Category Archives: Infidelity

50 Shades of Grey: What Men Can Get From Reading It.

This posting by Dr. Paul Hokemeyer first appeared on the Dr. Oz website

By Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, JD
I just finished reading 50 Shades of Grey. For most of you, the book needs no introduction. It’s a hot and steamy novel that’s been a topic of conversation among women of all ages for some time now. Some of you, however, may be late to the game. If you fall into this second category, chances are you’re a woman who’s been in a coma or a man who thinks the book is “silly” and irrelevant to you.

For all the men who think 50 Shades is silly or irrelevant, I challenge your beliefs. There’s an enormous amount you can learn in its 514 pages about yourself as a sexual being and your role as a romantic partner to the woman in your life.

I also have to confess that in regard to the book, I was both late to the game and a skeptic. I’d heard about the book from nearly all of my female friends and was taken by their reaction. Without exception, the women found the book mesmerizing, wildly entertaining and incredibly erotic. What struck me most about this reaction was how it remained consistent among women of all ages, socio-economic classes and even sexual orientations. I overheard 20-year-old women giggling about it on the train, my lesbian colleague couldn’t put it down, and my 50-something-year-old Ivy League educated neighbor described it as “porn” that she found “absolutely delicious.” Finally, after one of my female friends insisted, “Paul you must read this book. It’s full of psychological stuff that you’ll find fascinating,” I decided to take the plunge and see what all the estrogen-fueled hype was about.

After devouring the book over a long weekend, I was pleased with the results of my “psychological study.” Through it, I gained great insight into what women want out of men and how we can be better lovers. For the sake of brevity, I’ve outlined what I learned in the bullet points below:
Women need to feel valued: Men often take their female partners for granted. This is especially true when the couple has been together for a while. Men need to stay attentive to the details of their partner’s lives and consciously value them as human beings.
It’s okay for men to be vulnerable and sensitive: Women love men for their strengths and for their vulnerabilities. By sharing their emotional vulnerabilities, men will strengthen their romantic relationships.
Sex is an important communication tool in a relationship: Sex is not a mechanical act. It’s a way partners communicate their desires for and respect of one another.
Sex is a whole lot more than penetration: Women want romance. Know that the journey is more important than the destination. Slow down and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Intimacy demands trust: At the heart of romantic relationships is an intimacy that is borne of trust. Women must be able to trust their men. This requires their men to be trustworthy.
While 50 Shades has a great sexual content, it also has great insight to enable men to be better partners, lovers and friends to their romantic partners. It’s a book that’s entertaining and enlightening, sexy and stimulating. Most importantly, it’s a book that need not be reserved for women only. Men can learn a great deal from it’s content. I certainly did.

50 Shades of Grey

Is ‘Fifty Shades’ poorly written? Who really cares?

 ”I think that women are giving other women permission to read it and get in touch with their sexuality,” says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a marriage and family therapist who is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show. “And there’s something very normalizing about that.”
 
By EMILY J. MINORPalm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 5:49 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Posted: 5:48 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, 2012

 

My favorite side effect from the Fifty Shades books is probably the little story singer John Mayer told on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Whether it’s true or not, who knows? But Mayer says he took the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, and actually sang a page to a woman, a possible bed partner, in an attempt to get her all ready for the sack.

Oh Anastasia. Your alabaster skin is so hot.

Who doesn’t love a little romance resulting from all this Fifty Shades madness?

Well, that and the fact that I now know what a spreader bar is, and it’s not something farmers use for fertilizing the fields.

The first time I heard about this phenom series, a trilogy – I hesitate to use the word “threesome” – was only about a month or so ago. I’m a late bloomer, a considerate understatement now that I am deep in the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, and starting to realizing what’s going on in American bedrooms.

And dining rooms. And automobiles. And boat houses.

And it’s not Saturday-night sex with a bottle of Astroglide.

There we were, my schoolteacher friend and me, barreling down Interstate 95 to attend a sporting event involving a bat, a ball, and beer, and she was screaming, and I mean screaming, as she weaved her car with the broken speedometer through fellow travelers, some of them probably Fifty Shades readers and therefore technically unfit for driving in that they were presumedly still a bit weak in the knees from Chapter 21 in the second book, Fifty Shades Darker.

