I invite you to consider building a practice of building awareness around your inner eagle brain thoughts throughout the day.
Observe the way these thoughts make you feel in your body, if they have any weight to them. Does your body feel heavier or lighter? Do they have a color or texture?
Notice the quantity of thoughts you’re having. Is your mind racing? Does it feel difficult to let go of the thoughts?
Once you’ve become aware of these thoughts, see if you can gently put them aside for later. You might want to put them in a container or in a safe place in your mind. Perhaps even a sticky note or visually place the thoughts on leaf in a stream, watching them flow away.
Remind yourself that you are safe. You are exactly where you need to be. You are present with your surroundings.
Once you have brought awareness to these thoughts and have gently set them aside, begin to notice your environment: the sounds in the room around you, the colors of the objects in the room, perhaps even the way your body feels against whatever surface you are on.
If you are able to, you might even begin to notice the quality of your breath. Observing where you feel it in your body, perhaps in your nostrils as it enters your body, or maybe your throat, chest or belly as it rises and falls after each inhale and exhale, making sure that you are still present with your environment at all times.
Continue this practice as often as needed.
Sara Paules, LPC
Mindful Soul Center
Desire discrepancy is one of the most common marital or relational issues that bring couples to couples counseling. When one partner has a higher libido than the other partner, the partner with the higher libido can often feel rejected or unworthy of their partner’s love.
If you feel like you have a higher libido than your partner, the most important thing for you to do is speak up. Communicate with your partner in a non-accusatory way how you have been feeling. Going too long without communicating your needs and feelings around the matter will only lead to false narratives in your head (ie: “my partner doesn’t want to have sex with me because they don’t love me anymore”).
Instead of allowing false narratives to control your relationship and sex life, challenge them by speaking up. Our false narratives are often shaped by past events that have happened in our life, typically from childhood (ie: “When they retreat, it must be because I did something wrong”), so even though it might seem as though your partner is sexually holding out, it could be that it has nothing to do with the fact that they are out of love with you (or whatever other narrative you’ve gone to in your head).
In fact, some people just have lower libidos than other people (which is absolutely normal, btw), plain and simple (thanks a lot, public school sex education for not teaching this to us in school). That said, bringing this topic up in an accusatory way won’t be helpful and in fact, might even lead the partner with the lower libido to assume that something is wrong with them for having a lower libido which in turn, could potentially lower their libido even more. Bring up the topic by using I statements like “I feel hurt when you don't without initiating sex with me”. Make sure to use facts, not opinions or subjective statements, and stick to the topic at hand.
You can even go so far as to openly confront your false narrative to your partner when speaking on the subject by stating something like “When you tell me “no” after trying to initiate sex with you, I make up this story in my head that it’s because you don’t love me anymore”. This technique comes from Dr. Brene Brown, a shame researcher, who says that we create a stronger bond with our partner when we confront our shame to them. She points out that it’s vital to include a variation of the phrase “the made-up story in my head” when trying to use this skill.
Lastly, if you’ve tried opening up to your partner about their lack of interest in sex and they aren’t willing to listen or don’t want to work on it with you, you might want to consider sex therapy or couples counseling. No one should have to feel like their sexual desires are problematic and if you’ve done all that you can so far, sex therapy or couples counseling might be able to help with making sure that you both are being heard in a safe, respectful manner.
Sara Paules, LPC
“I want to be in a non-monogamous relationship but I don’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings or for them to think that I don’t love them. What should I do?”
If I had a dime for every time I heard this statement… well, you know the saying. Simply put, I get this question a lot in my practice which is very unfortunate because what I hear at the core of this question is “I’m afraid of being seen” or “my partner’s feelings are being prioritized over my own”. And this is sad to me because it doesn’t have to be that way.
I tell you this because it’s important to know that if you’re interested in being in a non-monogamous relationship and have been interested in being in one for some time now, you’re probably not going to do very well in a monogamous relationship. Why? Well, because you’re not living your truth… in fact, you’re downright being deceptive to your partner, as well.
How, you ask? Well, when we only show our partner certain parts of us and knowingly hide other parts of us out of fear or shame, our partner is only able to love the person they think we are. And doesn’t our partner have the right to know who they’re in a relationship with? This all goes back to one of those first questions I hear a lot of “I don’t want to hurt them… what should I do?”
Listen closely, if you don’t want to hurt your partner, you tell them what your desires are! Speak your truth. If they don’t like your truth, they are able to know you for who you fully are and can then make an informed decision about whether or not they want to be with you for who you fully are. Not to mention the fact that you’ll feel liberated and authentically seen for who you really are and will know that maybe that relationship was only meant to last for a season (which is okay, too).
Yes, this hurts and is painful sometimes… yes, it can bring up a lot of feelings of shame and worthiness… yes, it’s necessary… and no, you don’t have to go through this alone. There are lots of great places to find support for talking to your partner about non-monogamy such as local meetups, websites, books (“The Ethical Slut” and “Opening Up” to name a few…) as well as great sex positive therapists, sex therapists and couples therapists out there who want to support you through this process. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some of my favorite resources.
Sara Paules, LPC
Mindful Soul Center