Does sex always die in a long term relationship?


There’s this commonly held myth that you will be all over each other at the beginning of a relationship but it’s normal for sexual desire to just end after a year or so.

This is codswallop! It only dries up if you haven’t worked on your own self development.

The answer to this problem about sex drying up is about becoming more emotionally mature and autonomous. Starting to work on a stronger sense of self can help bring back sex into a long term relationship. A strong sense of self means you aren’t dependent on having a positive reflected sense of self from your partner. This is an idea that sex therapist David Schnarch came up with and is an extension of Bowens Theory.

Tell me, do you want to have sex with someone who needs you to prop them up all the time and needs constant validation from you? I didn’t think so. Maybe at the beginning of the relationship that did it for you but it’s not going to last the distance.

Working on a stronger sense of self means that you will be:

-less reliant for your partners attention and not take differences in libido personally or to heart.

-less likely to force your partner to go along with your ideas or be forced to compromise on things you don’t want to just to keep the peace.

-less likely to always need validation and being ‘propped up’ constantly from your partner.

It’s usually not about sex at all. Sex is the battleground these conflicts are fought on but it’s about something much bigger.

I had someone scoff at me in my therapy room about the idea of self development. However it’s key to our sexuality and inextricably linked.

Working on issues surrounding our selfhood means we can resolve sexual problems in a relationship much better.

Art- Nathan-Dumlao


How to be less defensive in a relationship


Following on from my previous blog about the toxic effect defensiveness has in a relationship,  let’s look at how to stop being defensive.

Here’s a great example.

Partner A: “Did you call your friends to let them know we can’t go to dinner tonight like you promised me this morning?”

Defensive Partner B: “Oh seriously? I was so flat out and busy today with all the things I have to do. You know how stressed and busy my schedule is now! Why didn’t you just do it then?”

Partner B takes no responsibility for forgetting to do something they promised to do. Conflict escalates into blame and contempt because they blame their partner for their own breaking of a promise.

Solutions for defensiveness

Take responsibility

In a healthy relationship there isn’t room for this defensivenss. Partner B must learn to take responsbility for their mistake.

Partner A: “Did you call your friends to let them know we can’t go to dinner tonight like you promised me this morning?”

Partner B: “Sorry! I forgot to do it! I was so busy today I really should’ve asked you this morning if you could’ve done it. I will give them a call now!”

This is how a relationship works together as a team. Partner B recognises and acknowledges their part in the problem.

Don’t take complaints from your partner personally

If you find yourself reacting defensively to a complaint from your partner ask yourself:

Why am I getting defensive?

What am I trying to protect?

Remind yourself that this complaint is about your partners needs not about you.

Self Soothe

If you feel flooded and overwhelmed it is not about your partners words but about what personal meaning you are assigning to them.

Perhaps you are reacting thinking that they’re going to leave you, that this proves you’re a terrible person or projecting onto them the identity of a previous abusive person in your life onto them.

Self soothing means you can calm yourself in a state of emotional distress.
Sex therapist David Schnarch talks about how self soothing is stabilising one’s emotions and fears.

“We focus on developing self-soothing and self-validation because these abilities let us speak and hear difficult truths.”

How can you turn inward and access your own resources to regain your emotional balance and comfort without falling into excessive indulgences or compulsive behaviours?

As you can develop more awareness and mastery over their emotional reactions in the midst of relationship turmoil you can tolerate the discomfort of emotionally intense situations.

Many psychodynamic principles in particular Bowen Theory supports the idea that learning to experience the uncomfortable feeling of emotionally intense situations is essential to one’s growth.

Dealing with these feelings when they arise can develop a more long lasting and hardcore skill to be able to self regulate oneself.

There’s some very specific questions I ask my clients in our sessions to help them begin to self soothe themselves.

I”ll end with a quote from David,

“(Self soothing ….is about our)….. ability to validate our own perceptions, feelings, and self-worth, and soothe our own heartache and anxiety when the inevitable marital disappointments, frustrations, and misunderstandings occur.

These aspects of our “relationship with ourselves” determine how we handle the good and bad times in our relationships with others how intimate or erotic we can be, how much we can afford to love someone else, and whether we feel like we’re “loosing ourselves” or “bail out” as the relationship becomes more important or more difficult.

Paradoxically, the better we are at soothing and validating ourselves, the less we need our partners to “be there” for us and the more we can “be there” for others.

Likewise, we can let ourselves be influenced by our partners taking their needs and opinions into consideration without feeling like we’re weakening our own position or interests in the process.

Our ability to self-validate and self-soothe is absolutely vital to maintaining long term passion in marriage as well as expanding our sexual relationship.

What does you Halloween costume say about your shadow? Why dress ups are good for you!

Do you like dressing up?


I know I do! I’ve always loved dressing up since having themed birthday parties as a kid to being fascinated with historical costumes to being sponsored by a fetish fashion company to wear their creations whilst photographing events.

