A Day in the Life of a Sex Therapist

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“What kind of therapist are you?” they ask. 


I take a deep breath, brace myself slightly, “A sex therapist,” I reply. 

“They”, in this specific instance, is the admissions coordinator at one of the preschools we were looking at for my son. 


I never know how my response is going to be received. Thankfully, most people are intrigued or excited to meet “one of those”. Usually, what follows is a list of questions about what exactly I do. 


As a sex therapist, I work with individuals and couples. Many couples come to me feeling that they have great relationship “except for sex”. And I believe them. When sex is good it takes up about 10% of a relationship, when it is problematic it can take up about 90% of the relationship (Barry McCarthy). The emotions that are attached to sex bleeds into everything else, either creating joy and flow in the couple or creating further complications. 


I have found that when couple become comfortable communicating about sex generally, learn how to identify and express their own personal desires and create a safe container to practice and connect with their sexuality individually and with a partner, the other issues begin to diminish. 


Some other areas that I work with are individuals or couples recovering from childhood sexual abuse, a history of sexual assault or abuse, infertility and the impacts this has on the couple, infidelity, shame around sex, difficulty communicating about sex, different sexual styles within a couple, different amounts of sex desired within couple, erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, pain during sex, out of control sexual behavior ( commonly referred to as sex addiction), opening up relationships/ polyamory/ swinging, gender identity, performance anxiety…. The list goes on. 


My days are never the same, one to the next. I love that about my job. As every individual is unique, so are their perspectives and experiences. Some days I am a teacher, others a sounding board. I practice being a translator, a buffer, a coach, or a referee.


I am honored that my clients trust me and seek out my support in some of the most vulnerable areas of their life. 


If you are curious to know more, or think you would like my help reach out: christy@christyhaas.com. I would love to hear from you!

Guilt with a capital "G"

Let’s be real here: I am so looking forward to completely bingeing on all of the Thanksgiving food! The turkey, the pie, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing…. I can’t wait! However, knowing myself, I realize that this overindulgence is likely to be followed by some serious guilt; “I shouldn’t have eaten that”, “I feel so fat”, “what’s the matter with me?”, “Have I no self-control”….. and the list goes on. I find it very difficult to do anything enjoyable these days without Guilt following close behind. 


As a parent, there is always a sacrifice attached to a choice- (maybe this has always been the case, but it feels more apparent after becoming a mom). If I decide to work out, I have to find a sitter or I have to wake up earlier or I have to give up time with my son. When I choose to stay home with my son I sacrifice being with adults, getting a workout in, completing home and work tasks.  When I choose intimacy with my husband I am losing out on sleep, I get behind on work, and I don’t get “me” time.  But if I choose to sleep, read a book or get tasks done I feel guilty about not being with my husband.  No matter what activity I choose I will feel guilty about not doing the opposite. 


There are so many managerial aspects to being an adult that sometimes it seems easier to give up on trying to do anything for yourself because it is less effort to just be on autopilot and let the system run by itself. Easier in the moment, but not sustainable and not a happy place to live.


We can’t do it all. We have to prioritize. Deciding what is important today is the first step. For instance, tomorrow I am going to choose to indulge in my favorite foods. I am going to eat until I am full. I am going to argue with that negative self-talk in my head until it goes away. I will make a choice and commit to it, allowing myself to fully enjoy the activity at hand. When I decide to work out I will be grateful for the self-care and allow myself to burn off any guilt or anxiety. When I decide to be with my husband I will be present and connect with the person I love. When I am with my son I will be playful and enjoy the time I am so lucky to have with him. And when I eat that damn pumpkin pie I am going to enjoy it!


Guilt wastes so much of our time and energy- and let’s be real, there is never enough time or energy in a day. Being present , and at peace with the decisions we make frees up energy for us to use towards something productive, like sleep, sex, work, or play. 

