Monday, December 27, 2010

Please Stow Your Baggage Away--Permanently

Not long ago I was at the grocery store picking up a few odds and ends. It was one of those hurried I’ve-got-to-get-this-done-right-now-no-matter-what kind of trips to the grocery store because I was providing end-of-life care for my dad, and I had to get back to him as quickly as possible.

Making my way to the check out lane, I saw a friend…and I immediately ducked into a different aisle so I didn’t have to see her (I told myself it was because I was in a hurry, and maybe that was partially true…but I think in reality I didn’t want her to see me in my disheveled state).

Of course she saw me (isn’t that the way it always works?!).

She approached me and before I even had a chance to say hi she said, “Oh my God, Kelly. What. Is. Going. On? You look terrible. Talk to me, something is wrong.”

[Okay. I know I was tired, but I didn’t think I looked that bad.]

Anyway, I told her that my dad was ill and didn’t have much longer to live…and she didn’t buy it. She knew me well enough to know that there was a whole lot more going on than I was telling her.

So she pushed further (like good friends do) and said, “Look, I don’t know what’s going on. But I’m telling you this right now: This is the kind of stress that will bring your cancer back. You either find a way to deal with it, or you won’t live to see your grandbabies.

I can’t write here what my immediate thoughts were because the thoughts included some very sailor-like language.

But I let her words soak in for a few seconds.

And she was right. My dad’s illness was just the tip of the iceberg. I was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. A lot.

Trapped emotions—baggage—are emotionally charged events from the past that still haunt you. And, just like trying to schlep a too-heavy bag through the airport weighs you down and slows you down, so do these trapped emotions.

Trapped emotions create lots of problems.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Your [Bondage] Sexual Fantasies

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies:
What Are Your Sexual Fantasies?

Sexual Desire. Sexual Response. Sexual Fantasies.

Ladies, when it comes to sex we are comp. li. ca. ted.

Mucho. Much. Very.

We do have sexual fantasies, and we do fantasize about bondage. But much to the fellas’ disappointment, we don’t frequently daydream about the dominatrix-whip-gurl type of bondage.

Sisters, our sexual fantasies are almost always about emotional bonding. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Intimacy: Is Your Past Holding You Hostage?

What's keeping you so tied up that you can't be intimate?

Did you know that the fear of intimacy or being rejected by another person is the 7th most common fear people experience?
Yep—fear of being jilted hurt by a jerk creep is only trumped by being afraid of super creepy things.
Does she look a lot like your ex-girlfriend?
Like snakes.
Yes, you used to date him.
Or spiders.
Understandably, some of you have probably dated your fair share of snakes and spiders, so you have every reason to lump your fear of intimacy right up there with fear of creepy-crawling things and things that go bump in the night (another top-7 common fear).
The problem is, these fears can cause a lot of damage because they set up barriers to ever becoming fully intimate—fully self-disclosing and trustful—with another person.
Fear of intimacy is often the result of a lot of interacting factors. It can be the result of having parents who were not affectionate or tender and warm. It can result from friendships that went wrong or being the victim of bullies.  And it can even result from being burned by someone you once had feelings for.
But it doesn’t have to be permanent. 
The first step of overcoming this fear is to acknowledge that life is full of risks—and relationship life is no different! It’s just that relationships are tougher because we have to put ourselves out there so much, making us feel even more vulnerable.
So, how do you start over?

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's Your Intimacy Phobia Score?

“Our fear of intimacy…inspires ingenious ways of avoiding it.”
Intimacy requires that we unmask ourselves and become vulnerable and risk rejection. Because of this, many people fear intimacy.
Do you find that you’re afraid to establish and maintain close relationships with other people, or that you put up walls that prevent people from getting too emotionally close to you?
Have you ever found yourself having many friendships—but avoiding one close personal relationship with someone?
Do you ever become overly involved in work or use work as an excuse not to hang out with others? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, it’s been ____ days and other than work, I haven’t really had any contact with anyone.”?
If you answer yes to more than two of these, then you may have a fear of intimacy.
But what exactly is it that people are afraid of? Fear of intimacy comes in many forms and can manifest itself in any of the following ways:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Goodbye Body Image Worries, Hello Orgasms!

