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Sex Nerd Trivia & Bingo Bango @ Alamo Drafthouse Mueller

Sex Nerd Trivia & Bingo Bango @ Alamo Drafthouse Mueller

Press Release:

Southwest Sexual Health Alliance's Signature "Not Yo Mama's Game Night" is now at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller Location every 4th Wednesday bringing a ton of joy to Barrel O' Fun, the bar within. "Our goal is to bring high quality sex education that is classy, fun and entertaining - something that Austin is missing," said CEO Heather McPherson, LPC-S, LMFT-S, CST. 

"Not Yo Mama's Game Night" is organized and hosted by Emily Bridge alongside hosts Adam and Samar. See more about the next night HERE. It's always free to play and you are guaranteed to learn something too! Expand your sexual knowledge and play for the chance to win awesome prizes, furnished by Package Menswear, Forbidden Fruit, and Barrel O' Fun!

 

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The Sweet Spot, Top Tips for All Lovers

We're gearing up for Charlie to be in Texas soon and he just shared 3 tips with us as a preview to the Sexceptional Lecture!

Dr. Charlie Glickman will be in DALLAS & AUSTIN November 3rd & 4th!

3 tips to be a great lover by Charlie Glickman, PhD

1.) Consistent and steady touch usually works better than fast and jarring. Whether you’re using your hands, having oral sex, giving a spanking, having intercourse, or anything else, find a good rhythm and try to stick to it. Play some music with a good beat, if it helps. As arousal builds, you can go faster but if you can’t stay on the rhythm, slow down until you can. Faster isn’t always better.

2.) When touching your partner, think about the landing and the takeoff. Just like in a plane, a hard landing or takeoff can be jarring, distracting, or annoying. Keep it smooth for a sexier touch and you’ll offer them a sexier, more arousing touch.

3.) Instead of picking one move and staying with it, change it up every so often. For intercourse, try a different position or angle, or change the speed. For oral sex, erotic massage, or G-spot/prostate play, change your technique, or the pressure, or the tempo. If you do the same thing over and over, your partner’s body is probably going to tune it out. It’s a lot like food- eating the same thing for every single meal isn’t as much fun as changing it. You don’t need a zillion moves. Find 3-5 tips or techniques and cycle through them. (Note: when your partner is getting close to orgasm, keep doing what you’re doing.

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We just launched Annual Membership!! Become a Sexual Health Alliance Member Today

Earlier this summer, we launched annual membership so that all of our members can formally state that are a part of a global organization that promotes sexual health. Many joined within the first couple weeks, and more join everyday. Join now and become a part of our family.

When you become a SHA member you get cool perks like: 

  • Access to exclusive members-only interviews from experts of the field
  • Access to members-only newsletter when new content is available 
  • VIP access & seating for selected events
  • Exclusive interaction with select lecturers
  • Access to members-only Facebook Group
  • And much more!

In addition to state licensure CEUs, we also offer AASECT CEs for those working toward becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and AASECT Certified Sex Educator.

See more information here.

SexTech: The Future of Disability and Sexuality

Spark! Roundtable

TOPIC: SEXTECH & TOYS - THE FUTURE OF DISABILITIES

The Southwest Sexual Health Alliance will be holding a groundbreaking Spark! Roundtable on much needed topic, Sex Tech and Disabilities. Dr. Mitchell Tepper will be on the panel contributing his wealth of experience on sexuality and disabilities. He is also our Sexceptional Lecturer for the day! 

 

Panelist Deanna Theis' company, The It Collection will be on the panel discussing her personal and professional experiences with this issue. Deanna seeks to create truly inclusive sexual wellness products that work for all. Her first product, a hands-free toy-mount called the Perfect Pleasure cushion, was designed to foster sexual fulfillment and pleasure enhancement for every body, regardless of their shape, preference, age, or physical limitations. This product is appropriate for all sexual lifestyle and helps to encourage a healthy and creative approach to sexuality for individuals and couples. 

Inspired by the strong women who surrounded her growing up, especially her mother, Deanna has always had an inventor's spirit. Despite creating useful gadgets throughout her life, this invention is the first with real potential to make a difference in people's lives. Sex is a human need, after all. She first came up with the idea for a hands-free masturbation alternative in 2012 when she temporarily lost mobility in one arm due to a pinched nerve. Having recently purchased the Magic Wand Original®, the concept began as a simple handle for a vibrator. Over the course of the next two years, she refined her goal to simply, this: create products that provide the highest level of pleasure to any and all who use them, regardless of their shape, age, or physical ability. 