Keep On The Sunny Side

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Most people assume that I spend my time refereeing. It’s true, couples come to me, wanting to hash out their fights and discover, once and for all, who is “right”. To this, I always respond, “you can be right or you can be married” (Esther Perel). Still, I gladly help navigate couples through conflict, reenact arguments with alternate endings, and rephrase statements and requests. But the bulk of my work consists of identifying, strengthening and helping couples experience the positive aspects of the relationship. If they can’t remember what they’re working for, what is the point? Putting emphasis and intention towards the positive aspects of your relationship will help strengthen the bond. It can also help the difficult times seem much more manageable. Here’s how to stay positive in your relationship:

Create positive memories

I constantly ask couples what they are currently doing to connect with one another. Many make sure that they have weekly or monthly date nights, which is great. However, “date night” typically ends up being 2 people eating, looking at their phones, talking about their kids and managing lives. This is hardly a connecting activity. I try to suggest the value in scheduling a date night that includes a physical activity like hiking, bowling, or a yoga class. This allows you to get out of your head, into your body and create some new positive memories. Take turns deciding on an activity and keep it fun- nothing super competitive or anxiety ridden (paintball may be a bad idea…)

Picture the glass half full

When you are in the middle of an argument, it is very easy to assume that your partner is trying to hurt/ frustrate/ shame/ attack you. But for the most part, in a conflict, both partners are trying to defend themselves (or their truth). Using the power of empathy, you can begin to focus on your partner’s good intentions. For example, your partner shrunk your shirt in the laundry. Most likely, this was an accident, and it was very nice of your partner to help out with the laundry. You have every right to be frustrated that your shirt no longer fits AND you can be grateful that you have a loving, helpful partner.

Become intentional with positive interactions

Try creating daily ritual that helps you both focus on what you love and appreciate about your relationship. Take time each day to tell your partner what you are grateful for in your relationship. Leave little love notes around the house or car for your partner to find. Cook a meal that your partner loves. Little bits of effort can show your partner how much they mean to you, while reminding you how important your partner is.


By creating these habits, you are allowing yourself more control over the climate of the relationship. You don’t have to stay stuck in an emotional vacuum. Sloughing off the negative energy can help let down defensiveness and address issues with fresh, curious eyes. 


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Have you seen that commercial with the woman at the doctor’s office. She is sitting up on the exam table answering questions that her doctor is asking her. Her answers are short and uncertain. Hovering around her is another her, urging her to speak up, be honest, tell the doctor it hurts! I experience a variation of this in my office all of the time. I will have a couple come to see me because one person has “low desire”. One of the first questions I ask them is: “Do you experience any pain with penetration? During sex? With a tampon?” At least, 75% of the time the answer is “yeah. Sometimes.” Or “kind of”. These responses come with a downward glance and huge amounts of shame. Why?!If I were to go to an orthopedic surgeon for knee pain, I hardly think I would feel ashamed to report this pain. Unfortunately, due to the stigma around expectations of what sex is supposed to be, there is an immense amount of shame and embarrassment surrounding all things sex and genitals. This has to change.


“If it hurts, stop doing it,” says me, all of the time. The thing about painful sex is that if we try and push through the pain it will almost always get worse. The repetitive pain compounds things- meaning you can develop psychosomatic symptoms in addition to the initial pain. Sometimes, vaginal muscles will begin to tighten in apprehension of any impending penetration (this could be symptoms of vaginismus), which causes more pain. If you are experiencing burning or rawness in the genital area (this could be symptoms of vulvodynia), continued friction can worsen the pain. These are just 2 of may possible diagnoses. This is why it is important to go to a knowledgeable, skilled doctor. A correct diagnosis is imperative. In the meantime, stop doing any activity that hurts. Do not resume until you have seen your doctor and received a correct diagnosis. Once you have completed treatment for your pain and the pain has gone away (and your doctor clears you!) you can gently and slowly begin to resume penetrative activities.


What should you do if you are experiencing painful sex? I will often have potential clients call me to set up an initial appointment for painful sex. And while I would never turn them away, I always suggest that they go get checked out by their gynecologist (extra credit if the gyn has sex medicine credentials!) Oftentimes, painful sex can be symptoms of emotional, as well as, physical issues. Having your medical doctor rule out physical cause, give you a correct diagnosis and begin treatment is necessary to relieve physical pain. If there is an emotional layer to the pain we can work on that while or after the physical symptoms have been addressed. 


