Curiosity My A**: Josh Duggar, Signs of Abuse, and How to Keep Your Children Safe

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Over the last week, my inbox has exploded with questions about the Duggar scandal. “What makes someone turn into a child abuser?” “How can I make sure my kids don’t inadvertently hurt someone when they get curious about sex?” And my personal favorite: “Isn’t everyone just being too hard on Josh Duggar? It’s unfair, he was just curious and experimenting.” 

We will get to all of these questions today, but on that last one…no, people. Just NO. I mean, I’m sure he was curious, but psychopaths are often curious about what the inside of your organs look like. It doesn’t mean we excuse their behavior when they pull out your liver. 

It’s not simple curiosity. He snuck into his sisters’ bedroom in the middle of the night so he could touch them without consent or repercussion. He’s ill. He needs help. But that doesn’t mean that he should be our focus today....  continue reading

Why Doesn't He Want Me? When Your Drive Is Higher Than His

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Anyone who has ever been turned down for sex has some feelings around it. Women who are denied feel rejected and unattractive. We get frustrated, sexually and otherwise. We may also feel anxious, as if the relationship is threatened. This is based on an evolutionarily relevant drive to have sex as a way to increase attachment and reaffirm bonds (and if you want to learn more about that, check out The Evolution of Desire, The Anatomy of Love or Mothers and Others).

In short, we don’t always want to high-tail it to the closet for some solo fun with the magic bullet or rascally rabbit (and if you don’t know what those are, you should). Sometimes, we want the connection, the closeness. We want a partner. This whole reaffirming bond thing may be why couples who have more sex have more marital satisfaction even when they have less than ideal communication skills otherwise1.

But it’s a bigger issue than immediate hurt feelings and a little argument over him not being in the mood. Conflicts over intimacy tend to be recurrent and ongoing2 which does not lead to happier relationships overall. And this issue is heightened, with more anger and aggression, when one or both partners is depressed, especially if it’s the husband2

And when it’s the wife who has a higher drive, we have a few other issues to contend with....  continue reading

The Sexiness of Sadness: Evolved and Socialized Reasons We Might Be Attracted to Depression

Monday, November 17, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Many in the therapy biz have emotional reactions to the people they treat. When left in a room with a sociopath, physical responses such as fight or flight are common. Being with anxious people may make us tense based on the evolutionarily relevant assumption that if you're nervous, I probably should be too.

"Where's the tiger, yo?"

But depression triggers therapists and others alike to respond in unexpected ways. Instead of nervousness, many feel attached or even more motivated to help, what Dr. Peter Kramer calls "being charmed" in Against Depression1

This "charming" effect may be an offshoot of a drive to provide care to the overwhelmed, or at least to save the depressed from attack in a vulnerable state. But it is more than a desire to assist. This same system may make moodiness and vulnerability sexually attractive to a higher percentage of the population than you might think....  continue reading

Secrets About Female Sexuality Every Woman Should Know: The Evolutionary Basis of Girl-on-Girl Fantasies

Monday, November 03, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

"In a recent survey of married men, 80% reported that they wouldn't be angry if their wife slept with another woman. Said the other 20%, 'That's hot.'" (Ba dum, dum, ching)

Have you ever been turned on by another chick? It's cool. It happens to a lot of us. 

We are not inherently monogamous, which makes a rich fantasy life critical when we find ourselves with the same partner year after year. While some are able to take such things in a stride, there is potential to feel guilty, as if the fantasies are a betrayal of a current partner, which is not the case (discussed more here in Can Fantasy Be Useful?). This guilt may be especially poignant when the fantasy involves something that is really taboo, like making out with the hot chick who does your nails. 

But seriously, it's normal. And it's even evolutionarily relevant....  continue reading

BOW DOWN! I AM KANYE, SUCKERS! What Causes Narcissism and Ways to Deal with a Narcissist (Besides Running)

Monday, October 27, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot, often to describe those with high self worth. But as anyone who has been in a relationship with an actual narcissist knows, it is not the self worth that is the problem but rather a personality style that can be overbearing, attention seeking, grandiose and even downright abusive2. Narcissists may be bullies, show offs or addictive self-soothers2. They may show up as martyrs, workaholics or as rescuers proclaiming that they can “save” you if only you listen to them2. Narcissists may also use ploys such as vanishing when you need them or confuse you by switching from protector to jerk face at the drop of a hat. 

All of these traits add up to partners feeling powerless, resentful, intimidated or flat-out depressed. But partners are not the only ones with emotional issues. Narcissism is often related to early attachment difficulties and trouble with self regulation. Those with narcissistic traits tend to be victims of their past as much as they make others victims in the present. But this explanation IS NOT a way to excuse those behaviors. Nothing in this post is to suggest that someone in an abusive relationship should stay. Regardless of cause, there is no excuse for physical or emotional violence; a partner cannot use their past as a way to justify the present. 

But as much as we don’t want to admit it, narcissism doesn’t develop in a vacuum. And by understanding why it does come about, we may be able to identify better ways to avoid it, treat it, and even use some narcissistic traits to enhance society as opposed to hinder it.

Enhance society? What in the actual fuck, Meg?

Trust me guys, you don’t want to miss this post....  continue reading

Do I Have Borderline Personality Disorder? The Signs and Symptoms of BPD

Monday, September 22, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

When people talk about codependent relationships, they often refer to traits seen in Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD). Borderline Personality Disorder usually emerges in adolescence or early adulthood, though some symptoms may emerge sooner. It can be a difficult condition to treat due to the intense emotions inherent in the personality and the depression, anxiety and panic that tend to crop up at any hint of abandonment. For additional reading, Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder, The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide and Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder are all great resources. 

But you're here because you want more information RIGHT THE HECK NOW. So  I invited a friend to give you a run down of what Borderline Personality Disorder looks like from inside couples counseling sessions. Because despite the name calling often endured by those with this issue, having Borderline Personality Disorder does not make you “crazy”.  But overcoming it usually requires professional assistance in order to strengthen adult attachment patterns and provide a base of safety upon which individuals can build healthier relationships.

Help is available. Don't go it alone....  continue reading