Creating a lifestyle line that could meet the needs of every body became not only a challenge but a personal mission. From Deanna’s passion, The It Collection was born and the Perfect Pleasure cushion was created. The first of many real solutions for real people. This mission goes so far beyond the personal struggles of Deanna, however, as there are millions of people who suffer from sexual dysfunction due to different kinds of disabilities. The Perfect Pleasure cushion is a unique solution endorsed by conference speaker Dr. Tepper that allows hands-free use of toys and positionary support for sexual intercourse. You can view the Positions & Possibilities Guide in advance of the event demonstration, which will include a special hands-on game for attendees. For more information visit theitcollection.com.

 

Our next panelist is Kalie Kubes. Kalie is a hard of hearing University of Texas graduate with a BS in Youth and Community Studies. In addition to having a hearing loss, Kalie has battled multiple chronic illnesses and chronic pain her entire life. She currently works as a Medical Assistant at Planned Parenthood where she enjoys educating patients on safe sex, healthy relationships, birth control, and prevention of STDs. Kalie will contribute to the conversation through her thought provoking experiences with having multiple disabilities.

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Panelist, Nick Winges-Yanez, MSW, PhD Candidate will be discussing intellectual disabilities and sexuality - After many years working in direct social services, Nick received her BSW and MSW from Portland State University and is currently completing her PhD. Her research uses the work of Foucault, proposing a genealogical framework to examine how sexuality has historically been used to define and oppress individuals labeled with intellectual disability.  Nick previously completed a qualitative study interviewing queer-identified youth about their experiences with sex education in schools. Currently the Education Coordinator at Q Toys in Austin, Nick approaches sex education with a background in queer and feminist theory and a focus on improved sexuality discourse and access to pleasure.

We are very excited for our final panelist, River del Llano of The Juicy Truth. River became a surrogate partner because her purpose in life is to promote the evolution of our species through healthy, authentic, sexual expression and intimate relationships. A surrogate partner works in partnership with a talk professional, such as a therapist, to support the client.  The surrogate partner is a substitute partner for clients who want to improve their sex and intimacy skills, but have no practice partner.  Clients have an opportunity to experience intimacy and develop new skills and capacities with a trained professional. River also founded and co-hosts the Surrogate Partner Salon, a free monthly gathering in Austin of therapists who work with surrogate partners or seek to work with surrogate partners, and two professionally certified surrogate partners.  The Salon is an opportunity for those of us within the field to hone our skills.  Find out more about the surrogate partner process, the Surrogate Partner Salon, and River at her site: www.thejuicytruth.net

Bethany Geham explains challenges and barriers Deaf community experiences with receiving sexuality education and quality sexual health services.

CARAS Conference 2017

By Alycia Williams, Great Lakes Operations Director

The 2017 CARAS Conference in Chicago brought together clinicians and researchers from across the country to share cutting edge information in the the field of alternative sexuality.  From the keynote address by Peter Chirinos and Caroline Shahbaz on The Wounded Clinician, to break out sessions on issues including consent, polyamory, BDSM as leisure, and personal growth through kink, conference attendees were exposed to thought provoking information.  The closing plenary was given by Richard Sprott and Anna Randall of TASHRA and presented the results from their first ever National Kink Health Survey.

The day ended with an award being presented to Russell Stambaugh by CARAS and NCFS for his significant contributions to and support for research, clinical training and advocacy on behalf of marginalized sexualities.  The entire auditorium was moved by Dr. Stambaugh's reflection on his long career as a pioneer in the field of alternative sexualities. 

The CARAS conference exemplified the vital and innovative nature of those working and living in alternative sexuality environments.  We look forward to meeting up again at the next CARAS conference!

 

Exploring the Petroglyphs & Sexceptional Webinar Series w/ Dr. David Ley on Ethical Porn

We were recently invited to explore the petroglyphs which inspired the drawings in Dr. Ley's latest bestseller. Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of the rock as a form of rock art. The ones in Albuquerque, like many, include fertility themes which celebrate ancient sexuality. Dr. Ley coined the phrase "PetroPorn" for these unique carvings.

