recommended resources

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:

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.  

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:

Swoon Podcast: Tell Me Somethin' Good

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: 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:

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

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: 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:

March 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!

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE LOVE& RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

APPROACHING WITH KINDNESS, TED RADIO HOUR

In his TEd Talk AJ Jacobs talks through the depths of his gratitude process and uncovers a web of connection that I found really touching. Enjoy!

 

THE WEDDING INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, AKIMBO WITH SETH GODIN

Akimbo, with Seth Godin really focuses on best practices and research in marketing and entrepreneurship. I love Seth’s way of dissecting ideas into really thoughtful bits to help the listener consider what they really, truly want when making business decisions.

I’m not sure how he decided to focus on weddings in America, but I’m glad he did, and I’ sharing it now as we head into wedding season. He urges the listener to ask design questions: who is this for and what is this for?

Take a listen to it and consider what brings meaning for you- whats really important when you plan your big day.

MUST-SEE VIDEOS ON LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS

CONFIDENCE & JOY ARE THE KEYS TO A GREAT SEX LIFE, EMILY NAGOSKI

I have probably recommended this TED Talk 1000 times in my sexuality counseling practice. She gives one of the best overviews of the way human arousal actually works (and it’s not what you’ve likely been taught) I’ve ever seen - all in under 20 minutes.

This talk has helped me lead couples who are struggling to sexually connect to ask three critical questions:

  1. What helps me create an atmosphere where curiosity and openness is possible?

  2. What helps me be in a mindset of openness to connect?

  3. How do I most love to be invited into sexual connection? (or how do I want you to come on to me?)

This isn’t just made up stuff from Cosmo, it’s research-based truths about how interest and arousal works. Please do give it a watch.


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.  

Swoon Podcast: Don't You Want Me Baby?

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: Desire Mismatch in Couples

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 most common issue folks come to couples counseling to discuss: mismatched desire.

  • How common is it to have a different libido from your partner?

  • How desire fluctuates and changes over time and in different contexts.

  • How to navigate the brakes and gas pedals with your lover to have a more fulfilling sex life.

  • How to be more turned on by life and lit up from the inside.

  • Two excellent resources to learn more about relationships with unequal desires.

  • One tool to connect with your partner even if you have different desires.


Memorable quotes in the podcast

Julie on the way it feels to have mismatched desires in a relationship:

“This comes up in all kinds of ways, and typically somebody feels bad about where their level of desire is. Sometimes it’s the person who wants to try a bunch of things, they might feel shame around it- ‘Why can’t I just accept what I already have?’ and sometimes if someone is experiencing a lower level of desire in terms of frequency or wanting any sex in general they feel bad like there’s something wrong with them.”

 

Gina on the impact of mismatched desire in relationships:

“Either we take it personally, either the low or higher desire partner or both take it personally, ‘I’m broken’ or there’s something ‘broken’ about us or our relationship because our whole cultural narrative about shared desire tells us over and over that if your relationship is healthy you should intuitively read your partner wants without speaking out loud and naturally flow into a bedroom and want the exact things and the exact same time, climax together and desire it again at the same frequency on a regular basis. 

And if not, our whole culture tells us there’s something wrong with your relationship. But the truth is mismatched desire is actually much more the norm.“

“The quality of your relationship can’t be judged on the levels of desire you share.“

 

On the goals of sex therapy for couples with mismatched desire:

“ 'Sex is easy. Sex is natural. It should be spontaneous. I don’t want to talk about it, that ruins the vibe.' There are all these ideas in our brains about what we think it’s supposed to be and then we try to measure our actual experience to a fantasy and then we feel horrible.”

“Sex is easy, sex is natural is the goal of every couple who comes into couples work. The truth is it doesn’t align all that often for folks BUT it can be easier, we can make talking about it feel much more natural. And as much as we’re saying it’s very very common to have it not line up with your partner every time, there are lots of things we can do to make it feel easier and more natural with your partner.”

 

Resources Shared in This Episode

Emily Nagoski, TED Talk: The Keys to a Happier, Healthier Sex Life

Emily Nagoski, Come As You Are (Book, Kindle, and Audiobook)


This Episode’s Action Step

Create a Desire Diary


Track the things you desire. Not only strong or big desire, also hints of desire or the moments when you feel a little piqued interest or craving.
Track the moments when you feel sexy and confident or embodied.
What do you notice?
Do you see any patterns?
Be curious about your desire.


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:

February 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!

