Celeste & Danielle Offer Sex and Relationship Coaching for a Passionate, Connected and Fulfilling Life

In the hierarchy of unforgivable relational sins, we, as a society, think of lying – and especially the lying associated with “cheating” – as perhaps the worst (non-abusive) relationship sin. Because lying is considered to be a universal evil, a person who lies in their relationship rarely gets much sympathy. Many potentially amazing relationships end because the person who lies is vilified and the offended party never takes a beat in order to get a handle on the why of the lie.

The truth is, people lie to the people they love all the time in small and not-so-small ways. Lying can be everything from saying you are “fine” when you are not to going behind their back and having sex with another person. As a sex and relationship coaches, we know that people rarely lie because they are evil, selfish monsters with no regard for others. Much more often, people lie because they are terrified of what might happen if they tell the truth. They fear they may be ridiculed, humiliated or left by the people they love the most.

Allow us to illustrate an example from our practice. Joe has wrestled with depression his whole life. While his depression did not go away when he met his wife, Catherine, he put it to us like this: “When I’m with her, it’s like she lights some part of me up that can rise above it all. I used to have trouble getting out of bed most days and I thought a lot about suicide and even made one attempt. These last 5 years being with Catherine, I’ve only had two depressive episodes.” Catherine and Joe came to us after Joe found out Catherine had lied about a work trip and went skiing with a group of friends instead. Joe was certain that Catherine had cheated on him on the trip and was feeling suicidal. He felt he could never trust her again.

In an individual session with Catherine she broke down crying, “I want you to understand, since I met Joe, for the most part I’ve been so happy and fulfilled. I’ve never felt alone, and I think he is really sexy, but I did lie to him and I feel horrible. There is no excuse for what I did, but I want to explain. I went on the trip and, while I was there, I kissed a friend of mine. I’m not even sure exactly why I kissed him but I think I was just feeling so suffocated, and on the trip I felt so free. I got pretty drunk and I was feeling this wild, playful part of me that I’ve kind of lost. I love Joe more than anything in the world, and I am so happy that I married him, but his depression has been really hard. I feel so selfish when I say it, but the two times it’s gotten really bad during our relationship, it was because of something I did. Joe can get really jealous and insecure and he takes my occasional flirting as certain evidence that I will cheat on him someday. In general, he is very anxious when I hang out with my friends. The first big depression was after he saw a playful chat I was having with a guy at work that had some sexual innuendo in it. I can understand that Joe felt jealous though I wasn’t doing anything with the guy and didn’t want to. After he saw the chat, he was in bed for a month, he almost lost his job. The stakes feel so high, like if I do something wrong he might be hospitalized or even kill himself. I don’t want to loose him but I do want to be myself. I know I should have tried to talk to him about this earlier, I was just too scared.”

Let us be clear, as Catherine said, none of this is about making excuses for lying. However, there is often a good reason. Infidelity is a very complex topic and is rarely black and white. Many people cheat even when they love their partner deeply and often cheating or other kinds of lies happen when a person feels like they have lost some part of themselves and are trying to regain it. Sometimes their partner rarely or never wants to have sex with them – something we don’t think of as universally evil or selfish but which can have grave consequences on a relationship. Sometimes the kind of sex they are having isn’t at all satisfying but the partner doesn’t want to try anything different. Sometimes the relationship has become isolating. And, sometimes there are so many good things in the relationships (often including shared children), that the stakes feel too high to tell the truth and face the potential loss.

All that said, we want to emphasize that lying to someone you love can have very grave consequences. It impacts trust and can shake the foundation of a relationship. Many relationships don’t survive a lie, especially one that involves sex outside the relationship. The way we see it, one of the worst parts of lying is that it takes the choice away from the deceived person, which often leaves them feeling humiliated. They are going along under one assumption about what is happening in the relationship and then suddenly they realize they’ve been wrong. In addition to simply feeling hurt, they often feel naive or downright stupid. Coming back from that humiliation can take quite a bit of work and a very supportive, understanding partner. Ultimately, the real healing comes when there is mutual understanding and empathy about why the lie happened.
Many people don’t want to lose a relationship that they have so much invested in, so they try and keep their secrets close. While it seems devastating when it is revealed, lying can offer an opportunity for couples to go deeper and understand where each of them stands, and what each of them really needs in the relationship.