If you take one thing away from this post let it be this: there is nothing to be ashamed of! Many women experience pain during sex. This doesn’t mean they are broken. For the most part, painful sex is very treatable. But it has to be reported. As women, we have become accustomed to keeping quiet and this has to change. What would happen if you were to become more involved in your exams at the gynecologist? Did you know that you can ask the doctor to hold up a mirror so you can see what is happening while you’re being examined? How do you think this would change your experience? Get involved. Learn about your body. And take care of yourself!


If you or someone you know experiences painful sex have them contact me: www.christyhaas.com

Invasion of the SmartPhone

We are all guilty of it. At the dinner table. In the bathroom. In the car (not while driving, please!). In bed- Oh my!!! The smart phones are with us everywhere. I don’t know about you but I get annoyed at myself when the cell phone becomes an extension of my hand. Scrolling through my Insta-feed. Liking baby photos on FB, reading articles… while I am watching TV!!! It is too much. 

3 Things Every Man Needs to Know About Satisfying a Woman

I know, I know… this sound like every article ever written in Men’s Health magazine. I got your attention, though, didn’t I? Seriously, we live in an age of porn-education. Most of us never received quality sex education that included biology, anatomy, physiology, and oh yeah, PLEASURE. We fumble our way through adolescence (literally) and then somehow feel like we are just supposed to magically know how to have good sex. Pleasure doesn’t just happen. It takes communication, vulnerability and some good, old-fashioned trial and error!

Initiating Sex

We’ve all been there. Lying in bed, about to call it a night and realize it’s been… (ahem) awhile since you’ve had sex with your partner. So, you look at them and say “should we have sex?” Let me start by saying: there is absolutely nothing wrong with this! Sometimes sex is just maintenance sex… sometimes. Allowing sex to have different roles in your relationship is important and keeps it from becoming boring and routine. Sex can be a stress reliever, allow you to process emotions (grief/sadness/anger/joy), connect you to your partner, connect you to yourself, be hot, be romantic, be naughty… anything you can imagine.



*I want to preface this post by saying that what I call mom guilt could also be referred to as dad guilt. I am not trying to exclude all the daddies out there. However, in my personal and professional experience, I do feel that dads experience much less frequent and intense guilt related to parenting than moms do. How’d they do that?

I remember talking to a friend of mine (a year or so before I had a baby). She was the mom of a 6-month-old. I asked her how she liked being a mom: “It’s good but I feel guilty about everything. No matter what decision I make- I am screwed”.

This stuck with me. I remember thinking, smugly (you know, the way you think before you have kids),

I am not going to do that. I know that I have to take care of myself first. I am a therapist, after all. Self-care is the priority”

I had no idea.

Mom guilt is something I see every day- in my own life, in my client’s lives, in my friends and family’s lives… Heck! I think my mom still has mom guilt and I am 34! Not only does mom guilt serve zero purpose, it is killing us.

It starts when we are pregnant. Not gaining to little or too much weight. The restrictive diet. Getting the right amount of exercise- but not too much! And then in the hospital you feel guilty about non-medicated (all births are natural!) vs. medicated births, breastfeeding and pumping. Allowing guests vs. getting quality time with baby (and maybe some rest???)

From the get-go we are bombarded with trying to please everything, meet all of the expectations and requirements and hoping we don’t make any mistakes. We also feel as if we are supposed to know exactly how to be a mom… naturally. This is bullshit. The first way to defend against mom guilt is to admit to ourselves that being a parent is a learning experience. We have no idea how to parent this child because every child is so different. What works for yours may not for mine and vice versa. Accepting that we can fake it ‘til we make it allows us to cut ourselves a break, laugh off some of the missteps, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!

In response to my preface: Why are dads so much less burdened by guilt than moms? I think the main reason is that the expectations are much higher for us. Ever notice how when a dad watches the children it’s called “babysitting” or “watching the children”? When a mom watches the children its parenting… right? This is crazy! Let’s raise the bar for the dads. Expect 50% of the parenting from them… and then get out of their way. I know I am not the only one that micromanages my husband’s parenting! We have to stop this. Let them find their style and allow them to become the best parent they can be.

