Swoon Podcast: Your Body is a Wonderland - Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week: Your Body is a Wonderland - Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Do you have a hard time staying present during sex? Are you distracted? Worried about performance? Or focusing on your to do list?

In today’s podcast Gina and Julie share tools and practices to help you stay present and experience more pleasure in and out of the bedroom.

This episode covers:

  • Sign the petition asking Psychology Today, the largest online therapist directory, to add a third gender option to their search filters. 

  • What it means to get out of your head and into your body.

  • Different ways anxiety, distraction, multitasking or focusing on performance creates more stress and pressure during sex.

  • The ways embodiment can make sex more enjoyable and connecting.

  • Tools or rituals to get in your body – Sensual walk.

  • A practice you can use when you feel distracted (or your mind is busy) during sex.

  • How presence can lead to more pleasure.

Memorable quotes in the podcast

On being in your brain vs. being in your body -

“I often work with people who are operating from the neck up. They are not connected to their body. Sometimes they can't feel sensation in their body. Sometimes they are so wrapped up in the swirls and whirls and rollercoaster that is going on in their brain that they can't feel if they are turned on, they can't feel desire, they can't feel pleasure, because they are so in their brain. “

“I think our brains are really important. I don’t want you doing math with your vagina. There are things we really need our brains for. However, there are times our brain get in the way – distraction, multitasking, anxiety, making a to do list while your partner is kissing your neck - there are times that being in our brains keep us from the full spectrum of pleasure.”

On the times if doesn't feel OK to be in your body -

“It's unsafe for some people to be in their body. I get migraines and when I do, I don't want to be in my body. It's so painful and if I just sat there and felt my pain, that's not going to be helpful for me. What I always have to do afterward is come back into my body the next day. And I have a ritual around that.”

“It's not a problem to not be in your body. Sometimes it's too painful to be in your body. We also need to know how to get back in our body.”

On pleasure and presence -

“What is your goal for sexual connection? Is your goal something that is actually serving you? If the goal is connection, orgasm or erection might not matter. If the goal is joy, or pleasure, there are a lot of pathways to achieve those goals that aren’t always as specific as 'I have to have this kind of sex', and 'it has to look this way' and 'it has to take this much time.'”

“Our minds work like a tribe of playful monkeys. If you are going to train them, yelling at them isn't going to help much. But if you are gentle or playful with them you are far more likely to have success and far more likely not to stress yourself out.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

Action Steps from the Podcast

Focus on Sensuality -

Connect with your senses in a nonsexual way.

What are you seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling?

Practice this with food or in the shower.

Bonus Action Step - Shift to a mindful kiss

Notice, did you actually connect with your partner during your kiss. Were you present?

About Your Swoon Hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Weekly Conversation Starters for Deeper Connection

Couples who stay curious about each other, engaged in learning about their partners, open to growing together fare better long-term. 

They're able to adapt to changes and navigate bumps in the road with resilience.  And they maintain passion and intimacy by fueling a sense of discovery and space for fascination, mystery, and surprise.

Every week I send out questions to deepen your partnership to help you foster and nourish the intimacy you share with those most important to you.  You can sign up to receive those messages right here.

And you can read some of my previous conversation starter posts here.

I hope these help you connect in meaningful ways with someone you love. 

Warmly, Gina

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Here are a few questions to ask your sweetie this week:

  1. Who was your hero growing up?

  2. What did you learn from them?

  3. Who do you admire now and why?

  4. If you could ask them one piece of advice what would you ask?

  5. If you could trade lives with them for one day, what would you learn?

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Quick tips for these questions:

  1. Be present. Set aside some fully-present distraction-free time to ask and respond to these with someone you love. Put down your phone, walk away from any screens, and give your partner your full presence.

  2. Stay open to possibility. Even if you think you know your partner's responses listen to them without assumption so they have room to surprise you.  

  3. Show up. Offer responses in complete sentences and challenge yourself to elaborate.  This isn't about being brief- it's about growing more intimate connection.  Add specifics and details to offer more of yourself to your partner.

  4. Really engage. Ask your partner follow up questions. Part of this process is about engaging with your partner in meaningful ways. Asking more follow up questions will show you care and broaden the conversation.

  5. Connect with others. Collect all the questions and take them on a date night, dinner party, road trips, and campfires to inspire more meaningful conversation with your community.  

Four Agreements in Romantic Relationships

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements transformed the way I think about communication with myself and with the people I love. I know for some the spiritual undertones can be off-putting, but for many of my clients over the years it has offered really powerful wisdom.

The overall theme is that four simple yet profound rules can have an enormous impact on our life and relationships. Focusing on each of them has helped me live a more intentional, integrity-fueled life and build more mindful connected relationships.

