Tuesday, August 20, 2019

From Abuse to Control – An Excerpt from #ReclaimingMe Loving Solutions for Sexual Healing

Excerpt from Dr. Ava Cadell’s upcoming book: #ReclaimingMe – Loving Solutions for Sexual Healing

In order to free yourself of the burden of your sexual abuse, you need to tell someone who won’t judge you in any way. You want to be in a safe space to tell your story, which means you need to be sure that the person you tell can be trusted to keep your information confidential, if that’s what you want. You also need to be confident that he or she will treat you with the utmost respect while you’re sharing your story and describing the details of your suffering. Chances are you’ve already been judging yourself, blaming yourself and wondering why the abuse happened to you. Let the self-blame stop here, with the first person you tell. But, how can you determine who is the right person for you to tell?

Ask yourself these questions about the person you are considering talking to:


¬ Is he or she an empathetic person?


Tarana Burke, the founder of the “Me Too” movement, believes that empathy is the answer to the epidemic of sexual abuse. Empathy cuts to the chase, it gets right to the heart of what a survivor needs, which is the understanding of a fellow human being. The good news is that most people are capable of empathy and compassion.


¬ Is he or she a trustworthy person?


If you are alone with no family or friends who you trust, you could consider approaching a trusted member of the community, such as a teacher, a pastor or a police officer. You might also consider calling a crisis hotline. Hotline operators are trained to be nonjudgmental, compassionate listeners.


¬ Has this person supported you before?


If you’re lucky enough to already have a supportive friend or family member in your life who has already been there for you reliably in other ways, that’s a good sign he or she is the right person to approach.

Many survivors have a difficult time articulating what happened to them, as we’ve seen time and time again in the “Me Too” stories, where quite often the victim is realizing for the first time that the sexual encounter they had was actually abuse. In their minds, they had “normalized” the act of abuse, and yet definitely did not give their consent and couldn’t wait for it to be over. Obviously “waiting for it to be over” is not descriptive of a healthy sexual event, but it can be confusing to be confronted by someone who “wants you” so much that they’re willing to ignore your hesitation. It can feel flattering to be wanted so urgently, and oddly “mean” not to just give this person what they want. However, the after effect of abuse is generally some kind of self-destructive behavior, such as overeating that can lead to massive weight gain.

In my experience, this is a common reaction to abuse, and I’ve seen it again and again. This kind of self-sabotage can also occur after traumatic emotional events within an intimate relationship, like cheating, for example. It’s one of the many “I want to make sure I don’t get hurt again” strategies that our minds create as a defense mechanism.

Control Chart

One technique to combat self-sabotaging behavior like overeating is my Control Chart. It’s a simple two-column list of things that you have control over and things that you do not have control over. The chart helps in two ways. By looking at the list of things you do have control over, you gain an immediate sense of empowerment, a wedge of light piercing the out-of-control darkness. By looking at the list of things you don’t have control over, you are putting a name to the unknown and disorienting factors in your life. By naming the specific ways in which you feel helpless or adrift without recourse, you can begin to examine them, pull them apart and discover where you might be able to either gain some control back, or allow yourself to let go and move on.

You can brainstorm on these ideas with a therapist, family member or even a friend you trust. The Control Chart increases your potential to heal by bringing you face to face with your limitations. For one of my past clients, who we will refer to as Mindy, her Control Chart looked something like this:

Control Chart Sample

Things I Can Control

  • Choosing to be positive
  • My eating habits
  • Rewarding myself
  • Accepting dates
  • Having fun
  • Having or not having sex
  • Giving love
  • Receiving love

Things I Can’t Control

  • That I was violated
  • That violence is still a threat
  • Other people’s perceptions
  • How I might feel after sex with someone new
  • Having things in common with others
  • Other people’s baggage

Mindy couldn’t control the future, but the stranglehold she was putting on her own happiness was unsustainable. She was doing her best to control everything in her life, but ironically was losing herself along the way. We looked at the chart together and examined some of the items on the lists. One that caught her attention was that she had no control over other people’s perception of her. With our new insight into her sudden weight gain, she realized that she’d been subconsciously guarding against any unwanted advances from men. But the truth was, she actually had no control whatsoever of what any man might think of her no matter what she looked like, whether she gained a hundred more pounds, or lost all her extra weight.

