Time For a Customized Relationship, The Traditional Model is Not Working!

In this time and season, societal rules and protocols are ever-changing. What's right, and what's wrong varies by day. Who are they/them of the world that tells us what the right structure is for our lives? Why should we even listen to them? In our current day and age what marriage should look like has been in the great debate. No matter how you feel about the public debate on what marriage should look like, I want to challenge you to rethink your conforming to the traditional model of marriage/committed relationships. The traditional model displayed by June and Ward Cleaver on the Leave it to Beaver show that we attempt to pattern ourselves after was not created or developed with us in mind. We weren't here, and no one asked our thoughts or opinions. When the societal model is encouraged and propagated it does not consider the nuances, unique nature of you or your partner, your socioeconomic situation, your culture, ethnicity or how you were raised, the family of origin dynamics. We are not a homogenous society. We are a uniquely crafted salad with tons of flavors, colors, scents, texture, and flare. Our relationships should reflect that same uniqueness.

I believe it is time for you to begin to shift your thinking about how you approach your relationship. We are all uniquely crafted by the many factors of life, so why deny or avoid any part of your make up. You and your partner must begin to make choices based on what will best impact your relationship. The time of the one family income, hardline gender roles, basic traditional sex, etc. should be challenged by those that are married, in committed relationships, and those looking to be in relationships. It's time to develop a relationship, relationship structure, and environment that allows you to thrive and function in your greatest self; anything less is mediocracy! This shift in how you approach your relationship should also take place in the bedroom. In my office, I come across too many couples that have been together for decades and have lost sight of one another; they don't feel the connection, they have fallen in the rut of the functionality of life and maintenance sex if that. These couples are going through the motions, getting the day to day done in an effort to just keep things moving. They are not talking to each other, just hoping things will change eventually. Being a sex therapist, I ask my clients about the quality of their intimate lives, the quantity of sex they have opposed to what they would like, and how well each knows their partner's body, sexual desires, and how they are best satisfied. The response is often "my partner doesn't have a clue." I find in my office that heteronormative sex, opposite sex, partners do not talk enough about sex, intimacy, and sexuality. It appears they enter relationships with the mindset, "We both have history and we both have pieces and parts, so let's throw them together and hope for the best!" This is dysfunction waiting to happen in your intimate relationship, which will most likely impact other areas of your relationship. By taking this approach, we are not connecting with our current partner. Using our history as the only frame of reference does not make our partner and current relationship a complete factor in our present. I believe this equates to using an old mindset in a new paradigm.

Think about this, in most cases, we come into a relationship with a mindset or model, whether conscious or unconscious. The issue with the mindset or models we each bring to the table when entering a relationship is that they were not created with the other person in mind. It's designed and orchestrated by your life situations and family of origin experiences. Face it, as children we often say we are not going to be like the people that raised us and then we live long enough; we find we are like the people that raised us. Unless we take an intentional mindset to create our own existence and expression, we will live an old paradigm in a new experience destined for challenge and complacency.

It is time to question what you desire by asking yourself, why? Think about something you've said you have wanted, and when you received or achieved it, it was not enough, nor did it impact you the way you thought it should. Are you making the choices that best suit you and reflect your voice and your truth? Or are your utterings the echoes of society, your family of origin, and/or the voices of times past. Even religious text states, referring to marriage: The Bible in Mark 10:7-8 "For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh." The Koran states, "4:1 O people, keep your duty to your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind), and spread from these two many men and women. And keep your duty to Allah, by whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship. Surely Allah is ever a Watcher over you."

I believe both texts are simply stating, once in a relationship you become one with your partner and you must focus on building a customized experience that is inclusive of both of you. Yes, that means you will have to do some internal work. Look within yourself, introspectively, at who you are, what you want your relationship to look like, and the experiences you want to have and share. Know and accept your truth well enough to be willing to be free and vulnerable to reveal your truth to your partner. Yes, you will have to talk with one another about real matters to create an experience you can both thrive in and become your greatest selves. I think, as you should, you and your relationship are worth it!