Another installment in our guest blogging series, we are delighted to share Pam‘s blog. Pam is a Somatica Practitioner and the author of the deeply profound and personal blog Down to There.

What I Learned about my Relationship with a Third Set of Eyes

Here’s the thing. My husband notices certain traits about himself and how he is in our relationship, and I see another set of qualities in myself and how I am in our relationship. But when we started seeing a sex and relationship coach, a whole new set of observations suddenly entered into the equation… and that changed everything.

A few years ago, after nearly two decades of mismatched libidos, my husband and I sought help to save our relationship from what felt like a frustrating stalemate.

Right away, Danielle began to point out things that we were not seeing. For example, when I reached out to touch him, she noticed I was trying to figure out what he liked. Without her birds-eye view of the interaction, we would have stayed the course with him enjoying being touched, and me thinking I was happy because I was giving him what he needed. But she asked me to try something different. She asked me to touch him in a way that was pleasurable for me without any conscious concern of whether it was pleasurable for him. I was surprised how completely different and more intimate the experience became for both of us.

It’s funny how hard it is to see things objectively when we are so in it. You’d think that by being so close to a situation that you’d be the expert, the one who really understands the best what is going on. However, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we need a third set of eyes on the problem.

This played out again more recently when my husband was expressing that he’d like to take more control in our sexual interactions. Following my lead had been successful to supercharge my libido for some time, but he felt like he had lost control in his sex like and desired to take charge, at least some of the time.

As luck would have it, I was also interested in my husband taking more control. But whenever he tried to lead, it never ended well. Our actions and reactions kept triggering each other and the encounter always ended up falling apart with one of us being angry and the other being hurt.

So Danielle suggested trying something in her office. She had him stalk me and then pin me up against the wall to see where we were getting stuck. As usual, what initially felt to me like “Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about!” quickly and strangely shifted into a weird space where he stopped bringing it and it stopped feeling good to me.

We both turned our heads towards Danielle and said “See?” And in the beautiful way that she does, she said “This is a problem of immersion.” What she noticed that we hadn’t was that both of us were in our heads, not our bodies. We were carefully watching each other for signs that it wasn’t going well, and in the process, became completely disconnected from the pleasure we could have been feeling. It’s a problem that has a lot of solutions and one that we are now having much more fun trying to solve.

My experience as a client is that adding in a third set of eyes when you feel stuck, misunderstood, or confused in your relationship can provide the “aha moment” that you both need to see things from a new perspective. I’ve become so enthralled with these “aha moments” that I took the Somatica® Core Professional Training last year. Since then, I’ve started my own practice helping individuals and couples explore what is possible emotionally and erotically in their relationship and am taking the training again this year to continue the journey.

When we work with couples, we always encourage them to have a Hottest Sexual Movie conversation, but not until we have given them the proper tools and understandings so they can truly share their deepest desires. In this series we have taken you through The Hottest Sexual Movie 101, and shared some details to help you decide if your movie fits into the common genres of Romantic, Passionate or Dominant and Submissive. Now we want to help you in creating a space, outside of our sex therapy office, where you can share and learn each other’s movies.

These conversations have some very specific rules to follow if you want to make space for connection and intimacy. Before talking about the rules, we want to make an important distinction between Hottest Sexual Movies and fantasies.

Your Hottest Sexual Movie consists of the experiences you actually want to have. In addition to this, you may have a set of fantasies that you use to increase your arousal during sex or masturbation but that you don’t actually want to fully enact in the world. For example, you might fantasize about group sex but have no interest in actually experiencing it. These may exist totally outside of your sexual relationship together or you might want to be able to express these fantasies to your partner in a way that brings them into your movie. For example, if you are playing with dominant/submissive dynamics you may want your partner to punish you for having this fantasy. Conversely, you may just want to use it for yourself and never share it in an erotically charged space. We encourage you to share both your movies and your fantasies as part of the conversation and be specific.

