The Three Surprising Types of Spontaneous Orgasms

It’s fascinating that spontaneous orgasms—meaning sexual climaxes occurring independent of any physical stimulation—“embody” three distinct forms. It’s also intriguing that such episodes are not necessarily experienced as pleasurable. As strange as it may seem, in sufficient quantity and intensity they’ve even led people to suicide.

Giving to Get vs. Griping to Get

It’s really baffling how many of us act as though we believe that deprecating our partner will help us get what we want from them. Why? Because venting frustration by grumbling or growling will probably be experienced by them as a personal attack. And their almost knee-jerk reaction will either be to defend against—or counter-criticize—their perceived "assailant."

The Paradox of Seduction

Seduction, and the so-called “Art of Seduction,” is laden with ambiguities and apparent contradictions. So much so that it might almost be viewed as a paradoxical phenomenon. Similar to rape, it’s undeniably manipulative. But, contrasting with rape, it implies a certain curious mutuality—connoting at least some degree of consent.

Surprise! Your Defenses Can Make You MORE Vulnerable

Your psychological defenses are designed to reduce whatever emotional disturbances are beyond your present capacity to handle. Still, unless over time you gain conscious control of these knee-jerk, self-protective mechanisms, they’ll remain with you indefinitely. And way past the point that they serve any useful, shielding function. . . .

The Perils (and Benefits) of Taking Each Other for Granted

Frankly, few things are more comforting than having a partner you can take for granted. On the other hand, there are potential risks in being “blessed” with such a person: risks to the other person, the relationship, and ultimately to yourself. So what are the pro’s and con’s of such a secure (seemingly immune) relationship?

Anger Always Makes Sense

Were there times when another person’s anger seemed unreasonable to you? Exaggerated? Clearly disproportionate to what the situation might warrant? For that matter, have there been times when the intensity, or duration, of your own anger took you by surprise? This post will explain why all anger—however seemingly illogical—can yet be grasped as rationally based.

What You Should Know About Advice-Givers

Some people show greater interest in solving your problems than their own. In such cases, what might these self-appointed, habitual advice-givers be revealing about themselves? Actually, much more than you might realize.

Are You Your Own Sex Object?

One of the “fuzziest” concepts in the entire field of human sexuality is autoeroticism (or autosexuality). Despite the term’s familiarity, there’s little consensus on what it actually means. Does it denote a lifestyle preference, or general sexual orientation? Or does it allude to nothing more than the simple practice of masturbation? . . .

Why We All Need a Fairy Godmother

As children, there were times when all of us felt alone: Not feeling any positive connection to those around us. Not feeling listened to, appreciated, encouraged, or validated. Or not feeling safe or protected. In short, times when we experienced extreme vulnerability—completely unable to feel loved, or secure in our own skin.

The Package That Is Sam, Sue . . . and All the Rest of Us

It’s rather curious how we talk about individuals as “packages”—endowed with qualities as miscellaneous as a bag full of groceries. For that matter, it seems equally peculiar to refer to people (ambivalently, no doubt) as “mixed bags.”

Contemporary Humanism and Spirituality, Part 5

In emphasizing that humanism doesn’t represent some kind of star-gazing, New Age, airy-fairy movement—and that its philosophical tenets are solidly grounded in rationality and science—humanists may inadvertently have created a false dichotomy between reason and emotion. In their idealism, they may inadvertently have portrayed humanism as overly cerebral.

Contemporary Humanism and Spirituality, Part 4

So what, exactly, is the case that’s been made against incorporating the whole notion of spirituality—however secularly defined—into the humanist lexicon? For many humanists still frown upon employing that term to describe their lifestyle and ethical philosophy.

Contemporary Humanism and Spirituality, Part 3

In Part 3 of this series, I'd like to describe how various authors have sought to portray a "secular spirituality"—to characterize it as discrete and, if anything, purer (and possibly more virtuous?) than the spirituality exemplified by organized religion.

Contemporary Humanism and Spirituality, Part 2

Spirituality of a humanist nature can be viewed as essentially harmonious with a variety of secular life orientations (e.g., the scientific). It actually "complements" them by adding to them a more emotional--and idealistic--dimension.

Contemporary Humanism and Spirituality, Part 1

It’s obvious that if the notion of a “humanist spirituality” is to take hold, it needs to be defined in a manner that vividly distinguishes it from spirituality as portrayed by institutionalized religion.

