Podcast – The Sexy Side of Marriage

The Medical Director of the Northwest Institute on Intimacy, Dr Tina Schermer Sellers is interviewed by Michelle and Tony Peterson of the #Stay Married Blog for their Podcast’s second season in this fun blast on the Sexy Side of Marriage.  In it Tina talks about how to keep your marriage dynamic and erotic, what makes some therapists better than others, why you want to provide your child with sex education, her couple’s intimacy retreats, and other fun tid-bits.  She also answers questions sent in by listeners to the podcast.

Take a listen and Enjoy!!

Season 2 Ep. 8 of The #staymarried Podcast: The Sexy Side of Marriage – with guest Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

Take the 30 Day Challenge – Save Your Marriage from the Tyranny of the Urgent

What the Tyranny of the Urgent does to your marriage!
What the Tyranny of the Urgent does to your marriage!

The other day, I was talking to a young colleague of mine – freshly minted with a marriage and a thriving clinical practice.  Life was busy and good … and all laid out.  A new house and kids were next on the agenda. “Yep, and then” I thought, “life gets nutso!!”

Listening to her was like listening to a former version of myself exactly 30 years ago, before our oldest son was born. Just like her, I was, and still probably am, “too big for my britches”.  I have more passion then I know what to do with.  If there is something that is important to me, then ‘I am all in’. She is that way too. So, as I listened to her, I knew, that when kids come, she will want to figure out how to be a great mom, have her thriving practice, and keep growing whatever passions emerge. And like me, probably have her hands in too many pots. She will also have high expectations for her husband. And like me, will be naive to all it takes to make a marriage really work. High expectations, a driven woman, raised in America where we do not get enough emotional, relational, sexual intelligence and coaching … and, you often become a bit of a driver, which means, he will know, in no uncertain terms, whether he is meeting her expectations or not.

I asked how she was doing making space for herself and George, and as soon as I asked the question, I heard an earful of everything but. Out of her mouth spilled all the details of all the things coming up for them this year. Details that I know for her, felt important.  But details, that as someone on the other side of diapers, parenting, and many years of marriage, I knew did not matter more than her or her marriage. In fact, it was in those details I could see the future of their marriage.  I could see where her marriage would be on the priority list when other key decisions would be made.  As much as she will want it to, her marriage will likely struggle to rank above kids, career and extended family.  She will struggle with what I call ‘the tyranny of the urgent’. The tyranny of the urgent is the inability to differentiate what is really important from all the everyday demands that are screaming at you all the time.  When the tyranny of the urgent runs your life, your real priorities fall to the bottom. In a career and child focused culture like ours, a marriage has no voice.  You only hear it scream when it is in trouble – thus it is always at the bottom of the tyranny list.  She will be caught up in the tyranny of the urgent … but he likely won’t.  The problem will be as they drift apart she won’t be the first one to feel it … even as I don’t think she can see it now … he will. He will begin to miss her.

Men often know intuitively when they are losing connection with their partners … they just often don’t know what that ache exactly is.  They think it is sex they’re missing … but it is intimacy.  They walk in at night weary, feeling burdened by the world, wanting nothing more than to be taken in by her healing arms.  But her heart and arms are not “there” …

The cycle for women begins like this:  Rather than notice her man’s weariness and desire for her, her head will be in all the details of what is not yet done on her list. She will think things are hard between them because life is crazy and he is not being helpful enough. This is how the Tyranny of the Urgent tricks women in particular. “Can’t he see how much I am doing?” However, he will be working very hard at his job too, and working at home, and at trying to make her happy.  He will become exasperated and frustrated by her correction and stress level.  She will likely have withdrawn affection because she is always busy and preoccupied. Sex will have become a transaction – something ‘on her list’. He won’t feel needed or wanted. In time, neither does she.  Their connection will grow icy – as does their attachment.  Pretty soon, they are on each other’s nerves all the time. If they let this go … their marriage will soon become fragile.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I am ragging on the female here. I was exactly like her. We raise women this way. To feel a particular kind of responsible for everyone and everything. We also tell her she can “do it all”.  Which she then tries to do – because she thinks she should.  We raise girls in a way that makes it difficult to slow down and really examine.  To say ‘yes’ to pleasure – hers and her husbands – while also letting others down feels untenable.  She is called selfish, irresponsible and so much more.  It is often unthinkable and unfathomable … until you become an old crone with a wide horizon.

