The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2011

The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2011

 December 26, 2011 As we get ready to leave 2011 behind, I would like as always to express my gratitude to family, friends and colleagues for your support and encouragement over the past year; and to my patients for your trust and confidence.   May we all merit much happiness in 2012. Here’s my list of 2011’s most interesting happenings in clinical sexuality and related disciplines. Vampire Lovemaking This year, in Twilight:  Breaking Dawn Part 1, Bella finally consummated her relationship with Edward, after three years of cinematic foreplay — and immediately ended up pregnant.  By the end of the movie, she’d become both a mom and a vampire.    Shows what can happen. In SexualityToday at the Movies:  Breaking Dawn, we continued the discussion of the “integrative” aspect of ordinary female desire that we began in Twilight and the Art of Foreplay and in The Nine Rooms of Happiness:  What Does a Woman Want? Elsewhere on the paranormal sexuality front, The NY Times Magazine featured a cover story on the new MTV series Teen Wolf —  “We Are All Teenage Werewolves.”  In Wolf Love in the New York Times, I discussed how the human-to-werewolf transformation works as a metaphor for sexual arousal — especially its primal, selfish aspect. Australian writer Katherine Feeney picked up on the idea in Unleashing the Animal Within.  And Cosmo ended up interviewing me for an article in the December issue entitled “The Fierce Sex Every Couple Should Try.”    Shows what can happen.   What Can Google Teach Us About Sexual Motivation? This year saw the publication of A Billion Wicked Thoughts, an interesting report on what must be the world’s largest...
The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2010

The Year in Clinical Sexuality, 2010

As we get ready to close the books on 2010, I would like to express my gratitude to  family,  friends, and colleagues for your support and encouragement over the past year.   And to all my patients for your trust and confidence.   May we all merit much happiness in 2011. In ending the year,  here’s my rundown of 2010’s most blog-worthy events in the field of clinical sexuality     New Books and Other Happenings Sex at Dawn, the breakout volume by the previously-unknown writing team of Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, took a sledgehammer to conventional evolutionary sexual psychology  (See my interview with lead author Chris Ryan).   Some thought Sex at Dawn might help promote a more relaxed, European-style attitude towards non-monogamy in America.  In “Will Sex at Dawn influence sex therapy?” I argued that this was probably wishful thinking. This summer,  SEC staffers were caught surfing porn at work. In my blog,  “Men and Their Computers, Alone Together,” I wondered whether the traditional Jewish laws of Yichud might be applicable to whether a man should ever be alone with his computer, unsupervised.  I also contributed a piece to an Italian magazine on workplace infidelity – and how to avoid it. In “Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax,” we discussed the modern disappearance of young adult women’s genital hair — and in the process had a dialog with Kinsey researcher Dr Debra Herbenick on the subject. A new book, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, sought to teach women the occult male art of compartmentalization.  I reviewed it, and also briefly interviewed my 9-year-old daughter (she’s since turned 10) on the subject of “What Does a...
The Sexuality Resource Interview:  Dr Laura Muggli on ADHD in Women

The Sexuality Resource Interview: Dr Laura Muggli on ADHD in Women

  After posting two articles on ADHD and Marriage in response to a recent NYTimes article, I received several responses asking specifically about women with ADHD.    I decided to consult my favorite Women’s ADHD guru in New York City, Dr Laura Muggli. Laura, we hear a lot lately about ADHD and relationships, but it’s mostly about men with ADHD.  What about when it’s the woman who has ADHD? Women feel more pressure to hide their ADHD from potential mates. More than men? Absolutely.  Because the social role expectations are so different.   An absent-minded, inattentive man is not so far removed from society’s expectations of men in general.  Men are almost supposed to be inattentive. But women, they’re supposed to be detail-oriented, and to be great at paying attention.  A woman with ADHD often feels it’s something she needs to hide, in order to satisfy the world’s expectations of her as a woman. So you’re saying that the difference between men and women with ADHD has to do with the culture’s expectations of maleness and femaleness? That’s a big part of it.   People tend to be less forgiving of disorganized women.  Women are supposed to keep the world running smoothly. A man who’s late to pick his kids up from school is “just being a typical man.”  But a woman who does the same thing is “a bad mother.” Do girls experience this same double-standard growing up? Absolutely.  As a child, when you perceive that the world is not going to accept you, you go into hiding. This is not unique to ADHD.  It happens to homosexuals almost universally.  And it happens...
ADHD, Marriage, and The New York Times, Part 2: Alvin? Alvin??! ALVIIIN!!!!

ADHD, Marriage, and The New York Times, Part 2: Alvin? Alvin??! ALVIIIN!!!!

  The word “Deficit” in “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” is seriously misleading. As any parent of a kid with ADHD will tell you, such children often have an astounding capacity for paying attention to something that happens to be immediately exciting, such as a video game. The problem is that they have trouble paying attention to anything that’s not immediately exciting. Many ADHD kids, if you call their name while they are doing something they find exciting, will not even hear you.   Many are mistakenly sent for hearing evaluations before the real problem is identified. It’s all there in the original Alvin and the Chipmunks “Simon?”  “Yes, Dave.” (Simon does not have ADHD) “Theodore?”   “Yes, Dave.” (Theodore does not have ADHD) “Alvin?”   “Alvin?!”   ALVIIIN!!!!!” (Alvin has ADHD, and was busy thinking about something else.  So busy that he never noticed his name being called). The Alvins of the world get yelled at a lot A parent may do their best to be kind.   But when everyone is hurrying to get out the door for an important family event, except little Alvin who has his shoes off in front of a video screen, completely unaware of the time or of what’s going on around him – you’re going to hear some yelling. My favorite kids’ book on ADHD, Jumpin’ Johnny, Get Back to Work, begins with six words:  “I just got yelled at again.” This book had me from page one. Curiously, ADHD kids often don’t seem much affected by all the yelling that gets directed at them.   You ever see Alvin upset?   It often hardly seems to touch these kids at all.   Like Alvin,...
ADHD, Marriage, and the New York Times

ADHD, Marriage, and the New York Times

  At long last, ADHD and its marital consequences have reached The New York Times. Tara Parker-Pope’s July 20 column concerns the long-overdue recognition of the pivotal role that an individual’s having ADHD can have on a romantic partnership. The high incidence of marital distress and even divorce in such relationships. What’s remarkable is that the mental health field didn’t recognize this fact decades ago. Why not?   Well, adult ADHD itself wasn’t recognized. It was there, of course. But because we  didn’t know to look for it, we didn’t see it. Sure, we knew there were people who didn’t seem to live up to their potential in a career or a relationship.  But we thought it was due to neurotic conflict, or character weakness, or lack of effort How our field has changed in the last decade or so.  Less and less often do we hear about how an indidividual might be able to change, if only they would put more effort into it.   Increasingly, we’re aware that what looks like laziness or lack of will, may in fact be a vulnerability of an individual’s attentional and motivational endowment. Or as Yale ADHD expert Dr Thomas Brown has stated, “ADHD looks like a willpower problem, but it’s not.” In the New York Times article, Parker-Pope quotes extensively from Massachusetts writer and ADHD specialist Melissa Orlov — who reports that despite years of working in the ADHD field, she did not initially recognize her own husband’s  ADHD and the effects it was having on their marriage. In my own work as a sex therapist, relationship therapist, and psychiatrist in New...