Lastly, let’s cut each other a break. Moms can be incredibly judgmental and cliquey. This helps no one. We all need a supportive tribe around us in order to be successful at this crazy parenting life. Remembering, everyone is doing the best that they can with what they have. Instead of cutting other moms down, offer help, support and community.

Will I Be My Valentine?

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I am not a HUGE Valentine’s Day fan. Why? Commercialism. Love should be celebrated everyday not just once a year. And mostly because I see more conflict arise with couples around Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year. So much anticipation and unmet desires. Expectations for sex, gifts, time, energy, dates and love notes…Time for a change! Valentine’s day is really supposed to be about love, and that is something I can get behind! This year challenge yourself to be your own Valentine!

Here are a few ways to be your own Valentine:

Get Away

This doesn’t mean you have to get a flight out of the country (although, if that is an option, I highly encourage it). This could simply mean getting a sitter and going to the coffee shop and sitting with a good book, or heading to the gym and relaxing in the steam room or sauna for a bit. Something that feels good and renews you from the inside out. A little vacay for the brain!

Spend time with People that make you feel good

Make a date with someone that leaves you feeling good. We all have that friend/ family member/ significant other that makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. That’s the person to take on a date today!

Connect with your body

A home practice or daily ritual is something I recommend to all of my clients. It doesn’t have to be an hour long, hot yoga practice followed by 2 hours of meditation- good lord! This can simply mean lighting a candle, sitting in a comfortable place and breathing for 2 minutes. Find stillness and tune in to what is going on in your body. If this feels a bit overwhelming, try the Headspace App. It’s amazing!

Write yourself a love note

Get out a pen and paper and write down all of the things you are in love with about yourself. Romance yourself! Try and think about all of the struggles you have overcome, accomplishments that you have attained and amazing things you have created. Think about your professional life, social life, love life, family life, and acts of service. When you’re done read it out loud to yourself. Soak it in.


Happy Valentine’s Day to You!

For the Love of Food!


They say the way to the heart is through the stomach, so our relationship expert shares four reasons and ways to improve your relationship one bite at a time.

Food gets a bad rap these days. So many allergies, intolerances, “bad” foods vs. “good” foods, superfoods, “too many carbs”, “too fatty”, etc. As a society, we also tend to lean towards quick and convenient vs. nourishing and intentional. We eat out way more than we used to because everyone is so busy. Rarely, will you find a family that still prepares nightly meals, sits down together and enjoys yummy food while talking to one another. There are too many work meetings, sports, practices, games, rehearsals, lessons, tutors, playdates, happy hours, or we are just plain exhausted. It’s time to re-center, reprioritize and reconnect. Here’s why:

Preparing food can be fun… and bonding

Whether you are single, dating, married or have a hundred kids running around you, food prep and cooking can be a great way to connect. Having a shared goal is a great way to build trust and communication with children. It also allows children to become more self-sufficient as they grow older. Cooking with your partner can allow for time together to gently decompress after a long day. 

You will feel better

Food prepared in restaurants or dropped out of a fast food window aren’t the healthiest choices. When you select the ingredients yourself you can insure that it is fresh and nutritious. When kids are well-nourished they are happier, sleep better and can be more present. When adults eat a good, healthy meal we feel better, which makes us more likely to engage with our partners. We can take interest in their day and be more open to touch by not feel weighed down or bloated by a greasy, fried meal.

Save Money

Planning nightly meals and shopping with a grocery list can save you two to four times the amount of eating out. Based on this research (www.flannelguyroi.com), cutting four meals out every week can save you up to $11 per person per meal! That money can be better spent on a mani/pedi, a fun family outing or a romantic date for two!


Cooking provides a short, attainable task with a measurable goal. This means a success in the kitchen helps to build self-esteem- and not just for kids! Additionally, when self-esteem goes up depression and anxiety symptoms go down. I know what you’re thinking: “cooking is not therapeutic when you are a terrible cook like me! Its stressful!” I hear you! I realize we are not all 5 star chefs (or even one star…), but nowadays there are so many options that help make cooking more manageable. Check out Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or Plated. Or for a fun solo activity, a great date night, or a bonding family activity try a cooking class. Jungle Jims and Sur La Table have great ones!