These agreements not only apply to life in general but are absolutely critical in dating. I’ll dive deeper into each of them below. You can also download this beautiful printout of all the agreements to help you keep them in focus.:


Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or others. Use the power of your words to grow truth and love.

Being clear with your intentions, expectations, and boundaries in relationships is the best path to connection and the only way to avoid misunderstandings.

When I began to focus on this agreement I noticed many innocent lies I told throughout the day. I might run into someone I know and say “we should get together sometime” knowing I would never truly follow up. These white lies add up, and wear on us over time. And for many of us this culminates in a pattern of over-promising and over-committing in relationships. Committing to this agreement means being really honest with yourself and others all the time.

I also appreciate the focus of this agreement on being really mindful of the words we choose to create a life and commit to a narrative that works for us. The stories we tell ourselves have direct impact on our happiness and the ways people around us respond to us. Take care in choosing the stories you hold as true, and the ones you share.


Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Realize that nothing others do is because of you, but instead a projection of their own reality, self-work, and dreams. When you are immune to the opinions of others it will free you from needless suffering.

Let me be clear here: I’m not saying you should stop caring about anyone else. But most of us care a little too much. I see so many folks tied up in anxiety and conflict because they are too closely connected to their partner’s feelings- or worse, their perception of their partner’s feelings.

This is huge when dealing with rejection. Once you accept that rejection isn’t personal, it starts to roll off your back. Maybe your partner had a bad day, maybe someone in their past was a jerk, or maybe they’re just unhappy- unrelated to you.

Their emotional experience is beyond your control. You can help them feel a little better, but their choice to feel better does have to start from within. There’s no value in stressing about something that’s out of your hands and not about you.

Now, of course there are times something you’ve done will spark a reaction in someone else. You can still own your mistake or the impact you had on someone else without taking it personally. That might sound like responding “I’m sorry, I was running behind, and that resulted in you being late and nervous.” instead of “I am sorry I’m such a jackass. I always mess this stuff up.” Can you feel the difference?

It’s really important you take responsibility for your actions and work on improving it to minimize negative impacts on others. But don’t let it determine your self worth or define your character.

You can do better- and you will.


Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Ask questions and communicate as clearly as you can about misunderstandings. Stay curious about yourself and the others around you to create room to honor each of your individuality and growth.

I’ve written extensively about this in the past, so I won’t bore you here, but staying curious about your sweetheart is the easiest way to avoid growing stagnant and bored in long-term relationships. Invest energy in understanding them instead of assuming they’ll never change.

The same goes for yourself. Stay curious about your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to others- there’s always plenty to learn and the more you assume you know, the less self-awareness you are likely practicing.

Most of the couples I see stuck in struggle are clinging to resentments, assumptions, and misinterpretations without really exploring them. These keep us disconnected and often lead to bitterness. Nobody wants that.

The path to fulfillment is learning and growth- neither of which will happen without a little curiosity.


Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best

Your best will change moment to moment (with your health, energy, and experience) but by investing the best of yourself you’ll avoid self-judgment and regret.

So often the regrets we beat ourselves up about are the times we didn’t act with intention, integrity- or as our best selves. Committing to doing your best all them time helps us avoid regretful missteps.

But committing to always doing your best doesn’t mean becoming a perfectionist, or striving for some high-level output 100 percent of the time. Doing your best also means being clear with yourself and those around you about what you can do, how you can show up, and what you can give moment-to-moment and say-to-day. The more mindful you are of your internal state, energy level, and competency in the different and changing areas of life, the better equipped you’ll be to communicate this with the people you care for.

If you enjoyed this, I highly recommend you pick up The Four Agreements as well as Don Miguel’s other books, The Mastery of Love and Voice of Knowledge. They are about forming healthy relationships and defeating inner voices that cause suffering and anxiety, respectively.


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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She leads workshops and couples retreats in the Midwestern United States and Pacific Northwest and consults with clients online. Access her free Relationship Resource Toolbox here, or join her next FREE Monthly Relationships Masterclass coaching call.

Connect with her on social media or schedule a free consultation to see if her support could help you build more fulfilling, connected partnerships.

Swoon Podcast: I Want You to Want Me: High Desire Partners & Intimate Relationships

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week: I WANT YOU TO WANT ME: High Desire Partners & Intimate Relationships

Being the high desire partner can seem like a simple problem form the outside, but people living this experience will tell you it's not that easy. You want to connect, share passion, and get your needs met, but you need to be careful to do it in ways that don't add pressure to what can often be a tense situation.

Let Gina and Julie help you understand how to handle high desire in mismatched desire relationships, in loving consensual ways.

