Daily Healthy Sex Acts

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    Dr. Pacik

    So often vaginismus women blame themselves for something they have no control over. A woman would not blame herself for any other medical condition. On the contrary our partner would support us as best as possible and at the very least be sympathetic to the situation. Not so in vaginismus where there is too much blame resulting in feelings of being less than…a failure.

    “It can be really depressing when you work so hard on yourself only to lose it by losing it on someone or just kind of forgetting what you learned. But it needn’t be. If you understand that falling is part of the game, and the other part is getting back up, and going higher than you were before. Today, when you slip back, remember to take an action that will propel you forwards.”
    ~ Yehuda Berg

    When a relationship lasts, we hail it as a success, but if it ends we frame it as “failed.” The same goes with failed business ventures, failed careers, failed aspirations. And after too many repeated misfortunes, or because of poor self-esteem, we don’t just see what’s failed, we think of ourselves as failures. Of course, this utterly demeans and denies the true nature of the entire experience, including accomplishments along the way and the constant forging of inner character.

    We point this disparaging tendency outward, too. When people let us down, falling short of our expectations or moral standards, we can so easily see them as “complete and utter failures.” Think of the lawbreakers who fill our jails or the lawmakers who abandon them there. When people do bad things, we confuse the wrong actions they committed with the persons they are. We mistake doing with being. We’re usually more forgiving of our own mistakes as we can see the chain of circumstances leading up to them. But how sad that we ever see ourselves, or anyone, as “failures” simply for not reaching our potential.

    It’s said that sometimes when things are falling apart, they are actually falling into place. The traumas of our so-called failures allow greater emotional connection by knocking down the false crown of ego and teaching us empathy for others who miss their marks. Often we don’t even realize how disconnected we are from other people’s pain until we feel some of it ourselves. The truth is that, without connection and empathy, success is hollow and lonely. To attempt any goal, to dare to fail, to grieve the loss of our erroneous self-image, and to understand every other person who’s done the same can only be seen as a success in the fail-proof development of our soul.

    • Reflect on your failures–relationships, career choices, social events, or fashion faux pas. Then, focus on your proven ability to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. Today, share with someone part of your shameful past from a place of loving self-recognition and appreciation.
    • We’ve all experienced rude awakenings. Do you empathize with others when they’re down, or does the smell of shame compel you to join the attack?
    • Starting today, stand up for the underdog, the “loser.” Sometimes having the strength to show loving support for unacknowledged others turns the tides of our own lives.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    Dr. Pacik


    “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
    ~ David Steindl-Rast

    Real gratitude is marked by more than a thank-you card or birthday gift. We’re almost all instructed as toddlers to parrot the words “thank you” in response to a gift or favor, no matter how we really feel. But superficial social niceties are far different from the deep emotion of thanksgiving. Only by honestly affirming the light can we act like the light and shine. We feel blessed for our lives and, in that moment, we bless our lives. Truly grateful feelings surge from our core whenever we fulfill our potential in small ways or in grand. To be away from gratitude is to be out of touch with our true purpose. Gratitude is an essential indication that our current actions reflect our real values.

    Gratitude is a sign and a remedy. In the worst of times, during a material, relational, emotional or spiritual depression, summoning gratitude is a sure way to get our life back on track. Opening our eyes to affirm gratitude grows the garden of our inner abundance, just as standing close to a fire eventually warms our heart. When life demands more and still more of us, gratitude lets us know that we have, and are, enough. The physiology of gratitude induces a regulated state similar to meditation or prayer: slow and steady breathing, blood flowing to the brain, neural pathways rewired. Gratitude as a physical act actually builds a healthier brain.

    • Each morning and night for the next two weeks, quickly jot down five things that come to mind for which you’re grateful.
    • Sit face-to-face with your loved one and share these simple gratitude lists, and ask that person to reciprocate if possible.
    • Today, practice an attitude of gratitude as you move through the world. Mentally note what you love about each moment. How long can you stay in gratitude before your mind wanders? The second you become distracted, try to notice the situation that broke your focus. Were you in fantasy or anxiety? Try to get back into life, and move toward life with gratitude.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    Dr. Pacik


    “In the summer
    I stretch out on the shore
    And think of you.
    Had I told the sea
    What I felt for you,
    It would have left its shores,
    Its shells,
    Its fish,
    And followed me.”
    ~ Nizar Qabbani

    The state of being romantically and sexually connected to another is a sacred calling and one that should not be taken lightly. To love another is a great responsibility, and one that we can easily forget when the thrill of new love has morphed into quieter comfort and connection. All too often, we take our mates for granted and even begin to resent them. By doing so we trample on their hearts in self-serving ways. We may become habituated to bickering and arguing, projecting our hurts onto the person in front of us who has entrusted her or his most tender, vulnerable self to our care.