Petroglyphs, cave drawings, geoglyphs and a variety of other "rock art" represent our ancestors views of the world, including sexuality. These ancient artists were just as interested in visual depictions of sex as we are today. They used chisels to depict their sexual desires, fantasies and adventures, the same way we use pixels and smartphones. Petro-porn includes group sex, bestiality, homosexuality and all of the diversity of sexuality that is visible on the Internet. This helps us put modern pornography in a broader context, seeing it as part of the broad diversity of human sexuality.

Dr. David J. Ley is an internationally-recognized expert on issues related to sexuality, pornography and mental health. He has appeared on television with Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Dr. Phil and others. He has been interviewed in publications ranging from the LA Times and the London Telegraph, to Playboy and Hustler magazines. Dr. Ley has published extensively in both the academic and “pop” realms of literature. His two books, The Myth of Sex Addiction (2012) and Insatiable Wives (2009) were revolutionary explorations of sexual issues which blended a powerful client-centered narrative with a rich understanding of psychology, biology and sociology. 

AASECT Summer Institute: Revisiting 'Sex Addiction' (Part 8) with Dr. Susan Stiritz

We interview Dr. Susan Stiritz from the recent AASECT Summer Institute which was titled: Revisiting 'Sex Addiction': Transformative Ways to Address Out of Control Sexual Behavior. Susan co-directed this institue and this post concludes the series. As the only educator at this institute, Dr. Stiritz encourages sex educators to join the conversation and why this is critical. Throughout the interview, Susan discusses how we can take into consideration the artists point of view when thinking about this issue. She discusses how movies and films could help us better understand out of control sexual behavior and a little of AASECT's journey to the formal position statement rejecting "sex addiction" which was just put in place. It's wonderful to hear about this topic from a highly regarded sex educator.

Susan Stiritz is an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, who has been teaching sexuality studies for the past twelve years at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interest, transformative sexuality education, springs from her work, as an antipoverty worker, manager of training and patient education for The St. Louis Family Planning Council, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty member. 

She conducts research on the hook-up culture, noting the difference sex-positive, gender-neutral sexuality education makes. Currently, Susan is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Sexuality Studies at the Brown School. She presents workshops and conference papers at AASECT, SSSS, the National Women's Studies Association, and Law and Society.

AASECT Summer Institute: Revisiting 'Sex Addiction' (Part 7) with Michael Vigorito, LMFT, LCPC, CGP

We interview Michael Vigorito, LMFT, LCPC, CGP in this seventh installment from the recent AASECT Summer Institute which was titled: Revisiting 'Sex Addiction': Transformative Ways to Address Out of Control Sexual Behavior. Michael discusses why the group process is important and what we can learn from sexual minority communities. He tells us to put pleasure back into the definition of sexual health and sex education programs and we couldn't agree more.

Michael Vigorito, LMFT, LCPC, CGP is a sexual health psychotherapist, author and consultant.  As a psychotherapist, he provides individual, couples and group psychotherapy for a range of behavioral health concerns.  He co-designed a sexual health assessment and treatment protocol with Douglas Braun-Harvey, which was published in Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior - Rethinking Sex Addiction (2016).  Mr. Vigorito is a member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality,  the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists and the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists.

Mr. Vigorito is licensed in the District of Columbia and Virginia as a Marriage & Family Therapist, in Maryland as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counseling and is certified as a Group Psychotherapist through the American Group Psychotherapy Association.

AASECT Rejects the Concept of "Sex Addiction"

Below is an interview with David Ley about the new position statement by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).

 

1. Where did the idea of “sex addiction” come from (if not from the medical community, as I understand it)?

Sex addiction is truly a social phenomenon, not a clinical or medical one. It’s important to understand that it largely arose after homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the APA, and in response to the AIDS crisis. It’s not by accident that gay and bi men are at three times the risk of being labeled or diagnosed a sex addict. But here’s the thing, I truly believe most sex addiction therapists and writers aren’t bad people – they are trying to help people, people who are in pain and fear because of their sexual urges. In the early 80’s, as these social shifts were going on, traditional medical and mental health people really weren’t talking about sex any longer, and these people who were in pain and scared, found support from addictions therapists who said “we can treat the desire for sex like it’s a craving for drugs or alcohol.” They at least offered support and assistance to people who were terrified.