Get out of the fast food drive-thru line, the line in front of the hostess stand or off of the UberEats App and get yourself back to the kitchen table for some good quality food and bonding.


See the full article at: CincyChic.com

How to be a lady boss AND have a healthy relationship

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How do you balance being a “Lady Boss” with having a healthy relationship? Our guru has four tips to help you excel at both. Our relationship expert, Christy Haas MA, LPCC, CST, shares four easy steps to having it all!

This is the age of girl power, lady bosses and the renaissance woman. Not only do we want to achieve it all, it has becoming an expectation. As women, we wear many hats: wife/girlfriend, nurturer, career woman, friend, daughter, sister and many of us moms. How in the world are we expected to manage all of these things?

Here are a few tips that make balancing ambitious career goals with maintaining a fulfilling relationship a bit more manageable:

Realize you Don’t Have to Choose

Repeat after me: 

“I do not have to choose between being a career woman and being in a relationship!” 

With a few adjustments and exceptions, you can achieve both. In the home, it is important to be able to delegate tasks with your partner. Decide which household tasks each of you are good at, create a chore chart together, all the while making sure that it is a fair division of labor. Or you can outsource: hire a cleaning service, employ lawn care specialists, ask for help from friends and family. It takes a village!

Boundaries, Boundaries, and more Boundaries

We may be able to do it all, but we can’t do it all, all of the time. It is important to set boundaries with your time, energy, relationships and expectations. Create a time boundary for work. For example, after 6 PM there will be no work emails, calls or tasks. During work hours, maybe you and your partner decide not to exchange texts or call one another unless it is during lunch or a short break. That way the time that is spent together is fully focused on your significant other and not spent distracted by outside tasks.


We are living in the multitasking age. But research actually shows us that there really is no such thing as multitasking, its doing a little of something and then a little of something else. Research also tells us that when we do this our result is much weaker than if we fully focus on one task at a time. Get organized, make a list and decide what needs to be done right now, at some point today, or by the end of this week. This goes for work life and personal life. Scheduling date nights, important conversations and, yes, even sex, are an important part of managing all of life’s offerings.

Be Gentle with Yourself

One of the most challenging AND most rewarding life skill is learning to be kind to ourselves. We all make mistakes in our work lives and in our personal lives, but beating ourselves up about these mistakes afterwards accomplishes absolutely nothing. In fact, it makes everything that much worse. Learning to accept mistakes, learn from them and move forward is success. Work on changing the negative self-talk that is on repeat in your brain. You know, the one that says: “you’re such an idiot, why did you do that?” Replace it with loving, constructive words: “I may not have made the best decision but I am learning and I did the best with what I had.” When we are kinder to ourselves we make it possible to be kinder to others at work and in our personal relationships.

The 5 Best Books to Read for a Happier, Healthier, More Satisfied You!


See published article at www.cincychic.com

Our relationship columnist has the five must-read books for a happier, healthier and more satisfied you!


I’ve got a confession to make. I am a total book junky. My Amazon Wishlist is inundated with countless books that caught my fancy at one time or another. Books that I crave desperately to read. The honest truth is that probably 50% of the books that I buy end up on a shelf collecting dust. I may read a chapter or two, but then get distracted with the next pretty cover or enticing title. However, there are those special books that have stood the test of time. Books that I have read and re-read over and over again. Books that I have recommended to clients and friends, alike. These books are amazing and hold a very special place in my heart. 

So, without further ado, here is my list of the five best books to read for a happier, healthier, more satisfied you! 

Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

This book found me at my absolute lowest. Broken-hearted, living back at home with my parents at age 25, having a complete quarter life crisis and helping to care for my father during his battle with cancer. Life was tough. This book helped me see the light in the darkness. Elizabeth Lesser is authentic, genuine and vulnerable. She is an inspiration and her book was my life-saver.

Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski

Everyone should read this book. This book touches on self-love, body image, sexual desire, sexual abuse and owning your sexuality. Nagoski encourages readers to understand themselves entirely, we are so much more than a body or a mind. We are unique and have unique needs and desires… and that’s beautiful! She writes in an accessible way, AND has the science to back it up. Go get it now and thank me later!