This episode covers:

  • They ways “higher desire” can affect an individual and a relationship

  • Many of the factors that can influence how much desire someone experiences

  • The difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire 

  • Practical tools you can use in your relationship or with yourself to explore willingness, pleasure and desire

Memorable Quotes in This Episode

On the inner experience of the high desire partner -

“High desire partners often experience an intense inner struggle, where on one hand they know they are entitled to have desire, and they know there's nothing wrong with asking for what I want, but at the same time I'm tired of always being the one to gets things started... so I either feel like I am pressuring someone all the time, or I take it personally.”

On our culture and sex -

“Sometimes we have a tendency to talk about sex like it's not important or it's base. We tell people to focus on love more. There's something wrong with you if you have a lot of desire. You're not enlightened if you have a lot of desire. So there can be shame around this.”

On knowing when high desire is a problem -

“There are a small number people on one extreme end of the spectrum where their desire, boundaries about sex or impulse control about sex are interruptive in their life, they can't make it work, they betray relationships, they don't respect the boundaries of others because they can't manage their sexual impulsivity BUT that is one small end of the spectrum.”

"Is it causing you emotional strife or relationship problems?"

"Is it negatively impacting your life?"

On sex and love -

“For some people, sex and love go together and that's really important. But for some people, it doesn't and that's okay. ”

On exploring desire -

"If I believe the only way for me to get my sexual needs met is to have sex with a partner that can put a lot of pressure on a relationship... When we focus in on only one pathway to pleasure and stop playing around."

"It's okay to like other stuff."

"One of the most important ingredients for a great sex life is curiosity and a willingness to explore."

Resources Shared in This Episode

Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel

Mating in Captivity TED Talk, Esther Perel

Action Steps from the Podcast

Explore different ways of being in your body and connecting sexually with yourself and/or with your partner.

Esther Perel Reflection Activity

Take a piece of paper (or use your computer) and draw a line down the middle (creating two columns).

Write "Love" at the top of the left column and write down your first responses to the following questions.

"Love is..."

"When I think of love, I think of..."

"When I love, I feel..."

"When I am loved I feel..."

"In love, I look for..."

"I wish I experienced love as..."

On the top of the right column write "Sex" and write your immediate associations to the following prompts.

"Sex is..."

"When I think of sex, I think of..."

"When I desire, I feel..."

"When I am desired I feel..."

"In sex, I look for..."

"I wish I experienced sex as..."


Now take a few minutes to look at your responses. Notice any similarities? Notice any differences? How do you feel after looking at your lists? Do you wish you had different responses?

About Your Swoon Hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

April Recommended Relationship Resources

I’ve started keeping track of the resources, tools, podcasts, and videos I assign clients every week in session with the hope they might be excellent tools for all of you as well. I’ll be posting my favorites every month this year so you can find them with ease.

Read more recommendations here.

If you have suggestions or recommendations for this list please send them to me- I always welcome more. Email them to gina@ginasenarighi.com Thank you!

WHAT TO READ: POSTS FROM GREAT MINDS ON LOVE

THE TRUTH THAT LIVES THERE, DEAR SUGAR ON THE RUMPUS, BY CHERYL STRAYED

Y’all, I have recommended this reading so often to clients and friend I have the page number in Tiny Beautiful Things memorized. But you don’t have to buy the full book (though I do recommend the whole book) just to read my favorite piece. In it author Cheryl Strayed (yes, from Wild) writes an advice column response to five women all of whom have written in about their stuck spot considering a break up from a mostly decent partner.

I read this when I was splitting up with a truly wonderful person in a very similar way and I sobbed so hard from the feeling seen of it. Since then I’ve recommended it alongside tissues to so many folks who aren’t sure if just wanting to leave is enough. If that description fits you, read it here (and have tissues handy).

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE LOVE & RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

MODERN LOVE PODCAST

If you like love stories- real, true, honest love stories- Modern Love Podcast is for you. I’m going to take this month’s post just to share my most favorite episodes of Modern Love for you to check out.

You could listen just because you like love and romance. Or you can listen because one of these descriptions calls to you, either way I’m sure you’ll find a sweet reflection of one of the many ways of love in the world.

Rallying to Keep the Game Alive, with Connie Nielsen

This episode truly reflects a majority of the relationships I see. Folks who have gotten caught in longstanding patterns of misunderstanding, competition, and lacking fulfillment. I love this episode because it rings so true for SO MANY couples who’ve been together a long long time.

A Forgotten Prayer, Answered, with Mira Sorvino

I’m including this one because it resonated so deeply at a personal level as a woman who has struggled with infertility. Though our stories are different, it can be a real challenge to find others who share your experience when you’ve struggled for many years and also when you already have a child. I am including it here for anyone else who wants to hear another woman’s story of this painful experience.