How Rational Are “Rational” Marriages?

As a psychologist who’s worked with innumerable couples, it’s a phenomenon I’ve witnessed many times. And it’s really saddening to see: A marriage based on reason, logic, and “good sense”—that, ironically, has proved untenable.

Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear

It can be extremely tempting to try to escape blame or criticism by counter-blaming your attacker. But while Impulsively projecting mistakes, or misdeeds, onto another may safeguard your ego, it typically creates far more problems than it solves.

Atheist vs. Atheist—What?!

Most people would probably assume that an atheist is an atheist, period. After all, individuals who don’t believe in God are, at least in their unbelief, essentially the same, right? But there’s a subtle—yet crucial—difference in degrees of incredulity that can meaningfully distinguish one person’s atheism from another’s.

The Golden Rule, Part 4: Dreams of Utopia

If humans could regularly demonstrate the "conscientious caring" of empathy, we'd reach an ethical summit as yet unknown to humankind. In which case, what was right--and what was loving--would be harmoniously fused. But. . . .

The Golden Rule, Part 3: Its Uncanny Resilience

Recognized by all major religions and humanistic ethics alike as an essential moral imperative for living an honorable life, the golden rule has yet been subject to all kinds of caveats and attacks. In this post I’d like to advance some commonsensical arguments to counter the objections to its basic validity—which finally I see as more “academic” than real.

The Golden Rule, Part 2: What's It Missing?

Part 1 of this 4-part post highlighted various ways in which the laudatory, much-acclaimed golden rule might be misapplied—at times, disastrously. Complementing that piece, this post will attempt to describe what this so-familiar dictum leaves out. For in the end, its ambiguities and omissions disqualify it as a foundation for any comprehensive ethical system.

The Golden Rule, Part 1: Don't Take It Literally!

The golden rule mandates that we treat others as we'd like them to treat us. What moral principle could be simpler, or more elegant? Yet the rule's very simplicity has made it highly vulnerable to attack--as too simple, maybe even a bit simple-minded. . . .

Memo to Therapists: “It’s the Motivation, Stupid!”

Independent of their client’s professed goals, therapists must regularly zero in on their client’s session-to-session willingness, or “drive,” to actually achieve them. Nothing is more critical than therapists’ doing everything they can to keep a client’s motivation for change as committed and intense as possible.

When All Else Fails,Try Reverse Psychology!

Many years ago I wrote a text for therapists on employing paradoxical therapeutic techniques—for the most part, more intricate and refined versions of reverse (or negative) psychology. The book,*Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy*, was primarily about motivating (though deviously!) highly resistant clients and families to change dysfunctional behaviors.

A New Take on Manipulation

There may be times when you’re strongly motivated to assist someone who genuinely needs your help. Yet, for whatever reasons, they turn down all your straightforward attempts. Might it then be okay to “manipulate” them into compliance?—that is, for their own good?

What’s “Wall-Socket Sex”?!

I first encountered this intriguingly provocative term in reading the eminent sex/relationship therapist David Schnarch’s *Passionate Marriage*. But what, exactly, does “wall-socket sex” refer to? And assuming that you yourself might aspire to such electrically charged eroticism, just how might you go about achieving it? . . .

Two Ways to "Win" in a No-Win Situation

My title probably sounds paradoxical, something like a trick question. And in fact trick questions—similar to Catch-22s, double binds, conundrums, and quandaries—are all terms describing a lose-lose, or no-win, scenario. So can you escape the inescapable? . . .

One Marriage = Two Realities

No matter who you marry, there’s one thing you can count on. Unless you’re able to create an opposite-sex clone of yourself, then walk down the aisle with it (and the technology doesn’t exist yet!), the person you wed will bring with them a reality that at times will feel alien—even unacceptable—to you. . . .

Why People Don't Acknowledge You

More often than not, people don’t—or won’t—acknowledge you for your contributions and accomplishments. Though it might seem almost intuitive that people would be glad to give what they’d greatly appreciate getting themselves, this typically isn’t the case.

"When God Wept": An Intriguing Fictional Hybrid

If ever there were a day deserving to be called—secularly—a “day of reckoning,” this would be the day for Owen Ross, the 47-year-old atheist narrator. For it is on this fateful day that he's compelled to re-live and re-evaluate unresolved traumas from his past.