Sharing your hottest sexual movie will take self-awareness, conscious communication and non-judgmental acceptance. It will also require the ability to know and share your boundaries, the willingness to learn instead of feeling like you already need to know, and a whole lot of creativity. One word of caution, When it comes to sharing past experiences with other lovers, be aware that this could trigger hurt. Be especially careful not to compare your partner to someone else with whom you’ve had amazing sex. Trust us, they will never forget this.

When you describe your movies, picture the character(s), the action, the setting, and what you feel. While it is a beautiful gift to really dive into the role of guest star in your partner’s movie, you also have a right to decide which parts you are ready to try now, which parts you might want to add later, and which parts you may never do at all. You might have more than one movie or might want to begin in one and move into another one. For example you might find a romantic seduction scenario is what gets you started but when it comes to actually getting you off a more passionate, animalistic sex fits the bill. Sometimes the process of articulating these desires can open up new avenues of play and seduction.

Always remember that none of this is set in stone. This is an ongoing conversation that you and your partner can always revisit and amend. In our book, Making Love Real, we go into greater depth as to how the process of discovering, sharing and finally acting out your hottest sexual movie can change your relationship in lasting and amazing ways.

With the phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey, Rihanna’s S&M and other popular representations, Dominant/Submissive fantasies are coming out of the darkness and into the mainstream imagination. However, these iterations often gloss over the core needs such fantasies satisfy. After seeing hundreds of clients, we can confirm that many people’s core sexual needs are about power in some way or another. As we help you to identify your “Hottest Sexual Movie” it is important to consider what side of the power dynamic excites you. You may want to feel like you have complete power, feel powerless or play around on both sides.

If you are submissive, you may want to feel restrained or contained in some way that makes you feel safe. You may want to feel like you don’t have to take any responsibility, as if it is all just happening to you. You also may want to feel punished or coerced. If you are dominant, you may want to feel powerful and in command. You may like the feeling of coercing your partner to do something and then having them realize they like it. You may want to be judgmental, scolding, or punishing. You may find that at times you like to be dominant and at other times you like to be submissive. This is commonly referred to as being a “switch” and the act as “switching.”

Dominance and submission can hit some sensitive areas (slight pun intended) and, as such, they require finesse. Some people who want to be dominated can be ambivalent about these desires, and whenever you are playing with power differences, it is important to be aware that this kind of play can provoke strong emotions. Not everyone is ready to play with dominance, and some need to feel a romantic or passionate connection before they are willing to explore it. Some people like light dominance but nothing heavy, and some never want to play this way.

Many women who are deeply invested in women’s equality have internalized this to mean that they should not want to be submissive in the bedroom or that this power dynamic might end up leaking into other parts of their relationship. The truth is there are power differences in relationships, and dominance and submission can be one way to openly explore these differences. This is why we also recommend switching roles and seeing what it feels like for each of you to be on the other side of the equation.

There are also socialized and expected gender roles for heterosexuals that make dominant women and submissive men less common in our society. This can cause challenges for some submissive men and dominant women, as they may feel ashamed of being in the minority or judgmental of their partner for falling outside gender norms. When two dominants or two submissives get together, it can be challenging. You might end up in power struggles, or with no one doing anything. This is why it is so important to bring a non-judgmental attitude to your Hottest Sexual Movie conversations. There is nothing either of you can do to change your partner’s desires. You can, however, accept them without feeling responsible for fulfilling them.

Even if your desires align, it is very rare to get the dominant/submissive movie right the first time you try it. Both you and your partner need to be prepared to have a number of “takes” in order to find out what words and actions turn the two of you on the most. With regard to words, remember that tone and attitude are important, not just the words themselves. If your partner tells you something turns them on (for example, “I really like it when you tell me to get on my knees and then you grab my hair”), ask what turns them on about it. When you begin to get some insight into why particular actions are a turn-on, you can add others that are similar thematically.
They may say, for example, “I like it because I feel like you’re in control of the experience and I have to do exactly what you say.” On the other hand, they might say, “I like it because it feels like you’re using me for your pleasure.” These are two very different themes that would lead to different kinds of sexual experiences. The first could include pleasing you both, while the second would mean that, as the dominant, you would focus more on taking your own pleasure; if you focus too much on your partner’s pleasure, they might get turned off.