    A key charge when in coupleship is the commitment to understand the depths of who the other was, is, and is becoming, and to tend to him or her accordingly. At the same time, we must commit to delve more deeply into our own dynamic issues, and aim to be transparent about our own evolution. All mammals need initial relationship to survive; human beings need relationship throughout life in order to grow, develop, and flourish.

    But romantic passion recedes over time, so creativity becomes another crucial obligation. Conjuring novel experiences to share, keeping our self interesting through unique pursuits, and giving each other enough space to explore the world independently keep coupleships vital. Both planned date nights and spontaneous activities can bring shared laughter and happiness–a sure way to release dopamine in the brain. Sexual novelty will spice things up, further raising dopamine levels and enjoyment of our time together. At our core, we are all tender, feeling beings who need one another to support our emotional, sexual and physical thriving over a lifetime. Tread lightly on your partner’s heart. It was given to you for safekeeping.

    • When the going gets rough in your relationship, what do you do? Do you examine your own issues, attempt to understand your partner more deeply, or start packing?
    • Write your definition of what it means to be in coupleship and ask your partner to do the same. Share your musings with each other.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    Note: They are having a 40% Black Friday sale off the cost of their book November 26,27

    Dr. Pacik


    “Many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it.”
    ~ Søren Kierkegaard

    In the classical myth told by Ovid, Pleasure is the daughter of Eros, the god of love, and Psyche, his earthly bride made immortal. The name Psyche shares the same root as the word psychology: spirit or mind. In one interpretation this ancient tale illustrates that pleasure is born from mindfulness (Psyche) and a uniting intention (Eros). Indeed, this sounds like the erotic formula for every coupling from Internet dating and tearoom cruising to sex surrogacy and marriage. It can be counterintuitive, but pleasure requires planning and self-knowledge in the same way vacationing can take as much effort and thought as working.

    Sexual feelings set off nerve-bundles and neurochemicals within the body that are more intense and immediate than those which other enjoyable activities activate. Sex creates pleasurable sensations that are distinctly personal. Maybe this is one reason our sex organs are called private parts–not because they must be kept private, but because intense pleasurable sensations are experienced individually. It requires effort to share our sexual pleasure with a partner. But to show pleasure is to grow pleasure, for ourselves as well. Unfortunately our society often disdains any open display of unpretentious sexuality, regardless of whether it’s healthy or destructive.

    When people compulsively pursue pleasure, especially in sex and love addiction, they’re not aware how much of the hunt is actually un-pleasurable. Whenever preceding or resulting pain is greater than the fleeting payoff, we should question the effectiveness of the enterprise. We can ask ourselves whether the enjoyment creates valued memories and anecdotes for years to come, or must be crushed and hidden upon consummation. Pleasure of which we are aware, and which we can share, has life and will continue to exist–much like the immortal progeny of Eros and Psyche.

    • Consider what brings you pleasure, and how you share your pleasure with others. Do you narrate the enjoyable sensations you receive like making a report? Do you convey your feelings wordlessly, with sounds or facial expressions? Or do you count on their being communicated by themselves, as through osmosis?
    • Experience pleasure today, and let yourself show it. First, practice alone and relay your feelings out loud. When you feel comfortable, practice sharing your experience of simple pleasures with other people.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    There is considerable value to this article. Too often one does not emote ones feelings and experiences leaving the other person in the dark regarding whether something is pleasurable or not. We all rely on this type of feedback for future behavior patterns. Feedback is often more than words. During love making sounds are just as important if not more so. Given the low libido that so many women (and some of their partners) with vaginismus experience it is fairly common that individuals become closed to expressing themselves. For those who feel closed make an effort to become more open and transparent in your interaction.

    Dr. Pacik


    “The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.”
    ~ Daniel Defoe

    Exaltation signifies a peak experience–functioning at full capacity in an elevated state. In astrology, a planet is exalted when it’s in the sign allowing its greatest expression (so, only 1/12 of the time). We, too, long for exaltation, but like the planets, our lives achieve it only rarely. In love and sex, exalted feelings can easily overpower other emotions and experiences–and thank the stars for that, since initial infatuation helps us overlook personal differences long enough for a loving bond to take root. We all have euphoric recall for our exaltations: when we hit the ball out of the park, when our words had meaning and were felt and understood, when our jokes made people laugh, when we thrived in joy.

    Conversely, recalling peak experiences can dishearten us, convincing us that normal life is colorless or has passed us by. The vitality we feel one day to fulfill our potential can easily dissipate into doubt and despair. But the simple practice of acceptance is a great antidote for these fluctuations. True transpersonal exaltation is by definition bigger than any of us; it’s not a state we can will or manipulate into being. Still, while much of the work we do to grow our hearts is an inside job, and while the experience of exaltation cannot be commanded, it can be encouraged through a benevolent focus on others. Through affirming others’ potential with gentle, persistent knowing and support, we exalt the qualities we hold dear. And in time we will realize that we love in others exactly what we value in ourselves. Judgment or separation cannot coexist in true exaltation, which is the very best of us. And what’s the best of us? It’s all of us. Altruism is a distinct aspect of exaltation that we can all nourish and invite.