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies
Let go of the body image and hang on to the sheets!
When you become preoccupied with the appearance of your body outside of the bedroom, these worries and concerns ultimately end up in the bedroom.

Because for women sexual arousal and response require attention and focus, when you focus on how your body looks—rather than what you’re experiencing and feeling—you are less able to let your guard down and fully enjoy sexual pleasure and sexually pleasing your partner.

For a great relationship—and great sex—redefine what sex is all about!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are You Capable of Intimacy? Take Your Intimacy Quiz!

Although intimacy is thought to be an inborn, innate drive and that all of us need intimacy in order to survive, some people are just better at giving and receiving intimacy than others are.

This is because, just as with your love map, your intimacy map develops as a result of your relational life experiences. In other words, who you are as a relational, intimate person is the result of every relationship you’ve ever had in your life—from your parents, to your friends in grade school, to your high school peers and buddies, to your college friends, to every positive and negative hook up or sexual relationship you’ve ever had.

Your intimacy map has been created over time. This is why intimacy doesn’t always come easily to everyone—and why it’s essential that your love partner knows as much about your relational background as you are comfortable sharing.

In fact, most of the time establishing and maintaining a close personal relationship with another person requires a lot of hard work. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that if you find yourself having to work at your relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong or that you’ve chosen the wrong partner.

If you desire someone to openly, honestly, and completely share with you, you have to be willing to be open and honest about your needs and desires. This is the only way the seeds of intimacy will have a chance to flourish and thrive!

Do you get it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

When You Say "Intimacy," I Think of.....Create Your Intimacy Pie

What does it mean to have an “intimate” relationship? And what do you think the one factor is that seems to deepen your intimacy experiences with your partner more than anything else? Can you pinpoint intimacy components in your relationship? Do you know if your intimacy map is similar to your love partner’s?  

Because intimacy is so vital to the health and longevity of relationships, researchers have been studying what “intimacy” is for years. Of course, everyone’s definitions of intimacy are different, because just like your love map and sex script, your intimacy map is built over time…as your experiences change, so does your meaning of intimacy.

Are you ready to build your intimacy map? Put the Snuggie on, crank up your Pandora, and settle in…this is a lengthy one, but oh so very well worth the effort you put into it!  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Sexual Desire & Response

Ladies Night: Wine Wednesdays

Earlier I talked about sexual response and I mentioned that the problem for most couples is that men and women differ as to how long they reach and remain in the various response stages.

These differences almost always cause



in a couple’s sex life…and sadly, most sex problems almost always spill over into each and every other aspect of a couple’s relationship.

Sure, a lot of us can fake it make it without knowing everything there is to know about sex, and maybe we can even have enjoyable sexual lives.

But I’m a firm believer in knowledge + practice [infinity] + patience [to infinity and beyond] = fantastic sex lives [and relationships]. Understanding how and why your body works the way it does, and how and why your partner’s body works the way it does, greatly [as in Oh. Em. Gee.] enhances your sexual pleasure.

I’m also a firm believer in ignoring it + hoping it gets better + trying to figure it out on your own = frustration and less-than-satisfying sex lives [and relationships] and faking it (a lot more than you are now).

So, pull up a chair pour a glass of wine, gals, and let’s get real about what turns you on--and why. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Couple Challenge: Your Intimacy Needs

All forms of intimacy develop over time, and keeping that intimacy once it’s developed requires nurturing attention to the relationship. Print this off and fill in your answers to the questions, have your partner do the same.

Get together in a quiet setting and talk about your answers together.

When we are emotionally close, I feel _____________________________.

I would describe our intellectual closeness as ___________________________.

As far as intimacy in our relationship is concerned, I am most satisfied when ________________________________________________________.

I am least comfortable about our relationship when ______________

When you express your emotions and feelings, it makes me __________

When you express physical closeness, it makes me _______________

Spiritual closeness is ______________________________________________.