When Eve and Eve Bit the Apple, with Rachel Weitz

I’ve now supported quite a few folks who come out as lesbian or gay after spending their foundational years committed to the Christian church instead of dating. This essay sweetly shares an one woman’s story of finding love and coming out.

Yes We Do, Even at Our Age, with Lois Smith

Lots of younger folks don’t think about sex at later life stages, but yes, it happens. Here’s a sweet story about pieces of life you have to look forward to.

The Secret to Marriage, with Sandrah Oh

For some people the secret to staying together is NOT getting married. For those of you who are wondering if a different kind fo commitment is better for you, this podcast might shed some light.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Gina Senarighi Relationship Coach
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

    I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online, in Portland, Oregon (and soon in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin). 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

Weekly Conversation Starters for Deeper Connection

Couples who stay curious about each other, engaged in learning about their partners, open to growing together fare better long-term. 

They're able to adapt to changes and navigate bumps in the road with resilience.  And they maintain passion and intimacy by fueling a sense of discovery and space for fascination, mystery, and surprise.

Every week I send out questions to deepen your partnership to help you foster and nourish the intimacy you share with those most important to you.  You can sign up to receive those messages right here.

And you can read some of my previous conversation starter posts here.

I hope these help you connect in meaningful ways with someone you love. 

Warmly, Gina

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Here are a few questions to ask your sweetie this week:

  1. What lessons about puberty did you pick up from your family or culture?

  2. How did you learn about puberty?  Who taught you?

  3. What do you wish was different about that learning experience?

  4. What was puberty like for you?

  5. If you could go back in time and give your younger self a message, what would you say?

  6. If you have children how will you share messages about their changing bodies with them?

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Quick tips for these questions:

  1. Be present. Set aside some fully-present distraction-free time to ask and respond to these with someone you love. Put down your phone, walk away from any screens, and give your partner your full presence.

  2. Stay open to possibility. Even if you think you know your partner's responses listen to them without assumption so they have room to surprise you.  

  3. Show up. Offer responses in complete sentences and challenge yourself to elaborate.  This isn't about being brief- it's about growing more intimate connection.  Add specifics and details to offer more of yourself to your partner.

  4. Really engage. Ask your partner follow up questions. Part of this process is about engaging with your partner in meaningful ways. Asking more follow up questions will show you care and broaden the conversation.

  5. Connect with others. Collect all the questions and take them on a date night, dinner party, road trips, and campfires to inspire more meaningful conversation with your community.  

Swoon Podcast BONUS EPISODE: listener Questions Answered

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


BONUS EPISODE

We’ve truly enjoyed sharing what we think everyone should know about sex and intimacy in relationships- but now it’s time to hear from some of you. Julie and Gina gathered questions on instagram and their erbsides from the hundreds of listeners who’ve already tuned in to create this bonus episode answering three listener questions.

Listen here:


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast: Let's Get It On: Keeping Desire Alive in Long-term Relationships

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week: LET’S GET IT ON: Lasting Desire in Long-Term Relationships

Most long-term couples experience something called desire fatigue (the slow decline of sexual connection and/or activity the longer you’re together) but most couples don’t want to accept low desire as an inevitability.

In today’s podcast Gina and Julie explore the common contributors to desire fatigue in relationships and the understanding you need to overcome this very common issue.

This episode covers:

  • How to create lasting desire in long term relationship

  • What happens when passion seems to fade in your relationship?

  • While it's very common for desire to shift over time, there are things you can do to keep the desire and passion alive in your relationship

  • How desire, fascination and autonomy can go hand in hand

  • The ways we shift as we cohabitate or spend more time together

  • The importance of being really clear about your expectations for time spent together

Memorable quotes in the podcast

On being in a relationship:

“In the beginning you'll stay up all night long having sex even though you have to work in the morning and then go to work without taking a shower and smelling like sex because you don't care. And then over time you say, “Are you kidding me? It's 9:00, I have to go to bed! I have to work in the morning.”

“The emotional intimacy can parallel the sexual intimacy. I know some folks who will stay up all night talking - “Oh you love broccoli, I love broccoli! We have so much in common. This is so exciting!” And then a few years down the road, broccoli isn't as exciting any more”

“Earlier in a relationship we are more invested in our individuality...we are more autonomous and that both fuels me personally, makes me feel confident and alive...and over the course of a relationship I might start stripping away some of those things to spend more time with my partner.”

On the honeymoon stage:

“In the beginning there are also the chemicals going off in our body, which are hard to replicate. The brain scan of someone on heroin can look the same as the brain scan of someone who is in love. Love is a drug for a lot of people. And if you know anything about drugs, you need more of a substance to get the same high. How do I get more of you? Eventually, I'm not going to feel as high. And that's a bummer for a lot of folks.”