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I could have filled this whole list with just books by Brene Brown! She is absolutely incredible (If you haven’t seen her TedxTalk- Do it!) This is a book about the courage that it takes to show up, be vulnerable and allow yourself to be you. This book can apply to any and all aspects of life: parenting, relationships, work, self- love, etc. She is warm and smart. This book makes you feel like you’re getting a loving hug and a gentle kick in the butt… toward your goal.

Sex Matters for Women by Sally Foley, Sally A Kope and Dennis P Sugrue

I know I am biased, having studied under Sally Foley and Dennis Sugrue at University of Michigan, but this book is absolutely incredible. Such a wonderful book to help women understand, cultivate and grow their sexuality and self-acceptance. Calling out sexual myths, answering questions we are too afraid to ask, and confronting our self-doubt. This book addresses it all: relationships, sexual orientation, hormones, anatomy, STI’s. It looks like a textbook but reads like a conversation with the most amazing, loving therapist you could ever wish for.

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

The full title of this book is Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Need I say more? Perel is one of the most respected sex therapists in the field these days. In “Mating…”, she discusses how to create passion and eroticism in domesticated life. She is smart, sexy, funny.This book provides great, straightforward but counterintuitive advice for the modern couple.

Christy Haas MA, LPCC, CST is a relationship and sex therapist in Cincinnati for more information check out www.christyhaas.com or see my full list of book recommendations here.

What Can We Do?

Sitting here in contemplation of the brutal hatred that occurred in Las Vegas in the last 24 hours has left me wondering, “What can I do?” I try to limit my exposure to too much media in these times. I find it can be traumatizing for me. But the few minutes that I did tune in this morning the news says that there really is no way to prevent such an attack: “The public needs to report anything that they hear or see or witness, even if it is joke…” well, this doesn’t make me feel very safe. In all honesty, occurrences like these are incredibly jarring because they leave me feeling so utterly out of control. I realize that, in reality, I have NO control. And while this is a shocking and scary realization, it is also somewhat freeing. If I can’t really do much to prevent these horrendous acts of terrorism then I can turn my attention to what I can control.


So what can we do? We can love each other more than we hate these attacks and the attacker. We can join together and continue to unite in the face of terror. We can find the beauty in our world, even when there is so much ugliness. We can hug our loved ones a little bit tighter and longer today… and the next day. We can be kind to the person in front of us in the checkout line, because we don’t know their story. We can work passionately for the causes that we find important. We can continue to help those that have been affected by the recent natural disasters heal. We can donate blood. We can recycle. We can send goods to disaster relief missions. We are not helpless, if anything, we are resilient.

So take a moment, an hour, a day, a year, whatever it takes, and grieve for the losses which we incur on a daily basis. Sit in sadness, mourn the lost. But let us resist the temptation to let the hate in our heart grow larger than the love. Don't allow hate to breed more hate. 


Love each other harder today, my friends.

Spice Up Your Life

Photo by LuckyBusiness/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by LuckyBusiness/iStock / Getty Images

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care. What do you want?”

Who else hates this conversation??? This is a good indicator that maybe things are stuck in a rut. When things get stagnant and stuck in my life I begin to feel like I am going to explode if things don’t start to move and grow. This can be in any facet of life: work, family, relationships, personal growth, finances, etc. But as a sex therapist I want to talk about your intimate relationships.


There is something so beautiful and safe about being in a long-term relationship. However, once you manage to create this safe and sacred space you and your partner run the risk of monotony. There is a very fine line between secure attachment within a relationship and boredom. The trick is in creating a safe container for an adventurous relationship to be held in. Make sense? Here are some pointers:


Do you know that first couple of weeks when you begin a new job? You don’t really know what to do, what is expected of you and how to fill your time. After a couple of weeks, you begin to get into the swing of things and create a rhythm. This is the sweet spot. It can last anywhere from a month to years. Eventually, things become monotonous and robotic. It’s the same way with sex in a long-term relationship. As humans, we find what is comfortable (and what works!) and we stick to it. But after a while we tend to go through the motions without truly being present.