OH MY GOD, she was bellowing. YOU HAVE TO READ THEM.

And I think teachers should be obeyed, much like Anastasia Steele obeys Christian Grey, unless she wants to be spanked.

There’s a lot of high-brow grousing going on right now about the series – written by a British TV executive, first launched as Internet fan fiction – that is, fantasy chapters about existing books and existing characters – and then snatched up by Random House because of the following author E L James had established online. Apparently there is a widespread literary opinion that the books – a continuing story about a young woman, a recent college grad, who falls in love with an ultra-wealthy businessman who is “fifty shades” of messed up because of his crack-addicted birth mother – are poorly written.

But I hadn’t noticed.

Erotica has been around since the dawn of time. Have you watched HBO’s Game of Thrones? My mother used to keep a tame version stashed under her bed. Remember those old True Story magazines? But what’s so different about the Fifty Shades series, I think, is how everyone’s talking about it.

Indeed, Hokemeyer speaks the truth. We’re not hiding our copies in the T-shirt drawer or under the bed. Women are reading Fifty Shades books on airplanes and in waiting rooms and while standing in line at the grocery.

In just six weeks, the series sold 10 million copies – which begs the obvious question:

Just how horny are we?

“Here’s what I think,” says Dr. Maureen Whelihan, a West Palm Beach OB/GYN who is considered a leading national expert in sexual medicine.

“I think people, especially people in long-term relationships, they don’t believe they’re horny. They don’t believe they have the drive. So when they read these books, there’s that intense dopamine surge that gets women aroused and they get a little validation that they’re not broken.”

On these matters, I completely trust Whelihan, who through the years has collected women’s intimate sexual stories, everything from bedroom practices to libido levels, then teamed up with a writer to put the stories in a book.

Yes, this is a woman who knows her sex and I’m betting Maureen Whelihan was all hip about bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism back when I still thought BDSM was the airport code for Boulder, with an extra letter thrown in for good measure.

Like maybe a clue about my cute luggage, or something?

Sex and money are two funny things in our lives. They pretty much rule how we live, from happiness to contentment to physical fulfillment, yet we don’t talk about them much. Nowadays, though, we all seem to have gone a bit haywire. Well, I should speak only for myself – a grown woman who recently started yelling “Fifty Shades, baby,” after a few mojitos.

“I really just think these books are permission-giving for women to talk to their girlfriends and to talk to other people,” Whelihan says.

And her recommendation to all the John Mayers out there?

“Don’t send her to the girls’ book club,” Whelihan says. “Read her the book. Give her a glass of wine.

“I assure you there will be frequent breaks.”

And who doesn’t want that?

Left for a Younger Woman?

Left for a Younger Woman? 5 Steps to Thrive

One of the most devastating things that can happen to a woman is to be cheated on or left for a younger woman. It’s insulting, it’s humiliating, and it’s infuriating. In my clinical and personal experience, the women who’ve faced this situation feel they’ll never get over their pain – but they do. And if they consciously process their betrayal, they come through it stronger, more confident and happier women.

 

If this happens to you, know you will get through it, too. You’ll feel like you can’t, but you can. Acknowledge it won’t be an easy process. It will require you to recognize painful truths about the men you love and trusted, to manage the shame and judgment you feel from others and to pull yourself from the gutter where you feel you’ve been dumped.

 

In addition, don’t think your transformation from devastation to resolve will happen overnight. It often takes years and will track the five stages people go through when processing the death of a loved one. These stages include anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Unfortunately, you can’t go from anger to acceptance overnight. There’s a lot of ground you’ll need to cover in between. Give yourself the time and space to trudge it.

 

And while you’re trudging your road to a higher destiny, use the following five steps to enhance your journey. In them, you can stay on a healing path instead of falling into an emotional trap of self-pity and self-destruction.

 

1. Your anger is justified: Embrace it! In our society and culture, girls and women are taught that anger is “bad”. Nonsense! Feel your anger and express it in a safe and contained space. Don’t think you can banish anger from your life. It’s real and it’s yours. Get in touch with it and use it constructively. Exercise daily, scream into a pillow or blanket, buy a plastic bat and beat the heck out of an armchair. Discharge your anger OUT, don’t hold it in – or it will consume you.