On the ways desire fades:

“Comfort and stability are very good things for a relationship and many of the practices that build those up, also eat away at the heat portion of the relationship – the mystery, fascination, intrigue.”

“Think about the other areas of your life – your dream job or dream home or dream city or a shiny new car or new toy or cell phone, something that you've been pining for - and you get it and it's awesome, but it's not as awesome for the rest of your life. Part of our nature does that. Something is shiny and new and exciting and over time, it's not that we don't value it any more, we just aren't as lit up by it any more. Those chemicals aren't going off.”

“Some of it is the newness and uncertainty and some of it is that new phone has started wearing sweatpants and watching Netflix every night. Part of it is that we also put more energy into showing up and being present for each other in the beginning.”

On relationships taking work:

“Life requires energy. Anything that I want to have in my life long term requires energy and intention.”

“We have this idea that relationships should be easy without work, that causes a lot of us to think we can not invest much energy there, which can then lead to our partner feeling neglected”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

Esther Perel TED Talk - The secret to desire in a long-term relationship

Reminisce about one your favorite erotic shared experiences.

Set up a time you can be fully present. And share a story about a time you felt connected and erotic.It doesn’t have to be about sex. Paint a picture with your words. Share the details. What did it feel, smell, sound, look or taste like? This can remind you of a time there was a lot of heat and desire. And it can give you ideas about things you can reinvigorate or bring back from earlier times in your relationship. Take turns. And as the listener, hear your partner with warmth and engagement.

About Your Swoon Hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Weekly Conversation Starters for Deeper Connection

Couples who stay curious about each other, engaged in learning about their partners, open to growing together fare better long-term. 

They're able to adapt to changes and navigate bumps in the road with resilience.  And they maintain passion and intimacy by fueling a sense of discovery and space for fascination, mystery, and surprise.

Every week I send out questions to deepen your partnership to help you foster and nourish the intimacy you share with those most important to you.  You can sign up to receive those messages right here.

And you can read some of my previous conversation starter posts here.

I hope these help you connect in meaningful ways with someone you love. 

Warmly, Gina

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Here are a few questions to ask your sweetie this week:

  1. How do you feel about sharing meals at restaurants?

  2. How do you feel about sharing clothing with me?

  3. How do you feel about sharing a toothbrush?

  4. How do you feel about sharing medical information with me?

  5. How do you feel about sharing bills and expenses?

  6. How do you feel about sharing savings and finances?

  7. How do you feel about sharing your internet passwords with me?

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Quick tips for these questions:

  1. Be present. Set aside some fully-present distraction-free time to ask and respond to these with someone you love. Put down your phone, walk away from any screens, and give your partner your full presence.

  2. Stay open to possibility. Even if you think you know your partner's responses listen to them without assumption so they have room to surprise you.  

  3. Show up. Offer responses in complete sentences and challenge yourself to elaborate.  This isn't about being brief- it's about growing more intimate connection.  Add specifics and details to offer more of yourself to your partner.

  4. Really engage. Ask your partner follow up questions. Part of this process is about engaging with your partner in meaningful ways. Asking more follow up questions will show you care and broaden the conversation.

  5. Connect with others. Collect all the questions and take them on a date night, dinner party, road trips, and campfires to inspire more meaningful conversation with your community.  


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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She leads workshops and couples retreats in the Midwestern United States and Pacific Northwest and consults with clients online.

Access her free Relationship Resource Toolbox here, or join her next FREE Monthly Relationships Masterclass coaching call.

Connect with her on social media or schedule a free consultation to see if her support could help you build more fulfilling, connected partnerships.

Relationship Skills Practice: Healthy Boundaries With People Outside Your Relationship

Every few weeks I share easy tips to keep your relationship fresh and connected.

I draw from the best research in healthy relationships to help you grow the kind of love and intimacy you really want.

Love is built in the tiniest of moments and smallest interactions we share. Use these simple tools to improve your relationship in under ten minutes a week.

Each video includes a free downloadable PDF worksheet or reflection guide to help you keep the energy and momentum going. To get a copy of the worksheets sign up here.

If you need help implementing these, or have questions about how to adapt them to your style, please let me know. I’m happy to help you create stronger connections.

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THIS WEEK’S PRACTICE


Today we’re talking about how to have healthy boundaries with people outside your relationship. I’m going to share five basic guidelines that help my clients navigate boundaries with other people to avoid secrecy and infidelity.

Here’s how to navigate situations with your ex or your crush without threatening your current partner.

Basic healthy boundaries guidelines (in “don’t” format):

  • Don’t be unclear about your boundaries and expectations.

  • Don’t toe the line.

  • Don’t withhold information.

  • Don’t be sneaky.

  • Don’t get defensive.

Watch the video for more details and schedule a free consultation with me if you’re interested in learning more.