If I were to estimate, I’d say over 80% of the marriages I see have been tricked by the lies of the Tyranny of the Urgent. And as a result, they have ignored themselves and their marriages for years by the time they come in to see me or one of the people on my team.   Sometimes it is an affair, or a sexual dysfunction, or constant fighting, or acting out kids that brings them in … but the bottom line is an ignored marriage and exhausted and burned out people. Their suffering is so palpable and the whole thing is so avoidable. It always makes me so sad.

The 30 day challenge – Take Your Marriage Back from the Tyranny of the Urgent

If putting ourselves and our marriages first could pretty much guarantee we could be healthier, our marriages could be stronger, and our kids could be happier, what would it take to give this a real effort for 30 days?

I challenged a client to do this last year.  An exec who owned his own business. He was so stressed out and not spending much time with his family.  His wife was complaining all the time, and he felt guilty for not spending time with his seven year old son.  So I challenged him.  I said for 30 days, I want you to put yourself and your marriage first.  He was actually desperate enough to try it.

We put together a plan for what that meant in actionable steps.  He decided to get up 30 minutes earlier each morning and go for a walk or run just to begin his day outside.  Then his plan was to hug his wife 2x a day for 2 minutes attending to being fully present to her with an open and loving heart.  He was to hold her tight and wait to feel her let go and relax into him.  I told him it would take a while the first couple of times – maybe even 3 minutes. He was also going to turn off all electronics at 9pm each week night and sit on the couch with her.  This was something she’d been asking for forever.   On the business side, he was going to keep track of the amount of new business that came in that month, and actually how much focused time he had to work.  What he found astonished him.  Because his wife felt so much more connected to him she became an ally in his work more than she had in years.  Her support ended up actually amounting to him having more, not less time to work.  His son’s behavior actually settled watching his parents flirt, laugh and hug more.  This led to more spontaneous short times of play between the dad and the son and resulted in dad developing some bedtime rituals with the son that would have never happened before.

This little experiment, which I pulled out of my intuitive hat, showed me once again how the foundation upon which our happiness rests is first our own stability and then the stability of our primary intimate relationship.  Take care of those two relationships first, and then kids, career, etc take care of themselves fairly easily from there. Ignore those two and all can go to …. The Tyranny of the Urgent.

If you decide to do your own version of the 30-Day Challenge, write me and let me know what you did and how it went.  People are constantly surprised what one month of focused intention and attention on themselves and their marriage can do!! You are worth it!!

We have a Couples Intimacy Retreat coming up in September.  Sign up soon – there are a few spots left! This retreat is perfect for those of you wanting to chase the Tyranny of the Urgent away!!

 

Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers  by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers  www.tinaschermersellers

Sexual Development and Behavior in Children – Info for Parents, and All the Others Who Love Them!

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Your five-year-old daughter is playing in her room with a couple of neighbor friends. You hear a lot of giggling and squealing. When you open the door to check on the kids, you find them sitting on the floor with their undies off, pointing at and touching each other’s genitals. What do you do?

Every day, parents around the world are faced with situations like this. Being caught off-guard by young children’s self-exploration and curiosity about body parts and sexual issues is one of the uncomfortable realities of parenting, and can raise a host of troubling questions, such as, “Is my child normal?” “Should I be worried?” “What should I say?”

Although talking with children about bodily changes and sexual matters may feel awkward, providing children with accurate, age-appropriate information is one of

the most important things parents can do to make sure children grow up safe, healthy, and secure in their bodies.

Like all forms of human development, sexual development begins at birth. Sexual development includes not only the physical changes that occur as children grow, but also the sexual knowledge and beliefs they come to learn and the behaviors they show.