    • Recall the exalted states and peak experiences of your life so far. Does the euphoric recall of your past inspire or inhibit your present?
    • If you were to invite exaltation, what part of your life would you most like to thrive right now? Exalt in others that which you most desire in yourself. Make room to receive from life by freely giving your time, your truth and your love.
    • Today, see the best in others. Imagine a warm, golden glow around everyone you meet. See beyond personalities to share in their spirit.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    Dr. Pacik

    “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
    ~ Jodi Picoult

    We always hear that getting love begins with loving our self. Depending on others to ease our pain or erase our loneliness eventually weakens us and, therefore, proves dangerous. If our self is weak and needs other people to prop it up, it can become unable to function and can keep us from attaining emotional self-reliance. This form of weakness keeps us in toxic relationships where mutual using marks the drumbeats of the codependent dance. On the other hand, the absence of family, community and friendship can lead to isolation and depression. Lack of companionship, while seemingly the opposite of emotional dependency, withers our soul equally.

    When loneliness is a constant state of being, it harkens back to a childhood wherein neglect and abandonment were the landscape of life. Without consistent, caring contact with adults, a young person will be left with emptiness, uncertainty about personal identity, and a fear of being alone. As is natural for such a child, either using other people to feel better or isolating into an inner world will be the “go to” survival options. But both these choices fail to allow them, as adults, to reach out to others for love, comfort, and companionship as a healthy way of validating and meeting their needs.

    Both using people and isolating from them pale in effectiveness compared to seeking genuine human relatedness. If you had to use either of these maladaptive options and now live with loneliness, choosing to fill that void is a herculean feat requiring courage and diligence. Start now. Set the intention to change your pattern, then take one small step to connect sincerely with one other person or with a community. That’s all it takes to begin your ascent out of loneliness. When two people gather with honesty, magic can happen.

    • Take a moment to think about your closest relationships. Are they a two-way street? Do they strengthen and nurture both of you, or are you taking advantage?
    • Do you know the difference between loneliness and being alone? Being alone and enjoying your own company is a sign of mental health. When you are alone, do you always have the TV or music on for distraction? Can you tolerate silence or does it raise your anxiety? Challenge yourself to a silent experiment this week and turn off all distractions. Are you alone or lonely?

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

    Dr. Pacik


    “Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.”
    ~ Derek Jarman

    In the animal kingdom, birds, bees and beasts instinctively know how to reproduce and rear young. They even know to digest specific herbs, shells, bones, and barks to cure disease or rid themselves of parasites, without any veterinarian’s prescription. But human beings must be initiated into sexual life and taught how to keep ourselves safe and healthy. As young people, we learn the mechanics of sexual intercourse mainly by description (often provoking considerable surprise!) And we must study safety. In fact, the evolving social complexity of our species distances us increasingly from our natural instincts. Ironically, our reliance on experienced others for survival rules creates a novel risk, since caregivers may teach the negative, fearful thinking or self-destructive tendencies they learned, and thus lay the groundwork for children’s retraumatization as adults.

    Such harm occurs so often that many people don’t feel safe in safety. It isn’t familiar. What’s familiar is having the rug pulled out from under them. Their experience demonstrates why transparency, recovery, and accountability are so important. Only once we’ve learned how to be safe with ourselves–once we’re not unconsciously trying to kill ourselves–can we be, and feel, safe with others. For example, some may see unprotected sex as symbolic of intimacy, freedom, and honesty. But in reality it can be a cold, disconnecting act to ignore personal safety and peace of mind. If someone sees sex as only something that happens between body parts, then, sure, anything less than bare skin can’t satisfy. But when we learn to value our entire body and well-being, healthy sex includes caring for our safety and the safety of others. More explosively intimate than a part touching a part is a heart touching a heart. This sacred vulnerability necessitates the safety of sober love.

    • How safe is your sex? Can you distinguish healthy risks from flirting with disaster? On a piece of paper, draw two columns marked “SAFE” and “UNSAFE,” and list your actual and potential sexual and romantic activities in the column that fits.
    • Fire Drill Kits are healthy tools to use when triggered. These include phone numbers of your therapist, sponsor, or supportive friends; self-regulating exercises to restore emotional sobriety; and inspirational readings to remind you of your integrity. Assemble a fire drill kit today and keep it close.

    From the MIRROR OF INTIMACY book The Daily Meditation Book by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss

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