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

CONVERSATION WITH PIA MELLODY, FROM CONVERSATION WITH ALANIS MORISSETTE

Recently a client clued me into the work of Pia Mellody. She said Pia’s work had given her a new lense to look at love addiction and codependent patterns in her relationship. As I began searching for information on Pia I came across this lovely interview she did on Alanis Morissette’s podcast. Their conversation gives a generous overview of Pia’s work and philosophy on dependency in relationships and with substances.

Her stance is that codependent patterns really are more based in childhood relationship trauma where we learn maladaptive patterns of relating. She says our childhood relationship trauma leaves us with immature relationship patterns as adults. Her main principles are:

  • All of us as children are worthy of love and care. All children are valuable.

  • Our stories about are partners are often untrue and sometimes have little to do with them- only us.

  • Most of us have poor modeling around creating healthy internal and external boundaries.

  • Our dreams and fantasies are deeply held because most of us learn them very early in life.

Her perspective may resonate with many of you just as it has with my client. You can read more about her work here.


THE GOOD LIFE PROJECT, STAN TATKIN LOVE, DANGER, AND CONFLICT.

Stan Tatkin founded a model of couples therapy called the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT). This model is designed to help people really get to the root of the tension and conflict in their partnership. It’s designed to help couples clearly and directly focus on their stuck points and learn to regulate their responses and ultimately change them.

This interview gives a lot of his background telling the story of how he developed the model. I think it’s useful for people considering working with a provider with PACT training to know more about this model, AND it also gives such a rich look at the neurobiology of conflict and bonding I think it could offer really valuable insight for people who are feeling really stuck in heated conflicts.

Check it out here:






WATCH THIS: FANTASTIC VIDEOS ON THE HUMAN CONDITION

TED TALK: HOW CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AFFECTS HEALTH ACROSS A LIFETIME, NADINE BURKE HARRIS

Trauma is inescapable, we’ve all survived something. But for some folks with more chronic or intense situations- especially early life trauma- is can have powerful impact on our physical health long-term. I’ve shared this video with many clients over the last couple years to share medical perspective on the health impacts of childhood trauma.



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.  

My Recommended Relationship Resources This Month

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!

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

APOLOGETICAL FROM RADIOLAB

Radiolab does an outstanding job covering all sorts of curious topics. This week they cover apologies and ownership when we’ve hurt someone. While it’s not exactly about romantic relationships, this episode gives an excellent overview of the bigger ethical picture when owning mistakes and making apologies.

IN THE NO: PART 1, ALSO FROM RADIOLAB

Also from Radiolab, a three-part series on the complications of consent in relationships. It’s not just as simple as yes or no, and because sexual assault rarely happens with strangers, the relationships involved are far more complex too.

In the first episode Kaitlin Prest revisits a complicated consent situation with her closest friend- even reenacting the moment it happened. Be warned, listening to the reenactment could be trigggering.

IN THE NO: PART 2, FROM RADIOLAB

In the second episode they dive deeper into the meaning of consent and how we learn about it in our culture. It’s a great conversation starter for couples who want more meaningful communication and stronger boundaries.

IN THE NO: PART 3, FROM RADIOLAB

In the final episode our hosts visit multiple locations where consent trainings are taking place to better understand what we ALL need to be talking about. I especially liked the visit they take to the BDSM play space to learn about boundaries and consent from the community who has been practicing a little more tenderly than mainstream relationships. Check it out:


WATCH IT: VIDEOS FOR HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS


THE ANATOMY OF TRUST, BRENE BROWN

I know I’ve posted about this talk before, but I’ve referred a few folks to it just this week and it just keeps resonating with my clients. In this talk Brene outlines the foundational elements required to build trust in relationships. Instead of thinking about trust as an all or nothing, this talk outlines the tiny ways trust is build or broken in the smallest moments.

Watch the video and as she covers each area, ask yourself how you’ve increased trust in your partnership. I promise you’ll learn ways you can strengthen your relationship.


MAKE FRIENDS: SUPPORT GROUPS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

REFUGE RECOVERY, PORTLAND MEETINGS

I’ve had a few clients recently who were looking for support to end or at least minimize their substance use. In the cases so far this year, these clients love the support of a group format, but the AA model just didn’t resonate with them. Refuge Recovery provides an alternative group format and community support without the dogma from AA. If you’re interested in support for your recovery they might be a good place to start.


READ UP: GREAT BOOKS ON RELATIONSHIPS


I could fill a few pages with great relationship book recommendations, so I’m going to do my best to narrow it to one each month. If you want my full relationship reading recommendations list click here.