Mindy almost started laughing when she realized that her attempts to control other people’s views of her were completely futile. She described that moment of discovery as liberating. After all, if you can’t control what other people think of the way you look, you may as well look the way you want, right? Instinctively, she knew that she couldn’t allow this past violent incident to ruin her life by letting it determine her health habits. But without any self-examination tools, it didn’t seem possible for her to act any other way. A simple inventory of control allowed us to steer her in the direction of healing.

Again, the lesson here is that healing begins when you reach out and talk about it.

Reinvent Your Inner Strength – Excerpt from #ReclaimingMe: Loving Solutions for Sexual Healing

It takes a lot of guts to live through traumatic sexual abuse, so I want to congratulate you on your healing journey. You are reinventing your inner strength so that you can get back everything that was robbed from you by your aggressor. It takes time to do the work, identifying your issues, pinpointing your triggers, and replacing negative attitudes with ones that serve you better and align with a positive, fulfilling life.

Reinventing your inner strength starts with remembering who you are. Your true authentic self can be accessed through art therapy, using exercises that are both easy and fun.

Self-Portrait

Choose art materials and a medium that appeal to you, whether it’s charcoal pencils, pencil crayons, paints or markers, paper or canvas. Find a comfortable place to work, where you can allow yourself to get messy. Think about who you are at your core, what you most want to express, and begin to create. There is no one judging or grading this work of art. This is only for you. When you are finished, you have the added option of writing down a description of the work, and writing journal entries on what came up for you while thinking about yourself. Self-portraits are often helpful in putting a physical manifestation to your thoughts and feelings.

Feelings

This is my favorite art exercise that I’ve done with friends and clients to help them to get in touch with their feelings and discover what can make them feel fulfilled. Take three pieces of blank paper and write number 1 on the first one, then draw how you feel right now. It can be an abstract, words, numbers, symbols, realism or anything that you think describes how you are feeling at this very moment.

Be spontaneous and don’t spend more than five minutes to complete the picture. Then take another piece of paper and write number 2 on it and draw how you would like to feel if everything was perfect in your life. Again, be as spontaneous as you can. Finally, take the last sheet of paper and write number 3 on it and this time, draw your biggest obstacle or challenge that is preventing you from getting to number 2. Then spread all the drawing out in front of you and look at the three feelings that you have drawn to describe your life now, your life as you want it to be and what is stopping you from getting there. This exercise can provoke deep emotions as well as epiphanies to help you to heal. For example, one of my clients drew an apple with a bite taken out of it for her number one, a whole apple for number 2 and a heart to symbolize love for number 3. When I asked her to define her feelings through her art, she said that she felt like a piece of her was taken away and she wanted to feel whole, but giving and receiving love was stopping her from reaching that ultimate goal of wholeness that would make her feel happy.

Vision Board

Vision boards are a wonderful way to project positivity onto your future and open yourself to new vistas and options. To do this exercise, you will need a poster board, magazines, scissors, glue, pen and paper. Use the pen and paper to make a list of things you’d like to see in your future, and then create them visually with cut out images from magazines. This could be anything from a happy family sitting down together for a meal, or a safe workplace that you would love to go to everyday. You don’t have to limit yourself in any way. Have you always wanted a house by the beach? Go ahead and put that on there! This is the time to imagine yourself in the future doing exactly what you want to do to, resulting in maximum joy. There are no limits to the blissful fulfillment that you can imagine for yourself and eventually experience in your life.

Read more about my upcoming book here.

Artwork by Pablo Soloman

How To Use Pheromones To Attract

The first stage in a new relationship is based on fascination. It’s that heady time during which we give off chemical signals that result in the infamous “spark” that lights up all of our senses. I’ve teamed up with Eye of Love to create beautiful jewelry that is designed to be infused with their high quality pheromones, giving you an advantage in the fascination arena.

Get 25% off your pheromone induced jewelry with my promo code DRAVA

Under the spell of fascination, we might be tempted to do things outside our normal behavior, because the feelings inspired by the new possibilities of romance are exciting and fun.

You don’t need an exotic car if you have pheromone-infused jewelry.

It’s like putting on a new pair of designer shoes for the first time. You love the way you look and you can’t wait to wear them again and again. Or it’s like test-driving an exotic sports car. Turning on its engine turns you on as you drive around the block a few times, running through the gears to see if it’s a keeper.

Amp Up Your Radar

Eye of Love pheromone-infused dog tag necklace and bracelet.