REFLECTION

  • How can I build more openness in my relationship to talk about people I find inspiring or interesting?

  • How can I be more open to hearing about my partner’s new crushes, attractions, interests, and inspirations without feeling threatened?

  • What can I do to interrupt myself if I feel sneaky, withholding, or defensive?

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KEEP IT UP

The truth about long-term relationships is (even though we may not want to admit it) we all get a little lazy about our communication and tending to our connection as the years pass.

We’re often highly attentive, intentional and attuned in the early phases of relationship. But as we build a life we can get caught up in other details, day-to-day hustle, career-building, and parenting- and get distracted from prioritizing our partnerships.

There’s nothing wrong with you or your relationship if this happens, but if (when) it does, use it as a call to action for the two of you to re-prioritize practices like these. Habits are changed only with attention, so use these tools to pay closer attention to your sweetie and your relationship.

Most of these exercises are designed to take under ten minutes. If you want to integrate them into a regular practice, try committing to them on a more regular basis and keep them in regular rotation even after you receive the next practice.

It’s not going to hurt you to have extra opportunities for connection and meaning.

And if you fall out of practice don’t lose heart- you can always start again. Just make sure you do.

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Finally, if you notice you have some internal resistance to these practices or tips stay curious about it. Often the things we resist have a lot to each us.

Notice if you just aren’t getting around to connecting with your partner or if you really don’t want to try these tools and tips with them and ask yourself what that’s all about. If you want support building self-awareness around your resistance, or creating a vision of change, I’m here to help.


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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She leads workshops and couples retreats in the Midwestern United States and Pacific Northwest and consults with clients online.

Access her free Relationship Resource Toolbox here, or join her next FREE Monthly Relationships Masterclass coaching call.

Connect with her on social media or schedule a free consultation to see if her support could help you build more fulfilling, connected partnerships.

Swoon Podcast: Tell Me Somethin' Good

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Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week: TELL ME SOMETHIN"‘ GOOD": Sexual Communication for COuples

"We can't keep talking about sex without talking about how we talk about sex." Join Gina and JUlie this week as they break down everything you need to know about sexual communication in relationships.

This episode covers:

  • Most people struggle to talk about sex without conflict in relationships

  • How to ask for what you want

  • When, where and how to talk about sex in a way that works best for connection

  • How to flip the story you're telling about sex in your relationship from "this is hard" to "we still got it"

  • What's the best way to start a conversation about sex that doesn't leave you feeling rejected

Memorable quotes in the podcast

On why we don't talk about sex:

"Very few people get great sex ed in the first place... very limited info on the facts of how bodies work... and then how to communicate what you like or don't like- that kind of vulnerability - very few of us have any skills training in."

"The vulnerability of asking for something that is meaningful to me is vulnerable. And the more meaningful it is the riskier it feels to ask."

"Often people don't come at the first sign of challenge. By the time they come to me, talking about sex is a problem. Every time they talk about it it's a fight... The only time they talk about it is when they fight and what happens then, in order to avoid a fight is people don't talk about it anymore."

One baseline recommendation from the podcast:

"Everybody needs to talk more about sex. And talk more with better boundaries. Like where or when is the best time to bring this up?"

On reading each other's minds:

"There's a romanticizing that happens around being able to read each other's minds and someone just knowing what we want without even saying it. That seems to be the gold standard. And that is why we don't have sexual communication."

On trust and sexual communication:

"There are very few things in a relationship more reinforcing of trust than me being vulnerable and it being received with warmth."

Resources Shared in This Episode

Action Steps from the Podcast

Create a before, during, and after communication practice for your sexual connection.

First try integrating conversations about your dreams, desires, fantasies, and positive sexual memories with your partner, without making an immediate request.

Then work on talking during your sexual activity by asking lots of questions requesting permission and consent so you get input on what works for your partner- and to heighten the experience of connection and intimacy for you.

Try to incorporate a yes-and approach to help sexual energy keep flowing between you and your partner. Instead of just saying no, try to re-direct the energy to what you want more of.

Finally, start practicing sharing a "highlights reel" with your partner soon after you are sexual or have sex where you share the things you liked that you just shared. The more specific, the better.

Your Swoon hosts

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Weekly Conversation Starters for Deeper Connection

Couples who stay curious about each other, engaged in learning about their partners, open to growing together fare better long-term. 

They're able to adapt to changes and navigate bumps in the road with resilience.  And they maintain passion and intimacy by fueling a sense of discovery and space for fascination, mystery, and surprise.

Every week I send out questions to deepen your partnership to help you foster and nourish the intimacy you share with those most important to you.  You can sign up to receive those messages right here.

And you can read some of my previous conversation starter posts here.

I hope these help you connect in meaningful ways with someone you love. 