Any given child’s sexual knowledge and behavior is strongly influenced by:

■ The child’s age  (1-3)

■ What the child observes (including the sexual behaviors of family and friends) (4)

■ What the child is taught (including cultural and religious beliefs concerning sexuality and physical boundaries)

Very young and preschool-aged children (four or younger) are naturally immodest, and may display open—and occasionally startling–curiosity about other people’s bodies and bodily functions, such as touching women’s breasts, or wanting to watch when grown-ups go to the bathroom. Wanting to be naked (even if others are not) and showing or touching their genitals while in public are also common in young children. They are curious about their own bodies and may quickly discover that touching certain body parts feels nice. (For more on what children typically do at this and other ages, see Table 1 below.) As children age and interact more with other children (approximately ages 4–6), they become more aware of the differences between boys and girls, and more social in their exploration. In addition to exploring their own bodies through touching or rubbing their genitals (masturbation), they may begin “playing doctor” and copying adult behaviors such as kissing and holding hands. As children become increasingly aware of the social rules governing sexual behavior and language (such as the importance of modesty or which words are considered “naughty”), they may try to test these rules by using these words. They may also ask more questions about sexual matters, such as where babies come from, and why boys and girls are physically different.

Table 1: COMMON SEXUAL BEHAVIORS/CURIOSITIES IN CHILDHOOD

Preschool children (less than 4 years)

■ Exploring and touching their genitals, in public and in private

■ Rubbing their genitals (with hand or against objects)

■ Showing their genitals to others

■ Trying to touch mother’s or other women’s breasts

■ Removing clothes and wanting to be naked

■ Attempting to see other people when they are naked or undressing (such as in the bathroom)

■ Asking questions about their own—and others’—bodies and bodily functions

■ Talking to children their own age about bodily functions such as “poop” and “pee”

Young Children (approximately 4-6 years)

■ Purposefully touching their genitals (masturbation), occasionally in the presence of others

■ Attempting to see other people when they are naked or undressing

■ Mimicking dating behavior (such as kissing, or holding hands)

■ Talking about their genitals and using “naughty” words, even when they don’t understand the meaning

■ Exploring genitals with children their own age (such as “playing doctor”, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” etc.)

School-Aged Children (approximately 7-12 years)

■ Purposefully touching their genitals (masturbation), usually in private

■ Playing games with children their own age that involve sexual behavior (such as “truth or dare”, “playing family,” or “boyfriend/girlfriend”)

■ Attempting to see other people naked or undressing

■ Looking at pictures of naked or partially naked people

■ Viewing/listening to sexual content in media (television, movies, games, the Internet, music, etc.)

■ Wanting more privacy (for example, not wanting to undress in front of other people) and being reluctant to talk to adults about sexual issues

■ Beginnings of sexual attraction to/interest in peers

Once children enter grade school (approximately ages 7–12), their awareness of social rules increases and they become more modest and want more privacy, particularly around adults. Although self pleasuring (masturbation) and sexual play continue, children at this age are likely to hide these activities from adults. Curiosity about adult sexual behavior increases—particularly as puberty approaches—and children may begin to seek out sexual content in television, movies, and printed material. Telling jokes and “dirty” stories is common. Children approaching puberty are likely to start displaying romantic and sexual interest in their peers. (For more, see Table 1 above.) Although parents often become concerned when a child shows sexual behavior, such as touching another child’s genitals, these behaviors are not uncommon in developing children. Most sexual play is an expression of a child’s natural curiosity and should not be a cause for concern or alarm.

In general, “typical” childhood sexual play and exploration:

■ Occurs between children who play together regularly and know each other well

■ Occurs between children of the same general age and physical size

■ Is spontaneous and unplanned

■ Is infrequent

■ Is voluntary (the children agreed to the behavior, none of the involved children seem uncomfortable or upset)

■ Is easily diverted when parents tell children to stop and explain privacy rules.

Some childhood sexual behaviors indicate more than harmless curiosity, and are considered sexual behavior problems. Sexual behavior problems may pose a risk to the safety and well-being of the child and other children. (For more on this topic, see the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s fact sheet,

Understanding and Coping with Sexual Behavior Problems in Children: Information for Parents and Caregivers at http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/sexualbehaviorproblems.pdf.)

