Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It's My Party... and I can do Whatever the F*ck I Want!

In my last post, I mentioned that I don’t subscribe to the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon. One reason is that I found myself making unrealistic goals based on what others were doing (or saying they were going to do…) and not what I needed to do for myself. Years ago, I decided I wouldn’t make a special goal or resolution, and instead would focus on and try to be mindful of what was going good for me from the past year.

Growing Up in 2017

2017 was a year of self care growth for me. I realized that I needed to take care of myself, just like I want others to take care of me. If I can’t do it for myself, pay attention to and actually attend to my own needs, how can I expect someone else to do the same for me? What I learned from my commitment to myself is that not only did I begin to feel emotionally and physically healthier, but I also stopped expecting as much from others. In turn, this made it so much easier to begin to share my needs with others and greatly improved many relationships.

Celebrate You...the Way You Want!

Now, January is my birthday month! I started a new tradition last year: annual birthday trips! Last year’s trip was solo to North Georgia. That trip wasn’t just about celebrating myself, but also about learning how to enjoy solo travel for pleasure. Like many people, I typically travel alone for work. Most of the time, these are a “Wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am” type of trip. There’s nothing wrong with a fast paced trip, but we do need to slow down every now and then. Slow down to enjoy what is going on around us. Open our eyes, and take time to see what else is out there. For my trip last year, I explored a part of Georgia I had visited in the past…with others. For my solo trip, I was able to go where I wanted, when I wanted, and choose activities that appealed only to me. I also challenged myself to go out of my comfort zone. For this trip, this was going out to eat alone. What I found is it is easy to do, once you’re used to it, and easy to meet others for conversation.

A rare sighting of the BFF!
We'll let the BFF think my "uber excited" expression
is all about him! What he didn't know is

It's My Party...

This is year I have a check mark on my travel bucket list: Nashville! The BFF and I are going. Why? What happened to my “I am woman hear me roar” solo travel? It was an option though I realized I did not want to drive four hours alone and Nashville seems worth celebrating with another.. Again, it’s a way to celebrate me and celebrate the way I want! It’s my party and I can invite whoever I want!

Stay tuned for next month’s love yourself more tip: buying yourself gifts.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Three Nerds, A Sex Therapist, A New Year

Three Nerds and a Sex Therapist

With a new year comes new adventures! I write this as I’m sitting at a table in a coffee shop with three nerds playing board games. Well, they are playing board games, and I’m providing commentary as I try to figure out what the heck is going on...Hello, Andy, Chris, and Jonathan! It was a pleasure meeting you three and learning something new from you! Poor guys didn’t realize a sex therapist was sitting with them until they were anticipating mass destruction from well-armed aliens….


I write this as I’ve been reflecting about 2017 and preparing for 2018. The New Year is often thought
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

of as a time for creating resolutions. In my experience, for most people I know, resolutions don’t last much through the first quarter of the year. Therefore, I started looking at what changes I enjoyed during the past year and what I want to carry over into the new year, with a focus toward changes I could sustain and intuitions about changes I might want to make later. 

As I reflected on my achievements and accomplishments during 2017, I wanted to send a big thank you to my readers and subscribers, for supporting my work, for your feedback, and for sticking with me even when I went MIA or didn’t post a regular basis. Blogging was a new venture for me in 2017, and it took a while to figure out a plan that works. Honestly, I’m still tweaking that plan!

Going Forward

During the last year, I had the pleasure of working on the planning team for The National Sex Ed Conference. The conference was this past December. One of the Keynote Speaker’s was Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Growing up, I knew of Dr. Ruth and even watched her show or listened to her on the radio. I just thought she was this old lady who talked about sex. However, I learned there is much more to her than her quirky tv personality. Her goal is to spread the word about sex education, and she’s spent a lifetime using any outlet she could find. This resonated with me. My blog, website, videos, and podcasts are all ways to spread my messages,thoughts, and experiences about being sex-positive. Without people reading and sharing everything I put out there (pun totally intended!), I don’t think I would have continued for as long has I have.

Thank You!

Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Again, thank-you for being a part of my community! I look forward to more thoughts, questions, and laughs in 2018. Right now, I am creating a new, 12-month series centered around self-love and self-care. The series is called How to Love Yourself More in 2018. Each month will talk about different ways to incorporate self-care and self-love into your life. This is part of what I want to take from 2017 into 2018.

What are you taking from 2017 into 2018? What else do you want to hear about in 2018? Comment below or send me a message!


Friday, January 5, 2018

#MeToo: The Dick Pic

In my previous #MeToo post, I discussed change in a misogynistic system from the perspective of a family systems therapist with some expertise in systemic change at the individual and relationship level. But there are lessons from that expertise that I, myself, still haven’t learned and that I think can be instructive for anyone trying to examine his (or her!) role in either changing or perpetuating systemic misogyny and sexual harassment.

As an example, I recently received unwanted or warranted e-mail communication from “Anthony.” He sent two separate messages to my business email account and my website contact form. To my knowledge, I have no prior personal or professional contact with Anthony, although the identifying information he sent was limited. His message to my business email account asked, “How can I fuck you Courtney” along with a picture of his side profile and his erect penis. My first thought was, “Oh, another dick pic. Men.” followed by my trying to rationally explain (to myself!) how this person thought not only was it a good idea to send a complete stranger a picture of his manhood but also other identifying information. My first plan of action was to do nothing and then seek further legal action if he contacted me in the future.

However, after thinking this over and talking with friends, I realized, I’m playing into the part of the system that does not want to change! The reason why a #Me,Too campaign formed was in part to show that this sort of aggressive male-centric sexual and relationship dynamic was pervasive, showing up where’d you most and especially least expect it! My immediate thoughts were dismissive because I’d been desensitized to the situation; this perverse behavior had become normal for me, a sex and relationship professional, and more than that, I was playing a role in perpetuating it by not treating it as something unacceptable or abnormal. Change will only occur when other parts of the system begin to swim upstream,to fight that uphill battle. Many women don’t come forward for all sorts of reasons: fear of not being believed, the law and our society not protecting them, fear of reprisals. Yes, there are very few laws (though California might be creating change!) for this type of situation, though I have seen news articles about others being charged and prosecuted for similar acts. Check out this article about a man sexting a police officer.

Although I can come forward and share my story in hopes this will help bring about change, I can only do so much without breaking the law or wading into unethical territory myself. My first instinct was to share Anthony’s manhood via this blog. After all, I have no personal or professional connection and would not be violating his rights as a client. But, rather than contributing to change, this would satisfy my desire for revenge, however understandable that emotion might be. Indeed, “revenge porn” and cyber-bullying laws do exist that I could be breaking by sharing the details of Anthony’s violation toward me. In other words, if I share his member with others (even though I didn’t ask for it and he sent it on his own free will) this could be seen as me harassing him in retaliation. (According to this article, it’s recommended we thoroughly think before sharing via the web….) A system that is slowly changing, though, still has dysfunctional patterns, and both as a therapist and as a member of that system, it’s wrong and counterproductive for me to participate in the dysfunction.

Finally, what I want others to think about is what to do if you are the victim of any type of harassment. Yes, people might shame you and not believe you. Yes, laws may be limited for protecting you or providing recourse of action. However, part of our dysfunctional system is victims remaining silent, just how I wanted to remain silent. If you are a victim of harassment or bullying, why not reach out and seek advice from the legal system? Why not let others know what happened to you sooner rather than later. Why not seek mental health services to process what may well feel deeply like a violation or intrusion? These are the steps to create a less dysfunctional system, and while I don’t know if we will ever live in a completely functional system, the only way we’ll get there is with individual steps like these.