Here’s a tip for singles: Wear one of Eye of Love’s pheromone jewelry designs – a pendant necklace, dog tag necklace, a two layer necklace or a simple bracelet made with black lava rock. Black lava rock is one of the oldest and most abundant stones in the world, and it possesses energetic qualities and a porous surface that absorbs pheromone perfume beautifully. When sprayed with pheromones, it acts as a fragrance diffuser that becomes a powerful attracting force worn close to the skin. It’s also a great flirting prop! You’ll see how people will be motivated to approach you, and how it affects your charisma once you begin a conversation.

During this introductory fascination phase of a relationship, we play, and carefully reveal various parts of our personality, testing the waters, looking for signs that it’s okay to lower our guard enough to move into the next romantic phase.

Eye of Love pheromone perfume bottle with two-tiered necklace and bracelet.

When we fascinate someone, we attract him or her, and they want to meet us, date us, make love to us and cease to think of anything else. People want to connect with us and when they do, they’re more likely to “fall in love” with us! We are all familiar with the feelings this fascination can ignite, but what exactly is this spark and where does it come from?

One scientific explanation is that pheromones, the chemical signals released by humans that send subconscious messages regarding physical attraction are drawing us together. Dr. Ivanka Savic of the Karolinska Institute found that the hormone-like smells “turn on” the brain’s hypothalamus, which is normally not activated by regular odors. This is a very important finding because it identifies the stimulation of a specific area of the brain that is known to modify emotions, hormones, reproduction and sexual behavior. This can trigger curiosity in the brain as it works to comprehend these changes, thereby generating fascination with the person responsible for the internal shift.

Did you know that 80% of a person’s initial impression of a potential mate is non-verbal? Yes, we can be fascinating without saying a word! The messages sent to others are communicated by posture and facial expression, which are universal. A smile is an open door of approval in any language, whereas crossed arms are a signal of unapproachability.

Single people need to be aware of their fascinating qualities because it creates a starting point for finding a mate. By projecting an attractive image (and I don’t mean looks!) we create options for meeting potential partners. Our unique qualities are our calling card for inviting fascination. For instance, if being health conscious is a strong quality, then time spent at a gym, yoga class, health food restaurant or health expo can create more opportunities for romantic introductions. There’s nothing more attractive than a confident person who owns their strengths, and you have the tools to project this image – they’re all in your head right now! Use your positive attitude and confident body language to send out the signals of interest, amplifying your fascination radar and inviting conversation. Then allow the pheromones to boost your attraction even more. It’s not rocket-science, but it is scientific.

Eye of Love pheromone jewelry can give you an extra edge and you’ll get plenty of compliments when you wear one of the bracelets or necklaces,
Remember to use my code DRAVA for 25% discount on any style you desire.

Erika Jordan’s “Advice for Men” – 4 Ways to Get to the Second Date

Are you good at first dates, but can’t seem to get that second chance? It could be one of these four things that I outline in this video. You’ve got to show confidence and be positive, or else what’s in it for her? Make sure you’re leaving her with the impression that you’re a fun person to be around and you’ll be having fun with or without her. That’s the moment when she’ll be texting for a second time around.

People want to be involved with someone who makes them feel good, and someone who – perhaps ironically – doesn’t need them to be happy. No one wants to be responsible for making someone else happy, they’d rather be lifted up themselves! It just makes sense.

So take a look at these four tips and let me know in the comments what works for you to get to that second date.

You can find me at www.virtualsexpert.com where I’ve got lots more tips and tricks for dating.

Top 10 Sexual Resolutions

How can you make 2019 the sexiest year ever? I’ve got a surefire way for you to explore your desires so it can happen for you now!

This is an exercise that I have demonstrated with audiences in the U.S., the U.K. and five cities in Australia, and it’s not only a great ice-breaker for people to discuss their wants and needs, but it results in a tangible blue print for the actions you can take to make your fantasies come true.

I always start out by asking, “Are you making love a priority in your life?” and I usually get mixed results. There are single people focused on their careers who have just started to feel the urge to get ‘out there’ and look for a soul mate, and singles who have been looking forever and keep dating the same type of person who’s making them miserable. There are couples who are afraid they’re growing apart and want to reverse that trend, and couples who are closer than ever, ready to take on new sexual adventures together. There are also couples in predictable relationships where they make love in the same place at the same time in the same position all the time – and at least one of them is not sexually satisfied and could be resentful.