Sexual behavior problems include any act that:

■ Is clearly beyond the child’s developmental stage (for example, a three-year-old attempting to kiss an adult’s genitals)

■ Involves threats, force, or aggression

■ Involves children of widely different ages or abilities (such as a 12-year-old “playing doctor” with a four-year-old)

■ Provokes strong emotional reactions in the child—such as anger or anxiety

Responding to Sexual Behaviors

Situations like the one described at the beginning of this post can be unsettling for parents. However, these situations also offer excellent opportunities to assess how much children understand and to teach important information about sexual matters. The first step is to try to figure out what actually happened. To do this, it’s important to stay calm. Staying calm will allow you to make clear decisions about what you say and/or do, rather than acting on strong emotions. To remain composed, try taking a long, deep breath, counting to ten, or even closing the door and stepping away for a couple of minutes before saying anything. In the case described above, a parent might calmly tell the children that it’s time to get dressed and then ask each child to go to a different room in the house. After taking a few moments to collect your thoughts—and to consult with a spouse or partner if feeling very unsettled— the parent could then talk to each child one-on-one. When talking to children about sexual behaviors, it’s important to maintain a calm, even tone of voice, slow in speech, and to ask open-ended questions as much as possible, so the children can tell what happened in their own words, rather than just answering yes or no. It’s important to not put ‘your adult sexual meaning’ upon your child’s behavior. Be truly curious about their meaning and experience … truly listen to their answer.

So, in this case, a parent might ask each child:

■ What were you doing?

■ How did you get the idea?

■ How did you learn about this?

■ How did you feel about doing it?

In the opening scenario, all of the children involved were about the same age, had been playmates for some time, and seemed to be enjoying their game. So, it’s likely the children were just curious and playing around and that no one was upset about what happened. If you encounter a situation where the children are a little embarrassed but otherwise not distressed, this can present an ideal opportunity for teaching the children about healthy boundaries and rules about sexual behavior

Educating Children about Sexual Issues

Just because a behavior is typical doesn’t mean the behavior should be ignored. Often, when children participate in sexual behavior it indicates that they need to learn something. Teach what the child needs to know, given the situation. In this case, for example, the parent might teach the children that it’s okay to be curious about other people’s bodies, but that genitals should be kept private, even with friends. Although children usually respond well when parents take the time to give them correct information and answer their questions, it is important to provide information that is appropriate to the child’s age and developmental level. In Table 2 below, you will find an overview of some of the most important information and safety messages for children of various ages.

Keep in mind that you do not need to bombard children with information all at once. Provide “sound-bite” conversations.  Let the situation—and the child’s questions—guide the lessons you share. The important thing is to let children know that you are ready to listen and to answer whatever questions they may have. Too often, children get the majority of their sexual education from other children and from media sources such as television shows, songs, movies, video games and porn or pop-up/porn sites. Not only is this information often wrong and misleading, it may have very little to do with sexual values that parents want to convey. Explicit adult sexual activities are sometimes found during “family time” television shows, in commercials, on cartoon/children’s channels, or on video games, and can have an influence on children’s behaviors. Research now indicates that 99% of children are using video games.  Controlling media exposure and providing appropriate alternatives is an important part of teaching children about sexual issues. Get to know the rating systems of games, movies, and television shows and make use of the parental controls available through many internet, cable, and satellite providers. Myth: Talking about sex with my children will just encourage them to become sexually active. Fact: In a recent survey of American teens, 9 out of 10 teens said it would be easier to delay sexual activity and prevent unwanted pregnancy if they were able to have “more open, honest conversations” with their parents on these topics.  This has been verified in countless other studies that demonstrate that kids in fact delay sexual onset, make overall safer choices and describe themselves as closer to their parents overall. (7)

When you talk honestly with your children about sexual issues, you can give them the knowledge and skills they need to keep safe and to make good decisions about relationships and intimacy. (4) The National Child Traumatic Stress Network www.NCTSN.org  However, don’t assume that just by activating those controls you will be taking care of the situation. It’s very important for you to be aware of what your children are watching on television and online, and make time to watch television with them. When appropriate, you can use this time as a springboard to talk about sexual or relationship issues, and to help children develop the skills to make healthy decisions about their behavior and relationships.

Table 2: What to Teach When

Preschool children (less than 4 years)

Basic Information

■ Boys and girls are different

■ Accurate names for body parts of boys and girls

■ Babies come from mommies

■ Rules about personal boundaries (for example, our body is our own and another person’s body is there own, touching any part of our own body that feels good is fine and wonderful.  Pleasure is a good thing.)

■ Give simple answers to all questions about the body and bodily functions.