The problem is that sex isn’t like a drug or alcohol. No one ever died from blue balls, but long-term alcoholics can die if you take away alcohol. At a deeper level, what got glossed over in the zeal to offer support in the form of sex addiction treatment to these individuals, was that their pain and fear was often coming from social and moral struggles with sex. When a gay or bi man is taught to suppress their sexual desires for other men as an addiction, it pathologizes this desire, without ever acknowledging the degree to which the pain emerges from stigma, not the desire itself.

As these therapists then began to define what they thought unhealthy sex was, they based their theories on the select sample who came to them for treatment. Because most sex addiction therapists are themselves self-identified sex addicts in recovery, and they have no training in human sexuality, they base their diagnoses upon their own experiences, and those of the sample of people they see. For example, for a long time, sex addiction theorists have argued that daily sex or masturbation is unhealthy, because that’s a pattern they see in people they treat with sexual behavior problems. Unfortunately, they don’t see the great many people who have daily sex, and experience no problems. This criterion was finally dropped a few years ago, when it was demonstrated that a great many women use nightly masturbation to help them sleep, and that as many as 40% of males go through significant periods in life where they masturbate or have sex daily, all with no problems or consequences.

2. Why is it an issue to oversimplify sexual behavior issues as “sex addiction”? Basically, can you give some examples of harm from using this “diagnosis” versus another diagnosis?

So at this point, we have a wealth of information supporting the very real consequences of the sex addiction diagnosis. For instance, one recent study of sex addicts in treatment showed that 90% had a major mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, and 60% had a paraphilia, a fetish or a sexual disorder. But, these individuals were receiving treatment for “sex addiction” as opposed to their depression, anxiety or sexual disorder.

Multiple other studies now reveal conclusively that sex addiction is a label rendered overwhelmingly on males (90-95% of sex addicts are males), and half of those males are white, heterosexual, religious (most often Christian and very high rates of Mormon) married males who are middle to upper class in income. This raises two significant issues: 1. Sex addiction is a label applied to diagnose the long-standing sexual privilege held by powerful, privileged males, who are allowed or excused from sexual misbehaviors. 2. There are huge issues here of religion. Religious therapists diagnose sex or porn addiction at far higher rates than secular therapists. Multiple studies now show that the self-identity as a sex/porn addict is predicted by one’s religious values about sex, not actually by frequency of sex. In other words, these folks don’t actually have more sex than others, they feel worse about it. That’s a values conflict, between the sexual values taught in many conservative religious traditions (I’ve seen this in Christians and Muslims for instance) and the sexual opportunities in porn, casual sex, hook-ups, etc., which are available in the modern world. In essence, it’s like the problem of abstinence-only education – we teach kids next to nothing about sex, then are surprised when they struggle with unhealthy sexual behaviors or feel out of control with regards to their sexual desires, because they were never taught to understand or self-manage them. The same is true for a great many people today, raised in highly religious environments, who then encounter the wide world of modern sexuality, and feel overwhelmed by the opportunities available.

In my practice, and that of other clinicians, we see a great many people harmed and confused by the label of sex addict. For instance:

  • 42 year-old male, father of five and a widower, who masturbating to heterosexual porn on a daily basis. Sought treatment for sex addiction because his minister assured him this was unhealthy and an addiction.
  • 56 year-old Catholic male who sought treatment after divorce, because he had been diagnosed as a sex addict for going on craigslist for casual sex, about one time a month. He used protection during these encounters, but felt enormous guilt because they were outside the type of committed, monogamous relationship he had been taught to seek.
  • 33 year-old female who felt she was addicted to fantasies of rape. She had a history of sexual trauma, and sometimes watched porn involving rough sex and fantasized about being raped. In therapy, we identified that her fantasies about rape occurred at times when she was struggling with feelings of low self-worth and needed to “beat herself up.”
  • 18 year old male from a highly religious family, who had just started college and was away from family for first time. Came to me, concerned he was addicted to masturbation. Turned out, he was only masturbating about once a week, but because he’d been taught that any masturbation was immoral and unhealthy and dangerous, he was terrified. He went online, and was diagnosed by sex addiction therapists and online group discussions.

In all of these cases, in research and clinical experiences, the sexual problems are only a symptom, and an indicator, of some other conflict, either in the person, or between the person’s desires and their social or relational context. Some sex addiction therapists agree with this, and say that sex addiction is not about sex. I agree, in part, but I point out that their diagnosis and treatment is unfortunately exclusively focused on controlling sexual behaviors and desires. I see countless people who feel shamed and deeply harmed when their normative, healthy sexual desires (such as daily masturbation) are termed a disease.