 

2. Resist the urge to retaliate. This, of course, will take great resolve and the help of an army of friends and professionals. Your goal is not to “get even” with the cheating spouse.  It’s to take charge of your life, reclaim your dignity, and move forward into new love, joy and adventure.

 

3. Be of service to other women. Yes, I know, this is another one that goes against your impulses. You’ll want to hide out from the world and lick your wounds (or plan your revenge), but these self-focused responses are self-destructive. Instead, focus on how you can be of service to other women who are in pain. Volunteer at a domestic violence center or work with other recovering women. By getting out of your own head, you’ll reclaim your dignity and a place of value in the world.

 

4. Don’t look to be saved. This is your chance to prove you’re a person of worth and dignity. You have everything you need to heal and grow from this betrayal. Instead of looking for others (and in particular other men) to save you, look for people who can help you hold your pain and devastation. In this regard, the word “hold” means they will be there for you with understanding, compassion and non-judgment. Typically, this is a good psychotherapist, but it may also be a good friend, clergy member or a support group.

 

5. Track your progress daily. Your healing process will occur in tiny steps, not gigantic leaps. Be mindful of this and ask yourself each and every day if you are working toward the solution or stuck in the problem. When you find yourself stuck in the problem (and you will get stuck there), lovingly pull yourself back to the solution like you’re training a puppy. By focusing on the solution, you’ll ensure the success of your future. Keep a daily journal or write a blog. Years later, when you’ve reclaimed love and lust in your life, you’ll value what you’ve written.

 

Above all else, never forget you have what it takes to succeed. In my practice, I’ve seen the most seemingly fragile women learn to thrive from the most horrific betrayals. Women are the smartest, most intuitive, loving and insightful people I know and work with. Know that these women are YOU and consciously love yourself through this difficult process.

 

Internet Sex

Internet Sex: Is It Ruining Your Relationship?

Yesterday, I received a call from a friend who lives in a small Wyoming town. She asked if I ever heard of couples whose marriage fell apart because the husband was addicted to Internet sex.

 

My answer was yes. It’s a problem that’s sweeping the nation, ripping couples apart.

 

In the past several months, I’ve written about the Internet’s impact on our lives. While the Internet is a force that has the capacity to enrich, it also has the capacity to destroy. One area that’s particularly vulnerable is our romantic relationships and marriages. Since our families and marriages are the backbone of our mental health, we must work diligently to protect them.

 

A recent study that looked at the impact of online sexual activity found that women and men hold different opinions on this topic (Grov, Gillespie, Royce & Lever, 2011). Not surprisingly, the men in the study felt their online sexual activities were no big deal and enhanced their relationships with their partners. In contrast, the woman in the study felt their sex lives and relationships were damaged as a result of them.

 

This is certainly consistent with my friend’s experience. The husband was no longer interested in having “live” sex with his wife. Over the course of a year, he had become so stimulated by the “virtual sex” he was having online that sex with his wife no longer appealed to him. In addition, he fell in love with a virtual woman who he refused to give up.

 

After confronting her husband about his online sexual activities, he refused to give them up. Finally, my friend said enough and filed for divorce. It’s a sad ending to an otherwise happy 17-year marriage.

 

What can you do if you discover your spouse or romantic partner has an online sexual mate? The following five steps will enable you to sort things out:

 

1. Don’t be afraid to confront the issue. If you find out your partner is having sex online, address it directly. Tell them you know what they are doing and that it makes you feel violated.

2. It’s okay to think it’s not okay! You don’t have to go along with it. Sex involves your body, mind and spirit. Protect and care for them diligently.

3. Be clear that Internet sex is infidelity and a breach of trust.

4. Find a supportive person who you can trust to talk about it. You don’t need to keep your partner’s infidelity to yourself.

5. Set up a boundary around your partner’s Internet sex that involves consequences if the boundary is violated.

 

Above all else, remain true to your thoughts and feelings. If something feels “creepy,” it’s because it violates an important part of you. Never jump on a bandwagon if you feel the wagon is heading in the wrong direction. Your self-esteem and integrity are too valuable to let slip away.

 

Surviving Infidelity: 5 Steps to Emotional Recovery

Surviving Infidelity: 5 Steps to Emotional Recovery

This post appeared originally at doctoroz.com

Infidelity is an issue that’s never far away. From world leaders to our next-door neighbors, no one’s immune to cheating. The simple fact is that infidelity is alive and well — and relationships, if not properly nourished, are vulnerable to it.