One of the most obvious ways to inject a little adventure into your sex is to shake things up. Try something new! A new sexual position. Maybe switching up locations to the couch (or the kitchen counter!).  Take turns initiating. Try a new toy or buy some new lingerie- anything to bring a little energy and life into the same old, same old.


Slowing down to notice pleasurable things about our partner can be helpful. As a Certified Yoga Instructor, this is something that I guide my students to do throughout their practice. There are only so many yoga poses- it can get boring. But your body changes with every breath that you take. So, if you slow down and tune into your body and surroundings you can always notice a new sensation or nuance in any moment.  Making eye contact or holding hands during foreplay or while having sex can be extremely intimate and help you remain in the present moment.


All of these things can feel a bit awkward and unsexy at the beginning, because it is new and unknown. With some trust in yourself and your partner you can explore this newness together and build an exciting and interesting intimate life together.


For more information on Sex Therapy or Relationship Counseling contact Christy.

Valentine's Day

Photo by sunemotion/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by sunemotion/iStock / Getty Images

Valentine's Day. The Hallmark Company, Godiva, Victoria's Secret and 1-800-FLOWERS want you to believe that this is the most romantic day all year! Sexy lingerie will guarantee a hot night with your significant other (S.O.). A dozen long stem roses will assure him that he is out of the dog house...at least for awhile. That $8 papyrus card and $40 box of Godiva will let her know how much you love her. Can I let you in on a little (not-so-secret) secret? This is all B.S. Valentine's Day, although well-intentioned, ends up being a day about bribery and point-keeping. The real focus of the day, LOVE, gets totally lost in all of the pressure, unmet desires and let downs. Statistically speaking, couples are more likely to end up in a fight  than getting hot and heavy under the sheets. But Valentine's Day doesn't have to be a total wash. Valentine's Day can be amazing. Here's how:

  • Take The Focus Off Of Sex: 

We have all seen the movies. Woman walks into her apartment, dimly lit, with a trail of rose petals leading to the bedroom..... Bam! Hot, heavy, kinky, passionate sex. That's great in a movie, but it isn't realistic for many people out there. Many of us force ourselves to have sex on the V-Day, because that's what we're supposed to do, not because we actually want to. Instead, make a commitment to work on improving sexual connection and increasing intimacy throughout the year- not just on one day. Instead of assuming that sex is going to be part of the evening why not just focus on pleasure? Eat a yummy meal. Feed each other some of those chocolates. Exchange massages. Make Out! Moving the focus to pleasure instead of sex allows both of you to feel good (who doesn't want that???) and it eliminates the expectations.

  • Focus On Giving... Not Receiving

This can be a very hard thing for many people. "Why should I go out of my way and do something nice for my S.O. if I am not going to get anything (sex, a gift, appreciation) out of it?" The short answer is: Because you love them. And you want to show them that you love them. But remember, don't just go with the generic teddy bear and chocolate routine. Tell your S.O. that you love them in their language. If she likes music, take her to a show. If he loves his car, take it to get detailed for him. If they have a favorite restaurant, treat them to a night out. Show them that you actually thought about them this V-Day.

  • Eliminate The Pressure

"I have to get a card/ flowers/ lingerie/ go out to a fancy dinner/ be super romantic/ have great sex/ etc". That's a lot to jam into one little Tuesday! Try having a conversation with your partner about what you want on Valentine's Day. Maybe you both decide to have sex the day before so the pressure isn't so heavy. Maybe, instead of gifts you exchange letters of appreciation to one another. Get creative and do something that both of you are interested in doing. Also, make it a team effort. Don't expect your partner to do all the work!

  • Don't Just Celebrate Love on February 14th

know, this is a little redundant, but this is the most important thing! I think Valentine's Day can be a great reminder to set an intention for love and gratitude in your relationship. But don't let it be the only time that you express your love to your partner. It isn't feasible to expect everyday to be this passionate romance. I know this. You know this. But waking up each day and asking yourself, "what can I do for my (girlfriend/ boyfriend/ husband/ wife/ etc.) To make their day a little bit better?" A simple gesture that shows how much you care and love them. This is the point of Valentine's Day!