Josh Grubbs of Bowling Green University in OH has done remarkable longitudinal research demonstrating that seeing oneself as a sex/porn addict actually predicts greater life problems, regardless of the frequency of sex or porn. This means that the concept of addiction has gotten inextricably linked now to people’s sexual shame, and has become a damaging self-concept, that teaches people to fear their own sexual desires and needs. This is very sad, and is the unfortunate consequence of allowing sexual morality to blithely intrude into clinical practice.

3. What do you think will be the impact of the AASECT statement? For example, do you see this as having an impact on sex addiction rehab facilities? 

It’s important to recognize that there are two issues here. First, there is the sex addiction industry itself, which is a strange, cult-like group of true believers who treat sex addiction as a faith. These folks feel under attack. They lash out at these efforts to exclude morality from treatment, and they simply don’t understand why people like me are concerned at their lack of knowledge of sexuality or sexual diversity. The great majority of sex addiction therapists have very conservative ideas about what sexual health is, and they will continue to fight to defend their right to judge other peoples’ sexuality. Sadly, their arguments and views often get adopted by conservative politicians who use them to enforce sexual morality on society. As we’ve seen in Utah, where porn addiction was declared a public health crisis, I fully expect we will see sex/porn addiction raised in political dialogues in coming years by a conservative, religious administration.

The sex addiction rehabs are a unique American animal, where people pay thousands of dollars for a treatment that insurance won’t cover, and for which there is no evidence of effectiveness. This is stunning – there’s absolutely NO research showing that sex addiction treatment actually works, or works better than treatment with a regular therapist that your insurance does cover. Those facilities have seen increased struggles of late, as a result of changes in the US healthcare system (Thanks Obama). But, they serve a purpose – where men who get in trouble for sexual behaviors, whether infidelity or the like, can “go away” with the public appearance that they are committed to “getting better.” Unfortunately, these patients are often deeply exploited, leaving treatment owing many thousands of dollars, and usually still struggling with the real psychiatric or social issues.

There’s another group of individuals, diagnosed as sex addicts or sent to sex addiction treatment, where these approaches are grossly inappropriate. Sex offenders, across our country, are being mislabeled as sex addicts, and offered probation as long as they attend sex addiction treatment. This is horrifically unethical and unsupported. There is not a single shred of evidence that one can reduce recidivism by treating pedophilia, or rape, or fetishistic behaviors such as exhibitionism as an addiction. In contrast, there are good, evidence-based treatments for treatment of sexual offending behaviors. It puts our communities at risk that judges, juries, lawyers and victims, don’t understand that these individuals are being sent to a form of treatment that is completely inadequate. I hope that the AASECT statement brings some attention to this.

But, in contrast to the sex addiction industry, there’s also the second issue, and the degree to which the concept of sex addiction has been unthinkingly, uncritically, accepted by modern society and the media. Most people who self-identify as sex addicts do so because they or their spouse read an article or saw a talk show about sex addiction. For years, media has covered sex addiction as though it’s real, despite its lack of credibility or scientific standing. When I first published The Myth of Sex Addiction, I was completely alone. I was horribly and personally attacked by the sex addiction industry true believers, who came after me in awful ways, with threats of lawsuits, death threats and incredible accusations (such as that I was an undiagnosed sex addict in denial). At this point, the belief in sex addiction is an identity issue, not a rational belief.

But now, thousands of members of AASECT have stood up and said that this isn’t good treatment, and there are hundreds and thousands of therapists around the world who feel similarly. In this statement, AASECT joined the American Psychiatric Association which had rejected sex addiction as a diagnosis for forty years. Now, the many people who don’t think sex is an addiction (and never did) have a foundation and backing to push back against this shaming, moralizing concept. Hopefully it changes the media’s approach as well.

 

How The Concepts of “Sex Addiction” and “Porn Addiction” are Failing Our Clients

Our founder, Heather McPherson, LPC-S, LMFT recently collaborated on a journal article entitled, How The Concepts of “Sex Addiction” and “Porn Addiction” are Failing Our Clients, published in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists’ Magazine, The Therapist, in their September/October 2016 issue. Jay Blevins, MFT was instrumental in this research and we appreciate his contribution.