Once you’ve found some words, gestures, and experiences that turn you on, continue to communicate your needs and desires and give feedback. This will add variety and keep your explorations fresh and interesting. After all, there are only so many times your “professor” can give you a failing grade that you have to work to change, or your “house servant” can fail in their duties and need to be punished, before you may need to change the story and your roles. In our recent book “Making Love Real” we give you specific advice on how to bring Dominant/Submissive role play into your relationship in a way that is safe, exciting, and dynamic.

The best word to describe passion is animalistic. It is sex that is a bit out of control. In modern western society, we spend years socializing our children out of animal-like behavior in order for them to behave. When the self-conscious part of your brain that tells you to be a good girl or boy shuts down, passion begins. Out comes the part of you that wants to bite, grab, growl, and satisfy all of your senses. In our sexually repressed culture, many people fantasize about having passion overtake them and their lovers. The passionate sexual movie is very common because it allows you to go beyond the constraints of being nice and compliant and makes you feel truly alive in your body.

In this series we introduce the ways that finding the genre of your “hottest sexual movie” can bring infinite pleasure to a relationship. Last week we detailed how “the romantic movie” plays out in fantasy and reality. Whereas the romantic movie is about feeling deeply loved, the passionate story is about intense, insatiable desire. Rather than appealing to our very human need to feel seen and understood, the passionate story is about unexplained, uncontrollable animalistic desire taking hold.
No action captures the essence of the passionate story more than a passionate kiss, by now depicted in so many movies that it might appear cliché. However, when done right, it doesn’t look or feel cliché at all. We have helped many clients reignite passion on multiple levels just by nailing this one important experience.

Here are the basics of delivering a killer, Passionate Kiss:

  1. The Look: It is important to begin with a passionate look, letting all of the animalistic desire come into your eyes and holding it.
  2. The Build Up: Waiting before jumping into a kiss builds tension and lets you sit in the uncertainty of whether or not all the passion will be met. If you go too quickly to the kiss, you don’t allow tension and excitement to build. By waiting, you allow yourself and your lover to build to a frenzy of desire where you can’t rip each other’s clothes off fast enough.
  3. The Delivery: Don’t be afraid to grab hair, a collar, or the back of their head and really let yourself express your passion with your mouth and tongue but also with your entire body pressed against theirs. If you feel like giving a little lip nibble- got for it.

We promise you won’t regret where this kiss can lead. Here is a story one of our male clients told us about his girlfriend’s passionate approach to sex:

“Usually my girlfriend seems to be more into romance, but every once in awhile it’s like she’s possessed. It sometimes happens on vacation or when something really great happens in her life. I know it’s happening because she gets this look in her eye like I’m just a piece of meat. I know women might not like feeling like a piece of meat and, to be honest, the first time I saw it I was a little surprised, but I definitely don’t mind feeling like a piece of meat. This one time, she walked in the door wearing this really tight, sexy dress and she had that look in her eyes. Before she even got to me, she started taking her clothes off, and she just pushed me down on the bed. She started kissing me and grabbing me and taking my clothes off. She took my hands and started moving them all over her body, encouraging me to grab her ass and her nipples really hard. I could feel her grinding on me…”

Anyways…we will leave the rest to your imagination. After all, this is all about finding your own Hottest Sexual Movie. As you start to see what genre most appeals to your deepest desires don’t forget that you can always incorporate various elements of each into your special mix. Romance and passion often go hand and hand, and in our recent book, Making Love Real, we give you a template for how to seamlessly integrate multiple fantasy types into you sexual encounters. Stay tuned for our next post on the “Dominant/submissive” movie and how to bring your power play fantasies to life.