Warmly, Gina

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Here are a few questions to ask your sweetie this week:

  1. If our relationship was an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?

  2. If my personality was a tree what kind would it be and why?

  3. If our relationship history was a series of weather patterns, what would the sky look like today?

  4. Which actors would play us on the big screen? 

  5. What would our relationship's movie title be?

questions for couples |date night conversation | conversation starters

Quick tips for these questions:

  1. Be present. Set aside some fully-present distraction-free time to ask and respond to these with someone you love. Put down your phone, walk away from any screens, and give your partner your full presence.

  2. Stay open to possibility. Even if you think you know your partner's responses listen to them without assumption so they have room to surprise you.  

  3. Show up. Offer responses in complete sentences and challenge yourself to elaborate.  This isn't about being brief- it's about growing more intimate connection.  Add specifics and details to offer more of yourself to your partner.

  4. Really engage. Ask your partner follow up questions. Part of this process is about engaging with your partner in meaningful ways. Asking more follow up questions will show you care and broaden the conversation.

  5. Connect with others. Collect all the questions and take them on a date night, dinner party, road trips, and campfires to inspire more meaningful conversation with your community.  

Therapist Referrals & Great Relationship Coaches

I’ve been fortunate to meet so many incredible providers over the years I wanted to share some of their information here for anyone who wants support for their mental health, and personal or professional growth.

Of course, I am taking new clients, but I am also not the right provider for every client in every situation. If you want or need help I recommend auditioning a few different folks to see who’s style, training, and expertise feels like the best fit for you.

If you want to work with me, contact me here for a free consultation to see if my work is a fit for you. And here are some other incredible folks I recommend talking with.

You can also find great providers on Portland Therapy Center or TherapyDen.com’s listings.


Changes Coming to My Coaching Practice

Hello!

I'm writing this note to update all of you readers about some changes in my practice this spring. 

As many of you know, I am expecting a baby this summer and plan to take time away from seeing clients July-August of this year.  However, due to an unexpected personal change, my in-person practice is moving out of state even sooner, on May 1, 2019 (my family is all healthy- don’t worry, it’s an exciting change). 

I am still seeing clients in my NE Portland office until May 1, 2019.  If you'd like to meet in person (even for a one session check-in), please reply to this email so I can be sure to get you on the schedule. 

After May 1, I am still open to supporting you in a variety of ways. I will list them below. Even if you never sign up for a program or meet with me please know I am available to offer resources and referrals anytime. You can reach me using this email (gina@ginasenarighi.com), you can find me on facebook here or here, on instagram, or on either of my websites (nonmonogamous.com or ginasena.com). 

I am grateful to all of you for being a part of my professional journey in Portland.  It’s been such a blessing to get so much community support for the work I do, and so have so many incredible local people share their intimate lives with me.

You are all in my heart no matter where I live or practice, Gina

ONGOING COACHING/COUNSELING OPTIONS

ONLINE COACHING & COUNSELING

First, I will continue to see clients (as I have been) online using Zoom video conferencing services until July and again in the fall. 

IN PORTLAND, OREGON

If you'd like to get support from a Portland-area provider there are several I highly respect listed here. I'm also open to hopping on the phone for a quick chat to help you connect with a provider if you have specific questions about finding someone who can meet your unique needs. 

 

COACHING FOCUS AREAS

SOLO RELATIONSHIP COACHING

I will continue supporting folks as individual clients who are interested in changing relationship patterns. These hour-long sessions have been instrumental for lots of folks who are just starting dating after a break up, who need help asking for what they need in partnerships and/or who are thinking about ending a relationship.

PREMARITAL COUNSELING
I am still offering premarital/pre-commitment counseling online if you or anyone you know might be interested in focused support around a shared life commitment. These sessions have been helpful for folks who want an integrity-fueled plan for the future without a specific religious dogma attached.

SHOULD WE BREAK UP?

I'm also still offering discernment counseling online for folks considering breaking up who want to process that in a compassionate way. Some people call this “conscious uncoupling.” Whatever you call it, think of this an a kind or friendly alternative tho the way most people view breakups. Feel free to refer folks you know who might be interested here.

NON-MONOGAMY, POLYAMORY & OPEN RELATIONSHIPS

I still support tons of people considering consensual non-monogamy and/or practicing it for a long time. I’ve helped thousands of clients decide if, when, and how consensual non-monogamy is a fit for them. Read more here.

SEXUALITY COUNSELING FOR PASSION, INTIMACY & DESIRE

I’ll be finishing up my Sex Counseling credential later this year. This has meant helping people overcome common sexual dysfunctions in relationships and in long-term relationships overcoming desire fatigue.  Info on that can be found here.

WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

FREE MONTHLY MASTERCLASS

I've been hosting a monthly free relationship tune-up call every month for the last year.  You can find information about them here.  Please sign up right away if you're interested, they tend to fill quickly.

RETREATS

POLYAMORY 101 RETREAT

I'll still host my Polyamory 101 Annual Retreat in Portland (and soon I'll have an online version).  You can sign up to be invited here.

LESBIAN COUPLES RETREAT

I also have a Lesbian Couples Retreat in the works for later this year. Sign up here to be invited.

ONLINE CLASSES

BOUNDARIES

I teach a course in Healthy Boundaries for relationships a few times each year.  If you're into it, check it out here.

JEALOUSY

I offer an online course on Jealousy Management a couple of times a year.  You can sign up to get notified when registration opens here.

TRUST TUNE-UP

Finally, this year I am offering my Trust Tune-Up e-course in a few weeks. You can sign up to be invited here.

FREE RELATIONSHIP RESOURCES ONLINE

FREE CONVERSATION STARTERS

I send a weekly set of conversation starters for couples via email and if you are not already receiving it you may want them, you can sign up to get those here.  I also send this list weekly-ish updates with free worksheets, reflection guides, and relationship resource recommendations.

PODCAST

My podcast Swoon launched last week. We'll share information on sex and intimacy and action steps for relationships there once per week. It's available on any of your favorite podcast platforms (I'd love it if you left a review).

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

There are lists of my favorite books on relationships shared online here and right here.  I HIGHLY recommend them as supports even when you're in a good phase (some may be familiar to you already).

FREE TOOLS AND RESOURCES ONLINE

I offer a free relationship resource toolbox you are welcome to use anytime (save this link) filled with worksheets, guides, videos, and reading materials. I also have one tailored for non-monogamous and sex-positive relationships. If you haven’t already signed up for access you can do so here and here.

BLOG ARTICLES

Finally, I have two related blogs you can check in on anytime full of advice, resources, and ideas about relationships, communication, and intimacy.

Read them at nonmonogamous.com/blog or ginasena.com/blog today!


Swoon Podcast: I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won't Do That

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Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week: Low Desire Partners in Relationships

Join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, two Portland, Oregon-based sexperts in a conversation about the most common sexual issue couples face: mismatched sexual desire.

Learn why couples face different levels of desire and take home a tool to help you connect, even when it’s not easy.

This Episode Covers

  • The ways “lower desire” can affect an individual and a relationship

  • Many of the factors that can influence how much desire someone experiences

  • The difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire 

  • Information about the Human Sexual Response Cycle and a new way to look at arousal and desire

  • How “practicing willingness” instead of “waiting for desire” can change your sexual experience

  • Practical tools you can use in your relationship or with yourself to explore willingness, pleasure and desire

Memorable Quotes From This Episode:

On low desire - 

“It's easy to go to that place of 'I have low desire and something is wrong with me', rather than 'my life is super full and complicated right now and I'm not able to access my desire because so much is going on.'” 

“Our whole culture reinforces this - if one of us has lower desire that means I'm broken, you're broken or we're broken – that's just not really true, there are so many factors that affect our desire”

On spontaneous desire - 

“Spontaneous desire is how most of the people I talk to expect desire to show up – it's typically what we experience in the beginning of relationships or see in the movies.”

On responsive desire -

“One of the questions I'll often ask folks is, “If you do have a sexual experience together – what happens afterwards?” The person who identifies as having lower desire will often say, 'That was so much fun, remind me how much I love that!'”

“Responsive desire is when our bodies or brains are feeling something that feels good, desire kicks in in response to that.”

On exploring willingness - 

“Sometimes if you can really show up and not be stressed about what it is supposed to look like or what is going to happen next and just engage and tune into your body and your pleasure and the present moment it will potentially lead to something else because the arousal has kicked in, your body is starting to warm up, your brain is starting to warm up, you're feeling really connected and then that desire kicks and you want more – not all the time, but often, that's what happens for folks.”

“It's important for us to know our “nos” so we can truly know our “yeses”.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

Nothing is Wrong with your Sex Drive

Basson Model

Action Steps

Make Out!

First define what counts as making out so you and your partner have similar expectations.

Set a timer and make out for 5 minutes every night – if kissing for 5 minutes is a struggle, find a way to connect for the remainder of the 5 minutes.

This exercise helps cultivate a willingness to show up and be affectionate.

You can also have a solo practice for exploring willingness.

Touch yourself in a way that doesn't focus on orgasm. If you typically focus on your genitals what's it like to focus on other parts of your body? Can you experience new pathways of pleasure that don't involved the parts of your body you typically focus on?

If you have a vagina and would like more ideas about how you might explore your body, OMGYes is a good resource.


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels: