<![CDATA[DR. AMY - Blog]]>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:41:29 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Unlocking the Love Code: Understanding how your past impacts your sexual attitudes today]]>Mon, 18 Mar 2013 17:03:27 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/unlocking-the-love-code-understanding-how-your-past-impacts-your-sexual-attitudes-todayby 
Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist

As a young girl, Karen* loved stuffed animals. They provided comfort, friendship and an innocent introduction to sexual pleasures. At age seven, a teddy bear between her legs gave her a pleasant sensation. When she first masturbated at age eight, then had sex for the first time at age 16, a stuffed animal was either at her finger tips or rubbing against her feet. Karen didn’t know it at the time, but she was developing her “Love Code,” a life-long subconscious programming of attitudes, understandings and feelings about love and lust.

Two periods of psychosexual development occur during a lifetime. The first time of heightened sexual awareness is between the ages of three and eight. Children at these ages become aware of gender, both anatomically and stereotypically. They discover what feels good; is exciting and erotic; and looks, smells and feels sexy. Puberty signals the second love code development phase, when sexual interest and awareness is again heightened.
Sexual experiences during these critical development periods, often unwittingly chosen and possibly skewed by trauma, form the basis of a person’s mental menu from which sexual decisions and choices are made.

In Karen’s case, her preference for stuffed animals became essential to her having a satisfying sexual experience. When her husband grew tired of the unwanted furry guests in their bed, the strain in their sexual relationship led them to counseling.

Karen’s husband was uncomfortable because he felt as if he was making love to a young girl. Karen was ashamed and embarrassed by what she thought was an abnormal situation. When the stuffed animals were removed, however, her sex drive diminished.

The first step in their sex therapy, was the completion of a Love Code history, a one or two-session process that involves discussing a series of questions related to childhood experiences. Such questions can include: “How did you first learn about sex?”, “What was your parents’ attitude toward sex?”, “When was the first time you discovered what feels good?” “How did your parents respond to your body changes during puberty?”, “How was affection shown to you physically and verbally?

The couple’s love prescription was two-fold. First, Karen’s Love Code or menu of sexual arousal items had to be expanded. She was able to accomplish this step by her picturing her husband as the source of desire. As a couple, they learned to have fun experimenting. They wore furry items to bed, lied on furry blankets and rubbed fur all over each other. By reframing the use of fur, the couple enjoyed greater eroticism and closeness.

Although simple personal experiences like Karen’s help frame the Love Code, numerous external forces also are influential. This long list includes parental reaction and teachings about sexuality and gender issues, societal norms, media and religion. Physical surroundings and lifestyle conditions, as well as visual and physical experiences play into the development of the sexual script. More subtle internal influences are tougher to decode. Shame and guilt, for example, impact tremendously an individual’s ability to acknowledge or recall experiences.

In short, however, the love code is set. It determines a person’s ability to have loving, intimate, warm and sexually pleasing relationships.
If you think your love code needs to be unlocked, watch for these signals:
  • Sex leaves you feeling unfulfilled, unhappy or emotionally distraught.
  • Fantasies interfere with your ability to connect with your partner during sex.
  • Feelings of shame and guilt about sex prevent you from enjoying the experience.
  • You and your partner disagree about what is sexy, so you suppress your choices and have unsatisfactory sex.
  • You seek emotional and sexual intimacy, but are unable to experience it.
  • You don’t feel sexy because you are overly conscious of your body image during sex.
  • You feel immature and ashamed about the need to incorporate childhood 
        turn-ons during sex.
  • You've never formulated with yourself or another person what is positive, healthy and good about sex.
  • You hide your sexual preferences from your partner, then sneak to satisfy these urges.
  • You have to disconnect yourself from your body in order to have sex.

Everyone deserves to get the most out of life through healthy, exciting and fun sexual relationships. Unlock your Love Code and find out how to pump up the passion in your life.

*Karen’s name and her story have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

<![CDATA[Relationship Warning Signs: Keep Your Relationship Alive]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:11:10 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/relationship-warning-signs-keep-your-relationship-alivePicture
Relationship Warning Signs: Keep your Relationship Alive 
by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist

Intimacy and closeness are very often at the heart of many relationship problems. If you suspect your relationship is heading south, first try to work it out yourselves. However, if identifying the problem and solution become difficult, or you know the problems and are caught at an impasse, consider professional counseling. Someone trained specifically in sexuality can provide added guidance in the area often resting at the core of the issue and can actually speed-up the therapeutic process.
If possible, try to steer clear of serious problems by learning how to identify the relationshipwarning signs, which include:
The frequency of kindness drops off. 
Little favors, romantic gestures or simple polite words are replaced by silence, angry words or total neglect.
Intimacy is infrequent or nonexistent. 
This includes emotional, affectionate, as well as sexual intimacy.
You’re caught in a fantasy. 
You find yourself, saying “if only … , I would be happier or our relationship would be better.” Beware of this trap, as it prevents you from dealing with today’s reality.
You become better debaters than lovers. 
Such power struggles or competition often show up in the bedroom as well.
The key, of course, is to learn the basics that help keep relationships alive. First and foremost is time. Spending time together is critical to building and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship. During your time together, try a variety of activities to do together. Keep spice in your life by trying new sports, visiting new places, starting new hobbies. Avoid falling into that dangerous rut of life. Try dating again to renew the original spark that brought you together.
Through it all, communicate. Long-lasting relationships have one primary quality in common -- open, honest and frequent communication. It is through this that we achieve intimacy, which is the magic ingredient for truly satisfying relationships.

<![CDATA[The New Female Sexuality]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:11:00 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/the-new-female-sexualityPicture
The New Female Sexuality
Will the future bring “Viagra” for women?
by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed Psychotherapist and Sexologist

Viagra has become the male wonder drug. So, what about the equivalent for women?
Trial runs of the use of Viagra to improve female sexual problems did not produce convincing results. Therefore, women’s curiosity and hope for increased sexual interest and gratification was not satisfied by Viagra.
However, the medical view of female sexuality has become a topic of research and current focus in the field of clinical sexology, where a cry for more emphasis on a re-thinking of the diagnosis and treatment of female sexual problems is growing. The trend is to be more inclusive in the view of each woman’s problem, including the consideration of such factors as relationships, financial and family pressures, and emotional and mental well-being.
Unfortunately, the traditional medical view of female sexuality is somewhat mechanical and limited and does not take into account these critical complexities. Historically, therapeutic results have been poor.
The medical community has not been able to identify -- or even agree about -- the female hormone of desire. Current treatment options, including medication and devices, are still being tested. Yet, nothing has been proven conclusively, and the primary question remains.
The majority of my female sex therapy patients seek help for their lack of sexual desire. Very often, the situation is identified by a partner, who cannot understand how a once passionate lover has lost her sex drive. These women are searching for an explanation and help in regaining their desire for sex. Often they fear the loss of their marriages, because, for many, sex has become a chore, much like the laundry, going to work and feeding the kids.
In most cases, the root of the problem tends to be one or a combination of the followingfactors:
  • lack of correct information about sexual functioning
  • cultural factors and the changing role of women as working inside(household andchildcare) as well as outside of the home
  • overtired and overstressed
  • problems in the relationship, such as power struggles, resentments, jealousy
  • medical factors, such as depression and certain medications
  • sexual abuse and/or exploitation
  • goal-focused sex for orgasm, rather than sex for pleasure and enjoyment
For the past nearly 40 years, treatments for female sexual problems have been very limited and stagnant. Thanks in part to Viagra for men, a new view of female sexuality is opening up the range, scope and complexity of this vital identifying issue for women. Researchers are trying to unlock the mysteries of female sexuality. The current focus is on discovering the key to desire. In short, new hope for treatment options now exists.
If you find that your once active sex drive has diminished, and you are experiencing one or more of these factors, you’ll want to seek professional help. Look for a physician and/or counselor who is familiar with the new view of female sexuality and is willing and qualified to listen to and address your specific concerns. Treating both the mind and body often is the most effective approach.

<![CDATA[Mommy, What's a Predator?]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:10:54 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/mommy-whats-a-predatorPicture
Mommy, What’s a Predator?
Talking to your kids about abduction
by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed Psychotherapist and Sexologist
It’s too horrible to be true. Beautiful and innocent little Samantha Runnion was snatched from the safety of her yard, molested and murdered. Once again, our complacency was shattered. It can happen to anyone of us.
So, what can we do to keep children safe in a world that can be so unpredictable? Parents, especially those with young children feel helpless, and the stories about atrocities against children keep mounting. These horrific situations are difficult to explain to ourselves, how do we possible explain them to our children?
Use simple words
First and foremost, parents must discuss these events with their children, even very young children, as these are real life lessons. In speaking with your children, however, graphic details are not necessary.
The message needs to be clear. Anyone who the child does not know -- even a familiar adult who does not have prior arrangements for taking the child -- is not allowed to remove the child.
Even if your child does not ask questions, he or she may still have sensed your fear or heard something about these incidents in the news. If children hear the words “abduction” or “molestation” they will be curious about their meanings. As young as five or six, children will form their own answers and pictures if you don’t explain events to them.
When you do talk to your children, use language that is age appropriate and simple. Let them know that strangers and others can hurt, misuse, and even end their lives. Give them clearinstructions, and rehearse with your child what to do or say if someone approaches them.
Not all adults are bad
Along with these words of warning, let your child know that most adults are concerned for the well fare of children. Give them confidence about the adults who love and look after them. Explain that the police were diligent in finding Samantha’s murderer and the public called in thousands of tips that lead to his arrest. Let them know that many adults and children mourned for her death and supported the distraught family. Remind them that communities ban together when bad things happen.
Assure your children that you are not trying to scare them, but, instead, are trying to make them safe so they may live long and healthy lives. Provide them with outlets to express their fears or concerns.
Art is a powerful outlet and window
Art, for example, is a wonderful medium. It serves as a natural outlet for children to express feelings. Look for any marked changes in their artwork, such as the use of heavy pressure. This behavior can indicate anxiety. Darkness or monsters may represent inner turmoil.
Parents also should be aware of warning signs that a child is having difficulty dealing with these hard facts of life. Clinging behavior; nightmares; regressive behaviors, such as bedwetting or baby talk; withdrawal; and anger are a few signs of coping difficulties. In addition, be aware of your own coping skills. Your child will sense, and often mimic, your responses.
If you or your child are having extraordinary difficulty dealing with these current events, you may want to consider counseling with a professional trained in dealing with families. As little as a couple of sessions can be beneficial and head off more long-term problems.

<![CDATA[The Birds and Bees by Five  ]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:10:46 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/the-birds-and-bees-by-fivePicture
The Birds and Bees by Five
Guidelines for talking to your children about sex
by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP), 38 percent of teen studies said their parents were the biggest influence on their sexual behavior – more than friends, the media, teachers, siblings or religious groups. However, you do not want to wait until puberty to approach the topic of sexuality with your child. In actuality, you begin to non-verbally teach a child about their sexuality right from birth. How you change their diapers, clean their bodies, let them touch and explore, can all teach your child how to have a positive and pleasurable connection to their sexual selves.
This informative statistic supports the importance of starting the sex dialog, which includes discussions about love, relationships and values, with children as early as possible. In fact, by age five children should be able to use correct terms for all sexual body parts, including the reproductive organs, and be able to talk about them without a sense of “naughtiness.” Other understandings five-year-olds should have include:
  • Where babies come from, including how they get “in” and “out”.
  • The physical differences between a man and a women.
  • Importance and pleasure of body ownership, while emphasizing that they have a right to say “no” to unwanted touch.
Many parents, however, feel awkward talking about sex with such young children, particularly since their parents may not have talked to them at all about the topic. While it’s okay to feel uncomfortable, you do not want to convey this discomfort to your children as they may misinterpret this as a sign of shame about the topic. If they ask you a question that you are not prepared to answer or catches you off guard, it’s ok not to respond until you are better prepared. However, reassure your child that you will find the answer to the question and that you are glad that they asked.
Watch for teachable moments such as bath time. Just as other body parts are pointed out, so should the genitals. The process can be like a game. “Here is your head, your nose, your belly button, your penis (or vulva), your knees and your toes.” Skipping over these parts may convey the message that parents are uncomfortable talking about these body parts. In addition, correct, versus cutesy, names should be used from the outset. Young children should learn the names of the visible parts such as, vulva versus vagina.
One of the most important benefits of this early honesty and openness about sex is the development of toddlers who feel pride and delight in their bodies. As a result, they will be less likely to tolerate inappropriate touching and can explain to others if this does occur. 
Below are a few hints to assist parents through the process of child sex education.:
Try to be open and matter of fact in all discussions with children.
Find out what your child already knows, then correct any misinformation with true facts. Use the conversation as an opportunity to convey your family’s values, feelings and beliefs.
Be approachable and positive when your child asks a question. “Thank you for coming to me about that,” will teach your children to feel comfortable about coming to you in the future.
Include in your discussions the joys of sexuality, the pleasure and pride of taking care of your body, while including that loving relationships and intimacy are special gifts of adult life.
Talk about sexuality in casual, small doses. You don’t have to schedule “the talk.”
Listen to your children, as you may uncover misconceptions, beliefs or concerns, many of which may be hidden behind the words.
Keep the link open at all times. Being available, empathetic, sensitive, good humored and truthful helps insure they will continue to seek information and viewpoints from you.

<![CDATA[The Truth about Teens and Sex]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:10:38 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/the-truth-about-teens-and-sexPicture
The Truth about Teens and Sex
by Dr. Amy Demner, LMHC
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist

Parents who think their teenager does not want to talk with them about sex, need to think again.
Parents have been the primary source of sex education for American children since the 1940’s. Many surveys have proven that teens prefer talking to their parents about sex. However, because so many parents have difficulty broaching this topic, the media and peers often become the most readily available resources.
In my practice, I’ve seen hundreds of patients who wished their parents had spoken to them about sex in a healthy, positive fashion. Unfortunately, some of the results of no or poor communications about sex include body image problems; guilt about sex; misinformation, such as “good body feelings lead to pregnancy;” unreported sexual molestation; and difficulty formulating intimate relationships.
Teens need correct information in order to make responsible, healthy and positive choices. Giving teens information about sexuality does not give them permission. In fact, studies have found that sex education programs discussing sexual topics, including contraception information or products, did not hasten the onset of sex. Remember, parent approval is crucial to teens. Plus, when parents talk to adolescent about sex, they have the opportunity to express views about love, caring and the importance of mutual respect in successful intimate relationships.
Despite an increase in sex education, the average age for the first sexual encounter remains at 16 ½, the same age research reported in 1948. The percentage of teens having sex, however, has increased, especially for females.
Ironically, many teens have their first sexual encounter right under the noses of their parents. Researchers at Child Trends, an independent research center, found that 56 percent of the teens surveyed in 1999-2000 first had sex at their family’s home or at the home of their partner’s family. The study also found that by the time students are in the ninth grade, 34 percent have had sexual intercourse, a statistic that rises to 60 percent by the 12th grade. Although teen pregnancy in the U.S. has declined in the last decade, about one million American young women still get pregnant each year.
Here are some reason talking to teens about sex is important:
To Reduce Teen Pregnancy. Teens who are educated about sex and have had guidance in making decisions are more likely to abstain or use contraception, if applicable.
To Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Teens need to know the risks.
To Guard Against Date Rape And Sexual Exploitation. When teens have information about their bodies, the importance of caring in a relationship, and their right to say “no”, they are least likely to be exploited.
To Help Balance Out Misinformation About Sex Presented Through Media.Parents should become familiar with what their teens are exposed to, such as favorite TV shows, music videos and magazines. Watching programs together provide great opportunities for meaningful discussions versus ineffective lectures.
To Keep The Lines Of Communication Open. If teens learn that they can talk to their parents about a delicate topic like sex, they see that their parents are interested, concerned and available for guidance. As a result, doors are opened for many other discussions.
Most importantly, talking to teens about sexuality helps raise responsible, healthy and happy sexual beings who search for satisfying and caring relationships.
If for any reason you suspect that your teen is too promiscuous or has been sexually exploited, seek professional help.

<![CDATA[What Men Really Think about Sex]]>Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:10:23 GMThttp://dramy.com/blog/what-men-really-think-about-sexPicture
What Men Really Think about Sex
Dr. Amy Demner
Licensed psychotherapist and sexologist

Sexy locker room talk, self-focused sex-crazed men, extraordinary tales about size, and wild stories about endless nights of peak-filled love-making are standard Hollywood images of men and sex. From my many years as a sex therapist, primarily to men, I’ve discovered very different truths.
My patients have shown me that men, in fact, are caring, concerned and compassionate lovers who want to please their partners, as well as themselves. The majority of males I work with are very concerned about pleasing their partners, listing it as one of the most enjoyable and erotic aspects of sex.
The anxiety about not measuring up to false images, however, often is the basis for many of the common sexual problems men face.
The three most common reasons men seek counseling in my practice include the inability to have an ejaculation inside of a partner during intercourse, premature ejaculation and the inability to maintain an erection. These men report feeling inadequate, depressed and anxious and seek treatment in search of “normal sex.”
Another common problem involves men getting more satisfaction themselves than with their partners, finding fantasies, masturbation and visual stimulation exciting. As a result, however, their partners feel left out, unattractive, unloved because of the low frequency and lack of passion when the couple makes love.
Often a man’s uncomfortable feelings about sexual preferences stem from childhood teachings that label these activities as wrong or dirty. (Compulsive sexual activity or risky and harmful acts, of course, do not apply and are handled differently.) Another barrier sometimes can be the idea of commitment, which somehow gets translated into replacing the erotic part of the relationship with emotional intimacy. This phenomena often is the cause of the dwindling lust many married couples face.
Many couples who report having a satisfying sex life, keep pleasure foremost on their minds, not how this experience is the culmination and total expression of true intimacy. Focusing on pleasure (your own and your partners) is helpful for many males who are confused about the notion of commitment. Loving couples who find many ways to do this are able to maintain long-lasting relationships willed with growth and joy. 
Viagra has been another tool for helping men realize that a satisfying relationship has many dimensions. Men who are overly concerned with penis size, width and performance neglect the opportunity to explore many other erogenous zones.
Despite the wide range of products promising to transform men into incredible love machines, the true love machine is a man’s entire being, not one body part. Instead, senses, thoughts, feelings and pleasures contribute to a man becoming a great lover.