Another way of saying it is the two of you coming truly together effectively communicating to create a tailor-made relationship that is perfectly aligned with the collective unit. Why is creating a tailored relationship important? Simply stated, it makes no room for anyone or anything that is not congruent or consistent with your collective success. To find out more contact Todd Malloy of Inner Peace Counseling Center, www.innerpeacecounselingcenter.com, info@innerpeacecounselingcenter.com, or (704) 937-2286.

To Fight or Not To Fight….

To fight or not to fight? That should not be the question. The real question should be "how do we fight fair in our relationships?" Often I share with clients just because couples fight and argue with one another doesn't mean that they do not love each other or that they are in a major relationship crisis.  In my experience, when couples say they don’t fight, someone is being untruthful. No two or more people agree on everything. It isn’t the fact that they are fighting, but how and why they choose to fight that determines the fate of the relationship. Healthy confrontation occurs in a space where relationship parties feel that they can express themselves authentically, are open to hear, and feel that they are heard.  Avoiding confrontation and not being open/honest with yourself or your partner can be the breeding ground for unspoken resentment and bitterness.  This resentment and bitterness, if left unaddressed or addressed poorly, can be devastatingly destructive to all interactions, intimacy, relationship, love, etc. Let’s examine what this looks like. Imagine that you and your partner are going to the movies. You hate missing the beginning of the movie and your partner is running late. No phone call is made ahead of time and in haste to get to the show, no apology or explanation is offered. The tension mounts to a point where you verbally explode and a huge fight ruins the night. The next morning you have no clue as to why you were fighting and how the previous night’s movie date escalated into a disappointing argument. It seems silly that all of this craziness started over a 15-minute delay, only missing the upcoming movie previews. It is important for you to know that content and environment are only small parts of the equation.   Life is about feelings and emotions. While you were waiting for your partner you became angry, disappointed, and hurt as a result of not feeling valued or that you are a priority by your partner. This momentary feeling of not being valued or made as a priority by your partner connects to other moments of not feeling valued or important at previous times in the relationship that were not expressed and even similar hurts prior to the relationship. These feelings combine to create a red-eyed monster more powerful than the movie instance would imply. When you do not address an issue head on and allow the feelings to fester you can present to your partner as if you are over the top emotionally, when you reach your tipping point. Arguments in relationships occur when primary needs are not met.  When either or both partners don’t feel that one or more of their primary needs, safety, security, connection, feeling wanted, valued, desired, heard, or being accepted adverse feeling arise. Current research has identified 5 reasons couples fight:

  1. Work Stress
  2. In-Laws
  3. Money
  4. Sex
  5. Housework
  6. The Children

The 6th is added from my years in private practice. Each of these topics can be very sensitive and emotional issues that can create various feelings that are often conflicting for both partners. Disagreeing is not uncommon and fighting/arguing can happen; however, learning how to fight fairly is important. Ultimately, the goal must be to fight for the relationship, not to belittle or destroy the other person. Remember, neither of you are the enemy. In stressful situations conversations can get disjointed and the arguing becomes toxic. The quest to win a fight leads to distance that push couples apart. Fighting, arguments, and disagreements are inevitable, but there are ways of fighting and arguing that can strengthen relationships and not erode the foundation of love. Key factors in fair fighting are:

  1. Identify your intent upfront: State the goal and objective of the conversation upfront. (I love and value who you are and who we are together. Because of that I want to understand what happened when…… I’m confused and would like clarity on something, I know you love me but I can’t see, taste, or smell where the love is in this situation…. please help me find it….)
  2. Slow down: Connect to yourself, your core feeling and experience. Then allow yourself to speak from that space. Avoid speaking from your mental, intellectual, presumptuous, calculated self.
  3. Own your experience: State how you feel by using I statements, “when you do this…., I feel……”
  4. Be authentic/open, be willing to be vulnerable: Be willing to share your experience in the moment to yourself and your partner. This allows you to stay present and not blend multiple moments, which leads to becoming mentally and emotionally overwhelmed.
  5. Be open to listen: You must be willing to listen to your partner’s underlying feelings and emotions.
  6. Collaborate: Work with your partner for an amicable resolve or understanding. You are both on the same team working towards the same goals. You are not opponents or adversaries.