Next I ask everyone write down ten things that they believe would make their love lives better. I encourage you to do this before the new year too! You can choose things like I want to feel confident when I’m naked, or I want more cuddling. Here’s an example of a top ten list from a female client:

1. I want to find the right lover
2. I want to love my entire body
3. I want to overcome my sexual inhibitions
4. I want to overcome my sexual guilt & shame
5. I want to get some amazing sex toys
6. I want to have a sexier bedroom
7. I want to have more time for sex
8. I want sex more often / I want sex to last longer
9. I want to be able to communicate my sexual desires
10. I want to have more sexual adventures

Now that you’ve made your list, I want you to keep the five things from your list that are absolutely necessary in order for you to have more happiness, more satisfaction, more fulfilment, more intimacy and more sex. Then delete the other five.

My female client’s top five list:

1. I want to love my entire body (because she couldn’t surrender to a lover without feeling self-conscious about her weight)
2. I want to find the right lover (it had been four years since her divorce)
3. I want to be able to communicate my sexual desires (her ex-husband was unwilling to learn about her sexual needs)
4. I want to have more sexual adventures (she tried to get her husband to make love in different positions and try Tantric sex, but he said he wasn’t interested)
5. I want some amazing sex toys (she wants to have orgasms even without a partner)

Now, my client was astonished when I asked her to choose only two essential items from her diminishing list. I gave her ten minutes, five minutes for each! She decided to keep:

1. I want to love my entire body (which includes overcoming sexual inhibitions & using sex toys)
2. I want to find the right lover (which includes sexual adventures and good communication)

The next session I spent with this client was dedicated to discovering how she could love her body. We used a naked “Gingerbread Lady” exercise to help. She drew a simple outline of her body, then I gave her a red crayon to highlight the areas on her body that she didn’t like. She focused on her belly and thighs, so we discussed them both, and came up with reasons for her to turn that disdain into love. With her belly, she was self-conscious about the layer of fat, but as we discussed her joyful pregnancy and the miracle of childbirth, she began to see that there were good associations with her belly as well, including a healthy digestive system that had never given her any problems. With her thighs she managed to transform, “They’re too big” into “They’re strong and I love how the muscles feel when I’m hiking.”

After that we tackled how she could find the right lover. I gave her a pheromone-infused lava rock bracelet from Eye of Love to attract potential partners and help make her feel more confident. Then I recommended that she go to three different places where she might find a man with the qualities she was looking for in a partner – a hardware store, a popular hiking trail and a health food restaurant. You may have gathered that she was looking for a man who was fit, handy and a vegetarian! By the way, she met him when he complimented her bracelet.

The thought-provoking conclusion to this new year’s resolution exercise is that you don’t need as much as you thought you did in order to be sexually fulfilled and satisfied! The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we often write a long list of things we want to change, eliminate or improve that it becomes so overwhelming we don’t do any of them! I don’t want that to happen to you in your love life.

I encourage you to do this exercise because your sexual pleasure is guaranteed to improve the quality of your life, and create memories that last a lifetime.

“Pleasure, Power, and Porn”; Girl Power Talk With Liz Goldwyn and Erica Lust Nov. 8th

On Thursday, November 8th, world renowned Barcelona based indie porn filmmaker Erika Lust, and L.A. based filmmaker and founder of The Sex Ed, Liz Goldwyn, will be in NYC for a conversation about sex, power, porn, and pleasure.
The two will address the responsibility of representing female sexuality across creative mediums, while re-framing the dialogue around pornography and gender equality. Liz and Erika will explore whether explicit film can be used as an educational tool to help us better understand our sexuality, and how we can leverage the intensity of the current political and cultural climate to lead a safer, sex-positive society.
Moderated by Dani Kawatek-Clark of Broadly, the current sexual discourse will include “How can we celebrate sex in ways that emancipate our desire from feelings of shame?” and “Can pleasure, power and porn be redefined as a means to teach us about sex and connection?”
It sounds like an interesting evening of girl (power) talk. And of course, guys are also invited to discuss.
Get tickets here.

