I created this space to foster conversation and support around women’s sexuality, female sexual identity, and struggles around life transitions. If you choose to make a comment, please be respectful of the journey of others and mindful that your comments are visible to the general public.
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The discovery of an affair is one of the most painful and damaging experiences for a monogamous couple. When the affair is revealed, the betrayed partner is left to sit with a slew of debilitating and upsetting feelings. Read More →
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“I finally met the love of my life!” Such joy is expressed in the proclamation of love. Whether the joy is ours, or the excitement belongs to a friend or relative, we come together to rejoice in love, and questions abound about this new and mysterious person. Read More →
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What comes to mind when you read the term ‘growing pains’? Do images of youth appear in your mind? The days of making mistakes, suffering the consequences and then learning what not to do, both inside and outside of the home? Maybe you were not easily accepted by peers and had no one to talk to about it, felt lonely, and had to figure it out on your own? Read More →
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Family Therapy Magazine’s featured article in the January/February 2013 issue, “Coming Out, Then Coming Together” by Dr. Eliana Gil, PhD., (http://www.aamft.org/imis15/Documents/website/JF13Singles.pdf) highlights Gil’s work with two lesbian women in their early 40’s who were struggling with a life transition as a couple. Through Gil’s use of expressive therapies, the women uncover some of their deeper fears, in turn creating the space for them to work through these fears together. Read More →
The idea of attending couples counseling is intimidating for most people. The mere mention of couples ‘working on their relationship’ may give you an uneasy sensation, a feeling that something is wrong, or that the relationship is struggling in some way.
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If there is one thing we can depend on during our lifetime, it is change.
Living the life of a human being means we are presented with conflicts at each stage of our development and depending on many factors within our genetic make up and our external environment, we either master the stage with relative ease or we find ourselves struggling with our growth and our acceptance of the constancy of change.
With each of our life transitions, we need to let go of something to gain something. This “stretching” of ourselves can bring up many feelings and can interfere in intimate relationships, our family dynamics, our view of ourselves and our outlook on life. While the transitions in our lives are opportunities to grow, it is common to feel the desire to hold on for dear life to what we know.
Our families of origin teach us a great deal about how to communicate when we feel vulnerable. As children we absorb what we feel, sense, and hear. We learn some of the best life lessons this way and also some of the worst. But our growth continues into our adult life and even into old age. After all, we are ever changing, just like our lives.
How do you manage your emotions around change?
Do you openly share your feelings with your loved ones?
Are you open to sharing your struggles, and willing to listen to your partner’s struggles, or do you feel it’s a sign of weakness?
Are you open to change within yourself?
All of these areas can be explored in our work together. We will process whats coming up about the beliefs you hold, how you feel about those beliefs, where you learned them, and how to develop story and beliefs that match your inner voice. Loss is naturally present around transition and change. We can hold both the loss of what you know, and the possibility of what you gain.
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Waking up to your sexuality and attraction to women while in a heterosexual marriage, possibly with children, can be one of the most confusing and conflict filled times in one’s life.
As women, we are socialized from our earliest developmental stages to follow our cultural norms. We absorb what is expected of us, or what our society has deemed “normal”. As young girls, stories are read to us, and eventually we read stories ourselves, see movies, and begin to internalize the messages that our culture puts forth about women. Women focus on others, and do what is expected of them. We learn that focusing on ourselves is selfish, and not until we mature can we begin to discern between being selfish and being self-affirming.
It is not uncommon for our true desires and awakening sexuality to only surface later in life, after we have placed ourselves firmly on the track that our culture has normalized for us. In fact, our budding desires may come as a total surprise, even to ourselves.
Are you afraid that your secret will be out?
Are you locking away your feelings of attraction to women because you can’t imagine how those feelings could ever be integrated into your life, let alone into your marriage and family?
Are you feeling depressed but don’t know why?
Have your feelings become strong enough that you can no longer sweep them under the rug?
Are you feeling anxious?
I can help you on this journey.
Allowing yourself to connect to this new found part of yourself may feel like a threat to all you have known up until now and arouse feelings of devastation, loss and fear, while also feeling like the most connected and exhilarating experience you have ever had. The awareness of these emotional and sexual feelings for women can feel like your life has capsized and you are in deep water without a life preserver.