Arguing skillfully and respectfully can make a relationship healthy and stronger and protect against highly destructive anger, resentment, and emotions. Paying attention to when and how you fight, in all phases of life, is good for your personal wellbeing, relationship, intimacy, and love life. Todd Malloy is a relationship and sex therapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC, USA. He is an academic lecturer, a public speaker, and a show developer and producer. For more information on enabling your inner power to celebrate and live an empowered life, visit www.innerpeacecounselingcenter.com, mancave conversations.com, or call (704) 937-2286.

Female Masturbation Has A New Name & Attitude!

Women how will changing the name of Female Masturbation to Klittra change your perspective on exploring your sensual self? Throughout the decade’s masturbation, particularly Female Masturbation, has been thought of as taboo, with horrifying consequences. As little girl or a young woman you were not taught to explore your sensual self, especially for your personal pleasure. Equally stunning, you were not given the proper name for your “private parts,” the vulva.” Your private parts should not be private to you, hummmm!  They should only be as private as you decide them to be. To change the perspective of what you have learned about Female Masturbation, and your private parts from your mom’s, church, temple, mosque, or your friends ideals, you are being encouraged to empower yourself to explore your outer and inner parts. By a change in name to Klittra, to catapult your way into destroying faulty programing and celebrate your personal sensual self. Let’s blow up the term masturbation and use the unofficial Swedish name of “Klittra.” Klittra combines the words "clitoris" (klitoris) and "glitter" (glittra) in an effort to encourage a positive outlook on women's sexual pleasure. Tell me what you think! Share how you believe changing the term of Female Masturbation to klittra changes your view on exploring your sensual self! Todd Malloy is a relationship and sex therapist in in private practice in Charlotte, N.C. and on the staff of the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program (UMSHCP), which provides comprehensive education and training to professionals interested in the field of sexual health. For more information on enabling your inner power to celebrate and live an empowered life, visit www.ipcctr.com or call (704) 937-2286.

Being a Great Lover Starts with Self Awareness and Personal Exploration

Sexuality is influenced by the many components that make you who you are. It is not just a physical thing, mental, emotional, and social factors all play a role in intimate connections. These components are influenced by

  • Identity, culture, ethnicity,
  • personal beliefs, family influences, finances,
  • body awareness, social environment,
  • knowledge about sexuality and prior sexual and intimate experiences

The power of Media and Societal influences can’t be dismissed. They perpetuate stigmas that tell men that they are to have four (4) hour erections. These same entities send the message that the primary role of women is to provide (and not receive) pleasure. There are so many voices, sights and sounds that attempt to define/influence /and direct your sensuality. It is your intimate knowledge of self that creates the best loving and sensual experience, alone or with a partner. Think about this, the clothes/products you purchase, food you prepare, and the car you drive come with instructions which teach you how to take best care of them and receive the greatest value from them. How are you communicating your inner and outer sensual desires to inform and educate your partner? Asking yourself the following questions can assist in your quest to explore and partake in all of your favor?

  • Each area of the body responds differently and requires a different touch experience for maximum pleasure, what are they for me?
  • How does it feel to be touched on each area of my body? Explore and acknowledge if touching certain areas makes you feel good, bad, or indifferent
  • How do I like to be touched to be aroused?

What is the best pressure and motion that stimulates the most tantalizing experience? To be the Great Lover you desire start with exploring and knowing your most intimate self. Your comfort with this will make it possible to explore and openly receive how your partner would respond to the same set of questions. Self-discovery and communication will put you well on the way to experiencing the freedom and safety of explosive intimacy. Todd Malloy, MA, LMFT, CST is a relationship and sex therapist in in private practice in Charlotte, N.C. and on the teaching staff of the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program (UMSHCP), For more information on enabling your inner power to celebrate and live an empowered life, visit www.ipcctr.com or call (704) 937-2286.