 

So what can you do if you discover you’re involved with a cheater? How do you reclaim your life, your dignity and your self worth? In short, how do you recover? By following these five steps, you’ll be able to reclaim your equilibrium and move forward with your life:

 

  1. Accept the truth: Realizing the person we’ve trusted with our vulnerabilities has betrayed us is incredibly painful. In response to this pain, we initially deny the truth or rationalize it away. But you’ll never live a happy and meaningful life that’s based on a lie. The sooner you accept the truth of what happened, the sooner you can heal from it.
  2. Speak the truth: Because there’s so much shame and humiliation surrounding infidelity, we’re terrified to talk about it. But this only serves to amplify the pain and make us feel like victims. Get the truth out into the light. Talk about your experience with a trusted friend or a professional.
  3. Breathe through the truth: Even though every fiber of your being wants to react, avoid acting from a place of pain or anger. The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and to treat yourself lovingly. Don’t self-destruct, and don’t try to destroy your partner.
  4. Process the truth: Give yourself time and space to find your equilibrium. Infidelity shatters our world. It makes us feel unsafe and vulnerable. Know that you’ll heal from this pain and establish a new, stronger foundation. Know also that this will take time. Give yourself that time.
  5. Create a plan based on the truth: While infidelity doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship, it will forever change your dynamic with your partner. Don’t expect the relationship to go back to the way it was before the infidelity was discovered. With this in mind, define how do you want to live your life from now on. Take out a piece of paper and write down any idea about the person you want to be and the life you want to live. Once you have clarity on this, you can take concrete steps toward realizing your goals.

While infidelity is devastating, it does not need to ruin you. It may fill you with crushing pain, but this pain will subside. It may fill you with negative thoughts about yourself, but these thoughts do not define you and should not determine the course of your life.

 

Above all else, know you’re not alone. There are millions of other men and women who have gone through this and have moved beyond their pain. They learned how to love again by learning to accept and nurture themselves.

 

Surviving Infidelity

Surviving Infidelity: 5 Steps to Emotional Recovery (originally appeared in Dr. OZ.com)

Infidelity is an issue that’s never far away. From world leaders to our next-door neighbors, no one’s immune to cheating. The simple fact is that infidelity is alive and well — and relationships, if not properly nourished, are vulnerable to it.

 

So what can you do if you discover you’re involved with a cheater? How do you reclaim your life, your dignity and your self worth? In short, how do you recover? By following these five steps, you’ll be able to reclaim your equilibrium and move forward with your life:

 

  1. Accept the truth: Realizing the person we’ve trusted with our vulnerabilities has betrayed us is incredibly painful. In response to this pain, we initially deny the truth or rationalize it away. But you’ll never live a happy and meaningful life that’s based on a lie. The sooner you accept the truth of what happened, the sooner you can heal from it.
  2. Speak the truth: Because there’s so much shame and humiliation surrounding infidelity, we’re terrified to talk about it. But this only serves to amplify the pain and make us feel like victims. Get the truth out into the light. Talk about your experience with a trusted friend or a professional.
  3. Breathe through the truth: Even though every fiber of your being wants to react, avoid acting from a place of pain or anger. The best way to reclaim your dignity is to act rationally and to treat yourself lovingly. Don’t self-destruct, and don’t try to destroy your partner.
  4. Process the truth: Give yourself time and space to find your equilibrium. Infidelity shatters our world. It makes us feel unsafe and vulnerable. Know that you’ll heal from this pain and establish a new, stronger foundation. Know also that this will take time. Give yourself that time.
  5. Create a plan based on the truth: While infidelity doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship, it will forever change your dynamic with your partner. Don’t expect the relationship to go back to the way it was before the infidelity was discovered. With this in mind, define how do you want to live your life from now on. Take out a piece of paper and write down any idea about the person you want to be and the life you want to live. Once you have clarity on this, you can take concrete steps toward realizing your goals.

While infidelity is devastating, it does not need to ruin you. It may fill you with crushing pain, but this pain will subside. It may fill you with negative thoughts about yourself, but these thoughts do not define you and should not determine the course of your life.