THE STATE OF AFFAIRS BY ESTHER PEREL

One book I’ve recommended many times this month is Esther Perel’s most recent book, the State of Affairs. Let me list a few reasons why.

For people experiencing affairs:

  1. This book normalizes the fact that affairs happen- in our culture and all over the world. Y’all, affairs are VERY common.

  2. It also gives lots of helpful insight as to the reasons why people have affairs. And believe me, there are a lot of reasons.

  3. The book gives you lots of examples of other couples who have experienced infidelity to help you get perspective on how they got through it.

  4. And it can help you see a path forward to healing when I know it can be so hard to see possibilities moving forward.

Even for folks who haven’t experienced infidelity it can help you have informed conversations about monogamous relationships, and how you want to handle it when one of you has a crush on someone else. Couples who can navigate those conversations last longer and are better equipped to affair-proof their partnerships.


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.  

The Five Love Languages for Successful Couples

WHY ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES SO IMPORTANT?

In all my years of counseling, diverse couples, marriages, and partners, it’s become clear that everyone benefits when they begin to apply them in all their relationships.

Rarely do couples share the same love language. It can create a lot of frustration when you think you are doing a good job expressing love and yet the other person is just not feeling it. If you don’t understand the love language concept, then you can feel stuck. But it, you understand that they speak a different language, then you can learn to speak that language.

 

WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES?

The love languages were originally written by marriage therapist Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages. The book has a religious theme that doesn’t resonate with many of my clients, but the foundation of this basic couples theory still offers important guidance. 

Basically, there are five main ways we demonstrate love in relationships.  Everyone has a need for all five languages, but each of us prefer one of these more than others. Usually each individual values one or two of the five more than the others.

Most of us communicate love to our partners primarily through our preferred love language- which doesn’t always match our partner’s preference. This miscommunication means sometimes our efforts go unacknowledged.  And sometimes we don’t see all the love our partner is throwing our way.

Sometimes we can have trouble connecting with love even if it is all around us.

IDENTIFYING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE…

Think of a time you felt truly loved in your relationship. You were sure your partner loved you dearly. What were they doing? What specific actions did they take? Why were these actions important or meaningful to you?

Or think about daydreams or fantasies you have about being well-loved. What’s going on?  How does the person in your dream tell or show you they care?

Now read the languages below to see which best fits with the scenario you described above.

Most people enjoy all of these Love Languages but you will see one or two of them are especially important. Knowing which is your primary or favorite helps your partner better connect with you when showing love.

Knowing which is your least priority helps you identify loving practices you might overlook in partnership.

Your preferred Love Language can change over time, of course, so identifying it clearly and talking about it with a partner will help you two connect in more meaningful loving ways.  

Focus on the love you share this week with this framework in mind and watch what happens!  


entrepreneur relationships | couples who are entrepreneurs

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Seven Principles for Making Your Relationship Work

Hi!  I found a great summary of one of my all-time favorite relationship books, so I wanted to be sure to share it with you. 

Seven Principles of Making Your Marriage Work by John Gottman is excellent even if you're a couple who plans never to marry.  His 40+ years researching couples in everyday environments has build a critical foundation for understanding what makes love last. 

Check it out:

 

I'd love to hear what you think after watching or reading.  Pop over to my facebook page and leave a comment, or call me for a consultation to learn how to apply these principles in your own relationship.

 

Four Powerful Relationship Tips from Esther Perel's SXSW Keynote

"The quality of your relationships is what determines the quality of your life."

- Esther Perel, SXSW 2018

 

As you know I hold a deep love and respect for the work of Esther Perel.  So I was very excited to hear she was speaking at this year's South by Southwest event. 

As usual, her talk was provocative and incredibly informative.  I'm outlining a few of my favorite takeaways for you below.  I'd love to talk with you more about it if you're interested give me a call.

 

Conversations are the heart of relationships.

But most of us are shying away from direct communication, complex conversations, and fully present connections.  We text instead of call, we back out instead of showing up, and we dive into distraction every chance we get.

If we want to combat the epidemic of loneliness our culture is facing we need to start showing up more courageously in meaningful conversations.

 

The tension between change and stability is key to relationship success

Thriving relationships can reconcile these two fundamentally different needs (security and safety vs exploration and adventure).  Some of us emerge from families needing more autonomy and some needing more safety.  Which leads to one of us more afraid of losing the other and the other more afraid of losing themselves.

