail, we figure out what is it about that person that is attractive to you? It may not be that you are sexually attracted to them but it may be something about their quality, a personality trait,  something they do that you are really super attracted to. For example, what do sex dreams mean when you dream about someone from work? It may be someone who is very comfortable with expressing aggression, and you are not comfortable with expressing aggression, which for men can be very difficult. So the idea of intermingling with somebody who has that personality trait is a secret way of getting that component to himself, an easy quick way. So there’s this wish that he could …

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Intimacy vs Sex Quiz

The Intimacy vs Sex Quiz Which force drives your relationships? How much do you know about these two powerful forces? And which one is in the driver’s seat when it comes to your relationships? Question One: If your partner says (s)he wants to increase the intimacy in your relationship, how are you most likely to try doing that? A. Give her/him more gifts and initiate sex more often. B. Agree with her/him more. C. Make an attempt to connect with her/him emotionally, even when you sense you’re not on the same page about an issue. Question Two: In your experience, what’s the most prominent warning signal that your relationship may be on the rocks? A. You hardly have sex anymore. B. You may have sex as much as you used to, but you’re fighting more often. C. You seem to be living on two different planets and hardly spend any time together, let alone have sex with each other. Question Three: It’s often said that make-up sex is the best sex. Which of the following best matches your thoughts on why? A. The physical rush of sex takes care of all the pent-up energy from the fight and makes me feel better. B. Arguments can be mentally draining. Sex is a way of saying, “We’re still a couple”; it brings us together, instead of seeing each other as the enemy as we do when we fight. C. Sex can be just as emotional as it is physical. Make-up sex is great because if you’ve just resolved an argument together, you’re connecting on the most intimate level possible. Question Four: Foreplay and sex go hand-in-hand. Which of the following best matches your thoughts on how to ensure one follows the other? A. It’s all about getting her/him into the bedroom. If you spend enough time getting the mood right physically, sex is pretty much a certainty. B. It’s about finding the right moment. If either one of us is exhausted or distracted, there’s not much hope of sex. But when we’re both game, it’s a pretty sure thing. C. It’s all about connecting emotionally. If we waited until we were both in the mood or the kids weren’t sick, or neither one of us were stressed at work, we’d never have sex. Making a dedicated effort to connect leads to way more sex than jumping into bed together. How did you …