Perhaps you only dress up once a year at Halloween or for a themed birthday party?
Perhaps your everyday dress is a reflection of a particular era you love the style from or a particular subculture? Perhaps you dress up as part of your job like a clown or a performer? Perhaps you dress up in fetish wear as part of your expression of your sexual identity?Perhaps you are a cosplayer or a sports star?

Do you feel too self conscious to dress up in costume? This  reveals a lot about your inner workings.  I had one client who never wanted to play or dress up because they were so worried  with others opinion of them. If this is you, how can you let go of this a little?

Refusing to ever dress up in costumes can also expose problems one can have with accepting oneself.

Dressing up at Halloween is good for you!

Halloween can be a wonderful time to express yourself and explore other parts of yourself. Putting on a  mask means we can temporarily and  safely play with aspects  of our pysche that  we normally keep hidden from ourselves or others. Halloween is the one time of year that expressing the deepest and darkest parts of our shadow is socially acceptable and embrace the dark side of ourselves in a safe way.

Expressive play is so cathartic! It can help us find what are the parts of our psyche that we push down and repress. What strengths and resources do those parts of our self have to offer us?

Don’t underestimate the power of play.  Don’t underestimate the creative power of engaging with your shadow.

What’s with this Shadow Business?


Ever since we were children we may have found ourselves supressing parts of our personality that were punished or shamed and bringing forth other parts of our personality that were encouraged. This creates a ‘splitting of our psyche.’

We can suppress the unwanted parts of our personality but they’re still always there and with us.  Those parts will erupt outwards as projections, envy, black and white thinking, aggression, resentment, criticisms and rage. The more we repress our ‘shadow’ the more destructive it will become.

Carl Jung said the shadow was a mainly negative place where unconsious aspects of our personality exist. These parts of our personality are the parts that our  conscious ego does not acknowledge are part of us.  Jung said that the “shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality.”

The more repressed our shadow, the more we run from it, not recognising and owning elements from it-the darker it is.

Jung spoke about the creative potential and power of the shadow if one could  work on integrating it into our life.

I love the positive potential of engaging with our shadow and integrating these strengths in particular through dressing up!

What does your choice of Halloween costume say about you?


What is your all time favourite costume that you’ve worn?

How did you feel when you wore it?

What aspects of your self that you’ve been repressing uncontrollably explode outwards when it’s Halloween or another dress up time of year?

Your choice of costume is not an accident by any means. Our costume reveals our  shadow side and inner desires we work on really hard to control and suppress.

Jung said that we we distance ourselves from those shadow behaviours that we find dangerous. Halloween is a time when people can dress as scary serial killers or violent people and it’s acceptable to do that. It’s a way of recognising that we all have these dark parts to our personality but we don’t act on it.

What does dressing as a Viking have to do with this?

I found a photo of myself when I was 19 at a Halloween party recently. I had gone to the costume shop and created a complex Viking warrior costume for myself. I had a huge helmet (plastic and sprayed silver of course!) complete with long blonde plaits, a tunic that was probably a car seat cover at some point, fake fur leg coverings, a big axe and let me just say I looked like a pretty tough warrior.

I can see now that was a time in my life I discounted my own needs in misguided attempts to keep others happy.  I was being taken advantage of in my personal life and had been repressing that inner warrior strength. My unconscious shadow wanted to express my inner warrior through the archetype coming out!

In my mid 20’s I had complex pirate queen dress up costumes. I researched late 1700’s fashion and designed and sewed a ripped, rough and brutal version. This was a tough alter ego who was in charge and had authority.  She was quite brutal and punished her betrayors mercilessly in complex erotic and sadistic photo shoot stories.

The Warrior Archetype! Roar!

Carl Jung wrote a lot about how the warrior archetype had an important role to play throughout a child’s change from childhood to adulthood. I was 19 years old when I wore that viking costume and moving into adulthood; living on my own, studying, working and finding my feet in relationships and amongst my tribe of friends.

Our society teaches us that some particular  behaviours and sexual desires etc are inappropriate. A lot of girls are taught to be nice, agreeable, get along and repress assertive thoughts. There weren’t at the time many positive female strong warrior archetypes in movies or tv shows. I don’t think Buffy the Vampire Slayer even existed yet!  A lot of girls are taught that their femininity is about being a people pleaser or that fulfilling others needs are more important than their own needs. Often girls are wrongly  taught that when they’re being assertive they’re being ‘bossy,’ ‘bitchy’ or ‘masculine.’

Jean Shinoda Bolen said,  “There is a potential heroine in every woman.”

Sometimes we choose a strong warrior archetype to dress up as because we have been suppressing that strength and leadership in our own life.


Now let’s talk about Wonder Woman!