About Liz Goldwyn
Liz Goldwyn is an author, filmmaker and founder of The Sex Ed, working in Los Angeles. Goldwyn is the writer and director of the documentary Pretty Things which encompassed 8 years of research and first-person interviews showcasing 20th century burlesque queens. (Fun fact: her grandfather was Hollywood movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, who founded Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios.) Following the documentary, her first book, Pretty Things: the Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens, was published worldwide. Goldwyn’s short films include Underwater Ballet, L.A. at Night, The Painted Lady, Dear Diary, Love Meditation and Cello Dream. She is also author of the novel Sporting Guide based on original historical research. Goldwyn’s new educational digital platform The Sex Ed, explores sex, health, and consciousness in the digital age.
About Erika Lust

Erika Lust is an indie adult filmmaker who creates sex-positive, indie adult cinema that portrays sexually intelligent narratives, relatable characters, and realistic hot sex. In 2015, Erika gave her essential TEDx talk It’s Time for Porn to Change. Erika’s groundbreaking XConfessions project is the first crowdsourced erotic film series in the history of adult cinema. Every month, she picks two anonymous fantasies shared on XConfessions.com and turns them into captivating, explicit short films. Erika’s cinema reflects her views on sex as a healthy, natural part of life worth celebrating. With more than 150 short films, Erika also produces and finances female guest directors, supporting burgeoning talent across the globe. She defends the importance of having women behind the camera in all key positions.

  • Venue: The William Vale Ballroom, 111 North 12th Street, Brooklyn
  • Date: Thursday, November 8th
  • Time: 7:30 – 9PM
  • Headliners: Liz Goldwyn, author, filmmaker and Founder of The Sex Ed, Erika Lust, award-winning erotic film director (moderated by Dani Kwatek-Clark, Senior Culture Editor, Broadly.
  • Event Synopsis: Let’s talk about sex. How can women celebrate sex in ways that emancipate our desires from feelings of shame? Can porn be redefined as a resource for sex education.

Erika Jordan’s ‘Advice for Men’ – Should You Have Sex on the First Date?

Learn more by visiting Erika Jordan at www.virtualsexpert.com.

In this video, I share some questions you can ask yourself before you jump into bed on a first date. It’s not about what’s good or bad, right or wrong – it all depends on the individuals involved and how they feel.

Erika Jordan’s ‘Advice For Men’ – Get Her Off Her Phone & Into Bed

Visit me at www.virtualsexpert.com.

I’m a licensed Loveologist and health coach and I’ve got some great advice for men on how to get a woman OFF THE PHONE and into bed.

We’re all distracted by our phones, but what is she looking at? Can you engage with her? Or better yet, can you create a no-phone day for some lusty romance instead? Let me know in the comments below how it works for you, because your sex life suffers when you can’t get her off the screen!

Sexperts Share Secrets at “The New Rules of Sex Summit”

As a graduate and faculty member of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS), I get the privilege of teaching students who want to become sexologists, like me. Lauren Brim was a top student in my class and I’m so proud of what she’s created with her New Rules Sex Summit that runs this July 30 – August 8, 2018.

Lauren is collaborating with top sexperts like sex researcher, author and global speaker Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, psychologist and transgender expert Dr. Elise Turen and Sheri Winston, who is a Wholistic Sexuality™ Teacher and founder of the Intimate Arts Center. The Sex Summit topics range from orgasmic potential and sexual consent to sexual healing and getting what you really want in bed. My interview was a lot of fun as Lauren wanted me to talk about sex toys, since she enjoyed my presentation on the evolution of sex toys since the beginning of time.

You can tune in to listen by joining here. My interview airs on July 30, 2018 at 8AM Pacific Time. First I give an overview of the history of sex toys and then we discuss how toys can help with sexual issues or incompatibilities for both individuals and couples. I give advice on what couples can use to create novel experiences in long term relationships and address the worry that many men have about sex toys being a penis replacement.

Also, all the sexperts at the Sex Summit are giving away free gifts when you sign up! Mine is a free download of my entertaining seminar video from the Sexual Health Expo called Unique Orgasms! Watch Dr. Hernando Chaves and myself demonstrate sex toy techniques and discuss orgasms you may not have heard of. It’s part of “The Big O” course at Loveology University®, but I’m giving it away here for free. So don’t forget to sign up and get my gift as well as 19 other fantastic gifts of sexual knowledge!

Erika Jordan’s “Advice for Men” – 3 Steps to a Better Erection

Boost your confidence with these 3 tips for getting a better, longer, stronger erection. You can learn more about my work at www.virtualsexpert.com where I have lots more advice for men on dating and sex.