What if there isn’t one “right” path in life? What are your expectations for yourself as a woman in today’s world? What norms do you hold yourself to? Are they aligned with your authentic self? Are you able to feel connected to all aspects of yourself? Are you living your truth? Are you open to exploring life’s possibilities?
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How has our society, by asking women to be quiet and good, shaped our identity and sexuality?
- How do you define your female identity?
- How does your sexuality connect to your identity?
- What happens when women have everything they were taught that they should want, and instead of feeling good, they feel numb?
Women commonly feel and believe that their own pleasure is a byproduct of serving others, or that creating pleasure in others is their own pleasure. This narrow definition of how women feel pleasure may leave the woman that goes after her own separate wants and needs feeling guilty and selfish. She may struggle and view herself as falling short of the idealized selfless (quiet and good) woman, wife and mother that is endorsed by our society.
Women learn that they must self-sacrifice in order to maintain their family bonds and that becoming aware of, or acting on their own desires, runs the risk of hurting their families. They may fear losing approval and love if they go after what they want.
- If we define a woman’s sexuality as her capacity for pleasure, and we relate this to her ability to be self-nurturing and authentic, where does that leave women today?
- Has your sexuality vanished from your identity? Are you unsure of how you arrived where you are in your life? Would you like to become self-nurturing and more authentic?
All of these areas can be explored in our work together. We can process what is coming up around the beliefs you hold, where and when you learned these beliefs, and whether you would like to hold on to them or if they are no longer aligned with who you are today, explore the possibility of letting them go.
Exploring your sexuality in mid-life takes resolution and fortitude. It may seem as if the “normal” time for you to develop your sexual identity has long passed. As adults, we don’t give ourselves much space for experimentation and questioning around our sexual identity.
While our culture is ever-evolving, it remains one that has been burdened with negativity toward homosexuality.Most likely, our family of origin did not provide an environment of open exploration and curiosity about our sexual desires. Our families serve as a vehicle to learn about societal norms and values, thus leaving us with the message that developing into anything other than the normal heterosexual female would be frowned upon and unaccepted.
For those of us who may have grown up in families that were more open around sexuality, where the message was that our parents would always love and accept us no matter who we chose to love and partner with, peer pressure may have put the damper on our ability to explore ourselves more fully.
During adolescence when our sexual interests begin to flourish, we seek acceptance through sameness. The pull to be accepted by ones peers may keep us from pursuing our deeper desires at this time of development. Our eagerness to be one of the gang may have closed down any feelings and attractions to the same sex.
Are you struggling with whether or not you have the right to explore and assert your genuine sexuality? Would you like to:
Talk to someone that could help you to understand your feelings?
Be part of a group of others who are experiencing similar feelings?
Be connected to all parts of yourself?
Feel like you are making conscious choices in your life?
Feel grounded in who you are as opposed to disconnected from loved ones around you?
Talk about your feelings of homophobia?
Accept all of yourself?
Our work together can help you…
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While some of us know about our attraction to the same gender from our earliest childhood sexual stirrings, many women do not find they are open to these feelings until they enter their mid-twenties or early thirties, and some even later than that.
This can leave women in an awkward position, feeling like a “late-bloomer” in their sexuality and unschooled in the lesbian culture and dating scene.
Do you wonder how you can start to date women, but find yourself feeling closed out of the lesbian community because you have never been in a relationship with a woman?
Do your past choices to date men feel like a barrier to moving forward with your interest in dating women?
Do fears about what family and friends may say stop you from pursuing your interest?
As we find ourselves in this predicament, unpleasant feelings from adolescence can show up. We may feel embarrassed, clumsy, and inept in an area we had thought we already mastered. These feelings can bring up self-doubt, questions about your confidence and weaken your resolve to explore new parts of yourself.
You can you use these cumbersome feelings as an invitation to become curious about yourself. Through counseling, I can support you through a second sexual adolescence and help you process, work through, and nurture all the feelings that come up with it.
This can be a new journey for you, where trusting your intuition and desire for sexual truth and identity can lead to a shift in your life that brings balance, connection, comfort in your body and a sense of grounding you may not have thought possible.