Safety Information

■ The difference between “okay” touches (which are comforting, pleasant, and welcome) and “not okay” touches (which are intrusive, uncomfortable, unwanted, secretive, or painful)

■ Your body belongs to you

■ Everyone has the right to say “no” to being touched, even by grownups

■ No one—child or adult–has the right to touch your genitals

■ It’s okay to say “no” when grownups ask you to do things that feel wrong to you, such as touching a part of your body that you do not want touched or keeping secrets from mommy or daddy

■ There is a difference between a “surprise”–which is something that will be revealed sometime soon, like a present—and a “secret,” which is something you’re never supposed to tell. Stress that it is never okay to keep secrets from mommy and daddy

■ Who to tell if people do “not okay” things to you, or ask you to do “not okay” things to them

Young Children (approximately 4-6 years)

Basic Information

■ Boys’ and girls’ bodies change when they get older.

■ Simple explanations of how babies grow in their mothers’ wombs and about the birth process.

■ Rules about personal boundaries (such as, keeping private areas of the body covered, not touching other children’s private areas)

■ Simple answers to all questions about the body and bodily functions

■ Touching your own genitals can feel nice, but is something done in private

Safety Information

■ Sexual abuse is when someone touches your genitals or asks you to touch their genitals

■ It is sexual abuse even if it is by someone you know

■ Sexual abuse is NEVER the child’s fault

■ If a stranger tries to get you to go with him or her, run and tell a parent, teacher, neighbor, police officer, or other trusted adult

■ Who to tell if people do “not okay” things to you, or ask you to do “not okay” things to them

School-Aged Children (approximately 7-12 years)

Basic Information

■ What to expect and how to cope with the changes of puberty (including menstruation and wet dreams)

■ Basics of reproduction, pregnancy, and childbirth

■ Risks of sexual activity (pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections)

■ Basics of contraception

■ Masturbation is common and not associated with long term problems but should be done in private

Safety Information

■ Sexual abuse may or may not involve touch; it can involve being exposed to information or images before you are ready to hear, see or think of those things.

■ How to maintain safety and personal boundaries when chatting or meeting people online

■ Strategize on how to choose quality friends, relationships and fun social experiences  

■ How to recognize and avoid risky social situations

■ Dating rules

Keep this in Your Back Pocket!

We recommend you keep this chart handy for when you need a reference guide on your child’s sexual development journey.  It can help to be one step ahead of the game. Also, feel free to write us a question or leave us a comment here on our blog.  Our CIIP Therapists at the Institute are always here to help you!!  We have well over a hundred years of training and our own parenting experience. We are more than glad to walk along side you to make this journey of parenting easier and more fun!

Here is a list of books you want to read often, and let your kids read often.  They have age recommendations.

Harris & Emberley  It’s Not the Stork: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends
Harris & Emberley  It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families
Harris & Emberley  It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
Hindman, Jan         A Very Touching Book (helps small child differentiate good touch, bad touch and secret touch in a fun and clear way)

 

References:

  1. Friedrich, W. N., Fisher, J., Broughton, D., Houston, M., & Shafran, C. R. (1998). Normative sexual behavior in children: a contemporary sample. Pediatrics, 101 (4), E9.
  2. Hornor, G. (2004). Sexual behavior in children: normal or not? Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 18 (2), 57-64.
  3. Hagan, J. F., Shaw, J. S., & Duncan, P. (Eds.). (2008). Theme 8: Promoting healthy sexual development and sexuality. In Bright futures: Guidelines for health supervision of infants, children, and adolescents (3rd ed.) (pp. 169-176). Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. Friedrich, W. N., Grambsch, P., Broughton, D., Kuiper, J., & Beilke, R. L. (1991). Normative sexual behavior in children. Pediatrics, 88 (3), 456-464.
  5. Coleman, H., & Charles, G. (2001). Adolescent sexuality: A matter of condom sense. Journal of Child and Youth Care, 14 (4), 17-18.
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Sexual Behaviors in Children. Elk Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved February 15, 2009 from http://www.aap.org/pubserv/PSVpreview/pages/behaviorchart.html
  7. Albert, B. (2004). With one voice: America’s adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/pubs/WOV_2004.pdf
  8. National Guidelines Task Force. (2004). Guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education: Kindergarten-12th grade, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf

Adapted from http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/sexualdevelopmentandbehavior.pdf

 

Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers  by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers.  For more info on Tina and her practice visit her at www.TinaSchermerSellers.com

Erectile Dysfunction and What to Do About it?