Above all else, know you’re not alone. There are millions of other men and women who have gone through this and have moved beyond their pain. They learned how to love again by learning to accept and nurture themselves.

 

The Power of Infidelity

The Power of Infidelity- Originally posted on Dr. OZ website
By Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, JD
We live in a world saturated with infidelity. For months we’ve endured the details of Tiger Woods’ sex life and Sandra Bullock’s humiliations. Prior to Mr. Woods’ and Ms. Bullock’s revelations, it was the sexual details of married politicians that were thrust in our face.

What we don’t have is enough information about what constitutes infidelity, what impact it has on relationships and the options available to those who it affects.

So let’s start with some basic facts about infidelity:
There are 2 types of infidelity. The first is emotional infidelity. The second is sexual infidelity.
Emotional infidelity occurs when one party in a committed relationship finds romantic intimacy with a person outside of that relationship. Sexual infidelity occurs when one party in a committed relationship has sex outside that relationship. Researchers have found that 25% of heterosexual marriages and 82% of gay male couples are impacted by sexual infidelity.
Without a doubt, the Internet has made both emotional and sexual infidelity easier to engage in through chat rooms, social networking sites and sites specifically devoted to sexual encounters.
Basically what you need to know about both types of infidelity is that they occur in the context of a committed relationship that is based on an understanding of monogamy. Infidelity arises when one person to the relationship acts outside of that understanding without informing the other person of his or her intentions. The result of this is a breach of trust and a corrosion of the relationship’s integrity. In short, infidelity destructs a relationship by creating mistrust, shame, feelings of worthlessness and betrayal.

Yuck right?

But just because infidelity happens, let’s not assume it automatically kills a relationship. If the relationship was worth getting into, it’s definitely worth investing time and effort exploring what went wrong.

Through open and honest communication with your partner, you have the power to explore the following options:
Ignoring the infidelity and pretending nothing happened (not recommended)
Terminating the relationship (not always necessary)
Taking some “time out” from the relationship by agreeing to a separation for a fixed period of time (i.e. 12 months). During this time you can sort out your feelings and seek assistance from a professional (recommended)
Staying in the relationship and exploring the reasons why the infidelity occurred, setting new boundaries around future behavior and remaining open to new possibilities (recommended)
What’s important to remember is that you have options. Through these options you have the power to change. Yes, infidelity is destructive. It’s shameful and unpleasant. But like most things that challenge our sense of self and our present reality, it also presents new possibilities for healing and growth.

Addicted to Prostitution

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a sober doctor who has appeared repeatedly on Good Morning America and specializes in sex addiction among other topics, says that sex industry work can be classified as a “process” addiction. “You can get addicted to the affirmation of being valued by someone for your body, although it’s a very linear form of validating yourself that’s unhealthy and destructive,” he says.”

To read  McCarton Ackerman’s insightful article for TheFix.com  in it’s entirety click here

Verbal Abuse

When we think of abusive relationships we typically think of physical abuse. Abusive relationships also occur in more subtle ways. Perhaps the most insidious of these is verbal abuse. In exploring this topic I sought the guidance of my heros at The Retreat, a domestic violence shelter located in the east end of Long Island, New York.

According to the seasoned professionals at the Retreat,  verbal abuse occurs when one partner in an intimate relationship acts towards the other in the  following ways:

  • Yelling, swearing, using lewd language
  • Constantly criticizing
  • Using of pressure tactics to get his or her way
  • Constantly interrupting
  • Using economic coercion
  • Claiming to be the ultimate authority of the truth
  • Lying, or withholding truth
  • Infidelity and/or using pornography

Just because abuse doesn’t manifest itself physically, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If you feel you might be in an abusive relationship, trust your instincts and talk to someone. A great place to start is with a local domestic violence center in your community. They are there to serve you and welcome the opportunity to be of service.

The Treachery of Holiday Office Parties

Tis the season to be jolly, but tis not the season to make a fool of yourself and jeopardize your career or financial well being. According to a recently released Harris Interactive Poll, however, The Caron Treatment Centers found that we are doing just that- in record numbers. You can read a summation of the ways we are putting our careers and reputations at risk by over indulging at office holiday parties by clicking on this link: http://www.caron.org/drinking-with-colleagues-over-the-holidays-can-permanently-damage-your-reputation.html

Don’t Let This be You!