Self Love

Photo by NataliaMills/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by NataliaMills/iStock / Getty Images


How do we learn to love ourselves enough not to sacrifice our health and happiness for everyone and everything around us?

Love. One of my very favorite topics, and as a psychotherapist specializing in relationships and sex therapy, love is something that I work with on a daily basis. The beautiful thing about love is how many different forms in which it can manifest; baby and mother, siblings, boyfriend and girlfriend, best friends, lovers, etc. No two loves ever look the same.

Unfortunately, as a specialist, something I encounter on a daily basis is a lack of self-love. Women and men throwing themselves full force into a passionate relationship, showering their partner with love and kindness, but unable to muster up the self-love to continue with personal self-care and boundaries. Parents becoming so codependent on their children, ravished with guilt and worry- ending in sleepless nights and panic attacks. Women and men that I work with, verbally berating themselves during our sessions. Young women who cannot look themselves in the mirror. Men who cannot find one positive thing to say about themselves. Unfortunately, this list of examples goes on and on.

Self-love is a lifelong journey that has to be approached from many different angles. So How does one improve their capacity for self-love? I thought you would never ask!

1.     Stand up for yourself.

As I was perusing Instagram the other day, I came across the following inspirational, albeit cheesy, quote: “Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Part of Self-Love is having a higher standard for your inner circle”. It made me stop and think for a second. So often, with the clients that I see, and in my own life, we make excuses for other people. We are so incredibly hard on ourselves and yet we let friends and loved ones get away with pretty serious stuff. What would happen if we didn’t do this anymore?

I firmly believe that people are treated the way they allow others to treat them. If a boundary is set with someone they tend to stay in the parameters. If the boundary becomes more flexible some people will take advantage. This doesn’t mean that we can only have friends or lovers that treat us perfectly- that is not possible. It means that we are aware of people’s intentions and what we can expect from them, giving us space to set necessary boundaries to protect ourselves.

2.     Implement self-esteemable acts into your life.

Between work/school, a social life, Netflix and Chill, kids, furbabies, etc. it is hard to imagine adding anything else to your schedule. But one of the most effective ways to improve self-esteem is to do things that make you proud of yourself. Very often when I ask clients what their hobbies are or what they do when they have free time, I hear: “I watch TV”, or “I play on my phone”. And while there is a time and a place for screens in your life, it is not meant to be a hobby or interest. Additionally, these activities are isolating and as humans, we are meant to be social beings (yes, even us introverts!) So, get out there and volunteer at a local organization (women helping women is a great one!) Try joining a book club or a recreational softball team. Look for something that is fun, gets you around other people and maybe even outdoors.

3.     Connect with your inner child.

Life can be tough. As we get older the amount of responsibilities that belong to us increase. But we do not have to be adults all of the time. Tapping into our childlike curiosities, exploring and engaging in silly activities is truly rewarding. This doesn’t have to be a new and crazy experience (although playing around at a trampoline park like a 6-year-old will do the trick!), the goal is to look at things with fresh eyes. Allow yourself to be amazed and mesmerized by the small things that surround us every day: snowflakes landing on our tongues, the tastes and textures of the foods we eat, or pausing to watch the entire sunset. Appreciating tiny moments with eagerness and appreciation is sure to boost endorphins and self-esteem.

4.     Pamper yourself (Or allow someone else to pamper you!)

This one is pretty self-explanatory but seems to be very challenging for many of my clients. The women that I work with are overwhelmed, overworked and underappreciated. Often, I ask them “Why don’t you treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi?”. They respond with, “I feel too guilty spending the money on me”. It’s not about the money. It’s about realizing that you are worthy of some pampering on a regular basis. It will make you feel good, look good and value yourself.

If you don’t take care of you, chances are no one will. It’s like the safety message during take-off in the airplane; put the oxygen mask on yourself and then help the person next to you. Because if you are passed out from lack of oxygen how are you going to be of service to anyone around you. Being loved and cared for, pampered and feeling fresh allows you to be the best you possible for your loved ones, and most importantly for yourself!