When I experience intimacy with you, I feel ____________________________.

When I am with you, my individuality is _________________________________.

Some people resist intimacy. This makes me think _____________________

When I reveal my innermost thoughts, feelings, emotions, and fears to you, I expect __________________________________________________.

When you reveal your innermost thoughts, feelings, emotions, and fears to me, it makes me __________________________________________________.

Intimately relating with you might carry a risk of rejection. The possibility of being rejected by you makes me feel ________________________________.

In general, I am trusting of others. This makes me ______________________.

In general, I am not trusting of others. This makes me ____________________.

If I were to sum up the role of intimacy in my life, I would say it is

© Kelly J. Welch, Family Life Now (2nd ed). Boston: Pearson Education.
Photo Credit: Mag3737 (

Everybody's Searchin' for Intimacy

We are relational creatures—we need to be with other people. Even Aristotle once observed that people who don’t want to be emotionally connected to others are either “a beast or a god.”

Yep--everybody's searchin' for intimacy. Everybody's hurtin' for intimacy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cover of the Rolling Stone: Intimacy

Cover of the Rolling Stone: "The Unbearable Bradness of Being"

Brad Pitt:  I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us—the car, the condo, our version of success—but if that’s the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness?

If you ask me, I say toss all this—we gotta find something else. Because all I know is that at this point in time, we are heading for a dead-end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the [human] being. And I don’t want that.

Rolling Stone:  So if we’re heading toward this kind of…dead-end in society what do you think should happen?

Brad Pitt:  Hey man, I don’t have those answers yet. [My] emphasis now is on success and personal gain. I’m sitting in [success and wealth], and I’m telling you, that’s not it. I’m the guy who’s got everything. I know.

But I’m telling you, once you’ve got everything, then you’re just left with yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it doesn’t help you sleep any better, and you don’t wake up any better because of it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's Your Sexual Fantasy Type?

Sexual fantasies fall into four categories.
Take the quiz to determine your
primary fantasy type.

1. Imagine that you are one of four people in a room. One is tied to a bed, one is holding a whip, one is sitting in the corner and one is applying nipple clamps to the recumbent. Which one are you:
a. The one tied to the bed? (P)
b. The one with the whip? (D)
c. The one in the corner? (R)
d. The one applying the clamps? (A)

2. Which of these is closest to your ideal setting for a fantasy?
a. A Venetian brothel (P)
b. A dungeon (D)
c. A bedroom (R)
d. A prison cell (A)

3. Which of the following animals would you choose to feature in your fantasy?
a. A unicorn (P)
b. A snake (D)
c. An octopus (R)
d. A tiger (A)

4. Which of the following eras would you choose as the setting for a fantasy?
a. The present day (P)
b. Victorian (R)
c. Caveman (D)
d. Far future (A)

5. Which of the following toys are featured in your fantasy?

a. Feathers and whipped cream (P)

b. Handcuffs, panty hose, and a necktie (A)

c. Whips and chains (D)

d. Ice cubes and a cold beer (R)

6. Which Disney character are you (female)?

a. Nala (the Lion King) (D)

b. Snow White (R)

c. Sleeping Beauty (P)

d. The Little Mermaid (A)

7. Which Disney character are you (male)?

a. Mufasa (the Lion King) (D)

b. Peter Pan (R)

c. Jack Sparrow (P)

d. Woody (A)

8. Sex in a glass elevator is

a. unsanitary (R)

b. illegal (P)

c. boring (D)

d. exciting (A)

9.  Sex on the beach

a.  can lead to sand crabs in places you can’t reach (R)

b. is an alcoholic drink (P)
c. or in the snow, or in the jungle, or in the rain forest… (A)
d. is better if the beach is rocky (D)

10.  In “Elf,” your favorite quote is
a. Buddy to the fake Santa: You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa. (D)
b. Buddy: First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle. (A)
c. Buddy: I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. (P)
d. Buddy: Ow!!! Son of a nutcracker! (R)