I see this example today  with women, intersex, non binary and trans women strongly identifying with the female warrior archetype through donning the Wonder Woman costume. Dressing as Wonder Woman  may be the symbol so many need to unapolegitcally feel their feminine strength that they may have repressed due to society’s or family demands.

Playing with this wonder woman archetype gives permission for a woman…

“who is strong, brave, independent and who fights for what’s right in the name of love and humanity.”

Annie Wright

Questions for you

If this article has resonated with you please get in touch and let me know more.

-What messages did you learn about being your gender in this society?
-Do you know or recognise this warrior archetype in yourself?
-How could you expressively play and dress up to bring more of this warrior into your life?
-What did you learn from your mother about being a strong woman in this world? Did she embody the warrior at all?
-When you were growing up were you taught it was okay for a girl to be strong and fierce?
-How have you embodied this warrior archetype in your own life? Think of examples of standing up for you own needs or those of the community.
-How can you nurture more of this Wonder Woman energy into your life more?
-What parts of your life need the warrior to come to life now?

How to embrace your authenticity. Daring to be yourself.


Back when I first training to become a therapist I was told I didn’t have “therapist hair” and everyone would questions my qualifications and no one would take me seriously with this hair and I’d have to revamp my entire image and go and buy some “office clothes.”

I was told I needed to take out my piercings and brush out my dreads and look “normal” and “presentable”- whatever that means.
I understand there’s an expecatation to dress in a professional manner sure but how can I speak to my clients about authentically being themselves if I’m so busy trying to turn myself into something I’m not. If I can’t walk my walk and talk my talk how can I expect my clients to!
I want to see a therapist who lives their life honouring their authentic truth.
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Authenticity is about making informed decisions based on your own self knowledge.
The philosopher Allan Bloom called the self “the mysterious, free, unlimited center of our being.”
Our society places a lot of emphasis on masking our true self to please others expectations or to conform.  However if we are playing out the projections others put onto us we are not living out our authentic Self.
This authentic Self is always trying to come to our attention no matter how much we try and push it down and ignore it. Our own authentic self gets buried under painful childhood memories and other emotional and mental baggage.
Often our inner critic is such a harsh monster that as we try to balance it out by sucking up any validation or flattery we can find. Our true self gets buried in this to and fro conflict.
This  deep inner craving for authenticity that is with us all throughout our life. It impacts how we exist in relationships, sexual relating, work and play.
I see my clients wearing masks and how it can make them so unhappy. Have you felt trapped in a routine or life that doesn’t seem like your own? It might feel like emptiness or self betrayal or it might come out as the fear of not being liked or wanted. Perhaps you feel like you must fit in with whoever you are hanging out with and keep your opinion to yourself for fear of upsetting anyone?

When I was a young teenager I first started falling in love with the music and expression of metal and punk music. I shaved the sides of my head with razors, had black and pink dreadlocks and mohawks and had so much fun expressing myself however I liked. This was long before it became fashionable and it was pretty ‘out there’ at the time.

cat purple hair .jpg

I used material dye to dye my hair shades of purple and green. That was before I discovered this one little store at Centrepoint in Sydney that sold blue, pink and purple Directions hair dye.  I pierced my nose with a safety pin when I was 15 and made clothes myself and ripped up op shops clothes into new articles of clothing.. These decisions all emanated from my own inner values about who I was and embracing the DIY spirit on as many levels as possible.

I was expressing my need for creativity. This was my fundamental authentic truth.

My hair was symbolic to me of feeling comfortable with who I was. Obviously hair is just a simple example and I could go much more deeper but it’s enough to highlight my point.
The reason I’m bring up these younger examples is because I want to ask you this question– What did your younger Self absolutely love to do?
What things were really fun for your younger self and how did you pass your leisure time?
What did you do on your weekends?
Did you love climbing trees? Make time to include activites in your life now that you loved as a child. Let go of how silly you might feel or how your inner critic tries to talk you out of it. Have fun and remember the fun things you did as a kid.

What did your younger self dream of for their older adult self and how is that different to where you’re at right now?

Did young you dream of being a writer, a vet or a sailor? Even if now you can’t become a vet, you can still volunteer at your local animal shelter. Even if you didn’t  become a sailor, perhaps spend a day off at the Maritime Museum, explore a naval vessel on its open day or hire a boat for the day with friends.

Get back in touch with what you’ve pushed down to the side.

Getting in touch with those things that made us so happy when we were younger before we were bogged down with adult responsibilities can help us get back in touch with fun and our authentic selves.

Shaping fun self care activities is authenticity at work.

Don’t bother with the self care 101 exercises you read in magazines unless they appeal to you. Do the specific self care exercises that feed your inner child and inner adolescent. Authentic self care isn’t a cookie cutter on size fits all process.

Be prepared that it won’t be easy. This self knowledge isn’t for the faint of heart and sometimes it can be scary to be authentic.

Showing up and sharing your gifts is what the world needs more of.