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Men who struggle with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) often ask me, “What is wrong with my penis?”  My answer to them, which is often a surprise to my male clients, is: “NOTHING!  Nothing is wrong with your penis!”

I am not a man and do not know what it means to have grown up with this organ, but many men tell me what a loss they feel when it does not “perform” the way they think it should.  Since birth, men play with their penis, which does not mean that they just masturbate all the time but that they touch it regularly. For instance, every time they urinate they look directly at and touch their penis!  Therefore, many men say it is just an extension of themselves.  Men sometimes shift their penis or randomly scratch it.  For them, touching their penis is not weird – it is just a natural way of life!

Men have a relationship with their penis that women unfortunately do not have with their vulvas (and that is a topic for another blog).  In fact, society puts a lot of pressure on men surrounding their penis.  That too is another conversation for another time, but I will say here: Why do we allow society to dictate so much how we should feel about our bodies, genitals, and sexual expression? If we allow society to have the loudest voice on these topics, it really steals the joy of being a sexual, beautiful human being.

The problem with ED is that men feel insecure when a part of their body – in this instance, their penis – is not doing what they want it to do.  Sex therapy can really help here because it can facilitate the dissection of thoughts, feelings, and messages men get around sexual performance and their penis in general. Also, talking with a sex therapist who does couples counseling (the two areas are such a rich combination) can help couples dialogue around sexual concerns so as to avoid shame, pain, and disappointment.

Men who have ED should always talk to their doctors to rule out any health issues, but I would not run to get Viagra at the first sign of ED.  That does not get to the root of the issue.  Oftentimes, men have a time when they just could not get an erection at all or only partially, and as a result every other sexual encounter is filled with anxiety wondering if it would happen again.  That pattern is really hard to break; however, helping men learn to be in their bodies and not in their minds (where the anxiety comes from) can facilitate men to feel relaxed and sexually fulfilled.

Also, focusing less on penetration and more on the intimate level of connection helps men and women enjoy sex a lot more!  Oftentimes, that kind of approach to sexual expression has to be taught, challenged, and thought through; however, when an individual and couple can see sex as more than just a means to an end, intimacy can be transcendent!

 

kim castelo  by Kimberly Castelo, MS, LMFT.  You can learn more about Kim, one of our CIIP therapists, at her website: http://www.healingmomentscounseling.net/

Coping with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

anxious

Obesity

Hair growth on face, chest

Acne

Infertility

Irregular menstrual cycles

Male pattern baldness

and more …..

 

These issues can be difficult to manage.  Many women with PCOS tell me that they eat correctly and work out but always struggle with weight.  Women also have shared with me the devastation they feel when they try to have a child and yet struggle with infertility because of PCOS. Given that PCOS affects so many areas of a woman’s life, it can often have an effect on women’s self- esteem.  So what should women know about dealing with PCOS?

First, you are not alone.

There are many women just like you who have struggled and are struggling with this daily.  Find people with whom you can talk about your struggles.  An example of this kind of help could be a support group or friends and family who are willing to hear you.

Talk to a dietitian, a trainer, and your doctor about ways to manage your PCOS through diet, exercise, and possibly medication.  It is important that at this stage you focus on “non-weight-scale” goals like how you are feeling, your energy, and how your clothing fits.  Focusing on the weight on the scale can be very difficult and discouraging . . . a number is not the all-inclusive way to tell if we are healthy!

For unwanted facial hair, getting waxed can be an option; a birth control pill can manage the testosterone hormone (something that women with PCOS have too much of).  Again, talking to your gynecologist or endocrinologist can help you decide which form of treatment is right for you.

Infertility can also be so devastating.

Fortunately, there are many treatments to help women ovulate and thus help them in their ability to get pregnant.  However, it is really easy when dealing with infertility to focus on the goal (to get pregnant) and to ignore the joy of intimacy and sex.  Oftentimes, couples struggle to work through these issues and often feel like it is just a task instead of being fun.  If you find yourself in this place, please know that you and a million other couples who struggle with infertility feel the same way!

Talking to a sex therapist can help rekindle the joy of making a baby so that the focus is not simply on the outcome!

 

kim castelo  by Kimberly Castelo, MS, LMFT.  You can learn more about Kim’s practice at http://www.healingmomentscounseling.net/