“Short and sweet may be satisfying in some situations, like a visit to the dentist, but in bed it's bound to turn frustrating for him and her. If you’re interested in making it better, start thinking about it differently.” Dr. Joel Block
Dr. Joel Block is a high profile sex therapist who has published prolifically on sex and couple relationships. He contributed the following to Science and Sensibility to celebrate of the centennial year of Dr. Albert Ellis’ birth. Here is what Joel advises to help make your sex-love life better:
Dr. Albert Ellis, the foremost sex therapist of the 20th century, one of my mentors, was a big influence in my work as a sex therapist. Here are ten positive sexual attitudes that Dr. Ellis would salute:
1. I Will Be Self-Acceptant: I will not blame myself or in any way condemn myself for my quick orgasmic response. Instead I will remind myself that my low orgasmic threshold is most likely (especially if it has been that way since I became sexually active), a product of my natural response, it is my biological propensity. This may have disadvantages, but it doesn’t make me inferior.
2. I Will Be a Generous Lover. I have a responsibility to myself and to my partner to make a positive adaptation to my low orgasmic threshold. To do so I will learn to be more sensual and focus more on my partner’s pleasure throughout our sexual encounter. I will be especially thoughtful to put the focus on my partner in the initial phase of our sexual encounters.
3. I Will Avoid Sexual Demands. Despite my best efforts, I may not always do well sexually. In those instances I will not impose conditions on myself. In short, I will not insist that I absolutely must perform well sexually. I will remind myself that imposing conditions (usually framed by words like must, have to, should and need to) is the best way to make myself anxious and to needlessly block sexual pleasure and make myself miserable. What’s more, at times despite my best efforts, I may disappoint my partner. Rather than condemn myself or be defensive I will strive to remind myself of my natural tendency to orgasm quickly and continue to make an effort to please my partner.
4. I Will Not Be Intimidated. I will not fall prey to the temptation of sexual avoidance. I realize that the temptation is real and at times strong, since it is easy to believe that I will fail, be criticized for failing and that the failure or criticism will be devastating. In contrast, I will avoid this form of anxiety by approaching sexual opportunity not as someone who is “handicapped” but as someone who has compensated well and consequently does not have to rely on my penis alone, I have my mouth, tongue and fingers, all schooled in providing sexual pleasure.
5. I Will Be a Complete Lover. When I am anxious in anticipation of a sexual encounter I owe it to myself to remind myself that the idea that there is one “proper” and “normal” way of satisfying my partner—with my penis—is false and very limiting. Most women are not satisfied by sexual intercourse alone; and even when they are it is the rare man who can last long enough to bring them to orgasm through intercourse.
6. I Will Not Seek Perfection. If I want to enjoy sexuality rather than making it a contest at which I fear failure, I better look at a sexual encounter in the same healthy way I had better view life in general: I will win some and lose some—some experiences will be better and some not as good as I had hoped. None of us is perfect.
7. I Will Be Open About My Sexuality. I will talk openly and frankly with my sexual partner about my sexual desires, her sexual desires and preferences and about my sexual limitations. Together we will discuss ways to limit our limitations and boost our sexual assets. Under no circumstances will I put myself down because of my low orgasmic threshold. I won’t do that any more than I would if I were short, bald or a poor athlete. I will resist making apologies for something I do not have full control over.
8. I Will Not Rely Solely on My Penis. I cannot remind myself of this too often: the more I think that I absolutely must give a woman a terrific orgasm with my penis, the more my penis is likely to disappoint me and her. Anxiety about the functioning of my penis stems from the demand that it absolutely must function as well as I believe it should. As a quick ejaculator, demanding that I last as long as I want will only make it worse, both for me and my partner.
9. I Will Not Let My Emotions Run Me. I will remind myself as often as needed that emotional reactions are greatly influenced by losing perspective. It is the human bent to do this. If sex doesn’t go as I would hope rather than creating drama, I will stop and do a reality check. I will keep in mind that what is considered over-the- top is often a mole hill that has been fictionalized into a mountain. With closer inspection in most instances, if the worst were to happen, which is usually quite unlikely, the result would be inconvenient, annoying and unfortunate, and that’s all.
10. I Will Accept That My Sexuality and My Partner’s Sexuality Will Likely Evolve Over Time. I resolve to adapt my lovemaking style to the changes. I will strive to be flexible; rigidity is deadly, especially in the bedroom. I will find the good in the changes, and make the most of each new phase of life.
Dr. Joel Block is one of the original post doctorial fellows in rational emotive behavior therapy. For over 30 years, he has actively worked with couples to help each enjoy the other and to have highly pleasurable sex lives. He is board certified by the America Board in Professional Psychology in couples counseling and practices in Long Island New York. To learn more proven self-help strategies for pleasurable sex, check out Dr. Block’s manual: http://www.lastingloveproductions.com To contact Dr. Block: DrBlock@DrBlock.com
This blog is one in a series to celebrate the 100th and 101st year anniversaries of Albert Ellis’ birth. Albert Ellis Revisited (Carlson & Knaus 2013) is the Albert Ellis Tribute Book Series centennial year book. Each of the book’s contributors wrote a commentary for one of a select collection of 20 articles that Albert Ellis wrote for professionals. The book uniquely includes contributions by all four former postgraduate directors of training in REBT. The publisher, Routledge, offers a 20% discount for those who want to buy the book. Control click on this link: Albert Ellis Revisited. Type the code Ellis for the discount. The book qualifies for free shipping and handling.
Bill Knaus’ royalties from this book go directly to the Denan Project [Click on the Denan Project to see where Bill’s royalties are going]).
If you have trouble with anxiety click on the anxiety blog in this series: Three Core Anxieties and How to Calm Them
For 13 great self-help tips, click on this blog in the series: 13 Tips to Make Self-Help Therapy Work for You
If you suffer from guilt, click on Escape the Guilt Trap
© Dr. Joel Block