A blog about the healing power of intimacy and love by Nicola Foster
Sex and perimenopause
I'm loving how much media coverage we are seeing around menopause and perimenopause right now. I was very lucky to have many women friends a few years older than me - leading the way, sharing their learnings. Although, like many other women I often felt disenfranchised, without access to private medical care or time for complex health research. So I try and share as much as I can now with women heading into this life stage about what I've learned.
For many women, low libido is one of the menopausal issues they’re worried about the most. However, perimenopause can also cause high libido too, with our bodies going into its very own last chance saloon act. It's important to say too, that for many women, their sex drive doesn’t change that much at all during menopause.
No matter how you look at it, though, the stage leading up to full menopause can bring with it sexual issues. Vaginal dryness and being too tired are the main ones, I hear about. So, I...
Jealousy is destructive. It can lead to arguments, insecurity, frustration and ultimately, deliver the end result you are hoping to avoid - the end of your relationship.
To avoid it all becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, it will help to invest in learning how to handle jealousy effectively. Here are my top tips to help you do just that.
Many people suffer from bouts of jealousy. Naturally, you’re with someone you care about, and you don’t want anyone or anything to jeopardise that. The key is understanding that it is an issue you need to deal with if you’re going to give your relationship the best chance of success.
Know that jealousy is a form on insecurity. Those jealous feelings are giving you important information if you take the time to observe them. Maybe you want reassurance from your partner. Or, that you’re looking for some kind of stronger commitment from your partner. And it may be that...
[SPOILER ALERT: There is no normal!]
If there’s one thing I wish for all couples in a sexual relationship to know, it’s that there is no such thing as normal. When it comes to defining your relationship, it’s more about what feels right and enjoyable for you both. So many different influences have influenced what you might think of as normal, and over time, your definition of normal will most likely change.
I love this quote by Maya Angelou, as it sums up my view of normality in a relationship:
"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."
Many different things will impact on your definition of a normal sexual relationship. How you view normal is dependent on your culture, the society you live in and even your time in history.
There's no such thing as normal.
It changes from one person to another. And this is what helps us all become unique and different.
When it comes to the research on societal norms in...
Life in lockdown has put enormous challenges on intimate relationships. Hello, I'm Nicola Foster, I'm a couples and sex therapist and in this article I'm offering 3 practical suggestions to support couples navigating being home together in lockdown.
Being at home most of the time has meant that we are suddenly seeing how many roles we have and how they intersect.
You might be a parent, a homeschooler, a carer for elderly parents, a co-worker, a business owner, a member of a support bubble or a volunteer in the local community - and a romantic partner.
All of this whilst navigating the personal inner anxieties of facing global pandemic.
It's no wonder relationships are showing strain. Prior to this you may have been working in separate places and only come together in the evening. Now being together all the time - how do you navigate your need for space and your need to connect? How do you create meaningful time for intimacy and meaningful time for yourself and not just exist...
No matter how well you get on, there are going to be times when differences create conflict. If you're relating with honesty and authenticity, it's healthy to feel upset, angry, frustrated and generally let down sometimes. So, it's really important to learn how to have healthier arguments.
When it comes to conflict resolution, good communication is paramount. Instead of letting our feelings take over and losing perspective, it's so helpful to practice listening and really seeing the other person and their side of the story, as well as our own.
If you're looking for some tips on how to have healthier arguments, here are 10 that will really help!
If you want to have a healthier relationship, you need to stay connected. And when it comes to healthy arguments, that means looking at each other. Because it's only when you're looking at the other person that you can observe their body language. This will guide you to act with more empathy and connect more with them.
Have you gotten out of the habit of touching your partner like you used to?
Hi, I'm Nicola Foster, I'm a Sex and Relationship Therapist and I work with couples who want to reignite intimacy in their lives. In this article I share some of my recommendations on how couples can use touch to reconnect with each other.
Physical connection is something that we all need, and nowhere is it more important than when you’re part of an intimate relationship. We may touch 'out of habit', or got out of the habit of touching altogether. Research tells us that couples who hug or touch regularly have better sex lives, and are happier and healthier.
Touch helps us form closer, more connected relationships. It's one of the main forms of nonverbal communication and when we’re in an intimate relationship we want to feel more connected - making touch a key element of a healthy relationship.
When it comes to intimacy, quality, nourishing touch can provide deeper, more connected feelings than...
If you’re dating or exploring a new relationship, it's so important to develop the ability to handle rejection. You’re not going to be the right fit for everyone, and they won’t be the right fit for you.
Very often, we take it as a sign that there’s something wrong with us or we weren’t good enough. Our own fears and insecurities rise to the surface, and we instantly tell ourselves we’re the problem. In reality though, we have no idea of what the other person is looking for in a partner, or what is currently going on in their life.
If you want to learn how to handle rejection, the first thing you need to remember is it’s hardly ever personal.
It is possible to build your capacity and inner strength to be able to handle any rejection with grace and compassion. Here's how:
Your feelings are valid, so it’s important that you feel them. Unfortunately, painful feelings...
Dr John Gottman has been devoting his research to observing couples since the 1970s. His research not only uncovered patterns of differing behaviour between happy and unhappy couples, but also discovered that most relationship problems (69%) never get resolved, due to differences in personality.
As part of his ongoing research, Gottman discovered how couples create and maintain intimacy and friendship. He could also predict with high accuracy, the likelihood of a couple divorcing or separating, by identifying the four most destructive behaviours within a relationship. These behaviour indicators are referred to as the Four Horsemen.
These Four Horsemen are the negative communication patterns that prevent you from having healthy and productive communication with others.
Most relationships may demonstrate some of these behaviours, but healthy relationships don’t use them very often - and when they do, they make more of an effort to repair them when they’re used. You...
Do you feel that your relationship is lacking something because you’re not spontaneous? Do you think that intimacy is something that should be spontaneous? If you do worry about the need to make time for intimacy in your relationship, you’re not alone!
Unfortunately, the media has often portrayed spontaneity as the norm in relationships. This myth has put so much pressure on many relationships because it’s simply not possible to make every intimate moment a spontaneous one! In fact, if couples only had sex when both partners spontaneously felt like it - it would rarely ever happen!
The reality is very different. When you’re leading a hectic life, spontaneity is often the last thing on your mind. There’s your work schedule to take into account, as well as the kids, the morning breakfast rush, the commute home - none of it lends itself to spontaneous intimacy. You’re often exhausted and ‘being in the mood’ simply doesn’t...