The more we can name and work through this tension together, the closer we become.  Couples and partnerships who can hold this tension and carefully balance it (not too much of either end of the spectrum of autonomy vs connection) build more fulfilling relationships.

 

"Soulmate" is a new concept

How do I know I have found the one?  My one and only.  We want one person to meet the needs that a whole village used to provide.  Soulmate used to be god, and many of us have replaced religion with expectations on a partner.  

 

When we listen deeply to the experiences of another we end up standing in front of a mirror.

And we get inspiration for the kinds of courage we need to have in our own lives. Prioritize relationship work, intimacy, and repair in order to combat loneliness.

We need complex and nuanced conversations to transform the nature of relationships.  To modernize relationship structures as we have outgrown the old paradigms of binary gender. Shifting the roles of men and supporting their complex emotional experiences will create opportunities for wholeness in relationships.

And in order to change the future of intimacy and connection in our society, we all need to courageously tend and show up in more of our relationships.

 

Watch the full talk below:

Please participate with the blindfold activity by closing your eyes.  


Gina Senarighi | Couples Retreats | Communication Workshop | Relationship Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Healthy Relationships: The Five Love Languages

In my coaching, I have found it particularly useful for couples to understand and integrate the Five Love Languages.  Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages) says that there are five main ways individuals express and receive love.  Each of us has a preference for with language we receive.  We are also each more skilled in giving love in one of these ways than the other.

The trick is that we are most likely to give love in the forms that we most enjoy receiving.  But our partner may have a different preferred language and may miss our attempts at showing our love, or may give love in a way we aren't even realizing!

To clarify your preference take a few notes on the following questions:

1.  What is the sweetest thing your partner has ever done for you?  What made it so touching?

2.  What are the five most recent ways you showed your partner you love them?  How did they respond?

This information will help you determine your preferred love language.  Often we default to our own favorite love language when giving love to our partner.  However, its important to try to use a variety of ways to show your sweetheart you care.  Its even more helpful to learn their preference and try to work in ways they will really enjoy being loved.

The Five Love Languages are:

1.  Words of Love: Sweet things said or written to one another

There are many ways to share words of love.  It's really helpful to share affirmations and appreciations every day.  Tell your partner why they are special to you and what drew you to them.  Help them see how great they are in person and in writing.  Emails, texts, quick phone calls or Skype dates can quickly warm your loved ones' heart.  It can take a little creativity if this isn't your primary love language.  Make a list of all the ways you can tell them and begin making attempts every day.  You might want to make them a card, write it on a cake, read it in a poem, or shout it from the rooftop!

2.  Physical Affection: Nonverbal physical intimacy

Do you hold hands in the movies?  Do you kiss hello and goodbye?  hugging, cuddling, and sex is especially important to partners who prioritize this love language.  Increasing the amount of loving touch you share doesn't take much time, but may require a little thought, especially if this isn’t your primary love language or you didn’t grow up in a physically affectionate family.  Simply sitting close to each other as you watch TV requires no additional time, but can communicate your love loudly.

3.  Acts of Service: Actions providing care for the other

Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an a partner who highly values acts of service will speak volumes. Some of the words they most want to hear are, “Let me do that for you.”  Ask yourself, what chore or responsibility is your partner constantly nagging you about?  Your spouse is telling you this particular task as a really important thing to him or her.  Try it as a starting point for your acts of service.

4.  Quality Time: The gift of your undivided attention

Time is a strong communicator of love and all too often couples spend more time apart than together.   Because we are drawn in so many directions it is especially important to spend real-time focused on each other and your partnership.  In order to increase connection and communication for the partner who especially values quality time there are a few easy ways to improve the quality of your shared time.

  • Set your electronic devices aside for a set time (especially on dates and during conversations).

  • Maintain eye contact when your partner is talking

  • Try not to interrupt

  • Reflect your partners words back to them so they know you hear them.

  • Ask yourself, what your partner is experiencing, and try to confirm their emotional experience

5.  Gifts: Gestures and/or presents as symbols of your love

All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest.  This does not have to be a materialistic gesture.  Some of the most meaningful gifts can include tickets to a show you loved together, or a receipt from a date when you were just getting to know each other.  They can be flowers from your yard, or drawings, or poems.  Keep a note of your partners wish list (Evernote can be a great tool for this on your smart phone) so you always have ideas handy.

Understanding the five love languages and the ways they support your love can lead to greater creativity, interest, and most importantly awareness in your relationship.